Pastor Aaron Preaching
Taste of Acworth/Marietta/Swift Witnessing
Jennifer's friend's spinal surgery
Mt. Paran in Student Who Died
Text – 6:9-15
Today we get to the end of eight visions, which were explained along the way, but here at the end it is going to tell us the major point of all of these visions. This passage we’re going to read today happened on the same night as the visions, but it’s not a vision, it’s God’s explicit word and command, and his interpretation of what we’ve read over the past seven weeks.
The book of Zechariah is hard to put in a box and tell exactly how to break it into sections. At the very least we can say chapter 1 is the introduction, chapters 1-6 are confirmation that God is working and does indeed care for his people, based largely in the past, chapter 7 is about the present, 8-12 is about the coming Messiah, and 13-14 are set in the End Times. Today we are transitioning from the past to the present for Israel. Their past is put away, they have the promise of a coming salvation, and all that stands before them now is new life.
Before we read it, let's talk a bit about Joshua. This is obviously not the same Joshua who followed Moses, this is quite a bit later. He is our High Priest of the day, and Joshua is actually a pretty common name. In Ezra it tells us that his name can also be pronounced Jeshua. In the first century, this was a hugely popular name, many children would be named Joshua, because it means "God Saves" it comes from Jehovah and Yasha, which is God and salvation. This would have been Jesus' name, through different languages we've seen it change to Isous, then to Jesus. It's not so important what you're calling Jesus as long as you're referring to the One who bled and died on a cross and was raised three days later. You can call him Immanuel, God with us, or Faithful and True, or the Way, the Truth, and the Life, or the Resurrection and the Life, or the Son of God, or the Son of man, or Isa in Arabic, or Joshua, or God manifest in the flesh, as long as you're referring to the Living and True God the Son. While we're on names, one of the neatest studies I ever did was on the names and titles of God, like Jahoshephat is "God the Judge", and Jehovah Nissi is "God our Banner", and Hallelujah is "Praise God."
We're going to see in Zechariah that Jesus Christ is prophesied by name, let's read it,
Zechariah 6:9-15 And the word of the LORD came to me: "Take from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah. Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. And say to him, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD. It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."' And the crown shall be in the temple of the LORD as a reminder to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. "And those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the LORD. And you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God."
So a little bit of context before we look at what this means; Israel has been in captivity for 70 years in Babylon. When allowed to come back, some didn’t want to come back, they had gotten too comfortable in Babylon. This can be easily allegorized to be people who are too in love with the world and sin to flee to Jesus Christ; when given the option of God or sin, they choose sin. Many Jews did not return but would die in a foreign land. When given the opportunity to come back, some did, among them were Zechariah the prophet, Zerubbabel the governor, and Joshua the high priest. Remember that Zerubbabel is the one who started and will complete the temple, it’s important for this prophecy.
Other Jews didn’t come back at first, but later their consciences got the better of them, as well as the allure of a new temple, and they would return to Jerusalem and ultimately to God. One of the neatest stories is Nehemiah, who had a TOTALLY sweet job in Babylon, but forsook it to come and oversee the rebuilding of Jerusalem.
So what we’ve got here is a new caravan of exiles arriving in Jerusalem who were a little late in returning, but did come. They come bearing gold and silver for the sake of rebuilding the temple, but God has other plans.
v.9-10 And the word of the LORD came to me: "Take from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah.”
These are the newly arriving exiles, Josiah must have been a metal smith living in Jerusalem, which is what many commentators guess, and that’s why Zechariah is to go to that house, he will take what is in verse 11.
v.11 Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown,
The silver and gold is meant for the temple, but God has bigger plans, to make one of the most amazing prophecies in the whole Old Testament for his Son. The word for crown is plural; most of our newer Bibles will only say crown, thinking the plural means two types of metal in one crown, but we’ll see in the New Testament that there are definitely plural crowns here, at least two, a silver and a gold one. Why two? I can’t say, except to probably denote two major offices of the one whose head it will be put on, or some think that gold represents the law and silver the nation; or maybe two crowns for two people? Let’s read on to see where these crowns will go.
v.11 and set them on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.
Here is where it gets crazy, not that both of these crowns are going on one man, but who that one man is. God is very clear that there is to be a high priest AND a king, but by putting the crown on the high priest, we are seeing that the high priest is the king! Twice in the Old Testament the king tried to do the duty of the priest, it didn’t turn out well for them,
2 Chronicles 26:18-19 They withstood King Uzziah and said to him, "It is not for you, Uzziah, to burn incense to the LORD, but for the priests, the sons of Aaron, who are consecrated to burn incense. Go out of the sanctuary, for you have done wrong, and it will bring you no honor from the LORD God." Then Uzziah was angry. Now he had a censer in his hand to burn incense, and when he became angry with the priests, leprosy broke out on his forehead in the presence of the priests in the house of the LORD, by the altar of incense.
