|Barnes' Notes on the Bible|
Every one that is left of the nations - God so gives the repentance, even through His visitations, that, in proportion to the largeness of the rebellion and the visitation upon it, shall be the largeness of the conversion. "Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles shall be fulfilled" Luke 21:24. And Paul, "Blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles shall be come in; and so all Israel shall be saved" Romans 11:25-26. Hitherto prophets had spoken of a "remnant" of Jacob, who should "return to the mighty God" Isaiah 10:21, and should be saved; now, upon this universal rebellion of the pagan. He foretells the conversion of a remnant of the pagan also.
Shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts - There is a harmony between the rebellion and the repentance. The converted shall go to worship God there, where they had striven to exterminate His worshipers. The prophet could only speak of the Gospel under the image of the law. "The Feast of Tabernacles" has its counterpart, not, like the Pascha or the Pentecost, in any single feast, but in the whole life of the Gospel. It was a thanksgiving for past deliverance; it was a picture of their pilgrim-life from the passage of the Red Sea, until the parting of the Jordan opened to them the entrance to their temporary rest in Canaan (see at greater length Hosea 12:9, vol. i. p. 122). Jerome: "In that vast, wide, terrible wilderness, where was no village, house, town, cave, it made itself tents, wherein to sojourn with wives and children, avoiding by day the burning sun, by night damp and cold and hurt from dew; and it was 'a statute forever in their generations; ye shall dwell in booths seven days; all, that are Israelites born, shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know, that I made the children of Israel to dwell in booths, when I brought them out of the land of Egypt' Leviticus 23:41-43."
Lap.: "Much more truly do Christians keep the feast of tabernacles, not once in the year only, but continually, unceasingly. This is, what Peter admonisheth, 'Dearly beloved, I beseech you, as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts' 1 Peter 2:11. And Paul often teacheth that we, like Abraham, are strangers on earth, but 'citizens' of heaven 'with the saints, and of the household of God' Ephesians 2:19. 'Faith,' he says, 'is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. By faith Abraham sojourned in the land of promise as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God' Hebrews 11:1, Hebrews 11:9-10." Jerome: "As long as we are in progress, in the course and militant, we dwell in tabernacles, striving with all our mind to pass from the tabernacles to the firm and lasting dwelling-place of the house of God. Whence, also holy David said, 'I am a stranger with Thee and a sojourner, as all my fathers were' Psalm 39:12. So speaketh he, who is still in Egypt and yet placed in the world. But he who goeth forth out of Egypt, and entereth a desert from vices, holdeth his way and says in the Psalm, 'I will pass through to the place of the tabernacle of the Wonderful unto the house of God' (Psalm 41:5, Vulgate). Whence, also he says elsewhere, 'How amiable are Thy dwellings. Thou Lord of hosts; my soul longeth, yea, even fainteth for the courts of the Lord' and a little after, 'Blessed are they who dwell in thy house, they shall be alway praising Thee' Psalm 41:4. 'The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous' Psalm 118:15. 'One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in His temple' Psalm 27:4.
Whoso dwelleth in such tabernacles, and hastes to go from the tabernacles to the court, and from the court to the house, and from the house to the temple of the Lord, ought to celebrate the feast of Tabernacles etc." It symbolizes how, (Dionysius), "in the New Testament, Christians, being delivered through Christ from the slavery to sin and satan, and sojourning in this vale of misery, by making progress in virtues go up to the home of the heavenly paradise, the door of glory being open by the merit of the Lord's Passion, and so the faithful of Christ celebrate the feast of tabernacles; and, after the destruction of antichrist, they will celebrate it the more devoutly, as there will then be among them a fuller fervor of faith."
Clarke's Commentary on the Bible
Shall even go up from year to year - The Jews had three grand original festivals, which characterized different epochs in their history, viz.: -
