Dr. S. Lewis Johnson expounds the Prophet Zechariah's words concerning the ultimate coronation of Christ Jesus over the Jewish people.
[Prayer] We are grateful to Thee for the privilege that is ours to study the Scriptures, to think of the things that concern the future of this globe upon which we all live, and upon which we work. And we pray that Thou will give us understanding. Give us desire to know the Scriptures and to know Thy plans and purposes, to study the Scriptures and then as Zechariah exhorted his readers to give heed to the things that Thou art saying to us and to our generation. We are grateful indeed Lord for all that Thou hast done for us.
We know it often, we are indifferent, and lethargic, and do not give attention to the Scriptures and to our lives as we should, and we ask Thy forgiveness. And we pray that the Holy Spirit may so motivate us that we may truly please Thee by a more dedicated and devoted life to him who has loved us, and has loosed us from our sins in his own precious blood. We give Thee thanks for Jesus Christ. Be with us now as we study together. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
[Message] Tonight we are turning to the 6th chapter of the Book of Zechariah and we are looking at verse 9 through verse 15, and it the subject of “The Crowning of Joshua.” That is the subject for us tonight. From ancient times from Thales to Freud, the last of the great classical philosophers of history, men have groped for an understanding of ultimate reality. Germans like to speak of Weltanschauung or a world view. And many English speaking people also use that term. In fact, it’s become a very common philosophical and theological term, Weltanschauung, a view of the world. Or as we would say, a world view. And they look for a world view that satisfies.
And 20th Century man has been looking for a world view that satisfies, but he has not found it. Generally speaking, in the 20th Century men confess often that they do not understand human history characteristic of much of the intellectual thought of the 20th Century has been a failure to understand the meaning of life, and then admission of it. James Joyce said, “History is a nightmare from which I am trying to escape.” Others find that there is no possibly way by which we can find any meaning in the history of the world as we know it today.
One of the reasons that the great philosophers have not found the clue to history is that they have omitted one of the most significant of the matters for attention. And as a result of this omission, I speak specifically of the omission of the history of Israel; they find it very difficult to make sense out of history. History is perplexing, but it is impossible for us to understand it if we leave out of our study the study of Israel. In fact, human history gathers around the history of Israel according to the word of God. Adolph Saphir, the well known Jewish Christian who died a couple of generations ago said, “The history of Israel is the history of a miracle even as it is the miracle of history. One of the outstanding philosophers, Hamann of Königsberg in Germany, who was called the “Sage of the North” der magus des Nordens, said, “To me that wonder of all wonders and the most unmistakable proof of a divine providence and rule, a miracle greater than Noah’s ark or Lot’s wife, or the burning bush, is the Jew.” And if we do not understand the Jew, we surely will have trouble understanding human history.
I think in this series, and I know in other series I have made reference to the similarity between the natural miracle, or the natural, what shall I say, the natural perplexity of the Gulf Stream and the Jew. It’s amazing, really, when you think of the Gulf Stream. The Gulf Stream, which has its beginning in the north, flows with a vigor that is greater than the Mississippi, is literally scores as times as large, can always be picked out in the ocean. And in fact, many people can testify to the fact, particularly if they are in a plane, that they can see exactly where the Gulf Stream begins and where the Gulf Stream ends. And when Martha and I were in Scotland just recently, we went up on the northwest side of Scotland, on up beyond Inverness and normally you would expect that to be the kind of temperature that nothing much would grow in. But as you come down the coast, and you’re still north of Inverness and Scotland, a good bit north of Edinburgh for example, which is on about a line of New Finland, there in Inverue Gardens subtropical things grow, because of the influence of the Gulf Stream which comes there.
