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Commentary On Zechariah Malachi by Jean Calvin

Zechariah 14:21

21. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts.

21. Et erit omnis lebes in Ierusalem et Iehudah sanctitas Iehovae exercituum; et venient omnes qui sacrificabunt et accipient ex ipsis et coquent in ipsis; et non erit Chamanaeus (alii vertunt non erit mercator) amplius in domo Iehovae exercituum die illo.

The Prophet explains here more clearly what we have already considered -- that such would be the reverence for God, and the fear of him through the whole world, that whatever men undertook would be a sacrifice to him: he therefore says, that all the kettles, or pots, or vessels, would be sacred to God. And this is fulfilled when men regard this end -- to glorify God through their whole life, as Paul exhorts us to do. (1 Corinthians 10:31.) Our provisions and our beds, and all other things, become then holy to God, when we really devote ourselves to him, and regard in all the actions of our life the end which I have mentioned, even to testify in truth that he is our God, and that we are under his guidance. By such comparisons then does Zechariah teach us, that men will be sacred to God; for nothing they touch shall be unclean, but what was before profane shall be sanctified to his glory.

Come, he says, shall they who sacrifice, and shall boil flesh in pots; as though he had said, That such would be the multitude of men who would ascend to offer sacrifices to God, that the vessels of the temple before in use would not be sufficient. It would hence be necessary to apply for that purpose what was previously profane. The language of Isaiah is similar, for he says that they who were Levites would become priests of the first order, and that those of the common people would become Levites, so that they might all come nigh to God. (Isaiah 66:20,21.) The meaning then of the Prophet is now clear -- that he wished to stir up the Jews to constancy and firmness, who regarded their small number as their reproach and were almost disheartened: as then they thought that they had in vain returned to their own country, as the Lord did not gather the whole people, he says that God's worship would become more celebrated than at the time when the state of things was most flourishing in Judea; for assemble they would, from the whole world, to offer sacrifices to God at Jerusalem, so that the whole city, with all its utensils, would be sacred to God, for the pots and the sacred vessels of the temple, used before under the law, would not be sufficient.

And he adds, And there shall be no Canaanite in the land: the meaning is, that the Church would become pure from all defilements: and this change ought to have given no small comfort to the Jews in their sad and calamitous state; for God had used no small severity, when all were driven into exile; and many tokens of this dreadful rigour still remained, since very few worshipped God, and were despised by all, so that true religion was exposed to the contempt and ridicule of all nations. This compensation then, that the Lord would by this remedy cleanse his Church from its filth, must have greatly allayed their sorrow: on this subject I have already said much.

Zechariah now briefly promises that the Church would become pure, so that all would from the heart and sincerely worship God, and that there would be no mixture of hypocrites to pollute the temple and holy things. But this seems strange, since the Church has ever been contaminated by many pollutions: and hence John the Baptist compares it to a floor, where the chaff is mixed with the wheat; and it is also compared to a net, into which are gathered many fishes, some good and some bad; and also at this day, in the kingdom of Christ, the Church is subject to this evils that it cannot cast out all corruptions: it seems then that the Prophet has spoken hyperbolically. But what we have elsewhere said ought to be borne in mind -- that a comparison is made between the ancient state of the people and their second state, when the Church was renewed. As the religion had been in the most disgraceful manner corrupted, and as the Jews had impudently boasted that they were the holy people of God, while they were the most wicked of men, the Prophet justly says, that the Church when renewed would be purer; for the Lord would cleanse it by the cross, as gold and silver are cleansed, which are not only tried by the fire, but become also brighter, because the dross is removed. This is simply what the Prophet means when he says, that there will be no Canaanite among the people of God; that is, there will be no foreign or profane men, mingled with the faithful, to pollute the pure worship of God.

Some have wrested the passage and applied it to the last coming of Christ. But this is inconsistent with the subject in hand. At the same time I allow that the kingdom of Christ, according to the prophetic mode of writing, is here described from its commencement to its end. When God therefore purposed to renew his Church, he cleansed it from much filth, and still daily cleanses it, nor will he cease to do so, until, after all the defilements of the world having been removed, we shall be received into the celestial kingdom. Whenever then the Prophets speak of perfection under the reign of Christ, we ought not to confine what they say to one day or to a short time, but we ought to include the whole time from the beginning to the end. Hence when Christ appeared in the world, then began to shine the splendor of which Zechariah now speaks: but the Lord will go on until that shall be completed which now makes continual progress.

Some read, There shall be a merchant no more, etc.; and they have some reason for what they say, for the word is sometimes rendered merchant: but as in this case, we must have recourse to allegories, and take merchants for impious corrupters who make a merchandise of God's worship, or give this interpretation, that there shall be no merchant any more, because all would freely bring their offerings, -- as these explanations are not appropriate, it is better to take the passage simply as it is -- that the Lord will gather his elect, so that pure sacrifices will be offered by them all; and that there will be no hypocrites any more to contaminate and corrupt the Church, or to adulterate the worship of God.

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