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Zechariah 3

Sunday Morning Bible Study

September 14, 2014


Do people see Jesus? Is the gospel preached? Does it address the person who is: Empty, lonely, guilty, or afraid to die?  Does it speak to the broken hearted? Does it build up the church? Milk – Meat – Manna Preach for a decision Is the church loved? Regular:  2900 words    Communion: 2500 words

The background to Zechariah, like that of Haggai, is found in the book of Ezra.

After having been captive in Babylon for seventy years, the Jews are given permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild their Temple in Jerusalem.

When the Temple construction is stopped, it was Haggai and Zechariah who began to prophesy and encourage the people to finish the Temple. (Ezra 5:1-2)

After the people began to build, opposition arose from their enemies, and for a period of 15 years, the Temple construction was halted.

It was then that God raised up two prophets, Haggai and Zechariah, who began to encourage the people to get back to work and make God’s House a priority.

(Ezra 5:1–2 NKJV) —1 Then the prophet Haggai and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophets, prophesied to the Jews who were in Judah and Jerusalem, in the name of the God of Israel, who was over them. 2 So Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak rose up and began to build the house of God which is in Jerusalem; and the prophets of God were with them, helping them.
It was under the ministry of Haggai and Zechariah that the work got stirred up again.
The Temple won’t be complete until March 12, 515 BC (Ezr 6:15-18)

The prophecies of Zechariah are given during the years of 520-618 BC.

One of the key distinctions of the book of Zechariah is the huge amount of prophecy about the coming Messiah.

Except for the prophet Isaiah, there are more prophecies about the Messiah in this book than any other Old Testament book.
One set of scholars list 41 quotes or allusions to Zechariah in the New Testament.

It seems that Zechariah has dated each of his prophecies, like Haggai did.

The first prophecy is 1:1-6
It was given on 08/??/02
The second prophecy is 1:7 – 6:15
Hag.2:10-19 talks about how “uncleanness” defiles everything it touches.

Haggai’s prophecy was given on 9/24/02

In Zec. 3 God talks about Joshua the high priest being “filthy”, but being cleansed.

Zechariah’s prophecy was given 11/24/02

The third prophecy is 7:1 – 14:21
Some suggest that only 7:1-7 are tied to the last date, and the rest of the book is undated.

Last week we started to look at a series of “night visions” (1:7) that Zechariah received from God.

They all took place on February 15, 519 BC.

There will be eight of these “night visions” that seem to have been given on a single night.  This is now the fourth vision.

We’ve seen a vision of horses and riders. (1:7-17)
We’ve seen a vision of horns and craftsmen (1:18-21)
We’ve seen a vision of the surveyor (ch.2)

3:1-5 High Priest Cleansed

:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.

:2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”

:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.

:1 Then he showed me

We’re now into the fourth vision. 

Zechariah is being shown something, perhaps by his “tour guide” angel that has been accompanying him through the night.

:1 Joshua the high priest

This was the fellow that was the actual high priest in Zechariah’s day.  He was the high priest that had returned with the remnant.

His name means “Yahweh is salvation”, and yes, it’s the Hebrew form of Jesus’ name, but don’t confuse this fellow with Jesus.

:1 standing before the Angel of the Lord

We’ve talked about this individual before.

He is a specific individual in the Old Testament, literally the “messenger of Yahweh”.
We believe this is Jesus Himself, before He took on human flesh and was born in Bethlehem.
The term “Angel” doesn’t necessarily mean an “angel” as in a created being.  It simply means “messenger”.

:1 Satansatan – adversary, one who withstands

We give this fallen, created angelic being the name of “Satan”, but the name is also a description of what he does.

He is an adversary. He withstands the work of God and those who follow God.

:1 to opposesatan – to be or act as an adversary, oppose

The “opposer” is “opposing”.



Is all “opposition” from Satan?
Sometimes the “opposition” we face come from our parents.

That’s part of the role of parents, to help guide and nurture you on the way to mature adulthood.

(Proverbs 29:17 NKJV) Correct your son, and he will give you rest; Yes, he will give delight to your soul.

The older you get, the harder it is to receive correction from your parents, but don’t be quick to neglect it.

