Zechariah Chapter 3: Joshua and Satan, The Stone with Seven EyesDec 19th, 2009 | By admin | Category: Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name), Zechariah
Zechariah Chapter 3: Joshua and Satan, The Stone with Seven Eyes
Zech. 3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
The Logos, the “angel” of God, showed Zechariah a fourth vision. In this vision, Joshua, the high priest, was standing before the Logos, and Satan was standing at Joshua’s right hand. Thus there were three personages: Joshua (the high priest), the angel of God (the Logos), and Satan. The name Joshua, a form of Jesus, represents the priestly aspect. To repeat: Joshua was standing before the Logos (the Word of God, God’s mouthpiece), and Satan stood at the right hand of Joshua.
Usually when a person is standing at one’s right hand, the connotation is favorable, but here Satan was the critic and opposer of Joshua. The name Satan means “accuser,” and his purpose was to resist Joshua. Everything was negative.
Zech. 3:2 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?
“And the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan.” On the surface, this statement seems contradictory, for in both cases, “LORD” is in all capital letters, meaning Jehovah. A clarification is obviously needed.
The same type of circumstance occurred at the burning bush when an angel appeared and told Moses to remove his shoes. God was pictured as speaking to Moses, but the one saying, “I am Jehovah” was actually ”the angel of the LORD,” that is, the Logos, who was speaking on behalf of God (Exod. 3:2,6). In other words, whatever the Logos said was just as meaningful as if God Himself were speaking. Three or four places in the Old Testament use similar language with the “angel of the LORD” and Jehovah.
Therefore, when we read verse 2 here in the Book of Zechariah, we should mentally insert the words “the angel of”: “And [the angel of] the LORD said unto Satan, The LORD rebuke thee.” Right away we are reminded of Jude 9, where Michael (the archangel) said to Satan, “The Lord [God] rebuke thee.”
“Even the LORD that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee.” In this context, Satan was trying to thwart the rebuilding of the Temple by creating all kinds of obstacles. The returned Jews had started to rebuild the Temple but had accomplished very little when they stopped to build and decorate their own homes. Zechariah was sent as a prophet for the purpose of encouraging the completion of the Temple.
“Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” From one standpoint, Joshua was the “brand plucked out of the fire” in that God’s providence protected him in coming forth from Babylon, where he could have died. God had determined that this scenario would take place with its symbolism preserved.
From another standpoint, the “brand plucked out of the fire” was Judah. The Temple and the city had been destroyed, but a remnant of Jews had been plucked out of the fire, the destruction, to go into Babylonian captivity. Then, after the 70 years’ desolation, they returned to the homeland in two different groupings, and Joshua, the high priest, was on the scene. Joshua represented part of the remnant.
Zech. 3:3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
Joshua, who was standing before the Logos, was “clothed with filthy garments.” In the antitype, Joshua represents Jesus at the First Advent and how he was viewed by others. Not only was he regarded as a sinner when he died on the Cross, but also the great majority considered him a false Messiah. Stated another way, Jesus appeared as the antitypical Joshua and as a sin offering. Hence the Jews viewed his garments as filthy, especially when he was crucified. The nation rejected him, and the relatively few who received him became the sons of God (John 1:12).
However, when Zechariah related this vision to the people, they thought that “Joshua” was the literal Joshua, their high priest. The name Joshua is a Hebraic form of the word “Jesus,” so there is a double picture, just as there was with the four horns and the four carpenters. Here again are a localized representation and a larger picture pertaining to Jesus at the First Advent. The word “filthy” means “excrement,” signifying that in the localized application, the office of high priest was defiled, besmirched. For instance, intermarriage with the heathen occurred again. When the Jews returned to the homeland, they had problems, and the priesthood was defiled in another sense too because, not having a Temple, they did not observe the Day of Atonement. Therefore, blood was not sprinkled on the Mercy Seat to atone for the nation. The altar in the court was finished first, and next came the foundation of the Temple. Later, with encouragement from Haggai and Zechariah, the people began to build up from the foundation with wood and stone, and they finished the Temple. But at the time of this fourth vision, the people were not yet cleansed, so even though the high priest was of the proper lineage, he was not seen in his true stature.
Of course conditions would change, but meanwhile, there was an interim period—just as with Jesus. He had a short public ministry of only 3 1/2 years and was considered a curse on the Cross, but when he was raised from death, some of the nation saw him in the proper light. To these, who realized he was the Messiah, his garments were changed. His disciples sang, “Hallelujah!” but not the nation.
Zech. 3:4 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.
The fact that the angel (the Logos) spoke “unto those that stood before him” indicates that others were present besides Joshua and Satan. The Logos gave the authoritative order: “Take away the filthy garments from him [Joshua].” And unto Joshua, the Logos said, “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.”
Two trains of thought are coming together here, both of which have an application. In one sense, there was a small-scale fulfillment back in Zechariah’s day, but actually, when Jesus was resurrected, it was seen that God accepted him. Jesus’ offering was proven by the fact that he did not remain dead, and his awakening from death brought life to the brotherhood—as signified by the change of raiment.
