Summary: The Lord Jesus has already defeated the accuser of the brethren.
JOSHUA THE HIGH PRIEST
After seventy years of exile in Babylon, the children of Israel began to return to Jerusalem. They were led first by Ezra the scribe, and the Persian Emperor’s cup-bearer Nehemiah. The Governor of Judah was a prince of the house of David named Zerubbabel. The high priest was named Joshua.
The prophet Haggai encouraged the people to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem, and to restore proper worship. The prophet Zechariah desired the people to turn to the LORD, and offered hope in spiritually difficult times.
1. In a series of visions, Zechariah reached beyond the needs of his own time to the coming of Jesus.
Zechariah spoke of the Prince of Peace entering Jerusalem in humility, riding on a donkey (Zechariah 9:9-10).
The great Shepherd was to be smitten, and His sheep scattered (Zechariah 13:7).
A fountain of forgiveness would be opened up for the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zechariah 13:1).
The LORD would pour out His Holy Spirit, and the people would look upon the crucified Saviour, and mourn for their sins (Zechariah 12:10).
2. In Zechariah 3 we see Joshua the high priest standing to minister before the Angel of the LORD.
Even as Joshua prepared the altar and offered the prescribed sacrifices, Satan stood beside him as an adversary or accuser.
In the book of Job we see Satan as the accuser who stood against the most godly man of those days (Job 1:8-11).
However, do not fear, because in the end the accuser will be cast down (Revelation 12:10).
3. The Angel of the LORD is identified with our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus rebuked Satan in the name of the LORD. There is no higher name in heaven or upon earth, so He rebukes in His Father’s name.
Our prayers should be offered in the name of the Lord Jesus, who is our only advocate with the true and living God.
The Lord told the accuser to withdraw. Jerusalem, the chosen people of God, had been plucked as a brand from the fire in their providential return from exile. Their fiery ordeal was over.
As high priest Joshua stood for the people, and was offering sacrifices and offerings on their behalf. Yet in Zechariah’s vision he saw Joshua wearing filthy garments, symbolic of sin.
Jesus then instructed His ministering angels to remove the filthy garments. The Lord told Joshua that He was removing his iniquity, and that He would clothe him with rich robes. This is the robe of His righteousness (Isaiah 61:10).
Zechariah prayed that Joshua’s priestly turban might be restored, and the Angel of the LORD, Jesus, stood up to see that it was done (Zechariah 3:5). No longer was Joshua praying on behalf of others, but Jesus was praying on behalf of Joshua.
4. Jesus then made an oath to Joshua. If Joshua would be obedient to the LORD, then he would preside over the ceremonies of the Temple. If he would walk in God’s ways, and keep his commandments, he would walk amongst angels. Joshua would keep guard against profanation, not as a servant keeping house for his master, but as a priestly ruler upon his throne (cf. Zechariah 6:12-13).
The LORD then made a solemn announcement to Joshua, and to all the priests sitting in counsel with him. They were men to be admired, both for their office, and for their diligence in rebuilding the Temple.
5. “Behold,” said the LORD, signifying something important (Zechariah 3:8). The LORD proclaimed that He would bring forth His Servant, the anointed One, from the almost extinct line of King David. Jesus would come into this world, born into the royal line.
This was the foundation stone laid by God, which was now set before Joshua. It refers first to Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, who had laid the foundation stone for the rebuilding of the Temple. Zerubbabel was an ancestor of Joseph, husband of Mary the mother of Jesus. The stone also refers to Jesus, who is the foundation stone of the church.
The stone had seven eyes: representing God’s perfect providence, the perfect knowledge and wisdom of Christ, and the dispensation of the Holy Spirit.
There was an engraving upon the stone which spoke of the removal of iniquity in one day. That would be the day of God’s choosing, when our Lord Jesus Christ would be crucified on the Cross of Calvary, and carry away the sins of His people. Then they also would be clothed in the righteousness of Christ.
Since then His people have been living in a new day, having sweet fellowship one with another in peace and blessedness.
6. The Lord Jesus Christ is our great high priest, who makes intercession for us (Romans 8:34).
When we pray to God in the name of Jesus, we do not do so because we are somehow worthy of Him. We make our first approach to Jesus as those who are burdened with sin, and in need of God’s forgiveness.