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Bible Commentaries

Expositor's Dictionary of Texts

Zechariah 3

Verses 1-10

Purification (An Old Testament Vision)

Zechariah 3:1-7

I. Cleansed. Joshua was clothed with filthy garments (v. 3). What an anomaly is here; a priest clothed with filthy garments; a believer indulging in known sin, is this possible? But mark well Joshua's conduct; sin-stained as he was, he stood there still, 'he stood before the angel'. Happy for him that he did so; Satan might attack, conscience might condemn, yet would he stand still before Jehovah Jesus. Not one inch would he remove. Was he sin-defiled, then he would know it, that the filthiness might be cleansed away.

II. Clothed. What was this? 'He answered and spake unto those that stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment' God's purpose in electing us was that we should be holy (Ephesians 1:4 ); and shall we by our unbelief do what He will not permit the devil to do, 'frustrate the grace of God'? But again the Lord appeals to what He has done for Joshua already. 'Is not this a brand plucked from the burning?' Have I not already, He seems to say, snatched him from destruction; and shall I not deliver him from sin? I have done the greater, shall I not do the less? What can Satan answer? He is speechless. What can he say? He is overcome by the blood of the Lamb.

III. Crowned. One thing alone remained, and Joshua's restoration to favour was complete. The mitre was the sign and token of high priestly service, and Joshua knew as it was placed upon his head that he was once more 'a priest in function,' and that he was free to serve.

I believe that as in temporal so in spiritual things there come crises in our lives crises when God opens up before our eyes a path that mounts the higher table-lands of Christian experience, a path illuminated by His own most gracious smile, fanned by the ever-present breezes of His Spirit We may take it if we will; the responsibility is ours, but if we do, the cost must well be counted. The path is steep, the last and least weight must be thrown aside if we are to tread it.

IV. Charged. And now what follows? Grace had triumphed, Joshua was restored Cleansed, Clothed, and Crowned. But do we part from him here? Nay, there must be first a solemn charge... never was Joshua in so responsible and solemn a position as now. 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'. Honours unspeakable, but for whom? For the faithful servant.

E. W. Moore, Life Transfigured, p. 129.

References. III. 1-5. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xi. No. 611. III. 1-10. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets, p. 280. III. 3, 4, 5. J. M. Neale, Sermons Preached in a Religious House, vol. i. p. 17. III. 4. R. J. Campbell, New Theology Sermons, vol. li. 1897, p. 379. III. 5. F. B. Meyer, Christian World Pulpit, vol. li. 1897, p. 379. III. 7 A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets, p. 287. III. 9, 10. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xvii. No. 953. III. 11, 12. 'Plain Sermons' by contributors to the Tracts for the Times, vol. x. p. 248. IV. 1-3, 12-14. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xxvi. No. 1569. IV. 1-10. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets, p. 294. IV. 6. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iii. No. 149. G. Matheson, Voices of the Spirit, p. 89. R. F. Bracey, Christian World Pulpit, vol. xxxviii. 1890, p. 298. S. Barnett, ibid. vol. lxiv. 1903, p. 186. G. Rodney Eden, ibid. vol. lxviii. 1905, p. 21. A. F. Winnington Ingram, ibid. vol. lxix. 1906, p. 152; see also A Mission of the Spirit, p. 1. E. H. Bickersteth, Thoughts in Past Years, p. 107. G. Matheson, Voices of the Spirit, p. 89. G. H. Wilkinson, Outlines of Sermons on the Old Testament, p. 280. J. G. Simpson, Christian Ideals, p. 153. IV. 9. J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Prophets, vol. ii. p. 159. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets, p. 301. IV. 10. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xliv. No. 2601. H. J. Wilmot-Buxton, Common Life Religion, p. 205. C. F. Aked, Old Events and Modern Meanings, p. 181. C. Stanford, Outlines of Sermons on the Old Testament, p. 281. VI. 10-12. J. M. Neale, Sermons on the Prophets, vol. ii. p. 171. VI. 12, 13. G. Body, The Anglican Pulpit of Today, p. 258. VI. 13. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. iv. p. 191; vol. xxv. No. 1495. A. Maclaren, Expositions of Holy Scripture Ezekiel, Daniel, and the Minor Prophets, p. 309. VII. 5, 6. Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. viii. No. 438. VIII. Ibid. vol. liii. No. 3047.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Zechariah 3". Expositor's Dictionary of Text. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/edt/zechariah-3.html. 1910.