Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, , at sacred-texts.com
Behold, four chariots going forth - Alb.: "By the secret disposal of God into the theater of the world," "from between two mountains of brass." Both Jews and Christians have seen that the four chariots relate to the same four empires, as the visions in Daniel.
"The two mountains." It may be that the imagery is from the two mountains on either side of the valley of Jehoshaphat, which Joel had spoken of as the place of God's judgment, Joe 3:2, and Zechariah afterward Zac 14:4. It may then picture that the judgments go forth from God. Anyhow the powers, symbolized by the four chariots, are pictured as closed in on either side by these mountains, strong as brass, unsurmountable, undecaying, (Ribera), "that they should not go forth to other lands to conquer, until the time should come, fixed by the counsels of God, when the gates should be opened for their going forth." The mountains of brass may signify the height of the Divine Wisdom ordering this, and the sublimity of the power which putteth them in operation; as the Psalmist says, "Thy righteousnesses are like the mountains of God" Psa 36:6.
The symbol is different from that in the first vision. There Zac 1:8, they were horses only, with their riders, to go to and fro to enquire; here they are war-chariots with their horses, to execute God's judgments, each in their turn. In the first vision also, there is not the characteristic fourfold division, which reminds of the four world-empires of Daniel Dan. 2; after which, in both prophets, is the mention of the kingdom of Christ. Even if the grisled horses be the same as the speckled of the first vision, the black horses are wanting there, as well as the succession, in which they go forth. The only resemblance is, that there are horses of divers colors, two of which, red and white, are the same. The symbol of the fourth empire, grizzled, strong, remarkably corresponds with the strength and mingled character of the fourth empire in Daniel.
These are the four spirits of the heavens - They cannot be literal winds: for spirits, not winds, stand before God, as His servants, as in Job, "the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord" (Job 1:6; Job 2:1. This they did, (Jerome), "for these four kingdoms did nothing without the will of God." Zechariah sums up in one, what former prophets had said separately of the Assyrian, the Babylonian, Egyptian, Persian. "O Assyria, the rod of Mine anger - I will send him against an ungodly nation, and against the people of My wrath I will give him a charge" Isa 10:5. "I will send and take all the families of the north, and Nebuchadrezzar, the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land" Jer 25:9. "The Lord shall hiss for the fly, that is in the uttermost part of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria, and they shall come, and shall rest, all of them, in the desolate valleys" Isa 7:18-19. "I will call all the families of the kingdoms of the north, saith the Lord; and they shall come, and shall set every one his throne at the entering of the gates of Jerusalem" Jer 1:15. Whatever the human impulse or the human means, all stand before the Lord of the whole earth, ministering to His will whose are all things, the Judge of all, who withholdeth the chastisement till the iniquity is full, and then, through man's injustice, executes His own just judgment. Osorius: "He says that they went forth from where they had stood before the Lord of the whole earth, to show that their power had been obtained by the counsel of God, that they might serve His will. For no empire was ever set up on earth without the mind, counsel and power of God. He exalts the humble and obscure, He prostrates the lofty, who trust overmuch in themselves, arms one against the other, so that no fraud or pride shall be without punishment."
The black horses which are therein go forth - Literally, "That chariot wherein the black horses are, these go forth." Jerome: "Most suitably is the first chariot, wherein the red homes were, passed over, and what the second, third, fourth did is described. For when the prophet related this, the Babylonian empire had passed, and the power of the Medes possessed all Asia." Red, as the color of blood, represented Babylon as sanguinary; as it is said in the Revelation, "There went out another horse, red, and power was given to him that sat thereon, to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another, and there was given him a sharp sword" Rev 6:4. "The black" were to go forth to the north country, the ancient title of Babylon. For Babylon, though taken, was far from being broken. They had probably been betrayed through the weakness of their king's. Their resistance, in the first carefully prepared (Herodotus, iii. 150) revolt against Darius, was more courageous than that against Cyrus: and more desperate .
Since probably more Jews remained in it, than returned to their own country, what was to befall it had a special interest for them. They had already been warned in the third vision Zac 2:7 to escape from it. The color black doubtless symbolizes the heavy lot, inflicted by the Medo-Persians; as in the Revelation it is said, "the sun became black as sackcloth of hair" Rev 6:12; and to the beast in Daniel's vision which corresponded with it, it was said, "Arise, devour much flesh" Dan 7:5; and in the Revelation, "he that sat on the black horse" Rev 6:5-6 was the angel charged with the infliction of famine. Of the Medes, Isaiah had said, "I will stir up the Medes against them (Babylon), which shall not regard silver; and gold, they shall not delight in it. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children" Isa 13:17-18.