Now, there is a remarkable similarity in the history of Israel to the natural history and phenomenon of the Gulf Stream. Because Israel is in the midst of the nations, just as the Gulf Stream is in the midst of the ocean. But yet it’s distinct, and Israel is distinct. And we all know that human history has marked them out as a distinct people. There is some assimilation of course, but Israel abides as a people. In fact, there was one of the prophecies of the Old Testament that gave us a clue concerning that. If we read Balaam’s prophecy in the 23rd chapter of the Book of Numbers, and in the 9th verse, one of those Messianic promises that this false prophet issues, has a direct reference to the nation Israel and its future history. Listen to what Balaam said, “How shall I curse, whom God hath not cursed? Or how shall I defy, whom the LORD hath not defied?” Balak wanted him to curse Israel.
And then in the 9th verse of the 23rd chapter of the Book of Numbers, Balaam said, “For from the top of the rocks I see him, and from the hills I behold him.” He looked out and he saw Israel in the valley gathered there. “Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” Think of that, “The people shall dwell alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations.” In other words, there is an eternal distinction between Israel and the nations, the nation and the nations. He goes on to say, “Who can count the dust of Jacob, and the number of the fourth part of Israel? Let me die the death of the righteous.” And then I love this, for this false prophet had amazing insight, because he was given this insight as a gift of prophetic illumination. He said, “And let my last end be like his!” In other words, let me die the death of the righteous. Let me have the blessing that will ultimately be Israel’s blessing.
Some years ago I was sick at Christmas time, and I remember I was on the bed. I have forgotten what it is now, whether I had a little operation or whether I was just sick. And I had a book by Bruce Mazlish who was a professor from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and he wrote a book called the Riddle of History, and it was a study of the treatment of philosophies of history by men such as Viko and Voltaire and Condorse, and Kant, and Hegel, and Compt, and Marx, and Spengler, and Toynbee, and Freud, all of these and their comments on philosophy of history were discussed by Professor Mazlish. And out of curiosity, I noticed as I was reading there was an occasional reference to the Jews, but only an occasional reference. And finally I looked in the index for some mention of the Jew, and while the index, as I remember, was an ordinary index of book about three hundred and fifty pages, there was no mention of the Jew whatsoever. It was no wonder that Professor Mazlish did not make a great deal of sense out of human history, because into the consideration of these philosophies of these outstanding philosophers, no consideration was given to the history of the Jew.
I don’t think we shall every understand history unless we understand Israel’s place within it. And Zechariah, of course, being one of the latest and last of the prophetic line gives us some remarkable prophecies, and Israel is right at the center of them. Before we left, and our class closed for a few weeks, we were discussing Zechariah chapter 1 through chapter 6 and verse 8, and specifically the eight night visions that God had given the Prophet Zechariah. And in those night visions, the history of Israel had been discussed from the time of Nebuchadnezzar on to the time of God’s ultimate earthly kingdom, which shall take place upon this earth. Well, now in chapter 6, verse 9 through verse 15, there is a symbolic act that is carried out. And this too is designed to teach some important truth for us. What we have is the symbolic crowning of Joshua the high priest.
Now, you’ll notice in the 9th verse of chapter 6, the 9th verse reads, “And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying.” Now, that indicates that the visions are over. You can tell by the language that the visions are now over; that what we are now going to have is a different kind of prophetic teaching. What we are going to have now is a kind of acted prophecy. The prophets spoke in various ways; they spoke directly, they were given visions such as Zechariah, Daniel, they also acted out prophecies. In other words, they were called by God to do strange things. Like Hosea, who was called to marry a harlot, or a woman of harlotry, a woman who had those tendencies. Now, Zechariah gives us here an acted prophecy. And we’ll see that when our Lord Jesus comes, from Zechariah chapter 9, when an acted prophecy is referred to there, the Lord Jesus will do such a thing himself in his triumphal or untriumphal entry into Jerusalem. He will ride those animals as an acted prophecy in the sense of telling the people who are there what is really happening by what he is doing.
