B. Christ and the Glory-Spirit Temple. In his ascension and heavenly enthronement Christ received from the Father the Glory he rightfully claimed in anticipation of his obedience unto the death of the Cross, the Glory identifiable as the Father’s own self, the Glory the Son had with the Father before the world was (John 17:5). That eternal divine Glory is knowable by us only as it is manifested within the creation. It was for the manifestation of that transcendent Glory that the world was created. Heaven and earth thus have the character of a temple, a place where God’s Glory-Presence is revealed, a place where priestly creatures—angels and men made in Elohim likeness (cf. Psalm 82)—behold and reflect back God’s Glory, where they worship and adore him.
According to Scriptural representations, the cosmic temple is not simply a place where God manifests his Glory; it is actually identified with God himself (Rev. 21:22), that is, with the self-manifestation of God within creation. (Needless to say, the intention is not that God is identical with creation in a pantheistic sense.) More precisely, this Glory-temple is identified with the realm of heaven, the Glory-dimensioned realm presently invisible to mortals but to be opened to the redeemed at the Consummation. Created in the beginning and continuing forever, the cosmic Glory-temple, as God’s own self-manifestation, constitutes a perpetual epiphany, a permanent entempling of the divine Presence.
In pre-Consummation earth history the heavenly Glory-Presence has appeared occasionally in localized symbolic fashion in the form of the theophanic Glory-cloud. This earthly projection is identified in the Bible as the Spirit,18 and accordingly the heavenly reality, while a trinitarian manifestation, is more particularly identified with the Spirit.
There is then an eternally continuing Glory-embodiment of God’s Spirit-Presence in creation, shaping creation and constituting it a temple. The primal creation event that brought this Glory-Spirit epiphany into existence (Gen. 1:1) may be called the endoxation of the Spirit. It is comparable to the incarnation of the Son. Incarnate Son and endoxate Spirit are both living embodiments of the God of Glory.
Each of these manifestations of the divine Presence is also the temple of God,19 and since the temple is God’s dwelling place, each is a divine tabernacling among us. Each is an Immanuel (God-with-us) Presence. Not for the first time does the immanuel principle come to expression in redemptive history. In the original act of creation God manifested this divine eagerness to welcome his creatures into his dwelling place, to gather them as children to his bosom. Creation was as much an exhibition of God’s tender, condescending love as of his wisdom and power. When, after the Fall, God yet so loved the world that he sent his Son, incarnate Immanuel, it was to restore the intimate family fellowship of God with his people for which the endoxation of the Spirit was originally designed. The incarnation of the Son subserves the original creational purpose, redemptively enhancing the manifestation of the divine love present from the beginning in the endoxate Spirit.
Exaltation to the heavenly temple, filled and formed by the Glory of the endoxate Spirit, was the reward of the incarnate Son. That Glory-Spirit temple was the Glory of the Father’s own self, to which the Son returned. It was in the midst of the temple throne that the priest-king Branch took his place as God’s “fellow” (Zech. 13:7) at the right hand of the Father.
Jesus’ followers witnessed his exaltation to the Glory-Spirit realm in his ascension (Luke 24:51; Acts 1:2, 9, 10). They beheld him transported above on the ascension cloud—the theophanic cloud which was the projection of the Glory-Spirit into the field of mortal vision.20 The mode of the Lord’s departure into heaven thus afforded an anticipatory glimpse of the Glory of the invisible Spirit-temple into which he was being taken up. It was also a token preview of the Glory of the Father in which he will reappear at his parousia (Acts 1:11).
C. God’s Covenant Oath (Psalm 110). “The counsel (‘esah) of peace will be between the two of them” (Zech. 6:13e). As usually interpreted, the idea is that the object of the consultation is to promote a state of peace for God’s people. Certainly the effect of Messiah’s heavenly reign is such a peaceful condition of prosperity and righteousness in his kingdom (cf., e.g., Ps. 72:3, 7; Ezek. 34:25; 37:26). But “between them” suggests that this peace refers to the personal relationship between the two enthroned persons. And it is in keeping with attested usage of the terms “counsel” and “peace” to understand the relationship affirmed here between the Branch and Yahweh as covenantal. Thus in Ps. 83:6 [Eng. 5] taking counsel together (ya’as) with one consent and making a covenant form a parallel pair. Also, “peace” often defines covenants and characterizes covenant relationships (cf., e.g., Josh. 9:15; Isa. 54:10; Ezek. 34:25; 37:26; Zech. 9:10; Mal. 2:5). What Zech. 6:13e is declaring in particular is that the exaltation of the Branch to fellowship and joint reign with Yahweh on his throne is the outworking of previous covenantal commitments of the two to one another.
