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Zechariah 6 Commentary: Verses 9-15

Zechariah 6 Commentary: Verses 9-15
Explaining the Book of Zechariah

 
 
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Let’s turn our attention once more to the 6th chapter of the Old Testament prophet Zechariah.

There’s no question that Zechariah 6 contains the last vision given to this prophet. The problem is determining which of the two visions in this chapter are indeed the “last” vision.

Was the vision that we studied last time with the chariots and the two bronze mountains – was that the last vision? Some people think so.

Or is the last vision in this book within the material that we’re going to study today? I have personally come to think that this material today is the last vision in this book.

So, let’s read Zechariah 6:9-15 and then I’ll try to show why I think that this is the last vision rather than what we had last time.

[Read Zec 6:9-15…]

Zechariah 6 Commentary Verse 9

So, let’s read verse 9 one more time in order to see one reason I think this section is the last vision in this book.

KJV Zechariah 6:9 ¶ [And the/The] word of the LORD [came/also came] [unto/to] [me, saying,/me as follows:/me:]

There it is. Here’s one reason I think this is the last vision – this phrase in verse 9.

Because we see this exact phrase in Zechariah 4:8, which is a continuation of the vision of the olive trees and the golden menorah. So, this section that we’re studying today is possibly a continuation of the last vision about the chariots and their horses and the two bronze mountains.

Or maybe this section is simply a continuation of all of the visions that we’ve been receiving from Zechariah so far. But however it works, this wording in verse 9 lends credibility to the idea that verses 9-15 are the last vision in this book.

But there’s another factor that leads us to believe that this is the last vision in this book. And that is this – there are three time references in this book that seem to split up the material.

We have the first time reference in chapter 1 verse 1. You can look there if you’d like and maybe even note it somehow. But in Zechariah 1:1 we’re told that the date is the 8th month of the Persian king Darius’ second year. And it’s at that point that God gave a message to all the returned Jews in Israel that if they turn to him, he will turn to them. So, that was a pretty straightforward prophecy and it was introduced by this first time reference that we see in this book.

The second time reference is just a few verses later in chapter 1, verse 7. In Zechariah 1:7 the date given is still Darius’ second year. But it’s now the 24th day of the 11th month. And it’s at that time that God decided to send these visions to the prophet Zechariah – which is the section we’ve been in now for around four months.

And that leads us to the third and last time reference in this book – the reference that is going to end the visionary material. And you know what? That reference is not found in verse 9 of Zechariah 6. It’s not found in verse 10 or 11. Actually, it’s not found anywhere in this chapter.

Where the last time reference is found is after verse 15 – in chapter 7. It’s there in Zechariah 7:1 where we’re taken about a year or two past the time reference of these visions into the 4th year of Darius in the 9th month and the 4th day of that month.

So, for these reasons in my estimation, we’re still in visionary material as we study the last verses of Zechariah 6. Verse 9 is using wording that we’ve seen already in these visions so far and the next time reference that lets us know that we’re in a different section doesn’t appear until after we’re done with chapter 6.

So, hopefully we’re all convinced that what we’ll be studying now is a vision. And if not, maybe it will become clearer as we go along in this message.

Zechariah 6 Commentary Verse 10

So, here’s how this vision starts – with a commandment to Zechariah – verse 10.

10 [Take of them of the/Take an offering from/Choose some people from among the/Take silver and gold from the] [captivity/exiles], even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, [which are come/when they have arrived/all of whom have come/who have arrived] from Babylon,

and [come thou the same day, and/you go the same day and/when you have done so] [go into/enter/go to] the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah;

So, Zechariah is commanded to take some of the Jews who had returned from exile in Babylon. Three of them, actually – and we’re given their names.

And then when Zechariah gathers these men – I’m assuming in his vision and not actually in real life – then the four of them are supposed to go visit this last man mentioned named Josiah.

So, this verse ends picturing these five men gathered in this one house now.

