Jehovah urges the “daughter of Zion” to rejoice, verses 10-13.
10. Shout and rejoice, O daughter of Zion, For behold I come, and I will dwell in the midst of thee, saith Jehovah,
11. And many nations shall be joined unto Jehovah in that day, And become a people to me. And I will dwell in the midst of thee, And thou shalt know that Jehovah of hosts hath sent me to thee.
12. And Jehovah shall take Judah as His portion in the holy land, and shall yet choose Jerusalem.
13. Be still all flesh, before Jehovah.
10. Daughter of Zion—The post-exilic afflicted covenant people but in the, final instance the whole church of the elect. Shout and rejoice—The covenant people of our prophet’s day were far from rejoicing. They were disconsolate. Jehovah had vowed to overthrow the kingdoms of the nations preliminary to His coming and to secure the salvation of His afflicted people (Haggai 2:22). But the horsemen had walked to and fro through the earth and had found that there was no sign of the nations being shaken. All the earth sat still and was at rest (Zechariah 1:2). It seemed, therefore, that He was slack concerning His promise as some men count slackness. How long would He not have mercy on Jerusalem and on the cities of Judah against whom He had had indignation for those seventy years (Zech. 1:12)? But let the afflicted covenant people rejoice. For behold, I come and will dwell in the midst of thee—The construction is the same as in verse 9, “I am about to come.”
The fulfillment of the promise is imminent. In the way of judgment over the nations with whom He was angry because of their ill-treatment of Zion, He will come to take up His abode in His holy temple that is in process of being built and so will He dwell in the midst of His people. What a blessedness that will be for them. The fulfillment of this promise was the coming of Jehovah to Zerubbabel’s temple; second, His coming through the Son in the flesh in the fullness of time; third, His coming through the glorified Christ in His Spirit to His church when the day of Pentecost was fully come. The final fulfillment will be His dwelling in the midst of His glorified people on the new earth.
11. Many nations shall be joined to Jehovah in that day—The promise of the calling of the ‘Gentiles in this dispensation of the Gospel by the glorified Christ. They shall be changed from friends of Satan into friends of Jehovah. And their fellowship will be with Him through Christ. And His warfare they shall war. They are many nations—all the nations of the earth—but they shall form one people, family of redeemed.And thou shalt know that Jehovah hath sent me unto thee—A repetition of 9b with the same significance (see on verse 9).
12. And Jehovah shall take Judah as His portion—toDeut. 32:9, “Jehovah’s portion is his people, Jacob the lot of his inheritance.” Jacob is Judah and Judah is the church. He took her as His portion, that is peculiar possession in His choosing her in Christ Jesus unto life eternal before the foundation of the world, and in the fullness of time in His redeeming her from all her sins by the death of His Son, reconciling her to Himself through the cross, restoring her to the right to be forgiven of Him, to be saved of Him, and to be crowned by Him with life in glory. Truly, Judah is His peculiar possession. In the holy land—in the final instance the new earth. And shall yet choose Jerusalem—see on 1:17.
13. Be still all flesh—According to the context, the heathen nations. Be still . . . before Jehovah—Let them consider that they are but flesh and be quiet, namely their kings. Let them be instructed. Let them serve Jehovah with fear. For soon they will find themselves in His presence with, Him as their judge.For He has risen up from His holy habitation—During the seventy years of the captivity He was still, as it were, and suffered long with His afflicted people. But now He has risen up and in the way of judgments over the nations He comes and will dwell in the midst of His people. “His holy habitation” is the heavens (Compare Amos 9:6).
Chapter III: The Fourth Vision—The High Priest Joshua accused of Satan and acquitted, Zech. 3:1-10.
1. And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.
2. And said Jehovah unto Satan, Rebuke Jehovah thee, O Satan, even rebuke Jehovah thee (Jehovah) who hath chosen Jerusalem. Is not this a brand snatched out of the fire?
3. And Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and stood before the angel.
4. And he answered and spake to those who stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from upon him. And he said to him, See, I have caused to pass from upon thee thine iniquities, and will clothe thee with costly raiment.
5. And I said, Let them put a turban clean upon his head. So they put a clean turban upon his head and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord was standing by.