1. The feast of the passover, in commemoration of their departure from Egypt.
2. The feast of pentecost, in commemoration of the giving of the law upon Mount Sinai.
3. The feast of tabernacles, in commemoration of their wandering forty years in the wilderness.
This last feast is very properly brought in here to point out the final restoration of the Jews, and their establishment in the light and liberty of the Gospel of Christ, after their long wandering in vice and error.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And it shall come to pass,.... After the plague on man and beast is over:
that everyone that is left of all the nations which come against Jerusalem; these are the remnant, according to the election of grace, who will have been among the enemies of Christ and his people, but preserved when others will be destroyed; and they will not only be frightened at the general destruction, but will be truly converted, and give glory to the God of heaven, Revelation 11:13, these
shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts; the King Messiah, as Aben Ezra and Abendana on the place observe; the same with the King overall the earth, Zechariah 14:9 who is Lord of hosts, of all the armies in heaven, that will have followed him, at this time, and is to be worshipped by angels and men; he is equal with God, the Creator of both, the Redeemer of men, and King of saints; and to worship him shall the above persons preserved and called go up to Jerusalem, the church of God, year by year, that is, constantly:
and to keep the feast of tabernacles; not literally, but spiritually; for, as all the Jewish feasts have been long since abolished, having had their accomplishment in Christ, not one of them will ever be revived in the latter day. This feast was originally kept in commemoration of the Israelites dwelling in tents in the wilderness, and was typical of Christ's incarnation, who was made flesh, and tabernacled among us; so that to keep this feast is no other than to believe in Christ as come in the flesh, and in the faith of this to attend to the Gospel feast of the word and ordinances; and whereas this feast was observed by drawing water with expressions of joy, this may respect the pouring forth of the Spirit in the last day, and that spiritual joy saints will then be filled with; to which may be added, that palm tree branches used to be carried in their hands at the time of that feast; and so the keeping of it now may denote the victory that will be obtained over the beast and his image, which palm tree branches are a token of; and this will issue in the personal reign of Christ, when the tabernacle of God shall be with men.
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament
Conversion of the heathen. - Zechariah 14:16. "And it will come to pass, that every remnant of all the nations which came against Jerusalem will go up year by year to worship the King Jehovah of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles. Zechariah 14:17. And it will come to pass, that whoever of the families of the earth does not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King Jehovah of hosts, upon them there will be no rain. Zechariah 14:18. And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, then also not upon them; there will be (upon them) the plague with which Jehovah will plague all nations which do not go up to keep the feast of tabernacles. Zechariah 14:19. This will be the sin of Egypt, and the sin of all the nations, which do not go up to keep the feast of tabernacles." The heathen will not be all destroyed by the judgment; but a portion of them will be converted. This portion is called "the whole remnant of those who marched against Jerusalem" (בּוא על as in Zechariah 12:9). It will turn to the worship of the Lord. The construction in Zechariah 14:16 is anacolouthic: כּל־הנּותר, with its further definition, is placed at the head absolutely, whilst the predicate is attached in the form of an apodosis with ועלוּ. The entrance of the heathen into the kingdom of God is depicted under the figure of the festal journeys to the sanctuary of Jehovah, which had to be repeated year by year. Of the feasts which they will keep there every year (on מדּי, see Delitzsch on Isaiah 66:23), the feast of tabernacles is mentioned, not because it occurred in the autumn, and the autumn was the best time for travelling (Theod. Mops., Theodoret, Grot., Ros.), or because it was the greatest feast of rejoicing kept by the Jews, or for any other outward reason, but simply on account of its internal significance, which we must not seek for, however, as Koehler does, in its agrarian importance as a feast of thanksgiving for the termination of the harvest, and of the gathering in of the fruit; but rather in its historical allusion as a feast of thanksgiving for the gracious protection of Israel in its wanderings through the desert, and its introduction into the promised land with its abundance of glorious blessings, whereby it foreshadowed the blessedness to be enjoyed in the kingdom of God (see my bibl. Archologie, i. p. 414ff.). This feast will be kept by the heathen who have come to believe in the living God, to thank the Lord for His grace, that He has brought them out of the wanderings of this life into the blessedness of His kingdom of peace. With this view of the significance of the feast of tabernacles, it is also possible to harmonize the punishment threatened in Zechariah 14:17 for neglecting to keep this feast, - namely, that the rain will not be (come) upon the families of the nations which absent themselves from this feast. For rain is an individualizing expression denoting the blessing of God generally, and is mentioned here with reference to the fact, that without rain the fruits of the land, on the enjoyment of which our happiness depends, will not flourish. The meaning of the threat is, therefore, that those families which do not come to worship the Lord, will be punished by Him with the withdrawal of the blessings of His grace. The Egyptians are mentioned again, by way of example, as those upon whom the punishment will fall. So far as the construction of this verse is concerned, ולע באה is added to strengthen תעלה and לא עליהם contains the apodosis to the conditional clause introduced with אם, to which יהיה הגּשׁם is easily supplied from Zechariah 14:17. The positive clause which follows is then appended as an asyndeton: It (the fact that the rain does not come) will be the plague, etc. The prophet mentions Egypt especially, not because of the fact in natural history, that this land owes its fertility not to the rain, but to the overflowing of the Nile, - a notion which has given rise to the most forced interpretations; but as the nation which showed the greatest hostility to Jehovah and His people in the olden time, and for the purpose of showing that this nation was also to attain to a full participation in the blessings of salvation bestowed upon Israel (cf. Isaiah 19:19.). In Zechariah 14:19 this thought is rounded off by way of conclusion. זאת, this, namely the fact that no rain falls, will be the sin of Egypt, etc. חטּאת, the sin, including its consequences, or in its effects, as in Numbers 32:23, etc. Moreover, we must not infer from the way in which this is carried out in Zechariah 14:17-19, that at the time of the completion of the kingdom of God there will still be heathen, who will abstain from the worship of the true God; but the thought is simply this: there will then be no more room for heathenism within the sphere of the kingdom of God. To this there is appended the thought, in Zechariah 14:20, Zechariah 14:21, that everything unholy will then be removed from that kingdom.
