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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical

Zechariah 6

 

 

Verses 1-8

VISION VIII. THE FOUR CHARIOTS

Zechariah 6:1-8

A. Four Chariots drawn by Horses of different Colors ( Zechariah 6:1-4). B. Explanation of their Meaning ( Zechariah 6:5-8).

1And I lifted up my eyes again,[FN1] and saw, and behold, four chariots came from between the two mountains, and the mountains were mountains of brass 2 In the first chariot were red horses, 3and in the second chariot black horses, And in the third 4 chariot white horses, and in the fourth chariot speckled bay[FN2] horses. And I answered and said to the angel that talked with me, What are these, my lord? 5And the angel answered and said to me, These are the four winds[FN3] of the heavens, coming forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth. That in which are 6 the black horses goes[FN4] forth into the land of the north, and the white go behind them, and the speckled go forth to the land of the south 7 And the bay went forth, and desired to go—pass to and fro[FN5] through the earth; and he said, Go, pass to and fro through 8 the earth; and they went through the earth. And he called me and spake to me, saying, Behold, these that go forth into the land of the north have caused my Spirit to rest[FN6] upon the land of the north.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

This vision completes the cycle of the series by returning to the point of departure, using imagery much like that of the first vision, and indicating the complete fulfillment of what had there been pledged. Here it is not horses and riders who serve only as exploring scouts, but chariots of war who actually execute what they are commanded. They go forth not from a grove of myrtles in an open bottom, but from between lofty brazen mountains, an adequate symbol of the strength and permanence of the divinely guarded theocracy. They act in all directions, but especially in those regions whence in the past the most formidable enemies of the kingdom of God proceeded. They put in exercise the various destructive agencies indicated by the colors of the horses,—war, pestilence, mourning, famine,—until the Spirit of God is satisfied with the overthrow. But the destruction of the Lord’s enemies is the triumph of his friends, and in this view the eighth vision appropriately terminates the first series of revelations granted to Zechariah, with a cheering prospect, of which a fuller development is given in the closing chapters of the book.

a. The Symbol of the Four Chariots ( Zechariah 6:1-4). Zechariah 6:1. Four chariots. … mountains. The prophet in the usual way indicates that another vision is disclosed to him. The four chariots which he sees can scarcely be other than war chariots, and are therefore a symbol of authority and judgment. The article prefixed to two mountains does not necessarily refer to them as already known (so Hengstenberg, who supposes a reference to Psalm 125:2, which is certainly far-fetched), but simply defines them as forming the back ground of the scene presented to the prophet. Their ideal character is confirmed by the statement that they are “of brass,’ a manifest symbol of impregnable strength. There is no need, therefore, of referring to Zion and Moriah (Maurer, Umbreit, etc.), or to Zion and the Mount of Olives (Keil, Moore), although the latter may have suggested the symbol. A valley guarded by two brazen hills is not an unworthy image of the resistless might of Him who from such a place sends forth the executioners of his will. The number of the chariots, according to the analogies of Ezekiel,, Daniel, and Revelation, indicates, like the four points of the compass, universality, a judgment that goes in every direction.

Zechariah 6:2-3. In the first chariot.…. bay horses. The number of the horses is not mentioned, although the rabbins say there were four to each chariot. The colors are specified, and must be significant. The usual interpretation makes red denote war and bloodshed, black, sorrow and death, white, victory. The fourth color, speckled, commonly derived from a root=hail, and hence rendered, “having hail-like spots,” is explained by Hengstenberg as denoting judgments falling like hail ( Revelation 8:7; Revelation 16:21). but by Keil as indicating famine and pestilence, which is better than to regard it with Henderson, as indicating a mixed dispensation of joy and sorrow, or with T.V. Moore as combining all the others. A more difficult question arises concerning the next word, אֲמֻצִּים. It is strange to find as epithet of quality in immediate connection with a series referring to color, yet this must be admitted if the word is take in its usual sense, given in the margin of E.V, Vulgate, and by most expositors. i.e., strong. To escape the difficulty, some represent the first consonant, א, as softened from ח, and get חֲמֻצִּים=bright red (Kimchi, Calvin, Cocceius, Ewald, Köhler). others suppose an error of the transcriber (Hitzig, Maurer, Pressel). But it is better with Fürst (in Lex.) to derive the word in the text from an Arabic root=to shine, whence he obtains the signification, dazzling red. Dr. Van Dyck, in the modern Arabic Bible, renders it by شُعْرُ=shining red. In any event, the colors of the horses denote the character of the mission on which they are sent. But an elaborate effort has been made by Hoffman, followed by Kliefoth, Wordsworth, and others, to represent the colors as indicating the four great empires of Daniel as instruments of God’s judgments. But this is forbidden by the contemporaneousness of the going forth of the several chariots, by their destination as stated in the text, by the lack of historical verification, and other considerations. See Keil and Köhler in loc. for a full refutation of this apparently plausible view.

