Brother Beebe: - As you are in the habit of expounding portions of the Scriptures for the brethren, I would be glad if you will expound for me the text, Zech. iii.9. Please be particular on the graving thereof, and oblige yours.
Jacob Winchel, Jr.
“For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua, upon one stone shall be seven eyes; behold I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.”
In attempting a reply to Elder Winchel, we feel deeply sensible of our insufficiency to do justice on the subject. We profess to have no special light on the text proposed, more than what the words thereof will readily suggest to the mind of all who are taught of God. To us it is highly probable that brother Winchel’s mind, having been particularly directed to the subject, a commentary from him might be more satisfactory than any thing we can write. Such views, however, as we have on the scriptures of truth, however weak and feeble, we have not felt at liberty to withhold from our readers when called on to give them.
The book of Zechariah the prophet abounds with sublime and striking figures, many of which, to an ordinary mind, appear exceedingly abstruse, and like some of the writings of our beloved brother Paul, hard to be understood. The primary allusions of the figures used by Zechariah seem to have been directed to illustrate the astonishing display of the mighty hand of the God of Israel in restoring his people from their captivity in Babylon, the repairing of the city of Jerusalem, and the rebuilding of the temple of the Lord. But as all these things were typical of the redemption of the church of the living God, from bondage and captivity, and the upbuilding of the spiritual temple in the Lord Jesus Christ, they are serviceable to the saints of the present age in their spiritual and prophetic application to our Lord Jesus Christ, under the gospel dispensation.
Joshua was the high priest at the time of the restoration, and as such, he was, of course, a type of the great and glorious High Priest of our profession, the Lord Jesus Christ, whose priesthood is not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life. By the stone which God had laid before Joshua we understand Christ the anti-type of Joshua to be intended. Not in the order of the time of manifestation in his flesh, but he was before Joshua in the same sense that he was before Abraham, David, and John the Baptist. He said to the Jews, “Before Abraham was, I am.” David said he foresaw the Lord always before his face, etc. And John the Baptist says, “He that cometh after me is preferred before me, for he was before me.” His goings are of old, even from everlasting, and in his Mediatorial relationship to his people, He is before all things and by him all things consist. This is the Stone which God has laid in Zion for a foundation; and in laying this Stone for a foundation in Zion, it was laid before Joshua the high priest. And in this pre-eminence, in regard to his person and priesthood, God laid the stone before Joshua, showing that the priesthood after the order of Melchizedek should far surpass that of the order of Aaron. The epistle to the Hebrews very clearly sets forth wherein the High Priest of our profession excels the priesthood of Aaron or Joshua; and Zechariah the prophet had a very clear prophetic view of the superior excellency of the royal priesthood of Christ over the typical priesthood, and speaking by the Spirit, he said, “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the Temple of the Lord; even he shall build the Temple of the Lord; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne, and shall be a priest upon his throne; and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” Zech. vi. 12, 13. In contemplating the superior priesthood of our great Redeemer, who is holy, harmless, and higher than the heavens, being assured that he knoweth how to succour them that are tempted, having in the days of his flesh been tempted himself in all points, as we are, and yet without sin, truly we may say, such a High Priest becomes us. For he is able to save unto the uttermost all who come upon God by him, seeing that he ever liveth to make intercession for them. The offerings made by Aaron and his sons could not purge the conscience from dead works to serve the Living God, nor remove the perpetual obligation of those for whom the offerings were made, to do the whole law or the dreadful penalty resting on them for failing to do all that the law required; but Christ has by one offering perfected forever them that are sanctified. He has redeemed them from the dominion as well as from the curse of the law, having himself born their sins in his own body on the tree. He has redeemed them unto God with his blood and made them kings and priests unto God, and they shall reign with him forever. They are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood and a peculiar people; and they delight in shewing forth his praise.
This Stone laid before Joshua, unto all them that believe, is precious; but unto them that be disobedient, this Stone, which the builders refused, is the head of the corner, and a Stone of stumbling and a Rock of offense to them that stumble at the word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed.