The writer of Hebrews writes,

(Hebrews 12:9 NKJV) Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?

Sometimes the opposition we face is from God.

He will discipline us like His own children.

The prophet Balaam was heading down a dark path, intent on making money by cursing the nation of Israel, when God used a donkey to “oppose” him by trying to slow his journey.

(Numbers 22:31 NKJV) Then the Lord opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the Angel of the Lord standing in the way with His drawn sword in His hand; and he bowed his head and fell flat on his face.

Jesus went on to warn Balaam that He was the one behind the difficulty with his donkey.

Sometimes the “opposition” we face can even come from friends, even from people at church.

(Proverbs 27:6 NKJV) Faithful are the wounds of a friend, But the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

There may be times when those who are closest to you are the only ones to speak up and remind you that you’re doing something stupid.

This is one of the blessings/curses of being in a small church.

In a large church, no one knows what you’re like or how you’re living.

When you are in a small church, people might get to know you, and you may be encouraged from time to time to change what you’re doing.

When you face opposition, be careful about blaming it on Satan.



Satan’s opposition is all about condemnation.
The picture we see in Zechariah is the same we see throughout the Bible of heaven’s courtroom.
Satan is known in heaven as the prosecuting attorney,
(Revelation 12:10 NKJV) …the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night…

Satan’s accusations are aimed at driving you away from God.

His accusations are aimed at telling you that you are not worthy of following God.

Satan’s accusations sound a lot like “shame”.

I want to share a clip from a gal named Brené Brown, a researcher that has devoted years studying vulnerability and shame.

 Video:  Brené Brown:  Listening to Shame  (12:20-14:00)

I would like to politely disagree just a wee bit with Brene.  Though you may be the one heaping the most shame on yourself, but there is also another.  Satan is the “accuser”.

In God’s courtroom, Jesus is our defense attorney, our “advocate”
(1 John 2:1–2 NLT) —1 My dear children, I am writing this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate who pleads our case before the Father. He is Jesus Christ, the one who is truly righteous. 2 He himself is the sacrifice that atones for our sins—and not only our sins but the sins of all the world.

When you are feeling “condemned” and shamed, you have a place to run to.

Jesus wants to stand by your side.  He is the one who died for your sins so you could be forgiven.

Your self-worth doesn’t depend on you being good enough, it depends on God loving you so much He went and paid everything for you.

:2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”

:2 The Lord rebuke you

Jude tells us that even Michael the archangel used these same words when he fought with Satan (Jude 9)

rebukega’ar – (Qal) to rebuke, reprove, corrupt

The word speaks of actually “suppressing” the one who is rebuked, and even speaks of the destruction of the one rebuked.

This is the same thing that Michael the archangel said when he fought with Satan over the body of Moses:

(Jude 9 NKJV) Yet Michael the archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

Let God be the one to handle Satan’s attacks.

Sometimes you never know who’s ringing the doorbell.
Video:  Orkin Couch Commercial
When you hear the doorbell ring, and as you answer the front door you see Satan standing there, don’t try to answer his accusations on your own. Just turn around and yell back inside the house, “Jesus, it’s for You!”
Let the Lord rebuke Satan.

:2 The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem

Satan wants to oppose Joshua and the people of Judah, but he’s got a problem.

God is “for” these people.

Pay attention to who God is “for”.

God’s choice is not based on them being good enough, but simply because God chose to love them.

(Deuteronomy 7:7–8 NKJV) —7 The Lord did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; 8 but because the Lord loves you, and because He would keep the oath which He swore to your fathers, the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you from the house of bondage, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.
He chose them because He loved them, and He loved them because He loved them.
It’s the same with us.

:2 a brand plucked from the fire

It’s a picture of a piece of burning wood being pulled from a burning fire.

Joshua and the remnant of Judah have been rescued from the fire of judgment in Babylon.

If God had intended on wiping out the Jews in Babylon, why would He have allowed some of them to return?
If God had intended on wiping you out, then why are you here today?

brand‘uwd – brand, fire brand

A firebrand is a burning piece of wood.
Our English word “brand” comes from the Old Norse “brandr” meaning “to burn”
It’s the idea of “burning your mark” into something, like “branding” a calf.
A “firebrand” could also refer to the stick you use to stir up the fire.

