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The Prophet is still looking by faith into the Gospel days, and describing under the spirit of prophecy, many blessed things to be accomplished in the days of Christ, and the after ages of his Church.
(Zechariah 13:1 ) In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.
If by faith, as the Prophet wrote, the Reader is led now to contemplate the mercy here promised, he must take his stand at the foot of the cross, and behold the soldier's spear, as the instrument opening the fountain in the heart of Christ, as Jehovah appointed, for sin and for uncleanness. I need not again repeat what hath been so often observed through all the writings of the Prophets; namely, that the day here alluded to, is the day of the Gospel, Christ's day and glory. Looking at Jesus on the cross, we do indeed behold the Lamb of God, as John the Baptist cried out in his ministry, taking away sin by the sacrifice of himself. John 1:29 . And, Reader! do not fail to observe, that this sacred laver for cleansing, is a fountain, not a stream, but a fountain, springing from itself. So the Church sung. Song of Solomon 4:15 . And observe yet further, for whom it is opened, namely, the same as in the following Chapter, the spirit of grace and supplications were to be opened upon the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. Jesus' whole family, both Jew and Gentile, for all are alike unclean, and all need cleansing. Hence the Church in heaven are represented as having washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Revelation 7:14 . Reader! sit down by faith around this crimson fountain, and contemplate the whole Church as made clean only by the washing in this one laver; and when you have duly pondered the vast and momentous subject, look up, and bless Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, for this unequalled gift, whereby alone all our uncleanness, filthiness, and sin, could be done away. 1Jn 1:7 ; 1 Corinthians 6:11 ; Ezekiel 36:24-32 .
And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. 3 And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live: for thou speakest lies in the name of the Lord: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. 4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophet shall be ashamed everyone of his vision, when he hath prophesied: neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: 5 But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman: for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth. 6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.
Under the figurative language of scripture, by various ways, in these verses, are described the blessed consequences of being cleansed in this fountain of Christ's blood. Idolatry, false prophecy, and unclean spirits, are promised to be removed. And such will be the attachment to Christ, and his interest in a love to his Church and people, that the enemies of the Gospel, wheresoever, or in whomsoever they are found, however near or dear in nature, will be disowned. Deuteronomy 13:6-10 .
Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
That what is here said refers to the person of Christ, we can need no other authority than Christ himself, See Matthew 26:31 . And when we enter into the several things contained in it, nothing can be more decisive in proof, that none but God himself could have dictated this scripture, and none but God himself could have brought about the accomplishment of it. Here is a solemn call for a sword to awake; as if it had been long sleeping and inactive. And if we consider the flaming sword, placed after the fall at the east of the garden of Eden, as here called upon, we must allow it had been long in that state. For as none could enter there but Christ, and he only by blood, so now in its execution, it might well be called an awakening. I humbly conceive, that this might be the sword spoken of. For though I am inclined to believe, that the cherubim and flaming sword, placed at the entrance of Eden, were placed there to point to Christ, the Tree of Life, and not to keep sinners from Christ; yet I am equally persuaded, that Christ only could enter as our forerunner. It was his province, and his only, to open this new and living way by his blood, Genesis 3:24 ; Hebrews 10:19-20 . The next striking passage in this verse, is the glorious person against whom this sword was called upon to awake; namely, my Shepherd: not the sheep, but the Shepherd; and not simply any one Shepherd, but one particular Shepherd, even Jehovah's Shepherd. Sweet thought by the way, and I beg the Reader not to overlook it; Jehovah's Shepherd is also the believer's Shepherd! David called Christ so; the Lord, said he, is my Shepherd. And, Reader! is he not your's, and mine also? Then learn to say as David did. See Psalms 23:0 , every word of it. But to go on. This Shepherd is also said to be the Man; not a Man, simply as such, or any Man, but one identical Man; the Man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of Hosts. Reader! pause over the wonderful expressions, and mark them well. This Shepherd is a true, real, and proper Man, in his human nature. And he is no less in his divine nature, fellow to the Lord of Hosts. Can anything be more plain? Can anything be more blessed. Oh! my soul, I would say, (as Deborah did in her holy triumphs, and as I feel my whole soul fully grounded in the eternal truth;) O, my soul, thou hast trodden down strength; for so doth every faithful believer, whom God the Spirit hath given to believe, amidst the infidelity of the awful day in which we live, Judges 5:21 . Here then is Jehovah the Father calling upon the sword to awake against Christ. For if Christ will be a surety, a sacrifice, then must this glorious Messiah be cut off; though not for himself. Daniel 9:26 . And this being done, Jehovah promiseth, that though when the Shepherd is smitten, the sheep shall be scattered, yet he wilt turn his hand upon the little ones; that is, Jehovah undertakes that all the blessed consequences of his redemption shall follow to his Church and people. God the Father engageth so to do. Sweet thought to the poor, weak, and feeble little ones of Christ's fold. See those sweet promises to that amount, Ezekiel 34:11-16 ; John 10:28-29; John 10:28-29 .
And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the Lord, two parts therein shall be cut off, and die; but the third shall be left therein. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The Lord is my God.
There will be a sifting time in the Church, not for the terror or trial of the real Church of Christ, for the Lord knoweth them that are his. But this trial is for the discovery of nominal Christians from true believers. All the scriptures declare concerning this time, And Jesus himself left it in testimony with the beloved Apostle John. Rev_2:8-10; Rev_3:7-13 . The Lord will also try and exercise the graces of his Holy Spirit he hath given them, with afflictions and various trials. And this is what is meant by bringing them through the fire. But then let the Reader be careful to observe, (for it is an important, observation,) that these trials of God's faithful people are never made by way of discovery, whether they are or are not his people, for known unto God are all his works from the beginning; but purely that they may be conformed to the image of their glorious head. See those two striking scriptures to the point. Romans 8:29 and Isaiah 48:10 . Reader! it is a grand point in Gospel truth, to stand confirmed in this glorious doctrine, that in Christ the Church is beheld and accepted; and therefore God brings his redeemed into exercises for furtherance in grace, and not to prove what is already known, whose they are; for this would be to rest the final consequence of grace upon man's obedience, and render uncertain Christ's merit and death. Blessed be God! salvation hath more sure ground to rest upon. The Prophet expresses the blessed covenant, in the full terms of it, when running it up to the fountain head: I will say, saith God, it is my people; and they shall say, the Lord is my God.
Reader! here is a fountain indeed opened for sin and uncleanness; Jesus hath opened it, and supplied it with his heart's blood. The grand question is, are we washed in it? Have we found it to be peace-speaking blood, and heart-cleansing blood? Can we truly say of it, as David did of the whole covenant; it is all my salvation, and all my desire!
Precious Lord Jesus! the sword hath indeed awakened, at the command of Jehovah, against thee, when thou stoodest as the surety of thy people. But, oh! thou sin-bearing Lamb of God! what shall I offer thee of thanks and praise, since by thy stripes my soul is healed, and thou wert made, in for thy redeemed, that they might be made the righteousness of God in thee!
Lord! I thank thee, in all the exercises of my warfare, when bringing me through the fiery trials of sorrow and temptation; the conflict is not to know, whether I am thine, for that is already proved, and the issue is not doubtful; but it is to prove me, and to shew me what is in mine heart; that thy grace may have all the praise, and all the glory, from beginning to end. Oh! for unceasing grace while Jesus owns me to be his, to say with the Church of old, my beloved is mine, and his desire is towards me.
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Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Zechariah 13". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/
the Fifth Week after Epiphany