Zechariah chapter three
is a vision of "Joshua the high priest
standing before the Angel of the LORD." He is
standing because he is conducting his priestly
duties representing the nation Israel (Deut. 10:8; 2
Chron. 29:11). This not Joshua, the son of Nunn,
whom we encounter in the book of Joshua. This Joshua
is a type of the high priest of Israel who is to
come because he and his priestly companions are said
to be "men symbolic of things to come" (v. 8).
Satan is seen standing at
the right hand of Joshua accusing him before the
Angel of the LORD. The presence of Satan changes the
scene from a priestly one to judicial. Because of
God's gracious love and choice of Israel the Angel
of the LORD acquits Joshua. The basis of the rebuke
is God's choice of Israel. Walvoord and Zuck note
that in the figure before us just as "the high
priest represented the entire nation on the Day of
atonement, so here Joshua the high priest was
accused and acquitted on behalf of the nation
Israel." The acquittal took the form of removing the
filthy garments (vv. 3-5) and clothing Joshua with a
Hengstenberg notes the
Messiah "could be represented as the antitype of the
priesthood, only so far as he was to effect in the
most perfect manner that mediation and expiation
which had been but partially effected by the later."
The Angel of the
The Angel of the LORD is
to be identified as the preincarnate Christ. He
speaks as LORD and yet distinguishes Himself from
the LORD when He addresses Satan. Moreover, He
virtually forgives sins. "The LORD said to Satan . .
. "The LORD rebuke you, Satan!'" (v. 2). In verse
four the Angel of the LORD says, "See, I have taken
your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with
"Now listen, Joshua the
high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in
front of you—indeed they are men who are a symbol,
for behold, I am going to bring in My servant the
Branch. For behold, the stone that I have set before
Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes. Behold, I will
engrave an inscription on it,' declares the Lord of
hosts, 'and I will remove the iniquity of that land
in one day. In that day,' declares the Lord of
hosts, 'every one of you will invite his neighbor to
sit under his vine and under his fig tree' " (vv.
Joshua and his companions
prefigured the future cleansing of the nation. Of
course, this future cleansing is linked to the one
who comes in the future with three messianic titles.
He is revealed here as My Servant, the Branch and
As the Servant of Yahweh,
we know from the prophet Isaiah that Jesus Christ
came to do the Father's will (Isa. 42:1; 49:3-4;
50:10; 52:13; 53:11; Ezek. 34:23-24). Zechariah
probably has in mind Isaiah 52-53 because he says in
verse nine the Messiah will remove the iniquity of
the land. He is the Lord's Servant because of His
willing, patient and perfect obedience to His Father
(Ps. 40:6-8; Isa. 42:1ff; 49:1-5; 52:13ff; 53:1f).
In John 5:30 Jesus said, "I can do nothing on My own
initiative. As I hear, I judge; and My judgment is
just, because I do not seek My own will, but the
will of Him who sent Me."
Jesus Christ is the
humble descendent of king David who will bring the
kingdom out of its fallen state and reign in power
and glory (Isa. 4:2; 11:1; Jer. 23:5; 33:15; Zech.
"I am going to bring My
Servant the Branch," Zemach, or literally "the
Sprout." Zechariah uses the word simply as a proper
name for the Messiah. "My servant Branch" is exactly
the same as Ezekiel's "My Servant David" (Ezek.
34:23-24; 27:24). The idea comes from Jeremiah 23:5;
33:15, where the promise is given that a righteous
Sprout or a Sprout of righteousness shall be raised
up to Jacob. Jeremiah used the figure of the
descendent of David who would create righteousness
upon the earth and the Branch of Yahweh (cf. Isa.
11:1-2). The Messiah is to spring up as a rod out of
the stem of Jesse that has been hewn down, or as a
root-shoot out of dry ground. The Branch denotes the
Messiah in His origin from the family of David that
has fallen into humiliation. The sprout will grow up
from its original state of humiliation to exaltation
and glory. In Zechariah the deeply humiliated
priesthood is exalted by the grace of God into a
type of the Messiah. The removal of iniquity is the
exclusive work of the Messiah. The early Jews
admitted that "the servant of the Lord, Zemach"
meant the Messiah.
