A Vision of 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. And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” And 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. And the angel of the LORD was standing by.
And the angel of the LORD solemnly assured Joshua, “Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.”
Zechariah 3 Commentary
by Hank Workman
It’s one of the most fascinating and disturbing pictures. Satan had dressed Joshua the high priest in filthy rags and brought him before God, accusing him of his sin.
“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.”Joshua 3:5-7
Representing the nation of Israel, Joshua stood in filthy cloths – sins apparent for all to see. God’s mercy however as we read was completely extended. He had forgiven them of their sins and they were clean before him.
One of Satan’s biggest tactics is to remind us of our own sins. He brings them ever before us in thought, deed and continually afflicts our mind with our past. He dresses us in our sin. The loveliness of this picture is God’s response. He had forgiven Israel for their waywardness. He has forgiven us as well upon our own confession. He remembers them no more as the psalmist wrote.
The mercy of God is far-reaching. It goes to the deepest part of our being, the deepest secrets of our lives, the horror of our choices. It goes that far and cleans us, removing all that once defined even who we were at one point.
Don’t let the enemy redress you in the sins of your own past. If you’ve confessed them, they’re gone. God isn’t remembering them and neither should we. Stand against these thoughts of destruction the enemy works tirelessly to remind us of. Shed the past. Walk in freedom. Live with purpose, not the past.
Zechariah 3 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
Wow! What. A. Scene.
Joshua stands before God in rags while Satan accuses him. That image alone is enough for an entire sermon series. The reason Joshua stands in rags is because the vision is a metaphor for the condition of Israel. Consider that the regular priesthood duties had long been neglected. Coming fresh off the exile, the priesthood probably didn’t have the proper robes or garments. This metaphor applied spiritually as well. As we studied in Zechariah 2, many Israelites didn’t even come back to their land after they were released from Babylon. It was a far cry from their former national and spiritual prominence.
It is no surprise that Satan is found so near to Joshua. He most likely didn’t have the right clothes or the right heart to be standing before the Lord. Is this not what Satan does? He sneaks around in the shadows waiting for moments of low character and inescapable condemnation. He only appeals to God’s truth when the situation benefits his motives. Ironically, he stands condemned before God as well, but he prefers to direct all the attention to Joshua’s failures.
When Satan accuses, Christ pleads.
“Take note that this rebuke comes at the right season. When Satan accuses, Christ pleads. He does not wait till the case has gone against us and then express his regret, but he is always a very present help in time of trouble. He knows the heart of Satan, being omniscient God, and long before Satan can accuse he puts in the demurrer, the blessed plea on our behalf, and stays the action till he gives an answer which silences forever every accusation.”Charles Spurgeon
We are not what God intended but are exactly what He knew we would be. Just like a burning stick snatched from the fire, we are charred and blackened by sin. We are nearly consumed, completely shattered and broken from the flames of our former life. But God picks up that stick because He knows it has a greater purpose. It was not meant to be wasted in the fire.
“When John Wesley was only six years old, he was trapped in a burning house and was only rescued when one neighbor climbed on another’s shoulders and pulled him out of window. A picture of the scene was drawn for Wesley and he kept the drawing until he died, and wrote under it Zec 3:2 : Is this not a brand plucked from the burning?”David Guzik
Don’t miss it. Let this image linger. Let it resonate to the deepest and darkest parts of your heart.
“The cleansing of Joshua was not complete with the removal of his sin-soiled garments. God replaced the dirty clothes, dressing Joshua in clean garments that represented the gift of God’s righteousness. As sin is removed by the work of Christ, so His righteousness is placed in the believer’s account (Rom 5:18-19; 2Co 5:21). We are clothed in the garments of Christ’s righteousness. The fact that Joshua had no part in his cleansing indicates that this work was totally by God’s grace.”Nelson’s Commentary
Totally by God’s grace.