Lesson 21 | Sabbath, 23 May 2020
“Satan seeks to bring us into temptation, that the evil of our characters may be revealed before men and angels, that he may claim us as his own. In the symbolic prophecy of Zechariah, Satan is seen standing at the right hand of the Angel of the Lord, accusing Joshua, the high priest, who is clothed in filthy garments, and resist- ing the work that the Angel desires to do for him. This represents the attitude of Satan toward every soul whom Christ is seeking to draw unto Himself. The enemy leads us into sin, and then he accuses us before the heavenly universe as unworthy of the love of God…. And unto Joshua He said, ‘Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.’ Zechariah 3:1-4.” –Thoughts from the Mount of Blessing, pp. 116, 117.
A vision of the high priest under accusation
- What vision did the Lord give to the prophet Zechariah? What was Satan doing at the right hand of the Angel of the Lord?
Zechariah 3:1 And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.
“The scene of Satan’s accusation was presented before the prophet. He says, ‘He showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.’ Jesus is our great High Priest in heaven And what is He doing? He is making intercession and atonement for His people who believe in Him. Through His imputed righteousness, they are accepted of God as those who are manifesting to the world that they acknowledge allegiance to God, keeping all His commandments. Satan is full of malignant hatred against them, and manifests to them the same spirit that he manifested to Jesus Christ when He was upon earth.” –Testimonies to Ministers and Gospel Workers, p. 37.
- In what condition was the clothing that Joshua the high priest wore? Who defended him against the adversary’s accusations? Who else has a De- fender at the Father’s throne?
Zechariah 3:2, 3 And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? 3Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel.
1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: “‘In a vision in 1880 I asked, ‘Where is the security for the people of God in these days of peril?’ The answer was, ‘Jesus maketh intercession for His people, though Satan standeth at His right hand to resist Him…. As man’s Intercessor and Advocate, Jesus will lead all who are willing to be led, saying, ‘Follow Me upward, step by step, where the clear light of the Sun of Righteousness shines.’” –Life Sketches of Ellen G. White, p. 324.
“We read in the prophecy of Zechariah that Satan with all his synagogue stood up to resist the prayers of Joshua the high priest, and to resist Christ, who was about to show decided favor to Joshua….
“The course of Christ in dealing even with the adversary of souls should be an example to us in all our intercourse with others never to bring a railing accusation against any; much less should we employ harshness or severity toward those who may be as anxious to know the right way as we are ourselves.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, p. 240.
His clothing completely changed
- What command did the Defender give to “those that stood before Him” regarding the high priest’s stained clothing? What is represented by taking “away the filthy garments from him”?
Zechariah 3:4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.
“Standing before the broken law of God, the sinner cannot cleanse himself; but, believing in Christ, he is the object of His infinite love and clothed in His spot- less righteousness. For those who believe in Christ, Jesus prayed: ‘Sanctify them through Thy truth: Thy word is truth:… that they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us, that the world may be- lieve that Thou hast sent me. And the glory which Thou gavest Me I have given them; that they may be one, even as We are one.’ John 17:17-22.” –Faith and Works, p. 108.
- Once the dirty clothing was gone, with what garments was Joshua clothed? What do the change of garments and the fair mitre represent spiritually?
Zechariah 3:5 And I said, Let them set a fair mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.
“Your heavenly Father will take from you the garments defiled by sin. In the beautiful parabolic prophecy of Zechariah, the high priest Joshua, standing clothed in filthy garments before the Angel of the Lord, represents the sinner. And the word is spoken by the Lord, ‘Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment…. So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments.’ Zechariah 3:4, 5. Even so God will clothe you with ‘the garments of salvation,’ and cover you with ‘the robe of righteousness.’ Isaiah 61:10. ‘Though ye have lien among the pots, yet shall ye be as the wings of a dove covered with silver, and her feathers with yellow gold.’ Psalm 68:13.” –Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 206.
- What conditional promises did the Angel of the Lord make to the minister of intercession? What do the Lord’s promises mean to God’s people?
Zechariah 3:6, 7 And the angel of the Lord protested unto Joshua, saying, 7Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in my ways, and if thou wilt keep my charge, then thou shalt also judge my house, and shalt also keep my courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.
“We need divine help if we would keep our lights burning. But Jesus died to provide that aid. He extends the invitation: ‘Let him take hold of My strength, that he may make peace with Me; and he shall make peace with Me.’ Cling to the arm of Infinite Power; then you will find Him precious to your soul, and all heaven will be at your command. ‘If we walk in the light, as He is in the light,’ we shall have the companionship of holy angels. To ‘Joshua’ it was said, ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts: If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge,… I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.’ And who are ‘these that stand by’? They are the angels of God. Joshua must have a living, confiding trust in God every day; and then angels would walk with him, and the power of God would rest upon him in all his labors.” –Reflecting Christ, p. 168.
“The change is given on condition, ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts; If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.’ Zechariah 3:7.” –Manuscript Releases, vol. 20, pp. 190, 191.
The Branch accomplishes the miracle
- How was the ministry of Joshua and his co-workers considered? Whom would the Lord send to make the priestly work glorious?
Zechariah 3:8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.
“Now is reached the complete fulfillment of those words of the Angel: ‘Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they are men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the Branch.’ Zechariah 3:8. Christ is revealed as the Redeemer and Deliverer of His people. Now indeed are the remnant ‘men wondered at,’ as the tears and humiliation of their pilgrimage give place to joy and honor in the presence of God and the Lamb. ‘In that day shall the branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth shall be excellent and comely…. And it shall come to pass, that he that is left in Zion, and he that remaineth in Jerusalem, shall be called holy.’ Isaiah 4:2, 3.” – Testimonies for the Church, vol. 5, pp. 475, 476; Lift Him Up, p. 377.
- What special stone did the Lord place before the high priest? How long does it take to completely remove iniquity from one who builds upon the living “stone”?
Zechariah 3:9, 10 For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the Lord of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day. 10In that day, saith the Lord of hosts, shall ye call every man his neighbour under the vine and under the fig tree. [See End Note 3]
For additional study
“Your mind was given that you might understand how to work. Your eyes were given that you might be keen to discern your God-given opportunities. Your ears are to listen for the commands of God. Your knees are to bow three times a day in heartfelt prayer. Your feet are to run in the way of God’s commandments. Thought, effort, talent, should be put into exercise, that you may be prepared to graduate into the school above and hear from the lips of One who has overcome all temptations in our behalf the words: ‘To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne.’ ‘Thus saith the Lord of hosts, If thou wilt walk in My ways, and if thou wilt keep My charge, then thou shalt also judge My house, and shalt also keep My courts, and I will give thee places to walk among these that stand by.’ Revelation 3:21; Zechariah 3:7.” –Testimonies for the Church, vol. 6, p. 298.