September 4, 1994


Now we come to the next vision. These ten verses are divided in half, five verses in each. The first five we have forgiveness of past sins promised to the high priest. The second half we have the assurance of God's protection of the high priestly office and looking further, we have the appearance of the true High Priest who will remove the iniquity from the land, vv. 8-10. He will pour out the fullness of salvation in that day.

V. 1. The opposition of Satan is against the office of Joshua, not his person.

The point of contention is his public character, not his private life. Here we have Joshua the High Priest fulfilling his official duties as a high priest in the service of the angel of the Lord.

In v. 4, we see that this angel of the Lord has the authority to forgive sin. This would identify the angel as Jehovah as we see in v. 2; He has the authority to rebuke Satan. Therefore, here in v. 1, we see that Joshua entreating divine favor for himself and for the people whom he represents, the nation. He is offering prayers and intercessions up before God or in the presence of God.

"The high priest is in the sanctuary, the building of which has already commenced, and is engaged in prayer for the mercy of the angel of the Lord: The latter comes down, condescends to appear in the temple, as a proof of his favor, attended by a company of angels (vid. ver. 7). Satan, the sworn enemy of the Church of God, looks with jealous eyes at the restoration of the church to the favor of the Lord; and prepares to interrupt it again by his accusation. --The doctrinal idea is simply this, that Satan leaves no stone unturned, to turn away the favor of God from the individual believer and the whole Church of God, (Christology, pgs. 971, 2)."

There are a couple of things worth our attention in this.

First, the High Priest here (Joshua in this case), is the representative of his people (the people of God), before God.

This was under the OT economy and we know this prefigures the Great High Priest representing His people before the Father of spirits. Yet, the application here is excellent of pastors representing their people. They do not represent them in the sense of a high priest, for only Christ can and does do that, but in the sense which Paul uses in Heb. 13:17.

Really, if a pastor forgets that he is a representative before God for the people which God has established him over, he should not be a pastor. Being a pastor is a privilege, of course, but the responsibility far outweighs any privilege.

Second, the pastor should be consistently seeking divine favor for his people. In seeking this divine favor we see that he enters into the very presence of the Father (as does every believer).

Third, we see the adversary. He is on hand to offer his resistance. He misses no opportunity, "leaves no stone unturned," in his efforts to hinder or even completely prevent this divine favor upon God's people.

It is well within this application to say that all of the forces which the enemy can mustard are directed at the pastor through any and every means possible, to prevent his finding the divine favor for God's people. We are not saying that the people of God are not individually responsible; they are. But let us NOT fail to emphasize the importance of their pastors intervention for them before the Father. The adversary opposes the pastor as the representative of his people.

Fourth, to follow through on this application: just as the sins of the nation were imputed to the high priest, the sins of the high priest were imputed to the nation.

We can rest assured that the accuser will charge the pastor with this and remind him continually of his disqualification to stand before the Lord. Notice that in vv. 1-3, this was the accusation against Joshua, the high priest. If Joshua (or the pastor), was living in open defiant sin, the accusation would hold from the enemy, but we see no indication of any justification for Satan's charge; Joshua receives ready forgiveness of his sins.

Fifth, this brings us to the grounds of objection, to expand on the above point.

The grounds would be that Joshua was a sinner himself; therefore, no qualified to represent himself, let alone the people, for divine favor. Of course, all of this points to the better, righteous, holy, sinless, High Priest, the BRANCH.

Let us not suppose for a moment that the accuser doesn't heap this upon a pastor as he seeks divine favor for his people. Quilt over sin, despair over forgiveness, strikes at the very root of all religion. Different methods are attempted in different "religious circles" to overcome this difficulty, yet we have here the only answer which will work, 3-4. The I haves and the I wills of God.

The accusation of sin, guilt against Joshua is answered,

"He [the Lord of all glory], of his own free grace, would allow the office of High Priest to continue, and would accept his meditation until the times should come, when the true High Priest, of whom Joshua was only the type, should appear and effect a perfect and everlasting reconciliation (Christology, pg. 973)."

Without getting to far ahead of ourselves, let us say here that it is only by HIS FREE GRACE alome that any person can stand before the Just and Holy One. This is especially true of pastors. If a person (again, esp. pastors), feels he has even the slightest qualification, apart from in Christ, on his own to stand before God, he is deceived by the adversary; and Satan is right at hand at all times to deceive, to resist any effert of Godliness.

The adversary is smart: he will attempt to convenience of the need for personal qualification to stand before the Holy Father, then once he convinces his victim of this, he will proceed on to convenience his victim of his lack of qualifications. Any qualification to stand before the Righteous Father must be found in Christ and his completed work.

Start, September 23, 1994

Sixth, This verse shows us clearly that our enemy not only has flesh and blood, but our enemy is Satan himself, and spiritual wickedness in high places, Eph 6:12.

V. 2. Satan accuses Joshua of not being worthy for standing before the Lord for the people.

Joshua was wonderfully preserved in the captivity, and now Satan sought to afflict and trouble him when he was doing his office.

The rejection of Satan's accusation is founded by the Lord, not upon the worthiness of Joshua and the nation but solely upon his own choice, his own grace, which have been manifested in the recall of the nation from its captivity, and which he cannot now deny without thereby contradicting himself. --The election of Jerusalem is mentioned here, in contrast with its temporary reject during the Babylonian captivity, (Christology, pgs. 973, 4)."

The Lord Christ speaks to the Lord God as the mediator of His Church that the Lord God would rebuke Satan; this shows us that the Lord Jesus Himself is the continual preserver of his Church.


1) The primary point is found in the statement, The Lord that hath chosen...: The Lord does the choosing. Satan's accusation would be true as well as binding if Joshua had chosen to stand before before the Lord. Jerusalem also would have been in a fix if men had chosen to cause Jerusalem to be the city of God.

