Bible Reading: Zechariah 3:1-10
“The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” (Zechariah 3:2)
Again Zechariah sees another vision. This time He sees Joshua, the high priest representing the whole people of God, in the heavenly courtroom. The judge is the angel of the LORD. The prosecutor is Satan. Before this court, Satan has a solid case against Joshua and all the people of God. Firstly, Joshua comes into the courtroom wearing filthy garments; more precisely, he comes in garments soiled with excrements. By Jewish law, he was unclean, and therefore, he was walking proof of his own guilt.
On a deeper level, Joshua’s filthy garments represent the sins of God’s people. Being the high priest, he was meant to be the one who would come into the holiest of holies each year to plead God’s pardon for all of Israel’s sins. However, Joshua comes into the courtroom guilty. He himself was a sinner. So, both the people and the high priest are guilty. Satan comes with a very “legit” case. All the people have sinned. You and I have sinned. Before God, we are guilty and deserve His holy and just wrath.
However, there is a twist. Instead of punishing Joshua and His people, God rebukes Satan. He says, “Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?”. Even though Satan rightly accused sinners of their actions, God had a greater plan for His chosen people. They were people to who God had promised to give grace. They were the people God chose to love even though they were guilty. God had plucked them out of the fires of punishment and had set them apart to be forgiven, sanctified, and serve Him.
We can see that instead of punishing Joshua with eternal death in that courtroom, God removes his filthy garments. God says, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments”. What was this mercy? What was this love?
The end of verse five mentions, “And the angel of the LORD was standing by.” Who was this angel? An angel who administers atonement and mercy? v. 8-9 says, “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.”
This whole vision is a foreshadowing of Christ. Christ is the Branch who came to take away our iniquities. He is the one who takes on our filthy garments of sin. He was punished for them with God’s eternal wrath on the cross. God is holy and just, and He cannot just turn a blind eye to our mistakes. Yet, Christ rose again on the third day. He defeated the power of death and was accepted as a sacrifice before God the Father. That way, His blood covers all those who believe and all those who believe are clothed in robes of righteousness before God. What kind of love is this? What grace is there for those who believe?
The LORD says to those who repent, “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”. In Christ, we have a restored relationship with God. We have been given the privilege to serve Him with our lives. Will we walk in His ways and keep his charge?
Lord, thank You for the promise of Your Son from ages past, which was fulfilled two thousand years ago. Please forgive me of my sins and rebellion against You. You have forgiven me on the cross yet again and again do I still sin against You. Please teach me to walk in Your ways and obey Your word. Give me wisdom and guidance as to how I am meant to live out my days. Thank You for the privilege and grace of knowing You and serving You. To You be all the glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Hans Sangtoki (18) is the coordinator of RE Generation Z. He has a passion for serving his generation and sharing hope in Christ. He also has an interest in classical music and dreams of conducting an orchestra one day.