The covenant transaction alluded to in Zech. 6:13e is expressly cited in Psalm 110. The strong affinities of Zech. 6:12, 13 with this earlier revelation to David are plain. Featured in the psalm is Messiah’s dual office of priest and king, central in Zech. 6:13. Messiah is addressed in the psalm as the king who triumphs in judgment over his enemies, but he is also identified as “priest forever.” This priesthood is described as “after the order of Melchizedek,” a priest-king (Gen. 14:18; Heb. 7:1-3). Also prominent in Psalm 110 is Yahweh’s appointment of David’s messianic scion and Lord to a place at his right hand and the remarkable collaboration of the two who share the heavenly throne in judicial action. For the meaning of Zech. 6:13e it is highly significant that this psalm which is recapitulated in Zech. 6:13 presents the exaltation of the Messiah to his royal-priestly glory on the throne of heaven as that which was guaranteed by Yahweh’s oath: “Yahweh hath sworn and will not repent” (Psalm 110:4a). Such oath sanctioned commitment is constitutive of covenant. Psalm 110 thus confirms the covenantal interpretation of Zech. 6:13e. And like the revelation of the Davidic covenant in 2 Sam. 7:5-16, the revelation in this prophetic psalm of David points behind the historical, earthly unfolding of redemption in its successive covenant administrations to their foundation in the eternal intratrinitarian covenant. It directs us to the divine oath commitments that find their fulfillment at the end of the ages in the mission of the incarnate Son, the two-stage mission of humiliation and exaltation.
III. Cosmic Heritage (Zech. 6:9-11, 14, 15)
After serving its key role in the coronation of Joshua, the crown was to be deposited in the temple of Yahweh (Zech. 6:14). There it was to serve as a memorial of the group of exiles who had come from Babylon with their silver and gold to participate in the restoration of the cultus. In coming days the crown would recall this past event in order to point to the future. For what the returned exiles had done was a sign, prophetic of a later universal return of God’s people from far off to take part in the building of the eschatological temple.21 We shall examine the particulars of the typical episode and then look into the significance of its antitypical counterpart in relation to Christ’s reception of his covenanted exaltation.
A. Typological Requisitioning. The role of the individuals named in Zech. 6:10 and (with some modifications) in v. 14 has been construed in different ways. It is plain enough, however, that they (at least, the first three) have come from the Babylonian captivity with a donation of precious metals. As the prophetic significance of their action indicates (cf. v. 15), their contribution was intended to support the restoration of the temple cultus in Jerusalem. Crucial for our understanding of the essential character of the episode described in CH is the role of the fourth member of the group, Josiah ben Zephaniah. That is clarified by two kinds of evidence: the genre of Zech. 6:9-11 and the designation of Josiah in v. 14.
Exhibited in Zech. 6:9-11 are the distinctive elements and technical terms that characterize requisition dockets. We may illustrate from a group of ostraca (sherds inscribed in ink) found at Arad in the northern Negeb, dating from the end of the Israelite monarchy.22 At that time Arad was a royal citadel and administrative center. In the archives of Eliashib ben Eshyahu, an offical there in charge of supplies, taxes, and tithes, were requisition documents authorizing the bearers to obtain specified provisions stored at the fortress. These ostraca-slips were then kept by Eliashib as evidence of the transaction. One such text addressed to a certain Nahum reads: “To Nahum, and now: Come to the house of Eliashib ben Eshyahu and take from him 1 (jar of) oil and send (it) to me quickly and seal it with your seal.” On the back of the ostracon Eliashib recorded the date of delivery as a kind of receipt: “On the 24th of the month gave Nahum oil by the hand of the Kitti, 1 (jar).”
Zech, 6:9-11 matches the pattern of this requisition form in these particulars: (1) The address to the bearer of the requisition, Zechariah (v. 9). (2) The command sequence: “come … take from.” (3) The reference to the “house” of the steward and his name with his patronymic, ben Zephaniah. (4) The objects to be taken: silver and gold. (5) The disposition of the requisitioned articles: to be made into a crown. (6) Temporal reference: “that day,” i.e., the day of the exiles’ arrival at the “house”—the last clause of v. 10 may be translated “where they have come from Babylon” but also “when they have come (there) from Babylon.” (7) The receipt for supplying the requisitioned objects—the “memorial” in Zech. 6:14.
The genre of Zech. 6:9-11 is clearly that of a requisition docket and Josiah ben Zephaniah emerges in this context as a treasury steward. Confirming this identification of his role is the designation for him in v. 14. In place of the name Josiah is lehen. The l- is usually taken as the preposition “for,” which is prefixed to each of the other three names. It should, however, be taken together with the hn and this lhn has been shown to be an Akkadian loanword, the Neo-Assyrian lahhinu (also attested in the Aramaic lehen), used as a title for a court or temple official, a steward of precious commodities.23
Josiah was then a temple official. Such an office was occupied in the days of Hezekiah by Kore ben lmnah, who was set over the storage and distribution of the offerings (2 Chr. 31:14). Josiah’s “house” does not refer to his residence but to the storage or treasury room(s) connected with the temple, over which he was in charge.24 It was naturally to this “house” of Josiah that the returning exiles brought their treasures for the temple. And it would have been at that (treasury) house that Zechariah received through Josiah’s offices the exiles’ donation as requisitioned by the Lord.
It has been shown to be possible that Josiah ben Zephaniah was the great grandson of Zephaniah, a priest at the time of the destruction of Jerusalem, the “second priest” next to Seraiah, the chief priest (2 Kgs. 25:18ff.).25 Josiah’s relationship to Joshua the high priest might then have been similar to that of his great grandfather to Seraiah. Such a priestly identity of Josiah and the location of his treasury office in the temple precincts would have proven convenient in arranging for the ceremonial coronation of Joshua.
