It’s high drama in a heavenly courtroom courtesy of PTV (Prophetic Television). Front and center is Joshua the high priest, clothed with filthy garments, the evidence of past unfaithfulness and dereliction of duty. Standing at his right hand is Satan, his accuser. The damning evidence presented is without dispute. Presiding is the angel of the LORD.
And the LORD said to Satan, “The LORD rebuke you, O Satan! The LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?” . . . And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” (Zechariah 3:2, 4 ESV)
Joshua the high priest, the representative of the people of God, stands defiled and dirty. He and his people wearing the same clothes, in a sense, that they wore when they went into captivity some 70 years earlier. The captivity, while being a consequence of their spiritual infidelity, could not atone for their unfaithfulness. While they had born a measure of punishment for their sin, it was not sufficient to pay the wages of their sin. And so, even 70 years later, after a lifetime in Babylon, the accuser brushes off the old “press clippings” . . . digs out the original evidence . . . and demands appropriate retribution for their transgression.
But Satan is rebuked and he is dismissed. Joshua, the representative of the people, is likened to a brand plucked from the fire, delivered from the oppression of a land not his own. What’s more, the filthy garments are removed and Joshua, and by extension the people, are clothed with pure vestments.
But how does a just God just “take away” a nation’s iniquity? On what equitable basis are filthy garments removed? By what economy do failure-priests receive new and pure vestments?
. . . behold, I will bring My servant the BRANCH. For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. (Zechariah 3:8b-9 ESV)
Joshua, and the people he represents, stand before a holy God in white garments, while Satan retreats in defeat, because of a single day. A day in which all their iniquity was removed. What a difference a day can make!
It is the day of God’s servant, the BRANCH. The day the holy One of God offers a once for all sacrifice for sin so that the wages of sin might be paid in full. That payment justly credited to all who confess their unclean garments and appropriate it for their transgression. That payment not only canceling their debt, but overflowing as a cleansing fount, making the sinner clean and clothe him with a robe of righteousness. All in a single day.
The day of atonement . . . foreshadowed in the Law of Moses . . . fulfilled in the cross of Christ.
Behold the Branch! Rebuke the accuser! Bear the imputed righteousness of Another because of the once-for-all atoning sacrifice of heaven, the risen Son of God!
What a difference a day can make! Hallelujah!
To Him be all glory for such abundant and eternal grace!