Likewise, Saul the King offered a sacrifice to God instead of waiting for Samuel the priest to do so, and in so doing Saul lost his entire kingdom. It’s a big deal that God has both a priest and a king, it works for the main reason of setting up a system of checks and balances, that one bad person won’t wreck the whole nation, but ultimately it is pointing to the purpose we see here in Zechariah, that God is predicting that his Messiah will be both the perfect King, and the perfect High Priest.
v.12 And say to him, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, "Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place,
This Branch language was used a bit before:
Zechariah 3:8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch.
So what we are seeing in Joshua wearing the kingly crown is that the Branch previously spoken of will be both High Priest and King. We remember from Isaiah too that Branch is prophesying that Jesus will be called a Nazarene, which is one Hebrew word for Branch.
Joshua would understand that he was not the Messiah, and also that he wasn’t the king, but that this is highly symbolic. This is also important for the next part of verse 12,
v.12 and he shall build the temple of the LORD.
Zerubbabel, the governor of Jerusalem, was actually the one who built the temple in Zechariah’s day, so we’re seeing something farther off in the future. Ezekiel, while in the Babylonian exile, had prophesied a much more amazing temple than the one which is being here built (chapters 40-47), so this coming Messiah is going to build a much more amazing temple, and Jesus clearly identifies himself here in John 2:19,
John 2:18-21 So the Jews said to him, "What sign do you show us for doing these things?" Jesus answered them, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." The Jews then said, "It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?" But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
So this is a definite prophecy for the coming Christ, that he will be both priest and king.
v.13 It is he who shall build the temple of the LORD and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne.
God says it multiple times so that the hearers definitely get it, that there will be a High Priest as King, and King as High Priest. What is amazing here is both that the High Priest gets to sit on the King’s throne, but also that the High Priest gets to sit down at all.
Hebrews 10:11-12 And every priest stands daily at his service, offering repeatedly the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins. But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God…
Of all of the things in the temple, from the lampstand to the table of showbread, to the altar of incense, to the mercy seat; the thing that was not present was a chair. The priests were always working, working, working, never able to rest because sins continued to be committed and need atonement. But Jesus Christ offered himself once for sin, then he SAT DOWN.
Hebrews 10:14 For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
Now one more time for the crazyness of a priest sitting in the place of the king, God is going to assure us that this is in his plan,
v.13 And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both."'
This both here is speaking of the offices, not two people, stating that there is no contradiction between a King being High Priest, so long as both are perfect and acceptable and pleasing to God. Beloved, this just could not be in the Levitical priesthood, they were not permitted to be kings, but there is a historical precedent for a king who is also a priest,
Genesis 14:18 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine. (He was priest of God Most High.)
Salem is the old name for Jerusalem, do you see the etymological link? Jeru means new, salem means peace. Jesus Christ is not a priest after the order of Levi, who couldn’t be king, but a priest after the order of Melchizadek, which means, “King of Righteousness.”
Hebrews 7:14-16 For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, and in connection with that tribe Moses said nothing about priests. This becomes even more evident when another priest arises in the likeness of Melchizedek, who has become a priest, not on the basis of a legal requirement concerning bodily descent, but by the power of an indestructible life.
So we see that our Christ is both King, and our High Priest forever, made all the more glorious that no-one could have ever taken his life from him, but that he gave it up for our sake, rebuilding the temple of his body after three days, and living forevermore to make intercession for our sins!
v.14 And the crown shall be in the temple of the LORD as a reminder to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah.
This prophecy is pretty wild, not so much for us because we’ve seen it fulfilled perfectly, but for Zechariah’s original readers, so he tells them to hang up these crowns as a reminder of the coming Priestly King, and according to history, that they did. These crowns were probably lost in AD70 when the temple was destroyed, though we don’t have record of where these crowns have gone; however, we do know that they are fulfilled. Remember this point, we’ll come back to it in just a moment, first let’s make sure this prophecy is genuine.
v.15 "And those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the LORD. And you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God."
Here we have a temporal check to see if Zechariah is genuinely being talked to by God or if he’s making it up, or if he had some bad pizza the night before. This last check will be for the people of Jerusalem to see if Zechariah is truly a prophet. If you want to find out if he really is, read Chapter 7 before next week, and that’s what we’ll look at. For our sake in the future though, we see that many peoples who are far off will come to our High Priest King, not just Jews, but someone from every tribe and nation.
