Priest and King: Foretold (Zechariah 6:9-15)
Zechariah – have you found it yet? Penultimate book of the Old Testament. Not a regular read, but scripture inspired by God. And not an easy read, as with many of the ‘minor prophets’. We think of them as minor, but in their day they were major, the Lord’s anointed person bringing his word to the Israelites. And just as it is not an easy read for us today, it wasn’t easy for the Israelites to hear at the time. Zechariah was prophet of the Israelites during the reign of Darius at the same time as Haggai and also appears in Ezra (who we think of as the major prophet of the time) alongside Zerubbabel the civil leader at the time and, like him, concerned with the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.
As we learnt on Monday from Heather, the Bible says a person cannot be priest and king, and yet here we find the high priest Joshua being given a crown, made from gold and silver taken from the exiles returned from Babylon, and being told that his name is Branch, which was understood by the Israelites to mean Messiah, and that he will build the temple of the Lord, sit and rule on the throne (ie, as King) and have a Priest by his throne. But is Zechariah talking about Joshua or using him to represent someone in the future? Who do we know as ‘Branch’, or the branch of Jesse, son of David, the Messiah?
In Ezra and Zechariah’s time they were concerned about rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem, and yet this prophecy talks about building the temple. Who do we know in the gospels who talks about building the temple in three days?
Zechariah prophecies about someone who shall be royal and have a peaceful understanding with the priest beside him. Who do we know described as the Prince of Peace?
The crown that has been made with the gold and silver and placed on the high priest Joshua’s head bringing priesthood and kingship together is to remain in the temple as a memorial – a reminder to the Israelites – of this prophecy that there is one to come who will be Priest and King. The final verse talks about those who are far off coming to help to build the temple of the Lord; it might be Israelites returning to Jerusalem to help rebuild the temple, or it might be a reference to the temple being the Kingdom of God – not a physical temple but a temple built of people, including the Gentiles – those from far off.
God foretold the coming of Jesus the Priest-King through Zechariah, hundreds of years before He came to earth but the Israelites did not understand at the time of the prophecy and did not understand at the fulfilment of the prophecy. Praise God that we can understand and know Jesus as our priest and king.