Zechariah 6:15
And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
6:9-15 Some Jews from Babylon brought an offering to the house of God. Those who cannot forward a good work by their persons, must, as they are able, forward it by their purses: if some find hands, let others fill them. Crowns are to be made, and put upon the head of Joshua. The sign was used, to make the promise more noticed, that God will, in the fulness of time, raise up a great High Priest, like Joshua, who is but the figure of one that is to come. Christ is not only the Foundation, but the Founder of this temple, by his Spirit and grace. Glory is a burden, but not too heavy for Him to bear who upholds all things. The cross was His glory, and he bore that; so is the crown an exceeding weight of glory, and he bears that. The counsel of peace should be between the priest and the throne, between the priestly and kingly offices of Jesus Christ. The peace and welfare of the gospel church, and of all believers, shall be wrought, though not by two several persons, yet by two several offices meeting in one; Christ, purchasing all peace by his priesthood, maintaining and defending it by his kingdom. The crowns used in this solemnity must be kept in the temple, as evidence of this promise of the Messiah. Let us not think of separating what God has joined in his counsel of peace. We cannot come to God by Christ as our Priest, if we refuse to have him rule over us as our King. We have no real ground to think our peace is made with God, unless we try to keep his commandments.And they who are far off shall come - They who came from Babylon with offerings to God, became types of the Gentiles, of whom the Apostle says, "Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off have become nigh through the blood of Christ" Ephesians 2:13; and, "He came and preached peace to you which were far off and to them that were nigh" Ephesians 2:17; and "the promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call" Acts 2:39.

And build in - or upon, the temple of the Lord (Nehemiah 4:4, Nehemiah 4:11 (Nehemiah 4:10, Nehemiah 4:17 in English).) Not "build it" for it was to be built by "the Branch," but "build on," labor on, it. It was a building, which should continually be enlarged; of which Paul says, "I, as a wise master-builder, according to the grace given unto me, laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon; let every man take heed how, he buildeth thereupon" 1 Corinthians 3:10. Cyril: "What shall they build? Themselves, compacting themselves with the saints, and joining together in faith to oneness with those of Israel, Jesus Christ Himself being the head cornerstone and uniting together in harmony through Himself, what was of old divided. For He united "the two peoples into one new man, making peace, and reconciling in His own body all things unto the Father" Ephesians 2:15-16, which being accomplished, we shall own the truth of the holy prophets, and know clearly that it was God who spake in them and declared to us beforehand the mystery of Christ."

And this shall be - Not as though the coming of Christ depended upon their faithfulness, but their share in it. "Ye shall know (he had said) that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you;" but whether this knowledge should reach to individuals, depends upon their obedience and their willingness to know; "it shall be, , if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God. For none of the wicked," Daniel says, "shall understand" Daniel 12:10; and Hosea, "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them and the transgressors shall stumble at them" ; and the wise man, "he that keepeth the law of the Lord getteth the understanding thereof" (Ecclesiasticus 21:11). So our Lord said, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of Myself" John 7:17; "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God: John 8:47 : Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice" John 18:37. Osorius: "Because he had said, And ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me unto you, he warns them, that the fruit of that coming will reach to those only, who should hear God and with ardent mind join themselves to His name. For as many as believed in Him were made sons of God; but the rest were cast into outer darkness. But they receive Christ, who hear His voice and do not refuse His rule. For He was made the cause of eternal salvation to tell who obey Him."

