Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (3:1-2).
In this fourth vision, Zechariah is shown Joshua the high priest, standing before the angel of the Lord. As was his duty, the high priest was to stand in the place of the people and represent them before God with offerings and sacrifices for their sins.
Every high priest is a man chosen to represent other people in their dealings with God. He presents their gifts to God and offers sacrifices for their sins, (Hebrews 5:1 NLT).
And while it was a vision, Joshua was not a symbolic figure. Joshua the high priest was in fact one of the exiles, who under the command of Cyrus, king of Persia, returned to Jerusalem to rebuild the temple.
Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest, with all the remnant of the people, obeyed the voice of the Lord their God and the words of Haggai the prophet, as the Lord their God had sent him. And the people showed reverence for the Lord, (Haggai 1:12).
“‘But now take courage, Zerubbabel,’ declares the Lord, ‘take courage also, Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and all you people of the land take courage,’ declares the Lord, ‘and work; for I am with you,’ declares the Lord of hosts,” (Haggai 2:4).
And in his vision, Zechariah is shown this one who stands to represent his people before Holy God, and he is unfit for the position.
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel, (3:3).
As the high priest represents the people before God, Joshua’s garments were symbolic of the condition of all of mankind. And according to Satan, ever ready with his accusations, the people were hopeless in their filth and the holy nation was doomed.
The fact is when the enemy stood ready to accuse Joshua, his accusations against mankind were entirely accurate. But what God has given us in this beautiful vision of Zechariah is His Truth: what matters is not the accusations of the Accuser, but the assertions of the Lord Who is Sovereign and able to save. And because He has clothed us in His garments of salvation and positioned us in His Presence through His Servant the Branch, we have peace with Him and one another; and the voice of the enemy is silenced, for it is our Great and Mighty God Who Rebukes Our Accuser and restores His people.
From NIV Study Bible:
3:1-10. The fourth vision. Israel will be cleansed and restored as a priestly nation (Ex 19:6).
Consider Him Who Rebukes Our Accuser
- He Rebukes Our Accuser for He is the Lord.
- The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!…” (3:2).
- He Rebukes Our Accuser by His Sovereign choosing.
- “Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!…” (3:2).
- He Rebukes Our Accuser as He reaches out to save us.
- “…Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (3:2).
- He Rebukes Our Accuser as He cleanses us from our sin and clothes us in His garments of salvation.
- He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” Again he said to him, “See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.” 5 Then I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the Lord was standing by. (3:4-5).
- He Rebukes Our Accuser as He positions us in His Presence to walk in holy obedience.
- And the angel of the Lord admonished Joshua, saying, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘If you will walk in My ways and if you will perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here,” (3:6).
- He Rebukes Our Accuser through His Servant the Branch.
- “Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the Branch,” (3:8).
- He Rebukes Our Accuser as He invites us to share in peace and fellowship with one another.
- “‘In that day,’ declares the Lord of hosts, ‘every one of you will invite his neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree,’”(3:10).
How do we respond to Him Who Rebukes Our Accuser?
There is a lesson to be learned from Joshua the high priest, and the mighty warrior angel of God, Michael the archangel.
When Satan accused Joshua, it was not Joshua who answered back. It was the Lord Himself Who immediately spoke up in His servant’s defense.
The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” (3:1-2).
And when Michael the Archangel was in battle with his enemy, rather than taking it upon himself to rail his rebukes against the devil, this angel so skilled in the ways of warfare, depended solely upon the Lord Who is Able to Rebuke the Accuser. How much more should we?
But Michael the archangel, when he disputed with the devil and argued about the body of Moses, did not dare pronounce against him a railing judgment, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:9).
As long as we live on this side of heaven, the accuser will continue to accuse. But the day is coming when God will crush him and his accusations under our feet.
The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet, (Romans 16:20).
Until that day, let us do battle like Joshua the high priest and Michael the archangel, in faith and dependence upon Him Who Rebukes Our Accuser.
When the accuser reminds us of our weakness, let us trust Him Who Rebukes Our Accuser for He is the Lord, majestic in His power to shatter the enemy.
“Your right hand, O Lord, is majestic in power,
Your right hand, O Lord, shatters the enemy,” (Exodus 15:6).
When the accuser tells us we are not worthy of His calling, let us proclaim the excellent truth that we belong to Him Who Rebukes Our Accuser by His Sovereign choosing.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light, (1 Peter 2:9).
When the accuser insists we are too far gone to be saved, let us remember that His hand is not too short and that He Rebukes Our Accuser as He reaches out to save us.
Behold, the Lord’s hand is not so short
That it cannot save;
Nor is His ear so dull
That it cannot hear, (Isaiah 59:1).
When the accuser turns our attention to our unrighteousness, let us rejoice in Him Who Rebukes Our Accuser, and has cleansed us from our sin and clothed us in His garments of salvation.
I will rejoice greatly in the Lord,
My soul will exult in my God;
For He has clothed me with garments of salvation,
He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland,
And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels, (Isaiah 61:10).
When the accuser tempts us to focus on how far we fall short, let us stand fast in our position in Him Who Rebukes Our Accuser and equips us to walk in holy obedience.
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him, (Ephesians 1:3-4).
When the accuser comes with his lying schemes against us, let seek the wisdom of His Servant the Branch Who Rebukes Our Accuser and counsels us in His knowledge.
Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him,
The spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The spirit of counsel and strength,
The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord, (Isaiah 11:1-2).
And when the accuser turns our attention to the ways we’ve been wronged, let us quiet ourselves in Him Who Rebukes Our Accuser that we may accept His invitation to live in peace and fellowship with one another.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. 18 If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men, (Romans 12:17-18).