The Coming of Christ A Matter of Great Joy
“Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion: for, lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith the LORD. And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people: and I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.” (Zechariah 2:10-11)
May God the Holy Spirit graciously teach us the message he has for us in these two verses and apply it to our hearts that we may know more of him who loved us and gave himself for us. Here, the Lord our God, the Triune Jehovah, calls for us to rejoice, not only in the fact that Christ came into the world, but in the character in which he came and in the work he accomplished.
Notice, it is “the Lord,” Jehovah, who said, “Lo, I come,” and it is “the Lord of hosts,” Jehovah who sent him. In the first part of verse 11 “the Lord” Jehovah declares that by his coming he will save a great multitude of sinners. — “And many nations shall be joined to the LORD in that day, and shall be my people.” Then, in the latter part of verse 11 he tells us that those to whom and for whom he was sent shall know these things. — “And I will dwell in the midst of thee, and thou shalt know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.”
Praise and Joy
First, the Lord God here calls for all his saints to praise him in song and rejoice in their hearts at the prospect of the Word being made flesh and dwelling among us. — “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion.”
“The daughter of Zion” is the Church of God. The temple and worship being established on mount Zion, and the city of Zion being joined to Jerusalem, as the mother to the daughter, the Church is here called “the daughter of Zion.” — “The Lord loveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob” (Psalm 137:2). — “The Lord hath chosen Zion, he hath desired it for his habitation” — He says concerning it, “This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” And speaking of his Word, the ordinances of worship, and the pastors according to his own heart that he has given his Church, he says, “I will abundantly bless her provision: I will satisfy her poor with bread. I will also clothe her priests with salvation and her saints shall shout aloud for joy” (Psalm 132:13-16).
The Church of God, having the promise of salvation given by God himself, is called upon to rejoice. — “Sing and rejoice, O daughter of Zion.” Zechariah gives us this same admonition again in chapter 9. The Old Testament prophets often called for God’s saints of old to sing and rejoice in the prospect of Christ’s coming (Isaiah 12:6; 62:11; Jeremiah 31:7-9; Zephaniah 3:14-17). How much more ought we, to whom he has come, sing and rejoice before him. Blessed be his holy name, it is the will and pleasure of our great God and Savior for his people to rejoice and be happy in him, that we sing his praise, and rejoice before him. Let us be glad in his salvation and triumph in his praise, and thus find the joy of the Lord to be our strength.
Surely, if the saints of God ever had cause for singing and rejoicing, it is now, for Christ has come! “The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (John 1:14). The saints of God in Zechariah’s day were called to sing and rejoice because they were informed that the coming of the Lord drew near. He was soon to be manifested in the temple they were now rebuilding, and be the glory of it. From the first revelation of Christ as the woman’s Seed, who would crush the serpent’s head, to his advent, a period of four thousand years passed. During those four thousand years, sacrificial worship was maintained as a picture of all that Christ was to be, and do, and suffer as our Substitute. Throughout that time he uttered his glorious voice to his people by the ministry of his prophets, declaring his “delights were with the sons of men.” His voice having been heard, his Church was enraptured by it, and cried out, ‘‘It is the voice of my Beloved.”
The inspired psalmist records the words of our Redeemer to the Father, the words of Jehovah the Son to Jehovah the Father, — “Sacrifice and offering thou didst not desire; mine ears hast thou opened: burnt offering and sin offering hast thou not required. Then said I, lo I come, in the volume of the book it is written of me. I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:6-8). Hearing those words, the Bride our Savior espoused to himself from eternity was ravished and cried out, “Behold, he cometh, leaping upon the mountains, skipping upon the hills.”
And at the time Zechariah spoke the words found in these two verses, the people of God were building the second temple, into which the desire of all nations was to come, and the Church typified by that temple is called upon to “sing and rejoice.”
The passage before us is another of those many displays of the Triune God performing the work of our salvation. It is written, “There are Three who bare record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these Three are One” (1 John 5:7). Our all-glorious, incomprehensible, triune God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, is the one living and true God. Because the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, though three distinct persons, are one God, God’s incommunicable name, Jehovah, belongs to each person in the indivisible Trinity.
