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Monday, June 17, 2013

Zechariah Study #5 Chapter 3 Joshua the High Priest

Zechariah Bible Study #5
Joshua Before the Angel of Jehovah
Zechariah Chapter 3

Joshua, the High Priest

3 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” 3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. 4 He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” 5 Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by.

6 And the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.

The Branch

8 Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch. 9 For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10 ‘In that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.’”   NASB

God continues His ‘good and comforting’ words through the prophet, with grace-filled words of a restored spiritual relationship between God and His people. The emphasis is on God’s choice.
The blessed fact is this, “the fulfillment of the exceeding great and precious promises in reference to Israel’s future, rests, not on their own merits or worthiness, but on the immutable purpose of Jehovah, who in His sovereign grace hath ‘chosen Jerusalem.’”David Baron
This vision depicts in a symbolic but graphic manner the inner salvation of Israel from sin and moral defilement, answering to their outward deliverance from captivity and oppression set forth in the preceeding three visions.
Jeremiah 3:22  “Return, O faithless sons,  I will heal your faithlessness.”
“Behold, we come to You;  For You are the Lord our God.”  What His eternal counsels have purposed, His grace and power shall yet accomplish in His people, and Israel shall yet be God’s instrument to shed abroad His blessings to the nations.

Zech. 3:1  The vision shows us Joshua, the High Priest, one of the 49,697 who returned to Jerusalem from Babylon, standing before the Angel of Jehovah, a pre-incarnate Jesus, with Satan, at Joshua’s side acting as an adversary.
Joshua is a type and representative of the nation in this vision.  The language of the vision is at times talking about him as an individual and then it goes right into the city/nation.  The high priest is on trial and so is the nation; if rejected, they are rejected, if acquitted, they are accepted.
It is beyond our knowledge and the knowledge imparted to us by the Bible to understand how Satan is permitted in heaven as the ‘accuser of the brethren’ but there he is.  Satan brought sin into the world, he deceives and tempts men to sin, but when they fall, he turns to accuse them.
    We are a side issue in the mind of Satan.  His main goal is to try to frustrate the accomplishment of God’s merciful purposes for the world.

Zech 3:2  Here we see that in rebuking Satan about Joshua, the blessing is expanded to the city/nation. “The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem..”  Oh that we would see the blessedness of being chosen, of being a ‘brand plucked from the fire.’  Of being a vessel of wrath, given great mercy.  When Jehovah rebukes you, because His words are power, the rebuking, the suppression actually takes place as a result of the words.  Israel’s hope and safety and ours rests on the immutable character and faithfulness of the Everlasting, Unchangeable God.  The sole ground and motive is His own heart of love.  The ‘fire’ that they/we are plucked from indicates great suffering in punishment, but mercy prevented it from resulting in utter destruction.  Like the burning bush it burns, but is not consumed.  This is a deep truth - The bush must suffer by very reason of its being in a special sense the dwelling place of the Holy One, until all dross has been consumed; but, because of mercy, it can not be destroyed.

Zech 3:3  The Hebrew word for filthy is FILTHY, the strongest expression that can be given.  How can God receive worship from one so sinful, so morally defiled?  Praise be to God, Satan has the power to accuse, but not to condemn!!  The Judge is the Lord, Jesus.  Leviticus 26:44 “Yet in spite of this, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not reject them, nor will I so abhor them as to destroy them, breaking My covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God.”

Zech 3:4  To eliminate doubt that the filthy garments are symbolic of our sins, and the sins of Israel as a nation, the Lord says as He calls for the removal of the filthy garments,  “I have taken your iniquity away from you.”  Not only are our sins removed but, amazing grace, provides for new garments, festal robes.  This clothing indicates a reinstatement with God, for His purposes in the earth.  

Zech 3:5  The graciousness of Jehovah, leaves something ‘undone’ so that it can be called for by the intercession of the prophet.  This completes the dressing of the high priest.  God agrees to this request, indicating His acceptance of the newly clothed sinner.   Exodus 19:5,6 tells us that God was forming a “kingdom of priests, a holy nation.”  This is a picture of our conversion,  a stripping off of our filthy garments by God, and a giving of new garments from God.  The ‘robe of righteousness’ that we get as a result of our belief in Jesus, is our only ground of standing before God.  

Zech. 3:6  The free gift of ‘right standing with God’ results in a ‘higher call.’
It is good to remember that the words of God have power inherent in them.
So when He says, “Go and do this.” the power to go and do it is present in the command.  

Zech 3:7  The first part refers to our personal walk before God, and the second charge is to carry out our place in the Body.  For Joshua it would have been his call as high priest, and for the nation - to be a kingdom of priests.  His grace is available to us, the power in the Spirit to walk out our call, are both available.  Our obedience and faithfulness in these areas during our earthly sojourn, result in dwelling in heaven.  There is a promise of ‘authority’ in the life to come based on faithfulness in this life.  

Zech 3:8  Often in the Old Testament, men’s lives were symbolic.  We need to be aware of this also in our day, that God makes use of our lives, that others are watching our lives.  Things that happen to us are usually bigger than we know.  Our performance is on a bigger stage than we realize.  And now for the big announcement God is bringing forth His Servant the Branch.  Jesus, both Isaiah and Jeremiah spoke of Messiah as ‘the Branch.’  

Zech 3:9  By comparing scripture with scripture, we learn that Isaiah and David in the Psalms referred to the Messiah as a foundation stone/cornerstone.  The seven eyes refers to the omniscience of God.  He knows all, and has all the seven gifts of the Spirit.  The love that God has for us is ‘graven’ on the body of His Servant the branch.  Therefore, the marks of crucifixion are seen here, and in them we know that His omniscience is directed toward us in love.  I don’t want the government knowing everything about me, but when God does it is a comfort.  At the cross our iniquity was removed, but we did not appropriate it to our lives until we called on the name of Jesus to forgive us of our sins.  And in the same way, Israel as a called and chosen nation has total forgiveness available to them awaiting that ‘glorious day’ when as a nation they call upon the name of the Lord.  The day of Israel’s national repentance, the great day of Atonement.  God’s purposes are marching toward that day.  Leviticus 26:30  “for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the Lord.”

Zech.  3:10  Here we have a beautiful picture of a true, deep, peaceful rest.  We are told that when the high priest completed all the ritual of the day of Atonement that there was a festival with songs and entertainment and universal gladness.  The garden of Eden, the original purpose of God, gives us a picture of this invitation to a relaxing meal on a perfect day.  

I have intentionally kept this short, because the great need of our time is to see this amazing truth of God.  He has removed our filthy garment, clothed us in His righteousness, surrounded us with His love and called us to join with Him in His mission. 

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