Zechariah 8:22
Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
8:18-23 When God comes towards us in ways of mercy, we must meet him with joy and thankfulness. Therefore be faithful and honest in all your dealings; and let it be a pleasure to you to be so, though thereby you come short of the gains others get dishonestly; and, as much as in you lies, live peaceably with all men. Let the truths of God rule in your heads, and let the peace of God rule in your hearts. Thus the ancient servants of God drew the notice of heathen neighbours, whose prejudices were softened. A great increase to the church shall be made. Hitherto the Jews had been prone to learn the idolatries of other nations: what more unlikely than that they should teach religion to their conquerors, and to all the principal nations of the earth! Yet this is expressly foretold, and it came to pass. Hitherto the prophecy has been wonderfully fulfilled, and no doubt future events will explain it further. It is good to be with those who have God with them; if we take God for our God, we must take his people for our people, and be willing to take our lot with them. But let not any one think that mere zeal, either for Jews or Gentiles, will stand in the place of personal religion. Let us be living epistles of Christ, known and read of all men, so that others may wish to go with us, and to have their portion with us in the realms of bliss.The inhabitants of one city shall go to another - It is one unresting extension of the fairly, the restlessness of faith and love. Osorius: "They shall not be satisfied with their own salvation, careless about the salvation of others; they shall employ all labor and industry, with wondrous love, to provide for the salvation of others as if it were their own." It is a marvelous stirring of minds. Missionary efforts, so familiar with us as to be a household word, were unknown then. The time was not yet come. "Before the faith" in Christ came, the Jewish people were not to be the converters of mankind. They were to await for Him, the Redeemer of the world, through whom and to whom they were to be first converted, and then the world through those who were of them. This mutual conversion was absolutely unknown. The prophet (see below on Zechariah 9:12) predicts certainly that it would be, and in God's time it was. "From you," Paul writes to a small colony in Greece, "sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad" 1 Thessalonians 1:8. "Your faith" Romans 1:8, he writes to the pagan capital of the world, "is spoken of throughout the whole world."

Within eighty years after our Lord's Ascension, the Roman governor of Bithynia reported, on occasion of the then persecution, that it spread as a contagion. Pliny ad. Trajan Eph. x. 97: "The contagion of that superstition traversed not cities only but villages and scattered houses too." Before the persecution, the temples had been desolated, the solemn rites long intermitted, the sacrificed animals had very rarely found a purchaser. An impostor of the same date says, , Pontus is full of atheists and Christians." "There is no one race of people," it was said before the middle of the second century , "whether Barbarians or Greeks or by whatsoever name called, whether of those wandering houseless tribes who live in wagons or those pastoral people who dwell in tents, in which there are not prayers and Eucharists to the Father and Creator of all things, through the name of the crucified Jesus." "The word of our teacher," said another, , "abode not in Judaea alone, as philosophy in Greece; but was poured out throughout the whole world, persuading Greeks and barbarians in their several nations and villages and every city, whole houses and each hearer individually, and having brought over to the truth no few even of the very philosophers. And if any ordinary magistrate forbid the Greek philosophy, immediately it vanishes; but our teaching, immediately at its first announcement, kings and emperors and subordinate rulers and governors with all their mercenaries and countless multitudes forbid, and war against us and try to extirpate; but it the rather flourishes."

The second century had not closed, before another said, , "We are a people of yesterday, and yet we have filled every place belonging to you, cities, islands, castles, towns, assemblies, your very camp, your tribes, companies, palace, senate, forum! We leave you your temples only. We can count your armies; our numbers in a single province will be greater." "People cry out that the state is beset; that the Christians are in their fields, in their forts, in their islands. They mourn, as for a loss, that every sex, age, condition, and now even rank is going over to this sect." : "On whom besides have all nations believed, except on Christ who hath already come?" Then having enumerated the nations mentioned in the Acts Act 2:9-11, he adds, "And now the varieties of the Getulians, and the many tracts of the Moors, all the bounds of the Spains, and the divers nations of the Gauls, and places of the Britons, unreached by the Romans but subdued to Christ; of Sarmatians, Dacians, Germans, and Scythians, and of many remote nations, and many provinces and islands, unknown to us, and which we can scarce enumerate. In all which places the name of Christ, who hath already come, reigneth, seeing that before Him the gates of all cities are opened and none are shut against Him, before whom "the bars of iron are broken in pieces and the gates of brass are opened" Isaiah 45:2.

In all these places dwelleth a people called by the name of Christ. For who could reign over all, save Christ the Son of God, who was foretold as about to reign over all nations forever?" Then having contrasted the limited rule of Solomon, Darius, the Pharaohs, Nebuchadnezzar, Alexander, "the Romans who protect their own empire by the strength of their legions and are unable to extend the might of their kingdom beyond these nations (Germans, Britons, Moors, Getulians), he sums up, "but the kingdom and the Name of Christ is extended everywhere, is believed in everywhere, is worshiped by all the nations above enumerated. Everywhere He reigns, everywhere is adored, is given everywhere equally to all. With Him no king hath greater favor; no Barbarian inferior joy; no dignities or birth enhance the merit of any; to all He is equal; to all, King; to all Judge; to all, God and Lord." A little later, a pagan owns, while calumniating, , "Those most foul rites of that impious coalition are growing throughout the whole world, as bad things come up most luxuriantly, evil ways creeping on daily." The Christian answers . "That our number increases daily, this is no imputation of error, but a testimony to praise. For in a good mode of life, its own persevere, aliens accrue to it."