Geneva Study Bible
And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
14:16 That is left - That escapes the stroke. To worship - By a ceremonial usage which shadowed out a better worship, the prophet foretells the constant zeal of the converted Gentiles to worship the Lord. The feast of tabernacles - One solemn festival is by a figure, put for all the days consecrated to God for holy worship.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
16. every one . left-(Isa 66:19, 23). God will conquer all the foes of the Church. Some He will destroy; others He will bring into willing subjection.
from year to year-literally, "from the sufficiency of a year in a year."
feast of tabernacles-The other two great yearly feasts, passover and pentecost, are not specified, because, their antitypes having come, the types are done away with. But the feast of tabernacles will be commemorative of the Jews' sojourn, not merely forty years in the wilderness, but for almost two thousand years of their dispersion. So it was kept on their return from the Babylonian dispersion (Ne 8:14-17). It was the feast on which Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:8); a pledge of His return to His capital to reign (compare Le 23:34, 39, 40, 42; Re 7:9; 21:3). A feast of peculiar joy (Ps 118:15; Ho 12:9). The feast on which Jesus gave the invitation to the living waters of salvation ("Hosanna," save us now, was the cry, Mt 21:9; compare Ps 118:25, 26) (Joh 7:2, 37). To the Gentiles, too, it will be significant of perfected salvation after past wanderings in a moral wilderness, as it originally commemorated the ingathering of the harvest. The seedtime of tears shall then have issued in the harvest of joy [Moore]. "All the nations" could not possibly in person go up to the feast, but they may do so by representatives.
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary
14:16-21 As it is impossible for all nations literally to come to Jerusalem once a year, to keep a feast, it is evident that a figurative meaning must here be applied. Gospel worship is represented by the keeping of the feast of tabernacles. Every day of a Christian's life is a day of the feast of tabernacles; every Lord's day especially is the great day of the feast; therefore every day let us worship the Lord of hosts, and keep every Lord's day with peculiar solemnity. It is just for God to withhold the blessings of grace from those who do not attend the means of grace. It is a sin that is its own punishment; those who forsake the duty, forfeit the privilege of communion with God. A time of complete peace and purity of the church will arrive. Men will carry on their common affairs, and their sacred services, upon the same holy principles of faith, love and obedience. Real holiness shall be more diffused, because there shall be a more plentiful pouring forth of the Spirit of holiness than ever before. There shall be holiness even in common things. Every action and every enjoyment of the believer, should be so regulated according to the will of God, that it may be directed to his glory. Our whole lives should be as one constant sacrifice, or act of devotion; no selfish motive should prevail in any of our actions. But how far is the Christian church from this state of purity! Other times, however, are at hand, and the Lord will reform and enlarge his church, as he has promised. Yet in heaven alone will perfect holiness and happiness be found.
Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary
Three things are here foretold:-
I. That a gospel-way of worship being set up in the church there shall be a great resort to it and a general attendance upon it. Those that were left of the enemies of religion shall be so sensible of the mercy of God to them in their narrow escape that they shall apply themselves to the worship of the God of Israel, and pay their homage to him, v. 16. Those that were not consumed shall be converted, and this makes their deliverance a mercy indeed, a double mercy. It is a great change that the grace of God makes upon them; those that had come against Jerusalem, finding their attempts vain and fruitless, shall become as much her admirers as ever they had been her adversaries, and shall come to Jerusalem to worship there, and go in concurrence with those whom they had gone contrary to. Note, As some of Christ's foes shall be made his footstool, so others of them shall be made his friends; and, when the principle of enmity is slain in them, their former acts of hostility are pardoned to them, and their services are admitted and accepted, as though they had never fought against Jerusalem. They shall go up to worship at Jerusalem, because that was the place which God had chosen, and there the temple was, which was a type of Christ and his mediation. Converting grace sets us right, 1. In the object of our worship. They shall no longer worship the Molochs and Baals, the kings and lords, that the Gentiles worship, the creatures of their own imagination, but the King, the Lord of hosts, the everlasting King, the King of kings, the sovereign Lord of all. 2. In the ordinances of worship, those which God himself has appointed. Gospel-worship is here represented by the keeping of the feast of tabernacles, for the sake of those two great graces which were in a special manner acted and signified in that feast-contempt of the world, and joy in God, Neh. 8:17. The life of a good Christian is a constant feast of tabernacles, and, in all acts of devotion, we must retire from the world and rejoice in the Lord, must worship as in that feast. 3. In the Mediator of our worship; we must go to Christ our temple with all our offerings, for in him only our spiritual sacrifices are acceptable to God, 1 Pt. 2:5. If we rest in ourselves, we come short of pleasing God; we must go up to him, and mention his righteousness only. 4. In the time of it; we must be constant. They shall go up from year to year, at the times appointed for this solemn feast. Every day of a Christian's life is a day of the feast of tabernacles, and every Lord's day especially (that is the great day of the feast); and therefore every day we must worship the Lord of hosts and every Lord's day with a peculiar solemnity.
II. That those who neglect the duties of gospel-worship shall be reckoned with for their neglect. God will compel them to come and worship before him, by suspending his favours from those that keep not his ordinances: Upon them there shall be no rain, v. 17. Some understand it figuratively; the rain of heavenly doctrine shall be withheld, and of the heavenly grace, which should accompany that doctrine. God will command the clouds that they rain no rain upon them. Note, It is a righteous thing with God to withhold the blessings of grace from those that do not attend the means of grace, to deny the green pastures to those that attend not the shepherd's tents. Or we may take it literally: On them there shall be no rain, to make their ground fruitful. Note, The gifts of common providence are justly denied to those that neglect and despise instituted ordinances. Those that neglected to build the temple were punished with the want of rain (Hag. 2:17), and so were those that neglected to attend there when it was built. If we be barren and unfruitful towards God, justly is the earth made so to us. Many are crossed, and go backward, in their affairs, and this is at the bottom of it-they do not keep close to the worship of God as they should; they go off from God, and then he walks contrary to them. If we omit or postpone the duties he expects from us, it is just with him to deny the favours we expect from him. But what shall be done to the defaulters of the land of Egypt, to whom the threatening of the want of rain is no threatening, for they have no rain at any time; they need none; they desire none; the river Nilus is to them instead of the clouds of heaven, waters their land, and makes it fruitful, so that what is a punishment to others is none to them? v. 18, 19. It is threatened that if the family of Egypt go not up, that have no rain, yet God will find out a way to meet with them, for there shall be, in effect, the same plague wherewith other nations are smitten for their neglect. God can, and often did, restrain the overflowing of the river, which was equivalent to the shutting up of the clouds; or if the river did its part, and rose as high as it used to do, God had other ways of bringing famine upon them, and destroying the fruits of their ground, as he did by several of the ten plagues of Egypt, so that this (that is, the same) shall be the punishment of Egypt that is the punishment of other nations who come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. Note, Those who think themselves least indebted to, and depending on, the mercy of heaven, cannot therefore think themselves guarded against the justice of Heaven. It does not follow that those who can live without rain can therefore live without God; for not the heavens only, but all other creatures, are that to us that God makes them to be, and no more; nor can any man's way of living enable him to set light by the judgments of God. This shall be the punishment-margin, This shall be the sin of Egypt, and the sin of all nations, that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles. The same word signifies both sin and the punishment of sin, so close and inseparable is the connexion between them (as Gen. 4:7), and sin is often its own punishment. Note, Omissions are sins, and we must come into judgment for them; those contract guilt that go not up to worship at the times appointed, as they have opportunity; and it is a sin that is its own punishment, for those who forsake the duty forfeit the privilege of communion with God.
III. That those who perform the duties of gospel-worship shall have grace to adorn their profession by the duties of a gospel-conversation too. This is promised (v. 20, 21), and it is necessary to the completing of the beauty and happiness of the church. In general, all shall be holiness to the Lord.
1. The name and character of holiness shall not be so confined as formerly. Holiness to the Lord had been written only upon the high priest's forehead, but now it shall not be so appropriated. All Christians shall be living temples, and spiritual priests, dedicated to the honour of God and employed in his service.