b. The Explanation ( Zechariah 6:5-8). Zechariah 6:5. These are the four winds. Not four spirits, as the text of the E. V. has it, and Henderson and Neumann, for angels are rarely if ever so described in the Old Testament, nor in that case would the appended words, “of the heavens,” have any suitable meaning, nor does the Scripture know anything of four angels par eminence. These winds, the angel said, came forth from standing before the universal Lord, in whose service they were. Psalm 148:8. “Stormy wind fulfilling his word.” The agency of the four winds in the work of destructive judgment is seen in Jeremiah 49:36, Daniel 7:2, Revelation 7:1.

Zechariah 6:6-7. That in which are, etc. These verses describe the particular regions visited by these divinely appointed messengers. The black went toward the land of the north, which all agree denotes the territory washed by the Tigris and Euphrates. See on Zechariah 2:6-7. The white go after them, not to the West, as Ewald translates, for then we should expect the East also, which does not occur; and besides, the west to the Hebrews represented only the sea. Better is the ingenious view of Pressel, who, insisting on the force of the preposition, renders “to the land farther behind them.” This is grammatically tenable, and favored by the fact that it brings into view the farther East, the Medes and Persians, as one of the distinct objects of the divine visitation. The land of the south is of course Egypt and Arabia.

Zechariah 6:7. And the bay went, etc. So far, the prophet seems to have omitted the first chariot, the one with red horses, and in order to make up the number four, to have divided the third team into two, taking its second designation of color, bay, as the fourth. How are we to understand this? Keil, who, however, renders אֲמֻצִים, strong, regards the problem as insoluble. Hengstenberg affirms that the class mentioned in the seventh verse is in reality the first, and they are called strong, because they really were the strongest of all; but this assumes what is certainly not stated, and cannot be proved. Hitzig and Maurer assume that צֲמִצֻּים was omitted from Zechariah 6:6 by mistake, and afterwards erroneously substituted in Zechariah 6:7 for אֲדמִֻּים. It is better to interpret the term as Fürst does in Zechariah 6:3, although even then it remains inexplicable why the prophet should have described the first class not by its own name but by one already appropriated as part of that of the third. It may, however, be safely inferred that while the various colors of the horses had some significance, yet that this was not a matter of very great importance, else the distinctions stated would have been more accurately observed, Certainly the general sense of the vision is plain, whatever view one adopts as to the variations in the description. One point all agree in, namely, that the seventh verse sets forth what was done by the horses of the first chariot. These appear to have been not content like the others with one particular territory, but asked permission to go through the whole earth. And he said, i. e., the Lord of the whole earth, who (ver5) causes the chariots to go forth.

Zechariah 6:8. And he called me. The interpreting angel calls aloud to the prophet, arousing his attention to the purport of the vision. Have caused my Spirit to rest upon. This has often been explained as analogous to the phrase “to cause fury to rest,” in Ezekiel 5:13; Ezekiel 16:42, but wrath is not the same as spirit. Nor is such a violent assumption at all necessary. The Lord’s Spirit is sometimes a Spirit of judgment and of burning ( Isaiah 4:4), and it is in this sense that the chariots let down his manifestations on the nations. This verse specifies only the land of the north as the scene of these operations. But it could easily be inferred from this what was the result in the other directions. The north country was mentioned because, as the inveterate foe of the covenant people, it was the principal mark of the judgments of God, and should in the first instance feel the consuming energies of the Holy Spirit.

