Read Zechariah 6
Focus on verse 12-13
Code names are common whenever a group of individuals are carrying on an operation that is secretive in nature. The CIA and the FBI often use code names for agents or operations when they go undercover. The military will use code names for covert operations that they carry out behind enemy lines. It is a way of gaining the element of surprise on an enemy one is seeking to defeat.
In today’s reading God gives instruction to the exiles in regard to going about building the temple and He uses a code name for one of the key players. See if you can identify who it is.
And say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord. It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’ (v. 12-13)
The code name was “the Branch”! The project was the building the temple… so why would this be a covert operation? …possibly because at the time Jerusalem was still under the rule of Persian Empire under King Darius. While it was Darius that initially gave orders for a group of exiles to go to Jerusalem and rebuild the temple of the Lord, there were plenty of neighboring locals who were not exactly thrilled about the Jews rebuilding Jerusalem. It is also unlikely that Darius had in mind for the exiles to set up a new king in the temple they were to build. Since new temple does not immediately appear, it leaves us to wonder what or whom God was referring to by this code name the Branch. If we go back to the book of Jeremiah we possibly have another clue.
In those days and at that time I will cause a righteous Brand of David to spring forth; and He shall execute justice and righteousness on the earth. (Jeremiah 33:15 NASB)
Jeremiah is likely referring to Jesus Christ who is also called the Son of David, who would come to redeem the earth at his first coming, and will one day return to earth to execute justice and righteousness. It is perhaps that Second Advent that God also had in mind in the words that He gave to Zechariah at this time.
It would seem then that perhaps we are all part of a covert spiritual operation here on Planet Earth. It is a battle that Satan is leading against the followers of Jesus. Satan would like us to think that he has the upper hand in this battle, and as we consider world events it may seem to us that he does, however, nothing could be further from the truth. When Jesus died on the cross and rose from the grave over 2000 years ago he decisively defeated Satan and broke the power of deception that Satan had over the earth. What is currently going on is the final struggle by Satan to try to deceive and destroy as much and as many as he can before that final day when Jesus returns to execute justice and righteousness on the earth. It may sound like science fiction, but I believe time will bear out that it is true.
The choice God leaves each of us with is whether we will choose to believe the truth and join the forces of righteousness, or whether we will choose to go on in deception and suffer the consequences of our choice to rebel.