Exposition Of Zechariah 14 -- By: John J. Owen

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 018:70 (Apr 1861)
Article: Exposition Of Zechariah 14
Author: John J. Owen


Exposition Of Zechariah 14

Prof. John J. Owen

From the earliest ages of the church, commentators have widely differed on the question, whether a literal or a spiritual interpretation is to be given to those prophecies which relate to the establishment, perpetuity, and glory of the Messiahs kingdom on earth. It has been maintained by many, that the victory of Christ over his enemies, and his enthronement as King in Jerusalem, the burden of so many predictions, are to be regarded as literal verities, essential to the glory of his reign and the restoration of this earth to its true primeval blessedness. To explain these prophecies as referring to the spiritual dominion of Christ, and the enlargement and prosperity of the church, is, in their estimation, to detract from the honor of the Redeemer, and deprive the church of her chief and crowning glory.

We must not suppose that this literal interpretation of prophecy is confined to those only, whose distempered fancy delights to dwell on the regal splendors of the Messianic reign on earth. Some of the ablest writers, from the times of Irenaeus and Lactantius, have advocated the personal reign of Christ at Jerusalem, into which city, as the seat of his court and the metropolis of the world, kings are to bring their tribute, and the pious of all lands their votive offerings. Not a few have supposed that the earth itself, now cursed with comparative sterility, will be so renovated as even to surpass its fertility before the fall of man. Thus Irenaeus, in order to show that the promises and predictions of both the Old and New Testaments have respect to this glorious consummation, appeals to what certain presbyters related as having themselves heard from the apostle John, that Christ

himself, when speaking of his earthly and visible reign, said to his apostles: “The days will come when vines will grow, each bearing ten thousand branches, and on each branch there will be ten thousand twigs, and on each twig ten thousand clusters of grapes, and in each cluster ten thousand grapes, and each grape, when expressed, will yield twenty-five μετρῆται of wine [i.e., about two hundred and nine gallons]. And when any one of the saints shall take hold of a cluster of grapes, another [cluster] will cry out: ‘I am a better cluster; take me, and on my account give thanks unto the Lord” (Iren. cont. Haer. Lib. v. 33). According to this prediction, each grape-vine will produce wine to the amount of one hundred and eighty thousand billions of gallons. Irenaeus also, to the same point, cites a passage from Papias, who flourished A. D. 100, and who wrote a work entitled Λογίων κυριακῶν ᾿Εξεγήσε...

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