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Lowell Brueckner

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The Priest-King


An expository study of Zechariah 6:9-15

One of the benefits of a verse-by-verse study of a Bible book, is that you are able to see the unity of thought with that of the rest of the Bible. Zechariah fits right in and harmonizes with both Old Testament and New. Many, who do not study the Bible carefully, miss this "tenor" or "divine mentality" of Scriputre, and tend to wander off into tangents. This is another way of saying that that they take a verse or portion out of its contents. But if we have carefully studied the Bible, when we read or hear a private interpretation of a certain verse, immediately in our hearts, we say, "No, that can't be right; it is contrary to the "tenor" of the rest of Scripture. It doesn't fit into the mind of Christ." Please open to the 6th chapter of Zechariah and follow along in your Bibles...  

A revelation

The coronation of Joshua

Having fulfilled His purpose in the north country, which was a work of propitiation that gave Him rest, God moves forward in the work of reestablishing Israel in its land. He continues to reveal His will to Zechariah (v.9). The preceding revelations came in visual form; they were visions. From this point onward, he does not describe things that he sees, but things that he hears, which God has spoken; they are audible revelations. “The word of the Lord also came to me saying…”

God names three men, who have recently arrived from Babylon, from whom Zechariah is to take an offering (v.10). They are quickly involved in His work. The King of heaven does not need the things that men hold, nor does He want to take things from them, but He wants to change temporal things into eternal things, earthly things into heavenly things, and material things into spiritual things. This is an area of daily life, of which Jesus had much to teach us and through this we can see the great difference between a humanistic point of view, which is egoistic, and divine thought, which is totally opposite of egotism.

Speaking of the basic things of life, Jesus said, “All these things the nations of the world eagerly seek… but seek His kingdom, and these things will be added to you” (Lk.12:30,31). He wanted that His followers should be occupied and give priority to that which is of most value. A little later he added, “Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (v.34). As Jesus saw it, the Christian should have his heart, as well as his treasure, well invested in the Kingdom of God. That is, then, the noblest goal that a human being can have. If he is born again, his nature has been transformed into one that is like God’s and as far as this nature is concerned, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).  

There are two ways to see Paul’s teaching in 2 Corinthians 9:7: “God loves a cheerful giver.” We can interpret that to mean that God gives his love as a reward to the one who gives happily, something that I find difficult to believe consistent with biblical teaching. To me the other viewpoint is more acceptable and it sees the cheerful giver as one that has discovered that God loves him, therefore he gives freely with gusto. We can paraphrase this scripture in this way: “The cheerful giver manifests in his giving the fact that God loves him.” Wasn’t that what the woman was showing when she emptied her perfume vessel upon Jesus? Seeing herself loved and forgiven, the woman brought the best she had to honor Jesus.

Well, friends recently arrived from Babylon, learn the principles of the Promised Land! It might be that they are representatives of the Jewish populace, sending a collective offering from there, but I doubt it. If it were so, why does God particularly honor these, as we read a little later, in the new temple?  So, if they are bringing a personal offering of their own possession, these men are not poor. They are bringing enough gold and silver to make crowns. Jeremiah had said, when the people were carried off to Babylon, that those Israelites should take advantage of the situation that they found there: “Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens and eat their produce… and multiply there and do not decrease” (Jer.29:5,6). Well, these had certainly taken that advantage.

Notice how God turns captivity into crowns, mourning into dancing, and sackcloth into joy (Ps.30:11). We can be very happy to serve a God, who by nature delights in blessing and not in condemning. As He has said (1:16), He has returned to Jerusalem with compassion. How many times has God done this for people who have passed through hard times? He did it with Joseph. From one day to another, he turned his prison and slavery into a position of great honor. He has done the same in the lives of people without number that have been captives of the chains of sin; not only has he broken the chains, but he has made them to sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Eph.2:6).

We have observed God working rapidly in this book. We have read of running (2:4), flying (5:1), wings, winds (5:9), and of eagerness (6:7). Now, he commands Zechariah to begin with this business of crowns in that same day (v.10). When God speaks, no one should hesitate to obey! His word is accomplished immediately, whether by angels or human beings. When someone is motivated by the love of God, he is ready to give or obey.

Zechariah must form, not a crown, but (literally according to the Hebrew) crowns, to put on the high priest’s, Joshua’s, head (v.11). Normally, kings are crowned, but Zorubbabel, though he is of the lineage of David, does not receive a crown. If it were not for the captivity, he would be king of Israel, but at this time, to crown him king, would signify rebellion against the Persian Empire (see how Nehemiah was accused in 6:6-8). Throughout Jewish history, never has a priest received a crown. What is God doing here?

