The word of the LORD also came to me, saying,
I. THE COMING MAN OF THE AGES. "Branch." Lowliness, and yet dignity. The heathens fabled that the Titans were sons of heaven and earth. Here is what they vainly imagined. "Grew up." Natural development. Perfection of humanity. Long the cry was, "He cometh." We see his shadow in every sacrifice. Find his presence in every prophecy. Hear his footfall in every promise. He was the Hope of Israel, and the Desire of all nations.
II. CHARGED WITH THE NOBLEST MISSION. "Build" - personally and instrumentally. Many whom he honours as "fellow workers." Temple slowly rising. Grandeur and beauty gradually unfolding. Implies the union and fellowship of men as "living stones" in the great temple of humanity.
III. DESTINED FOR THE GRANDEST EMPIRE. "The glory."
1. Priest. Power with God. "Forever, after the order of Melchizedek."
2. King. Power with men. The rule of righteousness and love.
IV. DESIGNATED FOR IMMORTAL HONOUR. Heaven is the perfect state. What do we see there? Let St. John declare (Revelation 5:6). Even on earth, what honour to Christ! Every day, and especially on the Lord's day, what prayers in his Name! what offerings to his praise and glory! In how many lands, by what various voices, with what measureless love, is his name breathed forth! "Behold the Man!" Let each heart answer, with adoring gratitude and joy, "My Lord and my God!" - F.
And set them upon the head of Joshua
Homilist.The crowning, the work, and the position of Joshua spoken of in these verses, are obviously employed to symbolise some coming man who would be matchless in all history. Concerning this matchless man, we are taught —
I. THAT HE IS ONE WHOM HEAVEN COMMANDS THE PEOPLE TO HONOUR. The prophet is commanded to go to certain men of the more distinguished who had returned from Babylon, representative men it may be. tie was to take these men, whose names are here given, to the house of another distinguished man, here called Josiah, the son of Zephaniah. From that house silver and gold were to be taken, with which crowns were to be made, and placed upon the head of Joshua, the son of the high priest. By general consent of expositors, this was a mere symbolical transaction — a transaction pointing to some great man whom heaven will require all men to crown with the highest dignity. Here is a character symbolised by the name of Joshua, to whom the people are called upon by God Himself to render honour. Who is this man? The man Christ Jesus! "When He bringeth in the first-begotten into the world He saith, Let all the angels of God worship Him."
II. THAT HIS PEDIGREE WAS STRIKINGLY SINGULAR. "Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is the Branch; and He shall grow up out of His place, and He shall build the temple of the Lord." He came down from heaven and tabernacled on this earth, which was not His place. A great soul, dominated by a supreme sympathy with the Supremely Good, can grow anywhere, in its place or out of it. It can subordinate the most hostile external elements and forces for its own will and interests.
III. THAT HE IS ONE WHOSE MISSION IS SUBLIMELY GLORIOUS. "He shall build the temple of the Lord," etc. Zerubbabel was now engaged in the work of rearing the material temple at Jerusalem; and a more glorious work than this is not given to man, viz. to promote the public worship of God.
IV. THAT HE IS ONE WHOSE POSITION AND FUNCTIONS ARE TRANSCENDENTLY EXALTED. He is on a throne.
1. As a priestly King.
2. As a glorious Reconciler.The Mediator between God and man. The reconciliation, the atonement.
V. THAT HE IS ONE WHOSE POWER TO ATTRACT OTHERS TO HIS ENTERPRISE IS IMMENSELY GREAT. The Gentiles were to be themselves stones in the building, and agents in the rearing of it.
