DEAR BROTHER BEEBE: – Please give your views on Zech. x. 4: “Out of him came forth the corner, out of him the nail, out of him the battle bow, out of him every oppressor together.” I do not recollect of ever having heard any of the brethren preach from this text, and would be glad to have your views upon it, if agreeable to your feelings to give them, and oblige.
Your unworthy brother in gospel bonds,
JNO. R. MARTIN.
Franklin Co., Va., April 4, 1881.
REPLY. – It would afford us great pleasure to comply with the request of our highly esteemed brother, if we were sure that anything we can say would clearly explain the meaning of the Spirit in the use of the figurative expressions employed in the text. There is danger of running into vain and imaginary speculations when we attempt to elucidate some of the dark metaphors which the Holy Spirit has employed in the scriptures of divine truth. The parables and dark sayings of our God are evidently designed to teach us our dependence on him to reveal to us the hidden treasure which they conceal from the wise and prudent of mankind, that we may the more fully realize our dependence on him to open the scriptures to our understanding.
The prophet Zechariah was contemporary with Ezra, Nehemiah, Joshua, Zerubbabel and others who prophesied the deliverance of Israel from her seventy years captivity in Babylon, their return to Jerusalem, and restoration of their city and rebuilding of their temple, in all of which the spirit of prophecy evidently pointed to the coming of the Messiah and the setting up of the Redeemer’s kingdom under the gospel dispensation. In the chapter preceding the one in which our text is found the cheering prediction is proclaimed in these words: “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee; he is just and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt the foal of an ass.” This prediction is applied directly to the coming of Christ. – Matt. xxi. 1-11, and John xi. 15. At the time when the prediction should be fulfilled, the Lord by the prophet adds, “And I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim, and the horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow shall be cut off, and he shall speak peace unto the heathen; and his dominion shall be from sea even to sea, and from the river even to the ends of the earth.” All this seems to look forward to the breaking up of the old Jewish dispensation, the breaking down of the wall of partition which had separated the Jews and Gentiles. The time indicated by the Lord in these words: “When I have bent Judah for me, filled the bow with Ephraim, and raised up thy sons, O Zion, against thy sons, O Greece, and made thee as the sword of a mighty man. And the Lord shall be seen over them, and his arrow shall go forth as the lightning: and the Lord God shall blow the trumpet, and shall go with whirlwinds of the south.”
The whole connection of this prophecy seems to present under many metaphors, first, the literal purging of Judah from her idol shepherds and abominations, and the cutting off from Ephraim and Jerusalem the horse and chariot, battle bow, and all the idolatrous defenses in which they had trusted, drive out all their oppressors, and to restore them their city, temple and privileges, and in doing this figuratively set forth the redemption of his spiritual or anti-typical Jerusalem from her captivity and bondage.
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Middletown, N. Y.
Signs of the Times
Volume 49, No. 10.
May 15, 1881.
At the heading of the “Editorial” section it said this: “THE LAST EDITORIAL WRITTEN BY ELDER GILBERT BEEBE.”
At the closing of this editorial it had this to say: “Here the pen that for nearly fifty years had not wearied in its labors of consolation, admonition and instruction, was laid down never to again be taken up in its editorial labors. “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” And may he enable us to be still and know that he is God.