THEOLOGICAL AND MORAL

1. The same law obtains in the punishment of the heathen as in that of God’s professed people. The harvest is not cut until it is ripe. The measure of iniquity must be full before judgment falls. This doctrine was shown in the last vision in its application to the Jews. In the present as compared with the first, of which it is the complement, the same principle is illustrated in relation to the world at large. At the beginning of this night of disclosures, the prophet learned that there was no indication in the state of the heathen world of any such convulsion as his predecessor Haggai had predicted; but, on the contrary, actual inspection by horsemen commissioned for the purpose brought back information that all the earth was quiet and at rest, thus furnishing a painful contrast to the weak and suffering condition of the people of God. Now he learns that this prosperity and peace of the heathen was not a permanent thing. The time had not come, and nothing could be done until it did come. But it was sure to arrive. The wrath of God is not a caprice or an impulse, but the steady, uniform, eternal opposition of his holy nature against all sin. It can no more cease than He can. It is the very element of his being. He is necessarily “of purer eyes than to behold evil.” Not more certainly is He infinite in power or wisdom than He is in justice and truth. And these perfections must find expression in his administration of the affairs of the world. Delay is no evidence to the contrary. The accumulation of sins thus produced, only makes more evident the desert of wrath, and causes a deeper destruction when the blow falls.

2. The resting of God’s Spirit upon a land is generally the cause of life, holiness, and peace, but sometimes it is the reverse. In visitations of judgment, the Spirit is a consuming fire. It overwhelms, scatters, destroys. It removes out of the way obstacles otherwise insuperable. It turns mountains into plains. It lays low hoary despotisms, and prepares means and access for the gentler forms of diffusing the truth. Pacem petit ense. The utter destruction of a godless power is sometimes a necessary preliminary to the spread of the Gospel.

Footnotes:

FN#1 - Zechariah 6:1.—וָאָשֻב=again. Cf. Zechariah 5:1.

FN#2 - Zechariah 6:3.—“Speckled bay,” that Isaiah, speckled upon a bay ground. The word here rendered speckled is not the same as the one so rendered in the E. V. of Zechariah 1:8. Noyes translates,in this place, spotted-red.

FN#3 - Zechariah 6:5.—רוּחוֹת. The margin of E. V, winds, is better than the text, spirits. Cf. Jeremiah 49:36. I can find no instance in which the plural is used to denote angelic beings. Certainly Psalm 104:4 is not one.

FN#4 - Zechariah 6:6.—The first clause contains a singular anacoluthon, יֹּצְאִים, referring by its number to the horses, instead of the implied מֶרְכָבָה, to which it grammatically belongs.

FN#5 - Zechariah 6:7.—“to Pass to and fro,” i. e., in every direction.

FN#6 - Zechariah 6:8.—Noyes renders הִנִיחוּ רוּחי, execute my wrath, which is an excellent interpretation, but hardly a translation. The E. V. quieted cannot be sustained by usage, and is at best ambiguous, although it is copied in Dr. Van Dyck’s New Arabic version. The invariable use of the hiphil verb requires the rendering given in the text.


Verses 9-15

THE CROWN UPON JOSHUA’S HEAD

Zechariah 6:9-15

A. The Symbolic Action; Crowns on Joshua ( Zechariah 6:9-11). B. Its Meaning; The Branch a Priest and King ( Zechariah 6:12-15)

9–10And the word of Jehovah came to me saying, Take[FN7] from the exiles,[FN8] from Cheldai, from Tobiah, and from Jedaiah, and go thou on that day, go[FN9] into the 11 house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah whither they have come from Babylon; And take silver and gold and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua, the 12 son of Josedech, the high priest;[FN10] And speak to him saying, Thus speaketh Jehovah of Hosts, saying, Behold a man whose name is Branch, and from his place Hebrews 13shall grow up,[FN11] and build the temple of Jehovah. Even He[FN12] shall build the temple of Jehovah, and He shall bear majesty, and shall sit and rule upon his throne, and shall be a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both 14 And the crowns shall be to Chelem, and to Tobiah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen, the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of Jehovah 15 And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of Jehovah; and ye shall know that Jehovah of Hosts hath sent me to you; and it will come to pass, if ye will hearken unto the voice of Jehovah your God—[FN13]

