In that day shall there be on the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD…
The prevalence of sin in the world is a subject which the Christian daily reflects upon with unfeigned sorrow and humiliation. In every place iniquity abounds. Divine things are continually treated with presumptuous irreverence and disregard. The mind, however, is relieved from its depression, occasioned by the present gloomy state of things, while it contemplates the prospects of a brighter day, which in God's good time will arise. The sure word of prophecy unfolds to our view the most glorious representation of the Church prospering in the latter times. Zechariah foretells the general sanctification of men, and the consequent establishment of true religion in the world.
I. WHAT IS IMPLIED IN THESE ENCOURAGING WORDS — "In that day there shall be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness unto the Lord"? This appears to be a prediction of the general prevalence of pure and undefiled religion. It teaches us that holiness shall become universal in its extent, entire in its influence, and unveiled by shame or fear.
1. Holiness shall hereafter become universal in its extent. It shall be written upon the bells or bridles of the horses. It shall not be limited to persons of any particular order or profession; it shall extend to all who are engaged in secular occupations and pursuits. Men shall then become, as it were, priests unto God. In God's good time, the things of God will be exalted to their just preeminence; and as they deserve, will occupy the attention and influence the hearts of men. Religion will be everywhere regarded as the one thing needful.
2. Holiness shall then become entire in its influence. It shall not be partial and defective; but perfect and complete. It shall govern the whole man, and regulate all that pertains to Him. As all men will make a profession of religion, so all who profess it will become truly and completely religious. Their piety will not be limited to particular occasions. They will walk in the fear of the Lord all the day long. They shall be influenced by a continual sense of His presence, and actuated by an habitual reverence for His laws. But not only shall the personal holiness of men be entire, their possessions, and everything pertaining to them shall, as it were, be holy too. "The pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar." At present we have to lament that sacred things are most shamefully abused and profaned, but hereafter the case will be reversed; things of a worldly nature shall be sanctified to the purposes of religion.
3. Holiness shall be open and unreserved in man, free from any false feeling of shame, or fear of reproach.
II. WHAT INSTRUCTION MAY BE DEDUCED FROM THESE WORDS. The prophet says, "In that day." The period has certainly not yet arrived; nor can it be expected till the mystery of iniquity has ceased to work. It is, however, even now in its progress towards fulfilment; for it has a reference to the whole period of the Gospel dispensation. Then what manner of persons ought they to be who make a profession of that Gospel? Surely holiness becomes the house of God. Everyone that nameth the name of Christ should depart from iniquity. All who are privileged to bear the Christian name are required to cultivate extraordinary purity and holiness.
1. You are required to be holy by the very relation which you bear to God.
2. This is according to the express command of heaven: "for this is the will of God, even your sanctification."
3. This is the very end for which the Redeemer died.
4. The Scriptures represent this aa an indispensable qualification for heaven. "Without holiness no man shall see the Lord." Are you then living as persons truly devoted to God, and letting your conversation be in all things as becometh the Gospel of Christ? These questions are of supreme importance to us all; they are, as it were, the turning point on which life and death, heaven and hell, depend.
(E. Whieldon, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD'S house shall be like the bowls before the altar.