And so we have the symbolic coronation of Joshua, an acted prophecy. It’s a Texas size kind of object in the sense of the fact that it’s easy to pay attention to it and to see it, if we really give heed to it. Now, what he will seek to show by the crowning of Joshua the high priest, he will seek to show that the Messiah, when he comes, will be a king-priest. He will be something strange, because remember in the Old Testament Levitical economy, priests were not kings. And kings were not priests. Kings were from the tribe of Judah. Priests were from the tribe of Levi. In fact, the writer of the Epistle to the Hebrews, remember, says, “If our Lord were upon earth, he would not be a priest.” Because he didn’t come from the right tribe, he was from the tribe of Judah. So, he can be a priest only after the order of Melchizedek, not after the order of Levi. So, here we have a king-priest.
Well, the facts are that we know that ultimately the Lord Jesus, who is the Messianic king, will also be the ultimate priest. In other words, all of the typical figures, the prophet, the priest, and king find their fulfillment in the ministry of Jesus Christ, who in his ministry acts as prophet in that he announces the truth of God, preaches the gospel, calls upon men to believe in him, gives out the way of salvation, unfolds the future. Then as priests, he offers up the sacrifice for the people of God, and ultimately shall reign as king over the kingdom that God gives to him as the Messianic king.
So now we have the symbolic coronation of Joshua, the high priest. The occasion is described in the 10th verse. Evidently some individuals had come from Babylon, and so we read in the 10th verse, “Take,” and we’re to understand offerings, probably, as the proper word here, something that has to do with money. “Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah, which are come from Babylon, and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah.” So, what is to take place is evidently some deputies from Babylon have arrived with gifts, and the prophet says to take the gifts from them, and they are to go to the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah, evidently a well known individual and perhaps an individual who was very kind and nice to the people who came from Babylon. Someone has suggested that they may be something like the Ramada Inn of that day. That is, his house, he would take care of those members of the nation that came from Babylon.
And in the 11th verse the action that is to take place is described. “Then take silver and gold, and make crowns.” It might seem strange that that word is a plural, but the reason for that is that these crowns of this particular time were usually made of a number of little circlets. So, the result would be one crown, but made up of a number of little circlets. That accounts for the plural, most of the students of Zechariah believe. “Then take silver and gold, and make crown and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest.” Now, this was a crown, evidently, consisting of a number of gold and silver twists, and it was placed on Joshua. You might have expected it to be placed on Zerubbabel, because Zerubbabel was the governor. And so, being the governor you would expect him to have the crown.
So, there is a distinct point to be made in the fact that the crowns were put upon Joshua. And it’s a prophetic point, as I mentioned a minute ago. It’s designed to represent the fact that the Messiah will be a king-priest. Some have found such difficulty with that, some modern commentators, students of the Hebrew text that they tried to make this prophecy a prophecy in which one verse the prophet speaks of Joshua. In the next verse he speaks of Zerubbabel. In the next verse he speaks of Joshua, and the next of Zerubbabel, in order to get over this difficulty. But there is no need to do that. There is no evidence he was speaking to Zerubbabel, and also with reference to Joshua. If we just remember that our Lord is going to be a king-priest, then we have no difficulty.
Now, having done this, we turn to the prophetic interpretation of this. For remember, this is an acted prophecy. It’s a symbolic act that sets for the person, Joshua. Remember the term Joshua is also the name of our Lord. That was our Lord’s name, Yeshua. Joshua is a name found in the Old Testament sometimes in the form of Yeshua, sometimes Yehoshua. The Greek equivalent is Yesus, from which we get Jesus. Our Lord’s name was Joshua. So, he’s talking about Joshua, Jesus. Remember, “Thou shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” One could easily and just as justly say, “Thou shall call his name Joshua for he shall save his people from their sins.” Joshua comes from the Hebrew word Yasha which means “to save.” Yeshua is one of the nouns that means salvation. Yesha is another noun that means salvation. There are two or three of those that are related words, but they all come from this one root that means “to save.” So, put the crown on Joshua, the son of Josedech, the high priest, or upon Jesus.