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

Some interpreters consider what is here related as another vision, but manifestly without reason, since it has none of the peculiarities of the visions, is historical in its nature, and is introduced with the customary formula which denotes an ordinary communication from God, “the word of Jehovah came to me.” But while it is not one of the night visions, it is closely connected with them, as appears from the fact that it was given at the same time; that it resumes the principal feature of the most striking of the whole, namely, the fourth, by describing yet further the Branch; and that it stands in a close relation of contrast to the vision immediately preceding. That one set forth the severe judgments in store for all the foes of the theocracy. This symbolic action develops the other side of the great subject. The outlying heathen are not all to be destroyed or exterminated. On the contrary, they will one day cease their hostility to the covenant people, and even enter into cordial coöperation with them in building up and adorning the kingdom of God. This is simply a different form of the same thought given in the second chapter of Haggai, where we are told ( Zechariah 6:7) that the desire (=desirable things) of all nations shall come, and the Lord will fill the house with glory. We have then here an historical appendix to the night visions, which brings out more clearly their main theme, and especially emphasizes the view that the heathen nations are not simply to be disarmed of their opposition, but made active helpers in the advancement of God’s kingdom and glory.

a. The Symbolic Action ( Zechariah 6:9-11).

Zechariah 6:9. And the word, etc. Therefore this is not a vision.

Zechariah 6:10. Take from the exiles…from Babylon. The exiles is a term applied by Ezra ( Ezra 4:1; Ezra 6:19) to the returned captives ( Ezra 4:1; Ezra 6:19), but here evidently means those who were still in exile, and of whom the persons named as having come from Babylon, were representatives. Of these three persons and their host Josiah, we know nothing more than what the passage itself relates. Several interpreters (Jerome, Hengstenberg, Baumgarten), following the LXX, consider their names as significant, but there is nothing to require this here more than elsewhere, nor do the results thus obtained contribute anything to the proper understanding of the section. The E. V. makes אֲשֶׁר the subject of בָאוּ (Targum, Peshito, Vulgate, Luther, Henderson), but it is better to take it as an accusative of place, referring to the house of Josiah (Nordheimer, H. G., 902, 1 b.). So Hengstenberg, Köhler, Keil, etc. According to this view the three men are deputies from the Jews in Babylon, and the fourth was the host with whom they lodged in Jerusalem. On that day, the day mentioned ( Zechariah 1:7).

Zechariah 6:11. Crowns. The plural which is repeated in Zechariah 6:14 must be significant, and represents, if not two distinct diadems, at least one composite crown of two or more parts, The former is the more natural (cf. Revelation 19:12) and better suited to the connection which treats of the combination of two distinct offices in one person. Ewald, Hitzig, and Bunsen interpolate “and upon the head of Zerubbabel” after the words “high priest;” but for this there is no authority whatever, critical or exegetical.

b. The Explanation and Promise ( Zechariah 6:12-15).

Zechariah 6:12-13 explain the meaning of the symbolical action just commanded.

Zechariah 6:12. And speak to him. Joshua of course would know that the regal function, so firmly fixed in the family of David, could not possibly be conferred upon him as an individual, and that therefore its insignia were placed upon his head typically. This is put beyond doubt by the address here made to him. Behold points to the Messiah as if he were present. He is called Branch as if it were a proper name, as appears not only by the lack of the article, but by the established usage of the earlier Prophets. See on Zechariah 3:8. Of this branch or sprout from the fallen trunk of David, it is said, from his place he will grow up. Some (LXX, Luther, Hitzig, Pressel, etc.) render this clause impersonally, “there will be sprouting or growth;” but this overlooks the מן in מִתַּחְתּיו, and besides, changes the subject without reason. Better is the view (Cocceius, Hengstenberg, Baumgarten, Keil, etc), that the Branch will grow up from his place (cf. Exodus 10:23), i. e., from his own land and nation, not an exotic, but a genuine root-shoot from the native stock to which the promises had been made. Build the temple—not the earthly temple then in progress, for this was to be Completed by Zerubbabel ( Zechariah 4:9); not a new and more glorious one of the same kind, for Zerubbabel’s temple was to be glorified in the Messianic times ( Haggai 2:7-9; Malachi 3:1); but (Hengstenberg, Tholuck, Köhler) the spiritual temple of which the tabernacle and Solomon’s splendid edifice were only types, the holy house composed of living stones ( Ephesians 2:21; 1 Peter 2:5). Not a temple, but the temple,—one still in existence and always the same, but destined to an unprecedented exaltation by the Messiah. “The temple of God is one, namely, the Church of the saved, originating in the promise given in Paradise, and lasting to the end of the world “(Cocceius).

