9. And the word of Jehovah came to me saying, 10. Take from the exiles, from Cheldai, from Tobijah, and from Jedaiah, and go thou on the same day, go thou into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah whither they have come from Babylon; 11. and take silver and gold and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua, the son of Josedech, the high priest; 12. and speak to him, saying, Thus speaketh Jehovah of hosts, saying, Behold a man, Brand his name; and from his place he shall grow up, and build the temple of Jehovah. 13. Even he shall build the temple of Jehovah; and he shall bear glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both. 14. And the crowns shall be to Helem, and to Tobijah, and to Jedaiah, and to Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of Jehovah. 15. And they that are far off shall come and build the temple of Jehovah, and ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts has sent me to you. And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently obey the voice of Jehovah your God.

Zechariah 6:9-15

9. And the word of Jehovah cake to me—What is here related is not a vision. How the Lord communicated this His word to the prophet is not explained. With Moses the Lord spake mouth to mouth, even apparently, and not in dark speeches. Him the Lord knew face to face, and the likeness of the Lord he beheld. But Moses was an exception in this respect. To the other prophets the Lord made Himself known in a vision or spoke to them in a dream, Numbers 12:6-8

10. The exiles—Ezra used this term as a name for the returned captives (Zech. 6:1, 6:19). But in this section the reference is to the exiles who at the time were still residing in Babylon. To the great majority of these Jews, which of course was also the case with the returned exiles, Babylon was the land of their nativity. Here, with the exception of the very aged among them, they had been born. Here their fathers had lived and died, at least the most of them. Here in Babylon, during the seventy years, they had acquired a name and a place, and in this place they were established and not doing too badly in a material sense. All this can explain why so few of them, comparatively speaking, had responded to the exhortation of Cyrus that they return to Jerusalem to build the Lord a temple. Why go to Jerusalem, a city in ruins, if they had it so good in Babylon. 

Yet also among these Jews, of course, God had His people. Despite the fact that for some carnal reason or other, they abode in Babylon, their hearts were with God’s people in Jerusalem, and went out to the God of Israel who dwelt in His holy temple in process of being built. As this section discloses, they were wont to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem to learn about her welfare, and, to worship in the temple. And they came not empty handed but as supplied with silver and gold for the Lord’s house. 

To this people—believers in voluntary exile—Cheldai and his two companions belonged. For they came from Babylon their permanent place of residence. They were in Jerusalem only on a visit. They were come as supplied with silver and gold for God’s house. Perhaps a good share of this treasure had been donated by the like-minded brethren of their community in Babylon and that by these brethren they had been commissioned. The visitors received from the prophet as the organ of Jehovah a wonderful revelation regarding branch; for their benefit a new light was shed upon the promise. It shows that they were living by the promise as looking forward to its fulfillment. It shows, in a word, that they were true worshippers. On the same day—On the very day that the revelation came. On this day the, prophet was sent to the house of one Josiah the son of Zephaniah, where the visitors were lodging. Here the prophet was to meet them.

11. Take silver and gold—The prophet was to take from the visitors the gifts of silver and gold which they had brought and cause to be made of these metals crowns. Since only one person is crowned, the plural indicates that the crowns were to be composed of two circlets, one of gold and one of silver, so as to form one piece or crown. This was to be placed upon the head of Joshua, the son of Josedech, the high priest. By this action with the crown Joshua was not made king. The action rather implied that he was king and ruler as priest. It must be remembered that in Israel the rule was divided between the civil ruler and the high priest. The latter only had custody over the temple and over all things in it including the people in their capacity of worshippers in the temple. It is, therefore, proper to speak also of the throne of the high priest. This being true, Joshua could be made to typify Christ also in His kingly office without replacing Zerubbabel as governor over the post-exilic community. That the crown was placed upon the head of Joshua creates no problem therefore. 

There is another explanation of the action with the crown. It is this, namely, that with the crown resting upon his head Joshua for the moment resembled both a king and a priest and that, therefore, as to his outward appearance he for the moment typified Christ both in His kingly and priestly office. 

12. And speak to him saying—The prophet must explain the action not alone to the high priest but in the hearing of the visitors as well. For they were lodged in the grouse to which the prophet was sent. The message, therefore, also was meant for their ears. Thus sayeth Jehovah of hosts, Behold, a man—Here the word behold is not a verb—look at, center your gaze upon—but an interjection equivalent in meaning to Lo!—Lo, a man. This man is Christ and not Joshua. The latter, as crowned, typified Him, presented Him to view. branch is His name—The name becomes Him. For branch He is, not a sturdy branch growing from the trunk of a stately tree firmly rooted in the ground, but a shoot, a tender sprig coming forth out of the root of a fallen tree and this root embedded in a dry ground (Isaiah 2:1, 53:1). The shoot, sprig is Christ. The imagery here sets Him forth as a wonder of God. This first of all. For the root—the root of Jesse, by which is to be understood the virgin Mary—was in a dry ground. From a human standpoint, therefore, Christ could not be born, there being for the virgin no man. But the virgin was with child nevertheless. For the Holy Ghost came upon her, and she was overshadowed by the power of the Almighty. And SO the shoot came forth. Christ was born. 

