Zechariah 3:1-5 Spiritual Warfare And The High Priest’s Commissioning.
Zechariah had a vision of the Glory-Presence of the LORD of hosts, the very throne room of heaven, and here he was shown “Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan at his right hand to oppose him” (v. 1 Cf. 6:11; Ezra 5:2; Hag. 1:1). This was a gathering of a heavenly council, where the counsel of the LORD and His Angel held court. There certainly was a direct application to the circumstances in the prophet’s day, but it also is reflective of the dynamic that has always taken place, of spiritual forces behind the events of history (Cf. I Chr. 21:1; Job 1:6). Satan stood as the high priest’s accuser, and those who were with him (Cf. Ps. 109:6; Rev. 12:9-10). To this end it also looked to a future High Priest who would bring about the ultimate fulfillment of what we read here.
In this council meeting we read of the covenant LORD’s rebuke spoken to Satan, their adversary and ours (v. 2a Cf. Mk. 1:25; 9:25; Jude 9). Again, the covenant name of LORD is used here, and Satan is rebuked because Jerusalem, His covenanted people throughout the world, are His chosen ones. However, this reference also distinguishes between those who are members by mere externals or physical descent, and those to whom this defence specifically applies-namely, the remnant. “There is a remnant according to the election of grace” (Rom. 11:5; Jude 23). There has always been this distinction, what we have come to call a distinction between the visible and invisible church. It did not mean that the remnant escaped any judgment, but it was for discipline and not a cutting off from the covenant.
Even though Joshua the high priest was regarded as part of the remnant, he “was clothed with filthy garments” (v. 3). The question would be whether he and the rest of the remnant would prove their election through true repentance and faith (Cf. Amos 4:11). Equally true for the true remnant, is the prerequisite of grace. “And now for a little while grace has been shown from the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant to escape, and to give us a peg in His Holy Place, that our God may enlighten our eyes and give us a measure of revival in our bondage” (Ezra 9:8 Cf. v. 9). It is this very thing which we see happening here, because it was the Angel of the LORD, here simply LORD, who commanded that Joshua’s filthy garments be removed, symbolizing his iniquity being taken away.
Joshua was not left naked, rather he was clothed instead with the rich robes of covenantal redemption, even as Adam and Eve had been clothed by God Himself in that first administration of the one covenant of grace (Gen. 3:21). This was the good news of salvation (Cf. Is. 61:10). The fact that this work began with the high priest, was an even greater cause for joy, as he would be tasked with leading God’s people in this renewal of the covenantal bond (Cf. II Chr. 6:41-42; Ps. 132:9, 16). “God makes Joshua fit for the priesthood by giving new garments. In this way Joshua is a type of the coming BRANCH (v. 8), who will fulfill a priestly function and provide clothing of righteousness for us from His own merit. The turban was part of the high priest’s dress” (NGSB p.1460 Cf. Ex. 28:36-38; 29:6).