The white went forth after them - For the Greek empire occupied the same portion of the earth as the Persian. White is a symbol of joy, gladness Ecc 9:8, victory Rev 6:2, perhaps also, from its relation to light, of acute intelligence. It may relate too to the benevolence of Alexander to the Jewish nation. "Alexander used such clemency to the conquered, that it seemed as though he might be called rather the founder than the destroyer of the nations whom he subdued."
And the grizzled - The Romans in their mingled character, so prominent in the fourth empire of Daniel, "go forth" Dan 2:41-43 to the south country, that is, Egypt; as Daniel speaks of "the ships of Chittim" Dan 11:30 and the intervention of the Romans first in regard to the expulsion of Antiochus Epiphanes from Egypt; in Egypt also, the last enduring kingdom of any successor of Alexander, that of the Ptolemies, expired. "30 years afterward, the Son of God was to bring light to the earth. The prophet so interweaves the prediction, that from the series of the four kingdoms it is brought to the Birth of the Eternal King" .
And the strong went forth and sought to go, that they might walk to and fro through the earth - The mention of their strength corresponds to the extent of the power and commission, for which they asked, to go to and fro, up and down, at their will, unhindered, through the whole earth. The Babylonian empire held Egypt only out of Asia; the Persian was conquered in its efforts against Europe, in Greece; Alexander's was like a meteor, gleaming but breaking into the four: the Roman combined East and West and within large limits tranquilly.
And he said go, walk to and fro in the earth - He commanded, and they, which were before withheld, went, "and they walked to and fro on the earth," ordering all things at their will, under the Providence of God, whereby He gave free access to the Gospel in all their wide empire. The Greek empire being extinguished, the Romans no longer went into any given country, but superintended and governed all human things in (it is the language of the New Testament) "all the world." Cyril: "These same, the dappled and ashen-grey horses were commanded to traverse the earth, and they did traverse it; for they mastered all under heaven, and ruled the whole earth, God consenting and arraying those who swayed the Roman might with this brilliant glory. For, as God, He knew beforehand the greatness of their future piety."
Then God, or the Angel of the Lord - who speaks of what belonged to God alone, "called me" (probably "loudly" Jdg 4:10, Jdg 4:13; Sa2 20:4-5), so as to command his attention to this which most immediately concerned his people.
These have quieted My spirit in the north country - Or rather, "have made My anger to rest" on, that is, have carried it thither and deposited it there, made it to rest upon them, as its abode, as John saith of the unbelieving, "The wrath of God abideth on him" Joh 3:36. Babylon had been the final antagonist and subduer of the people of God. It had at the outset destroyed the temple of God, and carried off its vessels to adorn idol-temples. Its empire closed on that night when it triumphed over God , using the vessels dedicated to Him, to the glorifying of their idols. "In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldaeans slain." This final execution of God's anger upon that their destroyer was the earnest of the rest to them; and in this the visions pause.
And the word of the Lord came to me - The visions being closed, Zechariah marks the change by adopting the usual formula, with which the prophets authenticated, that they spake not of themselves, but by the Spirit of God. The act enjoined is a symbolic act, pointing and summing up and interpreting the visions, as some of the visions had been already expanded by fresh revelations following immediately upon them.
Take of the captivity - Of that which they had brought with them. "The captivity" was, in Jeremiah ), and Ezekiel Eze 1:2; Eze 3:11, Eze 3:15; Eze 11:24-25, the title of those who had been actually carried captive and were at that moment in captivity. Ezra continues it of those who had been in captivity, though now returned from exile. Yet not without a reference to the circumstances or causes of that captivity. It is the "captivity" Ezr 1:11 which Sheshbazzar brings from Babylon, or Ezra subsequently; the "children of the captivity" Ezr 8:35, who set themselves to build the temple of God Ezr 4:1; who dedicated it and kept the passover . The title is used apparently as an aggravation of sin, like that which had been chastened by that captivity. Here, the term seems to imply some blame, that they remained of their own accord in this state of severance from the altar, where alone special worship of God and sacrifice could be offered. They had been removed against their will; yet, as Christians often do, acquiesced in the loss, rather than forego their temporal advantages. Still they wished to take part in the work of restoring the public worship, and so sent these men, with their contribution of gold and silver, to their brethren, who had returned; as, in the first times of the Gospel, the Christians everywhere made collections for the poor saints, who dwelt in Jerusalem. And this their imperfect zeal was instantly accepted.
