Zechariah 3


‘Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’ Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. The angel said to those who were standing before him, ‘Take off his filthy clothes.’ Then he said to Joshua, ‘See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.’ Then I said, ‘Put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the LORD stood by.’ Zechariah 3:1-5

Clean Garments For The High Priest

This chapter begins with Zechariah receiving a fourth vision, which comes directly from God Himself. For all the previous visions to be fulfilled, that is God dwelling among His people again, His people needed to be cleansed.

Because the previous priests had permitted the apostasy of Israel to take place, Ezekiel 22:26, the whole cleansing process needed to start with the priests. It began with Joshua who was high priest at the time Zechariah was receiving his visions, Ezra 5:2 / Zechariah 6:11 / Haggai 1:1. Here Joshua is seen as the representative of the people.

Joshua is standing before the angel of the Lord and Satan who is getting ready to ‘accuser’ him. Satan is the accuser of all men, Job 1:6-12 / Job 2:1-6 / Revelation 12:10, he can do this because we’re all sinners, Romans 3:9-10 / Romans 3:23.

The Lord wastes no time in rebuking Satan, Jude 1:9, and asks the question, ‘is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?’ God’s people had been snatched out of captivity and returned to the land and God wouldn’t allow Satan to accuse them any longer, Romans 8:33 / 1 John 2:1.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘It’s as if God was saying to Satan, I have already rescued Israel from what you along with the whole world thought was their final doom. They were in the process of being burned up forever, but I have pulled them out of the fire and have no intention of altering the plan of human salvation.

Gill, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The ten northern tribes were gone, the generation that went into Babylon was dead; and those who returned were but a handful compared to the ones who remained in Babylon. Unless God had plucked them as a brand from the fire, they would no longer have been a people.’

Notice that Joshua was dressed in ‘filthy clothes’, since Joshua represented Israel as a nation, these filthy clothes represented the guilt of Israel’s sin, Isaiah 4:4 / Isaiah 64:6.

When the filthy clothes were removed, their sins were removed, and Joshua was given new and lavish garments to wear, including a turban, Exodus 28:36-38. What we see here is a picture of God’s people being dressed like a bride before the bridegroom.

‘The angel of the LORD gave this charge to Joshua: ‘This is what the LORD Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here. ‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the LORD Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. ‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbour to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the LORD Almighty.’ Zechariah 3:6-10

In Zechariah’s vision, the angel of the Lord charges Joshua with the responsibility to minister to God’s people. Joshua and the priests themselves were wondrous signs of what was to come, that is the Branch. However they must be ‘obedient to God’, and ‘keep his requirements’, that is His will, Deuteronomy 8:6 / Deuteronomy 10:12 / Joshua 1:7 / Psalm 128:1 and continue in their work until the Branch arrives.

Joshua and the priests would be truly blessed if they continue in their work because they would have the right, ‘or access’ to stand among those who stand before God. As Christians, we too have access to God through Christ, Ephesians 2:18 / Ephesians 3:11-12 / Hebrews 4:16.

Notice that the text says, ‘The Branch’, Zechariah 6:12-13, this is an obvious reference to Jesus, the Messiah, Isaiah 4:2 / Isaiah 11:1 / Jeremiah 23:5-6 / Jeremiah 23:15, and notice He is called ‘my servant’, Isaiah 42:1 / Isaiah 49:6 / Isaiah 52:13 / Isaiah 53:11.

We know that Jesus was obedient to God and came in humility to meet the spiritual needs of mankind, Acts 3:13 / Acts 3:26 / Acts 4:27 / Acts 4:30 / Acts 8:30-35 / 1 Peter 2:21-25.

It would be Jesus who would become the cornerstone, that is, the church, upon which God would build His people, Isaiah 28:16 / Matthew 16:18-19 / 1 Peter 2:4-5, it would be Jesus who would offer Himself and cleanse the iniquity from the people, it would be Jesus who would become the advocate for God’s people, 1 John 2:1.

Notice that the stone has ‘seven eyes’, this tells us that the stone is very much alive and sees all things, Revelation 3:1 / Revelation 5:6. This is very much a living stone, which is completely aware of everything which is happening in the world, this again, is an obvious reference to Jesus, 1 Peter 2:6-9 / Romans 9:32-33.

God was going to ‘engrave an inscription on the stone’, although we’re not told what the inscription actually was, it’s clear this simply means that God would do everything that was needed to make the stone beautiful and ready for a place of honour.

God said He would ‘remove the sin of this land in one day’, this would happen during the Day of Atonement when the temple was finished being built, Leviticus 16:21 / Leviticus 16:30 / Leviticus 16:34. However, this also refers to the time when Jesus, the lamb of God would take away the sin of the world, John 1:29 / Hebrews 9:26.

In that day everyone would ‘invite their neighbours to sit under your vine and fig tree’, in other words, this is the day when there will be peace and prosperity, 1 Kings 4:25 / 2 Kings 18:31.

This again is a reference to the age when the Messiah would come, it would be a time of peace in the kingdom of Christ, John 14:27 / Ephesians 2:14.

Go To Zechariah 4


"For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do."