Then he answered, and spake unto me, saying
In great condescension, in order to instruct him into the true meaning of the vision: This [is] the word of the Lord unto Zerubbabel;
this signifies what was said by the Lord to Zerubbabel, by some one of the prophets sent unto him: saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the
Lord of hosts:
that is, that as the candlestick was supplied with oil, from the two olive trees by the side of it, without the help of any man, to pour in the oil, and trim the lamps; so the temple should be built by Zerubbabel, not through the multitude and strength of men, but through the Spirit of God, animating, exciting, encouraging, and strengthening them to go through the work. The temple was a type of the church, and Zerubbabel a type of Christ; he was so in the high esteem he was had in by the Lord; he was chosen by him; made as a signet, and was precious to him, ( Haggai 2:23 ) in his titles and characters, a servant of the Lord, and governor of Judah, ( Haggai 1:1 ) ( 2:23 ) and in his work, in bringing the Jews out of captivity, and in rebuilding the temple: so Christ is the chosen of God, and exceeding dear and precious to him; is his righteous servant, and Governor of the church, or King of saints; and who has redeemed and delivered his people from the captivity of sin, and Satan, and the law; and is the builder of his church; who has laid the foundation of it, and will bring in the headstone; and which church is built up in all generations through the conversion of sinners; and that is done, not by external force, by carnal weapons, or moral persuasion; but by the sword of the Spirit, the word of God; and not by the power of man's free will, but by the efficacious grace of the divine Spirit: it is indeed done by power and might, but not of the creature: man, whatever power he has to do things natural, civil, outwardly religions, and materially moral, or however in appearance, has no power to do anything spiritually good; not to think a good thought, nor do a good action, in a spiritual manner; much less to work such a work as the work of regeneration, conversion, and sanctification; since he is dead in sin, and can not quicken himself; his understanding is darkened, yea, darkness itself, and he can not command light into it; his will is stubborn and obstinate, and he can not bend it, and subdue it; his heart is hard as a nether millstone, and he cannot soften it, and repent of his sins, in a truly spiritual, gracious, anti-evangelic manner; his affections are inordinate; and he is a lover of sinful pleasures, and not of God, nor of anything divine, to which his carnal mind is enmity; he cannot believe in Christ of himself; faith is not of himself, it is the gift of God, and so is repentance, and every other grace. The work of grace on the soul is expressed by a regeneration, a resurrection from the dead, a creation, and the new man, or a transformation of a man into another man; all which require almighty power to effect: regeneration is not of the will of man, nor of the will of the flesh, but of God, of Jehovah the Spirit: sanctification is called the sanctification of the Spirit, and every grace of it is a fruit of his; it is he who is the Spirit of life from Christ, that quickens men when dead in trespasses and sins, and enlightens their dark minds with spiritual light, in divine things; it is he that produces evangelical repentance in them, and faith in Christ is of his operation; it is he that begins the work of grace on the heart, and carries it on, and causes to abound in the exercise of every grace, and performs the work of faith with power. The Targum, instead of "by my Spirit", renders it "by my Word".