The man whose name is the Branch
1. Some observations upon the occasion and reason of this name. the Branch, given to the promised Messiah, before His coming in the flesh.(1) The original word, "tsemach," does not signify "the East," as some have imagined, but always, "the Branch." There are also other Hebrew words expressing Jesus Christ by this His name, the Branch.(2) A man's offspring are, by a very just metaphor, called his branches, because they proceed from him, as branches or sprouts from a root. Jesus Christ is said, in Isaiah 11:1, to be a "Branch out of the root of Jesse."(3) Jesus Christ is metaphorically called a Branch, respecting some family He was to spring from in His human nature, and this was the family of David, the son of Jesse.(4) When the kings of David's family, and their kingdom, which was then the Church of God, were greatly declined, sore oppressed and much weakened, this promise to David, that Christ was to come as a Branch from him, was presented to their faith, that they might expect the greatest blessings to themselves, and to the Church of God, by the means of this Branch of David's family.(5) After the return from captivity, the encouragement and hope of the Church were founded upon the coming of this Branch of David.
2. Scriptures of the New Testament where He is designed the Branch (Luke 1:78). For "day spring" the margin has sun rising or branch (Matthew 2:23). Nazareth had its name from a branch, which, though not the same word as in our text, yet is of the same signification.
3. The Scripture account of Jesus Christ, under the name and designation of the Branch.(1) He was to be the true and eternal God. "The Lord our Righteousness."(2) The Branch of the Lord (Isaiah 4:2). Son of God the Father, by an eternal, incomprehensible, and incommunicable generation.(3) Really and truly man, and of the lineage and posterity of David.(4) Both God and man, without any change of one nature into another, or confusion of the one with the other, and all this in one person.(5) He was to be Jehovah's servant for the redemption of lost sinners. "He took upon Him the form of a servant." He came, "not to be ministered unto, but to minister."(6) This Branch was, in a peculiar manner, of God's bringing forth and raising up. God the Father found Him out, and called Him to the work of saving sinners.(7) He was for a time to be very low and contemptible, to be cut down, and to grow up to the greatest height. This was to be specially true of His birth.(8) The Branch was to sustain and execute offices for the building of the temple of the Lord, both as Prince and Saviour.(9) It was to be a righteous Branch, a Branch of righteousness. Application —
1. Learn the advantage of studying the Old Testament.
2. Be restless in your endeavours, until this Branch, this man, be excellent, desirably glorious and precious to you, and in your esteem.
3. Behold the man whose name is the Branch. Behold Him in His person, in His natures.
4. Come and take up your dwelling under the shadow of this man whose name is the Branch.
(James Robe, M. A.)
I. THE BEAUTY OF THIS "BRANCH." What is it that most especially constitutes the beauty of the Divine character? Not justice by itself; not mercy by itself; but the marvellous union of both, the harmony between these Divine attributes, by which God can be "a just God and a Saviour." That union has been discovered perfect and complete in the person of the Lord Jesus, the God-man-mediator, so in Him is the very perfection of beauty. It is indeed said of Him, "There is no beauty that we should desire Him"; but these expressions refer to the meanness of His birth, and to the prejudices of His nation.
II. THE SHADINESS OF THIS BRANCH. The term brings to our minds the exposed state of the sinner, in the "weary land" of this world. He stands exposed to the wrath of God. He wants "shade" —something that will interpose between him and the intense heat from above, and afford him a protection from it. By whatever emblem the precious blood and perfect righteousness of Christ are represented to us in Scripture, the idea always conveyed is that of security against the effects of Divine wrath, consequent on human transgression. The shade of the "righteous Branch" is the interposing mediation of our exalted Redeemer. The shade of this Branch is extending itself every day.
III. THE FRUITFULNESS OF THIS BRANCH. The two figures are united in Canticles. "I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste." In Revelation is described the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruit, and whose leaves were not for shade only, but also for healing.
IV. THE STRENGTH OF THIS BRANCH. "He shall bear the glory." He shall bear the weight of all the cares and concerns of His whole Church, both small and great, even of every individual, however important or insignificant; and He shall be found both able and willing to support them all. And He "bare our sins in His own body on the tree."