The divine prerogative of requisition, operative throughout the history of God’s relationship to Israel, was the expression of the Lord’s claims as covenant suzerain. Through authorized agents, like Moses or the high priest (cf. Exod. 25:2ff.; Num. 7:5; 31:51-54; 2 Kgs. 12:5ff. [Eng. 4ff.]), he required of his vassal people due tribute in the form of both regular and special offerings. Thus, at the inaugurating of the old covenant, the Lord through the covenant mediator requisitioned from the people an offering of precious materials to be used for constructing the tabernacle, site of his earthly throne and replica of his heavenly palace (Exod. 25:2-9; 35:4-36:7). Beyond their possessions, the Lord claimed the covenant people themselves for the ministry of his holy palace. An application of this was the obligation that all the first-born males, representing the nation, be consecrated to the service of Yahweh in his sanctuary. In this connection, requisition took the form of a redemption tax exacted for the number of the first-born of Israel in excess of the number of the Levites, who were substituted for the first-born to perform the cultic ministry (Num. 3:11f.). Requisitioning the people themselves was actually another instance of requisitioning the materials for the building of God’s royal sanctuary, for God makes his sanctified people to be a holy, living temple for his Presence in the Spirit.
Such is the requisition pattern that we find again in the CH episode. Through his representative, the prophet Zechariah, Yahweh takes tribute of gold and silver from the covenant people. As we have seen, the priestly “house” of Josiah is simply the administrative agency for storage and distribution. Though Zechariah obtains the silver and gold directly from Josiah, he is also said to take it from the three from Babylon, who represent the far off people of the Lord (vv. 10, 11).26 The praiseworthy participation of all four of them is underscored by the statement in v. 14 that the crown made from their donation was to be kept in the temple as a memorial (zikkaron) to them, each of the four being named. This memorial function of the tributary crown corresponds, as observed above, to the receipt-notice appended to the requisition docket kept in the storage “house.”27 Further, in keeping with the use to which Israel’s requisitioned offerings were regularly put, the tribute in Zech. 6:9-15 was devoted to the cultic program, specifically, to the special ceremonial crowning of Joshua, the high priest.
The antitypical, messianic dimension of this requisition event must not be missed. Joshua, recipient of the tribute-crown, was a type of the Branch, the coming messianic priest-king. In effect, therefore, these returning exiles were by faith bringing tribute to Christ. Their mission from afar was akin to that of the wise men who came to Jerusalem from the east with their treasures to worship the one born king of the Jews (Matt. 2:1-11). They were participating in advance in the eschatological crowning of the Lamb upon the throne with many crowns.
That such an antitypical perspective is present in this episode is corroborated by Zech. 6:15a. There, the tributary pilgrimage of the exiles from Babylon as memorialized in the crown in the temple is said to be prophetic of an eschatological coming of those far off to help build the temple of the Lord. It is to the fulfillment of that prophecy that we shall now turn, focusing on the sovereign requisitioning activity of Christ as an aspect of his exaltation.
B. Christ, the Temple Requisitioner. The requisitioner in the Zech. 6:9-15 episode is the Angel of the Lord, for (as is indicated, for one thing, by the validation formula in v. 15b) he is the divine speaker who commissions Zechariah to take the tribute from the house of Josiah. In this typological event the pre-incarnate Christ is claiming from the men returned from Babylon the tributary honor due to him, the royal crown to which he is entitled. And in connection with this he prophesies of the later antitypical requisitioning would engage in as the incarnate Christ on a world-wide scale (v. 15a).28
The Gospels picture Jesus as a sovereign requisitioner even during the days of his earthly ministry. A particularly interesting instance is his commandeering of the covenant-ratifying donkey for his royal procession into Jerusalem. Simply say: “The Lord has need of it” (Mark 11:3). And a fundamental form of the Lord’s requisitioning was his calling the disciples one by one to leave all and give their lives to him.
Jesus is also portrayed as a requisitioner on the larger canvas of covenant history, in relation to old covenant Israel and to the new Israel, the church of the new covenant.
In the vineyard parable of Matt. 21:33-41, God’s requisitioning of the covenant nation through the prophets generation after generation is depicted under the image of the lord of the vineyard requiring of the stewards the fruit in its season. He presents his claims through a succession of servants and finally through his son. The son presents the requisition demand both as representative of the father and as the heir. Such was the mission of Jesus to Israel in his first advent: he came calling upon the covenant nation to submit to him, their Lord. Israel’s rebellious response is prophesied in the parable. It also announces God’s subsequent taking of the vineyard-kingdom from Israel, an execution of the curse by which the old covenant had been sanctioned.
In Zechariah 11, the hinge passage in the second part of the book, the prophet foretold this future tragic confrontation of Jesus and Israel. As in CH, here again in Zechariah 11 the prophet is told to enact the role of Messiah the Requisitioner. After performing his services as shepherd-ruler of the flock he demands his wages and is given as his kingly tribute a scornful thirty pieces of silver (v. 12). Again, as in the vineyard parable, the sequel to the rejection of the divine requisitioner is covenant judgment. What Israel refuses to give is taken away from them as an act of judicial dispossession (vv. 13ff.).