15. they … far off shall … build—The reason why the crowns were made of gold received from afar, namely, from the Jews of Babylon, was to typify the conversion of the Gentiles to Messiah, King of Israel. This, too, was included in the "peace" spoken of in Zec 6:13 (Ac 2:39; Eph 2:12-17). Primarily, however, the return of the dispersed Israelites "from afar" (Isa 60:9) to the king of the Jews at Jerusalem is intended, to be followed, secondly, by the conversion of the Gentiles from "far off" (Zec 2:11; 8:2-2, 23; Isa 60:10; 57:19).

build in the temple—Christ "builds the temple" (Zec 6:12, 13; Heb 3:3, 4): His people "build in the temple." Compare Heb 3:2, "Moses in His house."

ye shall know, &c.—when the event corresponds to the prediction (Zec 2:9; 4:9).

this shall come to pass, if ye … obey, &c.—To the Jews of Zechariah's day a stimulus is given to diligent prosecution of the temple building, the work which it was meanwhile their duty to fulfil, relying on the hope of the Messiah afterwards to glorify it. The completion of the temple shall "come to pass," if ye diligently on your part "obey the Lord." It is not meant that their unbelief could set aside God's gracious purpose as to Messiah's coming. But there is, secondarily, meant, that Messiah's glory as priest-king of Israel shall not be manifested to the Jews till they turn to Him with obedient penitence. They meanwhile are cast away "branches" until they be grafted in again on the Branch and their own olive tree (Zec 3:8; 12:10-12; Mt 23:39; Ro 11:16-24).

This verse hath certainly a double reference, one to the Jews, and the building of the material temple, which is the literal and historical sense; the other mystical, and refers to the bringing in of the Gentiles.

They that are far off; such Jews as do now abide in Babylon and Persia, or other remote parts. It is also the character of the Gentiles, Acts 2:39 Ephesians 2:13,17.

Shall come and build in the temple; the Jews did so with their gifts, came to Jerusalem and built with their brethren; the Gentiles are come in and build the spiritual temple.

Ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you; the accomplishment of this shall prove my words to be God’s word, and that I am sent of him.

This shall come to pass; the literal part shall come to pass in your day,

if ye will obey the voice of the Lord your God speaking by me. The mystical part shall come to pass also; and, if you will believe and obey, the Gentiles shall come in and be your brethren, make up one church with you, and help to build the temple, the spiritual temple; but if you obey not, you shall be cast out, and the Gentiles be taken in, to be God’s people, and to build his temple.

And they that are afar off shall come,..... Into the temple; not the material temple; nor is this a prophecy which was fulfilled in Herod, a stranger, repairing that, as Kimchi suggests; but into the spiritual temple, the church; and is a prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles, who are said to be "afar off", Ephesians 2:12, from God; from having his image on them; from subjection to his law; from the knowledge and fear of him; and from communion with him: from Christ; from the knowledge of his person, righteousness, and salvation by him; from love to him, faith in him, and fellowship with him; from the Spirit of God, and from the people of God, and from any solid hope of eternal life: now these being called by grace, and brought to Christ under the drawings of the Father's love, shall come to his church, and join themselves to his people:

and build in the temple of the Lord; upon the foundation Christ; and be useful in building up others, either by private conversation, or by public preaching the word; it is not said, they shall "build the temple of the Lord"; that is Christ's work; but "build in" it:

and ye shall know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you; that is, the Prophet Zechariah, who was sent to the Jews to declare these things to them; or, as the Targum adds, "to prophesy unto you": which they would fully know, and be assured of, when these things should have their accomplishment:

and this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God; not that the fulfilment of the above predictions depended upon their obedience; but when they should in the latter day obey the Gospel of Christ, or "the word of the Lord" their "God", as the Targum paraphrases it; then this would come to pass, that they should know that the prophet had his mission from the Lord.

And they that are {x} far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently {y} obey the voice of the LORD your God.

(x) That is, the Gentiles by the preaching of the Gospel, will help toward the building of the spiritual temple.

(y) If you will believe and remain in the obedience of faith.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. they that are far off] Comp. Ephesians 2:13; Ephesians 2:17, where there is perhaps a reminiscence of the οἱ μακρὰν of the LXX. here. “The counsel of peace,” and the “building in the temple of the Lord,” may also have been in St Paul’s mind when he wrote that passage.

if ye will diligently obey] The meaning is not, that the coming and work of Messiah, but that their share in it depended on their obedience. 2 Timothy 2:13; Malachi 4:1-2; Hebrews 4:9; Hebrews 4:11.