Yet we know from Biblical law that Joshua did not chose to be the High Priest. God choose him through his birth order. The fact that God chose him should remove any pride on Joshua's part as well as any confidence in his abilities or good works. The knowledge that the Lord chose him to be a priest before Himself should cause Joshua to use what abilities he has for God's glory. It should cause him to be faithful rather than proud that he was chosen by the Lord as a priest.

Of course, the application is quite apparent: God chose us, first as individual; therefore, we should use our abilities for His glory rather for our gain.

2) the Lord choose Joshua as a brand plucked from the fire; Jude brought the phrase forward into the NT, Jude 23.

A) The Lord chose us as individuals, Jn. 15:16.

B) The Lord chose who he would have to be leaders over His local flocks. God is the one who chose who should represent His local assemblies or congregations as pastors. If the Lord did not chose the leaders, they are thieves and robbers.

If the leader is there of his own chosing, then Satan has a legal claim and charge against the leader. It will effect the people also. The extent of freedom Satan would have against the people, I know not.

3) This brings us to a third point: if God did the choosing, then Satan is already defeated. He has no hold upon those chosen by God unles they give him the hold.

God did not choose based upon any good which we might have done or might do someday. (There are more NT passages on this than we care to go into at this time. Just a few: Eph. 2:8,9; Titus 3:7; Rom. 11[5,6]; Gal. 1:6, 13, etc..)

It is totally by His grace that any person can enter into His presence; we enter, unlike Joshua, through the righteousness of Christ, Heb. 4:14-16; 7:25-28, &c.

In Zech. 3:2, Satan could have accused Joshua, "You are a sinner. You have no right to stand before God representing the people." If Joshua had said, "Oh yes I do. Look at the place I hold as high priest. Look at how good I have been. I have keep the law and the commandments to the very best of my ability," Joshua would have been done for.

If the enemy can get the chosen of God to defend themselves based upon their goodness, they are finished. Any righteousness other than the righteousness which is found in Christ which might be claimed to stand before God is fair game for the adversary.

Satan has a legitimate claim against any righteousness which might be claimed apart from Christ, and he will get every inch out of that guilt.

Yet let us be reminded that sin, even for the elect, must be dealt with before guilt can be overcome, I Jn. 1:9; Prov. 28:13, 14. In other words, unconfessed and retained sin can give Satan grounds to make his claim of guilt.

Joshua's right to stand before God is found in the fact that he is standing there because the Lord chose that he should stand here.

4) Hengstenburg pointed out (quoted above), the distressed condition of Jerusalem contrasted with the exalted condition of the world system (Babylon), did not void in anyway God's election of Jerusalem.

Undoubtedly, this was a charge used by the accuser. "Look at the city of God. Look how distressed it is. That proves that Babylon is superior. That proves that you are on the losing side. Those of you who made the sacrifice to come back and be joined with this mess sure were foolish. There is no hope of there ever being anything raised out of that rubble."

Yet, the Lord rebuked him. Even thought the elect city of God was down-trodden by the Gentiles, the day was coming when the Gentiles would be subdued by this elect city of God.

This brings us to an interesting speculation. Let me present somethng to consider:

Heb. 12:22, 23 identifies the NT church as the new Jerusalem.
Lk. 21:24 talks of treading under foot of Jerusalem by the Gentiles until the time of the Gentiles be fulfilled.
Rom. 11:25 also speaks of the fullness of the Gentiles.

Zechariah compares the depressed condition of the then destroyed city of Jerusalem vs the exalted condition of the world system, Babylon, with the future church: its depressed condition when compared with the world system, yet the promise of its exaltation over the world system.

In light of Zechariah's prophecy of Zech., are these NT passages referring to the time when the Gentiles are exalted over the church (the new Israel). Then when that time is fulfilled, the Lord will exalt the church over the world system? Check the rest of Zech. 3.

In other words, the prophesies of Zechariah here are saying that even though the new Jerusalem, city of God, is being trodden under foot by the lawless, there is coming a time when God will shine His light, His mercy and grace upon the church; He will exalt it above all the "glories" of this world. The result will be the inflow of the heathen into its walls or gates, Jeremiah 33:9.

No one can deny that God is the One Who choose the new Jerusalem, the church, and He plucked it out of the fire. He is the one who has and is providing its new, spotless garments, making its members priests and kings in spite of every objection by the adversary, (Rev. 1:5, 6; 6:11, etc.).

5) this point deals with a very misunderstood and misused subject: the Lord rebuke thee.

Joshua did NOT attempt to defend himself against the accuser of the brethren, the adversary. Joshua stood before the angel of the Lord (actually before the Lord himself, compare v. 1 and v. 2), and the Lord said, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan;.

This doctrine covers both OT and NT because we find this statement used in the NT with Michael the archangel, Jude 9.

Pobably the only connection between Zech. 3:2 and Jude 9 is the use in both places of the same words, showing that the same basic principle is valid in both dispensations, (before Christ and after Christ). That principle forbids railing accusations against wicked persons. Note that we are not inclined to bring railing accusations against nice people but evil.

Jude 1:9, Geneva:
1:9 {7} Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.

(7) An argument of comparison: Michael one of the chiefest angels, was content to deliver Satan, although a most accursed enemy, to the judgment of God to be punished: and these perverse men are not ashamed to speak evil of the powers who are ordained of God.

Railing, 988 blasphemia {blas-fay-me'-ah} from 989; TDNT - 1:621,107; n0 f AV - blasphemy 16, railing 2, evil speaking 1; 19
1) slander, detraction, speech injurious, to another's good name
2) impious and reproachful speech injurious to divine majesty

Accusation, 2920 krisis {kree'-sis} perhaps a primitive word; TDNT - 3:941,469; n f AV - judgment 41, damnation 3, accusation 2, condemnation 2; 48
1) a separating, sundering, separation 1a) a trial, contest
2) selection
3) judgment 3a) opinion or decision given concerning anything 3a 1) esp. concerning justice and injustice, right or wrong 3b) sentence of condemnation, damnatory judgment, condemnation and punishment
4) the college of judges (a tribunal of seven men in the several cities of Palestine; as distinguished from the Sanhedrin, which had its seat at Jerusalem)
5) right, justice

This brings us to a very important point: contending with (or against) the wicked. As the wicked become more open in their evil ways, how are we to contend with that evil, (stand against them)?