But there is another chapter in the history of covenant requisitioning. The kingdom taken from the old Israel is given by the Lord and heir of the vineyard to another people (Matt. 21:43) in a new covenant, a covenant of grace replacing the old covenant of works which was broken (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:7-13; 10:9). When promulgating the new covenant (Matt. 28:18-20)29 Jesus declared that absolute authority was given him in heaven and earth (v. 18). Thereby he claimed to be Lord of the covenant with the divine right of sovereign requisition. Then he gave his disciples the commission of global requisitioning in his name (v. 19a). Zechariah had prophesied that Jerusalem’s king, who would come riding on the requisitioned donkey and whose dominion would be to the ends of the earth (cf. Ps. 72:8), would “speak peace unto the nations” (Zech. 9:9, 10). And the apostle Paul declared of Christ that “he came and preached peace to you that were far off and peace to them that were nigh” (Eph. 2:17). Out of all the nations Christ summons those alienated from God to find peace with God through the Cross (Eph. 2:16), as they submit in faith to his sovereign claims on their lives and consign themselves by baptismal oath under his covenant lordship (Matt. 28:19b, 20a). It is by the mouth of his commissioned representatives, the gospel witnesses, that Jesus speaks peace to the nations, requisitioning those far and near for the praise of his glory. Requisitioning the world for Christ—that is the kerygmatic mission of the church.
As those whom God effectually calls by his Spirit obey this requisition summons, the prophecy of Zech. 6:15a is fulfilled: “Those who are far off shall come and help build the temple of Yahweh.” From fallen mankind, exiled from God’s presence and paradise as the aftermath of Adam’s transgression, from the diaspora of the Gentiles augmented by the diaspora of the Jews (cf. Rom. 11:30-32), from far off they come to Christ, God’s temple (John 2:18-21; Eph. 2:12, 13). They come and participate in the building of the extended temple, the church-body of which Christ is the head, the temple of which he is the chief cornerstone and his apostles and prophets the foundation. They contribute to the raising up of this church-temple by giving themselves when they hear Christ issue his requisition demand that they become living stones in that holy edifice (1 Cor. 3:16, 17; 2 Cor. 6:16; Eph. 2:20-22; 1 Pet. 2:5, 6; Heb. 3:6).30
“And you will know that Yahweh of hosts has sent me unto you” (Zech. 6:15b). Here, as in the previous appearances of this formula (2:13, 15 [Eng. 9, 11]; 4:9), it is the sovereign constructing of the world-wide temple of God through the power of the Spirit that is declared to be a convincing validation of the divine origin of the messianic mission.31 Beyond the notion of inward comprehension, the verb “know” (yada’) may signify public acknowledgment. That is, v. 15b might be taken as part of the prophecy of v. 15a, foretelling that confession of Jesus as the Christ of God, the Lord, will resound far and wide-the confession of the mouth, which, accompanied by faith in the heart that God raised him from the dead, is “unto salvation” (Rom. 10:9, 10).
Christ’s success in requisitioning a vast company from all nations to come and build God’s temple, the validation of the heavenly origin of his mission, also witnesses to the fact that the outcome of his mission has been his exaltation to the heavenly throne. For Christ’s efficacious gathering of God’s elect is accomplished through the power of the Spirit whom he bestowed on his disciples at Pentecost, and this descent of the Spirit testifies to the prior ascent of the Son to receive the Spirit from the Father.32 Psalms 72 and 110 make this connection between Christ’s effective requisitioning and his exaltation. In Psalm 72 it is the one invested with the prerogative of divine judgment (v. 1) and exercising universal dominion (vv. 8, 9) of whom it is said that the kings of Tarshish, Sheba, and Seba shall render to him his requisitioned tribute (v. 10) and, indeed, that “all nations shall serve him” (v. 11). And in Psalm 110 it is in the context of Messiah’s session on God’s throne as a priest-king forever (vv. 1, 4, 5) that the word of the Lord declares: “Your people will offer themselves willingly … in holy splendor” (v. 3a). On the day of battle (cf. vv. 2, 5, 6), when Messiah musters his priestly army for the holy war (cf. Rev. 19:14), the host of volunteers that rally to his banner will be like the abundance of dew that covers the earth at dawn (v. 3b; cf. 2 Sam. 17:12).