Now, the fact that Zechariah is commanded to do something in this section might make you wonder if this is a vision. But we need to remember that Zechariah has been commanded to do things before in these visions. Zechariah has been commanded to “proclaim” (Zec 1:14,17), to lift up his eyes (Zec 5:5), and to see (Zec 6:8).

In fact – and this is a rather obscure point of Hebrew grammar for most of us – but this word “take” in Hebrew is actually not even technically an imperative. It’s an infinitive. So, verse 9 into verse 10 reads like this, “And the word of Yahweh came to me to say to take…

And I know that’s too much information in some ways – but I’m just trying to answer a question I had when I read this – I asked myself whether God would issue a command to Zechariah in a vision – or if the fact that God is commanding Zechariah something means that this is in real life now. Again, I’m just trying to discern whether this is indeed a vision or not.

And the answer to that question is that yes God has given Zechariah commands in these visions before and that actually this is not technically a command in Hebrew anyway.

Zechariah 6 Commentary Verse 11

Well, here’s what these men are supposed to do when they’re there in Josiah’s house in this vision.

11 [Then take/Take/And thou shalt take(LXX)] [<– Not an imperative, but a perfect] [silver/some silver/the silver] and gold, [and make/make/to make] [<– Not an imperative, but a perfect] [crowns/an ornate crown/a crown],

So, these men bring silver and gold along with bringing themselves to this house. And if the silver and gold aren’t brought by these men, then perhaps these precious metals are just there at this house. And if this is a vision then I guess that makes sense – it’s not unusual for things to just all of a sudden “be there” in a vision.

So, however these five men have this gold and silver, they’re supposed to make crowns or perhaps just one crown, depending on how you translate the verse.

Now, let me ask you – do you know how to make a crown? If someone were to give you gold and silver, would you be able to make a crown?

Well, I’ll tell you that I’m pretty proud of my crown-making abilities. This winter, my in-laws came, and we exchanged a few presents. Well, one of the things my mother-in-law got us was a package of colored pipe cleaners. Wouldn’t you know it – I fashioned several of those pipe cleaners into a rather marvelous crown. I have pictures to prove it!

Alright, so I can make a decent crown out of colored pipe cleaners. But I can assure you that I would make a royal mess of crafting a crown out of silver and gold.

And I’m guessing that Zechariah would have been in the same boat. He’s a prophet and priest – he’s not a silversmith. Now, maybe the three men he brought to Josiah’s house were craftsmen or maybe Josiah himself was. I don’t know because we’re not told.

If this is not a vision, then these men probably would need to be silver smiths. If it is a vision, it doesn’t matter what they are or what they are able to do.

So, these men fashion a crown. And here’s what they’re supposed to do with it.

and [set/thou shalt put] [<– Not an imperative, but a perfect] [them/it] [upon/on] the head of [Joshua/Jesus(LXX)] the son of [Josedech/Jehozadak], the high priest;

So, Zechariah and these four men are to take the crown they crafted and put it on the head of Joshua the High Priest.

I guess they were supposed to find him wherever he was.

And once more if this is a vision then perhaps in the vision, Joshua is just right there in the house with them all of a sudden. Or maybe they needed to go to the Temple with that crown.

I’m just trying to picture what this would look like.

Zechariah 6 Commentary Verse 12

Well, whatever the case, the crowning of Joshua the High Priest was to be accompanied with a message which starts in verse 12.

12 [And speak (perfect) unto him, saying,/Then say to him,/Tell him/and thou shalt say to him,]

[Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying,/’Thus says the LORD of hosts,/’The LORD who rules over all says,/this is what the LORD Almighty says:]

Here’s the message for Joshua through Zechariah from the Lord of Hosts…

[Behold/Look—Here is/Here is] [the/a] man whose name is [The BRANCH;/Branch]

[and he/for He/who] [shall/will] [grow up/branch/sprout up/spring up] [out of/out from/from] [his place,/where He is/his stem(LXX)]

and [he shall build/He will build/build] the [temple/house(LXX)] of the LORD:

So, Zechariah is supposed to look at Joshua the High Priest and declare that he is the Branch. And this designation as we’ve seen before is used in the book of Jeremiah of this one who would be the perfect King of Israel. And this is the individual whom Zechariah is supposed to identify Joshua as.