And go thyself - To make the act more impressive, "on that same day," as matter of urgency, "and thou shalt come to the house of Josiah son of Zephaniah, whither they have come from Babylon" . The exiles who had brought presents for the building of the temple, lodged, it seems, in the house of Josiah, whether they doubted or no that their presents would be accepted, since they chose Babylon, not Jerusalem for their abode. This acceptance of their gifts symbolized the incoming of those from afar. It is remarkable that all five names express a relation to God. "Tobiah" in Neh 2:10; Neh 6:1; 3) the Tobias here and 14; 4) Tobit and Tobias in his book), "The Lord is my good;" "Yedaiah," "God knoweth" or "careth for;" Josiah, "The Lord supporteth" ; "Zephaniah," "The Lord hideth," and perhaps "Cheldai," "The Lord's world" . They had taken religious instead of worldly names. Probably Zechariah was first to accept the offerings from the three exiles, and then to take the actual gold from the house of Josiah whither they had brought it. The pilgrims from Babylon and their host are included in one common blessing.
And make crowns - Or a "crown" , as in Job, "I would bind it as a crown unto me," and our Lord is seen in the Revelation, "on His Head were many crowns" . The singular is used of "a royal crown" , apparently of a festive crown ; and figuratively; (Job 19:9, (plur. Job 31:36) Pro 4:9; Pro 12:4; Pro 14:24; Pro 16:31. Pro 17:6); even of Almighty God Himself as a crown ; but no where of the mitre of the high priest.
The characteristic of the act is, that "the crown" or crowns (it is not in the context said, which) were placed on the head of the one high priest, Joshua; "and thou shall place" (it or them, it is not said which) "upon the head of Joshua son of Josedech the high priest, and shalt say unto him." If crowns were made of each material, there were two crowns. But this is not said, and the silver might have formed a circlet in the crown of gold, as, in modern times, the iron crown of Lombardy, was called iron, because it had "a plate of iron in its summit, being else of gold and most precious" . In any case the symbolical act was completed by the placing of a royal crown upon the head of the high priest. This, in itself, represented that He, whom he and all other priests represented, would be also our King. It is all one then, whether the word designate one single crown, so entitled for its greatness, or one united royal crown, that is, one crown uniting many crowns, symbolizing the many kingdoms of the earth, over which our High Priest and King should rule.
Either symbol, of separate crowns "the golden at Rome." Du Cang. Otto of Frisingen said that Frederic received 5 crowns; the first at Aix for the kingdom of the Franks; a second at Ratisban for that of Germany; a third at Pavia for the kingdom of Lombardy; the fourth at Rome for the Roman empire from Adrian iv; the fifth of Monza for the kingdom of Italy." In our own memory, Napoleon I. having been crowned in France, was crowned with the iron crown at Monza), or an united crown , has been used in the same meaning, to symbolize as many empires, as there were crowns.
On Zerubbabel no crown was placed. It would have been confusing; a seeming restoration of the kingdom, when it was not to be restored; an encouragement of the temporal hopes, which were the bane of Israel. God had foretold, that none of the race of Jehoiakim should prosper, "sitting on the throne of David, or ruling any more in Israel." Nehemiah rejects the imputation of Sanballat, "Thou hast also appointed prophets to preach of thee at Jerusalem," There is "a king in Judah." He answers, "There are no such things done as thou sayest; and thou feignest them out of thine own heart" Neh 6:6-8. But Isaiah had foretold much of the king who should reign: Zechariah, by placing the royal crown on the head of Joshua, foreshowed that the kingdom was not to be of this world. The royal crown had been taken away in the time of Zedekiah, "Thus saith the Lord God, Remove the diadem and take away the crown; this shall not be this; exalt the low and abase the high; an overthrow, overthrow, overthrow will I make it; this too is not; until he come whose the right is, and I will give it" (Eze 21:31-32 (Eze 21:26-27 in English)).