“Crown Him with many crowns!” (Rev.19:12) 

We have to remember that we are following a book of prophecies and it points to a future coronation, typifying a kingdom, in which Christ of the tribe of Judah, will be priest according to the order of Melchisadek (Ps.110:1-4). As the Son of David, He will be King over all the earth (Ps.2:6). He will restore the kingdom to Israel (Acts 1:6).

The revelation of the Lord of Host declares it. He is powerful to accomplish His purposes. God places the man Joshua before us as a sign, crowned with crowns of silver and gold, but let us gaze on the revealing of a crown that is much costlier… the crown of thorns. “Behold, the Man!” says the Roman governor (Jn.19:5). Until we learn the values of the Lord’s first coming, His crown and His cross, we cannot participate in the glory of His second coming. If hearts are not tamed inside of men by His rule, the exterior kingdom will be contaminated by the same egotism and pride that has been demonstrated throughout the history of a fallen humanity.

The first disciples had to learn this lesson of neccesity and the Jews had to see their prophecies in the same order. Zechariah’s book offers such clarity concerning this subject by pointing to the wounded Shepherd, who was sold for 30 pieces of silver. He showed us a humble King, mounted on the colt of a donkey, before he comes to the earth in glory with all His saints. So we must learn this lesson:  “If we endure, we will also reign with Him” (2 Tim.2:12).   

Zechariah speaks of a Branch, “Behold a man whose name is Branch…!” He is Someone who will bud from a branch that has been cut off (v.12); this is the principle theme of his prophecies. In chapter three, when Joshua was purified and reclothed, it pointed to the Branch (3:8). It foretells how a people will spring forth purified by means of a fountain that will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem (13:1). Here the crowning also has to do with the Branch. He is the hope for the restoration of Israel, springing from it’s roots, entering by means of the prophecies of Scripture (Jn.10:2). He, who is greater than Moses, is building the house (Heb.3:3).

He will build His Church and reign in glory as Priest and King (v.13 and Jn.1:14, Heb.2:9). Joshua is a type to illustrate to the entire people of God in all ages that which will surely happen in the future. We must see the order in which the House is built. Now Jesus is forming the church. One day Israel will turn to its Messiah and then, we will see the reign of Christ in the Milennium. “He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow… and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Phil.2:8,9,11).

The Lord of Hosts is revealing the ministry of priest and king united in one Person in these verses, “a priest on His throne”. By taking the office of priest, as well as king, “the counsel of peace will be between the two offices”. In what way? In the first place, the Son is the Priest, as Mediator, submitting Himself to the will of the Father, making peace between men and God. In the letter to the Ephesians, Paul wrote that Christ made peace between Jew and Gentile through His cross. He opened the only way by which there can be peace among men (Eph.2:13-16). Then as King, He is the Prince of Peace and will have perfect harmony in His kingdom. He rules lives, creating peace inside of man. The fountain of peace in His kingdom, will flow from the inside out, filling the whole earth. Two prophets, Isaiah and Micah, profesied that there will be war no more nor need of weapons in His kingdom  (Is.2:4; Mi.4:3).

Those who contributed from their personal treasuries in the second temple in Jerusalem will be honored (Notice, by the way, the different names of the same persons, comparing v.14 with v.10. Heldai becomes Helem, Josiah becomes Hen, the son of Zephaniah. The names of Tobijah and Jedaiah do not vary.) God always honors those who serve Him. He transforms their gifts and service into eternal and heavenly rewards, beyond what is imaginable, as He did with Ruth, Rahab, the woman who anointed Jesus, and Cornelius. It is not payment that they are earning, because we could never gain the valuable things of God by means of our gifts or works. It is only that God recompenses the good will of the heart. The crowns, situated in the temple, will serve as a memorial to four people. The end and purpose above all will be to remind people to await a future day, when their Messiah will be crowned King and Priest forever.  

Zechariah is telling us of a future temple in which the Angel of the Lord will be recognized as sent from the Father to fulfill His eternal plan (v.15). From afar, the Gentiles will come and form part of this house and one day the Jews, by reading this prophet, will see the promise to the obedient and decide to staunchly obey, involving themselves in the fulfilling of this prophecy, as well. Jesus of Nazareth will be recognized clearly as the sent one of the Father in His first and second comings. By means of the Branch, the Jews will be grafted again into their own olive tree (Romans 11).


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