« PreviousContinue »
THE PROPHETS AFTER THE RESTORATION.
Extracts from the Prophet Haggai. We may now proceed to the last division of the Old Testament prophets - those who prophesied after the Babylonian captivity : these were Haggai, * Zechariah, and Malachi. Haggai will not detain us long. In the third verse of the second chapter of his prophecy, we have, however, a plain reference to those glorious scenes of the last days, which the former prophets have been inspired to reveal.
Some of the older Jews, who had seen the temple of Solomon before the captivity, were much grieved and disappointed at the sight of the meaner structure that occupied its site, after their return from Babylon. To these sorrowing and afflicted Jews the prophet is sent with the following message. 3. Who is there among you that is left,
Who saw this house in its former glory?
Is it not as a mere nothing in your eyes?
And be strong, Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest.
• Supposed to have prophesied about five hundred and twenty years before Christ.
And be strong, all ye people of the land, hath Jehovah said, And work, for I am with you, hath Jehovah Sabaoth said.
5. According to the covenant that I made with you; when ye came out of Egypt,
My Spirit hath remained in the midst of you; fear not.
6. Surely thus hath Jehovah said,
Yet once more,' a little while,
And I will shake the heavens and the earth,
And the sea and the dry land:
7. I will shake all the nations,
And they shall come that are the desire of all nations.
"And they shall come that are the desire of all nations:"- such is a literal rendering of this celebrated line.1 The reader may see, in Parkhurst and Archbishop Newcombe, what may be said for the common interpretation, and the changes necessary to be made in the present text to support it. But no changes of the present text are surely necessary or warrantable here! The shaking of the nations is that great last convulsion and revolution of the kingdoms of men, of which we have read so much, and which is succeeded by the second advent, the coming of Christ with all his saints. Hence we perceive the reason why a plural verb is used: "They shall come," "-" the Messiah and his glorified saints,"-" the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom." The prophecy proceeds:
The Septuagint has, Και ήξει τα εκλεκτα παντων
.ובאו חמדת כל הגוים
* Jude, 14; 1 Sam. ii. 8; Psalms lxviii. 17; l.; cxlix; Isaiah, xiii. 3;
xxv. 7; xxvi. 19; Micah, ii. 13; Daniel, vii. 22; and xii.
+ Compare Rom. viii. 18—24.
And I will fill this house with glory,
Hath Jehovah Sabaoth said. 8. The silver shall be mine, and the gold shall be mine,
Hath Jehovah Sabaoth said.
Great shall be the glory of this house, 9. The latter greater than the former,
Hath Jehovah Sabaoth said.
“ The silver and the gold shall be mine:"-men shall honour me with their precious things in my restored temple: the temple here referred to is, no doubt, that, the erection and dedication of which was foretold in Ezekiel. Archbishop Secker has justly observed, that in Ezra, chap. v. 11–13, the house that was built, destroyed, and rebuilt, is made the same house. Therefore, this ninth verse should be understood, not of the glory of a former and latter house, but the former and latter glory of a house, considered as the same house. In the third verse it is, the former glory of this house."
To the same times we are to refer the prophecy in the latter part of the chapter : *
I will shake the heavens and the earth,
* Ver. 22, 23.
And I will make thee as a signet,
Zerubbabel is here to be considered, either as a type of the Messiah, * his exaltation as governor of Israel being denoted, when all human power and grandeur is laid low; or Zerubbabel may
stand for his successors, princes of Israel, after the erection of Messiah's kingdom. For he is Jehovah Sabaoth; and we know the prince of Israel is to be highly distinguished in his kingdom, when the thrones of kingdoms are no more, as we have read in Jeremiah and in Ezekiel.
Remarks on Parts of the First, Eighth, and Ninth Chapters
of Zechariah.t In the prophet Zechariah, we shall find a good deal which may well be supposed to refer to the events of the second advent; but I shall dwell chiefly on those parts, which are admitted on all hands to have immediate reference to that awful period.
The “ four horns," which are described in the latter part of the first chapter as having “scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem," I conceive, with many expositors, to be symbols of the four great monarchies, so much the subjects of former prophecies. Instruments of destruction are represented as prepared for each of them :
20, 21, “ To fray them, to cast out the horns of the Gen
+ From about 520 to 518 before Christ.
tiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it."
The measuring of the land after this, as symbolically described in the opening of the second chapter, should be referred, I think, ultimately to the final restoration. If so, "Daughter of Babylon," in the seventh verse, must have a spiritual, as well as a literal meaning; or the sixth, and three following verses, may be considered as an episode; pointing out what is immediately to be done for the church, in order in due course to bring about the glorious scenes predicted. The prosperity of Jerusalem, after the return from Babylon, might be a faint type; but, I think, could never have fulfilled the prophecy of the fourth and fifth verses:
"Jerusalem shall be inhabited like towns without walls," or, "after the manner of villages in village fashion' shall Jerusalem be inhabited, for the multitude of men and cattle therein; for I, saith Jehovah, will be unto her a wall of fire round her, and will be the glory in the midst of her."
Jerusalem will not be found to have been thus tenanted, from the period of her restoration to her destruction by the Romans. As little will the description of "Jerusalem inhabited as villages" agree with what we have learned will be the final destiny of the holy hills, when the " city of the Lord's house" is to
"It shall overflow with inhabitants, who shall occupy spaces beyond the circuit of the walls. A city is then said to be inhabited κατα κωμας, vicatim. Vitringa refers the literal completion of this
prophecy to the time of the Maccabees; but thinks that the protection and glory of the future Jerusalem may also be predicted." -NEWCOMBE.