The promised blessedness of the previous visions raises questions. The nations are to be judged, the exiles restored, temple and city rebuilt, and the church expanded to the four corners of the earth. And Jehovah shall come to dwell in the midst of the covenant people not to consume them by His anger but to be unto them a perpetual fountain of all good. But how can all this amazing blessedness be their portion, seeing that He is righteous and holy God, whose eyes are too pure to behold sin and seeing that it is a sinful people whom He is thus to befriend? This blessedness can be theirs only because their iniquities have been made to pass from them. This is the glad tiding of the vision with which we are now to deal.
1. And he showed me—The subject of the verb is either Jehovah, who is the author of all the prophetic revelations or the interpreting angel who acts as the divine agent in explaining the visions. Joshua—called also Jeshua (Ezra 2:2, 3:2), the son of Jehozadak (Hag. 1:1;I Chron. 6:15), the grandson of Seraiah (II Kings 25:18). He was the ecclesiastical head, while Zerubbabel was the civil ruler (Hag. 1:6). Standing before the angel of Jehovah—This angel is the same divine person that in the New Testament Scriptures is presented to us as the incarnate Word, the Christ of God (see on 1:2). The priest was, therefore; standing before the face of Jehovah. For what purpose is not stated. The expression “standing before” is used of a person standing before a judge either as the accused or the accuser (Num. 27:2); I Kings 3:16; Deut. 19:17); of a servant standing before his master to minister to his wants (Deut. 1:38); and of the priests standing before Jehovah to minister to Him and to bless in His name (Deut. 10:8). And this included their daily offering up sacrifices, first for themselves, for they were but sinful men, and then for the people (Heb. 7:8). On the great day of atonement, that occurred annually, the high priest offered up sacrifices for all the sins that the covenant people had committed during the bygone year. For that entire accumulation he made atonement. This task fell to Joshua of our vision. For he was high priest. In the vision he stands before Jehovah in his official capacity. And therefore it must be presumed that he was atoning the people’s sins and blessing them in the name of Jehovah. It would imply that he was confessing the sins of the covenant people including his own and imploring Jehovah’s forgiveness. Symbolically he was clothed with their iniquities on which account he typifies Christ as no other priest before him. For what is especially significant is that in the vision he ministers before the face of Jehovah as clad in filthy garments. This was a thing unheard of in actual life. What high priest or common priest would dare to have come or be permitted to have come into the presence of Jehovah to minister before His face as clad in filthy garments? In causing it to happen in the vision the Lord was creating for Himself the occasion that was needed to shed new light on the promise, opening for Himself new avenues of approach to His Gospel all for the benefit of His people. It is not difficult to discern that these filthy garments symbolized the iniquities of the people including this priest. How sinful they still were even as saints of God. How weak in faith. How lacking in zeal. How despondent. How prone to secure their own interest while neglecting God’s house. How they were daily in need of being called to repentance. Satan—literally “adversary” and written in the Hebrew text with the definite article—the adversary. Hence, it must not be referred, as is done by some, to a human adversary. Indicated is the chief of the evil spirits, Satan. In the New Testament Scriptures he is called “diabolus” from a word meaning to accuse, slander, defame—a name as befitting as the Hebrew Satan, the everlasting opposer of God and man, accusing God to man and man to God and “our brethren” before God day and night” (Rev. 12:10). Standing at his right hand—At the right hand of Joshua the high priest. It betokens for one thing Satan’s unspeakable impudence. For the place at the right hand is the position of honor. Here in the vision the adversary stationed himself—at the priest’s right hand.
To oppose him—To oppose the high priest. From the succeeding verse it is plain that he was trying to show cause why Jehovah should destroy the covenant people. He accused them, therefore, He dwelt upon their sins. It must be presumed that he argued also this point, namely that Jehovah must make an end of them, that, if He doesn’t, he is not the good God that He claims to be but an evil deity. How can a righteous and holy God be blessing such a people, as Jehovah is doing, and not, instead, be destroying them? That doubtless was indeed a conundrum to the adversary. It may even have been a conundrum to this people and to their priest as well. For it was the dispensation of shadows.
2. And said Jehovah unto Satan, Jehovah rebuke thee, O Satan—Doubtless here, too, the speaker is the Angel of Jehovah, the second person in the trinity, our Lord Jesus Christ, calling Himself Jehovah and properly so, seeing that He is the Son of God. The clause may then be paraphrased as follows: Then said I, the angel of Jehovah, who am Jehovah. His announcement to Satan is a request that Jehovah rebuke him. And that He must and shall in order that His people with the gospel of His rebuke in their hearts, as put there by Him, may be reassured. Certainly, Jehovah will rebuke the adversary. For here again he slanders both the covenant people and their God. In saying that the covenant people are sinful and putting the period here he slanders this people. And in saying that Jehovah is blessing such a people without saying anymore He slanders Jehovah. For both as half truths are glittering lies. For to say that God befriends sinners is to make Him out for an evil deity indeed. We must have the full truth here: Nothing else will do. In themselves the covenant people are sinful men and will ever so remain. But in Christ they are as guiltless as they would be, had they never committed any sin. And that is how God loves them. He loves them in Christ.