There are several passages which talk about contending with the wicked. We will look at only four, two from the OT and two from the NT. The thing about these passages is that the two OT passages seem to contradict and the two NT seem to contradict one another.

Prov. 13:10, only by pride cometh contention; but with the will advised is wisdom, (see Prov. 28:25; Ja. 4:1).

Then on the other end we have a passage which seems to call for the contention which these passages condemn. Prov. 28:4, they that forsake the law praise the wicked; but such as keep the law contend with them.

Before we look at the answer here, let's examine two NT passages.

Jude 3, beloved, when I have all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

Then on the other hand we have Jude 9. Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, the Lord rebuke thee.

What do we have here? On the one hand, we are commanded to contend for God against the wicked around us. On the other hand, we see contention condemned. We seem to have a contradiction. Which way do we go?

"We must indeed contend for the faith," (Gal. ii.5., Thess. ii. 2, Gal. ii. 11).

But even here how yet imperceptibly may pride insinuate itself under the cover of glorifying God!" (C. Bridges)

So, how do we reconsile the apparent contradiction?

ost of us accept the definition of contending as fighting with another:
If someone yells at us, we yell back.
If someone strikes at us we strike back.
If they get pushy, we push back.
If we don't think they are doing right, we fuss and complain at them.
If they are argumentive, we argue back.
They get their group together to defend their views, we get our group together to defend our views.
We think they are taking advantage of us, we demand our rights.

How many of these things are proper to do? How many are improper, therefore are calling for God's judgment?

If anyone would have had the right to speak evil of anyone, it would have been MIchael against the devil. (Rail=evil speakings [Eph. 4:31], which even a Christian can be involved in [I Tim. 6:4]. Very closely related to speak evil of in Jude 8, 10 and II Pet. 2:2, 10, 12; Tit. 3:2, etc., more specifically, slander, detraction, speech injurious to another's good name [strangely enough this is what is used in Jude 9, railing]. In Jude 10, speak evil of, is to speak reproachfully, dishonor.) "Michael restrained himself, leaving all judgment and vengeance even in this case to God." (P.C.)

Therefore, we see that to contend with evil persons by speaking evil of them is condemned by God.

I would suppose that the clearest picture of what the wrong contending is against evil is to examine what Biblical contending is against evil men and their ungodly ways. Anything less than the Scriptural response is pride, it leads to wars and fightings which are not pleasing to God. It leads to victory for the enemies's camp because the power of God is lost when the contention against evil is not carried out as the Lord directs.

I was watching a service telecast from over in Ohio the other evening, from a well packed auditorium in a "chapel". I forget the name but evidently it is a quite large "charismatic" church. the preacher was using Ex. 15:26 for I am the Lord that healeth thee as the text for his message (2-21-89). He used this text over and over, even getting the people to repeat it after him, really building up the emotion, (folks like this. It will pack a service). He quoted the tex, for I am the Lord that healeth thee, then said, "If thou wilt diligently harken to the voice of the Lord thy God and obey him in, (I thought, "Oh boy, he is going to tell the folks to obey God's law because that is the context. This guy isn't too bad after all. I think I like him; park on that awhile, brother." Talk about the authority of Christ and the word of God over the individual, over society and over the church) all he has to say in regard to healing." Talk about garbage. He was healing it out by the dumster full and the people were eating it up like pigs at the feeder. He pulled that "healing" verse out of context like it was a greased pig. The Lord clearly says that the healing there is conditioned upon doing that which is right in his sight, giving ear to his commandments, and keeping all his statutes. It could not be any clearer that the healing was conditioned upon keeping all of the law-word of God, all of his commandments and statutes.

How like this we are. We will find a phrase or two which we can really use to promote what we want, yet cut it out of its context as skillful as a surgeon with a knife. We divide the word of God alright. Sad to say, that division isn't very rightly at times.

All of that to say this. Let us not be guilty of dividing up passages to condone what we (may be even in our pride), want to do or teach. It feeds the ego to be able to contend with those we feel are not acting according to God's law-word. How many times have we fed our pride and ego in confronting those we feel aren't doing right under "the cover of glorifying God?" This would especially be true in contending with those in authority or who may be exalted in mens eyes, (II Pet. 2:10, 12; Jude 8, 10, etc.).

Probably the best place to start would be Prov. 28:4. This gives us our basic principle and within this principle all the rest of the passages will easily fit, whether OT or NT.

Look at what is said. This is a two part verse. Part A cannot be divided from part B without destroying the meaning. We will fuss at the tele-evangelist about greasing the pig, let us be careful not to grease the pig to fit our purpose also.

28:4A. They that forsake the law praise the wicked: Here we are told that when a person forsakes the law of God they praise the wicked. to fail to teach it, to fail to observe it, to fail to keep his law foremost in our meditation is to praise the wicked, Neh. 9:25, 26; Ps. 1:2; Ps. 119 9 v. 2, although there are far to many verses which apply to this to choose one); I Jn. 3:4. Therefore, even a child of God can praise the wicked by failing to walk in the ways of the Lord; by failure to obey the principles of his word in all situations and circumstances, Ps. 119:105.

Anyone who fails to make the forsaken law their standard of conduct praise the wicked, whether saved or unsaved. To fail to continue in the ways (law) of the Lord in the face of the wicked and their devices would be to consent with them, Rom. 1:32. Time would fail us to peruse this so we will only give one more reference, Hosea chp. 4 (esp. 6), which is directed to my people.

The conclusion must be that no matter how sincere a person might be, no matter how vocal he might be against the devices of the wicked or the wicked themselves, no matter how many enemies he may have collected among the wicked, if he is not following the principles established in the law-word of God, he is PRAISING THE WICKED.

