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Bible Commentaries

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary
Zechariah 4

 

 

Verses 1-6

CRITICAL NOTES.] The golden candlestick a symbol of the pure and prosperous state of the Jewish Church. Waked] Overpowered by what he had seen and heard, the prophet needed quickening into spiritual consciousness.

Zec . Candlestick] or chandelier. Like the seven-branched golden candlestick in the tabernacle (Exo 25:37; Eze 21:31); but this visionary candlestick is a designed enlargement. Bowl] i.e. can or round vessel for the oil. Seven lamps] united in one stem (Exo 25:32). Seven pipes] Lit. seven and seven. Some say, seven and seven, i.e. fourteen; others, seven each for each lamp, i.e. forty-nine for the seven; this not impossible. The greater the number of oil pipes, the more brilliant the light.

Zec . Trees] Supplying oil to the bowl. Explanation (Zec 4:12-14).

Zec . Knowest not] No reproof of ignorance, though the vision might easily be mistaken, but a stimulus to inquiry. No] How candid the confession!

Zec . Might] Lit. army, power. The work undertaken will be finished, not by human strength of any kind, but by the Spirit of God (cf. Hag 2:5). 7] The resources of the Jewish leader were few, and the hindrances formidable, but the great mountain] will be depressed into a level plain, every obstacle removed, and the work completed. Headstone] Refers to the finishing of the structure. Shoutings] of acclamation. "The repetition of favour or grace is for the sake of intensity; and the ascriptions of this favour to the stone, implies that it was possessed of this quality, and was to be the medium of its conveyance to others. The prediction was clearly fulfilled in our Redeemer. ‘Grace or favour was poured through his lips'" [Henderson].

HOMILETICS

THE CHRISTIAN CHURCH THE GOLDEN LIGHT-BEARER.—Zec

In the former vision there was a display of the means and grounds of the forgiveness of sin. In this we have communications of grace, to conquer obstacles and establish the work of God. The Church is symbolized by the candlestick. Streams of golden liquid flow into it from one centre, to feed and preserve the light. Without the aid of man, the oil is supplied freely and copiously to bless a sinful world. Notice—

I. The design of the Christian Church. To give light. It is created and constituted to be the light of the world. The world is spiritually dark: for "darkness covers the earth, and gross darkness the people." But truth, light, and life are found in the Church of God.

1. Its light is diffusive. All light is diffusive. The light in the Church must not be quenched nor "hid under a bushel." Individually and collectively, we must diffuse knowledge, holiness, and joy—shine forth for the benefit of men and the glory of God.

2. Its light is borrowed. It is only a light-bearer, not a creator of light. Like the moon, the Church shines with a borrowed light. She has no resources of her own, but depends upon Christ the Sun of Righteousness for every kind and degree of influence. If she forgets her end, neglects her mission, and disowns her dependence, her light may be extinguished. "In him was life; and the life was the light of men."

II. The unity of the Christian Church. The seven lamps may indicate its unity—one candlestick, but many branches; one body, but many members. All sections of Christians are united together in Christ the Head. All have their light and place, and in proportion as they are supplied with oil and diffuse the sanctifying influence of truth to others, do they answer the end of their own illumination (cf. Job ; Php 2:15).

III. The vitality of the Christian Church. It was fed and sustained by virtues not its own.

1. It was Divinely fed. The lamps were not furnished with oil, nor kept by human agency. The two living olive-trees poured their oil into the central reservoir without the skill and labour of man. The Church thrives, and the cause of God triumphs, "not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord."

2. It was freely fed. The oil spontaneously flowed from the olive-trees. Christ has received gifts for men, and from his priestly and regal offices they are freely bestowed upon the Church. "And of his fulness have all we received."

IV. The value of the Christian Church. The candlestick was gold. Though few in number, obscure and imperfect in character, God's people are precious in his sight. They are his jewels, pure and indestructible. If they lose purity of life and doctrine they will tarnish their character and dim their lustre. "How is the gold become dim! how is the fine gold changed!" The preciousness depends upon the purity, and the responsibility upon the honour, of the Christian Church. "The king's daughter is all-glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold."