But the Messiah, it was foretold, was to be both priest and king; "a priest after the order of Melchizedec" Psa 110:4, and a king, set by the Lord "upon His holy hill of Zion" Psa 2:6. The act of placing the crown on the head of Joshua the high priest, pictured not only the union of the offices of priest and king in the person of Christ, but that He should be King, being first our High Priest. Joshua was already high priest; being such, the kingly crown was added to him. It says in act, what Paul says, that "Christ Jesus, being found in fashion as a man, humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him" Phi 2:8-9.
The prophet is taught to explain his own symbolic act. "Behold the Man whose name is the Branch" . "Not for himself, but for Christ, whose name Joshua bare, and whose Priesthood and Princedom he represented," was the crown given him. The prophet had already foretold the Messiah, under the name of the Branch. Here he adds,
And he shall grow up out of His place - Lowly and of no seeming account, as God foretold by Jeremiah, "I will cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David" Jer 33:15; and Jesus Himself said, "Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit" Joh 12:24. Alone He grew up before God, as a tender plant Isa 53:2, unknown of man, known to God. It is that still, Divine Life at Nazareth, of which we see only that one bright flash in the temple, the deep saying, not understood even by Joseph and Mary, and then, "He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject unto them" (see Luk 2:49-51).
And he shall build the temple of the Lord - The material temple was soon to be finished, and that by Zerubbabel, to whom this had been promised, Zac 4:10, not by Joshua. It was then a new temple, to be built from the foundation, of which He Himself was to be "the foundation" Isa 28:16; Co1 3:11; Eph 2:20-21, as He said, "On this rock I will build My Church" Mat 16:18; and in Him "all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple to the Lord" Eph 2:21. Osorius: "He it is, who built the house; for neither Solomon nor Zerubbabel nor Joshua son of Josedech could build a house worthy of the majesty of God. For "the Most High" Act 7:48-49, Stephen says, "dwelleth not in temples made with hands, as saith the prophet; Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool; what house will ye build Me, saith the Lord?" For if they could have built a house for God, He would not have allowed His house to be burned and overthrown. What then is the house of God which Christ built? The Church, founded on faith in Him, dedicated by His Blood, stablished by the stayedness of divine virtue, adorned with divine and eternal riches, wherein the Lord ever dwelleth."
Even He - Literally, "He Himself." The repetition shows that it is a great thing, which he affirms; "and He," again emphatic, "He," the same who shall build the temple of the Lord, "He shall bear the glory." Great must be the glory, since it is affirmed of Him as of none beside, "He shall bear glory," "He should build the temple of the Lord," as none beside ever built it; He should bear glory, as none beside ever bare it, "the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth" Joh 1:14. This word glory is almost always used of the special glory of God, and then, although seldom, of the Majesty of those, on whom God confers majesty as His representatives, as Moses, or Joshua Num 27:20, or "the glory of the kingdom" given to Solomon Ch1 29:25. It is used also of Him, a likeness of whom these vicegerents of God bare, in a Psalm whose language belongs (as Jews too have seen,) to One more than man , although also of glory given by God, either of grace or nature .
So in our Lord's great High Priest's prayer lie says, "Father, glorify Thou Me with Thine ownself with the glory which I had with Thee before the world was" Joh 17:5; and prays, "that they also whom Thou hast given Me, be with Me, where I am; that they may behold My glory which Thou hast given Me" Joh 17:24. So Paul, applying the words of the eighth Psalm, says of our Lord, "We see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, crowned with glory and horror" Heb 2:9; and the angels and saints round the Throne say, "Worthy is the Lamb which was slain to receive power and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessing, and those on earth answer, Blessing and honor and glory and power be unto Him that sitteth upon the Throne and unto the Lamb forever and ever" Rev 5:12-13. That glory Isaiah saw; in His miracles He "manifested forth His glory" Joh 12:41, "which resided in Him" Joh 2:11; in His Transfiguration, the three Apostles "saw His glory" Luk 9:32, shining out from within Him; "into this His glory" (Luk 24:26; add Pe1 1:11-12), He told the disciples at Emmaus, the prophets said, that He was to enter, having first suffered what He suffered; in this His glory He is to sit, when He judges. "And He shall sit and rule on His Throne" Mat 19:28; Luk 9:26. His rule shall be, not passing but abiding, not by human might, but in peaceful majesty, as God says, "Yet have I set My king upon My holy bill of Zion" Psa 2:6, and again, Sit Thou on My Right Hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool" Psa 110:1; and the angel said to Mary, "The Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David, and He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there shall be no end" Luk 1:32-33.
