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EZRA CELEBRATES THE PASSOVER.
A very remarkable passage, in reference to this celebration of the passover, is found in Justin Martyr's conference with Trypho the Jew. He speaks of Ezra as on this occasion expounding the mystery of the passover, in words which some suppose stood in Ezra vi., between verses 20 and 21, but were early struck out by the Jews; others place them later in the book. It is as follows: :-" And Ezra said to the people, This passover is our Saviour and our Refuge; and if ye shall understand and ponder it in your hearts, that we are about to humble them in this sign, and afterwards shall believe on him, then this place shall not be made desolate for ever, saith the Lord of hosts. But if ye will not believe on him, nor hear his preaching, ye shall be a laughing stock to the Gentiles."
This passage is remarkable, and was considered genuine by the early Christian father who cites it; but as it is not found in any copies of the Greek versions, we may conclude that it had crept into some early Greek Bibles from a marginal addition, rather than that it was ever found in any part of the inspired sacred text, and then was left out by the Jews after the time of Christ. Nor do we need any such addition to the Bible; it is for us to take it as we find it, assured that all things requisite for our instruction are contained therein. God will not suffer any word that is needful for the salvation of his people to
Whether any direct reference to the Saviour was expressed by Ezra or not, we need not doubt that the view taken in Psalm cxlvi. was set forth by him. We may here give it as paraphrased;
True to his everlasting word,
He loves the injured to redress;
THE LATTER PROPHECIES
The Lord thy God, O Zion, reigns
Supreme in mercy as in power;
Too short to utter all his love.
The concluding chapters of Zechariah, also, imply that especial reference to the promised Saviour was made about this period, and that the spiritual character of the Messiah was impressed upon the Jews. Read Zech. ix. 9, so literally fulfilled by our Lord Jesus Christ when upon earth.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion;
Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh
Take the words which follow, verses 11, 12, which have afforded the text of many a sermon, in which the full and free offers of the gospel, have been urged upon souls sighing for deliverance from the hard and bitter bondage of sin.
Read also the remarkable prediction in chap. xi., in which the paltry price paid for betraying Christ, thirty pieces of silver, is spoken of with irony as "a goodly price, that I was prized at of them!" Also the final disposal of the ill-bestowed and ill-gotten money for
the purchase of the potter's field, as recorded by the evangelist, see Matt. xxvii.,* is expressly stated. The conversion of the Jews yet to come is declared, Zech. xii. 10; xiii. 1:
And I will pour upon the house of David,
And they shall look upon me whom they have pierced,
As one mourneth for his only son,
As one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.
In that day there shall be a fountain opened
To the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem For sin and for uncleanness.
This invitation is addressed to every age and nation, as an English poet expresses:
There is a fountain filled with blood,
In chap. xiii. 7, the sufferings of Christ are set forth,
Two things connected with the latter prophecies of Zechariah require notice. 1. That, in Matt. xxvii. 9, part of this prophecy is spoken of as proceeding from Jeremiah. It is thought that the word "Jeremiah," is an interpolation by a copyist, probably accidental, as some versions say only "the prophet." 2. That passage, and other observations made on the general scope of the latter six chapters of Zechariah, induce some to think they ought rather to be attributed to Jeremiah than to Zechariah; but T. H. Horne and others have plainly shown there is no occasion to entertain such a supposition. The Zacharias slain between the temple and the altar, Matt. xxiii. 35, is thought by some to have been this prophet; but we may rather conclude him to have been the son of Jehoiada, whose name signifies the same as Barachiah, and whose son was slain by the command of the ungrateful Joash, who refused to listen to his faithful admonitions; a circumstance characteristic of the times before the captivity, rather than of those which immediately followed the deliverance from Babylon.
This passage was applied by himself, Matt. xxvi. 31; Mark xiv. 37, when he, as the Shepherd, was smitten, and his disciples were scattered as sheep. The particulars are very remarkable, especially as preserved by the Jews; for their sin in crucifying the Lord of life and glory is the more aggravated, when it is considered that they possessed such clear predictions, uttered by one of the last of their prophets, who had been so instrumental in forwarding the work of building that temple, in which they conspired to destroy Him of whom the prophet spoke.
In the concluding chapter is a very remarkable prediction of the latter days, when there "shall be one Lord, and his name one." Thus, in Zechariah, we have an evangelical prophet, one scarcely less so than Isaiah, to whom that epithet is often given. We are encouraged to look forward to that day when all shall be "Holiness to the Lord," and also to apply the words of truth uttered by Zechariah, for our individual instruction and comfort: see Zech. xiv. 7.
At evening time let there be light:
At evening time let there be light:
Dews, birds, and blossoms cheered the way;
At evening time let there be light.
At evening time there shall be light;
Ir is thought that Darius Hystaspes protected the Jews during the remainder of his reign, which, in the whole, lasted thirty-six years, from B.c. 521 to B.C. 485. He was not quite a blind idolater, being a follower of Zoroaster, who was a reformer of the religious system that prevailed among the Persians. Zoroaster and his religious creed may be briefly noAt ticed here. Prideaux gives a full account of him. this time the idolatry of what was then considered the civilized world, was divided between the Sabians, who were worshippers of images, and the Magians, who worshipped fire, or the sun, the great source of light and heat. These wrong notions of the Deity may have proceeded, in some degree, from the sense which is in all mankind, of their vileness and sinfulness, even