Calvin said, "He compares
Christ to a sprout, because he appeared to spring,
as it were, from nothing—because his origin was
The rabbis said the stone
occupied the empty place on the Ark of the Covenant
in the most holy place of the second temple. Early
expositors were almost unanimous in referring the
stone to the Messiah. However, most scholars see the
stone representing something already in existence.
Hengstenberg says, "The unhewn stone, which is to be
polished and carved by the Lord, is a figurative
representation of the nation and kingdom of God,
descriptive of its present lowly condition, and the
glory, which it is afterwards to receive from the
Lord." Keil notes, "The stone is the symbol of the
kingdom of God." The stone represents the kingdom of
the Messiah King.
We know from Daniel the
Lord Jesus Christ is the crushing stone that rolls
over the Gentiles bringing God's judgment at the end
of the age (Daniel 2:44-45). He is also a stone of
stumbling for unbelieving Israel (Rom. 9:31-33). Cf.
Psalm 118:22; Matt. 21:42; 1 Peter 2:5-6.
The statement "on one
stone are seven eyes" (v. 9) may be taken either
upon one stone are seven eyes, or seven eyes are
directed upon one stone (Keil). In Revelation 5:6
the seven eyes of the Lamb are the seven Spirits of
God, and with the sevenfold eyes of Yahweh, they are
the sevenfold radiations of the Spirit of Yahweh
(Isa. 11:2) (Keil). The "seven eyes" on "one stone"
is probably the wisdom and intelligence of the
Messiah or the Holy Spirit upon Him (Isa. 11:2; Rev.
5:6). The seven eyes indicate perfect insight and
perfect knowledge and powers of the all-knowing
The mediatorial priest in
Zechariah points to the mediatorial office and
atoning work of the Messiah. Ultimately Jesus Christ
is one who cleanses Israel and "removes the iniquity
of this land in a single day" (v. 9). The
deliverance from the exile shows that "Joshua and
his friends were smoking sticks plucked by the
omnipotence of grace from the fire of merited
judgment." But this miracle points beyond itself to
"an incomparably greater and better act of the
sin-absolving grace of God, which is still in the
future." It is fulfilled in the coming of the
Branch. "I will remove the iniquity of the land in
one day" was accomplished at Calvary when Jesus
Christ died once and for all to take away sin (Heb.
7:27; 9:12; 10:10; 9:12; 10:14; 9:26; Ps. 103:12;
Rev. 5:6; Acts 10:43). The wiping away of sin will
be effected by the Messiah and will not have to be
continually repeated, but will be finished all at
once. The day of completion was at Calvary.
Keil and Delitzsch note
the train of thought: "Jehovah will cause His
servant Zemach to come, because he will prepare His
kingdom gloriously, and exterminate all the sins of
His people and land at once. By the wiping away of
all guilt and iniquity, not only of that which rests
upon the land, but also of that of the inhabitants
of the land, i.e. of the whole nation."
This could refer to the
first coming of Christ when He died as the sinner's
substitute on the cross paying our sin debt.
Moreover, Walvoord says, "it is more likely a
reference to the day of His Second Advent when at
the end of the future Tribulation period the merits
of His death will be applied to believing Israel
The Branch will usher in
a time of security and peace. The chapter closes
with a picture of millennial blessing that follows
the return of Christ. God's people are seen sitting
"under his vine and under his fig tree" (v. 10)
indicating security, peace and prosperity through
the reign of the Branch of David. "That day" seems
to refer to the whole time of blessing which follows
the coming of Christ. The Branch is the Prince of
peace who brings perfect peace to those who call
upon His name (Rom. 5:1).
Because of this great Day
of Atonement we have the privilege as believers of
coming to the very throne of God with boldness by
means of the blood of Jesus (Heb. 10:19) and have no
need of any human priest or mediator (John
16:23-27). Every believer is now a member of the
royal priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6; 5:10;
20:6). Let's exercise our priesthood! He has washed
us and made our garments clean with His blood.
It is my prayer that you
will let Jesus Christ, the Son of the living God,
the Messiah become the desire of your heart. He will
give you His perfect peace right now is you will
believe on Him. If you need help in knowing Him in
an intimate personal relationship here is A
Free Gift for You.
3:8 My Servant, the Branch and the Stone
Christ in the Old Testament