And He shall be a priest upon His Throne - He shall be at once king and priest, as it is said, "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedec." When the Christ should reign, He should not cease to be our Priest. He, having all power given to Him in heaven and earth, reigneth over His Church and His elect by His grace, and over the world by His power, yet ever liveth to make intercession for us. Rup.: "Not dwellings now on what is chiefest, that "by Him were all things created that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invincible, whether they be thrones or dominions or principalities or powers; all things were created by Him and for Him, and He is before all things, and by Him all things consist" Col 1:16-17, how many crowns of glory belong to Him, One and the Same, God and man, Christ Jesus! He then "will bear glory and will sit upon His throne and shall be a priest on His throne."
How just this is, it is easier to think than to express, that "He should sit and rule all things, by whom all things were wade, and He should be a Priest forever," by whose Blood all things are reconciled. "He shall rule then upon His throne, and He shall be a priest upon His throne," which cannot be said of any of the saints, because it is the right of none of them, to call the throne of his rule or of his priesthood his own, but of this Only Lord and Priest, whose majesty and throne are one and the same with the Majesty of God, as He saith, "When the Son of Man shall come in His Majesty (Glory), then shall He sit upon the throne of His Majesty (Glory)" Mat 25:31. And what meaneth that re-duplication, and He shall rule on His Throne, but that One and the Same, of whom all this is said, should be and is King and Priest. He who is King shall rule on His Throne, because kingdom and priesthood shall meet in One Person, and One shall occupy the double throne of kingdom and priesthood." He alone should be our King; He alone our Saviour: He alone the Object of our love, obedience and adoration.
And the counsel of peace shall be between them both - "The counsel of peace" is not merely peace, as Jerome seems to interpret: "He is both king and priest, and shall sit both on the royal and sacerdotal throne, and there shall be peaceful counsel between both, so that neither should the royal eminence depress the dignity of the priesthood, nor the dignity of the priesthood, the royal eminency, but both should be consistent in the glory of the One Lord Jesus." For had this been all, the simple idiom, "there shall be peace between them," would have been used here, as elsewhere (Jdg 4:17; Sa1 7:14; Kg1 5:16 (12 English)). But "counsel of peace," must, according to the like idioms, signify "a counsel devising or procuring peace" for some other than those who counsel thereon. We have the idiom itself, "counsellors of peace" Pro 12:20.
They twain - Might be said of things : but things are naturally not said to counsel, so that the meaning should be, that the thrones of the priests and of the Branch should counsel. For the throne is in each case merely subordinate. It is not as we might say, "the See of Rome," or "of Constantinople," or "of Canterbury," meaning the successive Bishops. It is simply the material throne, on which He sits. Nor is anything said of any throne of a priest, nor had a priest any throne. His office was to stand "before the Lord," his intercessorial office to "offer gifts and sacrifices for sin" Heb 5:1; Heb 9:9. To "offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins and then for the people's" Heb 7:27, was his special office and honor.
There are then not two thrones. One sits on His Throne, as King and Priest. It seems only to remain, that the counsel of peace should be between Jesus and the Father; as Jerome says, "I read in the book of some, that this, "there shall be a peaceful counsel between the two," is referred to the Father and the Son, because He "came to do not His own will, but the Will of the Father" Joh 5:30; Joh 6:38, and "the Father is in the Son, and the Son in the Father" Joh 14:10. In Christ all is perfect harmony. There is a counsel of peace between Him and the Father whose temple He builds. The Will of the Father and the Son is one. Both had one Will of love toward us, the salvation of the world, bringing forth peace through our redemption. God the Father "so loved the world, that He gave His Only-Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life" Joh 3:16; and God the Son "is our peace, who hath made both one, that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross, and came and preached peace to them which were afar off and to them that were nigh" Eph 2:14, Eph 2:16-17.
Others seem to me less naturally to interpret it of Christ in His two offices. Rup.: "There shall be the counsel of peace between them, the ruler and the priest, not that Christ is divided, but that those two princedoms, which were hitherto divided, (the priest and the king being different persons) should be united in the One Christ. Between these two princedoms, being inseparably joined in one, shall be the counsel of peace, because through that union we have peace; and through Him "it pleased the Father to reconcile all things unto Himself, and that all things should be brought to peace through the Blood of His cross, whether things in earth or things in heaven" Col 1:19-20.