In other words, in this vision, the angel (the Logos), who was speaking for God, gave an order to Joshua, and yet in another sense, the Logos was giving the order to Jesus. This thought necessitates a retracing of the account from another standpoint. When the priesthood started in the days of Moses, it was an honorable profession, for the type began with purity. However, subsequently the “orthodox” prophets were mostly disobedient false prophets, and the priesthood became corrupted. The priesthood, the prophets, and the king’s court were all corrupt and out of harmony with God’s commandments. Thus they were an abomination in the eyes of any of the people who were looking for righteousness. However, the majority of the Israelites were satisfied. Conditions are the same today, for while many of the clergy do not lead exemplary lives, the people are rather pleased with the lax conduct. For example, if the priest drinks, the people think he is one of them. They like the pretense, for it gives them an excuse to be loose and free.
Back there the priesthood was defiled, the prophets gave false messages, and the court (the judges) accepted bribes. When Jesus came as the Messiah, the scribes and Pharisees regarded him as a youngster. Their attitude was, “He is only 30 years old, yet he talks to us as if he is somebody.” Because Jesus lacked formal education, they detested him and considered him a pretender with ulterior motives. Moreover, the people were convinced he was a pretender when he was crucified and hanging naked on the Cross. “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13; Deut. 21:23). Although the people marveled when Jesus raised Lazarus shortly before the Crucifixion, they soon forgot the miracle when he was put to death as a criminal. Thus he was tainted as a false prophet and priest—until his resurrection.
Jesus is the true High Priest—he is the Christian’s High Priest now, and he will be the world’s High Priest in the next age—and he performed that function even during his earthly ministry.
In the type, lepers went to the priest to be diagnosed for cleansing based on a certain procedure under the Law. In the antitype, Jesus performed a priestly function in cleansing lepers, restoring limbs, and resuscitating individuals from death. However, the reaction of the Jews shows that for those who are turned off to the merits of an individual, it is almost impossible to change the thinking no matter what that person does. The Little Flock will be judges in the next age, and the consecrated are being judged now as to whether they are fit for that role. The Lord watches to see how they react to various situations and whether they are trying to learn the lessons in His Word of having mercy, love, pity, and compassion as well as a hatred of iniquity. On the one hand, Christians have to love righteousness, and on the other hand, they must hate iniquity. Sometimes they are to be compassionate, and sometimes they are to be adversarial, admonishing others.
In the Book of Zechariah, Joshua and Zerubbabel were both types of Christ, and what was done with Zerubbabel’s Temple back there will be done with Ezekiel’s Temple in the Kingdom Age. The Zadok priesthood, the Ancient Worthies, and civil authorities will all be part of the Kingdom arrangement. These types were not perceived at the First Advent, and Satan was an adversary of Jesus, doing everything he could to demean and defile the antitypical Joshua, especially at the beginning and the close of his ministry. The First Advent is contrasted with the next age, when Jesus will be reclothed.
Q: Since Joshua was the high priest, those standing with him were underpriests. In the antitype, do they picture, respectively, Jesus and Christians who are trying to follow in his footsteps?
Q: Please explain again the words “Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee.”
A: The Scriptures tell that Jesus was spotless, holy, and undefiled and that he was without guile or sin of any kind, yet he was crucified as a sinner (Heb. 7:26; Gal. 3:13; 1 Pet. 2:24). He had to be a curse, the principle being a perfect man’s life for a perfect man’s life, that is, a corresponding price. The perfect man Adam had life, but he disobeyed and lost life. The perfect man Jesus earned the right to life, but he forfeited that life for the human race, ransoming not only the Church but also the world of mankind (1 John 2:2).
Therefore, while Jesus was sinless, harmless, and blameless, he was viewed in an unfavorable light by the nation as a whole. Those who accepted him at the First Advent were the sick, yet of the ten lepers who were cleansed, only one returned to give thanks (Matt. 9:12). The other nine did not become Christians, even though they were recipients of a miraculous cure. The point is that in spite of all the healing, the providences surrounding Jesus’ life seemed to be negative.
But nevertheless, the people reflected after his resurrection, and the gospel lived on because Jesus had done some marvelous things that no one could negate. Contemporary writings by rabbis and others could not disallow what the New Testament tells about the events that took place. For example, an earthquake occurred, and a man named Jesus actually lived. If a person sincerely investigates, he can get the truth from the sufficiency of facts that exist, but the amount of error that prevails screens the world so that only a relative few have a hearing ear.
Zech. 3:5 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.
Q: Do the pronouns “me” (verse 1) and “I” (verse 5) refer to Zechariah?
A: Yes. It is helpful to keep in mind that all of the successive visions in chapters 1-6 took place in one night. Zechariah was specially selected to receive these visions, and he had a remarkable memory (enhanced, of course, by the Holy Spirit).
Why did Zechariah say, “Let them set a fair mitre upon his head”? He was so emotionally involved and responsive that when Joshua was being clothed with a change of raiment, the prophet was anxious for him to have a turban around the forehead. A well-known saying among Orthodox rabbis is, “The spirit of Jeremiah was very evident in Zechariah.” A similar emotionalism was apparent in both.