Christ’s requisitioned people not only attest to but constitute a major component of his exaltation. For they are themselves the promised inheritance awarded to the messianic heir of the Father. Participating in the building of God’s temple (Zech. 6:15a) signifies that those who come from far off have been received into the holy company of God’s people and God’s covenant people are his own personal treasure, his chosen possession (segullah),33 redeemed from Egypt “to be unto him a people of inheritance” (nahalah),34 his “portion” (heleq).35 This identification of the covenant community as God’s chosen inheritance is prominent in the visions of Zechariah that CH is recapitulating. The first vision contains the assurance that Yahweh will again choose Jerusalem as his own, the site of his temple (1:17). In the fourth vision God’s election of Jerusalem is appealed to by the Angel of the Lord in his rebuke of Satan (3:2). And in the third vision (2:5-17 [Eng. 1-13])36 the divine choosing of Jerusalem is explained in inheritance terms: “Yahweh will inherit (nahal) Judah as his portion (heleq); for his sanctuary ground he will choose Jerusalem” (2:16 [Eng. 12]). This is the more significant for our recognition of the divine inheritance concept in CH because of other correspondences of vision three to CH. As in CH, Messiah speaks as universal Lord (2:17 [Eng. 13]), and immediately associated with the inheritance theme in 2:16 [Eng. 12] are the two elements of 6:15a, b, namely: a prophecy that those from far off will enter into covenant with the Lord and his people (2:15a [Eng. 11a]) and, second, the attestation formula (2:15b [Eng. 11b]).
For the idea of the people of God as the inheritance of the Messiah in particular, we turn to Psalm 2, where we discover much the same complex of concepts that we have found in CH and in vision three, which CH echoes. In Psalm 2, right after God’s assertion that he has set his Anointed (cf. v. 2) as king on Zion (v.6), Messiah cites the decree of Yahweh on the occasion of the coronation: “You are my Son, this day have I begotten you. Ask of me and I will give you the nations for your inheritance (nahalah) and the uttermost parts of the earth for your possession” (vv. 7-8). This decreee was proclaimed in confrontation with the nations conspiring against the suzerainty of the Lord and his Annointed (vv. 1-3). God derisively rebukes the folly of their rebellious council (vv. 4-6) and asserts that the dominion of his king over them will be enforced in a shattering eruption of His wrath (v. 9; cf. v. 12b). But along with this threat, a directive is given to earth’s kings to exchange the follow of revolt for the wisdom of allegiance to the Son (vv. 10, 11, 12a), and blessing instead of curse is promised to those who commit themselves under his protectorate (v. 12c)37. The prospect emerges here of a remnant from the nations, battle spoils as it were, who accept Messiah’s overtures of mercy as he speaks peace to the nations. Messiah thus receives the nations as his possession in the sense that a chosen company from the ends of the earth become his own covenant people, his precious inheritance (v. 8).38
In the light of the passages closely related to CH, those who are described in Zech. 6:15a as coming from afar to take part in the temple building are seen to be Messiah’s chosen portion, the inheritance which he, as exalted Lord, appropriates through world-wide gospel requisitioning.
C. God’s Covenant Decree (Psalm 2). In dealing with each aspect of Christ’s exaltation, we have traced it to a covenant transaction—his throne rights as royal scion and temple builder to the Davidic covenant (2 Samuel 7) and his heavenly enthronement as priest-king to the covenant oath of Psalm 110. We have already traced Messiah’s requisitioning of his universal inheritance to the decree (hoq) of Ps. 2:7, 8 and shall now examine the covenantal character of that decree.
Hoq, “decree,” is paralleled by berit, “covenant,” in several passages. For example, with reference to God’s covenant with the patriarchs, Ps. 105: 8-10 (cf. 1 Chr. 16:15-17) observes: “(v. 8) He (Yahweh) remembers forever his covenant (berit) … (v. 9) which he made with Abraham, even his sworn promise to Isaac, (v. 10) which he confirmed unto Jacob as a decree (hoq), to Israel as an everlasting covenant (berit).”39 This corresponds closely with Ps. 2:7, 8, where the covenantal hoq again concerns an inheritance. In fact, the land of Canaan promised to the patriarchs is the prototype of the global inheritance granted to the Messiah in Psalm 2.
The Father’s covenantal decree cited by the Son beforehand in Ps. 2:7, 8 was issued at the exaltation of Jesus. It was an enthronement declaration.40 But that assigning of a global inheritance to Christ at his exaltation was not the beginning of the matter. In issuing that decree at the enthronement of the Lord Jesus, the Father was fulfilling his commitment made in the eternal covenant of grant, promising the Son cosmic dominion, with a people from all nations as his inheritance. Old Testament prophecies like Psalm 2 unveil heaven and reveal that the covenant constituting commitments between the Father and the Son have already been made long before Messiah’s earthly mission.
The exaltation of the Messiah in view in the Ps. 2:7, 8 decree (and thus in the Zech. 6:15 prophecy) is traced back to the divine predetermination in eternity by the apostle Paul in Ephesians 1-3, a context in which he treats the whole range of themes found in Zech. 6:9-15 and the related passages. Included among these shared themes are: the cosmic dominion of the exalted Christ (1:10, 20-23); Christ’s requisitioning of the Gentiles as he speaks peace to those far off (2:17; 3:8), a process involving the despoiling of Satan (2:2ff.); the reception of Gentiles into the covenant as the people of God (2:11-22; 3:6-9, 15) and as the heritage of Christ (1:11); the building of God’s temple (2:20-22). And all of this Paul declares to be the carrying out of God’s eternal purpose and predestinating will (1:4, 5, 11; 3:11).
