Zechariah 14:4
And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
14:1-7 The Lord Jesus often stood upon the Mount of Olives when on earth. He ascended from thence to heaven, and then desolations and distresses came upon the Jewish nation. Such is the view taken of this figuratively; but many consider it as a notice of events yet unfulfilled, and that it relates to troubles of which we cannot now form a full idea. Every believer, being related to God as his God, may triumph in the expectation of Christ's coming in power, and speak of it with pleasure. During a long season, the state of the church would be deformed by sin; there would be a mixture of truth and error, of happiness and misery. Such is the experience of God's people, a mingled state of grace and corruption. But, when the season is at the worst, and most unpromising, the Lord will turn darkness into light; deliverance comes when God's people have done looking for it.And His feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives - "Over against Jerusalem to the east, wherein riseth the Sun of Righteousness." The Mount of Olives is the central eminence of a line of hills, of rather more than a mile in length, overhanging the city, from which it is separated only by the narrow bed of the valley of the brook Cedron. It rises 187 feet above Mount Zion, 295 feet above Mount Moriah, 443 feet above Gethsemane, and lies between the city and the wilderness toward the dead sea: around its northern side, wound the road to Bethany and the Jordan . There, probably, David worshiped 2 Samuel 15:32; his son, in his decay, profaned it 1 Kings 11:7; Josiah desecrated his desecrations 2 Kings 23:13; there "upon the mountain, which is on the east side of the city, the glory of the Lord stood," when it had "gone up from the midst of the city" Ezekiel 11:23; it united the greatest glory of the Lord on earth, His Ascension, with its deepest sorrow, in Gethsemane. Since the Angel said, "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven" Acts 1:11, the old traditional opinion is not improbable, that our Lord shall come again to judge the earth, where He left the earth, near the place of His Agony and Crucifixion for us. So shall "the Feet" of God literally, "stand upon the Mount of Olives." Elsewhere it may be that "the Feet of the uncircumscribed and simple God are to be understood not materially, but that the loving and fixed assistance of His power is expressed by that name" (Dionysius).

Which is true, or whether, according to an old opinion, the last act of antichrist shall be an attempt to imitate the Ascension of Christ (as the first antichrist Simon Magus was said to have met his death in some attempt to fly) and be destroyed by His Coming there, the event must show.

And the Mount of Olives shall cleave - (be cleft) in (from) the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west that is, the cleft shall be east and west, so as to form a "very great valley" through it - from Jerusalem toward the Jordan eastward; and this shall be, in that "half of the mountain shall remove northward, and half thereof southward." If this be literal, it is to form an actual way of escape from Jerusalem; if figurative, it symbolizes how that which would be the greatest hindrance to escape, the mountain which was higher than the city, blocking, as it were, the way, should itself afford the way of escape; as Zechariah speaks, "O great mountain, before Zerubbabel" thou shalt become a "plain" Zechariah 4:7; and Isaiah, "Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain" Is. Isa 40:4; that is, every obstacle should be removed.

4. The object of the cleaving of the mount in two by a fissure or valley (a prolongation of the valley of Jehoshaphat, and extending from Jerusalem on the west towards Jordan, eastward) is to open a way of escape to the besieged (compare Joe 3:12, 14). Half the divided mount is thereby forced northward, half southward; the valley running between. The place of His departure at His ascension shall be the place of His return: and the "manner" of His return also shall be similar (Ac 1:11). He shall probably "come from the east" (Mt 24:27). He so made His triumphal entry into the city from the Mount of Olives from the east (Mt 21:1-10). This was the scene of His agony: so it shall be the scene of His glory. Compare Eze 11:23, with Eze 43:2, "from the way of the east." Zechariah 14:3, the Lord is said to dome forth to fight for his people, this 4th verse tells us where he will take his post, or make a stand, viz. on Mount Olivet, which for its situation, in its height, and nearness to Jerusalem and the temple, might appear a convenient post for succours to post themselves on. God (speaking after the manner of men) promiseth succours to his church, and assureth her of his nearness to her, and of the prospect he hath over all that is about her, or in her; that she might be encouraged to wait on God, who is so near to her.

Before Jerusalem on the east; a geographical description of the situation of this mountain with respect to Jerusalem.

Shall cleave in the midst thereof; as if it were sensible of the majesty of God, who stands upon it: this cleaves, Sinai melted, at the presence of the God of the whole earth.

A very great valley; the consequent of this dividing of the mountain, a mighty valley appears running straight from east to west; so there should be plain and easy access from the place of the feet of the Lord unto Jerusalem.