And the crowns shall be to Helem - There is no ground apparent to us, why the name "Helem" appears instead of "Holdai" , or "Hen" for "Josiah:" yet the same person must have been called both Hen and Josiah, since the father's name is the same in both places. They cannot both be intended as explanations of the former names, since Helem stands insulated in Hebrew, its meaning conjectural. Perhaps then they were the own names of the individuals, and the names compounded with the name of God, honorable names which they had taken.
For a memorial in the temple of the Lord - They brought a passing gift, but it should be for a lasting memorial in their behalf. It is a renewal of the well-known term of the law. The two stones, engraven with the names of the children of Israel, upon the shoulders of the Ephod, were to the end, that Aaron should "bear their names before the Lord upon his two shoulders for a memorial" Exo 28:12, Exo 28:22; Exo 39:7; continually, it is added of the "breastplate with its twelve precious stones Exo 28:29; the atonement money of the children of Israel was to be appointed for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, that it may be a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord, to make atonement for their souls; "to make an atonement for their souls before the Lord" Exo 30:16. They were to "blow with the trumpets over their burnt-offerings, and over the sacrifice of their peace-offerings, that they may be to you for a memorial before your God" Num 10:10.
When Midian had been smitten before Israel, and not one of Israel had been slain, they brought all the gold which had accrued to them, and "Moses and Eleazar took the gold, and brought it into the tabernacle, a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord" Num 31:50, Num 31:54. So the angel said to Cornelius, "thy prayers and thy alms are come up for a memorial before God" Act 10:4, Act 10:31. Rup.: "This is what we look for, that to all the saints and friends of God, whom these signify, those crowns which they made of their gold and silver for the Lord Jesus, shall be an everlasting memorial in that heavenly temple of the Lord." The tradition of the Jews, that this was literally, observed , can hardly be without foundation. Cyril: "These their offerings shall be for grace to those who dedicated them and an occasion of doxology. For the piety of princes becomes to the rest a path to the love of God. But when Christ is crowned by us, then shall also the multitude of the Gentiles haste to the knowledge of Him."
And they who are far off shall come - They who came from Babylon with offerings to God, became types of the Gentiles, of whom the Apostle says, "Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off have become nigh through the blood of Christ" Eph 2:13; and, "He came and preached peace to you which were far off and to them that were nigh" Eph 2:17; and "the promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call" Act 2:39.
And build in - or upon, the temple of the Lord (Neh 4:4, Neh 4:11 (Neh 4:10, Neh 4:17 in English).) Not "build it" for it was to be built by "the Branch," but "build on," labor on, it. It was a building, which should continually be enlarged; of which Paul says, "I, as a wise master-builder, according to the grace given unto me, laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon; let every man take heed how, he buildeth thereupon" Co1 3:10. Cyril: "What shall they build? Themselves, compacting themselves with the saints, and joining together in faith to oneness with those of Israel, Jesus Christ Himself being the head cornerstone and uniting together in harmony through Himself, what was of old divided. For He united "the two peoples into one new man, making peace, and reconciling in His own body all things unto the Father" Eph 2:15-16, which being accomplished, we shall own the truth of the holy prophets, and know clearly that it was God who spake in them and declared to us beforehand the mystery of Christ."
And this shall be - Not as though the coming of Christ depended upon their faithfulness, but their share in it. "Ye shall know (he had said) that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you;" but whether this knowledge should reach to individuals, depends upon their obedience and their willingness to know; "it shall be, , if ye will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God. For none of the wicked," Daniel says, "shall understand" Dan 12:10; and Hosea, "Who is wise, and he shall understand these things? prudent, and he shall know them? For the ways of the Lord are right, and the just shall walk in them and the transgressors shall stumble at them" ; and the wise man, "he that keepeth the law of the Lord getteth the understanding thereof" (Ecclesiasticus 21:11). So our Lord said, "If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of Myself" Joh 7:17; "He that is of God heareth God's words: ye therefore hear them not because ye are not of God: Joh 8:47 : Everyone that is of the truth heareth My voice" Joh 18:37. Osorius: "Because he had said, And ye shall know that the Lord hath sent me unto you, he warns them, that the fruit of that coming will reach to those only, who should hear God and with ardent mind join themselves to His name. For as many as believed in Him were made sons of God; but the rest were cast into outer darkness. But they receive Christ, who hear His voice and do not refuse His rule. For He was made the cause of eternal salvation to tell who obey Him."