Eph. 1:11 is of special interest because it contains the divine inheritance concept and so reflects the general Old Testament notion of Israel as the Lord’s chosen portion and the more specific idea of the Messiah’s inheritance found in Ps. 2:8. In that verse Paul particularizes the idea presented in the immediately preceding context. The apostle has been developing the thought that all creation finds its unity in Christ, all things are summed up in him as his (1:10), and then, focusing on Christ’s people in particular, he states that “we were made a heritage, being predestined … that we should be to the praise of his glory” (1:11, 12). Or, as it is put in 1:22, 23, the church is Christ’s own body, the fulness that belongs to him. Also in 1:14 believers are called “(God’s) own possession,” which he will redeem to the praise of his glory. And similarly in 1:18 Paul exults in “the riches of the glory of his (God’s) inheritance in the saints.” Surely the interpretation of the heritage in 1:11 as the inheritance that belongs to Christ is preferable to the common opinion that the reference is to the inheritance believers will receive. And the fact that the apostle explicitly locates Christ’s claim to the church as his inheritance in the divine counsels before the foundation of the world substantiates the theological construct of the intratrinitarian covenant and, more specifically, the conclusion that Christ’s exaltation finds its ultimate determination in that eternal arrangement.
Prerequisite to the Son’s reception of the inheritance appointed to him in the eternal covenant was his winning of the Father’s approbation in his earthly mission. By the ordering of God, the Sabbath Consummation of the kingdom is secured by way of probation, as a reward to be earned.41 We are confronted by this principle in the closing statement of CH: “This shall come to pass if you [plural] diligently obey the voice of Yahweh, your God” (Zech. 6:15c). There is an ethical prerequisite for dwelling in fellowship with God, a spiritual quality of faith and holiness in conformity with divine stipulation (cf. Deut. 30:11-14; Rom. 10:6-10; Heb. 12:14). But that is not what is referred to in Zech. 6:15c as a condition for the realization of the messianic kingdom of glory. The condition in view is rather the obedient performance of a special probationary assignment. That accomplishment, that one act of righteousness, constitutes the legal, meritorious ground for receiving the heavenly reward.
Zechariah casts his prophecy of Christ and the church in the prophetic idiom, employing the old typological order to depict the new covenant realities. And according to the covenantal constitution for that old order, corporate Israel must earn the continuing enjoyment of the typological kingdom inheritance by their obedience. This works principle is a conspicuous feature of the sanctions section of the Mosaic treaties.42 Expressing things in old covenant terms, Zechariah therefore says that God’s kingdom of glory is the reward for the probationary obedience of the elect corporately. In the light of the total Scriptural revelation we understand, however, that this act of probationary obedience is performed not by them but by Christ their federal representative—by the one for the many. It is a righteousness of God imputed to the elect by grace through faith.
In Zechariah’s fourth vision the Messiah’s role as the individual representative probationer is revealed more explicitly. There again the attainment of heaven is made the reward for the obedient discharge of a specific duty, the guarding of God’s sanctuary (Zech. 3:7), and it is Christ, the Servant-Branch, as typically portrayed by the individual figure of Joshua the high priest, who must fulfill this probationary priestly mission.” What we have then in Zech. 6:15c is the pre-incarnate Christ directing his people in faith to himself as their vicarious probationer, who secures for them God’s approbation and so puts them beyond probation.
The function of probationer that Christ assumed as the true Israel-Servant was more basically his in terms of his identity as second Adam (Rom. 5:14; 1 Cor. 15:45-47).44 The covenant with the first Adam was a works-probation arrangement.45 Hence, for the Son to covenant with the Father to become a second Adam meant he must win the promised messianic exaltation (which he shares with his own) as the reward for a victory of obedience in a probationary mission. This is implicit in CH in the Branch’s role of building the temple of the Lord (Zech. 6:12c, 13a), for, as we have seen,46 the prelude to and qualification for temple construction was regulary the faithful waging of the Lord’s battle against his enemies. Messiah’s temple building presupposes his victorious warfare against Satan. That was the specific probationary task whose accomplishment established his right to requisition the materials and build God’s temple, and indeed to take his place on the divine throne in the holy of holies.
As advertised by his birth under the Torah covenant of works (Gal. 4:4), Christ came to earth as one under the intratrinitarian covenant of works. It was by fulfilling the probation of that supernal works covenant that he became the mediator of the Covenant of Grace, the covenant in which his people become by faith joint-heirs with their Lord of the eternal kingdom of glory (Heb. 9:14; Rom. 8:17). Law is thus foundational to gospel; gospel-grace honors the demands of divine justice as definitively expressed in law covenant. In Rom. 3:31 Paul makes this point forcefully: “Do we then make the law of none effect through faith? God forbid; nay we establish the law.” The apostle is not concerned here with the normative nature of the Mosaic laws but with the law as a covenant governed by the principle of works in contrast to the gospel with its principle of grace. And even though he is arguing that we are justified not by works but by grace through faith, he insists emphatically on the continuing validity of the works principle as foundational to the gospel order. It is by the obedience of the one that the many are made righteous (Rom. 5:19).