How the adversary then slanders in the attempt to get God to destroy His people. “Jehovah shall rebuke thee Satan.” That this is repeated by the angel betokens the ardor of His love. The adversary is accusing God’s people. He slanders God. This cannot be allowed to go unrebuked. He laid down His life for that people, did the angel, that they might be to the praise of Jehovah’s grace.
Who hath chosen Jerusalem—the opening statement of the rebuke. So the slander of the adversary is now being answered. The verb is in the past—hath chosen. In the first instance the reference is to the earthly Jerusalem. In His sovereign mercy the Lord had chosen her as the place of His habitation. And therefore she was precious in His sight. For is this not a brand snatched out of the fire?—This Jerusalem, the remnant of Judah inhabiting the city. Did not the Lord pluck her out of the clutch of the world power? Had He not turned Judah’s captivity? Were not God’s people back in God’s country? Jerusalem then was that brand plucked out of the fire. What wonderful evidence that He had chosen the city and that she was precious in His sight. No He cannot destroy her. On the contrary, He will surely fulfill all His promises to Zerubbabel regarding her. Jerusalem and temple shall be rebuilt, so that erlong, Jehovah, will again be dwelling in the midst of His people.
Indeed, but what is He going to do about Jerusalem’s sins? Jerusalem is in herself guilty, depraved, lost undone,—Jerusalem, God’s chosen people. But Hechose them. Everlastingly was He beholding them in Christ in- His infinite love of them and willing them as His own. For, as He beheld them in Christ they were blameless, spotlessly clean and glorious. He has chosen His people. Verily He has. They are precious in His sight. Truly they are. For are they not a brand plucked out of the fires of hell with Christ, out of the fires of His consuming anger, and made to sit in heavenly places in Christ? For they were precious in His sight. But once more, What did He do about, their sins? Let us attend to the rest of the Lord’s rebuke of Satan. Then we shall know.
3. And Joshua was clothed with filthy garments—As was stated, symbolize, did those filthy garments, all the sin and guilt that was this priest’s and his people’s by nature. As clothed in those filthy garments, this priest stands before us in the vision as a type of Christ. For did not He, the incarnate Son of God, come into the world as clad with ail the guilt of our sins? Truly, though Himself without sin, He was made sin for us. And stood before the angel—The angel of Jehovah (see on verse 2).
4. And he answered and spake to those who stood before him—The angel answered the high priest. The Gospel that is now proclaimed was meant for his ears and put into His heart and the hearts of the covenant people. Those that stood before the angel may be regarded as His servants. Saying, Take away the filthy garments from upon him—A symbolical action the meaning of which is known from the succeeding sentence. And he said to him, I have caused to pass from upon thee thine iniquities—This then is what the taking away of those filthy garments signified, namely Jehovah’s causing all the iniquities of His covenant people, the church of the elect—iniquities with the symbol of which (the filthy garments) that high priest was clad—to pass from them, so that before Christ and His Father they are as guiltless as they would be had they never committed any sin—guiltless in Christ typified by that priest. And how did Jehovah do that? By smiting Christ for their iniquities and thereby causing their iniquities, their filthy garments, with which the Father had clothed Him, to pass away from upon Him, so that He was no longer with their iniquities. Gone they were as completely blotted out by His death. And I will clothe thee with costly raiment . . . And I said, Let them put a clean turban upon his head (verse 5)—The instructions were carried out by the servants. This, too, has meaning. Christ being now free from the iniquities of His people, God raised Him up and clothed him with a heavenly salvation, Him and His redeemed people with Him. Of the resurrected and glorified Christ that high priest clad in those beautiful garments was the type. He was thus the type of every saint, redeemed from all his sins by Christ’s blood, and in whose face Christ’s glory shines.
What then did God do about the sins of His people? He blotted them out, so that they are no more. So was Zion redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness (Isaiah 1:27). What has Satan now to say? He has been fully rebuked.