So now, how do we know that this passage is talking about Jesus Christ? The New Testament tells us that it is, let’s read Christ’s Second Advent:
Revelation 19:11-13 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war. His eyes are like a flame of fire, and on his head are many diadems, and he has a name written that no one knows but himself. He is clothed in a robe dipped in blood, and the name by which he is called is The Word of God.
Christ is wearing these crowns, diadems, many of them, representing his royalty, omnipotence, and his exalted state. The first time he came he wore a crown of thorns, representing shame, sin, impotence, and rejection, but because of his submission to his Father, he has received honor upon honor, and is crowned as the supreme King of the universe; read the next part,
Revelation 19:15-16 From his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations, and he will rule them with a rod of iron. He will tread the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God the Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has a name written, King of kings and Lord of lords.
I really want to read two Psalms, I hope we have time. The first is a coronation Psalm which would be sung as the king of Israel is brought to power. Old Testament kings are given such grace as to be called sons of God, but we see that this beautiful Psalm is actually speaking of the true Son, the true King, so let’s read Psalm 2,
Psalm 2 Why do the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, “Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us." He who sits in the heavens laughs; the Lord holds them in derision. Then he will speak to them in his wrath, and terrify them in his fury, saying, “As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The LORD said to me, "You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession. You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel." Now therefore, O kings, be wise; be warned, O rulers of the earth. Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
The second Psalm is Psalm 85, it speaks of Christ being the Branch, and him reconciling us to God through his work. For you see, we have a righteous God, and those who are unrighteousness cannot stand in his presence. But our God is also a merciful God, and he does not delight in the destruction of the wicked, and he has grace upon grace upon grace. But these two descriptions are utterly contradictory, a judge who lets a criminal go is not a good judge, and a father who crushes his children for their sins is not a loving person. So we have a conundrum; since we have sin, either God is a good judge, or a loving Father, but beloved, he cannot be both…unless something radical happens.
Psalm 85 LORD, you were favorable to your land; you restored the fortunes of Jacob. You forgave the iniquity of your people; you covered all their sin. Selah You withdrew all your wrath; you turned from your hot anger. Restore us again, O God of our salvation, and put away your indignation toward us! Will you be angry with us forever? Will you prolong your anger to all generations? Will you not revive us again, that your people may rejoice in you? Show us your steadfast love, O LORD, and grant us your salvation. Let me hear what God the LORD will speak, for he will speak peace to his people, to his saints; but let them not turn back to folly. Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him, that glory may dwell in our land.
Steadfast love and faithfulness meet; righteousness and peace kiss each other. Faithfulness springs up from the ground, and righteousness looks down from the sky. Yes, the LORD will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase. Righteousness will go before him and make his footsteps a way.
Here is where the two reconcile, Faithfulness springs up from the ground, even we may say, as a BRANCH, this is Christ, born of a woman, growing in stature and knowledge before God and man. Righteousness looks down from Heaven, this is the Father seeing his Son on a cross, one whom he has declared to be, “My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Only now, beloved, God has made Christ to be sin for us, Christ bears our sin in his body, and God looking down does not see his beloved Son, but he sees the object of all of his wrath and anger; he sees the sewage of sin, the disgustingness of transgression; every lie, every covetous and lustfilled glance, every bit of malice, every curse word, every idle word, every bit of glory stolen, and beloved, the Father lets loose with his fury. It pleases him beyond measure to utterly crush his Son there on the cross, pouring out his full wrath against sin on the only Person who never deserved it, but who stood as a Faithful propitiation for those who trust in him, loving us long before we would ever love him, and us only loving him because he first loved us.
Faithfulness on the ground, Righteousness in Heaven, and beloved, there on that cross, justice and mercy met, righteousness and peace kissed each other. The contradictory ideas of God’s judgment and love came together in Jesus Christ, the wrath of God against Sin absorbed by the God of Love, so that he is now both the Just and the Justifier of those who believe.
For though that Temple of Christ’s body was destroyed, in three days it was rebuilt, and our great High Priest, having offered himself once for sin, SAT down at the right hand of his Father, waiting for a day in which to return when he will wear many crowns, and receive all of the glory, as every knee bows and every tongue confesses him as Lord to the glory of God the Father.
All hail the power of Jesus’ Name! Let angels prostrate fall;
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all.
Bring forth the royal diadem, and crown Him Lord of all. – Edward Peronnet