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Verse 6

Zechariah 4:6. Then he answered, Not by might nor by power, &c. That is, Zerubbabel and Joshua, with the Jews under their conduct, shall finish the temple and re-establish the Jewish state, not by force of arms, nor by human power, but by the aid of my providence and grace; just as the lamps are supplied with oil in a secret and invisible manner, without the help of man. Thus the angel answers the prophet’s question, “not by descending to an explanation of particulars, but by giving the general purport of the vision; the design being, not to gratify a partial curiosity, but to comfort and encourage an almost desponding people by the assurance that God would, not by those human means, in which they were sufficiently sensible of their own deficiency, but by his own Spirit, render his church triumphant over all opposition.” Blayney. We may observe further here, that what is done by God’s Spirit, is done by might and power; but this stands in opposition to visible force. Israel was brought out of Egypt, and into Canaan, by might and power: but they were brought out of Babylon, and into Canaan the second time, by the Spirit of the Lord of hosts; working upon the spirit of Cyrus, and inclining him to proclaim liberty to them, and upon the spirits of the captives, inclining them to accept the liberty offered them. It was by the Spirit of the Lord that the people were excited and animated to build the temple, and therefore they are said to be helped by the prophets of God, Ezra 5:2; because by their mouths the Spirit of God spoke to the people’s hearts. It was by the same Spirit that the heart of Darius was inclined to favour and further that good work, and that the sworn enemies of it were infatuated in their counsels, so that they could not hinder it as they designed. Observe, reader, the work of God is often carried on very successfully, when yet it is carried on very silently, and without the assistance of human force: the gospel temple is built, not by might or power, for the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but spiritual; namely, the force of truth and love, which, through the Spirit of the Lord, are mighty to pull down strong holds, and bring men’s hearts and lives into captivity to the obedience of Christ. Thus the excellency of the power is of God, and not of man.

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