Zechariah 14:19
This will be the punishment of Egypt and of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Feast of Tabernacles.
Sermons
The Public Worship of JehovahD. Thomas Zechariah 14:16-19
The Great Harvest HomeW. Forsyth Zechariah 14:16-21
The Feast of Tabernacles had a threefold reference. It was a memorial of the past, it was a service of thanksgiving, and it was also foreshadowing of the better things to come. Well, therefore, may the prophet make it a symbol of the glory of the latter days, when under Messiah's reign the fulness of the Gentiles should be brought in, and all Israel should be saved. The glowing and beautiful picture may represent the great harvest home of the world.

I. UNITY OF WORSHIP. No more many gods, but one. No more hostile sects and parties, but the holy Catholic Church of the living God. At last the old promise is fulfilled (Numbers 14:21).

II. JOYFULNESS OF SERVICE. The Spirit of Christ reigns. Love and joy and peace are in all hearts. From all lands and peoples come the songs of praise and the services of thanksgiving to the Father of lights, and the Giver of every good and perfect gift.

III. SANCTITY OF LIFE. Society is purified. Every life is consecrated to God. There is no need any more for the law of ordinances, for all things are cleansed. "Holiness" is the law everywhere.

1. Common life.

2. Domestic life.

3. Religious life.

"Ah! when shall all men's good
Be each man's rule, and universal peace
Lie like a shaft of light across the land,
And like a lane of beams athwart the sea,
Thro' all the circle of the golden year?" F.







Shall go up from year to year to worship the King.
: —

1. It brings us into the possession of a new life. We are Christians, not because we avow a certain creed, or conform to certain outward exercises; but because we have received the life, the Eternal Life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us in Jesus. And is it possible to restrict the manifestations of life? Is not God's life always the same in its abundant and infinite variety? So surely the life of God in the soul should, and must, express itself in all the outgoings of our existence, — in speech, act, movement — equally on the six days as the one day; as much in the kitchen, or the shop, as the Church. If you are possessed by the life of the Holy One, it will as certainly appear as the idiosyncrasy of your character, which underlies, moulds, and fashions your every gesture.

2. Christianity is consecration to Christ. It may be questioned if we have a right to call ourselves Christians unless we regard Him as our Judge, our Lawgiver, and our King, and are deliberately obeying and serving Him. But if we are going to reserve our religion to certain days, places, and actions, we necessarily exclude Him from all that is not contained within the fences we erect. What right have we to suppose that our Master Christ will be satisfied with an arrangement which asks Him to accept a part for the whole, a composition for the entire debt?

3. The needs of the world demand an entire and unbroken religious life. The world does not see us in our religious exercises, whether in our private retirement or our public worship. It has no idea, therefore, of the anguish of our penitence, the earnestness of our desires for a right and noble life, the persistency of our endeavours. And if we do not give evidence of our religion in dealing with matters that the men of the world understand, they will naturally and rightly consider that religion is an unpractical dream, the child of superstition and emotion. We should," therefore, refuse to maintain the false distinction between things that arc sacred, and those that are secular.

(F. B. Meyer, B.A.)

Homilist.
I. IT IS A DUTY BINDING ON ALL PEOPLE. "The feast of tabernacles was meant to keep them in mind that, amidst their abundant harvests, and well-cared-for fields and vineyards, that as in the desert, so still it was God who gave the increase. It was therefore a festival most suitable for all the nations to join in, by way of acknowledging that Jehovah was the God of Nature throughout the earth, however various might be the aspects of nature with which they were familiar. Besides, there can be little doubt that by the time of Zechariah, and probably long before, this feast had become a kind of symbol of the ingathering of the nations" (John 4:35). — Dr. Dods. Whilst the thousands neglect public worship, not a few argue against it, they say it is uncalled for and unnecessary. In reply to this we state, where there is genuine religion —

1. Public worship is a natural development. The Being we love most we crave an opportunity for extolling, we want that all shall know His merits.

2. Public worship is a happy development. What delights the soul so much as to hear others praise the object we love the most? This at once gratifies the religious instinct and the social love.

3. Public worship is a beneficent development. There is nothing that tends so much to quicken and ennoble souls as worship, and nothing gives such a vital interest in one soul for another, as public worship.

II. ITS NEGLECT EXPOSES TO TERRIBLE CALAMITIES.

1. The greatness of the punishment. "Upon them shall be no rain." Now the absence of rain involves every temporal evil you can think of, famine, pestilence, loss of physical enjoyment, loss of health, loss of life.

2. The fitness of the punishment.(1) To the offence. "The withholding of the rain."(2) To the offender. The idea of not having rain would not, perhaps, terrify the Egyptians, for they had the Nile. Hence a plague is threatened to them. The punishment here was to come because of the neglect of public worship. And this is punished by —

(a)Loss of the highest spiritual enjoyments.

(b)Hereafter, by the reproaching of conscience, and the banishment from all good.

(Homilist.)

Evangelical Preacher.
Though it is generally admitted that Zechariah is the most obscure of all the minor prophets, yet there were two topics on which we may safely affirm that he was as luminous, or more so, than the rest. The first respected the public worship of God. He and Haggai were conspicuously active in urging the Jews, on their return from their captivity, to rebuild their temple; and when the sanctuary was erected, we find him not only administering to the tribes themselves, but to the strangers and foreigners who had mixed themselves up with them to frequent the house of God, lest renewed judgment should break forth upon them to their injury and ruin.

I. PRESS IT UPON YOU AS A DUTY AND PRIVILEGE.

1. It is founded in the relation in which we stand to God. He is our Creator, Preserver, Benefactor; He is our Father. We are the families of Israel here addressed; and has not God dealt fraternally with you as His children? Show your filial gratitude, etc.

2. It is suggested by the appointment of Divine ordinances.

3. It is enforced by the commands and exhortations of the sacred Scriptures. The books of Exodus, Leviticus, Deuteronomy, and Joshua issued these precepts. They are echoed by the prophets (Psalm 95:1-4, 7; Psalm 100:2-5).

4. It is recommended by the example of the best of men who ever lived. We are to be followers of "all those who through faith," etc., and ought we not to copy them in this feature? Read the histories of Moses — Joshua — Nehemiah — of the prophets and apostles — or select one conspicuous example, David; what was his principal wish? "One thing have I," etc. What his chief affliction? "The sparrow," etc. What his chief joy? "I was glad," etc. What his prayer for others? "O send out Thy light," etc. This was his testimony, this his appeal — "Lord, I have loved the habitation." "They continued daily in the temple," etc.

5. It is urged upon us by the advantages connected with its observance. It is the house of God which He has promised to keep with His especial presence. Of Zion He says, "This is My rest; here will I dwell," etc. It is through His institutions that light, grace, and comfort are imparted to His Church.

II. TO SHOW YOU THE CONSEQUENCES OF THE NEGLECT OF THAT WORSHIP WHICH GOD REQUIRES. "Even upon them there shall be no rain." No doubt there was a literal meaning attached to this menace. But we must not satisfy ourselves with this comment. In making a spiritual application of this part of the text, observe that rain is often employed as a metaphor to denote the abundant communication of spiritual blessings — thus, the coming of the Messiah, and the bestowments of His grace; the influences of the Spirit; the instructions and consolations of the Word of God. "My doctrine shall drop as the rain."

(Evangelical Preacher.)

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