When Joshua was clothed and the turban put on his head, “the angel of the LORD stood by” with approval. The Logos, who had given the orders to take away Joshua’s filthy garments and clothe him with new garments, was inspecting the clothing process to make sure it was done properly (verse 4).
Q: Was the “fair mitre” part of the priestly garments?
A: The mitre was the narrow band to which was fastened the golden plate, or crown, that said, “Holiness to the LORD” (Exod. 28:36,37). Although done to the high priest of the Aaronic priesthood, the crown was a hint of the coming Melchisedec priesthood.
Why was the mitre described as “fair”? As shown in the type, Aaron (picturing Jesus) was first robed in sacrificial garments as a priest for the brotherhood in the Gospel Age. Then later he got the garments of glory and beauty, in which he will perform service for the world in the Kingdom Age (Lev. 16:3,4,23,24). Similarly here, Joshua was first clothed in sacrificial garments, and then his raiment was changed to garments of glory and beauty. In regard to the mitre being put on Joshua’s head, the reference is to something that will occur in our day, yet future.
The mitre was only a linen turban, so the golden plate upon that mitre made it “fair.”
Zech. 3:6 And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying,
Just as Jehovah spoke through the prophets, so here He was speaking through the “angel.” In this vision, which took place about 520 BC—more than 500 years before the First Advent of Christ—the “angel of the LORD” was the mouthpiece of Jehovah.
We now have to use a little supposition. When God broached the matter of man’s redemption to His Son, He did not command Jesus to come down here and die. Jesus was probably very sympathetic to the plight of the human race and wanted to see a restoration from their fallen condition. He witnessed all that was happening, but he did not know that he would be the Messiah. For instance, when the Bible states that Jesus was the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world (Rev. 13:8), did he know before the foundation of the world that he was to die? No. There were things Jesus did not know, as he stated on more than one occasion (Mark 13:32; Rev. 5:1-5).
Thus we find that the setting of this vision was 500-plus years before the First Advent, and the Logos, Michael, was involved (his name was not yet Jesus). The office of Logos—that is, being honored as God’s mouthpiece—was more important than the personal name.
Zech. 3:7 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.
Verse 7 tells what the Logos “protested” to Joshua (see verse 6): “If thou wilt walk in my ways, and … keep my charge [ordinance], then thou shalt also judge my house, and … keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” But what did God mean when He said to Joshua through the Logos, “[If you are obedient] I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by”? In the type, the local picture, we can see that the Israelites lacked diligence at first. Zerubbabel and Joshua went back to the homeland and started with a bang, but that zeal was short-lived, for a period of neglect followed. Then the prophets Haggai and Zechariah appeared to both Zerubbabel and Joshua, telling them to get active and complete the work on the Temple. Thus there was a lapse as far as the literal Joshua and Zerubbabel were concerned back in Zechariah’s day, after which they diligently performed the offices of priest and governor, respectively, on behalf of their people.
The Logos was telling Joshua that the Israelites, if obedient, would have a measure of peace and communication favorable to the administration of the office of high priest. Also, prophets and even Jesus gave sermons in the Temple precincts, and their speaking required peaceful conditions. They would preach in one part of the Temple and then move to another part. In other words, not only would the Temple and its courts be rebuilt, and not only would Joshua and the underpriests serve, but also the Israelites would prosper spiritually.
The first part of verse 7 reminds us of the words God spoke to Solomon: “Concerning this house which thou art in building, if thou wilt walk in my statutes, and execute my judgments, and keep all my commandments to walk in them; then will I perform my word with thee, which I spake unto David thy father” (1 Kings 6:11,12). Solomon’s heart condition was good at that time, at the beginning of his reign, as shown by his prayer for wisdom to judge the Israelites properly. “O LORD my God, … I am but a little child: I know not how to go out or come in. And thy servant is in the midst of thy people which thou hast chosen, a great people, that cannot be numbered nor counted for multitude. Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people, that I may discern between good and bad: for who is able to judge this thy so great a people?” (1 Kings 3:7-9). God was pleased with Solomon’s prayer but also gave a caution: “If thou wilt walk in my ways, to keep my statutes and my commandments, as thy father David did walk, then I will lengthen thy days” (1 Kings 3:14).
Moreover, the Book of Leviticus gives rules, regulations, and requirements for the priesthood.
In the first dispensation, the world before the Flood, God gave the angels an opportunity to lift mankind from their sinful condition. However, many of the holy angels became defiled when they tried to minister to mankind. Instead of performing their errands and returning to heaven, they lingered and stayed and lived down here. In preferring to remain on earth, they left their first estate and became contaminated with sin. The second dispensation, the “present evil world,” was given to Satan, “the god of this world,” under the permission of evil (Gal. 1:4; 2 Cor. 4:4). Satan, a traitor, has entirely wrong motives and ambitions, desiring his own elevation. And during Gentile times, various kings were permitted to see what they could do. In every instance, the efforts of men and angels were failures.
