Holiness Unto The Lord
(Zec 14:16) And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall even go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the feast of tabernacles.
(Zec 14:17) And it shall be, that whoso will not come up of all the families of the earth unto Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, even upon them shall be no rain.
(Zec 14:18) And if the family of Egypt go not up, and come not, that have no rain; there shall be the plague, wherewith the LORD will smite the heathen that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
(Zec 14:19)This shall be the punishment of Egypt, and the punishment of all nations that come not up to keep the feast of tabernacles.
(Zec 14:20) In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD; and the pots in the LORD'S house shall be like the bowls before the altar.
(Zec 14:21) 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.
The book of Zechariah contains considerable prophecy of Christ and the times that follow Him. As was often the case with the prophets, the Spirit of Christ in them signified and testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow, of which believers on this side of the cross enjoy the benefits (1PE 1:10-12). Gospel times were definitely in view in this chapter inasmuch as Zechariah foretold, “And it shall be in that day, that living waters shall go out from Jerusalem...” (ZEC 14:8). Jesus identified those living waters as the ministry of the Spirit after He arose from the dead to be glorified:
(Joh 7:37) In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
(Joh 7:38) He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.
(Joh 7:39) (But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.)
Christ’s utterance, interestingly, was during the feast of tabernacles (JOH 7:2), which is relevant to today’s text. Living waters did go out from Jerusalem (first from the heavenly Jerusalem) and it was said that the Spirit’s ministry through the apostles on earth should begin at Jerusalem (LUK 24:47). With such facts in hand, I am not at all persuaded that today’s text implies an eventual season of universal responsibility to all nations to keep the O.T. feast of tabernacles (or else!). Such feasts were part of the “...weak and beggarly elements...” (GAL 4:9-10) that were put away by the cross of Christ Who is God tabernacled in flesh (JOH 1:14). These verses rather are relative to the universal responsibility to repent, believe in, and follow Christ as Lord (ACT 17:30-31; ACT 20:21), by faith practicing that which the feast of tabernacles set forth: contempt of the world and joy in God (LEV 23:40-43). Or else (JAM 4:4; ROM 2:4-9; 2TH 1:7-9)! Any who love the world (1JO 2:15) and/or refuse to joy in God through the Lord Jesus Christ (ROM 5:11) are the ones who are condemned for not coming up to the feast of tabernacles.
ZEC 14:20-21 continues a gospel theme under the N.T.: holiness. The capitalized phrase, “HOLINESS TO THE LORD” was once the engraved title on the gold plate of the O.T. high priest’s mitre/crown: “...that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts...that they may be accepted before the LORD” (EXO 28:36-38). Holiness made gifts acceptable to God. Yet such a high title would “In that day...be upon the bells of the horses...” (ZEC 14:20), i.e., upon insignificant things. Further, “...every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the LORD of hosts...” (ZEC 14:21). The image that is being set forth in these verses is of the elimination of long-standing protocols and distinctions (for horses had no role in the O.T. tabernacle service), and the setting forth of universal holiness: the least and the common (horse bells and pots) are even defined by holiness unto the Lord. Holiness is no longer a title for only some, is no longer only ceremonial: it touches upon everyone and everything.
That the title of Israel’s high priest (HOLINESS TO THE LORD) should be upon bells and pots should at least remind us of our indebtedness to our High Priest, Jesus Christ, in Whom God has chosen us (who are lowly items) “...that we should be holy and without blame before him in love...To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved” (EPH 1:4-6). He “...saved us, and called us with an holy calling (2TI 1:9) to “...eternal glory...” (1PE 5:10). Believers less than the least of all saints have His grace (EPH 3:8; 1TI 1:12-15). That holiness should be universal and applied to even the least of things should remind us also that all that we say or do should be done as unto the Lord (for church members are, after all, built together as an holy priesthood, 1PE 2:5):
(1Co 10:31) Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
(1Pe 4:11) If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Not only all that we say or do, but all that we are should be underwritten by holiness:
(Rom 6:19) I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
(Rom 12:1) I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
Under the N.T. we have superior blessings but also superior responsibilities. We dare not stand on ceremony alone when it comes to holiness, as if the form of godliness were a substitute for actual godliness (2TI 3:5), or that the only thing we are to dedicate as “holy unto the Lord” is what goes in an offering plate or box. Further, our “holiness unto the Lord” is not only for a particular class, and it is very practical: in whatever calling we may be found, be it in ordained ministry or an everyday job, be it mighty or miniscule, all believers have this inscribed by the Spirit upon the table of their hearts and confirmed by the Spirit in His word: “...let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2CO 7:1).