And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Zechariah 14:6-7. And it shall come to pass in that day — Namely, when the Lord shall come forth to fight against the enemies of his church, the nations that fought against Jerusalem, as foretold Zechariah 14:3; or, in that day when he shall come to convert and restore the Jews, and spread his gospel through all the world; the light — Namely, of knowledge, holiness, and happiness in his church; shall not — Namely, at first; be clear — Like that of the perfect day; nor dark — As perfect night, but shall be a kind of twilight, a mixture of light and darkness, of knowledge and ignorance, as to divine things, of holiness and sin, of happiness and misery, or of prosperity and adversity. But it shall be one day — One continued day; there shall be no setting of the sun to make it quite night; but God will invariably pursue the end he has in view, and always act in order to it, namely, the full salvation of his spiritual Jerusalem. Which shall be known to the Lord — The Lord will always have his eye upon this progressive day, and upon all the events of it. He will continually take notice of them, and order and dispose of all for the best, according to the counsel of his own will. But at evening time —
When natural days end, and when, perhaps, the shades of the evening may appear to be coming on, and there may be an apprehension of returning darkness; it shall be light — This spiritual day shall be full of light and glory, Isaiah 48:8; and Isaiah 60:19-21. Mr. Scott considers these verses as containing a compendious prophecy of the state of the church, from its establishment in the apostles’ days, to those glorious times which are expected; a prophecy foretelling that, “for a long season, the light would neither be clear nor dark: it would be greatly obscured by ignorance, heresy, superstition, and idolatry, yet not wholly extinguished: and the state of the church would be much deformed by sin and calamities; yet some holiness and consolation would be found. This period could neither be called a clear, bright day, cheered and illumined by the shining of a summer’s sun, nor would it be dark, as if the sun were set or totally eclipsed; but it would contain a great mixture of truth and error, of holiness and sin, of happiness and misery. Yet it would form one day, and never be interrupted by a night of total darkness. It would also be known unto the Lord, as to the degree of its light, and the term of its continuance; and he would watch over, and take care of, his cause and people all the time of it. But his people would hardly know whether to call it day or night, or a compound of both: yet, at length, toward the evening of the world, the Sun of righteousness would break forth and shine with unclouded splendour, dispelling the gloom of ignorance, heresy, idolatry, and superstition, and illuminating the church and the earth with knowledge, righteousness, peace, and consolation.”
This is evermore the description of the Day of Judgment, that, in the presence of God who is Light, all earthly light shall grow pale. So Joel had said, "The sun and moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining" Joel 3:15. And Isaiah, "The moon shall be confounded and the sun ashamed, when the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion and in Jersalem and before His ancients gloriously" Isaiah 24:23; and, "Behold the day of the Lord cometh, The stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine" Isaiah 13:9-10. All know well our Lord's words Matthew 24:29. John, like Zechariah, unites the failure of the heavenly light "with a great earthquake, and the sun became as sackcloth of hair: and the moon become as blood; and the stars of heaven fell upon the earth" Revelation 6:12-13.In that day; whilst God is fighting with the enemies of his church, the nations that fought against Jerusalem.
The light; good estate, peace, and welfare.
Shall not be clear; unmixed good, all light, it will not be so well with the church.
Nor dark; not so sad as all darkness, there shall be a temper of both, some peace with some trouble; some prosperity with some adversity; some mercy in midst of judgment to allay the bitterness of judgment, and some judgment with our mercies to allay their sweetness.
that the light shall not be clear nor dark; before the latter day glory it will be a darkish dispensation; not "clear", as in the first times of the Gospel, when the sun of righteousness appeared, and the shadows of the ceremonial law were removed, and the Gospel shone out in the ministry of Christ and his apostles; nor as at the reformation from Popery, when the morning star was given, Revelation 2:28 nor as it will be in the spiritual reign of Christ, when Zion's light will be come, and her watchmen will see eye to eye; when the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun seven fold as the light of seven days; and much less as will be in the kingdom state, when there will be no need of the sun or moon; or in the ultimate glory, when we shall see no more darkly through a glass, but face to face: and yet it will not be "dark", as it was with the Jews under the legal dispensation; and much less as with the Gentiles before the coming of Christ; or as in the dark times of Popery; it will be a sort of a twilight, both with respect to the light of doctrine, and of spiritual joy, comfort, and experience; which is much our case now. Some read the words, "there shall be no light, but cold and frost" (k); it will be a time of great coldness and lukewarmness, with regard to divine and spiritual things; iniquity will abound, and the love of many wax cold, Matthew 24:12.
(k) , , Sept.; "non erit lux, sed frigus et gelu", V. L; so Syr. Ar.; "congelatio", Tigurine version; so Ben Melech; "non erit lux; frigora potius et congelatio; vel non erit lux; frigoribus congelascent, scilicet peccatores", Hiller. de Arcano Kethib & Keri, p. 370.And it shall come to pass in that day, that the light shall not be clear, nor dark:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. the light shall not be clear, nor dark] Rather, there shall not be light, the bright ones shall be contracted; as in R. V. margin, i.e. the heavenly bodies shall be darkened. It shall be a day of deep gloom. Comp. “The sun and the moon shall be darkened, and the stars shall withdraw their shining,” Joel 3:15, and Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12-13.Verse 6. - The light shall not be clear, nor dark. The Greek, Syriac, and Latin Versions have, "There shall not be light, but ('and,' Septuagint) cold and ice." With the absence of light and sun shall come bitter frost, which impedes all activity, and kills life: or, taking the Septuagint rendering, there shall no longer be the interchange of seasons, but one lasting sunshine. It is plain that a time of distress and calamity is intended, and that the passage is threatening and not consolatory, at any rate, at first. There is solid ground for the rendering of the Revised Version margin, adopted by Cheyne and others, which is according to the Khetib, "There shall not be light, the bright ones shall contract themselves;" i.e. the heavenly bodies shall contract their light, or be heaped confusedly together, and cease to shine. The prediction in this case may be compared with that in Joel 3:15; Isaiah 13:10; and in Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:12, 13. The Authorized Version is explained in the margin, i.e. "It shall not be clear in some places, and dark in other places of the world" - a gloss which is inadmissible. 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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