Half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south; as if it knew how to comply with the design of God, and withdraw on each hand far enough out of the way, and be no hinderance to the intended relief of the church. So I judge (if these things were not by vision represented to the prophet, which I will not avow, though I may think so) the prophet doth parabolically set forth the future preservation and deliverance of the church of Christ: and suppose we then what wonderful effects the presence of God wrought of old whenever he appeared to rescue his people; how mountains fled, or melted, or sunk into plains, or, as here is said, divided, and made a deep and large valley, i.e. how every obstacle removed, that the relief might be sure and easy; so shall it be with the church of Christ, the gospel Jerusalem, in all times of its troubles; and though Jewish Jerusalem, that ancient city, be ruined, never to be built, yet a more excellent city, the Christian Jerusalem, shall be built, guarded, rescued, and never ruined; for the feet of the Lord shall stand so near to her, as Olivet to Jerusalem, and the way plain and easy before him on purpose to save her. In this manner I understand somewhat of the text, but I cannot suit it with particular accommodation of the events here mentioned, if I look on it as a prediction of what shall be done according to the letter, or be matter of history. Nor do I meet with any that do tell me any such thing hath been done between the time of Zechariah’s prophesying and Titus wasting and sacking Jerusalem, nor shall any such thing ever be if material Jerusalem never be built. And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives,.... Where he often was in the days of his flesh, and from whence he ascended to heaven, Luke 21:37 but here he did not appear at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem; wherefore this must refer to a time to come; and seeing it is certain that he will stand in the latter day on the earth, at the time of the resurrection, and will come down from heaven in like manner as he went up; it seems very probable that he will descend upon that very spot of ground from whence he ascended, Job 19:25. The Jews, (e) have a notion, that, at the general resurrection of the dead, the mount of Olives will cleave asunder, and those of their nation, who have been buried in other countries, will be rolled through the caverns of the earth, and come out from under that mountain. This is what they call "gilgul hammetim", the rolling of the dead; and "gilgul hammechiloth", the rolling through the caverns. So they say in the Targum of Sol 8:5.

"when the dead shall live, the mount of Olives shall be cleaved asunder, and all the dead of Israel shall come out from under it; yea, even the righteous, which die in captivity, shall pass through subterraneous caverns, and come from under the mount of Olives.''

This is sometimes (f) represented as very painful to the righteous; but another writer (g) removes this objection by observing, that at the time of the rolling through the caverns of the earth, we may say that this rolling will be of no other than of the bone "luz", out of which the whole body will spring; so that this business of rolling will be easy and without pain; but they are not all agreed about the thing itself: Kimchi says (h),

"there is a division in the words of our Rabbins, concerning the dead without the land (i.e. of Israel); some of them say that those without the land shall come up out of their graves; and others say they shall come out of their graves to the land of Israel by rolling, and by the way of the caverns; but this verse Ezekiel 37:12 proves that those without the land shall live, as the dead of the land of Israel; for it says, "I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves"; and after that, "and I will bring you into the land of Israel".''

Which is before Jerusalem on the east; a sabbath day's journey from it, about a mile, Acts 1:12,

and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst thereof toward the east and toward the west; and there shall be a very great valley, and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south; and this valley will be made by cleaving and removing the mountain in this manner, to hold the dead together when raised; and this is thought by some to be the same with the valley of Jehoshaphat, called the valley of decision, into which the Heathen, being awakened and raised, will be brought and judged, Joel 3:2.

(e) Targum in Cant. viii. 5. (f) T. Bab. Cetubot, fol. 111. 1.((g) Judah Zabarah apud Pocock. Not. Miscell. p. 119. (h) Pirush in Ezekiel 37.12.

And his feet shall stand in that day upon the {c} mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall cleave in the midst of it toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great {d} valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south.

(c) By this manner of speech the Prophet shows God's power and care over his Church, and how he will as it were by a miracle save it.

(d) So that out of all the parts of the world, they will see Jerusalem, which was before his with this mountain: and this he means of the spiritual Jerusalem the Church.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. the mount of Olives] Comp. Acts 1:12. “The mount of Olives is the central eminence of a line of hills, of rather more than a mile in length, overhanging the city, from which it is separated only by the narrow bed of the valley of the Brook of Cedron. It rises 187 feet above mount Zion, 295 above mount Moriah, 443 above Gethsemane, and lies between the city and the wilderness toward the Dead Sea.” Pusey.

