ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 8.
The Renewal of the Covenant.
THE RESTORATION DESCRIBED. — V. 1. Again the word of the Lord of hosts came to me, saying, v. 2. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, I was jealous for Zion, rather, I am jealous, for His zeal is that of a husband for the wife of his youth, with great jealousy, and I was jealous for her with great fury, in a most vehement affection directed toward His congregation and a corresponding anger against her oppressors. V. 3. Thus saith the Lord, I am returned unto Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, once more occupying the dwelling-place of His honor in the midst of His people, which He had forsaken because of the wickedness of the idolatrous nation; and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth, where the Lord’s truth, the truth of His eternal Word, would once more be found; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts, where His Temple arose, the holy mountain, because it was the center of the true worship on the earth. V. 4. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, the name used throughout these prophecies to denote His majesty and power, There shall yet old men and old women dwell in the streets of Jerusalem, since they would not be torn away in the fullness of their strength by war and pestilence, and every man with his staff in his hand for very age, literally, “because of the multi-tude of his days.” V. 5. And the streets of the city shall be full of boys and girls playing in the streets thereof, without any fear of an enemy. It is a beautiful picture representing the extremes of life dwelling in all security and happiness in the midst of the Lord’s Holy City, the blessings of the Messianic period. V. 6. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, If it be marvelous in the eyes of the remnant of this people in these days, in the opinion of those who had returned from the Babylonian captivity, should it also be marvelous in Mine eyes? saith the Lord of hosts. In spite of the miraculous character of the restoration, if looked at from the standpoint of men, it would yet certainly take place, for it was not too hard for Jehovah, His promise affecting both the greatness and the certainty of the coming salvation. V. 7. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Behold, I will save My people from the East country, from the rising of the sun, and from the West country, from the setting of the sun, so that Jehovah would rescue His people from all lands, as far as the sun shines; v. 8. and I will bring them, and they shall dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, be members of the congregation of the Lord; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, in truth and in righteousness. This is truly the glory of the Christian era, when, as St. John writes, we saw His glory, the glory as of the Only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Cp. John 1, 14. V. 9. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, Let your hands be strong, full of good courage for doing the work of the Lord, ye that hear in these days these words by the mouth of the prophets, namely, Haggai and Zechanab, which were in the day that the foundation of the house of the Lord of hosts was laid, that the Temple might be built. These prophets had begun their activity at the time when the foundation of the second Temple had already been built, and the good effects of their preaching were now apparent in the nation. V. 10. For before these days there was no hire for man nor any hire for beast, for the yield of the land at that time was so small as hardly to be called fair wages, up. Hagg. 1, 6-11; neither was there any peace to him that went out or came in because of the affliction, there was so much envy and hostility among the people themselves, and on account of jealousy stirred up by the Samaritans, that the ordinary occupations of life were continually being interfered with; for I set all men every one against his neighbor, as the account of Nehemiah shows. V. 11. But now, since the old covenant relation was restored, I will not be unto the residue of this people, to the small congregation which had returned from Babylon, as in the former days, saith the Lord of hosts, He was now ready once more to gladden them with the rich blessings of His goodness and mercy. V. 12. For the seed shall be prosperous, or, “there shall be a seed of peace”; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, all crops showing great productiveness, and the heavens shall give their dew, affording the necessary moisture to secure growth; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things, these being evidences of His goodness. V. 13. And it shall come to pass that, as ye were a curse among the heathen, 0 house of Judah and house of Israel, up. Jer. 42, 18, so will I save you, and ye shall be a blessing, an example of God’s blessings of mercy. Fear not, but let your hands be strong. V. 14. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, As I thought to punish you when your fathers provoked Me to wrath, saith the Lord of hosts, Jer. 31, 28, and I repented not, He could not, in point of fact, without denying His own holiness, fail to execute His threat of punishment, v. 15. so, again, have I thought in these days, now that the covenant relation was once more established, to do well unto Jerusalem and to the house of Judah. Fear ye not, this being the content of every true Gospel-message. Since God is gracious for the sake of the Messiah, therefore men have no reason to fear as long as they put their trust in Him alone. V. 16. These are the things that ye shall do, as an evidence of the new relation which obtained between them and Jehovah, the God of the covenant, Speak ye every man the truth to his neighbor, this being the basis of a proper brotherly relationship among men, execute the judgment of truth and peace In your gates, so that all their dealings, particularly those pertaining to their courts of law, would be in agreement with these principles, v. 17. and let none of you imagine evil In your hearts against his neighbor, deliberately planning harm, and love no false oath, for perjury makes the administration of justice impossible; for all these are things that I hate, saith the Lord. It is a most emphatic declaration, spoken with great solemnity, and it holds true for all time. God hates and despises wickedness in every form, and He wants those who are His children to wage continual warfare against every transgression of His holy Law.
THE EXTENT OF THE MESSIANIC INFLUENCE. — V. 18. And the word of the Lord of hosts came unto me, saying, v. 19. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, The fast of the fourth month and the fast of the fifth and the fast of the seventh and the fast of the tenth, special days of fasting and affliction which the Jews had observed during their captivity in memory of certain dark days in the history of their nation, cp. chap. 7, 3, shall be to the house of Judah joy and gladness and cheerful feasts, festivals of highest happiness, since the Lord intended to pour out upon them such a multitude of blessings as to make them forget all the disagreeable facts in their past history and to rejoice in the goodness and mercy of their God; therefore love the truth and peace, this reaction on the part of the Jews being a necessary consequence of their appreciation of the Lord’s goodness and mercy. V. 20. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, It shall yet come to pass that there shall come people, representatives of many nations, and the inhabitants of many cities, of the foremost centers of the world; v. 21. and the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, in mutually encouraging and admonishing one another, saying, Let us go speedily, literally, “Going let us go, with speed and earnestness,” to pray before the Lord and to seek the Lord of hosts, in an invitation and exhortation to worship the one true God; I will go also, the vivid form of speech showing the alacrity with which men would respond. V. 22. Yea, many people and strong nations, the foremost countries of the world, shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem, to become members of His holy congregation, and to pray before the Lord, to worship Jehovah. V. 23. Thus saith the Lord of hosts, In those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, that is, men of so many different nations, speaking so many different tongues, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, in great eagerness, saying, We will go with you, casting their lot with the people of the Lord in every way, for we have heard that God is with you. This has been fulfilled time and again during the New Testament era, when people from various nations have actually come and begged Christian missionaries to come to them and preach the Gospel. The glorious conversion of Gentile nations in the age of the Gospel dispensation is here clearly foretold, and in a most graphic manner.