The sufferings of Jerusalem. (1-7) Encouraging prospects, and the destruction of her enemies. (8-15) The holiness of the latter days. (16-21)
Verses 1-7 The Lord Jesus often stood upon the Mount of Olives when on earth. He ascended from thence to heaven, and then desolations and distresses came upon the Jewish nation. Such is the view taken of this figuratively; but many consider it as a notice of events yet unfulfilled, and that it relates to troubles of which we cannot now form a full idea. Every believer, being related to God as his God, may triumph in the expectation of Christ's coming in power, and speak of it with pleasure. During a long season, the state of the church would be deformed by sin; there would be a mixture of truth and error, of happiness and misery. Such is the experience of God's people, a mingled state of grace and corruption. But, when the season is at the worst, and most unpromising, the Lord will turn darkness into light; deliverance comes when God's people have done looking for it.
Verses 8-15 Some consider that the progress of the gospel, beginning from Jerusalem, is referred to by the living waters flowing from that city. Neither shall the gospel and means of grace, nor the graces of the Spirit wrought in the hearts of believers by those means, ever fail, by reason either of the heat of persecution, or storms of temptation, or the blasts of any other affliction. Tremendous judgments appear to be foretold, to be sent upon those who should oppose the settlement of the Jews in their own land. How far they are to be understood literally, events alone can determine. The furious rage and malice which stir up men against each other, are faint shadows of the enmity which reigns among those who have perished in their sins. Even the inferior creatures often suffer for the sin of man, and in his plagues. Thus God will show his displeasure against sin.
Verses 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.
This chapter treats of the coming of Christ with all his saints, and his personal appearance among them; and of the signs of the times before that; and of what shall befall the enemies of the church, both open and secret; and of the happy state and condition of the church itself. First there will be a time of great affliction to the people of God, Zec 14:1,2, when the Lord will appear and fight for them, and will appear to them, and with them, Zec 14:3-5 but before this time it will be an uncommon season, neither day nor night; at the close of which, light will break forth, Zec 14:6,7 the Gospel will be spread far and near, attended with the Spirit and grace of God in great plenty, Zec 14:8 which will bring on the spiritual reign of Christ over all the earth, Zec 14:9 particularly the land of Judea, and the city of Jerusalem, shall be inhabited by men with safety, Zec 14:10,11 and all those that oppose and fight against the Lord's people shall be destroyed, partly by an immediate plague from the Lord upon them, and partly by the hands of one another, and also by the saints of the most High; and the plague shall not only be upon their persons, but upon their cattle likewise, Zec 14:12-16 and as for those that profess the Christian name, and yet neglect or refuse to worship the Lord in a spiritual and evangelical manner, there shall be no rain upon them, Zec 14:17-19 and as for the church and people of God, there shall be universal holiness among them, and not a single Canaanite to be found in the midst of them, Zec 14:20,21.