Here the speaker is Jehovah. Yet, he speaks of himself as being sent by Jehovah. — “Sing and rejoice, O Daughter of Zion: for lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people, and I will be their God, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.” Here is Jehovah the Messiah, speaking concerning his mission, his incarnation, and his dwelling in our nature, in our world. And, at the same time, he speaks of being sent by Jehovah.
The Word of God clearly and universally teaches what we call the doctrine of the Trinity. I once heard Pastor Henry Mahan say, “That man is a fool who denies the doctrine of the Trinity; and that man is a fool who tries to explain it.” So, lest I be numbered among foolish men, I will make no effort to explain the Trinity. Let me simply state what the Word of God clearly teaches.
When we say we believe in the Trinity of the divine Persons, we do not mean that there are three, equal but separate Gods. And we do not mean that there is one God manifest in three personalities. We mean that we worship one God in three divine Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We worship one God who subsists in three Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, equal in all things.
The Father is God. The Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. This is the doctrine we teach. That is exactly we read in 1 John 5:7. In addition to that definitive statement there are numerous examples in which the Trinity is set before us.
And the New Testament plainly declares that God the Father is God (Romans 1:7), that God the Son is God (Hebrews 1:8), and that God the Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4). Yet, there is but one God (Deuteronomy 6:4).
Someone accurately stated, “The Father is all the fullness of the Godhead invisible (John 1:18). The Son is all the fullness of the Godhead manifested (John 1:14-18). The Spirit is all the fullness of the Godhead acting immediately upon the creature (1 Corinthians 2:8-10).”
And all three Persons in the Godhead are equally gracious. This is what Jude asserts (Jude 1:1), and Paul explains to us in Ephesians 1:3-14. As the three Persons of the Godhead are equal in divinity, but distinct in personality, so all three Persons in the Godhead are equal in grace, but distinct in the operations of grace.
God the Father is set before us as the Fountain of all grace (Ephesians 1:3-6). It was God the Father who, in the covenant of grace, proposed redemption, devised the plan, and chose the people whom he would save by his almighty grace. He found a way whereby his banished ones should not be expelled from him. Then, in the fullness of time he sent his Son into the world to be the Medium, or Mediator of grace (Galatians 4:4-6).
God the Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, is the Mediator of all grace, in and by whom all grace comes to his elect (Ephesians 1:7-12). In the first chapter of Ephesians the Holy Spirit tells us fourteen times that everything God does for sinners and gives to sinners is “in Christ.” Apart from Christ there is no grace.
Do you see this? All grace comes to us through Christ! There is no other way the grace of God can reach a sinner. It is the work of Christ upon the cross that has brought grace and justice together in the salvation of sinners. Through his blood, “mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other” (Psalm 85:10).
God the Holy Spirit is the Administrator of all grace (Eph. 1:13-14). It is God the Holy Spirit who effectually applies the blood of Christ to God’s elect. He regenerates the dead by omnipotent power, calls the redeemed with irresistible grace, gives us faith by almighty operations of grace, and seals God’s elect unto everlasting glory. Without the gracious operations of the Holy Spirit in regeneration, effectual calling, and conversion, no sinner would ever become the beneficiary of grace. He takes the things of Christ and shows them to his people. He quickens those the Father chose, reclaims those the Son redeemed, and leads to the Good Shepherd all the sheep for whom he laid down his life (John 10:11). As C. D. Cole wrote…
“He conquers the stoutest hearts, and cleanses the foulest spiritual leper. He opens the sin-blinded eyes and unstops the sin-closed ears. The blessed Holy Spirit reveals the grace of the Father and applies the grace of the Son.”
All three Persons in the Godhead are equally gracious; and all three must be praised.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
Praise Him all creatures here below!
Praise Him above, ye heavenly hosts!
Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost!