Now, Prov. 28:4B, but such as keepth law contend with them. We could say here that if I am going to be a law-keeper then I must contend with the wicked regardless of what God's word has established as a principle of conduct. We don't think either the context of this passage, or the established principles of God's word even in the NT will support this attitude.

"While they that keep the law at a strife with them-- with those that forsake the law (BDB)." "The servants of God maintain the same unity of spirit. They cannot call sin by smooth names, and gloss over an ungodly character. If they keep the law, they contend with them that forsake it (Charles Bridges)." How do the godly contend against the wicked? By keeping the law of God.

The first example we find in Scripture would be the contention which developed between Cain and Abel. It wasn't over an argument. It wasn't over Cain wanting to live an ungodly life style. The contention was over Abel's obedience to God and God accepting Abel's offering, Gen. 4. It was Abel's godly activity which caused the contention.

Then we have Noah, as he moved with fear and obeyed God's word in the preparing of the ark condemned the world, Heb. 11:7. Yes, he preached, (II Pet. 2)5) but we read that what condemned the world was his faith in the word of the Lord and that faith exhibited in action as he built the ark. He aggressively confronted the evil of his day, yet the thing which brought the condemnation was his faithful obedience to God's word, (see also I Ki. 18:18; II Ki. 3:13; Matt. 3:7; 14:3, 4).

As we separate from the works of darkness, we will reprove them, Eph. 5:11. There is no neutrality, Ps. 139:21, 22; II Chron. 19:2; Matt. 12:30. The promise is that godly living will result in contention, persecution, II Tim. 3:12. The chase conversation coupled with fear will bring conviction and contention, I Pet. 3:1-4. Ps. 15 gives the requirements to stand before God. As we do this (obey his law), contention will develop between us and those who desire to ignore God's law.

The principle is well established in Daniel. Do what God's law-word requires. The wicked counsellors will gather their followers together as they attempt to put a stop to the godliness which convicts them. They will pass laws and regulations in their attempts, yet our path is clearly established. Follow God's word and do those things which are pleasing in his sight, (Dan. chp. 6). HomeShcools and Christian Schools are good examples of right action condemning the wicked.

The keeping of the law of God in our attitude and actions will contend with the wicked.

Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, the Lord rebuke thee. Michael, rather than bringing a railing accusation against the devil in his dispute said, the Lord rebuke thee. Michael was going to obey God and let the Lord take care of the devil.

How about the contending for the faith as in Jude 9? I believe if you will check it out you will find this is the effort to uphold truth by argument (confronting error with god's word), and a steady consistent life according to his standards. "How about the contention which Paul faced in II Thess. 2:2?" This is a reference to "any struggle with dangers, annoyances, obstacles, standing in the way of faith, holiness and a desire to spread the gospel." No matter what hindrances may arise to our faithful obedience (contentions) to god's word, we press on to the goal which is before us in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The conclusion would be that in the face of the wicked and their devices, we must keep our attitude and actions all proper and in accord with god's word. As we do, contention, strife, will develope, even contention and strife to the death. This is what happened to our Lord. In other words, contention is the natural result of being faithful to the Lord Jesus Christ and the law of God.

To respond in that strife, contention which developed in any manner other than what is established (Ph. 2:15, 16; I Pet. 2:12, 15; 3:16) in the word of god is to praise the wicked as well as lose the power of God to silence the wicked. The wicked detest anyone which would seek to operate outside of their authority, yet we cannot give into their unBiblical demands. This is what will cause the contention and strife. Never does God permit railing against even the devil himself. He never permits the return of evil for evil.

It is the keeping of the law that brings the contention. That keeping of the law must be done in a meek, humble, manner. It cannot be in a self-assertive, contentious manner. Anything less than God's way will praise the wicked and cost us the power of God.

Zech 3, quick review.

1) the statement, The Lord that hath chosen...: The Lord does the choosing.

2) the Lord choose Joshua as a brand plucked from the fire; Jude brought the phrase forward into the NT, Jude 23.

3) if God did the choosing, then Satan is already defeated. He has no hold upon those chosen by God unless they give him the hold.

4) the distressed condition of Jerusalem contrasted with the exalted condition of the world system (Babylon), did not void in anyway God's election of Jerusalem.

5) Our fifth point deals with a very misunderstood and misused subject:

The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan. Our job is to respond to God's calling, do whatsoever He commands us to do, then depend upon Him to fight the devil. He will rebuke the evil one for us. Really, He is the only One Who can rebuke Satan. Our job is not to fight the devil but live for God. Our light which sines will remove the darkness. As we stand faithfully for God, He will rebuke the enemy.

As we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, the wicked will be upset, but the Lord will work in our behalf.

There are many who are fighting the devil and trying to rebuke him in their own strength. They had best emphasize conquering every area of their lives and societies for Jesus, and the Lord will rebuke the devil.

6) is this not... This is taken from Amos 4:11, were the phrase refers to the just destruction coming against the sin. Yet God in His mercy plucks those slated for that destruction out of the way of that destruction. The mercy of the Lord prevents the utter destruction which is justly deserved.

To make another point in Amos 4:11:

God in His mercy plucked the brand out of the justly deserved fire, yet the brand still would not acknowledge Him as its Lord and Master. The result is that God will go ahead and deliver the "brand" back to the burning, the justly deserved destruction.

God will not allow any destruction to come apart from His design. He won't look down and say, "Oops, I wonder how that happened!"

As we have already mentioned, no doubt this is Jude's reference, v. 23. We were slated for the fire of judgment, yet God in his mercy reached down, and pulled us out. But according to Amos, just because God has delivered from the fire does not mean we are spared from judgment. If the brand still refuses to recognize Him as its Lord and Master, destruction will still come, (not in eternal vengeance).

There are several applications here.

(1.) All desire eternal fire.

(2.) Only in God's mercy and grace, according to His sovereign will and purpose are any pulled from the fire.

