Monday, November 12, 2012

Zechariah 3 & 4 - Clean Garments and Empowered Lives

LINK: Zechariah 3 & 4

BACKGROUND

The Fourth Vision - Clean Garments for the High Priest (Zechariah 3)

This vision speaks of Israel's internal cleansing from sin. Unlike the first three visions, this one contains no questions from Zechariah and answers from the angel. Joshua, the high priest who returned with Zerubbabel from Babylon, stands (in his priestly duty) before the angel of the LORD (some commentators believe this is the preincarnate Christ because he "takes away" sins [3:4]). Representing the whole nation, Joshua wears "filthy" garments which literally mean "excrement-covered" (Commentary on Zechariah by Merrill F Unger, p. 59). Satan accuses Joshua of sin before the angel, but the angel rebukes him stating that Jerusalem had been plucked from the fire of captivity for a purpose. Israel was acquitted and given clean garments symbolizing the forgiveness and restoration of Israel as a priestly nation (Exodus 19:6).

The Scarlet Thread of Redemption

There is a symbolic  message with "the Servant, the Branch, and the Stone" (3:8-9). Christ is the Servant who came to do the will of the Father (Isaiah 42:1; 49:3-4; 50:10; 52:13; 53:11). Christ is the Branch in that He is from the Davidic branch that will rise to become King (Isaiah 4:2, 11:1 - Stay tuned for our discussion of the "Jesse Tree" next week!). As the Stone, He is the cornerstone (Matthew 21:42; 1 Peters 2:6), a stone of stumbling (1 Peter 2:8), rejected stone (Matthew 21:42), smitten stone (Exodus 17:6; 1 Corinthians 10:4), and the smiting stone (Daniel 2:34-35). At His first coming, Jesus was a stumbling stone because Israel rejected Him but the foundational cornerstone of the church. When He comes again, He will smite all other kingdoms and establish His kingdom!

The Fifth Vision - The Lampstand and Two Olive Trees (Zechariah 4)

This lampstand was supernaturally supplied with golden oil flowing from two olive trees to the bowl and on to seven channels to each of the seven lights on the lampstand. The two olive trees symbolized Joshua and Zerubbabel in their priestly and kingly roles for the people of God (4:14). This vision symbolized that, despite the opposition, God would give them success to complete the task of rebuilding the temple and shining His light because of His Spirit and not because of their might and power.

REFLECTION

Satan is never a savory subject, but he is alive and kicking. We see him in his role as accuser in Zechariah 3. We learned in Job 1-2 that he has access to God's throne. Also, we know that He accuses God's people "day and night"(Revelation 12:10).

Satan has grounds for accusation! There is no denying that we are sinful people and deserve condemnation for our sins. Our Righteous Judge cannot ignore our sins, but Jesus Christ is our Advocate as He represents us before the throne of God when we sin (1 John 2:1-2). He was "delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification" (Romans 3:25). Satan's accusations mean nothing because Jesus already died for those sins, and He has covered us in His righteousness!

Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.

Who will bring a charge against God's elect? God is the one who justifies; who is the one who condemns? Christ Jesus is He who died, yes, rather who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us. (Romans 8:1-2; 33-34)

When "we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9). Then, the case is closed! God cannot condemn us for sins His own Son has already covered. He goes beyond that to cover us in His righteousness. "I will put rich garments on you" (Zechariah 3:4) not garments of our own making like Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:7) but garments in which blood was shed (Genesis 3:21) and suitable to cover us in righteousness.

That is GOOD NEWS!

APPLICATION

Have a time of confession before the Lord and rejoice in His righteousness today. Also, invite God's Spirit to work in and through you to accomplish the impossible!

"Not by might nor by power,
but by My Spirit,"
says the Lord of hosts.
(Zechariah 4:6)

PRAYER

Lord, the enemy accuses us day and night, but we have an Advocate, Jesus Christ, the righteous! We praise You that as we confess our sins, You are faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Lord, despite opposition, you want to empower us by Your Spirit for a purpose. Lord, use us to do the impossible today! We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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