September 21 (Daily reading: Zechariah 5-9) Zechariah’s prophecies came at a critical time for those who were working on the temple. A second letter had been written to King Darius, and it is not clear how long it took him to reply. There must have been high tension between those who were working faithfully on the construction and those who wanted to stop it. For this reason, Zechariah made several references to the rebuilding project.
One of these is 6:9-15, which doesn’t seem to fit the context. A crown was to be given to Joshua the high priest because, apparently, he would be the one who would build the temple. But we have already seen that God had given that task to Zerubbabel, who was the representative of the Davidic line. In this prophecy about Joshua, God is telling the people that the Messiah would come: “Behold, a man whose name is Branch…and He will build the temple of the LORD” (6:12). He would be both ruler and priest, “and there will be harmony between the two” (6:13, NIV). God said in Jeremiah 23:5: “I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king.”
The people were reassured that the temple would be rebuilt in a cooperative effort between Zerubbabel and Joshua. But there was a greater truth to remember! The Messiah would come, He who would be both King and Priest, and He would build a new temple where God will dwell. “Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?” (1 Cor. 3:16). Zechariah gave another Messianic prophecy which is quoted by both Matthew and John: “Behold, your king is coming to you…and mounted on…the foal of a donkey” (9:9). In all that was taking place in the rebuilding of the temple, God’s greater plan was still to come!
– Al Gary