The visions of Zechariah are directed toward the future restoration of Israel following their full chastisement from the LORD.
In chapter three we have seen the priest Joshua in dirty garments. These garments are of the Aaronic priesthood of the people of Israel. They have been dirtied by their gross departure from the living God, to include the worship of manmade images which imitate created beings. They have dirtied by their participation in the cultures surrounding them. Despite this God, the LORD of hosts in all His grace provides them and all people a way to Himself.
We find in the verses of this study that God in grace does offer the privilege of the priesthood back to Israel/Judah as a people of priests, and it is not because of their greatness or great lives, but because of the wonderful grace of God.
“And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by. And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying, Thus saith the LORD of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by. Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH. For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.” Zechariah 3:5-10 (KJV)
This “mitre” or “turban” was part of the High Priest dress, and was inscribed with the words, “Holiness to the LORD (Exodus 28:36-37; 39:30-31). This turban was a symbol of the return of the priesthood to the people. Remember this is something that is yet future. It has not happened yet because Israel is still in a state of rebellion against God. When they return to Him He will then return to them their correct status with Him. In His grace He has been moving, sovereignly moving, in other nations and people; through their trials, suffering and tribulations to bring them back to Himself.
How can this happen? We see in the verse above, “And the angel of the LORD stood by”. It has been stated before that this “angel of the LORD” is quite possibly the pre-incarnate Son of God, Jesus Christ. We have Him protesting, or admonishing which means, “reprove with warning”. The Word from our Lord is that they need to walk in the ways of the LORD, keep His commands, and then they shall be “judge in My house”. That point makes me think of the apostle Peter’s inspired words, “For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God; and if it begins with us first, what will be the end of those who do not obey the gospel”.
As Christians, we are a royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:9), given a responsibility to others to show them the way to God. If our witness is not what will magnify the Lord Jesus, then we shame His name. Paul said, “If we would judge ourselves we would not be judged”, so let’s begin at our own house to deal with sin, our own sin. When we are given too much to our culture and society, then we have no testimony; we have no conviction; we have no fire for cleansing, and we have no power for the gospel to affect and change lives. Maybe this is what is meant too, by the words, “They are men wondered at…”. We may have people who preach against us, who seem to hate who we are and what we stand for; but they respect us when we do not behave as they behave, and show love toward them.
Upon the death of Jerry Falwell there were words spoken by men who had had battles with our brother, yet they showed respect for him in their final words for him. Because of a man who stood by his convictions and faith. Can that be said of you and I? I pray so.
“My servant the BRANCH.” This is a prophetic word for the coming of the Lord Jesus. Actually there are two prophetic words or phrases used here. The first one “My servant” comes from the prophet Isaiah. See Isaiah 42 – 53 and Ezekiel 34:23-24. This term speaks of the submissive, obedient heart of the Savior who became man. Jesus, as a man, yielded to the Father, and fulfilled the Father’s will. The BRANCH shows His rise from a poor and humble beginning to receive “All things placed under His feet” from the Father.
“The stone…” is also Messianic and speaks of the stone which was rejected becoming the headstone or cornerstone.
“The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.” Psalms 118:22-23 (KJV)
“Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem. And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.” Isaiah 8:13-15 (KJV)
“Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” Isaiah 28:16 (KJV)
“Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:35 (KJV)
“Forasmuch as thou sawest that the stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron, the brass, the clay, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.” Daniel 2:45 (KJV)
There are several New Testament references to this as well. The stone here is seen as revered and having “seven eyes” which speaks of His Omniscience (All-Knowing), and that not one thing, even the falling of a sparrow from the sky or one of the hairs falling from our head passes His attention. He knows every deed we have done, or left undone.
The people of the Nation have a promise from God that in one day all these things will be accomplished, ie., all these promises which He has spoken and given them through His grace. It is God who says, “I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day”; not the prophet, not me; but the LORD Himself.
Has anyone seen any of this take place of this day – August 13, 2008? I don’t think so. As a matter of fact there is nothing in history which has recorded such an event for the Nation of Israel or the world. It is coming; and we can in fact rest peacefully in the knowledge that God will not let one of His words be voided by the complications of our human lives.
The hope of Israel can be found only in their Messiah Jesus Christ. The only hope for you and I, can only be found in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. The only hope for the world, is found only in the one the “earth dwellers” love to hate, and His name is Jesus the Christ, the Son of the Living God.
-Tim A. Blankenship