But there is more to say. A shoot is a tender and unsightly creature. It has no beauty. So, too, Christ. Not that Christ was physically ugly and repulsive. On the contrary, also physically He was well-favored, strong and vital and appealing. Not once do we read of him being physically sick, or of His being derided by His enemies because of physical deformities. For He had none. Yet the Scriptures say of Him that He had no form nor comeliness, that when men saw Him there was no beauty that they should desire Him (Isaiah 53:1). But this can only mean that He did not belong to the great ones of the earth, was not born in purple, was without worldly rank, power, glory, fame. Indeed He was born in a cow stable and He who was held to be His father—Joseph—was an obscure carpenter in the city of Nazareth, a place of which men were saying that nothing of good was known ever to have come from it. He was not a priest or a ruler in Israel. He was not even a scribe. And so men despised and rejected Him, for in their sight He was but a sprig, which if found growing from the root of a tree in a man’s garden, the ax man comes and cuts it away. But in the sight of God He was the beloved Son whose meat and drink it was to do the will of His Father. And from his place he shall grow up—This is doubtless the meaning of the expression that literally reads, “And he shall grow up from under him.” Sprigs never amount to anything to speak of. They never attain to a normal size. They do not grow up. As trees they are failures. And in the eyes of unbelieving men, Christ was a failure, dying, as He did, on a cross. But actually He was a wonderful success. He grew up indeed. For His death was His victory. It pleased the Lord to bruise Him, and to put Him to grief. But when He had made His soul an offering for sin, He saw His seed. He arose unto life in glory, and was set with His people in the highest heavens. He sat down at the right hand of the throne. He was given all power in heaven and on earth and given to be the head over all things in the church: The sprig, the shoot that came forth from the root of Jesse grew up. From His place He grew up. That place was the low level of existence at which He was born, and lived and wrought. That place was the root in the dry ground from which He came forth. That place was the stable in which He was born, and the house of that obscure carpenter in which He dwelt as a youth. That place was Gethsemane where His soul was exceeding sorrowful even unto death. That place was Herod’s courtroom where He was mocked by Herod’s men. That place was the palace of the high priest where He was spit on, and buffeted and where the servants of the high priest struck Him with the palms of their hand, saying to Him, prophecy. That place was the judgment hall of Pilate where they scourged Him and delivered Him to be crucified. That place was the cross on which He laid down His life for His sheep. That place was the grave wherein He lay that He might sanctify it for His own. These were the places—His place—from which He grew up. 

And He shall build the temple—As grown up from His place He shall build the temple—the spiritual temple that was always before God as graved in the palms of His hands—the hands of Jehovah. For the temple is His. This temple the branch builds, now that He is grown up from His place. 

13. Even He shall build the temple of Jehovah—This is repeated for emphasis. He, branch, builds the temple, He and none other. This can be explained. It was in Him that its lively stones were chosen unto life everlasting before the foundations of the world. He is its chief cornerstone. For its lively stones it was He who laid down His life. By His blood they were raised up together and made to sit together in heavenly places in Him that in the ages to come, He, the Father, might shew the exceeding riches of His kindness toward them in Him, branch. He is their sanctification, justification and redemption. The fullness of the Godhead dwells in Him bodily, wherefore He is their true bread. Over all things in this temple He was given to be the head. He, and He only, is mighty to save. For to Him, and to Him only, was given all power in heaven and on earth. And so, reigning, as He does, in the midst of His enemies, He and He alone is qualified to build and preserve the temple. And therefore the temple shall be build, so that, when it shall have appeared with Him in glory, not one lively stone shall be missing. 

According to some there is no warrant anywhere for making this temple the spiritual temple, the kingdom of God, as distinguished from the temple in Jerusalem, in the building of which Haggai and Zechariah are so deeply interested. But this is an absurd stand to take. Were this true, the message of our prophet is devoid of gospel. What real comfort could God’s believing people of that day, or of any other day, derive from the promises as here proclaimed, were it true that they bear only on Zerubbabel’s temple. That eventually also Zerubbabel’s temple was destroyed, shows that for the time being it was but a shadow, a prophetic type of the heavenly. This is all the proof that is needed for the incorrectness of this view. To conceive of the promises of our prophet in this fashion, is to destroy them completely as a glad tiding of salvation. And if we take this view of the promises as proclaimed by our prophet, what is there to prevent us from adopting an identical view regarding the promises as proclaimed by the rest of the prophets. 

