This chapter begins with a vision of the priesthood, which wasn’t allowed to operate while the Jews were in exile. The high priest was representative of the entire nation.
Verse 1 – Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.
Verse 2 – And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?
Satan, the accuser, standing right beside Israel’s high priest, ready to tell God how unworthy all of Israel was because of their past sin. God had already judged Israel and Judah, and so He told Satan, (my words) to “Shut it!” “Brand plucked from the fire – implies God’s acquittal of Jerusalem.
Verse 3 – Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.
Verse 4 – Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
Zechariah’s vision portrays how we receive God’s forgiveness and mercy. We can do nothing ourselves to remove our filthy garments, sin, then He provides us with being washed clean and gives us His righteousness.
2 Corinthians 5:21 – For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
Any time Satan tries to make you feel guilty and filthy because of your past, just remember, you have been washed clean in Christ’s blood and Christ’s blood makes you righteous to stand before God.
Verse 5 – And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the LORD stood by.
After the consecration of a high priest, the forgiveness of sin is portrayed with a change of apparel. In a complete reversal, which could only happen by divine decree, Joshua is given a clean set of clothes.
Verse 6 – The the Angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying,
Verse 7 – “Thus says the LORD of hosts: “If you will walk in My ways, and if you will keep My commandments, then you shall also judge MY house, and likewise have charge of My courts; I will give you places to walk among these who stand here.
Obedience was a prerequisite if the people were to enjoy God’s favor and perform his duties as high priest.
Verse 8 – ‘Hear, O Joshua, the high priest, you and your companions who sit before you, for they are a wondrous sign; for behold, I am bringing forth My Servant the BRANCH.
Verse 9 – For behold, the stone that I have laid before Joshua: upon the stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will engrave its inscription,” says the LORD of hosts, ‘And I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.
Verse 10 – In that day, says the LORD of hosts, ‘Everyone will invite his brother under his vine and under his fig tree.’ ”
The priesthood had to be reinstated when the exiles returned to the land. The high priest was the mediator between God and the nation. Thus he represented the coming Messiah, the BRANCH, who would change the whole order of God’s dealing with people’s sin. Jesus, our High Priest, who offered, once for all, the sacrifice of Himself to take away our sins.