The Deputation from Bethel. Chaps. 7, 8. After the lapse of nearly two years, Zechariah is again called to prophesy, the occasion of his doing so being the arrival at Jerusalem of a deputation, sent from Bethel to enquire whether they ought still to observe a national fast, which had been instituted in the time of the captivity, Zechariah 7:1-3. The answer of Almighty God by the prophet falls into four sections (marked by separate paragraphs in R. V.), each of which is introduced by the same formula, Zechariah 7:4; Zechariah 7:8; Zechariah 8:1; Zechariah 8:18. The return in the last of these sections (Zechariah 8:19) to the question out of which the whole arose, shews that the prophecy is really one. In the first section the people are reminded that their fasting and feasting had alike been observances terminating upon themselves and devoid of religious motive and spiritual aim, and consequently unacceptable to God; in accordance with the teaching of the earlier prophets, in the times of Jerusalem’s prosperity, Zechariah 7:4-7. In the next section the substance of this teaching, as insisting on moral reformation and not on outward observances, is given; and to the neglect of it are traced the rejection by God of His people, and the calamities that had come upon them in their captivity and dispersion, Zechariah 7:8-14. Passing now to a happier strain of hope and promise, the prophetic word tells of the bright days of holiness and prosperity in store for Jerusalem, in contrast with her earlier condition of distress and discord, and urges the people, on the strength of these promises, to holy obedience, Zechariah 8:1-17. The concluding section predicts that the question from Bethel shall be solved, by the transformation of the fasts of their captivity into joyful feasts, to which willing multitudes shall throng from all parts of the land; heathen nations joining also in their celebration, and counting it an honour and protection to be associated with a Jew, Zechariah 8:18-23.

Verse 15. - They that are far off; οἱ μακράν, (Septuagint); comp. Ephesians 2:13, 17. The Jews who had come from Babylon to Jerusalem are a figure of the conversion of distant nations and their offerings to the Church (see Haggai 2:7, and note there). Build in the temple of the Lord. They shall join in building up the spiritual temple, the universal Church of Christ. Ye shall know, etc. (Zechariah 2:9, 11; Zechariah 4:9). The Angel of Jehovah is speaking in Jehovah's name (ver. 9). What takes place in the case of this material temple shall be a token and a prelude of the great fulfilment in Messianic times. If ye will diligently obey. Neither the restoration of the temple nor the advent of Messiah's kingdom was in itself doubtful; but the people's share in the former, and their participation in the blessings of the latter, depended on the preparation of the heart, obedience, zeal, and holiness (Daniel 12:10; Malachi 4:1, 2; John 1:12; 2 Timothy 2:11, 12).