All the love, mercy, grace, and glory of the triune God, Father, Son, and Spirit, shines forth upon the sons of men in the person and mediatorial work of the God-man, our Surety, Christ Jesus. The Son of God was made flesh, that all the fulness of the Godhead might reside in him and shine forth to us, that he might redeem and save his people, that we might know God and live forever in perpetual communion with him (Colossians 2:9-10). Let us ever sing and rejoice because Christ has come, because the triune God has come to us in the person of the God-man, our Mediator, the Lord Jesus Christ!
That brings me to the third thing set before us in our text. We are here called to sing and rejoice because the Lord Jesus declared, “Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee.” Men who are much smarter and far more capable of interpreting the Scriptures than I am are divided about that declaration. All are agreed that it immediately refers to God’s promise to return to his ancient people, the Jews, in mercy. Some are confident that this statement also refers to our Savior’s incarnation. Others say it speaks of the Lord Jesus coming to sinners in the mighty, saving operations of his grace. And others assert that our Lord is here speaking prophetically of his glorious second advent.
I see no reason to limit it to any of those events. If I understand the passage correctly, it clearly has reference to all of them. Certainly, its immediate application referred to the Lord God, mercifully returning to the people he had brought back from Babylon. But that was only the foreshadowing of great things to come.
When our Savior here declared to his believing people, “Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee,” he was, without question, giving another of those many Old Testament promises of that great day when he would come into the world in human flesh to redeem and save his people.
The incarnation of God the Son, the Word, the only begotten of the Father, was set before the Old Testament Church, as declared in God’s first revelation of grace in Genesis 3:15. There, before expelling our fallen parents from the Garden, the Lord God declared that the Seed of the woman would crush the serpent’s head. The promise was repeated to Abraham, when God declared that in his Seed all the nations of the earth should be blessed. In fact, this great promise of Christ’s coming and of redemption, grace, and salvation in him is the message of all the Old Testament prophets (Acts 10:43).
All the saints who lived in that age anticipated this one, great, wonderful, and astonishing display of grace, trusting Christ the Redeemer, looking for the coming of that One who would be called Immanuel, God in human flesh, Jesus, the Christ, who would save his people from their sins. They all rejoiced with Abraham, seeing his day.
As the coming of Christ drew near, God inspired his servants, the prophets, with such clear views of the great event that they wrote in detail about his virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14), — the place of his birth in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2), — the time of his incarnation (Genesis 49:10; Daniel 9:24-25), — the massacre of the infants that followed his birth (Jeremiah 31:15), — and the blessings of his coming (Zechariah 2:10-11; 9:9). The prophets even described in great detail his being made sin for us, his suffering and death as our sin-atoning Substitute, the accomplishment of redemption, and his resurrection glory as our Savior King, possessing power over all flesh to give eternal life to his ransomed ones (Psalm 22, 40, and 69, and Isaiah 53). To him all the prophets gave witness. Then, in the fulness of time, Christ came to save his people from their sins (John 1:14; Romans 5:6-8; Galatians 1:4-5; 4:3-5; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 4:9-10).
But let us never be guilty of limiting the promises of our God and his grace. This promise of our Redeemer is also his promise to come to his chosen in the mighty operations of his saving grace. — “Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst thee, saith the Lord. And many nations shall be joined to the Lord in that day, and shall be my people, and I will be their God, and thou shalt know that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you.”
At the appointed time of love, the Lord Jesus comes to every chosen redeemed sinner, in the saving operations of his Spirit, to dwell in us. He brings his people from many nations and joins them to himself in the vital union of life. He makes those who were by nature strangers his people, and makes himself our God. How does he do all that? He reveals himself as that One God promised from the beginning to send as our Savior, causing us to know and trust him as him whom Jehovah has sent.