I. THE EMPHATIC APPELLATION GIVEN TO THE MESSIAH, — THE BRANCH. The verb whence the word is derived signifies "to grow," "to sprout." It is specially applied to trees, some of which in part decayed, and that to the very roots, will often send forth new shoots, which shall surpass, in greatness and fruitfulness, the original stock. This expression, as applied to Christ, is —
1. Eminently prophetical (Isaiah 11:1). The stem of Jesse was decayed. At the time of its lowest depression, the Branch, the Messiah, shot forth.
2. As descriptive of His Personal progress to glory and dominion. Of the progress of His religion in the world. And of the work of Christ in the heart.
3. As indicating the secret and mysterious mode of His operations. The metaphor is taken from vegetation, the process of invisible influence which out of rude elements frames the stately tree, and from a bud develops the goodly branch. There is an unseen principle at work, and that principle is the working of God Himself. We see this m the progress of our Saviour from sufferings to glory. And in the progress of His religion in our world.
II. THE GREAT WORK TO WHICH THE MESSIAH WAS APPOINTED. "He shall build the temple of the Lord." A parallel may be presented between the material temple and the spiritual house. In conclusion notice — the union of the kingly and priestly offices in Christ.
(R. Watson.)I. THE PERSON HERE SPOKEN OF. Who is this wondrous, mysterious man? Not certainly Joshua, the high priest, on whose head the crowns were to be placed. For the message is addressed to Joshua, as concerning some one else. Joshua, the crowned high priest, is the type of another, greater than himself, to whom he and all others are to look for blessing. These words seem to point to one already known, to one whose name is familiar. And so it is. Isaiah had borne testimony regarding Him (Isaiah 11:2-9; Isaiah 23:5, 6; Isaiah 33:15, 16). Is not this the substance of the Lord's message to every generation of the sons of men? Is not this the great central message of the Book of God, and of every faithful messenger of His? Must not this be the keynote of our preaching? The Branch is none other than the Messiah, our blessed Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. It tells of one who has taken our nature. Our Redeemer is man. But not man alone. He is the God-man. Son of God and Son of Man, a Divine, and therefore an all-sufficient Saviour.
II. HIS WORK. "He shall build up the temple of the Lord." This work was entrusted to Zerubbabel, but he was only a type of the true temple builder. For the true temple is the spiritual temple, the temple into which all believers are built, and of which Jesus Christ is the foundation stone. And this Builder is also the Owner, the Ruler, a Priest, a Royal Priest. The headship of Christ is a personal matter; the great question for each one is, Am I a loyal subject of the Church's Head and King? Is He the ruler of my life? It is also said, "He shall be a Priest upon His throne." What you and I need is a priest to remove guilt, to make atonement for sin, to satisfy Divine justice, and reconcile us to God. "Him hath God exalted, a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins."
(William Findley, M. A.)
PeopleHeldai, Helem, Hen, Jedaiah, Jehozadak, Josedech, Joshua, Josiah, Tobijah, Zechariah, Zephaniah, Zerubbabel
PlacesBabylon, Jerusalem, Shinar
Outline1. The vision of the four chariots.
9. By the crowns of Joshua are shown the temple and kingdom of Christ the Branch.
Dictionary of Bible ThemesZechariah 6:9-15
LibraryThe Priest of the World and King of Men
'He shall build the Temple of the Lord ... and He shall be a Priest upon His throne.'--ZECHARIAH vi. 13. A handful of feeble exiles had come back from their Captivity. 'The holy and beautiful house' where their fathers praised Him was burned with fire. There was no king among them, but they still possessed a representative of the priesthood, the other great office of divine appointment. Their first care was to rear some poor copy of the Temple; and the usual difficulties that attend reconstruction …
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions of Holy Scripture
Christ Glorified as the Builder of his Church
The Allegory of Melchizedek.
Solomon's Temple Spiritualized
The King --Continued.
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