And He shall bear the glory—The glory that branch shall bear is the fullness of the Godhead—the fullness of blessings that He shall merit for His people and of which the Father shall be the overflowing fountain—that shall dwell in Him bodily and shine in His and all His people’s faces. And he shall sit and rule upon his throne—A throne upon which He shall be seated at the Father’s right hand. Indeed He shall be highly exalted. The name that shall be given Him shall be above every name, and at which every knee shall bow. And He shall rule upon His throne—rule also in the midst of His enemies, implying that, though they mean it not so, they shall be serving His counsel. And when He has done with them, He shall dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel. But for His people His rule shall spell salvation. (For) He shall be priest upon His throne—Priest shall He be, priest upon His throne, priest unto God. Through Adam’s transgression, we by nature are priests unto Satan, dedicated to his lie, “Thou shalt be as God,” and doing his works, he being our father. But branch shall be priest unto God, the idea of which spells perfect devotion to God, loving Him with all the heart, mind, will and strength. Of this idea branch shall be the perfect expression. He shall offer Himself for sin in perfect consecration to God. By His own blood He shall enter the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption, there to rule upon His throne as priest, praying for and blessing His people, imparting unto them His life, and ruling them by His Spirit and His Word. And the counsel of peace shall be between them both—Both, not branch and Jehovah, but the king and the priest, who sit upon one throne united in the person of branch. And the counsel shall be between them, that is, they shall mind, will, desire and be dedicated to the same deliberate purpose, namely the destruction of the adversary and the salvation of the church, that is, the erection and completion of the temple of Jehovah and its ultimate appearance in glory to the everlasting praise of the Father. And the counsel is one of peace. It proclaims peace and as executed results in peace—peace toward God, the peace of God that passeth all understanding, the peace of Jerusalem that one day shall reign on the earth when the tabernacle of God will be with men. This counsel, of course, shall have to be identified with the counsel of God. For it cannot very well be that branch in—the throne contemplates one thing and the triune Jehovah another.

14. And the crowns shall be to Helem and to Tobijah and to Jedaiah and to Hen the son of Zephaniah—Indicated are the same persons named in verse 11, to wit, the three visitors from Babylon and the Israelite with whom they were lodging. Helen1 stands for Heldiah and Hen, the Hebrew word for grace, favor, stands for Josiah. Hen, as a proper name and as born by Josiah, may record, if he was not already being called also by this name, that the Lord was pleased with him for the kindly hospitality that he was showing the visitors from Babylon.

The crowns were to be to the host and his three guests for a memorial in the temple.—Here is where the crowns had to serve this purpose in the temple. Here, therefore, is where they had to be deposited. It shows, for one thing, that they were not the personal possession of the high priest, that their being placed on his head was not a coronation indicating that he had been vested with an office that hitherto he had not held. 

The crowns were to be for a memorial to the four Israelites named and of course to all God’s believing people both in Judea and in the dispersion. 

They shall be for a memorial, that is, they were intended to preserve the memory of something. The memory of whom or of what? According to one view, the memory of the liberality of the visitors from Babylon. According to another view the memory of their visit. According to this view, the purpose of depositing the crowns in the temple was to extend the typical significance of the proceeding to the three visitors in order that thereby they might be made to typify the many who would one day come from heathen lands and help to build the temple of the Lord. But we should consider that the crowns in the temple pointed not to the visitors from Babylon but to branch, to the fact that He was to sit and rule upon His throne and that He was to be a priest in His throne. This is the Gospel that was imposed upon these crowns. Doubtless, therefore, it is better to say that the crowns in the temple were intended to preserve the memory of branch as He stands out in the promises of this section, all the promises, also the promise, not to be overlooked, contained in the last verse of this section and to which we have still to attend. 

It is not difficult to see why the crowns had to be deposited in the temple. Here is where God’s people from near and far congregated. Seeing the crowns the worshippers would say, What meaneth these crowns. And the priests would explain, preaching to them branch, the Christ as He stands out in this revelation.

15. And they that are afar of shall come and build in the temple of Jehovah.—A prediction of the calling of the Gentiles. The temple is the spiritual house of God. As called of God by the gospel of Christ the Gentiles shall come. Through all the good works that they perform as new creatures in Christ, others shall be drawn. So shall they build in the temple, yet not they but Christ through their good confession. For He and He alone builds the temple. The visitors from Babylon should be ashamed. The gentiles shall come from afar, far from beyond Babylon, even from the ends of the earth to build the temple, and therefore to abide in God’s house, but these visitors continue in Babylon. And they are Jews. 

And ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts sent me to you—The fulfillment of the promises as our prophet proclaimed them will prove that he spake as Jehovah’s organ. And it shall come to pass, if ye diligently obey the voice of Jehovah—Literally, It shall be if ye obey . . . The suppressed clause must be, (It shall be if ye obey . . .) ye shall share in all the blessings that branch shall secure for the obedient.