Would you please explain the meaning of the coronation of the High Priest Joshua, as reported in Zechariah 6:9-15.


We mentioned in a prior Update, when discussing the vision of the High Priest Joshua in Zechariah 3:1-10, that Joshua is a type of Jesus Christ. This fact becomes even more obvious in the passage, which describes the coronation of Joshua.

Zechariah 6:9-15 reads:

“(9) Then the word of the LORD came to me, saying: (10) ‘Receive the gift from the captives–from Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have come from Babylon–and go the same day and enter the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah. (11) Take the silver and gold, make elaborate crowns [according to the literal text, see margin of the New King James Bible], and set [them] on the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest. (12) Then speak to him, saying, “Thus says the LORD of hosts, saying: ‘Behold, the Man whose name is the BRANCH! From His place He shall branch out, and He shall build the temple of the LORD; (13) Yes, He shall build the temple of the LORD. He shall bear the glory, And shall sit and rule on His throne; So He shall be a priest on His throne, And the counsel of peace shall be between them both.'” (14) Now the elaborate crowns [not “crown,” see comment above] shall be for a memorial in the temple of the LORD for Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah. (15) Even those from afar shall come and build IN [as it should say, compare the Authorized Version] the temple of the LORD. Then you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you. And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”‘”

1) Symbolic Names

The passage, although describing a real event at the time of Joshua, nevertheless foreshadows a much more important event which will take place at the time of Christ’s return. The passage is filled with symbolic references to the end time.

For instance, even the names listed in verse 10 are of deep symbolic significance. As the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary explains, Heldai means “robust” (or, according to Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, “The Lord’s World”–which would refer to the Millennium, as today, this is NOT God’s world); Tobijah means, “the goodness of God”; and Jedaiah means, “God knows” (or, “God cares for,” according to Albert Barnes).

In addition, several commentaries point out that Heldai was also called Helem (in verse 14), and that Joshua (which means, “God founds” or “God supports”) was also called Hen (meaning “favor”), as the same person often had two names. Also, the meaning of “Zephaniah” (in verse 14) is, “The LORD hides.”


It is obvious that the reference to the “BRANCH” in verse 12 describes Jesus Christ, the Messiah, the God of the Old Testament. This shows that the entire passage is millennial.

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible states to verse 12: “‘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.”

The correct understanding of the identity of “the BRANCH” as the Messiah (compare Jeremiah 33:15)–and not as Zerubbabel, as the Broadman Bible Commentary erroneously concludes–has consequences for the correct understanding of the remainder of the entire passage.

3) The Building of the Temple

We are told in verse 12 that it is the BRANCH–Jesus Christ–who will build the temple. Verse 15 says that some from afar will come to build IN the temple.

Albert Barnes explains verse 15 in this way: “And build in – or upon, the temple of the Lord… Not ‘build it’ for it was to be built by ‘the Branch,’ but ‘build on,’ labor on, it. It was a building, which should continually be enlarged…”

We find a similar explanation in the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary: “Christ ‘builds the temple’… His people ‘build in the temple.'”

a) The New Testament Church

Some commentaries understand the temple to refer to the New Testament Church, which Jesus Christ promised to build.

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible writes:

“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’… as He said, ‘On this rock I will build My Church’… and in Him ‘all the building, fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple to the Lord’ [Ephesians 2:21].”

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible concurs: “… and [He] shall build the temple of the Lord; not a material temple, but the spiritual temple, the Church…”

b) The Millennial Physical Temple

Others conclude that the reference to the temple to be built by the BRANCH refers also–or primarily–to a physical temple in the Millennium.

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary states:

“The promise of the future true building of the spiritual temple by Messiah… is an earnest to assure the Jews, that the material temple will be built by Joshua and Zerubbabel, in spite of all seeming obstacles. It also raises their thoughts beyond the material to the spiritual temple, and also to the future glorious temple, to be reared in Israel under Messiah’s superintendence… The repetition of the same clause [compare Zechariah 6:12 and 13] gives emphasis to the statement as to Messiah’s work.”

