Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Prophet, King, and High Priest

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Prophet, King, and High Priest

Chapter Fourteen

Prophet, King, and High Priest

Image result for Prophet priest King picsThe offices of High Priest and king in Israel were never to be coupled and occupied by the same person under the Mosaic Covenant.  The king of Israel was not to intrude into the office of the priest.  This is what originally defined separation of church and state.  The king was obligated to preserve the Law, as were all citizens of Israel, but was not a judge in the matters of the Law.  The king could offer no sacrifices in the Temple or minister as a priest.  God understands the tendency of kings to be swayed by public opinions and personal preferences.  Although Israel’s kings governed the people, kings were governed by the Law, which was administrated by the priesthood of Israel.  Corruption is inherent in sinners and the separation of powers, defined in the Mosaic Covenant, were not immune to this corruption.  When men are exalted to powerful positions by God, there is always the danger of the abuses of that power.  This is why pride and arrogance are the two most dangerous attitudes in leadership positions.  Pride and arrogance will generate self-serving and self-glorifying decisions by those corrupted by those attitudes.

9 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying, 10 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; 11 Then take silver and gold, and make crowns {plural}, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest; 12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD 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 the LORD: 13 Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; 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 the LORD. 15 And they that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the LORD, and ye shall know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto you. And this shall come to pass, if ye will diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God” (Zechariah 6:9-15).

          Within the nation of Israel, there were three offices ordained by God - prophet, priest, and king.  Prophets could also be kings.  David was a prophet and king.  Ezekiel and Zechariah were both prophets and priests.  However, the offices of priest and king were always to be kept separate under the Mosaic Covenant.  The High Priest wore a mitre (turban, Exodus 28:4) and the king wore a crown.  Priests came from the tribe of Levi.  Kings came from the tribe of Judah.  

          King Uzziah reigned from B.C. 783-742 (for 52 years).  II Chronicles 26:16 details the great failure and ultimate downfall of king Uzziah when “his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense”  The High Priest of Israel at the time was Azariah (uniquely, the name Uzziah is a contracted form of Azariah).  The High Priest Azariah and eighty other priests “went in after him” and rebuked king Uzziah for his transgression of intruding into the priest’s office (II Chronicles 26:17-18).  Instead of repenting, Uzziah “was wroth” with the priests for their rebuke.  Immediately, God smote Uzziah with leprosy “in his forehead” manifesting his uncleanness before God and to Israel (II Chronicles 26:19-21).  From that time until Uzziah’s death, he “was cut off {barred} from {entering} the house of the LORD.”  

          Zechariah 6:10 says, “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.”  The word “take” in Zechariah 6:9 is translated from the Hebrew word lâqach (law-kakh’).  The context means to receive from these men.  Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah had come from Babylon (“the captivity”) with offerings of gold and silver.  The words “of the captivity” signifies that these men had chosen to remain living in Babylon rather than to return and live permanently in Jerusalem.  They had come on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem to offer precious offerings to God through the High Priest Joshua.  They did this to signify their support and loyalty to the returned remnant who had chosen to return to rebuild the Temple and re-establish the priesthood and offering of sacrifices to God.  

          Prophetically, in the returning remnant, the priesthood of Israel had to be re-established in order to fulfill prophecies that the priesthood of Israel would cast away their promised Messiah and thereby seal God’s casting away of the Levitical priesthood.  Therefore, although the return within the captivity re-established the priesthood (the Jews were still under Assyrian dominance and never again were independent of Gentile domination), the Temple, and the offerings, there is no record any where of God’s Shekinah ever returning to the rebuilt Temple, including Herod’s Temple.  

          Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah came from Babylon and entered “into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah” as guests.  Josiah was one of the remnant that had returned to live in Jerusalem working to rebuild the Temple.  

          Zechariah is instructed to “[t]hen take silver and gold {that was given by the three men from Babylon}, and make crowns {plural}, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Josedech, the high priest” (Zechariah 6:11).  We are not told how may crowns, simply that the instruction is more than one.  The probability is two crowns.  One would have been the mitre (turban) of the High Priest, which would have a gold plague attached with an inscription upon it.  The second crown would be the kings crown, which signified sovereignty.  