Now, that of course, sets forth the person. He is Joshua. He is the son of Josedech. He’s the high priest. Now, remember the priest is one who offers sacrifices. That’s his work, to make atonement. Our Lord, being the ultimate antitypical priest is not one who makes a sacrifice apart from himself. But he himself offers himself as the ultimate sacrifice by which sins are removed. All the animals look forward to him. So, he’s the priest who dies. He’s the priest who offers atonement. And incidentally, just as the priests in the Old Testament offered atonement for Israel for the people of God, so the Lord Jesus offers atonement for the people of God. That’s one of the indications that the atoning aim of the Lord Jesus is limited to the people of God. So, he is the priest who dies. But now, the king, the crown is put upon him, and since the crown is put upon him, this is designed to indicate that he is not simply a priest who dies, but he is a king who shall reign. But now, of course, he will reign in an even fuller sense.
I’ve always been interested in Jewish evangelism. I guess because when I went through theological seminary, since I came to theological seminary and already new classical Greek and New Testament Greek, I decided that I need to, since I had not taken Hebrew, I needed to spend some time on Hebrew, and so I majored in Hebrew, then ultimately taught Hebrew for about four years. And I was always interested in the Hebrew text, for that reason, and I guess out of that arose a great interest in Jewish evangelism. There’s a wonderful little story told by a Jewish missionary, who is a Jewish man. His name was Arthur Glass and in David Barron’s mission he labored.
And in one of the issues of The Chosen People he tells of a time when he met with some other Jewish people who were friends of his, and there was a Jewish man present who not a believer. And he said, like Jewish people, they love to argue. And often they argue very vociferously. But generally speaking, they don’t mean it like we mean it. If we get in a heated argument, we usually get mad. Well, they love to argue. Any Jewish man will tell you, really if he’s honest, he loves to argue but he doesn’t often get as angry as Gentiles do, because they’ve been arguing since they were born. So argument is just part of life for them. IF you’ve ever had arguments with Jewish people, you’ll notice that; that they seem to get over it a whole lot more than we do. We nurse a little grudge for a while, particularly if we’ve lost the argument. If we’ve won it, we don’t nurse any grudges, of course; but when we lose it that’s a different matter.
Well, this missionary immediately got into an argument with a friend who was visiting the mutual Christian Jewish friend. And they got very heated, and finally as a kind of coup de grace the Jewish man said, “There is no name of Jesus Christ at all in the Old Testament. Show me the name of Jesus in the Old Testament.” He said, “I had my Hebrew Bible with me.” And so knowing that he knew Hebrew, and in fact he was something of a scholar, he said, “I asked him to turn to Isaiah chapter 62 and read Isaiah chapter 62 in verse 11.” And he said, “He opened up the Hebrew text, and he started reading, and he read ‘Behold the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, say to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy Jesu or Jeshua cometh. Behold his reward is with him, and his work before him.'” And he said, “Suddenly he stopped, having finished the sentence.” He said, “He almost came apart.” He said, “You tricked me. You tricked me.” He said, “No, I didn’t trick you, you read it yourself, and you translated it. It says, ‘Behold the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, say to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy Jeshua cometh. Behold his reward is with him, and his work before him.’ That’s the name of Jesus, Jeshua.
And furthermore, it’s obviously a person, because, he says, “he cometh and his reward is with him and his work before him.” And I say to you that that is the name of Jesus in the Old Testament. Well, I won’t go into further detail. He also asked him to turn to Habakkuk chapter 3 in verse 13, and the same thing happened, in fact, if anything, even clearer there. In other words, you might say, “Well, Jesus of Nazareth is not there;” no, not really, but the term salvation is there, and the things that are posited of salvation can only be true of a person, and that was the point that he was trying to make. So, when we speak of our Lord as Jesus the Messiah, Habakkuk 3:13 says, “Jesus.” And then adds `am mashiyach, the Messiah. And in fact he said, “I went on and told that Jewish man that there’s his full name, Jesus Christ or Jesus the Messiah.” Right in Habakkuk chapter 3, verse 13. Well, he won the argument. I don’t know whether he won him to Christ or not. Sometimes we’re more interested in winning the argument than we are in winning them to Christ, which is of course, unfortunate.