Messiah’s exaltation would follow humiliation. The way to the Sabbath throne on Har Magedon led through the abyss of Gehenna. As stipulated in his covenant with the Father, the Son must become incarnate in human likeness and be obedient unto the death of the Cross (Phil. 2:5-11). It would be because of his obedience as the suffering Servant of the Lord that he was lifted up very high (Isa. 52:13-53:12). In CH, Messiah’s descent prior to his ascent is intimated by the designating of him as the Branch who comes forth from the human line of David (Zech. 6:12a, b; cf. Isa. 53:2), the Branch who is the suffering Servant (Zech. 3:8).
Sharpening the point that Christ earns his exaltation as a due reward is the identification of his inheritance possession as something he has purchased. “Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us that he might redeem us from all iniquity and purify for himself a people for his own possession” (Titus 2:13, 14; cf. Eph. 1:14). Giving the redeemed to him as his allotted portion is an act of justice, pure and simple. They belong to him by virtue of his paying the purchase price as stipulated in the supernal covenant of grant.
And the purchase price itself tells us again of the humiliation and suffering that was the appointed way to Christ’s ultimate exaltation. “You were redeemed … with the precious blood of Christ as of a lamb without blemish or spot” (1 Pet. 1:18, 19; cf. Eph. 1:7; Heb. 9:12). It was “with his own blood” that the Lord acquired the church, his bride (Acts 20:28; cf. Rev. 7:14, 19:7, 8; 21:2, 9). This note sounds forever in the music of heaven acclaiming the exalted Redeemer: “You are worthy to take the book and to open its seal;47 for you were slain and have purchased to God by your blood (a throng) from every tribe and tongue and people and nation” (Rev. 5:9). “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing” (Rev. 5:12).
Westminster Theological Seminary in California
* This study of Zech. 6:9-15 concludes the series on Zechariah’s night visions begun in Kerux 5:2 (September 1990).
1 CH (central hinge) will be used below as an alternative designation for Zech. 6:9-15.
2 On the introductory formula in v. 9, cf. Zech. 1:1, 7; 4:8; 7:4; 8:1, 18. From Zech. 6:15b it appears that the word of the Lord that comes to Zechariah in CH is a speaking of the pre-incarnate Word. The same phenomenon is found in Zech. 4:8, 9. Cf. Kerux 7:2 (September 1992) 16-18; 7:3 (December 1992) 50, 51; and 9:2 (September 1994) 3. It will be seen below that v. 9 also functions as an element in a particular genre we shall identify.
3 In this respect CH is similar to vision five. Cf. Kerux 9:1 (May 1994) 3.
4 Cf. Kerux 8:1 (May 1993) 20, 21.
5 Because of the resumptive nature of much of the content of CH, our treatment of some matters will be cursory, with frequent references to our previous studies of the visions for more detailed discussion.
6 Cf. Kerux 8:2 (September 1993) 24.
7 Cf. Kerux 9:2 (September 1994) 8, 9.
8 Cf. Kerux 9:2 (September 1994) 9, 17.
9 For hod as glorious raiment, cf. Job 40:10 and Ps. 104:1. Note also the use of the verb for wearing the ephod (1 Sam. 2:28; 14:3; 22:18).
10 The specific terminology of covenant and oath is applied to this arrangement in Pss. 89:4, 29, 35 [Eng. 3, 28, 34]; 132:11, 12. At the coronation of Joash, bestowal of the crown was accompanied by presentation of a covenant witness document, which would identify the kingship as authorized and regulated by the Lord (2 Kgs. 11:12). Note also the parallelism of crown and God’s covenant with the king in Ps. 89:40 [Eng. 39].
11 Variously designated by covenant theologians, we may refer to it as the eternal or supernal covenant in distinction from temporal, earthly covenants made with men. Cf. Kerux 8:1 (May 1993) 33; 9:2 (September 1994) 16; 9:3 (December 1994) 32.
12 The Covenant of Grace is to be distinguished from the eternal intratrinitarian covenant of works, for it differs from it in fundamental respects, including: the parties to the covenant, the role of the Son, and the principle of inheritance.
13 On the translation of the preposition ‘al, see below.
14 The preposition ‘al must then mean “on” in v.13c, and so too in v. 13d, for ‘al kise ’o is to be rendered the same way in these paired clauses.
15 Cf. Kerux 9:3 (December 1994) 27-29.
16 Cf. e.g., Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:33, 34; 7:55, 56; Rom. 8:34; Eph. 1:20; Heb. 1:3; 8:1; 12:2; Rev. 3:21; 12:5 (which speaks of the Messiah being caught up “to God and to his throne”).
17 This interpretation is anciently attested in the church.
18 Cf. my Images of the Spirit, pp. 13ff.
19 On Christ and the Spirit, cf. Kerux 9:2 (September 1994) 3ff.; 9:3 (December 1994) 27ff.
20 Note in Acts 1:10 the customary association of angelic beings with the Glory-cloud.
21 This episode in CH provides a transition to the introduction to the second half of the book (Zechariah 7 and 8). There again we read of the visit of a delegation of Israelites to the Jerusalem temple which becomes the occasion to foretell how peoples of all nations would one day make their way to Jerusalem to seek Yahweh (8:18-23). Like CH these introductory chapters open and close with sections that refer directly to the delegation and their activity.