When Jesus saw that the only hope for the redemption of mankind was a corresponding price, he probably suggested, like the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “Here am I; send me” (Isa. 6:8). Of his own initiative, Jesus wanted to come down here and pay that price. Similarly, God does not command Christians to consecrate and give up their earthly hopes. God’s plan was to draw a Little Flock class from mankind, and when we began to understand His plan, we wanted to become identified with it. We asked for forgiveness and declared our desire to become followers of Jesus Christ, promising to be faithful unto death. The Father no doubt told Jesus of the perils of disobedience, saying that he could come down here but that he had to be faithful. God gave similar advice to Solomon at the time of his right heart condition.
Even after the severe test that came upon the angels in the dispensation prior to the Flood, the holy angels outnumbered the unholy ones. What helped them to withstand the evil was seeing God’s glory, seeing God as He is. Even though they were perplexed as to why sin was being permitted, they had faith and obeyed, based on their limited understanding. God had all holiness and power, but when He created man and man sinned, it looked as if God had failed.
The angels who did not succumb to the evil suggestions of that period of time showed an appreciation for God—for who and what He was—even if they could not understand.
And so, prior to consecration, many of us looked at the natural creation and reasoned that there must be a God, even though we did not fully understand what was happening. In time, when we got some understanding of His plan, we said, “Yes, this makes sense.” Then we volunteered and submitted to follow the Lord. But we were told in advance what the result would be if we forsook our consecration vows, namely, extinction.
Jesus was likewise informed. But notice that he was given encouragement first, as stated in verse 7. God told Jesus, “I will give you the privilege of redeeming the human race and bringing them out of this mess.” Jesus thoroughly understood what the conditions were. Because he was perfect, perfect obedience was required.
When Jesus occupied the role, or office, of Logos, he did not have freedom to do things he might have liked to do but had to do what he was told. In contrast, when Lucifer was created, he was not given a restrictive role but was allowed the liberty of walking up and down among the stars of God; that is, he had liberty of access and communication on the various planes of being (Ezek. 28:14). Evidently, the Logos, as God’s spokesman, did not have such liberty but acted as God instructed—whether he spoke to Adam in the Garden of Eden as the “voice” or to Moses or performed some other function (Gen. 3:8-10). Moreover, Jesus would not have come down here to earth unless he was told to do so by his Father. Consider, as an example, a United States ambassador in another country. Normally speaking—and excluding vacation time—an ambassador is tied down with rules and regulations and has to go wherever he is sent. Similarly, the Logos was limited in his role to a certain extent, but in the final analysis, the limitations benefited him and gave him real training. His obedience crystallized his character.
Thus the Logos had the privilege not only of paying the price for man’s redemption but also of communicating with man and trying to lift him up. And that will be Jesus’ role in the Kingdom Age. As Prophet, Priest, and King, he will rule over the earth in a very direct sense, being present in earth’s atmosphere. Satan has misruled, but Jesus will lift mankind up. He will be the administrator, overseeing all the details of the literal Temple with his fellow kings and priests, the glorified Church. During the Gospel Age, he has been preparing a place for them: “In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you … that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2,3). Jesus loves his followers—and he also loves the world (John 3:16). The point is that the administration of the future was held out to him, but it was conditioned by obedience. Just as God had rules and regulations in Old Testament times, so He has rules and regulations in the spirit realm.
Satan had freedom and lost it. Jesus did not have freedom but will receive it. He is privy to all of God’s thinking and activities, for he is in the inner circle of the fellowship of God in the utmost sense of the word.
As high priest, Joshua pertained to the priesthood, and Zerubbabel was the governor, the civil authority. Jesus is to be a King and a Priest, but chapter 3 focuses on the priestly, or healing, aspect of the Kingdom Age, which is probably needed first. In the Old Testament, a priest was a doctor for sick people. A sinner is more interested in being forgiven for sins and having fellowship with God than in other things. To go to other things first is to miss the point of the calling, which is to be conformed to the image of Christ.
A priest stands out. As a judge, the high priest has the antitypical breastplate on his heart. This emotional aspect is very important, but more is needed. Many people are emotionally involved in decision making and do things impulsively that are not too rational. The motive may be good, but the mechanics are not too favorable. Nevertheless, mechanics have their place, for a well-functioning machine has its value.
Joshua was told, “If you are obedient, you will have a ministerial office.” If we are faithful, how wonderful it will be to receive the authority and the miraculous power to heal and to raise the dead—to be accounted by God as worthy of such a reward!
Jesus was placed in a body that was “in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3). Although he may have been a little taller and more noble in appearance, and although his words were seasoned with grace even before he appeared at Jordan and began his ministry, the people who beheld him just saw him as a man. He did not appear as a conqueror or as a charismatic leader until he started his ministry, and then his miracles, plus the way he spoke, enamored many, so that thousands eventually followed him. Then came the shock: the Crucifixion. His death dashed their hopes.