a very great valley] The cleft in the mountain which is to form this valley will run E. and W., and will be caused by the two parts of the divided mountain moving N. and S.Verse 4. - His feet shall stand. By this theophany he shall come to the aid of his people; nature shall do his bidding, owning the presence of its Maker. Upon the Mount of Olives... on the east. This mount lay on the east of Jerusalem, from which it was separated by the deep valley of the Kidron, rising to a height of some six hundred feet, and intercepting the view of the wilderness of Judaea and the Jordan ghor. The geographical detail is added in the text to indicate the line of escape which shall be opened for those who are to be de-livened. This is the only place in the Old Testament where the Mount of Olives is thus exactly named; but it is often alluded to; e.g. 2 Samuel 15:30; 1 Kings 11:7; 2 Kings 23:13 (where it is called "the mount of corruption"), etc. Shall cleave in the midst thereof. As the enemy are supposed to beset Jerusalem, so as to make escape by any ordinary road impossible, the Lord will open a way through the very centre of the mountain (as he opened a path through the Red Sea), by cleaving the hill in sunder, the two parts moving north and south, and leaving a great valley running east and west, and leading to the Arabah. In this and the following visions the prophet is shown the future glorification of the church of the Lord. Zechariah 3:1. "And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan stood at his right hand to oppose him. Zechariah 3:2. And Jehovah said to Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan; and Jehovah who chooseth Jerusalem rebuke thee. Is not this a brand saved out of the fire? Zechariah 3:3. And Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel. Zechariah 3:4. And he answered and spake to those who stood before him thus: Take away the filthy garments from him. And he said to him, Behold, I have taken away thy guilt from thee, and clothe thee in festal raiment. Zechariah 3:5. And I said, Let them put a clean mitre upon his head. Then they put the clean mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of Jehovah stood by." The subject to ויּראני is Jehovah, and not the mediating angel, for his work was to explain the visions to the prophet, and not to introduce them; nor the angel of Jehovah, because he appears in the course of the vision, although in these visions he is sometimes identified with Jehovah, and sometimes distinguished from Him. The scene is the following: Joshua stands as high priest before the angel of the Lord, and Satan stands at his (Joshua's) right hand as accuser. Satan (hassâtân) is the evil spirit so well known from the book of Job, and the constant accuser of men before God (Revelation 12:10), and not Sanballat and his comrades (Kimchi, Drus., Ewald). He comes forward here as the enemy and accuser of Joshua, to accuse him in his capacity of high priest. The scene is therefore a judicial one, and the high priest is not in the sanctuary, the building of which had commenced, or engaged in supplicating the mercy of the angel of the Lord for himself and the people, as Theodoret and Hengstenberg suppose. The expression עמד לפני furnishes no tenable proof of this, since it cannot be shown that this expression would be an inappropriate one to denote the standing of an accused person before the judge, or that the Hebrew language had any other expression for this. Satan stands on the right side of Joshua, because the accuser was accustomed to stand at the right hand of the accused (cf. Psalm 109:6). Joshua is opposed by Satan, however, not on account of any personal offences either in his private or his domestic life, but in his official capacity as high priest, and for sins which were connected with his office, or for offences which would involve the nation (Leviticus 4:3); though not as the bearer of the sins of the people before the Lord, but as laden with his own and his people's sins. The dirty clothes, which he had one, point to this (Zechariah 3:3).

But Jehovah, i.e., the angel of Jehovah, repels the accuser with the words, "Jehovah rebuke thee;... Jehovah who chooseth Jerusalem."

(Note: The application made in the Epistle of Jude (Jde 1:9) of the formula "Jehovah rebuke thee," namely, that Michael the archangel did not venture to execute upon Satan the κρίσις βλασφημίας, does not warrant the conclusion that the angel of the Lord places himself below Jehovah by these words. The words "Jehovah rebuke thee" are a standing formula for the utterance of the threat of a divine judgment, from which no conclusion can be drawn as to the relation in which the person using it stood to God. Moreover, Jude had not our vision in his mind, but another event, which has not been preserved in the canonical Scriptures.)

