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Sunday, April 14th, 2024
the Third Sunday after Easter
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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 14

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-21

Zechariah 14:1-2 . I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle. The tenth legion joined the Roman general; and though they could not take the city by storm, yet famine at last did what could not be effected by the sword, nor by engines of war. But assuredly, the whole connection of this chapter looks farther than the revolt of the Jews against the Romans, and will receive a most signal accomplishment in the final destruction of the enemies of the church. Revelation 16:14-16.

Zechariah 14:3 . Then shall the Lord go forth and fight against those nations, as when he fought for Joshua in the day of battle, and stayed the going down of the sun to give them light. If our critics will have all this to mean the Romans, the Lord did indeed fight against them, but it was 365 years after the siege of Jerusalem, and many of the Goths who stormed the city were christians, amongst whose fathers Ulphilas had preached. The Saxon Chronicle speaks of that event in the following words.

Anno 435. Her Gotan abaecon Rome burgh, ande naeffre syththan Romane ne ricsodon on Brytene: Thaet waes embe xi hund wintra ande x wintra thaes the heo ge-timbred was: Ealles hi rixodon on Brytene feower hund seouanti wintra, syththan Gaius Iulius that lond aerost ge-sohte: Literally thus.

435. This year, the Goths broke into the city of Rome, and never since have the Romans reigned in Britain. This was about eleven hundred and ten winters after she was ge-timbered (or built.) In all, they reigned in Britain four hundred and seventy winters, since Julius C├Žsar erst ge-sought that land. We ask, what connection can there be between the suppression of the rebellion in Judea, and the milder punishment of Rome? Why lose Zechariah’s glory and hope in minor wars and storms?

Zechariah 14:5 . Ye shall flee, like as ye fled from before the earthquake. This happened about the twenty sixth year of king Uzziah. Joel 1:1. Josephus speaks of it thus: “When this earthquake happened, the mountain [mount Olivet] before Jerusalem, cleft on the west side, and then removed four furlongs towards the east, and there stopped.” Antiq, lib. 9. cap. 11.

And the Lord my God shall come, and all the saints, the holy ones, with thee. We find the like promises in many other places to comfort the church, and to rebuke the wicked. Psalms 50:3. Daniel 7:9-10. Ezekiel 43:1. Matthew 23:19. Revelation 1:7; Revelation 19:14.

Zechariah 14:7 . But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord. If these occurrences be known to God alone, the arcana or secrets which the Father hath put in his own power, it is in vain to wade beyond one’s depth.

“Christ in his (own) times will show who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and the Lord of lords.” 1 Timothy 6:15.

At evening time it shall be light. The margin directs us to Isaiah 60:19-20. Thy sun, oh Zion, shall no more go down, nor thy moon wane; for after this last conflict, the Lord shall be thy everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended. Neither jews nor christians have ever yet seen those glorious things which are spoken of the city of God.

Zechariah 14:8 . It shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem. The learned jesuit, Emmanuel Sa, to whom I am under many obligations, for Jerusalem in Zechariah 14:8-9, reads the church, and the nations, as converted to Christ. These living waters, he adds, are the doctrines and grace of Christ; who being the smitten rock, invites us freely to come and drink of the streams of righteousness and eternal life.

Zechariah 14:9 . The Lord shall be king over all the earth. This promise is repeated from Psalms 2:8; Psalms 22:27-28. Daniel 2:34-44. His righteous government will be everywhere acknowledged, kings and legislators, as well as all classes of the people, shall be made to feel their accountability to the supreme Ruler, and shall conform their administrations to the principles of justice and truth. Such a state of things has never yet existed, except in a very limited degree; but when the kingdom of God shall come, his will shall be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Zechariah 14:12 . This shall be the plague wherewith the Lord will smite all the people that have fought against Jerusalem the true church, the holy Zion. Their flesh shall consume away. Nay, in anguish and remorse, they shall, as Moab and her allies in the days of Gideon, turn their swords one against another. Then, as in Zechariah 14:11, there shall be no more cherem, or utter curse and destruction on the church; that cup her enemies shall drink.

Zechariah 14:20 . HOLINESS TO THE LORD. The church, the people, their cattle, their houses and furniture, shall all be hallowed to the Lord. Romans 12:1.

Zechariah 14:21 . There shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord. Jew and Greek, Barbarian and Scythian shall all be one, and shall all speak the language of Canaan. The Chaldaic and Aquila, for Canaan read merchants. Christ began to cleanse his Father’s house of merchandise. Sa reads, Mercator, videlicet, rerum spiritualium, seu simoniacus.


Our prophet keeps like others the best wine till the last. The hope of the church is sure, and the words of all the prophets are strong. But ah, how to understand them! We fear to miss our road, where the light is not clear nor dark. Distant objects in vision are often indistinct: still they are glorious objects, furnishing ground of hope that Zion shall one day be established on the tops of the mountains. Christ’s kingdom is that of the firstborn, the children of the promise, Abraham’s seed, with which the countless multitudes of gentiles out of every nation and language are associated.

The variations of commentators on the last chapter are so numerous as to involve doubts whether it be rightly understood. Poole, in his synopsis of the critics, makes the siege of Jerusalem to be by the Romans. But the earthquake, the sudden destruction of the Roman armies, and the rebuilding of the city, are at issue with the critics. The jews in their anguish during the famine did not look to Him whom they had pierced, nor cry in the bitterness of their souls to the Saviour. Neither did they gather the immense spoils and riches left by the besiegers, who perished by the visitations of God.

The Arian critics, followed by others, insult us by referring all those events to the wars of Maccabeus against Antiochus Epiphanes. How long will men be blind!

The more enlightened divines and commentators understand these predictions of the triumphs of the Redeemer’s kingdom; they therefore associate them with the latter part of all other prophetic writings, and expect that the Lord will not always keep silence, but will arise in some glorious manner for the salvation of his saints.

We therefore hope for some discovery of his glory to punish the scoffers of the age, and to renew the evidences of revelation. Why not? He did renew the evidences on the emancipation from Egypt: he did renew them by signs in after ages. He confirmed also his covenant with many in the days of his flesh.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Zechariah 14". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/zechariah-14.html. 1835.
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