Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 3

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

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Verses 1-10


1. The fourth night vision (Zechariah 3:1-5 )

2. The message of the vision (Zechariah 3:6-10 )

Zechariah 3:1-5 . The fourth vision is like the first and second, closely connected with the foregoing one. It gives the crowning event of Israel’s restoration. The prophet recognizes in the figure, which is seen by him, Joshua the high priest, who is standing before the angel of the Lord, while at his right hand stands Satan to oppose him. Joshua was not clothed with his clean, priestly robes, but he wears filthy garments. Jehovah rebukes Satan and terms Jerusalem a brand plucked from the fire. After the accuser is rebuked, the filthy garments of the high-priest are removed, his iniquity is forgiven, and he is clothed with festal raiment. The prophet is so carried away with the vision that he asks that a clean mitre is to be put upon his head. And now, after the high-priest is thus clothed, the Angel of the Lord charges him with an important message: If thou wilt walk in My ways and keep My charge, thou shalt judge My house and also keep My courts. I will give thee access among those standing here, etc. The servant--the branch--is promised, and the stone which is laid before Joshua is to have seven eyes. The iniquity of this land is to be removed in one day, and the vision closes with the peaceful scene, every man inviting his neighbor under the vine and under the fig tree.

The high-priest Joshua in this vision stands as a type of the sinful nation and her priestly calling. Like Joshua in filthy garments, the nation is unclean and defiled. Yet in spite of his filthy garments Joshua was still the high-priest. The gifts and calling of God are without repentance; Israel, in the purposes of God, is still the priest. In the vision Satan is seen, true to his name, the accuser.

He is the enemy of Israel. He has tried in the past to hurt and to destroy the nation of destiny. He knows the purposes of God concerning Israel better than many a learned doctor of divinity, and therefore, he has opposed that people and opposes them still. His opposition has been mostly through nations. How much could be said on this topic! The end of this age will reveal the enemy of Israel, the adversary, as never before in the history of the world. There is to be war in heaven; Michael and his angels going forth to war with the dragon; and the dragon warred, and his angels, and they prevailed not, neither was their place found any more in heaven. And the great dragon was cast down, the old Serpent, he that is called the Devil and Satan, the Deceiver of the whole world, he was cast down to the earth and his angels were cast down with him Revelation 12:7-17 . His wrath will be directed against Israel and Jerusalem. It is the time of which Daniel spoke. “And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of Thy people; and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time Daniel 12:11 .” Once more Satan will try to destroy the people, but the Lord shall rebuke him. Israel will be again, as so often before, like a brand plucked out of the fire. So it has been in the past. Way back when Israel was in Egypt and God was about to send the deliverer, He called Moses from out of the burning bush--Israel’s true type, burning, but never consumed. Oh, how the fire of persecution and adversity has been raging, but again and again the hand of God snatched the burning brand out of the fire at the right moment. The Lord who hath chosen Jerusalem will rebuke Satan. This has not yet come. The coming Lord will commission an angel out of heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he will lay hold on the dragon--the old serpent which is the Devil and Satan--and bind him for a thousand years, and cast him into the abyss and shut it and seal it over him Revelation 20:1-15 ). Then follows the cleansing of Israel and the new charge, all so clearly given in this vision.

The filthy garments are removed by those that stand before the angel of the Lord. The iniquity is taken away, and in place of the filthy garments there is the rich apparel and the fair mitre upon the head. How blessedly all this is waiting for its fulfillment in Israel’s regeneration! When He appears after the times of overturning, He whose right it is, His people Israel will be found by Him in true penitence, acknowledging their offence. It will be a national repentance, a mourning on account of Him, which Zechariah describes in detail in the twelfth chapter.

Zechariah 3:6-10 . Israel was disobedient and did not keep the first charge. It is now repeated, and gives Israel’s future calling after their cleansing. It will be threefold. 1. Judging in the house of the LORD, and from there ruling and judging nations, for Israel will be the head of the nations. The Church will then not be on earth, but occupy her glorious place in the new Jerusalem above the earth. 2. Israel will keep His courts. That is, Israel will attend to the millennial temple, which will become the house of prayer for all nations, which all the former temples were not. 3. Israel will have places to walk amongst those who stand by, that is, among the nations, in priestly ministry. The saved remnant will then be “men which are a wonder,” the miracles of His grace and power. Then the servant, the Branch is announced; a definite Messianic prediction. The stone engraven, with seven eyes upon it, must also mean the redeemed nation, the foundation of the kingdom, filled with His Spirit, for we read in connection with it, “I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” A picture of the conditions of peace and prosperity in the kingdom concludes the fourth night vision.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Zechariah 3". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". 1913-1922.