When Jesus was placed down here in a vessel of clay, which was perfect humanity, he had to perfectly obey the Law of God. Therefore, when he was a man prior to his ministry, he had to attend all of the required Jewish feasts (Passover, Pentecost, and Tabernacles). Even during his ministry when the situation was different, he went to some (and perhaps all) of the feasts. The point is that he implicitly obeyed all of the ordinances. Of course Jesus was perfect to start with, but there was a conditional requirement for obedience. Being in the likeness of sinful flesh, he was considered the same as others, yet he was sinless—without sin.
Q: The Lord admonished Joshua by saying, “If thou wilt keep my charge, … I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.” Who was standing by?
A: An element stood by idle. In the priesthood, Joshua awoke from temporary inactivity and became a fireball. This principle also occurred with Jeremiah, who had a period of quiescence, but God’s words were like a fire in his bones (Jer. 20:9). In Zechariah’s day, God’s providence opened the road before Joshua so that he would become an exemplar in behavior and zeal and would thus uplift those associated with him. The inference is that those who stood by were on the scene earlier, even though only the Logos, Joshua, and Satan were mentioned. The suggestion is that others were there witnessing and hearing the conversation. Verse 4 refers to these same individuals as “those that stood before him [the Logos].”
Zech. 3:8 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.
In the continuing vision, the Logos, the “angel of the LORD,” told Joshua that another personage would eventually come on the scene and that his name would be “the BRANCH” (Zech. 3:1,6). Jesus came from Nazareth. Although he was actually born in Bethlehem, he was, to all appearances, born in Nazareth, where he lived for many years. Very few people—just his disciples and immediate family—knew about his birth in Bethlehem.
How wonderful that the word “BRANCH” is in all capital letters, but why was Jesus called “the BRANCH”? There are several reasons. The term reminds us of his saying, “I am the root and the offspring of David” (Rev. 22:16). Not only would Messiah come out of the Davidic line, but David, who was a picture of Christ, would come out of Jesse. “And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” (Isa. 11:1). In his earthly lineage, Jesus inherited royalty.
In the account of Noah and the Flood, the twig brought by the dove to the Ark represented Jesus as “the BRANCH.” The twig was an emblem, or evidence, of the beginning of the assuaging of the Flood. Also, the fact that the twig was brought to Noah identified him as the branch from whom everyone subsequently descended. Being an olive branch, it symbolized peace, and Jesus is called the Prince of Peace (Isa. 9:6). Easy-flowing olive oil is an unguent that soothes wounds. It is interesting that the Logos spoke these words but did not realize he would be that honored one.
Jesus said, “I am the vine, ye are the branches” (John 15:5). From the vine, the main branch, come auxiliary branches, or subdivisions. God expects each of us, as Christians, to bring forth fruit as a result of our being converted, and we should witness to others concerning what the Lord has done for us. The literal Joshua back there was in one sense a representation of the more glorious “Joshua,” who appeared on the scene at the First Advent.
Comment: A cross-reference is Jeremiah 23:5, “Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.”
Reply: Jesus’ coming as a Branch at his First Advent was one aspect. The Jeremiah citation tells that eventually he will be King over the earth. He will execute judgment and be a success in the ones who get life through obedience in the Kingdom. In the final analysis, many will not obey, and the startling fact is that with all the wonderful things Jesus has done in the past, and will do in the future, some people will inherently follow Satan and evil. At the end of the Kingdom Age, the number of those who go up to the Holy City to do verbal battle and demonstrate, and thus go into Second Death, will be as the sand of the sea (Rev. 20:8). Therefore, both the number who are saved and the number who do not get life will be as the sand of the sea.
Earth’s population today is approximately 6 billion—a great number. If half go into Second Death, a large number will not get life. Evidently, the Pastor became very sober on this subject late in life. For example, one observation was that there were more goats than sheep in Israel.
At the dinner table on a Sunday evening at Bethel not long before his death, he questioned how many of the consecrated would make their calling and election sure. The point is that many will follow Satan, who looks beautiful but caters to the flesh by offering many goodies which lead to depravity. All of us, no matter how old or young, must be on guard and not assume we can put off the armor. Satan is very beguiling.
Joshua had people (“fellows”) on his side, and the “angel of the LORD” had people on his side.
The Logos, who appeared to Zechariah, did not know at the time of the vision that he would fulfill the prophetic role. Not until much later did the Logos realize that he would be the select one to redeem mankind.
Q: For “men wondered at,” the King James margin has “men of wonder” or “men of sign.” Is the NIV accurate? It reads, “Listen, O high priest Joshua and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch.” The RSV uses the word “omen”— “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men of good omen: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch.”
A: Yes, that is proper.
Thus far in the study of the Book of Zechariah, we have had several reviews. The peculiar thing about this book is that it bears considerable repetition because if we go through every verse in minute detail, the study gets too heavy in the sense that we do not grasp the overall picture of the purpose of the visions. Therefore, we will have another review at this point. Repetition helps to bring out facets of detail that are easily overlooked.
To begin with, we will state that approximately the first half of the book pertains to Zechariah’s explaining a series of seven visions he had in one evening. The visions, which were given to him one after the other, both opened and closed with a scene of horses. In other words, the first vision pertained to horses, and the seventh vision also concerned horses. This duplication becomes a signal point.
