The Book of Zechariah- chapter 3

3 And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.

This is the fourth of the eight visions. Joshua was high priest at this time (Haggai 1:1), and as high priest, Joshua represents the nation of Israel which Satan accuses. There is some debate as to whether he was standing before God as accused, or as ministering.

Those who adhere to replacement theology, believe this refers to Jesus (Joshua in Hebrew), which represents the Christian church. Yet, the following verses show this Joshua to be clothed with sin, which could be applied to Jesus only at the crucifixion (2 Corinthians 5:21). Also, verse 8 and 6:11-13 show the high priest Joshua and Jesus to be separate.

2 And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?

The reference to Jerusalem indicates that God is not metaphorically referring to Christians, but is referring to the Jews (Romans 11:1-36). Whether historical or eschatological, Israel is saved from extinction by God’s mercy.

3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.

The filthy garments do not represent sin so much as they represent how inadequate our righteousness really is (Isaiah 64:6). This would also nullify the belief that this Joshua is Jesus.

4 And 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.

Most commentators believe that the one speaking (the LORD in verse 2) is the Angel of the LORD, and therefore Jesus, though they debate if He was also the interpreting angel who conversed with Zechariah. Those that stood before him would be the ministering angels which wait upon the Angel of the LORD. Since Joshua represents the nation of Israel, the filthy garments belong to the nation.

In the eschatological application, this would be the end-time martyrs who “have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 7:1-14). The end-times martyrs will include both Christians and God-fearing Jews, yet it appears that these verses are speaking specifically to the Jews. Christians are, however, a wild branch grafted on to the true olive tree (Romans 11:17-22).

5 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.

Most commentators believe it is Zechariah who is speaking. Yet, an interjection here by Zechariah seems out of place, and it is more likely that the angel of the LORD is still speaking. There is much debate as to exactly what was placed on Joshua’s head, but regardless, it is a symbol of priestly rule. In the millennium, a temple will be built (Isaiah 40-48), and Christians and Jews will rule as priests and kings (Daniel 7:27; Revelation 20:6).

6 And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying,

Since Joshua represents the nation of Israel, it is the nation that God is speaking to. The word “protested” means to testify concerning an oath.

7 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.

This verse concerns the various duties of those who reign with Christ during the millennium (Ezekiel 44:15-16; 1 Corinthians 6:2; Revelation 5:9-10). Revelation 20:4 says, “And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.”

8 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.

There is much debate as to the identity of the fellows sitting before Joshua. Yet, we can clearly see that the BRANCH refers to Jesus as He comes to rule during the millennium (the servant- Philippians 2:7; Matthew 20:28; Isaiah 42:1) (the branch- Jeremiah 23:5; 33:15; Isaiah 4:2; 11:1; Zechariah 6:12). If Joshua represents the nation of Israel, or Judaism, then I think the fellows must refer to Christians.

The phrase “men wondered at” means “men who are a sign”. In context, this appears to refer to the two witnesses of God (Judaism and Christianity) testifying judgment against a wicked world before the Wrath of God is poured out (Revelation 11:1-6).

9 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.

Jesus, the messiah, is the corner stone set before the nation of Israel (Romans 9:33; Acts 4”11’ Isaiah 8:14-15; 28:16). The seven eyes symbolize that God sees everything (Revelation 5:6; Proverbs 15:3). The term “LORD of hosts” literally means “LORD of the army” or “LORD of warfare”. At the second coming of Jesus, He will destroy the Antichrist and his beast-kingdom (Revelation 19:11-21; Daniel 9:24-27), and He will judge the unbelievers, removing all the wicked (Matthew 25:31-46; Isaiah 28:17-18).

Many commentators believe the removing of iniquity refers to Jesus’ redeeming death on the cross. But, this verse is not speaking of the sins of the world, but rather of the iniquity of that land (Israel). This is specifically speaking of the end-times salvation of the Jews (Romans 11:26-27).

10 In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.

This verse speaks of the peace and safety during the millennium, when they shall “beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” (Micah 4:1-4).

(The Book of Zechariah- chapter 2)