But Joshua is Joshua. He’s not the Branch – literally. He’s a high priest who under the Old Testament system will never be king.

So, something unusual is happening in this vision. We’re led to believe that the one whom Joshua is being identified as is not really at all who Joshua is. And yet, Joshua – this priest who is now wearing a crown in this vision – is supposed to somehow represent this one who was to come who is known in Scripture as the Branch.

Interestingly, this term Branch is translated into Greek as anatole. That’s the word that Zacharias – the father of John the Baptist in the New Testament – he uses this word in Luke 1:78 to describe whom John was to prepare the way for. So, we get a hint here that the Branch is actually Jesus Christ himself!

Well, we’re told that Jesus Christ – the Branch – the one who is being represented by Joshua the High Priest – whose name in Greek is “Jesus” by the way – well, Jesus Christ is going to build the Temple.

And of course, there’s a sense in which Joshua the High Priest built the Temple in Zechariah’s day. So, there’s a double fulfillment, it seems.

You have God speaking to Joshua and encouraging him that he will rebuild the Temple in his day. But you also have God saying that Joshua represents a coming figure – whom we now know to be Jesus Christ – and Jesus Christ will build the Temple as well.

And Jesus has not yet built the Temple, so this is something we can expect that he will do – probably after the Tribulation.

And until he does rebuild that physical temple, we’re reminded of what the New Testament says of us believers in Christ – that we are a temple of the Holy Spirit. Each of us individually is and all of us altogether are.

How’s your personal temple doing? Is the temple of your body filled with idols like it was in Israel in the days of the idolatrous King Manasseh? Or is it clean and pure as God intends it to be?

And how is the temple of this corporately assembled body? Are we all together walking in holiness and purity? Or does God need to do some cleansing of his temple? …

Well, Joshua was to be crowned with this silver and gold crown and then Zechariah was to proclaim that we should behold the Branch who will build the Temple. And there’s some ambiguity as to whom this is referring – to Christ or to Joshua the High Priest.

Zechariah 6 Commentary Verse 13

But, in verse 13 there’s no question that the focus shifts from Joshua the High Priest to the coming Messiah.

13 [Even he/Yes, it is He who/Indeed, he/It is he who] [shall/will] build the temple of the LORD;

OK, we heard that before…

and he [shall bear/who will bear/will be clothed in (or with)] [the glory/the honor/splendor/majesty],

Well, I suppose that’s something that would be somewhat appropriate for a man. But you’d almost expect that kind of glory to be reserved for deity…

But this next statement is not speaking of Joshua, the mere human High Priest…

[and shall sit/and sit/sitting/and will sit] [and rule/as king] [upon/on] his throne;

Whoa! So, Joshua is going to sit on a throne? Joshua never sat on a throne. Never. He was a human Jewish priest. And priests – as its been pointed out – never sat when they worked. They certainly never sat on a throne. Kings do that – not priests.

And that’s where the prophet Jeremiah’s statements about this one known as the Branch come into play. The Branch as far as Jeremiah was told would be a king – the perfect king of Israel.

But now here in Zechariah we finally get a more rounded picture of Jesus Christ. He would be king – yes. But he’s also a priest. He’s a priest that will rebuild the temple and sit on the throne. He is king and priest. He rules and he mediates.

The Old Testament High Priest Joshua never filled both offices of priest and king. But the man whom he represents in this vision – the Branch – Jesus Christ – he will.

And the Lord reiterates this startling proclamation…

[and/Thus/Moreover] [he shall/he will/there will] be a priest [upon/on/with him on (NET)] his throne:

So, it’s almost as if there are two people on one throne – a priest and a king. But there’s only one – and because of that there will be total unity between those two offices in this one person the Branch – Jesus Christ, our Messiah…

and the counsel of peace [shall/will] be between [them both/the two offices]. [i.e., and they will see eye to eye on everything./And there will be harmony between the two.’]