Zechariah 6:13. Even He shall build. The repetition is not useless, but emphatic, as the expressed pronoun shows. Even he, notwithstanding his lowliness of origin, shall accomplish this great work. Bear majesty, i. e., kingly glory and honor, for which חוֹר seems to be the proper and normal term ( 1 Chronicles 29:25; Daniel 11:21; Psalm 21:5). Will sit and rule upon his throne. “The former denotes the possession of the honor and dignity of a king, the latter the actual exercise of royal authority” (Hengstenberg). The suffix in “his throne” refers not to Jehovah (Vitringa), which is too remote, but to the Branch himself, as is shown by the recurrence of the word in the next clause. And will be a priest. Ewald and Hitzig render, “there will be a priest upon,” etc, which s both arbitrary and unmeaning. Nearly all interpreters, ancient and modern, render as in the text, and understand the clause to mean, that the Branch would be both king and high priest on one and the same throne. Between them both. Not the Branch and Jehovah (Cocceius, Vitringa), nor the Branch and an ideal priest (Ewald, Bunsen), nor the royal and the priestly offices (Rosenmüller, Hengstenberg, etc.); but the king and the priest who sit upon the throne, united in one person, the Branch (Hengstenberg, Umbreit, Köhler). Upon this view, the counsel of peace cannot mean perfect harmony, for that would be a matter of course—yet Jerome, Michaelis, Maurer, and Hengstenberg favor this view,—but is a counsel which aims at or results in peace, like “the chastisement of our peace” in Isaiah 53:5, i. e., which has for its object our peace. The sense, then, is that the Branch, uniting in himself royalty and priesthood, will take such counsel as shall result in peace and salvation for the covenant people.

Zechariah 6:14-15. The Prophet having explained the meaning of Joshua’s coronation, now proceeds to give the reason why the silver and gold of which the crowns were composed, were to he obtained from the messengers of the Jews who lived at a distance from their native land.

Zechariah 6:14. And the crowns shall be. The crowns, after having been placed upon the head of Joshua, were not to become his personal property, but to be preserved in the temple as a memorial of the deputies from Babylon. The names of these persons are the same as those given in Zechariah 6:10, except the first and last; Helem standing for Heldiah, and Hen for Josiah. In the former case the two names are so nearly alike that there is a general agreement in the view which refers them to the same person, and considers the variation as a copyist’s error. In the latter, Keil and Köhler render the second name as an appellative noun with the sense of favor, and consider it a record of the gracious hospitality which the son of Zephaniah had shown to the deputies from Babylon. But this is certainly artificial, and it is better to assume that Josiah had this additional name. The object of depositing the crowns in the temple was not simply to do honor to the liberality of the contributors from Babylon, but also to extend the typical significance of the whole proceeding. These men, sending from afar their gifts for the house of God, were types of many who would one day come from heathen lands and help to build the temple of the Lord.

Zechariah 6:15. And they that are afar off. A manifest prediction that distant strangers should actively participate in setting up the kingdom of God. And ye shall know, etc. The occurrence of this result would be a proof of the divine origin of what is here predicted in word and deed. The last clause, and it will.…your God, is considered by Hengstenberg and Henderson as an aposiopesis, If ye will hearken, then—. This certainly gives an emphatic and spirited close to the prophecy, and grammatically agrees better with the form of the original than the supposition that a pronoun has been omitted as the subject of וְהָיהָ. The suppressed apodosis of course Isaiah, ye shall participate in all the blessings which the Branch is to secure. For other instances of aposiopesis, see Genesis 31:42; Genesis 50:15 (in Hebrew), and the very striking instance ( Psalm 27:13). The question, whether Zechariah really performed the symbolical action here enjoined, is left undecided by some (Hengstenberg, Keil), but there seems little reason to doubt that he did, since the crown was to be hung up in the temple as a memorial.

