Robert Gardiner

Zechariah 6: 1, 9-15

         I have been thinking, dear brethren, of what we have to learn from the conditions in which we live, and where we are as gathered together to the Lord’s Name.  It is interesting that we have to do with external conditions that are allowed of God, and we have to see that; but then it is all with a view to the enjoyment of the place where there is one Man that is, and was, and ever shall be God.

         This chapter came to my mind because I think it would help us in our understanding of the ways of God.  We have a new government in this country, which is representative of God’s indirect government through the Gentiles.  These four chariots that come out from between two mountains come out from the area where God is, and where the stability that belongs to God remains.  These chariots, representing the empires from Nebuchadnezzar to the present day, have come out from that area not only that we might be subject to them, as we are exhorted in the Scriptures, but also with a view to there being, in the ways of God, a way made that is to be for the benefit of the people of God.  I believe we are at a juncture when we might see something of that.  If you look back over recent history you will see times when there were operations that obviously came from the hand of God through secular governments, which were for the ultimate blessing of the people of God - the conscience clause for military service is one of them that comes to my mind.  These four kingdoms and powers have been operating right down to the present day, and we are living in the last of the four.  How powerful the Roman power has been.  It affects you to think about the Roman empire being in power when the Lord was born and when He died.  Remember how the parents of the Lord went up to Bethlehem to be inscribed in the census.  That was God’s ordering.  Then you remember the Lord said to Pilate, “Thou hadst no authority whatever against me if it were not given to thee from above”, John 19: 11.  The Roman power continued, and became more powerful religiously, after the apostles were gone until the time when the light dawned again through the Lord’s mercy that “the just shall live by faith”, Rom 1: 17.  It is seeking to rise again, but God’s ways in indirect government are for our learning and for our obedience.

         Now the enemy has had great sway in past years through the promotion of what is called the affluent society.  What damage it has done to persons, even some of our own beloved brethren, but now the powers that be are indicating that there is going to be a time of austerity.  You will be wondering why I am speaking about this, but it will come out, I hope, in a minute or two.  So there may be a time of austerity.  How are we going to react to it, dear brethren?  How are our young brethren going to react to it?  Are those that are older going to be able to help them through it?  I do not necessarily mean materially; I mean in our spirits and in our guidance, as being in the presence of God in relation to it because God in His wisdom orders these things.  Why?  So that we might value more the area where the One who is “the Branch” is supreme, and I think that is what is shown in this chapter.

         Jehovah says, “Take gifts of them of the captivity … and come thou the same day, and enter into the house of Josiah the son of Zephaniah, whither they are come from Babylon; yea, take silver and gold, and make crowns, and set them upon the head of Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest”.  And then we get this marvellous verse, “Behold a man whose name is the Branch; and he shall grow up from his own place, and he shall build the temple of Jehovah”.  Why should He refer to silver and gold, dear brethren?  Surely it is because He is the one Man that, in the power of redemption, has brought us into liberty, the liberty of the children of God.  He is also the one Man that is able to bear the glory, and signified what the bearing of the glory meant as He was here, a Man amongst men.  But it continues, “even he shall build the temple of Jehovah; and he shall bear the glory”.  I love to think about the Lord saying “on this rock I will build my assembly”, Matt 16: 18.  He is the One who grew up from His own place.  He grew up in Nazareth, drew nothing from the world, only drawing His power from God Himself.  He is the one who “shall build the temple of Jehovah ... and he shall bear the glory”.  When one of the disciples drew the Lord’s attention to the temple saying, “see what stones and what buildings!" He said to him, "Seest thou these great buildings? not a stone shall be left upon a stone, which shall not be thrown down”, Mark 13: 1, 2.  In John He says, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up … But he spoke of the temple of his body, John 2: 19-21.  How perfectly the prophets of Old Testament times portrayed what came to pass, and it is continuing while He is on high and the Spirit is here on earth.  Then it says after He builds the temple, “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”.  Beloved, the area of the assembly is where He bears the glory and where He sits and rules upon His throne.  The majestic rule of the Lord Jesus, known one day soon publicly in the millennium, is known now privately in the hearts of those that are subject to Him.  There is the Man, the Man Christ Jesus, who is divine and who in His relationships with His God demonstrated that there was peace between them both.  When the Lord came in, the heavenly hosts said, “on earth peace”, Luke 2: 14.  Peace has never come to the earth except in that one Man.  Oh, the purpose and counsel of the heart of God seen in that One, demonstrated in every step of His path, every attribute of His God being seen because there was peace between them both.  It should affect our hearts that we have been brought where it can be appreciated.  May it be appreciated more by me and by every one of us.

         Then it says, “And the crowns”; more crowns, dear brethren.  There is a crown laid upon the head of Jesus - how worthy He is! - “granted him a name, that which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus ...”, Phil 2: 10.  How He has been crowned with glory and honour!  But then there are crowns put upon the heads of others, “And the crowns shall be for Helem, and for Tobijah, and for Jedaiah, and for Hen the son of Zephaniah, for a memorial in the temple of Jehovah”.  I often think, dear brethren, how I would like to have been here when Peter and John went up to the temple, Acts 3: 1.  I think they were two men that were wearing crowns.  The silver and gold that adorns the head of Jesus adorned the heads of these men.  I think we see the silver shining in Peter, and I think we see the gold shining in John.  Peter, the one who knew what it was to say, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, Lord”, Luke 5: 8.  He knew the power of redemption displayed in the silver, but John who was so near the Lord Jesus, that he might have been one that he could record the Lord’s prayer in John 17.  There was the glory shining.  The Lord said, “And the glory which thou has given me I have given them", (v 22); and “I desire that where I am they also may be with me, that they may behold my glory”, v 24.  What privileges are ours beloved!  God’s operations outside are all with a view to us enjoying the privacy and exclusiveness of the place where Christ is honoured and this was all laid out at this time by this young man, Zechariah.  “And they that are far off shall come and build at the temple of Jehovah: and ye shall know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me unto you.”  Are we building at the temple of Jehovah, beloved?  It says that they will come from afar and build at the temple of Jehovah.  The nations are brought in to share in the building of this wondrous edifice that the Lord speaks of as “my assembly”, which is going to be for Christ to have for Himself: the assembly in which the service of God will proceed, and in which the glory of God will shine, and that for all eternity.

         Let us help one another in whatever God allows externally, but let us help one another too in the appreciation of the One who is “the Branch”, that blessed, glorious Man; and let us see what it is to surround Him with our crowns as He has His crown

          How rightly crowned is Jesus

                   (Hymn 212). 

Beloved brethren, what a time we are living in!  I do not think there has been a time to compare with this time, and we are privileged to be in it.  As being privileged, may we give ourselves to it so that God Himself might receive the glory.  For His Name’s sake.


18th May 2010