But as we know, this did not happen in Zechariah’s life time. Jesus the Messiah the Branch did not come right away. He came a few hundred years later.

Zechariah 6 Commentary Verse 14

And so, the Jews would need a reminder of this promise of the coming Branch who would rule and mediate for his people. And that’s why we have what we have in verse 14.

14 [And the/Now the/The] [crowns/crown] [shall/will] [be/become/be turned over/be given] to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, [for/as] a [memorial/reminder] in the temple of the LORD.

Now, two of the names in this verse are different from the people we were first introduced to originally. Heldai from back in verse 10 is now Helem. And Josiah from verse 10 is now Hen.

There are two possible explanations for that.

First, it’s not uncommon for people in the Old Testament to have a few different names or ways to identify them.

It’s not quite the same, but in my family we each have several different names we go by. I could be speaking to my one son by name or I could speak to Bearster, for example. Or maybe I’d address the other son or equally valid I could address Sonny. I could speak to Lori or to Momma or to Dear. And of course, I have no nickname. 😊 Anyway, this could be happening here in this passage – these two men could have different names that they go by.

Second though, maybe Helem is really a different person than Heldai and Hen is a different person than Josiah. In this case, perhaps the Lord just wants different people who will work in the completed Temple that Joshua was going to finish to be involved in memorializing this promise that God is making.

So, whoever is in view, these men are supposed to take this crown that was presented to Joshua and to place it in the Temple as a way for people to remember that one day the Branch would come as king and priest.

If this is indeed a vision, then that crown was not actually placed in the physical temple when it was constructed.

But if this isn’t a vision – and this consideration more than any other makes me want this to not be a vision – then it’s an interesting thought that this crown would have still been there when Zacharias – the father of John the Baptist – went in to the Temple to burn incense in Luke 1.

Zechariah 6 Commentary Verse 15

Well, the Lord has three last things to say about the rebuilding of this temple by the Branch in verse 15.

15 ¶ [And they that are/Those who are/Then those who are] far [off/away] [shall/will] come and [build/help to build] [in the/the] temple of the LORD,

This is probably a reference to the scattered Jews returning to build the Temple with Jesus Christ. After the Tribulation, all the Jews will be gathered together to Israel and will rebuild the Temple with their king and priest Jesus Christ.

And at that point all of the Jews will have no question as to Jesus’ identity.

[and/Then/so that] [ye/you] [shall/will/may] know that the LORD [of hosts/who rules over all/Almighty] [hath/has] sent me [unto/to] you.

The Lord has sent the Lord. God the Father has sent God the Son. The Jews to this day doubt that God sent Jesus. They will doubt no longer when he comes according to this prophecy.

And last, there’s a condition for this to happen.

[And this/And it/This all] [shall/will] [come to pass/take place/happen], if [ye/you] [will diligently/completely] obey [the voice of the/the] LORD your God.

So, Jesus will come when the Jews diligently obey the voice of the Lord their God. … We might have to wait a long, long time, right?

Because the Jews of Jesus’ day were not obedient. They were self-righteous to the point that they killed God. Fortunately, God cannot remain dead – so Jesus was raised from the dead on the third day. But, the Jews of Jesus’ day were not ready for him to rebuild the Temple.

What about the Jews of our day? Are they ready? I’m afraid not – they’re hardened against the Lord – although there is a remnant that does believe in their Messiah. Yet, almost all of them would not be characterized as diligently or completely obeying the voice of the Lord their God.

Do you know when this condition will be met? When the Jews are surrounded on all sides by enemies and they have absolutely no hope of survival. But just then, Jesus Christ returns and destroys their enemies and rescues them – his people! That is when the Jews will finally obey the voice of the Lord their God – of Jesus their Messiah.

May the Lord hasten that day! Come, Lord Jesus.

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