Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Zechariah 3 sermon prep - part 2

Is there a clearer spiritual viewpoint anywhere else in the Old Testament than in Zechariah Chapter 3?  

The fourth of eight visions in Zechariah is of the High Priest of Zechariah's day on the Day of Atonement. The High Priest; Joshua, is viewed in the spiritual realm in God's Holy court.  The court is presided over by an angel of the Lord.  While only Joshua goes into the Holy Place in the physical world, it is Joshua and Satan who are before God in the spiritual realm. 

Satan is present, yet Satan is given no chance to utter accusations:

 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!
The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you!
Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”  
Zechariah 3:2 NIV

Now, there are a few fantastic things to unpack from verse 2:

1. "rebuke" is repeated.  It appears twice.  Zechariah is clearly emphasizing that Satan stood no chance to accuse.  Repetition of words is a keen way to emphasize the message.  Word repetition occurs, for instance, with the word 'comfort' in Isaiah 40:1

2. The reference to Jerusalem as 'chosen' affirms God's promise to the nation of Israel.  It reflects Zechariah's earlier text in Zechariah 1:17 of comfort and choice:

 “Proclaim further: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘My towns will again overflow with prosperity, and the Lord will again comfort Zion and choose Jerusalem.’”

3. The 'burning stick snatched from the fire' is illustrative of how God restored the Israelites to their land out of the heathen nation to which they had been exiled.  The stick has been snatched so that God may fulfill in Israel his plan of providing a Savior.  The exile is identified as a furnace in Isaiah:

 "See, I have refined you, though not as silver;
I have tested you in the furnace of affliction".

4. Points 1 to 3 add up to a glorious sum.  They point to God's desire for the restoration of the spiritual practices of Israel as Jerusalem is re-populated and the temple rebuilt.  The burning stick snatched from the fire is to again enjoy all the comforts of being a city, and a people, under God.  The points also illustrate the future that God has in store when we stand in the Holy courtroom with the ultimate High Priest Jesus beside us.  Satan will be there at the right side of Jesus yet we do not need to have any fear. Jesus will claim us as his child to wit Satan will not be able to utter one accusation.

Haggai and Zechariah are contemporaries and their writings overlap in time for part.  Where Haggai is primarily concerned with the physical restoration of Jerusalem, Zechariah flourishes the spiritual aspects.  It is a blessing to peer into the spiritual realm of that which is occurring in God's holy courtroom. 

{ Part 3 is linked}


Note: all links good as at 1 August 2017
Note: Joshua and Jesus are from the same root Hebrew word.

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