Zechariah 6:15The meaning of this is explained in Zechariah 6:12-15. Zechariah 6:12. "And speak to him, saying, Thus speaketh Jehovah of hosts, saying, Behold a man, His name is Tsemach (Sprout), and from His place will He sprout up, and build the temple of Jehovah. Zechariah 6:13. And He will build the temple of Jehovah, and He will carry loftiness, and will sit and rule upon His throne, and will be a priest upon His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between them both. Zechariah 6:14. And the crown will be to Chelem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedahjah, and the favour of the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of Jehovah. Zechariah 6:15. And they that are far off will come and build at the temple of Jehovah; then will ye know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me to you; and it will come to pass, if ye hearken to the voice of Jehovah your God." Two things are stated in these verses concerning the crown: (1) In Zechariah 6:12 and Zechariah 6:13 the meaning is explained of the setting of the crown upon the head of Joshua the high priest; and (2) in Zechariah 6:14, Zechariah 6:15, an explanation is given of the circumstance, that the crown had been made of silver and gold presented by men of the captivity. The crowning of Joshua the high priest with a royal crown, which did not properly belong to the high priest as such, as his headdress is neither called a crown (‛ătârâh) nor formed part of the insignia of royal dignity and glory, had a typical significance. It pointed to a man who would sit upon his throne as both ruler and priest, that is to say, would combine both royalty and priesthood in his own person and rank. The expression "Speak thou to him" shows that the words of Jehovah are addressed to Joshua, and to him alone (אליו is singular), and therefore that Zerubbabel must not be interpolated into Zechariah 6:11 along with Joshua. The man whom Joshua is to represent or typify, by having a crown placed upon his head, is designated as the Messiah, by the name Tsemach (see at Zechariah 3:8); and this name is explained by the expression מתּחתּיו יצמח. These words must not be taken impersonally, in the sense of "under him will it sprout" (lxx, Luth., Calov., Hitzig, Maurer, and others); for this thought cannot be justified from the usage of the language, to say nothing of its being quite remote from the context, since we have מתּחתּיו, and not תּחתּיו (under him); and moreover, the change of subject in יצמח and וּבנה would be intolerably harsh. In addition to this, according to Jeremiah 33:15, the Messiah is called Tsemach, because Jehovah causes a righteous growth to spring up to David, so that Tsemach is the sprouting one, and not he who makes others or something else to sprout. מתּחתּיו, "from under himself," is equivalent to "from his place" (Exodus 10:23), i.e., from his soil; and is correctly explained by Alting in Hengstenberg thus: "both as to his nation and as to his country, of the house of David, Judah, and Abraham, to whom the promises were made." It also contains an allusion to the fact that He will grow from below upwards, from lowliness to eminence.

This Sprout will build the temple of the Lord. That these words do not refer to the building of the earthly temple of stone and wood, as Ros. and Hitzig with the Rabbins suppose, is so obvious, that even Koehler has given up this view here, and understands the words, as Hengstenberg, Tholuck, and others do, as relating to the spiritual temple, of which the tabernacle and the temples of both Solomon and Zerubbabel were only symbols, the temple which is the church of God itself (Hosea 8:1; 1 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 3:6; and Ephesians 2:21-22). Zechariah not only speaks of this temple here, but also in Zechariah 4:9, as Haggai had done before him, in Haggai 2:6-9, which puts the correctness of our explanation of these passages beyond the reach of doubt. The repetition of this statement in Zechariah 6:13 is not useless, but serves, as the emphatic והוּא before this and the following sentence shows, to bring the work of the Tsemach into connection with the place He will occupy, in other words, to show the glory of the temple to be built. The two clauses are to be linked together thus: "He who will build the temple, the same will carry eminence." There is no "antithesis to the building of the temple by Joshua and Zerubbabel" (Koehler) in והוּא; but this is quite as foreign to the context as another view of the same commentator, viz., that Zechariah 6:13 interrupts the explanation of what the shoot is to be. הוד, eminence, is the true word for regal majesty (cf. Jeremiah 22:18; 1 Chronicles 29:25; Daniel 11:21). In this majesty He will sit upon His throne and rule, also using His regal dignity and power for the good of His people, and will be a Priest upon His throne, i.e., will be at once both Priest and King upon the throne which He assumes. The rendering, "And there will be a priest upon His throne" (Ewald and Hitzig), is precluded by the simple structure of the sentences, and still more by the strangeness of the thought which it expresses; for the calling of a priest in relation to God and the people is not to sit upon a throne, but to stand before Jehovah (cf. Judges 20:28; Deuteronomy 17:12). Even the closing words of this verse, "And a counsel of peace will be between them both," do not compel us to introduce a priest sitting upon the throne into the text by the side of the Tsemach ruling upon His throne. שׁניהם cannot be taken as a neuter in the sense of "between the regal dignity of the Messiah and His priesthood" (Capp., Ros.), and does not even refer to the Tsemach and Jehovah, but to the Mōshēl and Kōhēn, who sit upon the throne, united in one person, in the Tsemach. Between these two there will be ‛ătsath shâlōm. This does not merely mean, "the most perfect harmony will exist" (Hofmann, Umbreit), for that is a matter of course, and does not exhaust the meaning of the words. ‛Atsath shâlōm, counsel of peace, is not merely peaceful, harmonious consultation, but consultation which has peace for its object; and the thought is the following: The Messiah, who unites in Himself royalty and priesthood, will counsel and promote the peace of His people.

