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Zechariah tells us that the mediator of our salvation is a crowned high priest, or priestly king. From humble origins He will rise to a victorious reign over all the kingdoms of this world.
The prophet Zechariah is told to take silver and gold and have a crown made for Joshua the high priest. In Judaism the two offices were rivals and were never combined. Kings came only from the tribe of Judah and the high priest could come from the tribe of Levi. The crowning of Joshua the high priest with a royal crown, which did not properly belong to the high priest as such, had a typical meaning. The high priest normally did not wear a crown and his headdress did not signify royal dignity or glory. It symbolized holiness to Yahweh. However, the crowning of Joshua points to a man who should sit upon his throne as both ruler and priest. He would combine both royalty and priesthood in His own person and position. Therefore Joshua would represent or typify the Messiah, the anointed Priest-King.
The priests and kings, and sometimes the prophets, were the “anointed ones” (Ex. 28:41; 30:29; 40:12-16; 1 Sam. 15:1, 17; 16:3, 12-13). Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit upon whom the leader was filled for special occasions in the Old Testament. The Messiah, like Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18ff; Ps. 110:4; Heb. 5-7), combined these two offices in His person. Through Him all believers in the New Covenant are priests and kings before God.
A Crowned Priest–King
Zechariah 6:12-13 reads, “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the Lord. Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Lord, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.’”
The man whose name is “Branch” (Zemach) is a clear reference to former prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah (3:8; Isa. 4:2; Jer. 23:5). This Zemach is a growing thing, the sprouting one. “He will grow from below upwards, from lowliness to eminence. This sprout will build the temple of Yahweh. The Messiah is called Zemach because Yahweh will cause a righteous growth to spring up to David. He will bear glory (no article) as glory, excellence, splendor and majesty (Heb. 3:3; Eph. 1:20ff; Phil. 2:9f; Rev. 5:6-14; 14:1ff; 19:11-16). With supreme majesty the Messiah will rule upon His throne as the Lord of Lords and the High Priest. The two highest offices in Israel, royalty and priesthood, are united in the one person, the Messiah (Ps. 110).
The crowning of Joshua had a typical significance pointing forward to the Messiah as King-Priest. This calls to mind Melchizedek centuries earlier (Gen. 14:18-20; Ps. 110:4; Heb. 7:11-21).
The only way a Jewish High Priest and King could be combined into one office is by the order of Melchizedek, and not the Levitical order. The priest on His throne is Jesus Christ. In Him both offices are united in one person and are performed in perfect harmony. The Messianic interpretation as fulfilled in Christ is the only one that does justice to this marvelous prophesy. It does justice to the words and facts in Zechariah.
Keil and Delitzsch say, “In this majesty He will sit upon His throne and rule, also using His regal dignity and power for the good of His people, and will be a Priest upon His throne, i.e. will be at once both Priest and King upon the throne which He assumes.” The Jewish priest did not sit on a throne, but stood before Yahweh ministering. “The Messiah, who unties in Himself royalty and priesthood, will counsel and promote the peace of His people.”
In Revelation 19:12-13 Christ is crowned. “His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.” Christ is not said to wear many separate diadems, but a crown consisting of several diadems twisted together, and the insignia of His regal dignity.
The Messiah is in a special sense Zion’s King, the King of the Jews, who is a descendant of the tribe of Judah and the royal house of David. King David had established Zion, the royal city in Jerusalem. Zechariah encourages the Jewish people in Jerusalem that the long-expected eagerly desired King is coming.
Zechariah 9:9 is one of the most amazing prophecies in the Bible. Pause and let it sink in.
Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
This prophecy was fulfilled when Jesus took His last journey to Jerusalem (Matt. 21:2ff; Mark 11:2ff; Luke 19:30ff; John 12:14ff). Matthew records in 21:2-7, Jesus said to two of His disciples:
“Go into the village opposite you, and immediately you will find a donkey tied there and a colt with her; untie them and bring them to Me. If anyone says anything to you, you shall say, ‘The Lord has need of them,’ and immediately he will send them.” This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
“Say to the daughter ofZion,
‘Behold yourKing is coming to you,
Gentle, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a beast of burden.’ ”
The disciples went and did just as Jesus had instructed them, and brought the donkey and the colt, and laid their coats on them; and He sat on the coats.”
Of course Jesus rode only one animal. “The she-ass was to follow, to set forth Zechariah’s figurative description with greater completeness,” writes Keil. Jesus was demonstrating to the people before His death that He was the King foretold by the prophets, who would come in lowliness and establish His kingdom by suffering and dying. His humble entry into Jerusalem formed the commencement of the establishment of His kingdom. He set forth a living symbol of the true nature of His person and kingdom as foretold in the Scriptures.
The Kingdom of the Messiah would not begin with a big flare of pageantry, but through lowliness and suffering and later might and glory. It was not the coming of a political kingdom of world supremacy, but a spiritual kingdom that would overcome the world.
The character of the Messiah King is described as “just,” righteous. He is the righteous Servant (Isa. 53:9, 11), and a righteous Branch (Zemach) (Jer. 23:5; Matt. 3:17; 17:5; Heb. 7:26; 1 John 2:1). Because He is the righteous King His judgments are always right (Isa. 11:3ff). He will never fail to deliver because He is the Savior King.
The Lord of glory comes humbly ridding on a borrowed ass and her colt. He doesn’t come riding on a beautiful white stallion, leading a great army. He rides a colt, a foal, and a young, untrained, unbroken animal still running with its mother. Mark 11:2-4, “Go into the village opposite you, and immediately as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, on which no one yet has ever sat; untie it and bring it here.” I grew up on a dairy farm I know what it is like to get your brains bucked out by an unbroken animal. But the Master mounted the unbroken animal and rode off on it. The animal was in total submission to its Creator-Master.
The next verse tells us the humble King Messiah will bring in peace. “He shall proclaim peace to the nations, and His rule shall be from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth.” He shall speak. He rules by His Word. He has no other weapon but His Word which is the power of God unto salvation. It is through this Good News that His Kingdom shall spread from sea to sea to the ends of the earth (Ps. 72:8).
He began by restoring the foundation of peace that was destroyed in the Garden of Eden in the Fall.
It is my prayer that you will let Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God, the Messiah become the desire of your heart. He will give you His perfect peace right now is you will believe on Him. If you need help in knowing Him in an intimate personal relationship here is A Free Gift for You.
Title: Zechariah 6:12-13; 9:9-10 The Humble Crowned High Priest
Series: Christ in the Old Testament
Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2008. Anyone is free to use this material and distribute it, but it may not be sold under any circumstances whatsoever without the author's written consent.
Unless otherwise noted “Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)
Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible® copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.
Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries for ten years. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Honduras.
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