The Victory of the Redeemed, Zechariah 3. At the time of the writing of Zechariah, God’s people were in trouble. Satan stood at the right hand of Joshua the high priest to oppose him. He sought to condemn the people of God. However, Joshua stood before (in the presence of) the Angel of the Lord.
The reason Satan sought to condemn Joshua (representative of the righteousness remnant of Israel) derived from verse 3 of Zechariah 3. Joshua, clothed with filthy garments declared their sinful condition. In offering the “blood of bulls and goats” he could effect no lasting cleansing and thereby righteousness through them, (Heb. 10:1-4). Mere shadows of the coming redemption in Christ, they failed to atone.
Satan knew this and sought to cash in early on his winnings. However, the Angel of the Lord intervenes. Rather than attack Satan, he replies. “The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire? Meaning, the remnant being spared destruction in the fire, would be purified, shaped and fashioned into a vessel or tool worthy of God’s use.
Take Away the Filthy Garments
The Angel of the Lord orders the filthy garments to be taken away. He called attention to this that it might be noticed. “See, I have removed your iniquity from you.” Observe that it is the Angel himself who removes this iniquity. This invites an investigation into the person of this Angel. According to Jude 9, which recounts the text, he is called Michael the Archangel. He is seen here in removing the sin of Joshua the High Priest, but not only of him, as he speaks to “those” who stand before him. Thus, the remnant is included.
Michael the Archangel
Described as one of the chief princes who helps God’s people Israel in their time of trouble; his role particularly addresses the needs of Israel in their latter days. See Daniel 10:13-14. Daniel 12:1ff shows that this great prince stands watch over God’s people particularly in the time of the end and resurrection. Revelation 12:7-11 portrays his battle with Satan and his angels. The latter are defeated and cast out. The correlation is unmistakable. Zechariah, Daniel and John describe the endtime events of Israel’s last days in which Christ defeats Satan and delivers the remnant from the power of sin and death.
Clothed With Rich Robes
After removing their filthy garments, the Angel of the Lord, (Michael) clothes them with rich robes. This refers to the fine linen and righteousness of the saints received at the time of the marriage.
“I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its bud, as the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.”
Note the dual reference here to the wedding and the resurrection. The righteous garment imagery recalls Ephesians 5:27 and Revelation 19:7-8. The analogy of the earth bringing forth its bud” typifies Israel sown in corruption and raised in incorruption, springing forth in righteousness in the kingdom of God. It is the time of Israel’s salvation. Observe the events of Revelation 19 are preceded with praise and shouts of Salvation and Alleluia!
You Are A Wondrous Sign!
Joshua, the High Priest of the Old Covenant along with the entire priesthood were a sign that God would bring His Servant, the BRANCH. This is Christ. See Isaiah 11:1f. Zechariah’s focus is therefore Israel’s endtime in the last days. Daniel shows this time to be when the power of the holy people was completely shattered. Matthew quoting Daniel 12:1, in verse 21, declares it is fulfilled within the first century generation, (Matthew 24:34). In so doing he likewise connects, Michael, the Archangel with Matt. 24:31, and 1 Thess. 4:16.
The practical outworking of this message permeates the writings of Paul and the Apostles. He writes: “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and further is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ. Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?…Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ( Romans 8:31-39) I shall offer no other comment for the believer today other than, “Rejoice and again, I say rejoice!
For a detailed explanation of the correlation in Daniel and 1 Thess. 4, See “We Shall Meet Him In the Air,” by Don K. Preston. Don and I will share the platform with other speakers on these themes in Daleville, Al, next week, Thursday through Saturday, February 11-13, 2010.