The power of God’s grace is revealed in Zechariah 4:7, during the building of the Second Temple.
“Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.”
Back in 1834 Albert Barnes provided the most profound insight I have ever read on the power of grace. The following is an excerpt from his commentary on Zechariah 4.
Zechariah 4:6 “Then he answered and spake unto me, saying, This is the word of the LORD unto Zerubbabel, saying, Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
“Cyril: “Not then in great power nor in fleshly might were the things of Christ, but in power of the Spirit was Satan spoiled, and the ranks of the adverse powers fell with him; and Israel and those who aforetime served the creature rather than the Creator, were called to the knowledge of God through faith. But that He saved all under heaven, not by human arm, but by His own power as God Emmanuel, Hosea too protested, “I will have mercy upon the house of Judah and will save them by the Lord their God, and will not save them by bow nor by sword nor by battle nor by chariots nor by horses nor by horsemen” Hosea 1:7. But exeeeding fittingly was this said to Zerubbabel, who was of the tribe of Judah and at, that time administered the royal seat at Jerusalem. For that he might not think that, since such glorious successes were foreannounced to him, wars would in their season have to be organized, he lifts him up from these unsound and human thoughts, and bids him be thus minded, that the force was divine, the might of Christ, who should bring such things to pass, and not human.”
“Zechariah 4:7 “Who art thou, O great mountain? before Zerubbabel thou shalt become a plain: and he shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it.”
“Who art thou, O great mountain? Before Zerubbabel thou shalt be a plain – The words have the character of a sacred proverb; “Every one that exalteth himself shall be abased” Zechariah 4: Luke 14:11; Luke 18:14. Isaiah prophesies the victories of the Gospel in the same imagery, “Every valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low; and the crooked shall be made straight and the rough places plain” Isaiah 40:4. And in the New Testament Paul says, “The weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strongholds, casting down imaginations and every high thing that exalteth itself against God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ” 2 Corinthians 10:4-5. As it is the character of antichrist, that he “opposeth and exalteth himself above everything that is called God” 2 Thessalonians 2:4, so of Satan himself it had been said in the former vision, that he stood at the right hand of Joshua “to to resist him” Joshua 3:1.
“So then the mountain symbolizes every resisting power; Satan and all his instruments, who, each in his turn, shall oppose himself anti be brought low. In the first instance, it was Sanballat and his companions, who opposed the rebuilding of the temple, on account of the “exclusiveness” of Zerubbabel and Joshua , because they would not make the temple the abode of a mixed worship of him whom they call your God and of their own idolatries. In all and each of his instruments, the persecuting emperors or the heretics, it was the one adversary. Cyril: “The words seem all but to rebuke the great mountain, that is, Satan, who riseth up and leadeth against Christ the power of his own stubbornness, who was figuratively spoken of before Joshua 3:1. For that as far as it was allowed and in him lay, he warred fiercely against the Saviour, no one would doubt, who considered how he approached Him when fasting in the wilderness, and seeing Him saving all below, willed to make Him his own worshiper, showing Him “all the kingdoms of the world,” saying that all should be His, if He “would fall down and worship him” Matthew 4:8-9. Then out of the very choir of the holy Apostles he snatched the traitor disciple, persuading him to became the instrument of the Jewish perverseness. He asks him, “Who art thou?” disparaging him and making him of no account, great as the mountain was and hard to withstand, and in the way of every one who would bring about such things for Christ, of whom, as we said, Zerubbabel was a type.”
“And he shall bring forth the headstone—The foundation of the temple had long been laid. Humanly it still hung in the balance whether they would be permitted to complete it Ezra 5: Zechariah foretells absolutely that they would. Two images appear to be used in Holy Scripture, both of which meet in Christ: the one, in which the stone spoken of is the foundation-stone; the other, in which it is the head cornerstone binding the two walls together, which it connects. Both were cornerstones; the one at the base, the other at the summit. In Isaiah the whole emphasis is on the foundation; “Behold Me who have laid in Zion a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, well-founded” Isaiah 28:16. In the Psalm, the building hall been commenced; those who were building had disregarded and despised the stone, but “it became the head of the corner,” crowning and binding the work in one.
“Both images together express, how Christ is the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last; the Foundation of the spiritual building, the Church, and its summit and completion; the unseen Foundation which was laid deep in Calvary, and the Summit to which it grows and which holds it firm together. Whence Peter unites the two prophecies, and blends with them that other of Isaiah, that Christ would “be a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of people but chosen of God and precious, ye also are built up a spiritual house – Whence also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious: unto you which believe He is precious, but unto them which be disobedient, the same stone which the builders refused is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling and a rock of offense, to them which stumble at the word being disobedient” 1 Peter 2:4-7
“A Jew paraphrases this of the Messiah; Jonathan: “And He shall reveal His Messiah, whose name was spoken from the beginning, and he shall rule over all nations.”
“With shoutings, grace, grace unto it—that is, all favor from God unto it, redoubled favors, grace upon grace. The completion of the building was but the commencement of the dispensation under it. It was the beginning not the end. They pray then for the continued and manifold grace of God, that He would carry on the work, which He had begun. Perseverance, by the grace of God, crowns the life of the Christian; our Lord’s abiding presence in grace with His Church unto the end of the world, is the witness that He who founded her upholds her in being.
Notes on the Bible by Albert Barnes . Text Courtesy of Internet Sacred Texts Archive.
“That gives us spiritual understanding of the power of the grace we have in Messiah Jesus. As Paul wrote to Timothy: “You therefore, my child, be strengthened in the grace that is in Messiah Yeshua.” 2 Timothy 2:1