"The purest treasure mortal times afford,

Is—spotless reputation: That away,

Men are but gilded loam, or painted clay" [Shakspeare]

NOT BY MIGHT NOR BY POWER—Zec

"The vision was an embodied prophecy, intended in the first instance for the guidance and comfort of Zerubbabel." The prophet, and through him the people, are informed in their despondency of God's purpose and method concerning his work. They must not faint, but rely upon him, who is all-sufficient, and would preserve and furnish them with needful means to finish the work. "Not by might," &c. Take the words generally—

I. Not by might nor power in Christian life. Spiritual life is the direct act of God; "born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." From beginning to end it is promoted by the Spirit of God. Carlyle speaks of "the almost omnipotent power of education," and others commend the refinements of life; but these do not satisfy conscience nor touch the heart. Men are "saved by the renewing of the Holy Ghost." This is the doctrine of Scripture, and the characteristic of spiritual life.

II. Not by might nor by power in Christian work. The temple was rebuilt not by the might of this world. God procured the edict of Cyrus, and touched the hearts of Darius and Artaxerxes. In the day of Pentecost, and at the Reformation, in the revivals and movements of the Church, we recognize the same truth. In the work of the Spirit, the redeeming energy of Christ and the agency of God are preserved through all generations. By the Holy Spirit the power of God is brought into the world. God has all hearts in his hand, and all agencies under his control. He inflames the zeal, inspires the prayers, and bestows the qualifications for the spread of his kingdom. We rely too much upon numbers, eloquence, and human agencies. The great want of the day is the Holy Spirit. If we depend upon him, then however few and feeble in effort, the progress of the work will never be impeded. Systems founded by power and spread by force will come to nought. "All they that take the sword, shall perish with the sword." God's presence must be sought, and his power trusted. Then, when human means are hidden, and the might of the Spirit enjoyed, all the glory will be given to him.

HOMILETIC HINTS AND OUTLINES

Zec . The weary and sleepy prophet.

1. Indicative of Christian weakness. Believers are mortal, cannot long bear up in spiritual duties, and often astonished by wonderful revelations in hard times (cf. Daniel's sleep, ch. Zec ; and Peter's at the Transfiguration, Luk 9:32).

2. A type of all who stand unconsciously, and live carelessly, in the presence of God and great events. There is a lethargy of soul in the whole sphere of Divine realities; and men try to live indifferent to, or entirely without, the light and friendly visitations of God.

3. A proof of God's goodness in rousing men to duty. We require stirring up in natural indolence and spiritual weakness, to reap the benefit of Divine instruction; and when the revelations are given, we do not understand them. "The angel that talked with me came again." "He wakeneth morning by morning; he wakeneth mine ear to hear, as the learned."

Zec . Observe the candlestick is golden, and the oil is called golden. The Church must be pure and holy; what she teaches must be pure and holy also; not adulterated with the admixture of any novel doctrines, such as those which have been added by some to the faith once delivered to the saints, and imposed as necessary to salvation [Wordsworth].

Zec . An apt pupil and a wonderful teacher. I. The pupil. The prophet—

1. Not ashamed to confess his ignorance. Ignorance may be wilful, but criminal when it can be removed. "Knowest thou not," &c., as much as to say that he ought to know (cf. Joh ). Its removal difficult. We may search and attend, yet not properly understand. The prophet was warned, and took heed to the angel, but required further teaching.

2. Sought to be instructed by asking questions. "The prophet pretends to no knowledge which he does not possess. Let us imitate the twofold example; both that of inquisitiveness and that of ingenuousness. Let us be on the alert in our inquiries after knowledge; and in order to our acquiring it, never foolishly, and to save our pride or vanity, affect to have what we have not" [Wardlaw]. II. The Teacher, the angel. Notice—

1. His method, by asking counter-questions; to excite, quicken, and suggest. This is Socratic and Christ-like. The wisdom of ancient philosophers, and the teaching of Jesus, have come to us in dialogue forms.

2. His willingness. The pupil was eager and earnest, the teacher was able and willing. "There are many," says one, "whose ignorance clings to them because they are unwilling to confess it, and so to forsake it; whilst, on the other hand, there are others who are as reluctant to drop a word of wisdom from their lips, as a miser is to surrender a guinea from his purse." If not taught by angels, be thankful for the Bible and the Holy Spirit.

3. But the degree of information was not great. Explanations were reserved, and the pupil had to ask again (cf. Zec ). Enough was given to him for present duty, and this must be communicated to the people. One revelation only prepares for another, and by giving what we know, we increase our own stock of learning. "He that watereth others shall himself be watered."

ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 4

Zec . Candlestick. All human souls, never so bedarkened, love light; light once kindled spreads till all is luminous [Carlyle]. We are all naturally ambitious to shine in the world. It is the foible of our race; but the fault lies not in the passion itself, but in mistaking the sphere and choosing improper objects. Many are proud to shine in the lustre of pomp, the elegance of dress, or the splendour of equipage; others again are ambitious of the voice of fame, or the acquisition of power. To such as act by the opinion of the world alone, fashion is above all other laws. They study nothing but appearance. This object absorbs other appetites, passions, principles, and duties. But religion alone will teach from what principle, in what manner, and by what means to shine [Baseley].

Zec . What? Conviction of ignorance is the door-step to the temple of wisdom [Spurgeon]. Compare thyself with those that are more learned or wise than thyself, and then thou wilt see matter to keep thee humble [Sir Mt. Hale]. Ask the reason "Why?" [Arkwright].

"Ignorance is the curse of God;

Knowledge the wing wherewith we fly to heaven" [Shakespeare].

Zec . Power. Dependence gives God his proper glory. It is the peculiar honour and prerogative of Deity to have a world of creatures hanging upon it—staying themselves upon it; to be the fulcrum, the centre of a lapsing creation [Howe].


Verses 7-10

CRITICAL NOTES.]

Zec .] Additional information. Finish] So he did, in the sixth year of Darius (Ezr 6:15).

Zec . Day of small things] "The short period which had elapsed since the Jews had begun to rebuild the temple, and the commencement which had been inconsiderable and inauspicious." Who?] with its negative answer, contains an admonition to the people and their rulers not to despise the small beginnings [Keil]. Plummet] With the human is strikingly contrasted Jehovah's estimate of the work. His eyes, which run to and fro, rejoiced when they saw Zerubbabel with the plummet in hand; a sign of work commenced, and superintending care. Zerubbabel is the type of a future Zerubbabel, the Messiah, who will build the temple of God. HOMILETICS

DIVINE GRACE THE SOURCE OF ALL STRENGTH.—Zec

The resources of the Jewish leader were few, and dangers formidable, hence the promise of help. The beginning may be small and discouraging, but the co-operation of the Holy Spirit will ensure success. Joshua and Zerubbabel shall finish the work, and bring forth the copestone amid the loud shouts of the people—"Grace, grace unto it."

I. The work was carried on under the Divine auspices. The leaders do their part, but it is "with those seven" eyes (ch. Zec ), "the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth." God watched the foundation, and was ever present to superintend. Nothing took him by surprise or happened unknown. In all parts of the earth his people are defended and guided by his providence. "The Divine eye is ever in union with the Divine arm," says a writer; "the knowledge of God with his power." Under his inspection the work must prosper. He takes cognizance of all creatures, inspires and directs all efforts. Those that have the plummet in hand can do nothing without him, should seek his presence, and depend upon his help. "Except the Lord build the house, they labour in vain that build it."

II. The difficulties were overcome by Divine help. Difficulties there were, manifold and great, in the people themselves and outside them.

1. Some despised the work. Circumstances were disheartening, made them sigh and desist. They were few in number, and the work in proportion to their means very great. "Who hath despised the day of small things?"

2. Powerful enemies opposed the work. They were artful, malignant, and often successful. Like great mountains, impassable and immovable, they stood in the way. But the mountains were levelled down, difficulties vanished away, and all became a plain. "Thou shalt thresh the mountains," when engaged for God (Isa ). To despond is faithless and guilty. Nothing can resist God. The victories of his word are sure. "Every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked be made straight, and the rough places plain."

III. The work was finished amid joyful acclamations of Divine praise. "He shall bring forth the head-stone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it." The people wished well to the building, and prayed that it might stand for ever. The finishing of the temple was a type of the work of God in all ages. The Jewish builder represented Christ, the Divine architect of the spiritual temple. His work begun by grace should end by grace. Amid opposition it is carried on and will be finished. Soon the plaudits of men and angels shall shout in acclamation and acknowledgment of the multiplied favour of God. Grace, free grace, shall be the theme of their song! "Grace, grace unto it."

DESPISING THE DAY OF SMALL THINGS—Zec

The Jews are reproved for their heartlessness and unbelief. They should not estimate God's work by present appearances. Their progress though small is an earnest of great and glorious success. To despair when God has promised help, is to doubt his faithfulness, power, and omniscience. These words declare—

I. A fact in history.

1. "The day of small things." This, notwithstanding great toil and much time spent in the work of God. In Jewish history and in the present time—in the Sunday School and in the Christian Church—in philanthropic and missionary enterprise, it is the day of small things. Though success may be realized, yet it is small in itself; small in comparison with what might be, and with what will be.