Let’s turn now to the interpretation that is given of this event. Here, Zechariah has seen the crown placed upon Joshua, the son of the high priest, and the son of Josedech the high priest, and now he is told, “And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying.” So, here is going to be the story of this event. And first of all, he talks about the person in view. “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH.” In other words, Joshua crowned now with the crown is to represent the man whose name is the Branch. Now, we’ve already seen that term Branch in the Book of Zechariah. Back in chapter 3, in verse 8 we read, “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.” Branch is one of the names of the Messianic king. It’s one of the descriptions of our Lord Jesus.
And you may remember that it occurs in the Old Testament in four places. It occurs in Jeremiah chapter 23, in verse 5, where the Branch is a royal figure, in Jeremiah chapter 33, in verse 15 in a similar way. It occurs in Zechariah 3, in verse 8, where he is a servant figure, “my servant the Branch.” Here, it is “Behold the man whose name is the Branch,” and here he is related to humanity. And then there is a statement in Isaiah chapter 4, in verse 2 in which he is called the “Branch of Jehovah.” One that it seems lays stress upon the divine nature of the Messianic king.
Think of this for a moment. The “man whose name is the Branch,” “my servant the Branch,” “the Branch of Jehovah,” and then here, or rather in Jeremiah chapter 23 the reference is the “royal Branch.” Now, many Bible students going far back, actually, in Christian history have made much over these four characteristics of our Lord. He’s the king. He’s a man; he’s a servant; and he’s related to the Lord God in heaven. In fact, many have noted that these are the pictures that we get of the four gospels. Matthew presents our Lord as the king; Mark as the servant; Luke as the man; and John as the Son of God. And these instances of the term Branch all fit beautifully into that four-fold picture.
You go back in the history of the Christian church all the back to Irenaeus, in the 2nd Century, and Irenaeus talks about the four-fold gospel canon and the significance. And in fact, they talk about certain animals by which these aspects of our Lord’s character are represented; the lion, the ox, and so on, designed to represent these features of our Lord. He’s a king; he’s a servant of Jehovah; he’s a genuine man, apart from sin; and he is the Son of God. So here, “Behold the man whose name is the Branch.” So, this is the aspect of his humanity that is before us, because after all if he is going to do the work of redemption as the priest and reign as the king, it’s necessary that he be a man, a true man. Fully man, as you and I are men, apart from sin in order to identify with us.
Now having identified that person, Zechariah speaks of his work. In verse 12, verse 13, and verse 15, and what a magnificent thing Zechariah says, or writes, here when he describes what our Lord is going to do. Look at verse 12, and here he says the Branch has a beginning and existence in history. “Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place.” Now, if you’ll turn over to Isaiah chapter 53, and verse 2 there is a text that to me is reminiscent of this passage right here, “He shall grow up out of his place.” But Isaiah in the great Messianic passage there on the servant of the Lord, writes in verse 2 of Isaiah 53, “He shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground.” In other words, the earthly character and origin of the Branch is set forth here. So, he has a beginning, he has an existence in history. He is from David’s family; he’s from the tribe of Judah. He’s born in Bethlehem. He grows up in Nazareth and ministers from Capernaum, and finally is crucified in Jerusalem; So, he the man, Christ Jesus.