(3.) deliverance from the eternal (vengeance (fire) of God against sinners does not deliver one from His vengeance here in this life if they refuse to glorify Him as God, Lord and Master,

(4.) Obviously, Jude 23 shows us that our responsibility is to do all we can to pull others out of the eternal fire.

(a.) We do not the pulling from the fire: God does.
Yet our responsibility is to take the gospel to them. This will avoid eternal vengeance.
Then our responsibility is to teach them all things, whatsoever he has commanded us. This will avoid the vengeance of God against those who deny His Lordship over them, Heb. 10, 12; I Pet. 2; Rom. 2, etc..

(5.) Probably the most important point for us to keep in mind goes with (4.) and responsibility to do all we can: God uses people. He will not send angels down to do the pulling out of the fire.


Zech 3:3, 4

The verse does not tell us that Joshua was standing before the Lord with dirty garments because the High Priest was clearly commanded to wear clean garments. Therefore, this is a reference to Isa. 64:6 (Rom. 3:11, 12), and the filthy garments of sin.

Satan can accuse every human (thanks to his success with Adam) ever born of man of having on filthy garments. And his accusation is just. Yet we see that the Lord makes provision. Vv. 3, 4 clearly speaks of the justification provided by the Lord, and that justification provided by the Lord even over Satan's objections.

Joshua is standing before the angel of the Lord. Satan is standing as his adversary to accuse him of sin; Satan is saying that Joshua is disqualified to minister before the Lord for God's people. The Lord rebuked Satan.

Joshua was clothed with filthy garments: he was not sinless as he stood before the Lord Himself. The angel of the Lord spoke to some attending angels who were also in His presence, saying, Take away his filthy garments from him...

Then the angel of the Lord said to Joshua, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. This shows that the angel which Joshua is standing before and which is speaking in this passage is actually the Lord because he says, "I will."

The Lord caused his iniquity to pass from him. The Lord clothed him with a change of raiment. Joshua did not change his raiment. The angels which were there with him did not change his raiment. Only the Lord of heaven and earth, the Redeemer King can cause sins to be removed and those sins replaced with the white robe of righteousness.

Now some applications.

(1.) The High Priest was required to be as clean as humanly possible both his person and his clothing (special designed by God, clothing), before he could minister before God for the people (Ex. 29:4; Lev. 16; Lev. 8:6, etc.. Most are talking of ceremonial cleansing yet the principle is clear:

(a.) With Joshua's filth we see that the very best of human efforts to clean up are still as filthy garments in the eyes of the Lord (and Satan knows this also. He was there to accuse as an adversary). Human effort to stand before a Holy God at very best will fail. Not only will human effort fail, but will give the adversary the privilege of working in those who make this attempt.

(b.) The Lord clothed him with redemption and forgiveness of sin. This clothing took away all grounds which the adversary had.

(c.) Salvation, redemption and cleansing is all the Lord's doing. Joshua had nothing to do with it. He could not ask the Lord for new garments. Here he stood, helpless before the Lord and Satan, cast completely upon the Lord's mercy and grace. If the Lord wanted to reclothe him, fine. If the Lord did not wish to reclothe him, there was nothing Joshua could do about it.

(d.) The washing of the flesh and carnal ordinances could not accomplish what only the Lord could accomplish. This is why those ordinances were done away with in Christ. He fulfilled them all.

(e.) The clean garments provided by the Lord do not excuse his people from being physically clean. In fact, those who have had their filthy garments replaced should be all the cleaner. Our outside cleanness should reflect the inner cleaning of Christ. We are outwardly holy (actions and appearance), because he that dwells in us is holy.

The papers report a new, terrible plague sweeping India. The accounts also point out the terrible filth in India. India is pagan; therefore, its outside is filthy.

I talked to Sherri Devitt's sister who works for a Japanese auto plant in Ky. She told me that she had been sent to Japan for training. The thing that impressed me about her account of Japan was its lack of sewer facilities. The sewers are open ditches draining into the ocean. Japan is a pagan culture.

America is returning to paganism, yet it still retains a concern for cleanness. But look at what has happened to the paganism: America is overly concerned with the environment. The pagan environment movement will sacrifice hundreds of families for a mouse or rat or bird or fish.

(f.) Notice the angel of the Lord did not take the old filthy garments and send them to the cleaners; the Lord CHANGED THEM for new garments.

The old flesh cannot be cleaned up. It must be replaced. This can only be accomplished: 1) Through the indwelling Holy Spirit and 2) Through the indwelling word of God. Memorizing and meditating upon the Word of God.


An application

though the context clearly speaks of redemption and cleansing through the work of Christ, we have another application:

God removes filth through the fires of refining as gold would be refined, I Pet. 1:7.

a.) The Holy Father desires that we should stand before Him and before men in the golden image of Christ, Rom. 8:29. The furnace of affliction will burn off the dross as well as allows us to be formed into the image of Christ, Rom. 12:2.

b.) The more the dross is intermixed with the gold, the harder the gold is, the hotter the furnace must be heated.

I saw a film some time ago (2-19-89) about the gold rush in Brazil. It showed the seekers wading through the mud, shoveling mountains of mud and dirt to find a piece of gold. (It all had to be sold to the government at 25% under market value.)

It told the story of one man who walked to the pit (after a dream), reached his hands down into the mud and pulled out a 76 lb. gold nugget. They also showed the nuggets. It did not look like gold at all. It had very little color, and was more dark brown than anything. It looked like a odd shaped stone. They also showed the steps which the gold had to go through to remove the filth and extract the dross. It was heated red hot, a chemical added to it. Then it was poured into a mold, the chemical with the dross scraped off. Then it was placed in an acid bath then clear water. The finished product was a beautiful gold bar. That glistened in the light.