2. Let us learn a lesson. To be humble, because we have done so little and been so idle. To be more prayerful; "O Lord, revive thy work." To depend more upon God. "Not by might, nor by power."

II. A tendency in our nature. Contempt for small beginnings in religious matters has been a common feeling. Sanballat despised the work of Nehemiah (ch. Zec ). Christianity "was despised and rejected of men," in the person of its founder and his apostles. Missionaries, religious institutions and societies, have been ridiculed in their feeble beginnings. Why does this happen? "Because," says Foster, "we do not apprehend the preciousness of what is good, in any, even the smallest thing—we know not what is requisite to be previously done, to bring the small beginning into existence We are apt to set far too high a price on our own efforts, as estimated against their results; and then there is the impiety of not duly recognizing the supremacy of God."

III. A reproof from God. ‘"Who hath despised?" How unreasonable and foolish in the present circumstances. "Our duty," said Spinosa, "is neither to ridicule the affairs of men, nor to deplore, but simply to understand them." It becomes no one, least of all a believer, to deride a small beginning, and think despondingly of the work of God. This conduct is foolish.

1. Because there are no little things really. Appearances deceive. We see not the connection, the beginning and the end of things. "All are links of one vast chain."

2. Because great things spring from what appear little things. In nature, we have mighty forests from smallest seeds, and broad rivers from tiny streamlets. It is "first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear." In history, we have great results from small beginnings. The Bible and missionary societies are illustrations. The law of providence and the gospel of Christ teach the same truth. A little leaven hid in the meal affects the mass; the grain of mustard becomes a mighty tree; and the handful of corn on the bleak mountain-top yields a waving harvest like the fruitful Lebanon. Despise not, despair not. The work will and must be finished. What, then, will be the end of those who help not, but deride and hinder its accomplishment? "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish."

HOMILETIC HINTS AND OUTLINES

Zec . Great mountain. Mighty enemies despised, subdued, and rendered subservient to the cause of God. "A mountain is spoken of in Scripture emblematically, to denote the greatest difficulties and oppositions of men to cross any design; and the overturning or levelling of these mountains expresseth the highest actings of the power of God, in subduing all difficulties and oppositions for the good of his people" [Caryl].

Zec ; Zec 9:1. The promises of the Word are faithful and worthy of confidence—their repetition indicates our distrust, but God's readiness to perform.

2. It is a special favour to a people when God grants them reformation, power to build a habitation for his name, and to finish their work.

3. When this work is finished, it is a proof of Christ's unchangeable love and care, and should be rightly studied as revealing the character of God. Thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me [cf. Hutcheson.]

The whole drift of this chapter might be summed up in the words of Jesus to his disciples, "Have faith in God!" and the encouragement that was held out to the Jewish builders, is held out to us. We have, first of all, what should ever be enough to inspire confidence, though it stood alone—independent of all information as to the way in which the work was to be effected by him—we have the express and explicit promise of Jehovah, that the building shall be finished; and that before the obedient and prayerful efforts of his people the greatest—the most apparently insurmountable—obstacles give way. We have more than the bare word of promise: the assurance of the incessantly attentive superintendence and watchful care of his ever-present providence. The "seven eyes of the Lord run to and fro" to help. Still further, we have the promise of the constant and copious effusion of the Holy Spirit. The might and power of man are pronounced altogether incompetent, and this Divine influence is promised. This was true in the existing case. Faith, fortitude, energy, and perseverance were needful, and supplied by the Spirit in leaders and people. It is true in a peculiar sense of the spiritual temple. The stones must be prepared, and no energy but God's can make them living stones. Even all legitimate and zealous effort must prove fruitless, unless God give his influence with them. But having the promise, we need never despond. As the ancient Church was animated to look with confidence for the accomplishment of the glorious things awaiting her; so let us look forward to the great results promised to us [Wardlaw].

Zec . When good men despise the day of small things, the grand essential of religion, faith, is wanting. They lack faith in the unerring wisdom of the Divine scheme and determinations; faith in the goodness of God, the absolute certainty that infinite wisdom and power cannot be otherwise than good; faith in The promises of God, that his servants shall, in the succession of their generations, see his cause advance from the small to the great, though this be not granted to any one separately; that their labours shall, each in their turn, be approved and recorded; and that they shall at last exult in the glorious consummation [John Foster]. We ought not to despise the day of small things, because—

1. such conduct tends to prevent its becoming a day of great things;

2. angels do not despise it, but rejoice over every one repenting sinner;

3. our Saviour does not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax;

4. God does not despise it, but noticed even some good thing found in the son of Jeroboam;

5. the day of small things is the commencement of great things [Payson].

ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 4

Zec . Power. Dependence gives God his proper glory. It is the peculiar honour and prerogative of Deity to have a world of creatures hanging upon it—staying themselves upon it; to be the fulcrum, the centre of a lapsing creation [Howe].

Zec . Despised. To a decidedly irreligious contemner, we might say, "Beware what you do;" for "if the thing be of God," you are daring him by your contempt. If there be something of his spirit and power contained and acting in things, it is not safe to make free with them in the way of scorn, however inconsiderable in magnitude they may seem. It may one day (not "a day of small things" that) be a question, not of rebuke, but of judgment. On that day will not be forgotten a contempt of the introductory littleness (say, rather, undisclosed dignity) of what God had determined to advance to greatness and glory [John Foster].


Verses 11-14

CRITICAL NOTES.]

Zec . What] A question put three times, Zec 4:4), this, and Zec 4:12; varied at each time and at last minute. Two olive trees] Supposed to be the anointed priesthood and royalty by some (by others, the two Churches, the Jewish and Gentile), or "Christ's priesthood and monarchy—confirmed by Zec 6:13. Olives produce oil; oil supplies light to the candlestick, and all the oil of the Holy Spirit flows, by the medium of his Messiahship in its twofold functions of King and Priest, into the Candlestick of the Universal Church" [Words.].

Zec . Branches] Lit. ears, from resemblance to ears of grain. "As ears are full of grain, so olive branches are full of olives." Golden oil] Gold-like liquor in brightness and purity.

Zec . Answered] The angel is anxious to awaken attention.

Zec . Two anointed] Lit. sons of oil, a symbol of Joshua and Zerubbabel, anointed and installed into office by oil; and of the royal and priestly office of Christ. Stand] The posture of servants waiting to receive orders from their masters. "If, then, the candlestick had two olive-trees by its side, yielding oil in such copious abundance, that every one of the seven lamps received its supply through seven pipes, it could never fail to have sufficient oil for a full and brilliant light. This was what was new in the visionary candlestick; and the meaning was this hat the Lord in future would bestow upon his congregation the organs of his Spirit, and maintain them in such direct connection with it, that it would be able to let its light shine with sevenfold brilliancy" [Keil].

HOMILETICS

THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK.—Zec

The candlestick of pure gold represented the Church of God. There is always some distinctive peculiarity between the material emblem and the spiritual reality; a seeming incongruity which is in reality a distinguishing glory, e.g. "a lamb in the midst of the throne;" so here, such a candlestick was never seen except in vision. The lamps in the temple were supplied by the priests in the ordinary way, but this in a supernatural way. The mystery was explained to the prophet as representing Joshua the high priest and Zerubbabel the prince, who were endued with the Holy Spirit, and raised up to rule, intercede, and build up the temple. All authority and success depended upon God; they were acknowledged as a combined and eminent type of Jesus Christ, who is priest upon the throne, builds the spiritual temple, and who alone shall bear the glory.

I. The seat of spiritual light. The Church contains the knowledge, holiness, and consolation to be found in this sinful world. Worldly men are strangers to this light; wander carelessly into error and destruction; and even the wisest and most diligent never discovered a light sufficient to guide them aright This light is not inherent, or all would have it alike, as the light of conscience and reason. Not merely the light of the old dispensation, but the light of the glorious gospel, which is fixed in this Church, which there diffuses satisfaction, direction, and holiness. Its rays thrown around, invite and attract the world; but they must come into the Church to enjoy it. Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God hath shined.

II.The source of spiritual light. It comes from the Lord Jesus, its glorious source, in whom all fulness dwells. The Holy Spirit is the oil of gladness, resting on Christ, and freely given by him to his Church. It is supplied not by any natural or artificial means, as the oil in the vision was not pressed from the olive, nor poured into the lamps by the help of man; but flowed spontaneously, abundantly, constantly, from a living source—so the communication of Divine grace from Christ, the living spring.

III. The communication of light. It is by means of a golden candlestick.

1. This may apply:—First, to the glorious doctrines of the gospel, by which the light of the knowledge of God is displayed in Jesus Christ. Second, to the ordinances of the gospel, by which light and consolation are dispensed in the Church, and which attract the notice of the world. Seven branches turning every way, all lit. Christ so places his word, ordinances, and ministers, that no part of the Church is destitute of life, and that the whole will shine as the light of the world. Third, to the character of the saints, shining in the effulgence of holiness; "ye are the light of the world" (cf. Isa ).

