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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 3

Grant's Commentary on the BibleGrant's Commentary

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Verses 1-10

The Fourth Vision - Grace to the Representative High Priest Overcoming Satan's Opposition

(vv. 1-5)

In verse 1 the angel who talked with Zechariah showed him Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. We have seen that the Angel of the Lord is Christ. Joshua, being high priest, is a type of Christ, but seen here as representing Israel. Therefore he is clothed with filthy garments as taking the responsibility for Israel's sins. Satan, the accuser (as his name means, is no doubt resisting by means of the accusations he can bring because of Israel' s sins. How overwhelming this guilt would naturally be!

But the words of the Lord to Satan are wonderful: "The Lord rebuke you. Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you. Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?" No matter how great the guilt and shame of the nation of Israel, nothing is too hard for the Lord. He is able to righteously and fully remove the guilt and stigma of sin. The basis of this has already been laid at the cross of Calvary, and today all who trust in the blessed Christ of God are cleansed from their sins by virtue of His great sacrifice. Israel has refused Him for centuries, but when the remnant of Israel eventually receive Him, they will indeed be "a brand plucked out of the fire," and the iniquity of her land will be removed in one day (v. 9). This chapter then looks forward prophetically to that day.

The Lord then speaks to those who stood by, ordering them to remove the filthy garments from Joshua. This speaks of the purging away of sins, which is one wonderful result of the value of the sacrifice of Christ. All that is filthy is removed, but this is not enough for God. He speaks to Joshua, telling him He has caused his iniquity to pass from him and He will clothe him with festival robes. This is typical of God imputing righteousness to the believer: it is the truth of justification, which has the thought of God judicially declaring the person righteous in total contrast to guilt. Not only has God wiped out our tremendous debt, but has freely given us a credit of righteousness such as delights His own heart. The robe of righteousness is Christ Himself-Christ our righteousness (1 Corinthians 1:30). Israel too, in a coming day, will be beautifully clothed "in Christ." This will be marvelous pure grace, a wonderful answer to Israel's prayer of Psalms 90:17, "Let the beauty of the Lord our God be upon us."

A turban for Joshua's head is specifically mentioned. When Christ is received, the attitude of our minds is totally changed. So will it be for the nation Israel: their thinking will be wonderfully corrected when once they receive their true Messiah (Isaiah 53:4-5). God will have given them their beautiful turban. "And the Angel of the Lord stood by." Typically it is the Lord Jesus Himself taking a vital interest in the change of His people Israel.


(vv. 6-7)

Following this work of pure grace, the Angel of the Lord admonishes Joshua. There was no "if" regarding the work of God in grace toward him, but now an "if" is introduced regarding Joshua's judging (or administering) the affairs of God's house and keeping His courts, as well as having a place of dignity among those who stood by. All this depended on Joshua keeping God's charge. Similarly today, though one is saved entirely by the grace of God, yet that one must prove trustworthy in keeping the Word of God if he or she is to be entrusted with any place of honor in connection with maintaining the proper testimony of the house of God, the Assembly. Those who stand by may be all those who have any interest in connection with God's house.


(vv. 8-10)

Verses 8 to 10 give a prophetic application to what has gone before. Joshua and his fellows who sit before him (the family of the priests) are told to listen, because they are "a wondrous sign," that is, they are symbolic as foretelling the future blessing of Israel when the Messiah is revealed in power and glory. God declares, "I am bringing forth My Servant, the Branch." This is literally, "the Sprout," referring to the Lord Jesus as a miraculous sprout from the dead stalk of the nation Israel. He is in fact the one source of all their future blessing. Jeremiah 23:5 shows that "the Branch" is King (as in Matthew). He is Servant as in Mark 3:8, He is the Man as in Luke 6:12 and He is Jehovah as in John (Isaiah 4:2).

Verse 9 introduces another type of Christ as the foundation of their blessing, the Stone laid before Joshua. Isaiah 28:16 refers to this: "Behold, I lay in Zion a stone for a foundation, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation." On this stone are seven eyes. This reminds us ofRevelation 5:6; Revelation 5:6 where we see "seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth." It speaks of the sevenfold (or complete) discerning power of the Spirit of God seen in the blessed person of the Lord Jesus (as the Lamb in Revelation and the Stone in Zechariah). On the other hand, God's engraving "the graving thereof" speaks of Christ being the very expression (or imprint) of the substance of God (Hebrews 1:3). God has borne witness to this in no uncertain terms when His voice came from the excellent glory, "This is My beloved Son in whom I am well pleased" (2 Peter 1:17). Engraved in His very person is the precious truth that "in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Colossians 2:9). This verse therefore is a lovely witness to the truth of the Trinity being manifested in the blessed person of Christ.

This is the solid foundation on which "the Lord of hosts" can affirm that He will "remove the iniquity of that land in one day (v. 9). Who else can do this but the eternal God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit) manifested in the person of the Lord Jesus? The basis of the removal of guilt has long ago been laid when He laid down His life at Calvary. Though Israel has refused to accept Him as Savior, when God turns that nation's heart back to Himself through great tribulation, the iniquity of the land will be removed in one day, the day Christ will appear in majesty on the Mount of Olives, when the hearts of the people will be melted before Him in genuine repentance (Zechariah 12:10-14).

"In that day," which involves the ensuing day of the "age to come," the Millennium, "everyone will invite his neighbor under his vine and under his fig tree (v. 10). The vine is symbolic of Judah planted in the vineyard of Israel (Isaiah 5:7) but desolated because of disobedience (v. 5). The fig tree is a type of Judah restored after the captivity, a fig tree planted in the vineyard (Luke 13:6), but which the Lord found (when He came) was not bearing fruit. Judah's failure and ruin have been complete, but the grace of the Lord Jesus will restore her wonderfully in that day to come. Her peace and prosperity is pictured beautifully in the quiet, refreshing scenes of social grace and fellowship, every individual being blessed under the vine and under the fig tree. Then all will have learned the wonder of the grace of God in overruling the sad failure of the nation both in her earliest state before the captivity and in her later state after being brought back from captivity. Because they realize deeply that theirs has been a history of failure over and over again, they will so value the grace of God that they will be glad to share their blessing with others.

Bibliographical Information
Grant, L. M. "Commentary on Zechariah 3". Grant's Commentary on the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lmg/zechariah-3.html. 1897-1910.
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