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Zechariah Chapter Three, A Vision Of Grace

In our study of Zechariah chapter three, we look at the promise of grace revealed to Israel. This is his sixth vision in the same night and it is a picture of salvation by grace.

Zechariah 3:1

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.

This vision is of a sort of trial in heaven with Joshua standing accused. The Joshua that is mentioned is not the one that led Israel into the promised land but another man with the name that was the high priest during Zechariah's time. It is also interesting to note that the name Joshua means "Jehovah saves". Normally, when someone is standing on the right side it is to help the person (that is where we get the term "right-hand man") but that is not the case here. This is typical of the way that the devil operates in that he usually twists things around to where they are not what they appear. That is why he is called the father of lies.

Zechariah 3:2

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?'

Just as Satan gets ready to accuse Joshua, Jesus (Jehovah) steps in and saves him from the attack. We notice that Joshua did not do anything and so this intervention was a gift of God and that is grace. We also see that it is not even because of the man but it is because of the fact that God has chosen Jerusalem and Joshua is a representative of Israel. In this we see that it was not just the man standing before God but he, as the high priest, was there for all of God's people.

Zechariah 3:3

Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.

One of the duties of the high priest was to enter the Holy of Holies once a year to make atonement for the nation of Israel. If the high priest was not clean, then atonement could not be made as he could not enter into the presence of God. We see from this vision that Joshua was not clean and therefore had no way to make atonement for himself or for the nation. That is a key part of grace in that it is something that we have no ability to do on our own.

Zechariah 3:4

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 rich garments on you.'

We see here that it is God that removes the filthy rags from our old sinful bodies. There are many that want to clean themselves up a bit before they accept Christ as their savior but, as we see here, this is the work of God and not man. There is no twelve step program or anything else except the action of God in a person's life. We also see that God does not want us walking around naked but after the old is removed He puts "rich garments" on us. All of this is a work of God and a wonderful picture of grace.

Zechariah 3:5

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.

The sin has been taken away and paid for by Jesus. Now, we see a changing of the mind as a new turban is given to cover the head. This changing of the mind is an agreement with God that His ways are right (ours are not) and we want to follow His ways instead of our own. This is described as a renewing of our minds and is called repentance. Even this is a gift of God (grace) because on our own we would not come to repentance.

Zechariah 3:6 & 7

The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 'This is what the Lord Almighty says: "If you will walk in my ways 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."'

After we are cleaned up and our minds are renewed, God has a purpose and plan for each of us (see Ephesians 2:10). We see this here as Jesus promises rewards to the high priest for his faithful service.

Zechariah 3:8 & 9

'Listen, O high priest Joshua 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.'

Now Joshua is given a promise that is for us as well and that is the promise that God would send Jesus to take care of our sins. The name "the Branch" refers to the fact that the messiah would be a Jew from the line of King David. The inscribed stone that this passage talks about is like a business card for us today. In those days, they did not have paper cards so a rock was engraved and sent with a person as sort of their calling card to introduce them. The seven eyes refers to the fact that Jesus would have complete knowledge of all of our sins. And the sin was removed on the day that Jesus was crucified as the payment for all sin.

Zechariah 3:10

'In that day each of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and fig tree, declares the Lord Almighty.'

This vision ends with the angel of the Lord telling Joshua that peace will come through Jesus Christ. Not only peace between ourselves and God but also peace between ourselves and our neighbors.

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