2. Whether allusion be to either or all of these, the emblem will apply—a golden candlestick. First, formed of valuable material. The doctrines and ordinances of the gospel are more precious than gold: the law of thy mouth is better than thousands of gold and silver. The saints, precious sons of Zion, are comparable to fine gold. The candlestick is formed by infinite skill, and wrought with most exquisite workmanship. Second, gold denotes brightness, purity, splendour, and glory. What refulgent purity in the doctrines, in the ordinances of the gospel, and in the lives of consistent Christians! Third, gold denotes durability. It is an indestructible metal. Lead can be melted until wasted away; but gold, expose it to what heat you may, retains its weight, loses nothing by alloy, and escapes uninjured. The doctrines of the gospel, the Church, and the characters of holiness in saints, are incorruptible; shall endure to the end of the world, and never be consumed, by persecution or hell itself. In closing—

1. We are led to admire the wonderful provision of Divine grace. Worldly men despise our secret communications and deride our expectations, and we ourselves wonder how supplies come. But the mysterious olive pours in its rich abundance.

2. We see the reason why the gospel and the Church live in spite of opposition. They depend upon a living source. Earth and hell cannot cut the golden pipes, or turn aside the stream.

3. We are reminded that no human power or effort can do good to men, except the Holy Spirit works by them. But the Spirit works by the meanest instrument, and needs not the countenance of mighty monarchs, or the aid of learning and oratory. The excellency of the power is his own.

4. We are taught to distinguish between grace and the gospel. The oil is distinct from the pipes, though conveyed through them. Ordinances are but pipes and means, not to be rested in; yet golden pipes, very valuable, and employed to convey the blessing Pray for a rich supply of the Holy Spirit [The New Evangelist].

HOMILETIC HINTS AND SUGGESTIONS

Zec .

1. The question (Zec );

2. the confession (Zec );

3. the answer (Zec ). The angel returned no answer (only asked a question) to the question of the prophet, to invite closer attention, and prompt a more definite question [cf. Pusey].

Zec . Two anointed ones. Blessed in themselves, and the means of blessing others—empty themselves (Zec 4:12). The unction of the Holy One must abide in us before we can furnish grace to others (cf. Joh 3:20-27). "Joshua and Zerubbabel shadowed forth what was united in Christ, and so in their several offices they might be included in the symbol of the olive-tree. They could not exhaust it; for men who, having served God in their generation, were to pass away, could not be alone intended in a vision, which describes the abiding existence of the Church. Christ is both High Priest and Eternal King. In both ways he supplies to us the light which he brought. From him flow unceasingly piety and righteousness to the Church, and it never lacks the heavenly light. The oil is expressed into tubes; thence passed through tubes, into the vessel which contains the lamps: to designate the various suppliers of light, which, the nearer they are to the effluence of the oil, the more they resemble him by whom they are appointed to so Divine an office. The seven lamps are the manifest Churches, distinct in place, but most closely bound together by the consent of one faith, and by the bond of charity. For although the Church is one, yet it is distinct according to the manifold variety of nations. But the lamps are set in a circle, that the oil of one may flow more readily into others and it, in turn, may receive from others their superabundance, to set forth the communion of love and the indissoluble community of faith" [Pusey].

ILLUSTRATIONS TO CHAPTER 4

Zec . Olive. No tree is more frequently mentioned by ancient authors, nor more highly honoured by ancient nations. By the Greeks it was dedicated to Minerva, and even employed in crowning Jove, Apollo, and Hercules, as well as emperors, philosophers, and orators, and all whom the people delighted to honour. By the Romans also it was highly honoured. Columella describes it as "the chief of trees." It is not wonderful that almost all the ancient authors, from the time of Homer, so frequently mention it, and that, as Horace says, to win it seemed the sole aim men had in life[Carm. Zec 1:7]. See Tristam, Nat. Hist. of the Bible; Thomson, Ld. and Bk.

Zec . Two. Christ's witnesses, in remarkable times of the Church, have appeared in pairs; as Moses and Aaron, the inspired civil and religious authorities; Caleb and Joshua; Ezekiel the priest and Daniel the prophet; Zerubbabel and Joshua (cf. Rev 11:3-4) [D. Brown, D.D.].

 


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Bibliography Information
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Zechariah 4:4". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/zechariah-4.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.

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