2. Real holiness shall be more diffused than it had been, because there shall be more powerful means of sanctification, more excellent rules, more cogent arguments, and brighter patterns of holiness, and because there shall be a more plentiful effusion of the Spirit of holiness and sanctification, after Christ's ascension than ever before.
(1.) There shall be holiness introduced into common things; and those things shall be devoted to God that seemed very foreign. [1.] The furniture of their horses shall be consecrated to God. "Upon the bells of the horses shall be engraven Holiness to the Lord, or upon the bridles of the horses (so the margin) or the trappings. The horses used in war shall no longer be used against God and his people, as they have been, but for him and them. Even their wars shall be holy wars, their troopers serving under God's banner. Their great men, who ride in state with a pompous retinue, shall reckon it their greatest ornament to honour God with their honours. Holiness to the Lord shall be written on the harness of their chariot-horses, as great men have sometimes their coat of arms with their motto painted on their coaches; every gentleman shall take the high priest's motto for his, and glory in it, and make it a memento to himself not to do any thing unworthy of it. Travellers shall have it upon their bridles, with which they guide their horses, as those who desire always to be put in mind of it, by having it continually before them, and to guide themselves in all their motions by this rule. The bells of the horses, which are designed to quicken them in their journey and to give notice of their approach, shall have Holiness to the Lord upon them," to signify that this is that which we ought to be influenced by ourselves, and make profession of to others, wherever we go. [2.] The furniture of their houses too shall be consecrated to God, to be employed in his service. First, The furniture of the priests' houses, or apartments adjoining to the house of the Lord. The common drinking cups they used shall be like the bowls before the altar, that were used either to receive the blood of the sacrifices or to present the wine and oil in, which were for the drink-offerings. The vessels which they used for their own tables shall be used in such a religious manner, with such sobriety and temperance, such devotedness to the glory of God, and such a mixture of pious thoughts and expressions, that their meals shall look like sacrifices; they shall eat and drink, not to themselves, but to him that spreads their tables and fills their cups. And thus, in ministers' families especially, should common actions be done after a godly sort, however they are done in other families. Secondly, The furniture of other houses, those of the common people: "Every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness to the Lord. The pots in which they boil their meat, the cups out of which they drink their wine (Jer. 35:5), in these God's good creatures shall never be abused to excess, nor that made the food and fuel of lust which should be oil to the wheels of obedience," as had formerly been, when all tables were full of vomit and filthiness, Isa. 28:8. "What they eat and drink out of these shall nourish their bodies for the service of God; and out of these they shall give liberally for the relief of the poor;" then are they Holiness to the Lord, as the merchandise and the hire of the converted Tyrians are said to be (Isa. 23:18); for both in our gettings and in our spendings we must have an eye to the will of God as our rule and the glory of God as our end. Thirdly, When there shall be such an abundance of real holiness people shall not be nice and curious about ceremonial holiness: "Those that sacrifice shall come and take of these common vessels, and seethe their sacrifices therein, making no distinction between them and the bowls before the altar." In gospel-times the true worshippers shall worship God in spirit and in truth, and neither in this mountain nor yet at Jerusalem, Jn. 4:21. One place shall be as acceptable to God as another (I will that men pray every where); and one vessel shall be as acceptable as another. Little regard shall be had to the circumstance, provided there be nothing indecent or disorderly, while the substance is religiously preserved and adhered to. Some think it intimates that there should be greater numbers of sacrifices offered than the vessels of the sanctuary would serve for; but, rather than any should be turned back or deferred. they shall make no difficulty at all of using common vessels, as the Levites in a case of necessity helped the priests to kill the sacrifices, 2 Chr. 29:34.
(2.) There shall be no unholiness introduced into their sacred things, to corrupt them: In that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. Some read it, There shall be no more the merchant, for so a Canaanite sometimes signifies; and they think it was fulfilled when Christ once and again drove the buyers and sellers out of the temple. Or though those that were Canaanites, strangers and foreigners, shall be brought into the house of the Lord, yet they shall cease to be Canaanites; they shall have nothing of the spirit or disposition of Canaanites in them. Or it intimates that though in gospel-times people should grow indifferent as to holy vessels, yet they should be very strict in church-discipline, and careful not to admit the profane to special ordinances, but to separate between the precious and the vile, between Israelites and Canaanites. Yet this will not have its full accomplishment short of the heavenly Jerusalem, that house of the Lord of hosts, into which no unclean thing shall enter; for at the end of time, and not before, Christ shall gather out of his kingdom every thing that offends, and the tares and wheat shall be perfectly and eternally separated.