The King is Coming

The King is Coming! – Zechariah 6:12-13       09/08/2019 Our passage, Zechariah 6:12-13, picks up after Joshua, the High Priest, is crowned with a royal crown.  This is strange for a couple of reasons, not least of which, Israel was already under the sovereign rule of King Cyrus of Persia.  Crowning another king could easily be seen as an act of treason.  However, it quickly becomes obvious that Joshua the High Priest is actually symbolically standing in for the coming Person who will be both Priest and King.[1] The second reason this coronation is strange is that Joshua could not, legally, be crowned as king under Jewish law.  He was not of the royal line of David.[2]  Joshua would know this and would have understood that the regal function, belonging to the family of David, could not possibly be conferred upon him.[3]  “The Branch” is not the name of Zechariah’s High Priest, Joshua.[4] This symbolic act is addressing a future fulfillment of God’s purposes.[5]  The Branch referenced in our text today is used in a four-fold way.[6]  Being familiar with their own Scriptures, the Jews would have recognized this.  In Jeremiah 23:5 the Branch is referenced as a descendent of David, and therefore a king.  In Zechariah 3:8 we saw that the Branch is the Servant of God.  In our passage today we find in Zechariah 6:12 that He is the Man.  Finally, He is shown to be the Branch of Yahweh in Isaiah 4:2, and is therefore the One who proceeds from the Father, God the Son.[7]  Interestingly, Jesus is presented as the King in Matthew, as the Servant of God in Mark, as the perfect man in Luke, and as God the Son in John.[8] The sense in Zechariah 6:12 is, “Behold in Joshua a fore-shadowing of Messiah.”[9]  Joshua the High Priest is then symbolically crowned.[10]  Everyone present during this transaction understood that this was done with reference to the “Shoot” of David.[11]  They understood this pointed to the Messiah that was to come, and now they knew that He would be both Priest and King.[12] There’s some word-play taking place.  He is called Branch as if it were a proper name.[13]  The name, “Branch” (צֶמַח) [tsemakh] derives from the verb translated, “He shall branch out ” (יִצְמָח) [yitsmakh], or more literally,  “will sprout up.”[14]  This play on words describes the rise of the Messiah from obscurity as the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world described in John 1:29 to the One who rises to be the Eternal King who will rule with a rod of iron;[15] Revelation 19:15-16.  As we saw a couple of weeks ago, “Branch” is one of the prophetic names referring to the Messiah,[16] whom we know is Jesus Christ.  Now, we kick around the title, “ Messiah” as if the reference is clear to everyone.  That’s probably not true.  Messiah (מָשִׁיחַ) [Mashiach] is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek “Christ,” (Χριστός) [Chrĭst ŏs´] and literally means “anointed one.”[17]  In this sense it can refer to a priest or king, but in the context of Jesus Christ it refers to God’s anointed One and is often translated as “Lord”[18] to eliminate any ambiguity. Now, the Jews did, and do, struggle with Jesus as the Messiah.[19]  The reason for this is they had developed a narrow, and therefore unscriptural, expectation of what the Messiah would be like.[20]  Through years and years of oppression and abuse they began to look for a military leader to deliver them.  They had part of it right, they read the Scriptures and saw the coming King, the very King our passage today sees being crowned in glory.[21] What they missed was His ministry in addressing the sin problem.[22]  In doing so, they also missed His priestly role, again a part of what our passage today points to.[23]  Somehow, in the midst of suffering and oppression, they began to read the Scriptures through a lens that only saw the coming King.  Yet, in His incarnation, His first coming, He would come as a poor man with apparently little to offer;[24] Isaiah 53:2. Now we Gentiles get this, we know Jesus as Savior, humble and gentle.  But the Branch is used more than once to refer to a very different role for Jesus, He will come again, and He will RULE.[25]  This One will come as King and be crowned as such.  His reign is now, and not yet.  Jesus’ expectation is that those who are His will obey Him.  He would be both Savior and King.  Our obedience is simply assumed. We find here a strong word of encouragement.  In spite of the fact that life is a struggle, our King reigns right now, and He is coming back.  For now, there are a lot of things to be afraid of.  We’re surrounded by a culture growing increasingly hostile to Christianity.  Our physical bodies seem to be falling apart (if you’re over 60 you know what I mean).  Our society could unravel very quickly.  Do we respond in fear and retreat?  Do we see our neighbors as enemies?  Absolutely not! We respond in joy and enthusiasm because the King is coming!  He remains in control, even in this dark world.  He reigns in our lives, He guides and protects and encourages as we face the challenges that are a part of the current age.  If you are a Christian, nothing is what it used to be.  Our situation in the world is redefined.  We remember that nothing changes who we are in Christ.  Are you struggling, whatever the struggle may be?  Ask yourself four questions:

Does this struggle change the reality that I am a follower of Jesus? (No!)Does this struggle change the reality that as a follower of Jesus my sins are forgiven? (No!)Does this struggle change the fact that as a forgiven one I am accepted as a child of the King? (No!)Does this struggle change the fact that, as a forgiven Christian living as a child of the King, I remain victorious in Him? (No!) The answer to each of those questions is a resounding “NO!”  Nothing changes any of these eternal realities.  We can live in these truths.  We live in the light of a coming King.  For each of us, the important thing is to be in the will of God.[26]  Our actions, in obedience to the guiding of the Spirit of God, are working together with others serving God to pave the way for the King to come and establish His Kingdom on earth.[27] The reference to the Branch building the temple points our attention to the King who already reigns in our lives as our Great High Priest and as our King.  There may be a greater fulfillment of this promise still coming, but right now we can testify that Jesus is both High Priest and King in our lives.[28]  His power is being used, right now, for the eternal good of His people.[29]

[1] Marten Woudstra, Zechariah, in The Biblical Expositor: The Living Theme of the Great Book, Volume II, The Old Testament, Job – Malachi, ed., Carl Henry, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI.: 1960), 374.

[2] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 723.

[3] John Peter Lange, Philip Schaff, and Talbot W. Chambers, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Zechariah (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 53.

[4] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 933.

[5] E. Ray Clendenen, “The Minor Prophets,” in Holman Concise Bible Commentary, ed. David S. Dockery (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1998), 386.

[6] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 934.

[7] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 934.

[8] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 934.

[9] Robert Jamieson, A. R. Fausset, and David Brown, Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible, vol. 1 (Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997), 723.

[10] Elizabeth Achtemeier, Nahum – Malachi, Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching, ed., James Mays, OT ed., Patrick Miller, (John Knox Press, Louisville, KY.: 1986), 131.

[11] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Zechariah, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 59.

[12] H. D. M. Spence-Jones, ed., Zechariah, The Pulpit Commentary (London; New York: Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1909), 59.

[13] John Peter Lange, Philip Schaff, and Talbot W. Chambers, A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Zechariah (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2008), 53.

[14] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Zec 6:12.

[15] Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Zec 6:12.

[16] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 933.

[17] The People’s Bible Encyclopedia: Biographical, Geographical, Historical and Doctrinal, ed. Charles Barnes, (The People’s Publication Society, Chicago, IL.: 1024), 706.

[18] The People’s Bible Encyclopedia: Biographical, Geographical, Historical and Doctrinal, ed. Charles Barnes, (The People’s Publication Society, Chicago, IL.: 1024), 706.

[19] The People’s Bible Encyclopedia: Biographical, Geographical, Historical and Doctrinal, ed. Charles Barnes, (The People’s Publication Society, Chicago, IL.: 1024), 707.

[20] The People’s Bible Encyclopedia: Biographical, Geographical, Historical and Doctrinal, ed. Charles Barnes, (The People’s Publication Society, Chicago, IL.: 1024), 706.

[21] The People’s Bible Encyclopedia: Biographical, Geographical, Historical and Doctrinal, ed. Charles Barnes, (The People’s Publication Society, Chicago, IL.: 1024), 707.

[22] The People’s Bible Encyclopedia: Biographical, Geographical, Historical and Doctrinal, ed. Charles Barnes, (The People’s Publication Society, Chicago, IL.: 1024), 707.

[23] The People’s Bible Encyclopedia: Biographical, Geographical, Historical and Doctrinal, ed. Charles Barnes, (The People’s Publication Society, Chicago, IL.: 1024), 707.

[24] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 933.

[25] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 934.

[26] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 934.

[27] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 934.

[28] J. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible with J. Vernon McGee: Volume III, Proverbs – Malachi, (Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville, TN.: 1982), 935.

[29] C.F. Keil, Zechariah, trans., James Martin, in Commentary on the Old Testament: Volume 10, The Minor Prophets, ed., C.F. Keil and F. Delitzsch, (Hendrickson Publishers, Minneapolis, MI.: 2011), 555.

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