The Ryrie Study Bible adds: “The crowning of Joshua foreshadowed the crowning of Messiah, who at His second coming will build the (millennial) temple.”

The Nelson Study Bible agrees, stating:

“The Messiah Himself will build the temple of the Lord. Since the restoration temple (the second temple) was already being built and would be completed by Zerubbabel (see 4:9), the temple referred to here may be the future temple of the messianic kingdom… The temple of Zerubbabel was a prophetic symbol of the temple that is still to come…”

c) A Physical Temple Just Prior to Christ’s Return

It is also possible that the reference to a future temple, which will be built by the BRANCH, could relate to a physical temple still to be built in Jerusalem–just prior to the return of Christ. We know from Scripture that the Jews will bring sacrifices in Jerusalem. If there is a physical temple, then these sacrifices would be brought in that temple, until they are –temporarily–abolished by a European power.

As we discussed in our free booklet, “Is That in the Bible?–The Mysteries of the Book of Revelation!”, strong biblical evidence exists for the rebuilding of a temple in the modern Jewish nation of Israel.

It would also be possible that it is THAT temple which will survive the partial end-time destruction of the city of Jerusalem, which is described as the millennial temple in the book of Ezekiel.

4) Crowns on Joshua’s Head

We also read in verses 11 and 14 that crowns were placed on Joshua’s head. Even though the New King James Bible speaks of only one crown, the literal text says, “crowns,” but uses a SINGULAR, not a plural VERB, in relationship to the crowns, signifying unity and harmony.

John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible states:

“… both the crown of the priesthood and the crown of the kingdom should meet in [Joshua’s] antitype Christ, who is said to have on [His] head many crowns [Revelation 19:12]… The double crown is placed on Joshua’s head, symbolizing that the true priesthood and the kingdom shall be conferred on the one Messiah… It was a thing before unknown in the Levitical priesthood that the same person should wear at once the crown of a king and that of a high priest…”

The Nelson Study Bible adds: “… In the Messiah the two offices of king and priest will be united…”

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible emphasizes this important additional aspect in his comment to verse 13: “He shall be at once king and priest, as it is said, ‘Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedec.’ When the Christ should reign, He should not cease to be our Priest…”

5) Crowns for a Memorial

We should also take note of the fact that certain named individuals from Babylon brought gifts of silver and gold (verses 10 and 11) to be used for the construction of elaborate crowns for Joshua. These crowns were URGENTLY made “the same day” “for a memorial” (compare verse 14).

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible states in this context:

“They brought a passing gift, but it should be for a lasting memorial in their behalf… When Midian had been smitten before Israel, and not one of Israel had been slain, they brought all the gold which had accrued to them, and ‘Moses and Eleazar took the gold, and brought it into the tabernacle, a memorial for the children of Israel before the Lord’ [Numbers 31:50, 54]. So the angel said to Cornelius, ‘thy prayers and thy alms are come up for a memorial before God’ [Acts 10:4, 31].”

The Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary adds: “… a memorial — deposited in the temple, to the honor of the donors; a memorial, too, of the coronation of Joshua, to remind all of Messiah, the promised antitypical king-priest, soon to come.”

Our work for God is never in vain (Revelation 14:13)–even though it might sometimes seem to us that way (compare Isaiah 49:4). God does remember our hard labor and diligent service (Malachi 3:16-18). They are in God’s memory–a memorial! He will not forget that we are “doers of the work” (James 1:25), and that through our work, we accelerate and HASTEN the coming of the LORD (2 Peter 3:12).

6) “Counsel of Peace Between Them Both”

We also read in verse 13 that Christ shall be a priest on His throne and that “the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible points out:

“There is a counsel of peace between [Christ] and the Father whose temple He builds. The Will of the Father and the Son is one. Both had one Will of love toward us, the salvation of the world, bringing forth peace through our redemption.