In the vision of horses in the first chapter, Zechariah “saw by night … a man riding upon a red horse, and he stood among the myrtle trees that were in the bottom” (Zech. 1:8). Behind him, there were “red horses, speckled, and white.” In this vision, then, there was a man on a red horse, but the account does not specifically state whether there were riders on the horses behind him. Verse 11 seems to infer that there were riders: “And they answered the angel of the LORD … and said, We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest.” The fact this statement is voiced by “they,” a plural pronoun, could make us jump to the conclusion that the horses had riders who were speaking. However, the conclusion may not be correct because in the last vision of horses in chapter 6, the Prophet Zechariah saw horses and chariots coming out from between two mountains, and no riders are mentioned (Zech. 6:1-8). Thus the question arises, Did the horses have riders, or were the horses riderless? We might reason that horses do not speak, so there must have been riders, but that is not necessarily the case because in the Bible, animals and creatures are shown as speaking. For instance, the serpent in the Garden of Eden spoke to Mother Eve, and that serpent was not created with the ability to speak, even though it was the most subtle of all the creatures in the garden. It was Satan who spoke through the serpent and reasoned with Eve.
Another instance occurred with the Prophet Balaam, who was riding on an ass. When the animal pushed Balaam’s leg against a wall, the prophet beat the animal mercilessly. The ass then turned and said to Balaam, “Why do you beat me? Haven’t I been obedient to you all these many years?” Balaam was so angry that he was not even startled when the ass spoke to him. (This incident shows that anger can interfere with one’s reasoning faculties.)
A third instance is Psalm 96:12, which speaks of a field being joyful and of trees rejoicing and praising God. Moreover, when Jotham spoke to rebellious Israel in a parable, he likened some there to various trees and a bramble (Judg. 9:1-21). The trees spoke like Disney characters.
Thus, on occasion in the Bible, animals and even inanimate objects are pictured as speaking. In still another instance, in connection with a covenant that was being made with the 2 1/2 tribes across the river Jordan, Joshua spoke to a stone so that it would be a witness in the future (Josh. 24:26,27). And Jesus remarked that if the people had not rejoiced and shouted when he entered the city of Jerusalem on a colt, the foal of an ass, the very stones would have cried out (Luke 19:35-40).
These examples are mentioned to show that the horses of Zechariah chapters 1 and 6 represent doctrines, and the doctrines spoke. In the first chapter, no activity was described. The horses (doctrines) that were behind the man on the red horse were at a standstill and said simply, “We have walked to and fro throughout the earth and accomplished our mission.” Since the Book of Zechariah is next to the last book in the Old Testament, these doctrines were laid down and recorded earlier, that is, before Zechariah appeared on the scene. For example, the Ancient Worthies, pictured by the red horses, were represented by the Kohathites in the Tabernacle arrangement, by the ashes of a red heifer, by the statements “I will restore thy judges as at the first” and “there shall be no herd in the stalls” (Isa. 1:26; Hab. 3:17), and by the “prince” who will sit in the east gate of the Third Temple (Ezek. 44:1-3). The Little Flock, pictured by the black-maned horses, were represented by the Amramites on the east (front) side of the Tabernacle, by Rebekah as the “mother of thousands of millions” (Gen. 24:60), by the King’s daughter who marries Jesus in Psalm 45, by the Lord’s goat in the Tabernacle arrangement, and by the bride in the Song of Solomon and the one who gets out of bed before the Lord knocks on the door. The Great Company, the white horses, were pictured by the Merarites around the Tabernacle, by Rebekah’s maids, by the virgin companions of the King’s daughter in Psalm 45, by the scapegoat (Lev. 16:20-22), and by the little sister in the Song of Solomon, who puts off her slippers and robe but finally reacts. These doctrines, which were previously laid down in the Bible, were at a standstill when the Book of Zechariah was written. Later on, in chapter 6, the horse doctrines take on a different significance.
The second vision, the one of four horns and four carpenters, has already been discussed in detail. The third vision was of a man with a measuring line. Zechariah asked him, “Who are you, and what are you doing?” The man replied, “I am going to measure the city of Jerusalem”; that is, he would stretch forth a line over the city. As he went off the scene, the Logos gave instructions to an angel who appeared, telling him to run back and tell Zechariah that there had been a change in the plan. Instead of the city being measured at that time, Zechariah was given the comforting words that there would be no need for a wall around Jerusalem because the city would be inhabited with such an abundance of people. This prophecy is not yet fulfilled.
The Book of Zechariah is different from the other books in the Old Testament in the way it is arranged. This book will speak loudly at the end of the Gospel Age, for it will be of great benefit to two classes: the Great Company (a spiritual class) and the Holy Remnant (a natural element of Israel). This prophetic book will help the Holy Remnant to understand conditions that exist particularly at the time of Jacob’s Trouble.
It is significant that the Prophet Zechariah u ttered the expression “After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations” (Zech. 2:8). Two applications for this expression are as follows.