Let us go on and on - Perseveringly, until we attain "to entreat the face of the Lord." It is not a Theism or Monotheism, but the God, who had revealed Himself to Israel, who, when our Lord came, was worshiped in Jerusalem, to which those invited say, "I too would go with thee." Yet not so, but the words seem to speak of that which is a special gift of the Gospel, continued progress, "forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, to press toward the mark of the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Let us go on and on" Philippians 3:13-14; whence it is a Christian proverb, , "not to go on is to go back." : "The whole life of a good Christian is a holy longing to make progress." "The one perfection of man is, to have found that he is not perfect." : "If thou sayest, It sufficeth, thou art lost." : "To be unwilling to increase, is to decrease."

22. many … strong nations … in Jerusalem—In contrast to the few and weak Jews now building the temple and city, then such shall be their influence that many and strong nations shall come to worship Jehovah their God in Jerusalem (Isa 60:3; 66:23). This verse is both confirmation and illustration to the former; there it was people, here it is many people, and mighty, or great; not the poor, and contemptible. and few, but people of a greater figure in the world. The gospel first spread itself through the Roman empire, and triumphed in Rome the lady of the world.

Strong nations submitted to the gospel.

Shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem; literally understood you have the firstfruits Of them mentioned in Acts 2:9-11. Mystically, Jerusalem is the church of Christ, or the state of it in the times of the gospel, Psalm 110:2 Isaiah 2:3.

To pray; to perform all gospel worship to the Lord.

Yea, many people, and strong nations,.... Or, "mighty kingdoms", as the Targum renders it; even such have embraced the Gospel, and professed the Christian religion; of which there has been abundant proof since the downfall of Paganism under Constantine:

shall come to seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem; that is, shall attend the public worship of God in the church:

and to pray before the Lord; join in public prayer, and other ordinances of the Gospel. This phrase, which is used also in the preceding verse Zechariah 8:21, signifies that the Lord, and he only, is the object of prayer: it is not to be made to a creature, or to an idol made with hands, they had been used to pray to before, but to the one only living and true God, Father, Son, and Spirit; and that this is to be done as in the presence of God, who is omniscient, who knows all persons and their cases, and what are their ends and views in their petitions to him, and whether these come from a true heart and unfeigned lips; for all things are naked and open unto him, with whom we have to do; that, under the Gospel dispensation especially, men may come into the presence of God with great freedom and liberty, and pour out their souls before him, and with great boldness and confidence, through the blood of Christ being shed, and a new and living way opened by it, in which they may come and ask in faith whatever they want; though this should always be performed with reverence and godly fear, and with all humility and submission to the will of God: and though it may take in all sorts of prayer, and wherever and by whomsoever performed, either mental or vocal, in the closet or in the family, which is always to be done in like manner before God; yet it seems chiefly to design social and public prayer: which being put up to God in the church, may be said to be before the Lord, it being in the assembly of his saints, where he more especially grants his presence, and shows himself to be a God hearing and answering prayer; see Psalm 65:1.

Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 22. - Many people (peoples) and strong nations. This explains ver. 20 more fully. The Jews were not actuated by the missionary spirit, yet even before Christ's advent their religion had spread into all parts of the world, as we see from the catalogue of proselytes in Acts 2:9-11. Intimations of the same fact are given in Ezra 6:21; Esther 8:17. To seek the Lord of hosts in Jerusalem; i.e. to keep the solemn festivals observed there (comp. Isaiah 2:2; Isaiah 66:20-23 Micah 4:1, and note there). The literal fulfilment of this prophecy is not to be looked for. It declares the future conversion of the Gentiles, and their being made one with Israel in the Church of Christ, "one fold under one Shepherd" (John 10:16). Zechariah 8:22Zechariah 8:20. "Thus saith Jehovah of hosts: Yet will nations come, and inhabitants of many cities. Zechariah 8:21. And the inhabitants of one (city) will go to another, and say, 'We will go, go away, to supplicate the face of Jehovah, and to seek Jehovah of hosts.' 'I will also go.' Zechariah 8:22. And many peoples and strong nations will come, to seek Jehovah of hosts in Jerusalem, and to supplicate the face of Jehovah." These verses do not announce a further or second glorification, which God has designed for His people, but simply indicate the nature and magnitude of the salvation appointed for Israel, through which its fast-days will be turned into days of joy. Hitherto Israel had kept days of mourning and fasting on account of the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple; but in the future the Lord will so glorify His city and His house, that not only will Israel keep joyful feasts there, but many and strong heathen nations will go to the house of God, to seek and worship the God of hosts. עד is used with emphasis, so that it resembles a sentence: "It will still come to pass, that," etc. This is how אשׁר in Zechariah 8:21 and Zechariah 8:23 is to be taken, and not as the introduction to the saying preceded energetically by עד, for which Hitzig is wrong in referring to Micah 6:10. For the fact itself, compare Micah 4:1., Isaiah 2:2., Jeremiah 16:19. In Zechariah 8:21 the thought is individualized. The inhabitants of one city call upon those of another. נלכה הלוך, "we will go to supplicate," etc.; and the population of the other city responds to the summons by saying, "I also will go." חלּות את־פּני, as in Zechariah 7:2.
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