The Minor Prophets Speak To Today
Zechariah 6:9-15 NLT
9 Then I received another message from the Lord: 10 “Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah will bring gifts of silver and gold from the Jews exiled in Babylon. As soon as they arrive, meet them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. 11 Accept their gifts, and make a crown from the silver and gold. Then put the crown on the head of Jeshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest. 12 Tell him, ‘This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: Here is the man called the Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of the Lord. 13 Yes, he will build the Temple of the Lord. Then he will receive royal honor and will rule as king from his throne. He will also serve as priest from his throne, and there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.’14 “The crown will be a memorial in the Temple of the Lord to honor those who gave it—Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Josiah son of Zephaniah.”
15 People will come from distant lands to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. And when this happens, you will know that my messages have been from the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. All this will happen if you carefully obey what the Lord your God says.
Harmony Between Government and Religion
Across the world the role of government and religion, and the appropriate relationship between the two, varies from country to country. In America the founding fathers agreed that there should not be government sponsorship of a state religion or a religious requirement set by government pertaining to individuals, their rights, and their government. Of course, today, great disagreement exists regarding what that means.
Anthropologically, religion, in and of itself, forms a foundation of every functional society. It might be set of religious practices and prescriptions. It may be a shared set of moral beliefs that provide a framework for interpersonal, business, and other relationships. It may be totally secular and disdain to be reminded that it is fulfilling the necessary anthropological function.
One of the problems in an overextended multiculturalism arises from trying to accommodate religious systems that stand in direct, active, physical opposition to each other or all others. Multiculturalism holds many valuable ideals but it cannot by its very nature serve a religious role.
In countries with multiple strong religious groups, there can be no shared government, social existence, or common identity unless each religion agrees to a common set of morality needed to co-exist and then suppresses the element within itself that seeks to disrupt that common ground.
But make no mistake!
No secular entity can force such an agreement. If it tries it only empowers the radical elements of the religions and even the moderates will entrench in opposition to incompatible demands and laws promulgated by that entity. Sooner or later the society will collapse in on itself and violence in one form or another will result.
But We Dream...
We read passages like this in Zechariah and we think, "Now that's what I would like to see in my country." Yes, America needs to return to the religious beliefs and values I have. Sure -- Russia needs to embrace Russian Orthodoxy as the combined religious and governmental authority. Despite the Koran, many solidly Islamic countries still cannot practice this perfect harmony between government and religion.
Do not error!
This passage is not a prescription for world government and peace. Remember, even in the Israel being reborn Zechariah is addressing, the literal fulfillment of this message never happened. But remember this is a message, not a dream. Not a vision.
Being God's spiritual children does not create a mandate for us to develop this type of geopolitical harmony. In fact, the message provides a lot of Messianic insight about Jesus, the Branch, and His Kingdom yet to be fulfilled by his return to the earth.
Then He Will Receive Royal Honor and Will Rule as King and Priest
And there will be perfect harmony between his two roles.
Now be honest!
How many of you can imagine submitting yourself to a king who has total control and rulership? Few countries exist with this type of government structure. Fewer exist now than when I was twenty years old. Something in us human beings bridles against such power centered in one man or woman.
In fact, increasingly in our world, people bridle against one person being the ruling priest in religious matters. Increasingly people bridle against religion itself exercising that role. They bridle against
even God himself fulfilling that role.
Though God himself created both, it would take a lot more than placing a crown on someone's head to create perfect harmony between religion and government. For perfect harmony to exist,it would take one hundred percent of us human beings and our descendants having a total change of heart and mind.
Even So Come Quickly Lord!
crown by Jason Train, some rights reserved @flickr.com