“God the Father ‘so loved the world, that He gave His Only-Begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life’ [John 3:16]; and God the Son ‘is our peace, who hath made both one, that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the Cross, and came and preached peace to them which were afar off and to them that were nigh’ [Ephesians 2:14, 16-17].”

Matthew Henry’s Commentary on the Whole Bible offers an additional explanation:

“… the counsel of peace shall be between… the Father and the Son… Or, rather,… Between… [the] priestly and kingly office of Jesus Christ…”

A similar explanation is given by the Jamieson, Fausset and Brown Commentary:

“Peace between the kingly and priestly attributes of Messiah implies the harmonizing of the [seemingly] conflicting claims of God’s justice as a King, and His love as a Father and Priest. Hence is produced peace to man… It is only by being pardoned through His atonement and ruled by His laws, that we can find ‘peace.'”

7) “Those From Afar Shall Build in the Temple”

We are also told that “Even those from afar shall come and build [in] the temple of the LORD” (compare verse 15).

The Ryrie Study Bible explains that this is a reference to the Millennium, when Gentiles will join in building the millennial temple.

However, Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible applies this reference to the spiritual temple, the New Testament church, stating:

“They who came from Babylon with offerings to God, became types of the Gentiles, of whom the Apostle says, ‘Now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off have become nigh through the blood of Christ’ [Ephesians 2:13];… and ‘the promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are far off, as many as the Lord our God shall call’ [Acts 2:39].”

A similar explanation is given by John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible:

“And they that are afar off shall come… Into the temple; not the material temple… but into the spiritual temple, the church; and [it] is a prophecy of the calling of the Gentiles, who are said to be ‘afar off’…”

However, since the possibility of the building of a physical temple remains on the immediate horizon of prophetic events, occurrences may well happen that will lead to a more literal application of this prophecy. Indeed, the construction of the new Temple may be accomplished through the support of powerful groups outside of modern Israel. As it was in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, there might be great opposition to the Jews when they were to undertake the rebuilding of such a symbolic representation of the Jewish claims to the city of Jerusalem and the land of Israel.

8) “And This Shall Come to Pass…”

As mentioned in previous Q&A’s on the Book of Zechariah, the phrase in verse 15, “Then you shall know that the LORD of hosts has sent Me to you…” refers to the Messiah, Jesus Christ. Ultimately, people will know that God the Father sent His Son to die for the world, and that it is He who will return as the all-powerful and glorious King of kings and Lord of lords. The remainder of verse 15 is also quite interesting. It says:

“And this shall come to pass if you diligently obey the voice of the LORD your God.”

Albert Barnes’ Notes on the Bible explains this phrase in this way:

“Not as though the coming of Christ depended upon their faithfulness, but their share in it. ‘Ye shall know (he had said) that the Lord of hosts hath sent me unto you;’ but whether this knowledge should reach to individuals, depends upon their obedience and their willingness to know…

“‘For none of the wicked,’ Daniel says, ‘shall understand’ [Daniel 12:10]… So our Lord said, ‘If any man will do His will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of Myself’ [John 7:17]…”

9) Conclusion

The coronation of the High Priest Joshua is a remarkable prophecy for the return of the Messiah and the beginning of His millennial rule here on earth. Then, true justice and mercy, as well as peace, will become known to and experienced by all men, and the time of man’s misrule, under the inspiration of Satan, will have ended.

Christ is still building His spiritual temple today, allowing fallible human beings to build IN His temple, under His guidance and leadership. He will soon return to this earth and especially to His spiritual temple “for salvation” (Hebrews 9:28).

He will be ruling as THE King and THE Priest–but He will be assisted by His spiritual temple, the–by then–immortal glorified members of the Church of God. At that time, true physical sacrifices will be brought “in righteousness” at a physical millennial temple in Jerusalem–a temple, which might have already been built just prior to Christ’s return.

Lead Writer: Norbert Link

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