Tanak Foundations-Concepts in Zechariah-Chapter 3

Zech 3.1-10 relates to Joshua the high priest and the restoration of the priesthood, and it uses concepts related to Yom Kippur.  This is a court room scene, with the angel of the Lord as judge, Joshua as the accused and Satan as the prosecutor. The name “satan” is a title meaning “the accuser” (Jude 9; Rev 12.10) and he is like a district attorney who brings charges against people in our own court system. This will be the fourth vision.

v 1… Then he (Yehovah) showed me Joshua (whose Hebrew name was Yeshua-Ezra 3.2) the high priest (he is the first high priest after the restoration from Babylon. Yeshua will be the first high priest when the messianic kingdom is restored. In this vision he will represent the elect of the Lord) standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan (the accuser in a judicial aspect-Rom 3.25) standing at his right hand (where the accuser stood in court-Psa 109.6) to accuse him (in his official capacity-because this priest is very important. He is a picture of the coming of Yeshua. The Essenes and Pharisees in the first century saw Messiah as two or three eschatological characters, such as Messiah Ben David, Messiah Ben Joseph and the Priestly Messiah).

v 2…And the Lord (Yehovah) said to Satan, “The Lord (Yehovah) rebuke you, Satan (he rejects his accusations -Jude 9)! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you (repeated-Satan hopes to accuse the high priest so that Yehovah will reject Jerusalem)! Is this not a brand plucked (Hebrew “natzal” and it is the right word to use when talking about the Rapture. It means to “snatch from danger, to save or deliver.” It is used in Exo 3.22 meaning to “save” and Exo 12.36 meaning delivered. It can allude to our salvation by the election of God and it can also allude to the resurrection) from the fire (narrowly escaped destruction of the captivity-Joshua will represent the nation and the reason for the rebuke was Joshua/Israel was delivered from the captivity or judgment. He tells Satan to stop imputing sin to him/them because God has shown him/them mercy)?”

v 3…Now Joshua was clothed in filthy garments (this does not carry the idea of “dirty clothes” but vile excrement and vomit. He is clothed with the “sins of the priesthood and people” as their representative and this word is also used in Prov 30.12) and standing before the angel.

v 4… And he spoke and said to those who were standing before him (the ministering angels-1 Kings 10.8; Dan 1.5) saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him (sin is removed).” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you (having returned from Babylon) and will clothe you with festal robes (Hebrew “machalatzot” meaning “rich apparel”; the high priest and the nation will be sanctified and returned to glory).”

v 5… Then I said (Zechariah), “Let them put a clean turban (high priestly tiara “crown”) on his head (to show he was qualified for service and has a kedusha; also a type for a mind that is renewed).” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by (Yeshua is always near, discerning our thoughts as judge).

v 6… And the angel of the Lord admonished (Hebrew “vaya’ad” meaning to testify) Joshua saying,

v 7…”Thus says the Lord of hosts, if you will walk in my ways (the Torah, the way of life-Exo 19.5), and if you will perform my service (Temple service or “avodah”), then you will also govern my house (in the Temple, the high priest judged religious matters and the king judged civil matters. If no king, then the governor. There were two courts) and also have charge of my courts (to maintain kedusha or Temple purity, the duties of the high priest-2 Chr 23.19; he was to be a watchman. The Temple was God’s throne and it was where one “draws near” to God. Priests had to make sure ritual purity was observed) and I will grant you free access (Hebrew “machlakim” or places to walk or access) among those who are standing here (he will walk, not only among other priests in the Temple, but among the very angels standing there who will be present in the Temple to go to and fro between himself and Yehovah, to carry his prayers and bring down revelations from God, etc).”

v 8… Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends (the other priests) who are sitting in front of you (an idiom meaning “those who desire to learn from you”)-indeed they are men who are a symbol (Hebrew “mophet” meaning “a sign, a miracle” and used in Isa 8.18; 20.3; Ezek 12.6. Zerubbabel and Joshua are a sign and this verse will continue about the Messiah), for behold, I am going to bring in my servant the Branch (Hebrew “tzemach” is a term for the Messiah-Isa 4.2; 11.1; Jer 23.5, 33.15).

v 9… For behold, the stone (an idiom for the kingdom in Messiah-Gen 28.11; 49.24; Deut 32.4; 1 Cor 10.4 and the “cornerstone” of that kingdom being built) that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes (the eyes of the Lord watching over that kingdom and caring for his people-Zech 4.10). Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it (meaning the preparation of the kingdom by the power of the Spirit of the Lord), declares the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land (the whole nation) in one day (Yom Kippur terms; the high priest, like Joshua, will preside over the forgiveness of Israel and he would walk home in festive garments. What was happening to Israel here will happen again when the Lord accomplishes the redemption at the cross in one day, but also alludes to his return to Jerusalem at his second coming on Yom Kippur-Isa 66.7-9; Matt 24.29-31).

v 10… In that day (an idiom for “when the Lord returns”) declares the Lord of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree (this is an idiom meaning “peace has come” and alludes to the Messianic Kingdom-1 Kings 4.20-25; Micah 4.1-4; John 1.48).

Posted in Articles, Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, The Tanak, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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