Zechariah is one of the Post-exilic prophets. The invasion of Judah by Babylon and its subsequent exile of most of its population was such a pivotal event that Biblical scholars make that the dividing line for the prophets. All the prophets are pre-exilic (like Isaiah and Amos), ministered and lived during it (like Jeremiah) or served after it (like Zechariah).
The reason I bring this is up is so you can understand what type of people Zechariah was speaking to when he wrote this. They had no nation of their own. The people who had finally returned from the exile came back to a nation in ruins, and they were still under the rule of another empire. They were beaten down, abused by their neighbors, and barely had a functioning local government.
That’s why this prophet stepped in with a message of hope. Zechariah was sent by the Lord to go to the high priest who was serving at that time and perform a special ceremony in public. The prophet took a magnificent crown and placed it on the head of Joshua. Then he made a wonderful prediction concerning him, or rather the One he symbolized. The conventional teaching among the rabbis was that this was mainly referring not to the priest of Zechariah’s time, but rather to the Messiah to come.
You have to know your Bible a bit to get the picture, but I promise you it’s worth pondering. There were two main offices that God appointed: king and priest. The priests were all to come from the line of Aaron, who came from the tribe of Levi. If you weren’t from the line of Aaron, it didn’t matter how swell a guy you were, you weren’t going to be a priest in the tabernacle or temple. The kings also came from a specific line, that of Judah. This was made clear by none other than Jacob/Israel himself on his deathbed. Once again, this wasn't a meritocracy: You either were from the correct lineage or you weren’t.
So here’s the mystery—What was Zechariah symbolizing by placing this crown on the priest’s head? He was presenting a visual representation of the Messiah. The Messiah would be “clothed with majesty and will sit and rule on his throne. And he will be a priest on his throne. And there will be harmony between the two.” The two? The two what? The two offices of priest and king!
You see the problem here? The priests came from the line of Aaron, and the king had to come from the line of Judah. So how could one man be both?
Well, that’s explained to us in the book of Hebrews. The author there spends an entire chapter talking about the significance that our Great High Priest didn’t come from the line of Aaron. As far as his humanity was concerned, he came from Judah. But the Old Testament, specifically the Psalms, told us of another priesthood, that of Melchizedek. This priest, who basically stepped out of nowhere, was given tithes by Abraham, who was the ancestor of Levi and all the other priests in that line. Therefore, Jesus is not in the line of Aaron; no he’s far greater.
By the way, I don’t know if you noticed it or not, but even the name of the priest is a real hint here. The name of the man whom Zechariah crowned as a symbol of the Messiah was named Joshua. This was the name Yeshua, the name of our Savior (Jesus).
Why am I making such a big deal over this? What does this have to do with me, here today? Because our Savior is both King and Priest. He has all authority, and is crowned with all splendor and majesty and power and everything that goes with it. To say that he’s the Boss of Everything is a radical understatement.
But he’s our High Priest as well. That means he’s our Go-Between, the Mediator between us and the Father. If God seems far away and “out there,” he’s not. He’s right here. He’s the Priest who sits on the Throne. Aren’t you glad?
Lord Jesus, you are Lord of All, and you are my Connection with the Father. You plead my case before him, and your blood is all I need to get me into the Presence. Thank you.
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