An Exposition Of Zechariah
By Dr. David L. Cooper
Installment 11

The Man Whose Name Is Branch

9 And the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, 10 Take of them of the captivity, even of Heldai, of Tobijah, and of Jedaiah; and come thou the same day, and go into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah, whither they are come from Babylon; 11 yea, take of them silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest; 12 and speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh Jehovah 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 Jehovah; 13 even he shall build the temple of Jehovah; and he shall bear the 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 in the temple of Jehovah; and ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of Jehovah your God. (Zech 6:9-15)

As has already been noted in this series of studies, only about 50,000 Hebrews returned from Babylon under Zerubbabel after the seventy years of captivity. Those who chose to remain in the land of their exile had settled down and had become reconciled to living in a heathen environment. Certain ones of them, at least, had fallen in with the spirit of the country and times and were engrossed in making money. From here and there we gather bits of information leading us to believe that some had grown wealthy.

Whether or not these prosperous Jews were still interested in their brethren who had returned to Palestine, one cannot say definitely. We do, however, see that a few of them were still loyal to Jehovah and made visits to Jerusalem. Among these were Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah. Of these we read in Zechariah 6:9-10. They came to Jerusalem with quantities of silver and gold, which doubtless they were bringing as offerings to the Lord. This position seems evident from the fact that they immediately, upon Zechariah's approaching them, turned over their gold and silver to the young prophet, who had been instructed by the Lord to go to them and to receive of them these metals and out of them to make crowns.

When the crowns were completed, Zechariah held a special service in which there was a special coronation ceremony. At this gathering Joshua, the high priest, was the one upon whose head these crowns were placed. Where this special meeting was held, we are not told. At the proper time Zechariah came forward and placed the crown upon the high priest's head and uttered a prediction concerning "the man whose name is the Branch." Though he did point to Joshua and exclaim, "Behold, the man whose name is the Branch," it is evident that he did not intend for us to understand that he was talking literally about Joshua, for continuing the prophecy he declared "And he shall grow up out of his place," etc. Joshua was already a man and was occupying the highest position in the nation, but the one of whom he was speaking was yet to be born and to perform his special task. Moreover we know that Joshua did not build the temple of Jehovah. At that time it was Zerubbabel who performed that task. In view of these facts we see that this ceremony was simply a symbolic action which typified the coronation of the one whose name was "the Branch."

Upon placing the crowns upon Joshua's head, Zechariah, as we have just seen, exclaimed, "Behold, the man whose name is the Branch." The word, Branch, had become a proper name in Zechariah's time and its significance was taken for granted by him since he made no explanation of this term. There are four passages (including this one) which speak of this one. They are Isaiah 4:2, Jeremiah 23:5, and Zechariah 3:8. The original thought for this name is found in II Samuel 23:5 in the clause, "Although he maketh it not to grow." David in this passage was looking forward and in vision saw the Messiah in the distant future and exclaimed that he was putting his trust in this one, "Although he [God] maketh it [Messiah the Branch] not to grow." From this germinal thought there grew up this name, "the Branch," which became one of the regular terms for Messiah.

Zechariah next declared that the Messiah would "grow up out of his place." Jacob in Genesis 49:10 foretold that the Messiah would be of the tribe of Judah. It was also revealed to David that He would come of his family (II Sam. 7). Micah, the contemporary of Isaiah, foretold the very city in which the Messiah would be born, namely, Bethlehem (Micah 5:2). Zechariah by the phrase under discussion was reaffirming that the Messiah would be born of the family of David and in the place foretold by the prophet.

"He shall build the temple of Jehovah." Solomon built the first temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem. Zerubbabel rebuilt it on a much smaller scale, after the return from Babylon. Herod the Great tore it down in piece-meal and started its reconstruction. The Jews at the time of the Tribulation will rebuild it. Messiah will build the millennial temple, which we see in the last section of Ezekiel (40-48). The Lord Jesus will not build it literally with His hands as an artisan, but He will build it in the sense that He will create it at the time of His second coming. In Isaiah 65:17,18 we are told that God will create Jerusalem the joy of the whole earth. The word rendered "create" means exactly what this English word signifies; namely, to bring into existence that which had no prior form or substance. Since Christ will create the city of Jerusalem anew we may be certain that He will create this millennial temple in the same way.

"He shall bear the glory." This building will be the most marvelous one ever erected upon this earth. It will be a reflection of the glory of Him who created it. It will be of such a nature that it will reflect His glory and He will be given the praise for having thus created it. In this sense therefore He shall bear the glory of it.

"And shall sit and rule upon His throne." Jeremiah tells us that in the Millennial Age, Jerusalem will be called the throne of Jehovah, the reason being that Jehovah's throne will be there (Jer. 3:16,17). Christ will sit upon this throne. At the present time, having overcome, He took His seat with His Father in His throne; when however He returns, He will sit upon His own throne in the temple at Jerusalem. He will be the ruler of the world, for it is said that He shall reign from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth. (Ps. 72:8)

"And he shall be a priest upon his throne." He is a priest after the order of Melchizedek (Ps. 110:4). He, of course, will approach God for man in this capacity (Jer. 30:21). The Jewish people at that time will be the priests and ministers of God under Him (Isa. 61:6).

"And the council of peace shall be between them both." Frequently there was friction between the king and the high priest during the monarchial period. Such a situation was indeed unfortunate. Furthermore there was not always peace procured by the offering of the various sacrifices. Men often drew near with their lips, but their hearts were far from God. Thus there was not peace between them and God. When, however the Messiah sits upon His throne during the Millennial Age, there will be no friction for the atonement and its efficacy will be in full power, and universal peace, both spiritual and temporal, will be enjoyed by all.

At that time those that are far off shall come and build in the temple of Jehovah (Zech. 6:15). This passage doubtless is an echo of the prediction of Isaiah 56:6-8. The prophets frequently spoke of the conversion of the Gentiles and their enjoying the privileges of the temple service during the Kingdom Age.

"And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of Jehovah your God." The Abrahamic Covenant is unconditional as one sees by an examination of the passages dealing with the original account. Here however the promise is made that this prophecy will be fulfilled if Israel will diligently obey the voice of Jehovah. We know from many other passages that they will do this. When they do, God will fulfill the promise but never until then. It is our privilege by the preaching of the truth to open their eyes that they may see facts as they are and return to Him. May God enable us to do this!