Read verses 8-10
Q: What is the contrast in how Christ is represented in v.1-7 versus how it changes beginning in v.8?
A: Whereas Christ is first shown working on our behalf in heaven, He is now shown to be coming to work on our behalf on earth.
Q: In the context of the ancient world, what might be particularly powerful about describing the Messiah as “My servant the Branch”?
A: In the ancient world many cultures called their heroic figures “branches of the gods” as a way of associating their accomplishments with the will and work of those gods. Such were counterfeit shadows of the real work of the Messiah.
Q: In the historical context of what was going on in Zechariah’s time, what is particularly powerful about the Messiah being referred to as “the stone I have set before Joshua”?
A: The foundation for the Second Temple was just completed. Here was have an allusion to a much greater foundation (the Messiah) which will result in a much greater Temple (the Church).
Q: What is the significance of the stone having “seven eyes”?
A: Christ is not only a Living Stone but all-seeing.
And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth.
— Revelation 5:6
Q: What might be the importance of God stating “I will engrave an inscription” on Christ the Living Stone?
- It could be a reference to Christ as the Word.
- Since Joshua the high priest is here representing Christ THE High Priest, it should be remembered that the high priest wore on his shoulders stones with the names of the tribes of Israel engraved upon them which could represent Christ’s burden for God’s elect.
- Whereas the stones of the earthly Temple bore manmade engravings this could represent the greater Temple to come through the Messiah whose heavenly markings are of far greater consequence.
- Other possible explanations?
As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!”
— Mark 13:1
Q: Why might this reference to engraving be particularly powerful to the people of Zechariah’s time?
A: It is recorded in Ezra 3:12-13 that although work on the Second Temple was proceeding, its physical appearance (engraving was a big part of the architecture) did not match that of the Solomon’s Temple. This further affirms that God is promising that although this is an inferior earthly building that something (or rather Someone) much greater is going to come about in spite of this.
But if the ministry of death, in letters engraved on stones, came with glory, so that the sons of Israel could not look intently at the face of Moses because of the glory of his face, fading as it was, how will the ministry of the Spirit fail to be even more with glory?
— 2 Corinthians 3:7-8
Q: How will God “remove the iniquity of the land in one day”?
A: Through Christ’s work on the cross. Whereas the high priest and the priesthood had to make repeated, continual sacrifices, the Messiah as the final High Priest will fulfill all the requirement of the Law in one ultimate sacrifice.
For it was fitting for us to have such a high priest, holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens; who does not need daily, like those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the sins of the people, because this He did once for all when He offered up Himself. For the Law appoints men as high priests who are weak, but the word of the oath, which came after the Law, appoints a Son, made perfect forever.
— Hebrews 7:26-28
Every priest stands daily ministering and offering time after time the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins; but He, having offered one sacrifice for sins for all time, sat down at the right hand of God, waiting from that time onward until His enemies be made a footstool for His feet. For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified.
— Hebrews 10:11-14
Q: What is the meaning of v.10, of inviting one’s neighbor “to sit under his vine and under his fig tree”?
A: This is an Old Testament image of peace and tranquility.
So Judah and Israel lived in safety, every man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan even to Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.
— 1 Kings 4:25
Each of them will sit under his vine
And under his fig tree,
With no one to make them afraid,
For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
— Micah 4:4
Application: The work of the earthly priesthood and the earthly temple foreshadows the greater work of Christ the High Priest and the priesthood of all believers to come. Service in the Kingdom of God is not limited to events on earth but reflects a greater heavenly work.