          Notice that “them” in the KJV in Zechariah 6:11 is italicized.  This means the word “them” was added to the translation by the KJV translators for clarification.  However, the context nowhere implies that both “crowns” are placed upon the head of Joshua.  In fact, it would be contrary to the Mosaic Covenant for Joshua to take the king’s crown upon his head just as it would be contrary for the king to take the High Priest’s crown upon his head.  The lesson learned by king Uzziah being smitten with leprosy for his transgression did not need to be learned again by every new generation.  However, under the prophet’s instruction, Joshua received these crowns.

          If both crowns, the king’s crown and the High Priest’s crown, were both placed upon Joshua’s head, Joshua would certainly think twice about what was being done by the prophet Zechariah.  Such an act might even cause Joshua to question the Biblical correctness of Zechariah as a prophet.  Such an act would certainly cause Joshua to question in his mind, if not verbally, what Zechariah was doing.  Therefore, Zechariah is told to answer Joshua’s question before he asks it.  

Why was Zechariah putting both these crowns upon Joshua’s head?  The answer is simple.  Joshua is a type of Christ in the Melchizedekian priesthood of the New Covenant.  The purpose is to inform Joshua that the Temple construction upon which the remnant worked would not be the Temple of the Kingdom Age.  The High Priesthood would be passed to a new priesthood and a New Covenant.  Zechariah tells Joshua:

“ . . . speak {Zechariah} unto him {Joshua}, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD 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 the LORD: 13 Even he {the BRANCH or Messiah} shall build the temple of the LORD {the temple the Jews were building at the time of Joshua, nor Herod’s Temple, would NOT be the Kingdom Age Temple}; and he {the BRANCH or Messiah} shall bear the glory, and {the BRANCH or Messiah} shall sit and rule upon his throne {the King’s crown}; and he {the BRANCH or Messiah} shall be a priest upon his throne {the High Priest’s crown}: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both {thrones or offices combined in one Person}” (Zechariah 6:12-13).

          The substance of Zechariah 6:12-13 is important because we know that historically many of the Jewish remnant of the period between the Old Testament prophecy of Malachi to John the Baptist believed there would be two Messiahs.  They believed this because the Mosaic Covenant forbade a person being both King and High Priest.  Yet, many prophecies speak of Messiah as Prophet, High Priest, and King of Israel.  Therefore, they rationalized that there must be two Messiahs coming.  They could not see that Jesus came to fulfill the Mosaic Covenant, and was going to establish a New Covenant through which the Messiah would be Prophet, Melchizedekian High Priest, and King of Israel.  His new Melchizedekian King/Priesthood would make Church Age believers “kings and priests.”  These “kings and priests” would be both glorified Jews and glorified Gentiles “born again” during the Church Age.  This new priesthood would be grafted into national Israel at the second coming of Jesus to the Earth (Romans 11:13-21) to reign WITH Jesus.

3 Blessed is he that readeth {to understand}, and they that hear {to obey} the words of this prophecy, and keep {to preserve through accurate communication of what was learned and obeyed} those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand. 4 John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne; 5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen” (Revelation 1:3-6).

6 And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders{twelve sons of Abraham and twelve Apostles}, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns {all power; sovereign King} and seven eyes {all seeing Judge}, which are the seven Spirits of God {Isaiah 11:1-4; Temple Menorah type fulfilled} sent forth into all the earth. 7 And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him {God the Father} that sat upon the throne. 8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts {seraphim} and four and twenty elders {twelve sons of Abraham and twelve Apostles} fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. 9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; 10 And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth” (Revelation 5:6-10).

Behold the man whose name is The BRANCH”

          The “behold” focuses attention upon Joshua crowned as both High Priest and King.  The connection to “The BRANCH” would immediately connect this vision to all the prophetic promises of Messiah now merely typified or shadowed in Joshua.  There are many other prophecies that would immediately establish to anyone knowledgeable of the Scriptures that Joshua was merely a type or shadow.  Joshua does not fulfill the other definitive qualifications detail by other prophecies.  He was not born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14).  He was not born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2).  He was not of the genetic linage of king David (Jeremiah 23:5).  Joshua was not “despised and rejected of men” (Isaiah 53:3).  

          Zechariah chapter three has already clearly established that Joshua is not the Branch that will come.  Zechariah 3:8 clearly distinguishes between the High Priest Joshua and the “BRANCH” that will come.  “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows {other priests} that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.”  Zechariah chapter three speaks of the defiled Levitical priesthood cast away by God, but cleansed and restored to a diminished status after the coming of the “BRANCH” and during the Kingdom Age.  