When God rebuked Israel through Amos, He used the same figure of speech.

(Amos 4:11 NKJV) “I overthrew some of you, As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, And you were like a firebrand plucked from the burning; Yet you have not returned to Me,” Says the Lord.

:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.

:3 filthy garments

garmentsbeged –garment, clothing

God told Moses to make garments for the high priest to wear.

(Exodus 28:2 NKJV) And you shall make holy garments for Aaron your brother, for glory and for beauty.
Yet Joshua’s garments aren’t glorious at all, they are …

filthytsow’ –filthy

The word is related to the word for human excrement (poop).
Zechariah 2 is the only place this word is found. 
Isaiah used different Hebrew words, but gave the same picture.
(Isaiah 64:6 NKJV) But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags…

Filthy garments are a picture of us “wearing” our sin. 

:3 standing before the Angel

Joshua is standing before the Angel of the Lord

:1 Joshua … standing before the Angel

We hinted back in verse 1 that what’s taking place here is a trial.

The Hebrew phrase for “standing before” carries some technical implications.

It is used to describe what the priests do at work, standing before God. (Deut. 10:8)
(Deuteronomy 10:8 NKJV) At that time the Lord separated the tribe of Levi to bear the ark of the covenant of the Lord, to stand before the Lord to minister to Him and to bless in His name, to this day.
(2 Chronicles 29:11 NKJV) —11 My sons, do not be negligent now, for the Lord has chosen you to stand before Him, to serve Him, and that you should minister to Him and burn incense.”
(Ezekiel 44:15 NKJV) —15 “But the priests, the Levites, the sons of Zadok, who kept charge of My sanctuary when the children of Israel went astray from Me, they shall come near Me to minister to Me; and they shall stand before Me to offer to Me the fat and the blood,” says the Lord God.

And this is what seems to be initially happening in the vision.

The vision starts off with Joshua the High Priest standing in a completed Temple, doing the work of the High Priest.

Yet the phrase “standing before” is also used to describe judicial matters, like standing before a judge. (Num. 35:12)
(Numbers 27:2 NKJV) —2 And they stood before Moses, before Eleazar the priest, and before the leaders and all the congregation, by the doorway of the tabernacle of meeting, saying:
(Numbers 35:12 NKJV) They shall be cities of refuge for you from the avenger, that the manslayer may not die until he stands before the congregation in judgment.
(Deuteronomy 19:17 NKJV) —17 then both men in the controversy shall stand before the Lord, before the priests and the judges who serve in those days.

This is how the vision changes.  Joshua starts off as if he’s “standing before” God, doing the work of a priest, and ends up “standing before” God, being put on trial.

What’s this trial about?

It’s about sin.
It was just two months before this night vision that the prophet Haggai had reminded the people about the effects of their sin.

Haggai’s prophecy (Hag. 2:10) was given on the 24th day of the 9th month.  Zechariah’s night visions took place on the 24th day of the 11th month (1:7)

(Haggai 2:10–14 NKJV) —10 On the twenty-fourth day of the ninth month, in the second year of Darius, the word of the Lord came by Haggai the prophet, saying, 11 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘Now, ask the priests concerning the law, saying, 12 “If one carries holy meat in the fold of his garment, and with the edge he touches bread or stew, wine or oil, or any food, will it become holy?” ’ ” Then the priests answered and said, “No.” 13 And Haggai said, “If one who is unclean because of a dead body touches any of these, will it be unclean?” So the priests answered and said, “It shall be unclean.” 14 Then Haggai answered and said, “ ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.

(Haggai 2:14 NKJV) Then Haggai answered and said, “ ‘So is this people, and so is this nation before Me,’ says the Lord, ‘and so is every work of their hands; and what they offer there is unclean.

How can a high priest function to bring forgiveness for people’s sins when he himself is covered with sin, with “filthy garments”?

And it’s not just Joshua’s sin, but the sin of the entire nation (whom Joshua represents as the priest), since one of the things prophesied is the removal of the sin of the land.

Even though the nation has been punished for seventy years of captivity, there is still sin in the nation.