1. A natural application applied back in Zechariah’s day to the Jews who had returned to Israel from captivity at the time of Cyrus’s decree. To them, Zechariah was saying, “God has sent me as His prophet to inform you that after the destruction of the glory of Solomon’s Temple and the city of Jerusalem, you are now in a condition where you have been restored to your land and are trying to build another Temple. The people who are frustrating you in this building work are touching the apple of God’s eye—and you, Israel, are that apple.”
2. The same pronoun “me” portrays the role of Jesus at the First Advent. He alerted the nation of Israel that God would raise up a prophet of their brethren like unto Moses (Acts 3:22;Deut. 18:15).
In Zechariah 2:11, the prophet said, “Know that the LORD of hosts hath sent me unto thee.” The first application, as explained, was that Zechariah would be sent by God to the people of Israel back there, but another application is that Zechariah and his prophecies will be recognized in the future—much like what will happen with Daniel. Daniel’s prophecies were so specific that it was said he would be a “seal” unto them. “But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end” (Dan. 12:4). In other words, when we saw that the 1,260, the 1,290, and the 1,335 days had been fulfilled, the fulfillment was a “seal,” or a testimony, that Daniel was not only a true prophet of God but also a teller of future events already fulfilled. In the near future, it will be seen that God sent Zechariah many centuries ago to utter prophecies that will be helpful in our day for the Holy Remnant (Zech. 2:9; 4:9; 6:15).
In Zechariah 3:1, Joshua, the high priest, was seen standing before the angel of the Lord. This “angel” (probably the Logos), the messenger from Jehovah, was a constant figure in the various visions. Joshua, representing Jesus future from Zechariah’s day, was pictured with the angel of God and Satan “standing at his right hand to resist him.” This verse sounds a lot like the chapter 1 of the Book of Job, where Satan and God had an allegorical discussion about Job.
In this fourth vision, God rebuked Satan, saying that Jerusalem was a brand plucked out of the fire. Imagine the intense interest of the Lord Jesus Christ in reading this account at his First Advent! When he came to the Book of Zechariah and saw the name “Joshua,” he knew it meant Jesus, his own name. He would have taken much interest in this particular prophetic vision. We feel that this book helped Jesus, for he would have been thoroughly familiar with it even before he was Spirit-begotten at 30 years of age at Jordan. The account mentions that this Joshua had filthy garments.
In regard to the natural application back in Zechariah’s day, the priesthood had lost its honor, and the Temple had been destroyed. Now, with the return of Jews to the homeland, the priesthood was coming back into honor but still did not have its former esteem. In addition, at the First Advent, Jesus was in this role of being robed in filthy garments. Some of the Pharisees said of him, “How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles?” (John 9:16). The Apostle Paul wrote, “For he [God] hath made him [Jesus] to be sin for us, who knew no sin” (2 Cor. 5:21).
And again, “Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without [the appearance of] sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:28).
“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh” (Rom. 8:3). “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree” (Gal. 3:13). From these five Scriptures, we can see that Jesus was a high priest at his First Advent, but to all appearances, he was clothed with filthy garments. During his ministry, he seemed to be an imperfect man just like anybody else, especially when he was put to death on the Cross by crucifixion.
In continuing the review, we note that Zechariah said, “Let them set a fair mitre upon his [Joshua’s] head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the LORD stood by” (Zech. 3:5). Then the angel of the LORD, on behalf of God, “protested unto Joshua”—that is, made Joshua take an oath—saying, “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” (Zech. 3:6,7).
Now we want to know, Who are “these that stand by” in the spiritual fulfillment? The next verse reads, “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at” (Zech. 3:8). Notice, these “men” who sit before Joshua are to be wonders. To get the correct thought, we almost have to read this verse with a magnifying glass.
Therefore, we will read it again with emphasis: “Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee … are men [to be] wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.” These words are significant. In Isaiah 8:18, Jesus spoke prophetically, “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD [Jehovah] hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” In other words, the ones in the vision who were on the sidelines—on a back burner, as it were, unnoticed but recorded—have to do with the Church. They are those who are specially called, plus the other consecrated. Paul provided additional information in the Book of Hebrews: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he [Jesus] also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; And deliver them [primarily the Great Company class] who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage” (Heb. 2:14,15). The Great Company, a unique class that have been called during the Gospel Age, are also children of God. Therefore, “I” and the “fellows,” the “children,” include (1) our Lord Jesus, (2) the Bride class, and (3) even the Great Company as part of the “church of the firstborn” (Heb. 12:23).
Q: Please explain verse 8 again. Where Zechariah said, “Hear now, O Joshua,” does Joshua represent Jesus?
A: Yes, he represents Jesus in the antitype, which is the deeper significance. From a natural standpoint back in Zechariah’s day, these prophecies were meant to be an inspiration to the returned exiles, who were in need of encouragement. Thus these prophecies were worded in a way that would benefit them as well as us today. In the natural picture, the vision was applicable to Israel, and in the antitype, Joshua is Jesus. The “angel of the LORD” was the Logos.
Zech. 3:9 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.
