Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Zechariah 14:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

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.
  • The feast of pentecost, in commemoration of the giving of the law upon Mount Sinai.
  • 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.

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole 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.”

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    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.