The Book of Zechariah
THE CROWNING OF JOSHUA THE HIGH PRIEST
1. Last week we were looking at the three final night visions of the prophet Zechariah: the flying roll (5:1-4), the ephah (5:5-11), and the four chariots (6:1-8).
2. I tried to point out that these eight visions symbolized the destruction of Satan’s one-world government and one-world religion – the satanic worldly system that is even now at work but which will not completely take over until the tribulation period (cf. 5:11).
3. After He judges the nations, the Lord Jesus Christ will establish His kingdom in Jerusalem. This kingdom was prefigured at the symbolic coronation of Joshua the high priest (Zech. 6:11).
4. I do not think this was a vision but an actual historical event, which evidently took place shortly after the eight night visions.
5. Nevertheless, it was purely symbolic because in the OT, priests were not crowned, and kings were not mitered.
6. This is one of the most important Messianic prophecies in the Bible. The message is this – after the dark night of world judgment and punishment (as seen in the eight night visions) is passed, the glorious light of Christ’s kingdom will follow.
I. CHRIST IS CROWNED WITH MANY CROWNS (6:9-11)
1. Joshua the high priest was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ, our great high priest. The name Jesus is the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua.
2. Zechariah was to address Joshua with words that can only refer to the Lord Jesus Christ (6:12, 13).
3. We are told in Rev. 19:12 that when Christ comes back He will have on His head “many crowns.”
4. Some Bible teachers believe that this is a composite crown – one magnificent crown, made of silver (symbolizing redemption) and gold (symbolizing royalty) with several circlets. They base this upon the singular verb in Zech. 6:14.
5. Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah were three Jews returning from the Babylonian exile. Zechariah was to receive from them these gifts of silver and gold that they were bringing for the temple (6:9-11).
6. The contingency from Babylon was staying at “the house of Josiah” (6:10b). He was probably named after the great king Josiah.
7. At a coronation, the crown should be worn by the king, not the high priest. At this time there was no king in Israel or in Judah. The royal lineage ended when the Babylonians came and took them away captive (beginning “the time of the Gentiles”).
8. Zerubbabel was in that royal lineage of King David (Matt. 1:12; I Chron. 3:19) but the Lord did not say to set the crown on his head, but on Joshua’s head (6:11). God was not going to restore the line of David to the throne at that time.
9. In the Old Testament, the kingly and priestly offices were kept rigidly distinct and separated. The kingly office was confined to the house of David (II Sam. 7; Ps. 89). The priestly office was limited to the tribe of Levi.
10. King Uzziah’s intrusion into the priestly office and God’s swift judgment upon him is a good example of how seriously God took this separation of the offices of king and priest. King Uzziah was a leper until the day of his death (II Chron. 26:16-21).
11. Normally the high priest would wear a mitre, never a crown. This indicates for us that this coronation was typical and foreshadowed the Lord Jesus Christ, who is both priest and king. Referring to the Lord Jesus Christ, Psalm 110:4 (a Messianic psalm) says, “Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.”
12. And there can be no question that Zechariah 6:9-15 is a Messianic prophecy because of the reference to “The BRANCH” (6:12; 3:8). This brings us to my next point.
II. CHRIST IS THE BRANCH (6:12)
1. One of my favorite hymns is “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” Our songbook does not contain all the original verses. The second verse originally read (appropriate for this Christmas season)
“Crown Him the virgin’s Son,
The God incarnate born,
Whose arm those crimson trophies won
Which now His brow adorn;
The Shiloh long foretold,
The Branch of Jesse’s Stem;
The Shepherd King of Israel’s fold,
The Babe of Bethlehem.”
2. Notice the reference to “the Branch of Jesse’s Stem” (cf. Isa. 11:1ff; Jer. 23:5; 33:15).
3. The Branch “shall grow up out of His place” – in obscurity, in poverty (Zech. 6:12; cf. Isa. 53:2).
4. The Lord of hosts (a title used very often by both Zechariah and Haggai) said: “Behold, the man…” (Zech. 6:12). 500 years later, when Pontius Pilate saw the Lord Jesus Christ, wearing a crown – not of gold and silver, but of thorns – he said the very same words, “Behold the man!” (John 19:5). There are three “Behold”s in the Gospel of John in reference to Christ.
· “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
· “Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! John 19:5).
· “And it was the preparation of the passover, and about the sixth hour: and he (Pilate) saith unto the Jews, Behold your King!” (John 19:14).
III. CHRIST SHALL BUILD THE TEMPLE (6:12b)
1. This cannot be referring to the temple of Zechariah’s day because God had already said that Zerubbabel would finish building that temple (Zech. 4:9).
2. This temple refers to the millennial temple that the Lord Jesus Christ will build (Ezek. 40-48).
3. Notice the repetition of the first person pronoun “He” –
· “He shall build the temple of the Lord” (6:12, repeated 6:13a)
· “He shall bear the glory” (6:13). The word “glory” refers to the LORD’s splendor and majesty. Psalm 148:13 says, “Let them praise the name of the LORD: for His name alone is excellent; His glory is above the earth and heaven.”
· “and shall sit…” (6:13). The Old Testament priests never sat down in their ministry. There was no seat in the tabernacle nor in the temple for the priests – their work was never finished, but Christ’s work on the cross is finished. “And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God” (Heb. 10:11, 12).
· “and rule upon His throne” (6:13). “When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: (Matt. 25:31).
· “and He shall be a priest upon His throne” (6:13). This could only refer to the Lord Jesus Christ, who is both priest and king. He alone shall combine the two offices of priest and king with perfect harmony – “and the counsel of peace shall be between them both” (6:13).
4. Joshua’s crowning was apparently a brief typical act. The crowns were to be “for a memorial in the temple of the Lord” (6:4). The word “memorial” means “an object designed to recall an event” (cf. Joshua 4:3, 7; I Cor. 11:25). Zechariah’s name means “Whom the Lord Remembers.”
5. The restoration of Israel and the fulfillment of the Messianic promise are set before the people as an encouragement to obedience (6:15).
6. But those directly addressed by Zechariah did not “diligently obey the voice of the Lord.” Therefore they forfeited the promised blessing. But in a future day an obedient remnant will be found who shall repent of their sin and turn to the Messiah.
7. The second coming of Christ is assured and unconditional, but Israel’s blessings are conditioned upon her obedience. Therefore, she is warned of rejection if she does not “diligently obey.”
1. There are many New Testament applications – Christ has promised to build His church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (Matt. 16:18). Therefore, His church will be built no matter what man does or does not do. But, we can forfeit our blessings if we do not obey His will. “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent” (Rev. 2:5).
2. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Rev. 3:19, 20).