          The proclamation, “Behold the man,” was prophetically fulfilled in the proclamation of Pilate at the mock trial of Jesus.  The words of Pilate must have cut to the heart of the Apostate priesthood of Israel.  Although apostate, these corrupted priests conniving to get Jesus crucified would have been very familiar with Zechariah 6:12. 

1 Then Pilate therefore took Jesus, and scourged him. 2 And the soldiers platted a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and they put on him a purple robe, 3 And said, Hail, King of the Jews! and they {probably many apostate priests} smote him {slapped Him repeatedly; to smite someone was to public disgrace him} with their hands. 4 Pilate therefore went forth again, and saith unto them, Behold, I bring him forth to you {Pilate wanted the Jews to know that if they wanted Jesus crucified, His innocent blood would be upon their hands}, that ye may know that I find no fault in him. 5 Then came Jesus forth, wearing the crown of thorns, and the purple robe. And Pilate saith unto them, Behold the man! 6 When the chief priests therefore and officers saw him, they cried out, saying, Crucify him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Take ye him, and crucify him: for I find no fault in him” (John 19:1-6).

          When Pilate cried out, “Behold the man!, the conviction of prophetic truth grabbed the hardened hearts of these apostate priests of Israel.  This fulfillment of prophetic proclamation was God’s confirmation by pagan Pilate of the very truth that the apostate priests of Israel refused to acknowledge.  Jesus was the prophetically promised Messiah!  Pilate was used of God to confirm this prophecy to the apostate Jews!

“Whose name is The BRANCH”

1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: 2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; 3 And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: 4 But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked” (Isaiah 11:1-4).

          From numerous prophecies, it is clear that “The BRANCH” is Messianic and refers to Zionism in the restoration of the nation of Israel at the beginning of the Kingdom Age and the second coming of Jesus. 

2 In that day {the coming to establish the universal Kingdom of Israel} shall the branch of the LORD be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel. 3 And it shall come to pass, that he that is left {alive} in Zion, and he that remaineth {alive} in Jerusalem, shall be called holy, even every one that is written among the living in Jerusalem: 4 When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the spirit of judgment, and by the spirit of burning {the Tribulation judgments}. 5 And the LORD will create upon every dwelling place of mount Zion, and upon her assemblies, a cloud and smoke by day, and the shining of a flaming fire by night {the return of Shekinah in the presence of Messiah King Jesus}: for upon all the glory shall be a defence. 6 And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain” (Isaiah 4:2-6).

Isaiah 4:2-6 refers to the second coming of Jesus.  The first coming of Jesus was to fulfill the righteous requirements of God for the redemption of lost souls.  That work is “finished.”  The second coming of Jesus is to fulfill the righteous requirements of God for the redemption of humanity’s lost dominion.  Both redemptions require a kinsman redeemer.  To understand the Bible’s teaching on redemption, we must understand the Biblical concept of the Kinsman Redeemer.  Lewis Sperry Chafer’s Systematic Theology, Volume VII, pages 263-264 explains the Scriptural requirements for redemption and the Redeemer clearly:

“. . . (c) a lost estate could be redeemed by a kinsman (Lev.25:25).  This practice becomes a type of Christ’s redemption.  There were four requirements in the type as likewise four antitype; (1) A redeemer must be a near kinsman.  To fulfill this Christ took upon Himself the human form, entered the race. (2) He must be able to redeem.  The price of redemption must needs be paid, which in antitype was the blood of the Son of God (Acts 20:28; I Peter 1:18-19).  (3) He must be willing to redeem (cf. Heb. 10:4-10).  (4) He must be free from the calamity which occasioned the need of redemption, that is to say, he could not redeem himself.  This was true of Christ, for He needed no redemption.  According to the type of the high priest on the Day of Atonement, then, Christ offered sacrifice but not for Himself (Luke 1:35; Heb. 4:15).” (bolding added)

          This is why understanding redemption is essential to understanding that the Gospel defines the “propitiation” (satisfaction) of God’s wrath upon the sinner’s sin thereby remitting the penalty of sin, which is “death” (Romans 6:23), to the repentant believer.  After which, the repentant believer can receive the impartation of the righteousness of God (“justification”) by receiving the indwelling Holy Spirit of God (II Peter 1:4).

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 48 years.

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