With all this in mind, how could Joshua ever function as a high priest before God?  How could the nation of Judah ever be considered God’s people?

And an even BIGGER issue – how could the promised Messiah ever come from a people who were so “filthy”?


Is God done with me?

No.  If you’re still living and here with us today, God is not done with you.
The whole point of this vision is to show you that God can help you “change clothes”.
You can start over.

:4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”

:4 I have removed your iniquity from you

This is something that only God could do.

:4 I will clothe you with rich robes

This is putting Joshua and the nation back where they were originally intended to be, pure and holy.

God said to Moses,

(Exodus 19:6 NKJV) And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

:5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.

:5 And I said,

It’s at this point that Zechariah himself speaks up and makes a request.

Zechariah’s request isn’t an unusual one, it’s just completing what was already in process of happening to Joshua.  The High Priest didn’t just wear special robes, he wore a special turban as well.

:5 a clean turban

 tsaniyph – turban, headdress

The high priest was to wear a turban with a gold plate mounted on the front that had the words “Holiness to the Lord” engraved on it. (Ex. 28:36).  God is getting Joshua and the nation back to where they started.

(Exodus 28:36 NKJV) —36 “You shall also make a plate of pure gold and engrave on it, like the engraving of a signet: HOLINESS TO THE LORD

3:6-10 The Servant Branch

:6 Then the Angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying,

:6 admonished‘uwd – (Hiphil)  to protest, affirm solemnly, warn, exhort or enjoin solemnly, admonish, charge

:7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: ‘If you will walk in My ways, And if you will keep My command, Then you shall also judge My house, And likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk Among these who stand here.

:7 If you will walk in My ways

God is speaking to the high priest of the nation of Israel.

He has given them a second chance.
God promises that if Joshua will follow Him, then God will allow him to continue in his role as high priest.

:7 Among these who stand here

The angels of God are in this vision, helping to clothe the high priest.

If Joshua continues to walk with God, he will continue to do his work as priest, ministering in the presence of God and the angels.

Some of this ministry of the priesthood is going to usher in the Messiah.

The priesthood would continue for the next five hundred years, until the coming of Jesus.
And yet when the future priests would reject their Messiah, God will remove their priesthood.
The Temple as well as the priesthood would be leveled by the Romans forty years after the rejection of Jesus.

:8 ‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, You and your companions who sit before you, For they are a wondrous sign; For behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.

:8 they are a wondrous sign

Literally, “men of a sign

man‘enowsh – man, mortal man, person, mankind
signmowpheth – wonder, sign, miracle, portent

Joshua and his fellow priests are to be a picture or “portent” of things to come.

The changing of Joshua’s clothes is a picture of God’s grace.

There will be a day when God will actually remove our sin and replace it with His righteousness.
(2 Corinthians 5:21 NKJV) For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

:8 My Servant‘ebed – slave, servant

This is one of the many titles of the Messiah.

(Isaiah 42:1 NKJV) “Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

The Messiah is called “servant” because He came to do the will of the Father.

Even though He Himself was God in the flesh, He made a choice to serve.
(John 5:30 NKJV) I can of Myself do nothing. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is righteous, because I do not seek My own will but the will of the Father who sent Me.
(Philippians 2:5–8 NKJV) —5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
We are saved today because Jesus chose to obey the Father and lay down His life for us.

:8 BRANCHtsemach – sprout, growth, branch

This is another common title for the Messiah.

He is a “branch” from the family tree of David.  He is royalty.

Isaiah wrote about a branch coming from the family tree of David’s father Jesse:

(Isaiah 11:1–2 NKJV) —1 There shall come forth a Rod from the stem of Jesse, And a Branch shall grow out of his roots. 2 The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him, The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, The Spirit of counsel and might, The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord.
The “Branch” would be from the family line of David.

Jeremiah would speak of the “Branch”

(Jeremiah 23:5 NKJV) “Behold, the days are coming,” says the Lord, “That I will raise to David a Branch of righteousness; A King shall reign and prosper, And execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
(Jeremiah 33:15 NKJV) —15 ‘In those days and at that time I will cause to grow up to David A Branch of righteousness; He shall execute judgment and righteousness in the earth.
The “Branch” is a picture of part of the family tree of David.
The Messiah is called the “Branch” because it speaks of His connection to King David, ruler over Israel.

