…We do have such a high priest, who sat down at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in heaven, 2 and who serves in the sanctuary, the true tabernacle set up by the Lord, not by a mere human being. Hebrews 8:1-2
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Behold, a man whose name is Branch, for He will branch out from where He is; and He will build the temple of the Lord. Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the Lord, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices.'” Zechariah 6:12-15
For someone who grew up in the American church, I was rarely exposed to the books of the prophets as something to meditate upon, though we got little snippets in sermons and teachings. As a little girl raised during the Left-Behind years, Revelation seemed too scary and confusing to even touch. But a several years ago, when I first read Zechariah I felt that I had been body slammed to the ground with the realization that Yeshua is building something very different than I thought growing up. In my perfect world, everyone would start up going to church and being saved by saying a prayer of conversion. About seven years ago, I began to get a radically different understanding of salvation in Jesus that resulted in my conversion to full surrender to Jesus and healing of severe anxiety. He rescued me. Before, I truly loved Jesus, read the Bible and prayed, but was mainly serving the idea of Jesus. Now, I actually serve at His beck and call in a way that cost me everything and demands increased reliance on His Spirit and obedience to His Word.
My picture of the end-times was a pre-tribulation rapture, where we would go to heaven forever after which the antichrist would come and then the world would just be destroyed and those who would be saved would live in heaven forever. I had very little concept of the victorious church on Earth, an increase of both righteousness and wickedness until the “Day of the Lord”, or of the priestly Kingship and earthly reign of Yeshua in a first destroyed, then restored, earth. Zechariah was a turning point for me because it gives such a full picture of who Jesus is and what His project is…He is building a temple AND a kingdom.
You may have heard that the Jewish people are preparing and praying to rebuild the temple again here in Jerusalem, and to reinstate the sacrifices. But for those who believe in Messiah, our temple is no longer in a building on earth. It is inside us. And there is one who builds it. Now it’s like a shadow. You can’t really touch it. You can’t see it. It is a Holy Spirit temple of worship and prayer in our hearts. The closest we come to perceiving its glory is when we gather together to worship. But one day, scripture tells us that this kind of waiting worship, led by the Spirit of Jesus, our High Priest, will make way for the physical temple that will sit here in Jerusalem, when God destroys the heavens and earth in wrath and restores the earth and heavens in complete newness (Zechariah 8:3, Matthew 24:35-36, 1 John 2:17, 2 Peter 3:10, Hebrews 1:11-12, Revelation 21).
I want to draw from the prophecies of Zechariah today:
Yeshua, The High Priest King
Meet the new High Priest, Yeshua, a human descendant of Yozadach, from the line of Levi and Aaron who will serve as the first high priest upon the return of the exiles from Babylon (Zechariah 3). He will be a shadow of things to come, charged with walking in obedience to earn the right to rule over the courts of God. You might see him in your Bibles as Joshua or Jeshua, but in the Hebrew, it is written as Yeshua (Hebrew: יֵשׁוּעַ Yēshūa). There is no “J” in Hebrew. This Yeshua is pictured being accused by Satan and covered in soiled priestly garments as soot. The Lord silences the accuser and the new garments and a new turban are given to the man. He is told that he will set up to rule and mediate as a priest and king, uniting the two roles and the Lord will take away the sins of the people in one day (Zechariah 3:9).
Yeshua Hamashiach, Jesus Messiah, was the fulfillment the word given to Zechariah regarding Yeshua, the human priest/king. Yeshua Hamashiach came as a humble servant, was covered in the soil and soot of our sins, not His own and took away our sins in one day at the cross. He was completely obedient to the will of the Father. And is victorious over the accuser of the brethren. As King, He take His place on the throne and rules over the courts of the Lord. As High Priest, He speaks a better word over us, returning to His Father and presenting His blood before the Father on our behalf, SO THAT the Holy spirit could be poured out on us. His Spirit is poured out on sons and daughters in Pentecost (49 days after Passover: 7×7’s), declaring a jubilee of freedom, mercy, and forgiveness (7x7s, the number of times the disciples were told to forgive (Matthew 18:21-22)…in direct opposition to the curse of 7x7s vengeance Lamech declares in Genesis 4:23–24). We walk free. Completely forgiven. Because Yeshua is our High Priest.
Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. Jeremiah 23:5
The Lord has sworn and will not change his mind, “You are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek [ancient priest king over Salem].” Psalm 110:4
Take the silver and gold and make a crown, and set it on the head of the high priest, Joshua son of Jozadak. 12 Tell him this is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch, and he will branch out from his place and build the temple of the Lord. 13 It is he who will build the temple of the Lord, and he will be clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. Zechariah 6
Yeshua, The King-Priest Branch Who Will Build the Temple
So even as God is commissioning Zerubabel to rebuild the temple (a near fulfillment of the prophecy), he only commissions a shadow, a pattern, an earthly counterpart to what is happening in Messiah. Because this would not be the final version of the temple. There would come another temple built by Yeshua, from Nazareth. The root word for Nazareth is נצר (neser), branch or shoot. Yeshua of Nazareth, Jesus the Branch, was the temple-builder to come who would BRANCH OUT and build the temple and unite the role of High Priest in the Temple of the Lord and King of Heaven! Jesus! This is the “far fulfillment” of all the Messianic prophecies, the root and seed of Abraham, the shoot of Jesse, the Nazarite Branch who would build the temple! Remember the lamp is the Lamb (Revelation 21:23), and a tree with branches (Jeremiah 1:11-12, Exodus 25:31-36). The lampstand was foretelling the Messiah, the branch, who would branching out to finish what He started! How will He do it? By His Spirit (Zechariah 4:6), so true worshipers will be able to worship in Spirit and Truth (John 4:10-26). He wants us to keep watch with Him in Spirit and Truth!
We see in Zechariah the promise of a servant priest, called The Branch, and a promise to remove all sin in a single day (Zechariah 3:9)! Not only that, but this Branch would be a King and Priest who would build the temple of the Lord! Finally! Not by might nor by power but by the Holy Spirit!
Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the Lord. 13 Yes, he will build the Temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’…15 People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says. Zechariah 6:12-15
Post-Exile 2nd Temple Built By Human Hands
When the elders saw the rebuilt temple, they wept (Ezra 3:12). Not because of it’s grandeur but because it came nowhere near the beauty of Solomon’s Temple. It was a shadow of things to come…and things past.
When Jesus, the perfect Lamb of God died the veil was torn as a miraculous sign that the Spirit had left the building, and that Jesus, who had pitched his tent with us and dwelled among us, had fulfilled the purpose of the temple by uniting the roles of priest and king (Acts 7:55–56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; Hebrews 8:1; Hebrews 10:12; Hebrews 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22; Revelation 3:21; Matthew 22:44; Acts 2:33). Not long after, the temple would be demolished in war, but Jesus is the one who fulfilled the need for a man-made temple, tore the curtain to the holy places, and rebuilt the temple of God by the Holy Spirit! Even this spiritual temple is a foundation of things to come in the end when He dwells with us again (Joel 2).
How Is He Building the Temple?
It’s within us. Yeshua is building His temple in and out of us by His Spirit. He built the temple upon the rock of His Messiahship and we who agree in this are the dwelling place for the Holy Spirit, who worship in Spirit and Truth as a shadow of things to come, when the New Jerusalem that He has prepared for us will come down and complete fulfill His plan for the Kingship of God over His chosen people and all the nations of this whole earth.
For now, we, the global congregation of Yeshua, are His spiritual temple. And we will talk more about this on the final day of our series tomorrow!
Lord, we thank you for pouring out your Spirit in, on, and through us. You are the branch. You are the vine and we branch out from you. It is your work, this building of the temple that is our bodies, united together in One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism, One Spirit. Pour it out Lord, more and more.
We rejoice today because even now, you are doing the heart-work in us and also preparing a place that will come down from heaven for us. We thank you for your love. We praise you for your wisdom and declare that you alone are worthy to build this temple and present your blood as an atonement for all the sins of the peoples of the whole earth.
Holy ARE YOU! We rejoice in you today.