This is the typical meaning of the crowning of the high priest Joshua. But another feature is added to this. The crown, which has been placed upon the head of Joshua, to designate him as the type of the Messiah, is to be kept in the temple of the Lord after the performance of this act, as a memorial for those who bring the silver and gold from the exiles in Babel, and לחן בּן־צ, i.e., for the favour or grace of the son of Zephaniah. Chēn is not a proper name, or another name for Josiah, but an appellative in the sense of favour, or a favourable disposition, and refers to the favour which the son of Zephaniah has shown to the emigrants who have come from Babylon, by receiving them hospitably into his house. For a memorial of these men, the crown is to be kept in the temple of Jehovah. The object of this is not merely "to guard it against profanation, and perpetuate the remembrance of the givers" (Kliefoth); but this action has also a symbolical and prophetic meaning, which is given in Zechariah 6:15 in the words, "Strangers will come and build at the temple of the Lord." Those who have come from the far distant Babylon are types of the distant nations who will help to build the temple of the Lord with their possessions and treasures. This symbolical proceeding therefore furnishes a confirmation of the promise in Haggai 2:7, that the Lord will fill His temple with the treasures of all nations. By the realization of what is indicated in this symbolical proceeding, Israel will perceive that the speaker has been sent to them by the Lord of hosts; that is to say, not that Zechariah has spoken by the command of God, but that the Lord has sent the angel of Jehovah. For although in what precedes, only the prophet, and not the angel of Jehovah, has appeared as acting and speaking, we must not change the "sending" into "speaking" here, or take the formula וידעתּם כּי וגו in any other sense here than in Zechariah 2:13, Zechariah 3:2, and Zechariah 4:9. We must therefore assume, that just as the words of the prophet pass imperceptibly into words of Jehovah, so here they pass into the words of the angel of Jehovah, who says concerning himself that Jehovah has sent him. The words conclude with the earnest admonition to the hearers, that they are only to become partakers of the predicted good when they hearken to the voice of their God. The sentence commencing with והיה does not contain any aposiopesis; there is no valid ground for such an assumption as this in the simple announcement, which shows no trace of excitement; but vehâhâh may be connected with the preceding thought, "ye will know," etc., and affirms that they will only discern that the angel of Jehovah has been sent to them when they pay attention to the voice of their God. Now, although the recognition of the sending of the angel of the Lord involves participation in the Messianic salvation, the fact that this recognition is made to depend upon their giving heed to the word of God, by no means implies that the coming of the Messiah, or the participation of the Gentiles in His kingdom, will be bound up with the fidelity of the covenant nation, as Hengstenberg supposes; but the words simply declare that Israel will not come to the knowledge of the Messiah or to His salvation, unless it hearkens to the voice of the Lord. Whoever intentionally closes his eyes, will be unable to see the salvation of God.

The question whether the prophet really carried out the symbolical action enjoined upon him in Zechariah 6:10., externally or not, can neither be answered in the affirmative nor with a decided negative. The statement in Zechariah 6:11, that the prophet who was hardly a goldsmith, was to make the crown, is no more a proof that it was not actually done, than the talmudic notice in Middoth iii., concerning the place where the crown was hung up in the temple, is a proof that it was. For עשׂית in Zechariah 6:11 may also express causing to be made; and the talmudic notice referred to does not affirm that this crown was kept in the temple, but simply states that in the porch of the temple there were beams stretching from one wall to the other, and that golden chains were fastened to them, upon which the priestly candidates climbed up and saw crowns; and the verse before us is then quoted, with the formula שׁנאמר as a confirmation of this.

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