Zechariah 8

* The restoration of Jerusalem. (1-8) The people encouraged by

promises of God's favour, and exhorted to holiness. (9-17) The

Jews in the latter days. (18-23)

1-8 The sins of Zion were her worst enemies. God will take away

her sins, and then no other enemies shall hurt her. Those who

profess religion must adorn their profession by godliness and

honesty. When become a city of truth and a mountain of holiness,

Jerusalem is peaceable and prosperous. Verses #4,5|, beautifully

describe a state of great outward peace, attended with plenty,

temperance, and contentment. The scattered Israelites shall be

brought together from all parts. God will never leave nor

forsake them in a way of mercy, for this he has promised them;

and they shall never leave nor forsake him in a way of duty, as

they have promised him. These promises were partly fulfilled in

the Jewish church, betwixt the captivity and the time of

Christ's coming; and they had fuller accomplishment in the

gospel church; but the full import must be as to the future

times of the Christian church, or the future restoration of the

Jews. With men this is impossible, but with God all things are

possible; so far are God's thoughts and ways above ours. In the

present low state of vital godliness, we can hardly conceive

that so complete a change can be made; but a change thus

extensive and glorious, can be brought to pass by the almighty

power of the new-creating Spirit, in less time than he was

pleased to employ in creating the world. Let the hands of all

who labour in the cause of the gospel be strong, serving the

Lord in true holiness, assured that their labour shall not be in

9-17 Those only who lay their hands to the plough of duty,

shall have them strengthened with the promises of mercy: those

who avoid their fathers' faults have the curse turned into a

blessing. Those who believed the promises, were to show their

faith by their works, and to wait the fulfilment. When God is

displeased, he can cause trade to decay, and set every man

against his neighbour; but when he returns in mercy, all is

happy and prosperous. Surely believers in Christ must not trifle

with the exhortation to put away lying, and to speak every man

peace with his neighbour, to hate what the Lord hates, and to

love that wherein he delights.
18-23 When God comes towards us in ways of mercy, we must meet

him with joy and thankfulness. Therefore be faithful and honest

in all your dealings; and let it be a pleasure to you to be so,

though thereby you come short of the gains others get

dishonestly; and, as much as in you lies, live peaceably with

all men. Let the truths of God rule in your heads, and let the

peace of God rule in your hearts. Thus the ancient servants of

God drew the notice of heathen neighbours, whose prejudices were

softened. A great increase to the church shall be made. Hitherto

the Jews had been prone to learn the idolatries of other

nations: what more unlikely than that they should teach religion

to their conquerors, and to all the principal nations of the

earth! Yet this is expressly foretold, and it came to pass.

Hitherto the prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled, and no

doubt future events will explain it further. It is good to be

with those who have God with them; if we take God for our God,

we must take his people for our people, and be willing to take

our lot with them. But let not any one think that mere zeal,

either for Jews or Gentiles, will stand in the place of personal

religion. Let us be living epistles of Christ, known and read of

all men, so that others may wish to go with us, and to have

their portion with us in the realms of bliss.

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