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Midweek Devotionals

Published weekly on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays.

Midweek Devotional 12/16/2015

Robert Chen

Dear Church:

 

http://www.presbyterianmission.org/devotion/daily/2015/12/16/

ZECHARIAH 3:1-10

1Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2And the LORD said to Satan, "The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand plucked from the fire?" 3Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4The angel said to those who were standing before him, "Take off his filthy clothes." And to him he said, "See, I have taken your guilt away from you, and I will clothe you with festal apparel." 5And I said, "Let them put a clean turban on his head." So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with the apparel; and the angel of the LORD was standing by.

6Then the angel of the LORD assured Joshua, saying 7"Thus says the LORD of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8Now listen, Joshua, high priest, you and your colleagues who sit before you! For they are an omen of things to come: I am going to bring my servant the Branch. 9For on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. 10On that day, says the LORD of hosts, you shall invite each other to come under your vine and fig tree."

This is Zechariah's fourth vision. 

 

(Who was Zechariah? He was a prophet, a contemporary of Haggai. [Who's Haggai? Haggai was a prophet, a contemporary of Zechariah. Circular reasoning, though logically fallacious, can at times shed a little light.] Both Zechariah and Haggai carried out their prophetic ministry during the postexilic period when the exiled Jews came back to Jerusalem from Babylonia. So it was a time of restoration. Chief among the restoration projects was the rebuilding of the temple. Besides the physical restoration was the more important spiritual and relational restoration of the Jews to YHWH as His priestly people. Zechariah was also a member of a priestly family. He was born in Babylonia. A young prophet, he prophesied from 520 to 480 BC.)

 

In this fourth vision, the big theme is about Israel being cleansed and restored as a priestly nation. The figure of Joshua (not the son of Nun, but the son of Jozadak, the high priest [see Haggai 1:1]) represents sinful Israel whose sins will be removed and who will be restored as a priestly nation. The one who will bring about the transformation is called "branch" and "stone." This figure will remove the guilt of the land (symbol for: people) "in a single day." "Branch" and "Stone" are Messianic titles. "In a single day" refers to Good Friday, though some believe it can also refer to Christ's second coming. Coming "under your vine and fig tree" (v. 10) is a picture of security, peace, and provision. 

 

As with other visions that Zechariah receives from YHWH, this fourth vision's fulfillment is found in Jesus the Messiah. The promise of a restored priesthood is fulfilled by the Church in Jesus Christ. Thus, Peter writes to the Church in 1 Peter 2:9, But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.

 

There are other elements of interest in this passage -- for example, the appearance of the accuser, which is a translation of the Hebrew, satan (early Hebrew texts like Job use the definite article -- 'the Satan' -- which will later become simply 'Satan' as a proper name). 

 

The element that I wish to draw your attention is in bold, in verse 7. The angel of the Lord is relaying what the Lord is saying to Joshua: that if Joshua and his priestly associates "walk in [God's] ways and keep [God's] requirements" (i.e., if they are faithful to YHWH), then they will have "the right of access among those who are standing here." Who are the "those who"? The answer is, Angels who carry out God's purposes for Israel. OT language often picture angels in the heavenly courts as God's advisers and messengers. The heavenly divine council with angels in attendance is one of the oldest and consistently depicted scenes for angelic activity and roles.

 

The world of the Bible is far more supernatural than we are accustomed to thinking, so much so that vast majority of our modern churches are simply blind to this very important aspect. Because of this blindness, we do not take in the Bible unfiltered. Our rationalistic, naturalistic theologies tend to filter out the supernatural elements of what we read in the Bible and hence leave us spiritually and conceptually impoverished.

 

[Two books I recommend from the same author on this topic: http://www.amazon.com/Unseen-Realm-Recovering-Supernatural-Worldview-ebook/dp/B0141QB9XA/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1450244386&sr=1-2 and http://www.amazon.com/Supernatural-Bible-teaches-unseen-matters/dp/1577995589/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8]

 

That we have access to the heavenly realm is confirmed in the NT. We read in Ephesians 2:6, And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. 

 

The great encouragement from the Zechariah and the Ephesian passage is that we have access to the unseen, supernatural realm of the Risen Lord and His angels and that our access means co-partnering/co-working with the Lord in carrying out the great purposes of God on the earth. As we walk faithfully with the Risen Lord, we continue to have this access as our inheritance and right. What an incredible place of influence!

 

That we would be encouraged by this truth today!

 

Let's pray: Father God, we thank you for the inheritance we receive as your sons and daughters in Christ. That we are placed in the heavenly realms to intercede and co-partner with you to see your purposes fulfilled on this earth. We thank you for the angels who love you, worship you, and who are completely at your service. We thank you that angels also help us whether we see them or not. We pray, O God, that we would be encouraged by your reality which cannot be reduced to just physical things and actions that we see. Help us to grow in our understanding of you, the Triune God, and the supernatural realm, for the sake of your glory and for the sake of our calling to advance your Kingdom on earth. In Jesus' name, amen.

 

Blessings,

pjohn