THEOLOGICAL AND MORAL

1. The favorite designation of the Messiah, Branch, reappears, with a considerable amplification of its meaning. An elaborate and costly double crown is placed upon the head of Joshua as the type of one who is merely a slender sprout or root-shoot, which grows up out of its own place. This was exactly true of the historical Christ. He did not descend from heaven in visible glory and greatness. He was not born in the purple, nor waited upon by princes and nobles. He did not enter our world with any show or pomp such as his deluded countrymen expected; but, although a lineal heir of David and able to trace his ancestry back to Abraham, he sprang from a decayed family and had a manger for his first resting-place. The Davidic trunk had fallen, and this was a mere sucker growing out of one of the upturned roots. Heaven indeed took notice of the event by the Star in the east, the visit of the Magi, and the songs of the Angels; but the world at large knew little and cared less about the birth at Bethlehem. After the same pattern was his further development. He grew up out of his place in lowly humiliation. For thirty years his home was in Galilee, in the house of a humble carpenter, and during all that time he was known simply as a reputable youth in a country village. An apocryphal Gospel tells marvelous stories of his infancy, but these are pure inventions. The man Christ Jesus grew up as a root out of a dry ground. And even after He commenced his ministry, and did such works as no other man did, and spoke as no other man spake, He was still but a Branch. Crowds at times gathered around Him, but in all cases they soon fell away. In general He was despised and rejected of men. This continued during his life, was especially marked in the circumstances of his death, and even long afterwards characterized his memory, since one of the best Procurators of Judæa could speak of Him as “one Jesus” ( Acts 25:19); and a century later the most illustrious[FN14] of Roman historians knew of him only as the author of a pernicious superstition who himself had deservedly died a felon’s death. Yet this neglected and forgotten Branch was to accomplish some wonderful things.

2. One of these was to build the Temple of the Lord. His type, Joshua, was busily engaged in forwarding the erection of the new structure on Moriah, and that edifice, by successive additions in a long course of years, became a most stately and magnificent pile. But it was a far nobler building to which the Branch applied himself, one which was truly a habitation of God through the Spirit, one composed of living stones. The glory of the Temple at Jerusalem was that there the Most High manifested his presence; and all beauty of form and grace of ornamentation was valued only in so far as it rendered the house fit for the residence of God. Now the true temple, the spiritual house, is the actual dwelling-place of Jehovah, where He displays the fact, not by signs or symbols, not by a material Shekinah, but by the graces of his Spirit inwrought in the hearts and manifested in the lives of his people. He dwells not merely among them as a whole, but in each particular member. Ubi Spiritus, ibi ecclesia. These members vary widely in other respects, but they are all alike characterized by the indwelling of the Spirit, the source of their life and the bond of their connection with Christ, the head. Now it is this living temple which the Branch builds. He Isaiah, according to the common Scripture metaphor, the foundation, the corner-stone; but here he appears as builder. Sending forth his servants he began and still continues the work, collecting, shaping, and laying the materials, until already an innumerable multitude have been framed into such a structure as earth never saw before. The Church on earth has many imperfections, yet after allowing for all these, it is still a coetus Sanctorum, a civitas Dei, a holy temple in the Lord; and it bears witness in every part to the grace and skill of its great Founder. Hebrews, only Hebrews, did build, could build such a glorious edifice.

3. The source of his power and success is indicated in the very peculiar functions assigned to Him in the text. He is a priest upon his throne,—a combination wholly strange to the experience of the covenant people, and heretofore known to them only in the dim tradition from patriarchal days, of the mysterious Melchisedek who was at once king of Salem and a priest of the most high God. In the Branch, the Aaronic line and the Davidic line should both culminate. He should fulfill the highest ideal of each. As the one, real, atoning priest, he was to attain all ἐξουσίαν for the forgiveness of sins and the removal of guilt; and as the one, real, reigning king, he was to exercise all δύναμιν for the inward support and outward protection of his people. The two functions coincided in extent and object. Those for whom the priest offered and interceded, were the very parties over whom the king extended his beneficent reign. This counsel between the two offices, this harmony of aim and purpose, cannot but insure peace=the highest good, temporal and spiritual, of his people. The combination of right and power is irresistible. So it has been in all the past; so it will be in all the future. This man hath an unchangeable priesthood, and his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed ( Hebrews 7:24; Daniel 7:14). We can see the value of this combination more clearly by considering the consequences, if either function stood alone. Of what avail would be the pardon of sin, if there were no security against its recurrence and dominion in the future? The wiping out of the old score would simply make room for a new one. On the other hand, of what use would be the mastery of all concupiscence for the present and all time to come, so long as no provision was made for the arrearages of former transgression and guilt? The burden of the past would only be the more intolerable as its enormity would be the more clearly discerned and felt. We need a Priest and a King, and, blessed be God, we have them, with a resulting counsel of peace.

