Behold the man whose name is The Branch! - I cannot think that Zerubbabel is here intended; indeed, he is not so much as mentioned in Zechariah 3:8. Joshua and his companions are called מופת אנשי anshey mopheth, figurative or typical men; the crowning therefore of Joshua in this place, and calling him the Branch, was most probably in reference to that glorious person, the Messiah, of whom he was the type or figure. The Chaldee has, "whose name is my Messiah," or Christ.
And he shall grow up out of his place - That is, out of David's root, tribe, and family.
And he shall build the temple of the Lord - This cannot refer to the building of the temple then in hand, for Zerubbabel was its builder: but to that temple, the Christian Church, that was typified by it; for Zerubbabel is not named here, and only Joshua or Jesus (the name is the same) is the person who is to be crowned and to build this spiritual temple.
The prophet is taught to explain his own symbolic act. “Behold the Man whose name is the Branch”. “Not for himself, but for Christ, whose name Joshua bare, and whose Priesthood and Princedom he represented,” was the crown given him. The prophet had already foretold the Messiah, under the name of the Branch. Here he adds,
And he shall grow up out of His place - Lowly and of no seeming account, as God foretold by Jeremiah, “I will cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David” Jeremiah 33:15; and Jesus Himself said, “Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit” John 12:24. Alone He grew up before God, as a tender plant Isaiah 53:2, unknown of man, known to God. It is that still, Divine Life at Nazareth, of which we see only that one bright flash in the temple, the deep saying, not understood even by Joseph and Mary, and then, “He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was subject unto them” (see Luke 2:49-51).
And he shall build the temple of the Lord - The material temple was soon to be finished, and that by Zerubbabel, to whom this had been promised, Zechariah 4:10, not by Joshua. It was then a new temple, to be built from the foundation, of which He Himself was to be “the foundation” Isaiah 28:16; 1 Corinthians 3:11; Ephesians 2:20-21, as He said, “On this rock I will build My Church” Matthew 16:18; and in Him “all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple to the Lord” Ephesians 2:21. Osorius: “He it is, who built the house; for neither Solomon nor Zerubbabel nor Joshua son of Josedech could build a house worthy of the majesty of God. For “the Most High” Acts 7:48-49, Stephen says, “dwelleth not in temples made with hands, as saith the prophet; Heaven is My throne and earth is My footstool; what house will ye build Me, saith the Lord?” For if they could have built a house for God, He would not have allowed His house to be burned and overthrown. What then is the house of God which Christ built? The Church, founded on faith in Him, dedicated by His Blood, stablished by the stayedness of divine virtue, adorned with divine and eternal riches, wherein the Lord ever dwelleth.”
Not in their own power did the apostles accomplish their mission, but in the power of the living God. Their work was not easy. The opening labors of the Christian church were attended by hardship and bitter grief. In their work the disciples constantly encountered privation, calumny, and persecution; but they counted not their lives dear unto themselves and rejoiced that they were called to suffer for Christ. Irresolution, indecision, weakness of purpose, found no place in their efforts. They were willing to spend and be spent. The consciousness of the responsibility resting on them purified and enriched their experience, and the grace of heaven was revealed in the conquests they achieved for Christ. With the might of omnipotence God worked through them to make the gospel triumphant. AA 595.1
Upon the foundation that Christ Himself had laid, the apostles built the church of God. In the Scriptures the figure of the erection of a temple is frequently used to illustrate the building of the church. Zechariah refers to Christ as the Branch that should build the temple of the Lord. He speaks of the Gentiles as helping in the work: “They that are far off shall come and build in the temple of the Lord;” and Isaiah declares, “The sons of strangers shall build up thy walls.” Zechariah 6:12, 15; Isaiah 60:10. AA 595.2
Writing of the building of this temple, Peter says, “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.” 1 Peter 2:4, 5. AA 595.3Read in context »
The sacrificial service that had pointed to Christ passed away; but the eyes of men were turned to the true sacrifice for the sins of the world. The earthly priesthood ceased; but we look to Jesus, the minister of the new covenant, and “to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.” “The way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: ... but Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, ... by His own blood He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.” Hebrews 12:24; 9:8-12. DA 166.1
“Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them.” Hebrews 7:25. Though the ministration was to be removed from the earthly to the heavenly temple; though the sanctuary and our great high priest would be invisible to human sight, yet the disciples were to suffer no loss thereby. They would realize no break in their communion, and no diminution of power because of the Saviour's absence. While Jesus ministers in the sanctuary above, He is still by His Spirit the minister of the church on earth. He is withdrawn from the eye of sense, but His parting promise is fulfilled, “Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” Matthew 28:20. While He delegates His power to inferior ministers, His energizing presence is still with His church. DA 166.2
“Seeing then that we have a great high priest, ... Jesus, the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:14-16. DA 166.3Read in context »
Thus those who were studying the subject found indisputable proof of the existence of a sanctuary in heaven. Moses made the earthly sanctuary after a pattern which was shown him. Paul teaches that that pattern was the true sanctuary which is in heaven. And John testifies that he saw it in heaven. GC 415.1
In the temple in heaven, the dwelling place of God, His throne is established in righteousness and judgment. In the most holy place is His law, the great rule of right by which all mankind are tested. The ark that enshrines the tables of the law is covered with the mercy seat, before which Christ pleads His blood in the sinner's behalf. Thus is represented the union of justice and mercy in the plan of human redemption. This union infinite wisdom alone could devise and infinite power accomplish; it is a union that fills all heaven with wonder and adoration. The cherubim of the earthly sanctuary, looking reverently down upon the mercy seat, represent the interest with which the heavenly host contemplate the work of redemption. This is the mystery of mercy into which angels desire to look—that God can be just while He justifies the repenting sinner and renews His intercourse with the fallen race; that Christ could stoop to raise unnumbered multitudes from the abyss of ruin and clothe them with the spotless garments of His own righteousness to unite with angels who have never fallen and to dwell forever in the presence of God. GC 415.2
The work of Christ as man's intercessor is presented in that beautiful prophecy of Zechariah concerning Him “whose name is the Branch.” Says the prophet: “He shall build the temple of the Lord; and He shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon His [the Father's] throne; and He shall be a priest upon His throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between Them both.” Zechariah 6:12, 13. GC 415.3Read in context »
Through the promised Seed, the God of Israel was to bring deliverance to Zion. “There shall come forth a Rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots.” “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall He eat, that He may know to refuse the evil, and choose the good.” Isaiah 11:1; 7:14, 15. PK 695.1
“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; 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: 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. And righteousness shall be the girdle of His loins, and faithfulness the girdle of His reins.” “And in that day there shall be a Root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and His rest shall be glorious.” Isaiah 11:2-5, 10. PK 695.2
“Behold the Man whose name is the Branch; ... 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.” Zechariah 6:12, 13. PK 695.3Read in context »