In this highly symbolic vision, Zechariah saw a stone that was set before Joshua, the high priest, and on that stone were “seven eyes.” Wouldn’t we like to see this stone exactly as Zechariah saw it? How were the seven eyes arranged? If the stone is considered to be a pyramid, there is a problem because a pyramid has only four faces. Even if we add an eye to the base of the pyramid, that would account for only five eyes. Therefore, the stone in the vision, in the natural picture, was seven-faceted, having seven faces instead of four. After Zechariah saw this vision, we can be sure that he ran to both Joshua and Zerubbabel to tell them what he had dreamed, and after that, he would have told the people, the nation.
“Behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts.” Notice that Jehovah engraves this stone, which has seven eyes.
The “seven eyes” are the first point that stands out when we read verse 9, and the logical question is, What do they represent? Revelation 4:5 reads, “And out of the throne [of God] proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.” The seven lamps are the “seven Spirits of God,” and “Spirits” in this case represent doctrines. As an illustration, Paul said, “Now the [Holy] Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and [even] doctrines of devils” (1 Tim. 4:1). The Apostle John admonished, “Beloved, believe not every spirit [doctrine], but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1). Thus a “spirit” can be a doctrine that manifests or discloses information and intelligence, and a “spirit” from God gives beneficial understanding.
What is the signification of the seven eyes being seen on the stone in the vision? The stone is the power that has the seven eyes and guides the Church down through the Gospel Age. Of course God is the Author of this intelligence. Immediately we are reminded of Revelation 1:1, “The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him.” In other words, the message did not originate with Jesus, for the Father gave the message to Jesus to disclose to His servants.
God also said, “I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” What “land” and “one day” are the subject of this prophecy? God was referring to the land of Israel at the time He delivers the Holy Remnant out of Jacob’s Trouble. First, the city of Jerusalem will be captured by the enemy force, who will rifle the houses and ravish the women (Zech. 14:2). Subsequently God will go forth and fight for His people as “in the day of battle” in the past (Zech. 14:3). Hence the “one day” corresponds to the “day” of Ezekiel 38:19; 39:8,11,13,22. “For in my jealousy and in the fire of my wrath have I spoken, Surely in that day there shall be a great shaking in the land of Israel…. Behold, it is come, and it is done, saith the Lord GOD; this is the day whereof I have spoken…. And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will give unto Gog a place there of graves in Israel…. Yea, … it shall be to them a renown the day that I shall be glorified, saith the Lord GOD…. So the house of Israel shall know that I am the LORD their God from that day and forward.”
As explained in an earlier study, the “seven eyes” represent wisdom, the seven messages to the Church, and God’s omniscience. God’s eyes “run to and fro through[out] the whole earth” (Zech. 4:10). This prophetic vision showed way back in Zechariah’s day that Jesus, as High Priest and Counselor, would have supervision over the seven stages of the Church. The seven stars, or messengers, correspond to the seven eyes. Accordingly, there have been seven dispensational-message outpourings of the Holy Spirit. Stated another way, the seven eyes picture intelligence that God would use to superintend the seven messengers in a special way.
Revelation 5:6 reads, “And I [John] beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne [of God] and of the four beasts [living beings], and in the midst of the  elders [the Word of God], stood a Lamb [Jesus] as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth.” For example, at the Second Advent, Jesus, the present Lord, feeds his Church through the seventh messenger, who is described as “a faithful and wise servant,” but it is God’s message that Jesus dispenses (Matt. 24:45-47).
Zech. 3:10 In that day, saith the LORD of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree.
Verse 10 is an abrupt change of thought. Through the Logos, God was speaking prophetically to all people, starting with natural Israel. The fulfillment will start quite speedily at the inauguration of the Kingdom, and it will last throughout the Kingdom Age. A radical change will take place not only in Israel but also in the whole setup of the culture that exists today.
Here the expression “in that day” refers to a period of time starting with the deliverance of the Holy Remnant and the establishment of the Kingdom.
Comment: A Scofield footnote reads, “Verse 10 marks the time of fulfillment as in the future kingdom. It speaks of a security which Israel has never known since the captivity nor will know till the kingdom comes.”
Reply: That is a very good comment, for it returns to the theme of chapter 3. In every one of these visions, as the first chapter states, “The LORD answered the angel that talked with me [Zechariah] with good words and comfortable words” (Zech. 1:13). The visions gave assurance and encouragement to the Jews back in Zechariah’s day. For us, too, wherever we are in the end time of the Gospel Age, there is encouragement in regard to God’s dealings in the earth. When this prophecy was given to the Jews in Zechariah’s day, they were all thinking along natural lines. Therefore, having one’s own vine and fig tree was like a condition of rest, peace, sustenance, and self-satisfaction with no dependency on others. It was something to look forward to, for at the time this prophecy was given, the land was laid waste in the Jerusalem area. When Israelites returned after the 70 years, the setting was primarily Jerusalem. They were commissioned to rebuild the Temple and the city, but it was not until 70 or so years later that Nehemiah dealt with restoring the city.
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