4. The calling of the Gentiles belongs to the building of the ideal temple. This is set forth typically by taking materials from Babylon for the double crown to be placed upon Joshua, and directly by the declaration that they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord. This very expression the Apostle Paul uses to designate the Gentile Ephesians ( Ephesians 2:17), “you that are far off.” Zechariah faithfully echoes the words of all his predecessors as to the extent of the final dispensation of grace. The universality indicated in the first promise, and clearly expressed in the oft-repeated covenant with Abraham, was never lost sight of. Even amid the narrow restrictions and close lines of Judaism there were significant intimations that the barriers of race were only incidental and temporary (see on Zechariah 2:11), and that one day the light and life of Zion should extend to the ends of the earth. Just as Isaiah ( Isaiah 60:2; Isaiah 60:6; Isaiah 60:9) sets forth the future triumph of the Gospel by representing huge caravans as journeying toward Zion, and the ships of Tarshish as engaged in transporting the sons of strangers thither with their silver and their gold, so our Prophet expresses the same truth by depicting the far-off nations as builders in the temple. As living stones they come, and insert themselves in the sacred edifice, being built upon “Jesus Christ Himself, in whom the whole building groweth into an holy temple in the Lord.” And not only that, but under the master-builder, they are the means of gathering others, and so lifting yet higher the walls of that spiritual house which is the temple of the living God. The chief upholders to-day of heathen evangelization are nations farthest off from the old seat of the theocracy.

HOMILETICAL AND PRACTICAL

Moore: The history of the world is arranged in reference to the destinies of the Church; and the agencies that control that history go forth from the seat of the Church’s great head, the unseen temple. Political changes are after all only the moving of the shadow on the earthly dial-plate that marks the mightier revolutions going forward in the heavens.

Bradley: The temple of Jehovah. If God so loves his Church as to call it his house, to dwell in it and delight in it; if He deems it so sacred as to call it his temple; if He sees so much grandeur and beauty in it as to speak of its glory; surely, we may find in it something to love, something to delight in, something to revere and admire.…He shall build. Christ is the builder. (1.) He forms the plan. (2.) He prepares the materials. (3.) He joins the materials together.

Jay: The temple is the Church of God. His people, therefore, should remember that all they have and all they are is the Lord’s; and that to take anything pertaining to a temple is not only robbery but sacrilege.…. Christ is the sole real builder. All others build only as instruments. Even Paul and Apollos were only ministers by whom men believed, even as the Lord gave to every man. Too often men are insensible of this, and begin like Melancthon, who supposed in his fervor that he should convert all who heard him.

Pressel: Every contribution toward the building up of the Church, coming from a true heart, has its memorial before God, and as a testimony before the world of the divinity of the Gospel.…The slowness of the far-off nations to enter into the kingdom of Christ, is due not so much to the hardness of their hearts as to the feeble attention of Christians to the voice of their God and Saviour.

Footnotes:

FN#7 - Zechariah 6:10.—The infin. absol. לָקוֹחַ, used for the imperative, has no object, and is therefore to be considered as resumed in the לָקַחְתָּ of Zechariah 6:11. This requires us to view the latter half of Zechariah 6:10 as a parenthesis, which, as Pressel says, “is somewhat harsh but not harsher than we often find even in German” or in English.

FN#8 - Zechariah 6:10.—גוֹלה, abstract for concrete=the exiles.

FN#9 - Zechariah 6:10.—The repetition of בָאתָ is one of the eases which have subjected Zechariah’s style to the charge of being heavy and dragging.

FN#10 - Zechariah 6:11.—This is noted by the Masorites as one of the twenty-six verses, each of which contains all the letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

FN#11 - Zechariah 6:12.—יִצמַח—צֶמַח. Observe the paronomasia: “a sprout will sprout up.”

FN#12 - Zechariah 6:13.—The first word is very emphatic, Even He and not another. So in the next clause, and He.

FN#13 - Zechariah 6:15.—The aposiopesis is striking (cf. Luke 13:9), “And if it bear fruit—; and if not, then,” etc.

FN#14 - Tacitus.

 


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Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Zechariah 6:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". http://odl.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/zechariah-6.html. 1857-84.

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