The irony of the Pharisaical examination of our Lord as the Lamb of God is emphasized here, because in the Passover season one of the requirements of the chief priests was that they oversaw the offering of the lambs. And lambs that met the standards of the Book of Exodus alone were sold. Here comes God’s lamb, and you might expect people who are religious leaders, when they hear that he has made claim to be the Messiah, and he made officially the claim to be the Messiah, for when Caiaphas asked him, was he a Messianic king he said, “I am.” And so they were, it would seem, required by their own teaching to examine his claims. So far as we can tell, no real examination of his claims was ever made. And while Pilate announced, “Behold your king.” They paid no attention to what was really transpiring in the providence of God. They didn’t recognize him. How true that is to human experience, too. We preach Christ. We preach Christ as the only way of salvation, because he is. We preach him earnestly, we preach him fervently, we preach him biblically, and people come and hear the messages, they come in Believers Chapel Sunday after Sunday, and they hear the message; it makes no impression upon them whatsoever. Now and again the Holy Spirit opens the minds and hearts of some, and there is a remarkable response. And they say, “My, it is so clear. Why cannot someone see it?”
Now, that’s the first thing. He has a beginning. The next thing, in verse 12, we read, “And he shall build the temple of the LORD.” Now, evidently that’s a reference to a real temple. It’s repeated. It’s almost as if, “Oh I think that’s a spiritual temple.” So Zechariah said, “I’d better say it twice.” So he says, “He shall build the temple of the LORD:” verse 13, “Even he shall build the temple of the LORD.” There is going to be a kingdom, and there will be a temple upon this earth. One reads the New Testament and finds much the same thing there. So, he will build the millennial temple, and it is built after the destruction of the tribulation temple, so far as I can tell from the teaching of the word of God. It is interesting, isn’t it, that Israel today thinks about this. I’ve mentioned this before, you may have remembered it, but some of you are new. I have a friend who went to Israel; it was about twenty years ago. And he had an interview with Rabbi Nissim who was at that time the chief rabbi of Jerusalem, and he just couldn’t wait to ask him, “When are you going to build the temple?” And so he asked him, “And the chief rabbi said, “That’s the work of a prophet.” But he didn’t deny that that loomed large in Israel’s thinking.
Now, of course we are not to understand by this, that animal sacrifices with any validity are to be offered again. To my mind, Ezekiel chapter 40 through 48 does not teach that, and does not even teach that those sacrifices will be offered in a memorial sense, because forgiveness of sins is set out. I think there are other understandings of Ezekiel 40 through 48 that satisfies, and that do not require us in a sense to rebuild the barrier that the Epistle of the Hebrews says have been broken down.
Thirdly he says the Branch will have royal glory, verse 13, and he continues “And he shall bear the glory. That word in the Hebrew text, howd, is a word that refers to royal glory. He shall have first a royal glory. He shall have the glory. So he is a priest, and he is crowed. So, he is a priest who is crowned and bears royal glory. He is a king-priest. And then also, at the end of that 13th verse we read, “And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.” So the Branch will have royal glory. He will build the millennial temple. He will be the king-priest. Incidentally, that clause, “and the counsel of peace shall be between them both,” is probably a reference to the office of priest and the office of king, because as I mentioned earlier, they had been separated, and the king could not be a priest, and the priest could not be a king. But now, the counsel of peace, that is there’s a harmony that will exist between these two offices, and the Lord Jesus will bear the title of king-priest. King Saul was judged for introducing into the office of priest, and in this case, of course, our Lord shall have the authority, because he is a king priest. Further we read in verse 15, in the first line, “And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD.” So, the Branch is going to accomplish Gentile conversion and cooperation with what God is doing in the city of Jerusalem and in the land. If you turn back to Isaiah 60, and let me read just a few verses. I think we have time. Beginning with verse 1, listen to the parallel,
“Arise, shine;” Isaiah writes, “for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising. Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed at thy side. Then thou shalt see, and flow together, and thine heart shall fear, and be enlarged; because the abundance of the sea shall be converted unto thee, the forces of the Gentiles shall come unto thee. The multitude of camels shall cover thee, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; all they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense; and they shall shew forth the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together unto thee, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister unto thee: they shall come up with acceptance on mine altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.”