The analogy is apparent. The Master reached down into the filth, mud, mire of this earth. He extracted a very ugly piece of gold, muddy and full of dross. It had no beauty at all with very little shining through the mud and dirt (filth of this world), to even indicate that it is a piece of gold.
He then takes that ugly piece of gold and places it in the furnace. The more that piece of gold resists the effects of the furnace to separate the dross (filth of the world), from it, the hotter the Master makes the furnace. The furnace of affliction is not the same for everyone. Everyone doesn't have the same dross or amount of dross, but the goal of the Master is the same for all the gold which he extracts. The praise and honour glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ. The reflection of the Pure One, here in this world.

Within this application is Zech. 3:4, And he answered and spoke unto those that stood before him, saying, take away the filthy garments from him. The indication would be (again, within our application of the fiery furnace) that the filthy garments are forcefully removed if necessary, and removed by those who stood before the angel of the Lord. Those standing before the Lord would include Satan. (1.) This fits in well with I Cor. 5 where the filth of the world had a very strong hold. The command there was to turn the individuals over the devil if they refused to allow the dross to be removed. This easily fits within the Scriptural principle of the removal of those things which do not reflect Christ. When the removal is resisted by the individual, destruction awaits.

But truer to the correct understanding of this verse, point 1, would be the forceful removal of a person out of their unsaved condition. More often than not the unsaved is content in his condition, and it requires the Holy Spirit making him discontent. God is the one who must remove the filthy garments.

This is a picture of the perfect Messiah who will come and remove sin from the land and through Him will be justification for all the people of God, v. 9.

A concluding application.

I am go glad that He is the one that:

1.) removes the old filthy garments.
2.) Causes my iniquity to pass from me.
3.) Clothes me in His change of raiment.

It is all of God. This thought is so prevalent in His word that we cannot even pursue.

"Lord, do your work in us!" It is all by his mercy.

V. 5. Here the prophet himself speaks up.

The angel of the Lord commanded the filthy garments to be removed from the high priest. He then promises to reclothe him in the pure garments which the Lord will provide.

Zechariah, standing by, knew the law and noticed that something was not included in the command to reclothe the priest, so he speaks up with, "Lord, don't forget the Turban (hat or maitre)." He knew that without the maitre, the priesthood would be incomplete.

Zechariah's prayer (request) is heard and Joshua is reclothed in righteousness from head to toe as the angel of the Lord stood by approving and adorning the whole process with his presence (Hengstenberg).

We have no reason to doubt that the Turban would not have been replaced anyway apart from the prophets prayers but we cannot say that his prayers were not important on this account. "The importunate prayer of the church is always the condition of the granting of mercy (Baumgarten, quoted in Christology, pg. 979)."


1) I think this shows us that when we see an area either in the church or in an individual, in need of God's mercy, we had better get busy crying out to the Lord for that mercy. We cannot take for granted that God's mercy will cover that area apart from prayer.

Zechariah, the prophet of God even standing before the angel of the Lord who was confronting Satan in the present of Joshua, did NOT take for granted that the Lord, in His mercy, would replace the turban, maitre. Zechariah was concerned for his people, so he spoke right up with his request for God's mercy to cover that area which, seemingly, had been overlooked by the Lord.

2) We must not take anything for granted. When we see an area (My, there are so many areas), in need of God's mercy in ourselves, in others, in the church or in any other area, we must go to the Lord in prayer that He will extend His mercy into those areas of need.

Zechariah spoke right up. His concern for the people is quite evident as he makes this request. Might our concern be evident as we cry out to God.

Note here that concern for others and their relationship with the Lord IS NOT sown in our "sharing" that concern with others; that is nothing but talebearing and gossip. We hear of folks quite often who say they are "sharing" their concern as they gather together with others and "share" those areas of concern about a non-present third party which they feel are not right with the Lord.

Notice here, Zechariah didn't turn to the angel which was escorting him around and say, "They didn't replace his maitre. Why not? Don't they know that needs replaced also?" NO! He addressed the Lord. "Lord, let them replace the turban also."

This clearly shows us that when we see areas lacking in an individual or church, we are to go straight to the Lord in prayer, pleading for his mercy to cover this area. Nor did Zechariah say to Joshua, "Hey, Joshua your head is uncovered." He went to the only one who could do anything, the Lord.

In all of this, let's keep in mind the correct understanding of Joshua. He is the High Priest, representing God's people. He is a type of the True High Priest that was to come, the Messiah. In the Messiah (a.) Satan is defeated totally. (b.) There is no need to provide a change of garments. (c.) The High Priesthood is complete in Christ as it was not in Joshua.

3) This verse condemns all who would seek average reformation in Christianity: genuine reformation requires total rethinking of every area of life in terms of God's Word. This rethinking is and will be extremely difficult because worldliness has totally saturated every area of life and thought.

It must include our attitude toward appearances, money, worship, attitudes and even toward the Lord's Day, Sunday. Rethinking every area of life and thought according to Scripture will be difficult, but the real battle starts when we start realigning our lives accordingly.


Verses 6, 7

"... for the High Priest was the mediator between God and the nation, and the latter could not be rejected, so long as the High Priest was accepted by God, (Christology, pg. 976)."

In Isa. 43:27, 28, the High Priest and interpreters (marg) turned from the law of god. The result was that Jacob was given to the curse, and Israel to reproaches. When the High Priests turned from God as the mediators of the nation, the nation followed, and God sent the curse and reproach.

The reward for the High Priest staying faithful to the Lord would be that the Lord would raise others under the High Priest to help him. The application in Christ is obvious:

(1.) We don't have to be concerned about the High Priest of Jacob (Christ) failing or falling.

(2.) Because he will remain faithful (cannot fail). The people who He represents (the church) will not fail. For the church to fail in its mission of carrying out Matt. 28:19, 20, the Mediator of the church would have to fail. Heaven and earth will pass away but he will not fail.

(3.) As a reward for this High Priest's faithfulness, the Lord God will raise up others under him to help guide and direst his people in the proper way, (see Isa. 42:16).

Our prayer must be, Lord might we be one of those raised up by your mercy and grace to help direct your church (Jacob), in the proper path.