The words are repeated for the sake of emphasis, and with the repetition the motive which led Jehovah to reject the accuser is added. Because Jehovah has chosen Jerusalem, and maintains His choice in its integrity (this is implied in the participle bōchēr). He must rebuke Satan, who hopes that his accusation will have the effect of repealing the choice of Jerusalem, by deposing the high priest. For if any sin of the high priest, which inculpated the nation, had been sufficient to secure his removal or deposition, the office of high priest would have ceased altogether, because no man is without sin. גּער, to rebuke, does not mean merely to nonsuit, but to reprove for a thing; and when used of God, to reprove by action, signifying to sweep both him and his accusation entirely away. The motive for the repulse of the accuser is strengthened by the clause which follows: Is he (Joshua) not a brand plucked out of the fire? i.e., one who has narrowly escaped the threatening destruction (for the figure, see Amos 4:11). These words, again, we most not take as referring to the high priest as an individual; nor must we restrict their meaning to the fact that Joshua had been brought back from captivity, and reinstated in the office of high priest. Just as the accusation does not apply to the individual, but to the office which Joshua filled, so do these words also apply to the supporter of the official dignity. The fire, out of which Joshua had been rescued as a brand, was neither the evil which had come upon Joshua through neglecting the building of the temple (Koehler), nor the guilt of allowing his sons to marry foreign wives (Targ., Jerome, Rashi, Kimchi): for in the former case the accusation would have come too late, since the building of the temple had been resumed five months before (Haggai 1:15, compared with Zechariah 1:7); and in the latter it would have been much too early, since these misalliances did not take place till fifty years afterwards. And, in general, guilt which might possibly lead to ruin could not be called a fire; still less could the cessation or removal of this sin be called deliverance out of the fire. Fire is a figurative expression for punishment, not for sin. The fire out of which Joshua had been saved like a brand was the captivity, in which both Joshua and the nation had been brought to the verge of destruction. Out of this fire Joshua the high priest had been rescued. But, as Kliefoth has aptly observed, "the priesthood of Israel was concentrated in the high priest, just as the character of Israel as the holy nation was concentrated in the priesthood. The high priest represented the holiness and priestliness of Israel, and that not merely in certain official acts and functions, but so that as a particular Levite and Aaronite, and as the head for the time being of the house of Aaron, he represented in his own person that character of holiness and priestliness which had been graciously bestowed by God upon the nation of Israel." This serves to explain how the hope that God must rebuke the accuser could be made to rest upon the election of Jerusalem, i.e., upon the love of the Lord to the whole of His nation. The pardon and the promise do not apply to Joshua personally any more than the accusation; but they refer to him in his official position, and to the whole nation, and that with regard to the special attributes set forth in the high priesthood - namely, its priestliness and holiness. We cannot, therefore, find any better words with which to explain the meaning of this vision than those of Kliefoth. "The character of Israel," he says, "as the holy and priestly nation of God, was violated - violated by the general sin and guilt of the nation, which God had been obliged to punish with exile. This guilt of the nation, which neutralized the priestliness and holiness of Israel, is pleaded by Satan in the accusation which he brings before the Maleach of Jehovah against the high priest, who was its representative. A nation so guilty and so punished could no longer be the holy and priestly nation: its priests could no longer be priests; nor could its high priests be high priests any more. But the Maleach of Jehovah sweeps away the accusation with the assurance that Jehovah, from His grace, and for the sake of its election, will still give validity to Israel's priesthood, and has already practically manifested this purpose of His by bringing it out of its penal condition of exile."

After the repulse of the accuser, Joshua is cleansed from the guilt attaching to him. When he stood before the angel of the Lord he had dirty clothes on. The dirty clothes are not the costume of an accused person (Drus., Ewald); for this Roman custom was unknown to the Hebrews. Dirt is a figurative representation of sin; so that dirty clothes represent defilement with sin and guilt (cf. Isaiah 64:5; Isaiah 4:4; Proverbs 30:12; Revelation 3:4; Revelation 7:14). The Lord had indeed refined His nation in its exile, and in His grace had preserved it from destruction; but its sin was not thereby wiped away. The place of grosser idolatry had been taken by the more refined idolatry of self-righteousness, selfishness, and conformity to the world. And the representative of the nation before the Lord was affected with the dirt of these sins, which gave Satan a handle for his accusation. But the Lord would cleanse His chosen people from this, and make it a holy and glorious nation. This is symbolized by what takes place in Zechariah 3:4 and Zechariah 3:5. The angel of the Lord commands those who stand before Him, i.e., the angels who serve Him, to take off the dirty clothes from the high priest, and put on festal clothing; and then adds, by way of explanation to Joshua, Behold, I have caused thy guilt to pass away from thee, that is to say, I have forgiven thy sin, and justified thee (cf. 2 Samuel 12:13; 2 Samuel 24:10), and clothe thee with festal raiment. The inf. abs. halbēsh stands, as it frequently does, for the finite verb, and has its norm in העברתּי (see at Haggai 1:6). The last words are either spoken to the attendant angels as well, or else, what is more likely, they are simply passed over in the command given to them, and mentioned for the first time here. Machălâtsōth, costly clothes, which were only worn on festal occasions (see at Isaiah 3:22).; They are not symbols of innocence and righteousness (Chald.), which are symbolized by clean or white raiment (Revelation 3:4; Revelation 7:9); nor are they figurative representations of joy (Koehler), but are rather symbolical of glory. The high priest, and the nation in him, are not only to be cleansed from sin, and justified, but to be sanctified and glorified as well.

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