So it’s a beautiful picture of Jerusalem in the days of the kingdom of God upon the earth. Other passages in the Old Testament unfold this, and Haggai the Prophet, who prophesies at the time of Zechariah speaks of the same thing in Haggai chapter 2, verse 7, even speaking of the Gentile blessing that shall flow out of the blessing of Israel. And then the Branch will convince the nation of his divine mission. Look at verse 15, and in the middle of the verse, “And ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you.” Isn’t that interesting? Israel shall come to know that the Messiah has been sent by Yahweh to them. So, the events will authenticate the messenger, who so far as I can tell, due to the statements made in chapter 2, verse 8 through verse 11, and chapter 4, as a reference to the Lord Jesus himself. This is one of the texts, again in the Old Testament, that does not speak of the trinity per se, that is three persons who subsist as one God, and three persons only, but this is a text that does speak of plurality in the Godhead, because the Lord God is speaking, and yet he says you shall know that the Lord of Hosts hath sent me unto you.
And finally, at the end of verse 15 we read, “And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.” Now, if you are a reader of the Bible you will recognize that that is the language of Deuteronomy chapter 28, and verse 1. And that’s the passage that sets out the conditions for Israel’s possession of their blessings. The reason Israel doesn’t have their blessing today is simply their unbelief. Paul, in Romans 11 says, “If they abide not still in unbelief, they shall be grafted in again.” That’s the only thing standing between Israel and the Lord God, the unbelief of the nation. That governs the enjoyment of the blessings that are theirs by divine faithfulness. We know they shall have it, but when they have it depends upon the obedient response of the nation to the voice of the Lord their God. To this day, Israel abides in rejection, because they have rejected the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Now, I skipped a verse, as you notice, for a purpose, because the 14th verse is a verse that speaks of the historic commemoration of this coronation. One might ask, what’s going to be done with that crown that is put on the head of Joshua the high priest? Because remember, this is an acted parable, prophetic ministry. And so, here we read what is going to happen to the crown. “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 the LORD.” Those names are slightly different from above, but that’s no problem, because in the Old Testament many people have different names. I know one person who had three names. People would talk about her and they would call her Bee. And the same people would suddenly, because her real name was Rosa, they would suddenly start talking about Rosa. And then she also had another name, Muggy, and that was the name she was called by most frequently. But she was Muggy, she was Bee, and she was Rosa. But she was the same person. These are the persons mentioned above.
So, here is a brief transitory act. Joshua couldn’t wear the crown under the law, because there could be no king-priest under the law. So, this was a typical event, and so now the crown is to be used for a memorial in the temple of the Lord God. And it’s a pledge of the future national blessing set out here in this prophecy of the future calling of the Gentiles, and of the coming glory of the Messianic king, the one who fulfills Joshua’s king-priestly act; the one who is the glorious majestic redwood among scrub pines, a son amid the stars, and Everest amid the hills of Texas. Isn’t it sad that when our Lord came Pilate called out, “Behold the man?” And Israel failed to see him. “Behold your king.” And they rejected him.
But the day will come, saith the Lord, “that I will raise unto David a righteous branch, and the king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth, and the Lord our righteousness will be his name; the Lord our justification, the Lord who accomplished our salvation, and through whom we are given the gift of a righteous standing before God. What a magnificent name Jesus Christ has, the Lord our Righteousness, for we stand in what he has done. He’s our great covenantal head and what he has done, he has done for the people of God, and he has infinite acceptance with the Father. We have infinite acceptance with the Father in him. Isn’t it tremendous to know that we stand righteous in Christ? Not just as if I had never sinned, as some of the old Puritans like to say, but just as if I had never sinned, just as if I had done everything right, a perfect righteousness. As William Cunningham used to say, “The righteousness of God is that righteousness which God’s righteousness requires him to require.” And that’s what we have in Christ. That’s something to really say hallelujah about isn’t it? Let’s close in a word of prayer.
[Prayer] Father, we thank Thee for this magnificent prophecy acted out for us, the Lord Jesus as the great king-priest. We glorify his name. We look forward to the manifestation of his glory. And Lord, we hope that it is soon. For Jesus’ sake. Amen.