Zechariah was told to take three men, who had returned from a visit to Babylon, and arrange for a crown to be made from the silver and gold they had brought with them. Once the crown had been made, it was to be set on the head of Joshua, the high priest.
The crowning ceremony was to include a speech by the prophet, but his words were not about Joshua. Instead they were a prophecy of a greater than Joshua who would achieve what Joshua could never do. Zechariah was speaking about Jesus.
He begins by using a name for the Messiah that had already been used by him as well as by previous prophets – the Branch. His name indicated that he would grow or increase, and one way by which he would do so would be the building of God’s temple (v. 12). Jesus informed his disciples that he would build his church and nothing could prevent it from happening (Matt. 16:18), very unlike what was taking place in Zechariah’s time in Jerusalem.
The reason why Jesus will be able to do so is because he will be King and Priest simultaneously. Perhaps there were tensions between the civil and religious leaders in Jerusalem, but that would not happen once the Messiah came because he would combine both offices in himself. This combination is depicted by the imagery of a counsel of peace between the kingship and the priesthood. The New Testament stresses that Jesus is a royal priest (like Melchizedek) with all authority in heaven and earth in order to bless his people.
The crown that Zechariah arranged to be made would be a permanent reminder to those who had brought money to help build the temple in Jerusalem. It would remind them that once the temple was built it would only be a temporary arrangement until the real Temple-Builder came.
And they were encouraged by being told that others, including Gentiles, would imitate their actions. This was a prediction of the growth of the church in the future, of what is taking place in our day as people from all over the world are used by the Branch to build his Temple.
The fulfillment of this prediction would prove the accurateness and the legitimacy of Zechariah’s prophetic ministry. We can see that he foretold the truth, and we should be thankful for what he teaches us about Jesus and show our gratitude by obeying the Temple Builder.