Upon one stone shall be seven eyes. This one stone on which should be seven eyes we understand to be the same stone which God had laid before Joshua; and although the eyes upon the stone, in the type, were engraven eyes, yet we find the signification of the engraving was to set forth the seven spirits of the Lord, which go to and fro in the earth. It is far beyond our ability to comprehend, or to define the seven spirits of the God of Israel; but whatever they signify must certainly be found in the person and priesthood of our Lord Jesus Christ. If by seven eyes we understand the peculiar attributes of his eternal deity, they are displayed to men only in and through the priesthood of Immanuel. He is the brightness of his Father’s glory and the express image of his person. And it pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell. The fulness of eternal Godhead, and the fulness of the church dwell in him bodily. The seven eyes described in the type by the engraving on the stone are directly applied, Rev. v. 6, to Christ in his Mediatorial character, as being in the midst of the throne; and he is in that connection expressly called “The Lamb,” which title invariably refers to him in his Mediatorial character, as the Lamb that was slain, and hath redeemed us unto God with his blood. He was thus identified by John the Baptist, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sins of the world.” This Lamb which had been slain from the foundation of the world, but which is now made known to them who by him do believe in God who raised him up from the dead, as seen by John in the midst of the throne, and of the elders, and of the four beasts, as a Lamb that had been slain, having seven eyes, and seven horns, which he informs us are the seven spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. Compare this, Rev. v. 6, with Zech. iv. 10. With those seven they are the eyes of the Lord, which run to and fro through the whole earth, and no doubt can remain that Christ is the anti-typical Stone on whom the seven eyes, or spirits of the Lord, should be, and accordingly were displayed. The eyes, by Zechariah are simply called seven eyes, and we are told that they are the eyes of the Lord, etc., but in Revelation, John saw them in connection with the emblems of regal power and dominion after the exaltation of the slain Lamb to the midst of the throne. “Having seven horns and seven eyes.” The number seven agrees with the number of the golden candlesticks and of the stars which were in his right hand, the seven churches, the seven seals, seven trumpets, seven vials, etc. It is regarded as a number signifying perfection; precisely enough, and nothing to spare. These eyes being represented as going to and fro, and as being sent in connection with the seven horns, forth into all the earth, may be designed to signify Christ on the throne of his Mediatorial glory, going forth in the gospel to every kindred, tongue, and people under the heavens. His eyes denoting that in him is light, and that he is the fountain of all spiritual light reflected upon his people; for this light is identified with the life of this mystical body. In him was life and the life was the light of men. With his seven eyes he was able to look upon the sealed book, and by the power signified by his horns, he was able to take the book out of the angel’s hand, and open the seals thereof. Habakkuk says, “His brightness was as the light, he had horns coming out of his hand, and there was the hiding of his power.” The union of the eyes and of the horns set forth also the peculiar character of that priesthood which is after the order of Melchizedek, in distinction from that of Aaron; as a royal or regal priesthood. He sits as a Priest as well as a Ruler upon his throne; King of Salem and Priest of the Most High God, and the counsel of peace is embraced between them; (King and Priest) or between the eyes and the horns. As in him personally and relatively as Head of his body the church, he has all wisdom and all power to direct and accomplish the complete and eternal salvation of all his members; so also is he presented in the Gospel, sent forth into all the world, as Christ the wisdom of God, and the power of God. The church as his body can never be left in darkness, in her union to him as her Head, for all the light of the knowledge of the glory of God shines in his face; nor can she ever be destroyed while the horns of his power embrace all the power of heaven and earth.
Behold I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts. In preparing the stones for the temple made with hands, mechanics and artists were employed to engrave such devices as were required to signify those things which they were intended to prefigure in the temple of the Lord’s mystical body, which is made without hands. Although men were employed in the typical building, none but God himself is able to fashion and engrave the graving of the spiritual Temple of the Living God. The engraving of the seven eyes upon the Stone which God had laid before Joshua the High Priest, as we have understood the stone to represent Christ in his Mediatorial relation to, and connection with his church, and the eyes to denote the seven spirits, or the eternal perfections of the supreme Godhead, especially, the display of his wisdom and power, appears to us to express the idea that God would stamp the impress of his own perfections on the man Christ Jesus; by being himself manifested in the body of his flesh. That in the revelation of the Stone, laid in Zion for a foundation he would give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. And that Christ, in his incarnation, and his priesthood should shine upon Israel as the brightness of his Father’s glory and the express image of his person. Hence Christ in his revelation is God, manifest in the flesh, seen of angels, preached to the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. He is recognized by inspired witnesses as the image of the invisible God. By the term image in this place, we understand a visible, or tangible manifestation of the supreme God. Aside from this engraving, or manifestation, God is called the invisible God; but in Christ the Mediator, he is revealed, so that, if we have seen the Son, then have we seen the Father also, for the Father is in him, and he is in the Father. While independently of this revelation, no man hath seen the Father at any time, neither can any man come unto the Father but by him. That Christ is essentially God as well as man and Mediator, we fully believe, - have never for a moment doubted; but that he is man and Mediator as well as essentially God is equally clear to our understanding; and it is in Christ as Mediator that the eternal Godhead is revealed, admits of no disputation. Hence the revelation of the Messiah, as the Redeemer of Israel is the manifestation of the Stone which Daniel saw taken without hands from the mountain, which should grow and fill the earth, and break in pieces all other kingdoms, and continue forever.
And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. The land spoken of is that mentioned in Chapter ii, and verse 12, “And the Lord shall inherit Judah his portion, in the holy land; and shall choose Jerusalem again.” In the connection we are informed that the consecrated land of Judah had been defiled for which cause they had been delivered into the hand of the enemy, where they had been held in captivity threescore and ten years. But this seventy years of captivity being now accomplished, the Lord was about to restore them, repair the walls of Jerusalem, and rebuild the temple, etc., and remove the iniquity of the holy land. The ceremonial purification of the land of Judah prefigured the redemption of the chosen people of God from their iniquities by the blood of the everlasting covenant, and the return of the ransomed of the Lord with singing to Zion. None but the Lord could remove their iniquities; and he gave the assuring promise that he would do it in one day. The one day may be understood in a two-fold sense. First, in relation to the day of the atonement by our Lord Jesus Christ. When Jesus was delivered up for the offenses of his people and arose from the dead for their justification; having put away their sins by the sacrifice of himself; when he made an end of sin, finished the transgressions, and brought in everlasting righteousness.
Secondly, the one day may also apply to the whole gospel dispensation, during which all the people of God should be gathered in from the four winds, and receive experimentally the application of the Savior’s blood and righteousness, for the remission of sin, and for their perfect justification before God. All this is the work of God, and in either application, the iniquity of that land is removed in one day.
If what we have written should be of any service to brother Winchel or others, we will rejoice. Let all who read examine the subject for themselves in the light of divine revelation, and if they find that what we have written is not sustained by the word and spirit of our God, reject it, and attribute the failure not to design, but to weakness and infirmity on our part. “Prove all things, and hold fast that which is good.”
March 15, 1854
Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 3
Pages 42 - 48