22 On these ostraca cf. Y. Aharoni, “Arad: Its Inscriptions and Temple,” Biblical Archaeologist 31. 1 (1968) 2-32, esp. 13-15.
23 For the evidence, see A. Demsky, “The Temple Steward Josiah ben Zephaniah,” Israel Exploration Journal 31 (1981) 100-102. Our identification of the requisition genre of Zech. 6:9-11 confirms in turn this interpretation of lhn in v. 14.
24 For this use of bayit, cf., e. g., 1 Chr. 28:11; Neh. 10:39 [Eng. 38]; Mal. 3:10.
25 Myers-Myers, pp. 344-5.
26 On contributions of those in exile to the postexilic restoration of the temple, cf. 2 Chr. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-6; 2:68, 69.
27 The poll-tax atonement money taken from the Israelites and used for the service of the tabernacle, God’s royal court, is also said to serve as a memorial, reminding the Lord that the ransom had been paid for them (Exod. 30:16; cf. Col. 2:14). Numbers 31 records an episode with similar requisition features. Moses and Eleazar are commanded to take for the Lord a specified portion of the victory spoils from the battle against the Midianites (cf. Gen. 14:16-20). A special tribute of gold presented by the military leaders was deposited in the tent of meeting as a memorial of the Israelites before the Lord (v. 54).
28 The themes of CH and the third vision (2:5-17 [Eng. 1-13]) correspond closely. Christ is presented in both passages as the sovereign summoning his people from all the earth, in the third vision under the model of the kerux, and in CH, of the requisitioner. Cf. Kerux 7:3 (December 1992) 39-61.
29 Cf. Kerux 9:3 (December 1994) 30ff.
30 For previous treatment of the temple building theme in Zechariah’s night visions, cf. Kerux 6:2 (September 1991) 33, 34; 9:2 (September 1994) 4ff.; 9:3 (December 1994) 20ff.
31 On this formula, cf Kerux 7:3 (December 1992) 47, 50; for exaltation as evidence of the messianic identity of Jesus, cf. Matt. 26:64.
32 Cf. Kerux 9:3 (December 1994) 37.
33 See Exod. 19:5; Deut. 7:6; 14:2; 26:18; Ps. 135:4; Mal. 3:17; cf. Titus 2:14.
34 Cf. Deut. 4:20; 9:29.
35 Cf Deut. 32:9. On this passage, see my Kingdom Prologue, pp. 177, 178.
36 Cf. Kerux 7:3 (December 1992) 44ff.
37Similarly in Zechariah’s third vision the hostile nations are threatened with judgment (2:13 [Eng. 9]), in the midst of which there will, however, be a conversion of Gentiles, a redemptive spoiling of the nations. By this despoiling which is a discipling many are brought into covenant with the Lord as his people, his chosen inheritance (2:15, 16 [Eng. 11,12]). Cf. Kerux 7:3 (December 1992) 47.
38 In Hebrews 1, where Ps. 2:7 is quoted (v. 5) in an exposition of the exaltation of the Son, he is described as “the heir of all things”(v. 2).
39 See also 2 Kgs. 17:15; Ps. 50:16; Isa. 24:5.
40 It is so interpreted when quoted in Acts 13:33; Heb. 1:5; 5:5; cf. Acts 4:25.
41 For our previous discussion of this subject see Kerux 8:1 (May 1993) 33; 8:2 (September 1993) 20-22; 9:2 (September 1994) 15, 16; 9:3 (December 1994) 32. A state of indefectible holiness is the necessary precondition of entering into the eternally secure felicity of the Sabbath-Glory (cf. I Pet. 1:4). Thus, under the original covenant in Eden divine approbation upon successful probation would have been accompanied by transformation to the prerequisite state of confirmed righteousness.
42 Cf., e. g., Lev. 18:5; Deut. 28:1, 9, 13, 15; 30:15-20. As Paul’s appeal to Lev. 18:5 shows (Rom. 10:5; Gal. 3:12), a legal principle of meritorious works was operating in the Torah covenant opposite to the gospel principle of grace.
43 Cf. Kerux 8:2 (September 1993) 20-22.
44 In Gal. 4:4, “born under the law” identifies Christ as the second Israel, under the Torah covenant. “Born of a woman” brings out his humanity and so suggests his second Adam status.
45 Though the covenant produced by creation displayed God’s goodness and love, it was not a grace transaction, for none of its benefits, whether original or preferred, had been or would have been bestowed on people who had forfeited them by sin. The divine benevelonce complemented the principle of simple justice governing this works covenant; it did not qualify that justice.
It is God’s covenantal word that defines divine justice. Analysis of God’s covenant with Adam has been plagued with a tendency to judge the terms stipulated in this covenant by some extraneous standard and to pronounce the value of the award offered disproportionate to the value of the service. Thereby any “merit” still attributed to the performance of the stipulated duty in this arrangement (confusingly dubbed “gracious”) is radically qualified, the law-gospel constrast is changed into a continuum, the absoluteness of God’s justice is relativized, and the foundation of the gospel is destroyed.
46 Cf. Kerux 9:3 (December 1994) 20ff.
47 The imagery of the seven-sealed book evokes the legal sphere of testament and inheritance.