V. 7, if thou wilt walk in my ways and observe me... The reward offered to the High Priest:

(1.) Thou shalt judge my house. The house here is referring to the temple which represents the spiritual dwelling place of all Israel.

(2.) and keep my courts. The high priest had an obligation to keep away every kind of idolatry and ungodliness: first of all from the outward temple and then from the Church of God of which the temple was the central point.

Thus according to the Law, Christ acting as High Priest was required to cleanse the temple while here on earth; this is why the High Priest was so upset at Him: Christ acted without the authority of the current High Priest whose duty it was to do what Christ did.

Notice three things which are given as duty to a faithful High Priest:
(1.) shalt judge,
(2.) keep my courts, and
(3.) give thee places to walk. He will have place to walk among the assembly of the Elect, both men and angles. The Godly will willingly receive those faithful to the Lord.


1) These three things are not represented here as duties, but rewards for walking in the proper ways of the Lord and observing His commands. Therefore, any kind of activity for the Kingdom of God is the highest honour privilege and favor which God can confer upon any mortal.

2) a pastor who is not walking in the ways of the Lord nor keeping His charge is not qualified to judge and keep the house of the Lord clean.

3) there is also here the promise His faithful pastors of His raising up faithful men under them to help them in the work assigned to them by God.

But the primary meaning no doubt is to Christ. His total faithfulness to the condition walk, keep, is thus all three points are His to bestow upon whomsoever He wills. This is so obvious that we won't even peruse it.


V. 8. Thus saith the Lord of hosts (v. 7), Hear now; O Joshua...

The Lord addresses the High Priest and his companions. The High Priest and those under him, the priests, are carrying out their office of mediation for the people of God.

As we have seen, the issue is over forgiveness of sin for the people as Satan has attempted to prohibit or hinder in their forgiveness through the mediation: "Lord," says Satan, "Joshua is not qualified to offer the sacrifice of mediation for their forgiveness, therefore, I have access to the whole nation, to destroy them. (Verses 1, 2)."

V. 8, in the context of Satan's accusations, is the Lord addressing Joshua and his companions with instructions to pay attention to the Lord and not to Satan.

Because the High Priest is such a clear picture or type of the Messiah which was to come, they had to listen very closely to what the Lord says about the coming Messiah.

1) For they are men wondered at refers to the godly men with and under Joshua in v. 7. The Lord says that because they follow His word, they are condemned in the world, and esteemed as monsters.

Isa 8:18 Behold, I and the {s} children whom the LORD hath given me [are] for signs and for wonders in Israel {t} from the LORD of hosts, who dwelleth in mount Zion.

Thus those who were and are willing to hear and obey the word of God are hated and despised by the world as though were monsters and not worthy to live.

The world will apply tremendous pressure upon the people of God; then if they do not yield to the pressure to compromise and become like the ones in the world, the world will mock and scorn.

In fact, the world will think they have done God a favor by doing away with them.

But Isa 1:18 also assures that even in their worse troubles, noting is coming upon them but by the will of the Lord.

2) The Messiah whom the High Priest and those under him typify is called by two names.

A) my servant. This is a quote from Isa. 42:1 and can be easily followed throughout the Scriptures. Note that in Isa. 49:3, 6, the servant, which is Christ, the Messiah, is called Israel. See also, Isa. 52:13; Matt. 12:18; Phil. 2:7.

The main reference here is Zechariah dealing with the removal of iniquity as the work of this coming High Priest, the Messiah, Isa 52, 53.

B) The second name, the BRANCH, Zech. 3:8. There are many places that this would be a reference to, Isa. 4:2; 11:1; Jer. 23:5; 33:15.

The word BRANCH is sprout, growth (B.D.B. pg. 855). This alludes to the coming of the Messiah as just a sprout or a bud on a tree. This sprout, which is insignificant in men's eyes, grows into a mighty tree. The growth is gradual, and because it is gradual, men ignore it.

It could have a slight reference to the obscure state which the house of David had fallen into, but primarily it speaks of the extremely low estate into which the Messiah was born into. (See my notes on Isaiah 11:1.)

Daniel saw a small stone cut out without hands which overthrew the kingdoms of men.

Zech. 3:8 we could have a connection between the men wondered at and the lowly sprout. How in the world could sinful men (the High Priest and his companions, the priests), be a picture or type of such a glorious Messiah who will remove the iniquity of the land in one day? This would be something to be wondered at. Ps. 110 fits beautifully in here.

A conclusion of this verse. It indeed makes one wonder in amazement that a holy righteous God uses sinful men to his glory, praise and honor, for his eternal purpose.

October 21, 1994

Vv. 9, 10. Now we come the last two verses of this chapter. Though the Lord is giving messages to the prophet to encourage the returned Jews in their seeming hopeless task of rebuilding Jerusalem, the visions reach far into the future. Zechariah is being shown the future glories of the Church under the reign of the coming Messiah; Zachariah is being shown the day in which we live.

1) the stone, v. 9. The stone laid by the Lord before Joshua represents the then future Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. The stone is rough, and needed work upon it before it could be used properly. This speaks of the Church, or the Kingdom of God upon the earth: as long as it includes sinful men, it needs work.

Represents the Church:

A) One reason we know this stone represents the church to come is that Joshua is standing before the Lord, and the Lord wouldn't change from an angel to a stone within the same vision of Zechariah.

Therefore, the stone represents the cast down condition of the OT congregation of the Lord which is in Joshua's care at this time.

As far as appearance was concerned, there was nothing to indicate the future glorious state and the coming of the Messiah. As we have already mentioned, one reason for Zechariah is to encourage those who are at work in what seems to be a hopeless task. Zechariah writes to urge them to look past the present miserable condition of the "colony" of resettled Jews to the promised glories which lie ahead in the Messiah. (See Christology, II pgs. 981, 2).

B) Another reason that this stone represents the nation or church (congregation) of the Lord is because it is the angel of the Lord doing the speaking and the angel laid the stone before the High Priest. Therefore the angel of the Lord and the stone cannot be the same person, the Lord Jesus Christ.