:9 For behold, the stone That I have laid before Joshua: Upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,’ Says the Lord of hosts, ‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

:9 stone … seven eyes

stone‘eben – stone (large or small)

This too seems to be another reference to Jesus the Messiah.

The Psalmist wrote

(Psalm 118:22 NKJV) The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.

The prophet Daniel described Him as

(Daniel 2:34 NKJV) …a stone was cut out without hands…
A stone that would destroy the kingdoms of the world.

Isaiah wrote,

(Isaiah 28:16 NLT) Therefore, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: “Look! I am placing a foundation stone in Jerusalem, a firm and tested stone. It is a precious cornerstone that is safe to build on. Whoever believes need never be shaken.

As for the seven eyes, John describes Jesus in heaven …

(Revelation 5:6 NLT) Then I saw a Lamb that looked as if it had been slaughtered, but it was now standing between the throne …He had seven horns and seven eyes, which represent the sevenfold Spirit of God that is sent out into every part of the earth.
Seven eyes speak of God’s omniscience, that God sees and knows everything.
We might just see these “seven eyes” pop up elsewhere in Zechariah (4:10).

:9 I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day

removemuwsh – to depart, remove

iniquity‘avon – perversity, depravity, iniquity, guilt or punishment of iniquity

land‘erets – land, earth

This is the big picture that Joshua’s changing of clothes was teaching.

God will remove sin in a single day.
It was fulfilled when Jesus died on the cross.
The Old Testament sacrifices had to be performed over and over again, but when Jesus died for us, He did it with one sacrifice, once for all.

(Hebrews 10:14 NKJV) For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

It will be fulfilled when Jesus returns and Israel once again turns to their Messiah.
Romans 11:25-26 speaks of the Jews turning to their Messiah and being saved when Jesus returns.
(Romans 11:25–26 NKJV) —25 For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: “The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob;

:10 In that day,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘Everyone will invite his neighbor Under his vine and under his fig tree.’ ”

:10 inviteqara’ – (Qal) to call, cry; to summon, invite, call for

:10 neighborrea– friend, companion, fellow, another person; fellow, fellow-citizen, another person (weaker sense)

:10 under his vinegephen – vine, vine tree

:10 under his fig treete’en – fig, fig tree

:10 Under his vine … fig tree

This is a picture of peace and prosperity

(1 Kings 4:25 NKJV) And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, each man under his vine and his fig tree, from Dan as far as Beersheba, all the days of Solomon.

This is a picture of the peace and prosperity that will ultimately come when Jesus rules and reigns on the earth. (Mic. 4:4)

(Micah 4:4 NKJV) But everyone shall sit under his vine and under his fig tree, And no one shall make them afraid; For the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.

:4 Take away the filthy garments


Wardrobe change

Joshua was going through a major wardrobe change.
Off came the old and on came the new.
One mom writes,

I asked my two-year-old to take his dirty clothes and put them into the hamper. He looked puzzled, and I explained, “You know; it’s the place where we put our dirty clothes before they’re washed.”

My son picked up his things, ran into my bedroom, and threw his clothes on the floor...on his dad’s side of the bed.

Sometimes we get tempted to make the wrong wardrobe change and want to put on the old stuff.
Video:  Prince and Pauper
God has made it possible for us to be wearing the prince’s finest clothes.
And yet sometimes we get tempted to go back and wear our old clothes.  We too need a wardrobe change.
For those of you who have never opened your heart to Jesus, it starts with asking Him to forgive you.
For some of us, there’s even more we need to do.
(Colossians 3:8–14 NLT) —8 But now is the time to get rid of anger, rage, malicious behavior, slander, and dirty language. 9 Don’t lie to each other, for you have stripped off your old sinful nature and all its wicked deeds. 10 Put on your new nature, and be renewed as you learn to know your Creator and become like him. 11 In this new life, it doesn’t matter if you are a Jew or a Gentile, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbaric, uncivilized, slave, or free. Christ is all that matters, and he lives in all of us. 12 Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. 14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony.

Do you need to change clothes?