Look at the promises leading up to this great promise. — In verse 4, the Lord assures us that his Church, Jerusalem, shall be fully inhabited. — Then, in verse 5, he promises that he will “be a wall of fire round about, and will be the glory in the midst” of his chosen. — In the 8th verse our Savior tells us that he is sent to his elect among the nations for the glory of God, and assures us of his abiding protection and care, saying, “He that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” — Then, in verse 9 we hear our Savior declare, “I will shake mine hand upon all” your enemies and every foe shall be destroyed. Yes, by such mighty operations of his grace, the spiritual kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ is established in the hearts of his people. If such grace does not cause us to sing his praise and rejoice in his goodness, nothing can!
I must not fail to remind you that our Savior graciously comes to his own by marvellous acts of grace in his daily providence. When we hear him say, “Lo, I come,” surely his providence is not to be excluded. We see a portrayal of this in Mark 6:50. The Lord’s disciples were in the midst of a terrible storm, in the middle of a dark, dark night. They were toiling hard with trouble; but everything appeared to be contrary to them. In those circumstances our all-glorious, ever-gracious Savior came to his troubled friends, walking upon the sea that caused them so much trouble. As he approached their little, storm tossed boat, he said, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” Then, “he went up unto them into the ship, and the wind ceased” (Mark 6:45-51). This is written in the Book of God for you and me, “that we through patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope” (Rom. 15:4).
Remember, it was the Lord Jesus who sent his friends into the storm, who sent them away from himself (Mark 6:45-46). He seems to have done so specifically that he might come to them when they desperately needed him, speak these words to them, and make himself known to them in a way that was not otherwise possible. Listen, then, to the voice of your tender, omnipotent Savior. In the midst of your storms, he says, “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”
Let us ever hear our Redeemer’s voice in every storm into which he sends us, as he comes to us upon the troubled waters of life. — “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.” “It is I” who raised the storm in your soul, and will control it. “It is I” who sent your affliction that troubles you, and will be with you in it. “It is I” who kindled the fire in your furnace, watch the flames, and will bring you through it unharmed. “It is I” who made your burden; and “it is I” who will give you strength to bear it. “It is I” who mixed your cup of grief and will make it good medicine for your soul. “It is I” who brought your grief, and “It is I” who will comfort you.
“It is I” who performs all things for you. I make the clouds my chariot, and clothe myself with the tempest as with a garment. The night hour is the time of my coming, and the dark, surging waves are the pavement upon which I walk. Take courage. “It is I.” Be not afraid. “It is I,” your Friend, your Brother, your Savior. Your trouble did not spring up out of the ground, but came down from heaven above. “It is I” who have ordered all, arranged all, and brought all to pass. “Be of good cheer: it is I; be not afraid.”
And how sweetly, we hear our Savior’s voice, “Lo, I come,” when he visits our souls to revive us and refresh us with his grace when we become indifferent to him and his grace (Song of Solomon 5:2-8).
Surely, the promise reaches even further, and speaks of the glory of that great day when our Savior’s feet shall stand again upon the Mount of Olives, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and to be admired in all that believe. — “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen” (Revelation 1:7). “Even so, come, Lord Jesus!”
Hear those majestic words of grace, “Lo, I come,” once more. Do they not tell us that our Lord Jesus Christ is a willing Savior, as well as a mighty Savior? He stood forth as our willing Surety in the covenant of grace, saying, “Lo, I come!” In the fulness of time he came into the world in our flesh, as Jehovah’s willing Servant, saying, “Lo, I come!” When his hour was come, he went to Calvary, saying, “Lo, I come,” as a willing Substitute. He comes to sinners in grace as a willing Savior, saying, “Lo, I come!” And, soon, he shall return to gather his beloved Bride to the marriage feast, as a willing Bridegroom, saying, “Lo, I come!”
Do you hear him? — “Lo, I come!” The Lord Jesus Christ is a willing Savior, the willing Savior of helpless, ruined, lost, doomed, damned, vile sinners! His soul’s delight is the salvation of sinners! That is the message of his coming! Our Lord Jesus Christ is willing to save; and he is mighty to save! Our Lord Jesus Christ is Jehovah, our God, willing and able to save, willing and able to forgive, willing and able to forgive again, and willing and able to forgive again! He is willing and able to keep you from falling, and able to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy!
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