2) I will... Here are some more of the "I wills".

A) The I will work of engraving upon the stone will be done by the Lord: He will carve the stone to shape pleasing to the Master. Then He will place the stone as pleases Him in His building. The Lord Jesus, the Messiah, didn't need any engraving: He was perfect.

B) The I will work of removing iniquity. The work of removing will be accomplished in one day A day is the shortest period of time, and it implies that the atonement to be made by the Messiah will not be constantly repeated as the OT priesthood had to be repeated; rather, the Messiah's work will be completed in one action.

"The shortest period of time implies that the atonement to be made by the Messiah will not be constantly repeated, like that made by the typical priesthood, but completed in one action, (idid, pg. 982).

3) notice the time span: the iniquity will be removed in one day, but the graving thereof will be over a period of time.

We can certainly identify with Zachariah's situation as we see the apparent deplorable condition of the church and individual Christians in our day:

there appears to be no desire to serve God or to be instructed in His word;
folks run here and there seeking something to make them feel good.

Therefore, the Lord must do the graving thereof: He must remove the wrong desires and mold new desires unto Himself. And He does that through His Word.

I know that as I though on this passage, it certainly described Christianity in general, and my life in particular. The harder the stone, the more carving the Master must do so it will fit properly into the building He is putting together.

We do our best with what he has given us and he will take care of the rest. I will engrave, I will remove.

4) V. 10 is found in Micah 4:4. It is obviously significant that v. 10 follows v. 9: v. 9 speaks of the stone being worked on, and v. 10 speaks of the rest, peace and prosperity. The Messiah provides forgiveness for His people's sins and as they submit to Him peace and prosperity develops. This prophecy is for the church today.


"These words contain a figurative description of the repose, the peace, and the prosperity, which are to follow upon the forgiveness of sin obtained by the Messiah. The original passage is in Micah IV 4, (Ibid, pg. 983)."

5) though the passage does not mention language, we will peruse it while we are here. Isa. 19:18 tells us of one language which is established under the reign of the Messiah. The prophets spoke several times of one language. What do they mean? Will everyone have to learn a new language, Hebrew?

The new, united language is not at all hard to follow.

A) First, what it is not. Gen. 11 shows us that a united, physical language where the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech was used by man to rebel against God. God's method of judging the sin of rebellion was to divide the languages so that each group of families would speak a different language.

Therefore, we have no reason to suppose that God will physically undo what He did in confusing the languages as long as man's sinful nature is present. Men today, even profess Christians, use united languages to further their own personal goals far more than to further God's kingdom.

B) Second, in the NT under the preaching of the gospel, we do not see the different people learning a common language upon salvation as we think of language.

Paul did not urge the many different nationalities which he ministered to learn a new common language.
We do not see the slightest hint of God encouraging the use of a common literal language today or for any day to come.

Therefore, the common language in Isa 19:18 must be something other than a literal language. If so, what is that language that His people learn?

We are told by the Prophet Isaiah that the common, united language will be the language of Canaan; it will be the language used by the covenant people who are dwelling in the land of promise under the rule of the Messiah, the King of kings and Lord of lords.

Moreover, we are told that a common point of this language will be swearing to the Lord of hosts. Let's follow these two points into the NT and see if we can find a clue.

C) First, the common language which is the language of Canaan. What is the language of Canaan?

In order to be consistent concerning the teaching concerning the land of Canaan, we must establish where Canaan is located under the reign of the Messiah.

Heb. 11:14-16 says that OT Canaan was only a dim, earthly shadow of the true Canaan, that is, an heavenly (v. 16).

Following this through, we see that it would be very inconsistent with the NT to identify Canaan as a physical location. (See our notes on Heb. 11:13-16.)

The NT consistently teaches that Canaan spoke of the heavenly hope which we have in Christ. Therefore, Canaan (the promised land), would be anywhere (world-wide), that the people of God happen to be living and serving the God of Abraham. (See also Heb. 12:22, 23.)

The language of Canaan is, therefore, the language of the heavenly Jerusalem, having nothing to do with a physical language, (English, Spanish, Hebrew, Russian, etc.).

Ph 4:8, Paul commands that God's people form new thought patterns. His command is NOT restricted to any person or groups of people, but covers every member of the covenant people no matter where their location or what their language.

As we know, speech (no matter what language), is only the result of the thought patterns of an individual, for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. There are many passage along this line.

The command under the reign of the Messiah for His covenant-people is not to learn a new, common, united, literal language of speech (such as everyone speaking Hebrew); the command is to develop new thought patterns, centered around the word of God. And the command goes into all the earth.

Ph 1:20-22, we are accountable for every word to the reigning King, but if his people think they are only required to control their tongue, they are in for a very rude awakening and severe judgment.

II Cor. 10:5 is the King's command to His people to control their language: Every thought is to be brought into the obedience of Christ. Anything apart from this obedience of Christ is sin. This new, united language of the Messiah's Kingdom (the Kingdom of God) is the united language of the thought process, the obedience of Christ.

Furthermore, notice Isa. 19:18, and swear to the Lord of hosts. Here we see that not only is the common language mentioned but a common deed is performed, swear to the Lord of hosts. This is another point easily followed through: Ph 2:11, His subjects willingly make this confession.

Conclusion: We see that the common, united language has nothing to do with what national language a person speaks. It is based upon what language they think. Do they think in the language of this world or do they think in the language of the King, the language of His word. If they do, their speech will betray them: their words will show they belong to another kingdom.

When the subjects of the Great King meet here on earth, there will be a common bond, and that bond will have nothing to do with what physical language they speak; it will be based upon their common thoughts, their common spiritual bond.

Let us add, it's for sure that the "heavenly language" is not some "ecstatic speech". The heavenly language is, think on these things. It is every thought brought into the captivity of Christ.

What language do we speak? One that reflects the fruit of the spirit of the flesh or of the fruit of the spirit?