O great mountain? - The hinderances which were thrown in the way; the regal prohibition to discontinue the building of the temple.
Before Zerubbabel - a plain - The sovereign power of God shall remove them. March on, Zerubbabel; all shall be made plain and smooth before thee. I have given thee the work to do, and I will remove all hinderances out of thy way.
He shall bring forth the headstone - As he has laid the foundation stone, so shall he put on the headstone: as he has begun the building, so shall he finish it!
With shoutings - The universal acclamation of the people.
Grace, grace unto it - How beautiful is this structure! May the favor of God ever rest upon it, and be manifested in it!
Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt be a plain - The words have the character of a sacred proverb; “Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased” Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14. Isaiah prophesies the victories of the Gospel in the same imagery, “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain” Isaiah 40:4. And in the New Testament Paul says, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. As it is the character of antichrist, that he “opposeth and exalteth himself above everything that is called God” 2 Thessalonians 2:4, so of Satan himself it had been said in the former vision, that he stood at the right hand of Joshua “to to resist him” Joshua 3:1.
So then the mountain symbolizes every resisting power; Satan and all his instruments, who, each in his turn, shall oppose himself anti be brought low. In the first instance, it was Sanballat and his companions, who opposed the rebuilding of the temple, on account of the “exclusiveness” of Zerubbabel and Joshua, because they would not make the temple the abode of a mixed worship of him whom they call your God and of their own idolatries. In all and each of his instruments, the persecuting emperors or the heretics, it was the one adversary. Cyril: “The words seem all but to rebuke the great mountain, that is, Satan, who riseth up and leadeth against Christ the power of his own stubbornness, who was figuratively spoken of before Joshua 3:1. For that as far as it was allowed and in him lay, he warred fiercely against the Saviour, no one would doubt, who considered how he approached Him when fasting in the wilderness, and seeing Him saving all below, willed to make Him his own worshiper, showing Him “all the kingdoms of the world,” saying that all should be His, if He “would fall down and worship him” Matthew 4:8-9. Then out of the very choir of the holy Apostles he snatched the traitor disciple, persuading him to became the instrument of the Jewish perverseness. He asks him, “Who art thou?” disparaging him and making him of no account, great as the mountain was and hard to withstand, and in the way of every one who would bring about such things for Christ, of whom, as we said, Zerubbabel was a type.”
And he shall bring forth the headstone - The foundation of the temple had long been laid. Humanly it still hung in the balance whether they would be permitted to complete it Isaiah 28:16. In the Psalm, the building hall been commenced; those who were building had disregarded and despised the stone, but “it became the head of the corner,” crowning and binding the work in one.
Both images together express, how Christ is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last; the Foundation of the spiritual building, the Church, and its summit and completion; the unseen Foundation which was laid deep in Calvary, and the Summit to which it grows and which holds it firm together. Whence Peter unites the two prophecies, and blends with them that other of Isaiah, that Christ would “be a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of people but chosen of God and precious, ye also are built up a spiritual house - Whence also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: unto you which believe He is precious, but unto them which be diobedient, the same stone which the builders refused is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence, to them which stumble at the word being disobedient” 1 Peter 2:4-7.
A Jew paraphrases this of the Messiah; Jonathan: “And He shall reveal His Messiah, whose name was spoken from the beginning, and he shall rule over all nations.”
With shoutings, grace, grace unto it - that is, all favor from God unto it, redoubled favors, grace upon grace. The completion of the building was but the commencement of the dispensation under it. It was the beginning not the end. They pray then for the continued and manifold grace of God, that He would carry on the work, which He had begun. Perseverance, by the grace of God, crowns the life of the Christian; our Lord‘s abiding presence in grace with His Church unto the end of the world, is the witness that He who founded her upholds her in being.
Human power did not establish the work of God, neither can human power destroy it. To those who carry forward His work in face of difficulty and opposition, God will give the constant guidance and guardianship of His holy angels. His work on earth will never cease. The building of His spiritual temple will be carried forward until it shall stand complete, and the headstone shall be brought forth with shoutings: “Grace, grace unto it.” 7T 170.1
The Christian is to be a benefit to others. Thus he himself is benefited. “He that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Proverbs 11:25. This is a law of the divine administration, a law by which God designs that the streams of beneficence shall be kept, like the waters of the great deep, in constant circulation, perpetually returning to their source. In the fulfilling of this law is the power of Christian missions. 7T 170.2Read in context »
The law and the gospel go hand in hand. The one is the complement of the other. The law without faith in the gospel of Christ cannot save the transgressor of law. The gospel without the law is inefficient and powerless. The law and the gospel are a perfect whole. The Lord Jesus laid the foundation of the building, and He lays “the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.” Zechariah 4:7. He is the author and finisher of our faith, the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. The two blended—the gospel of Christ and the law of God—produce the love and faith unfeigned. OHC 141.4Read in context »
It has been shown me that the experience recorded in the third chapter of Zechariah is now being acted over, and will continue to be while men, making profession of cleanness, refuse to humble the heart and confess their sins (Letter 360, 1906). 4BC 1179.1Read in context »