Zechariah’s Near and Far Visions, Pt 3

October 24, 2017 at 2:10 PM 3 comments

In our last installment on Zechariah’s Near and Far Visions, Pt 2, we went over aspects of chapter 2 and pointed out that from the first chapter to the second, the scene switches to a time that has not yet come upon us. That time is the Millennial Kingdom over which Jesus Himself will physically, visibly, and personally rule over all the earth. He will do so from His father David’s throne in Jerusalem. This aspect of the future will fulfill many as yet unfulfilled areas of Scripture.

Zechariah 3 is an interesting chapter for what we see there as well. We go behind the curtain that normally keeps us from seeing what goes on in the spiritual world. These portions of Scripture are extremely insightful and can teach us much, if we will allow the Holy Spirit to engage our minds with the text.

Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. – Zechariah 3:1 ESV

Zechariah sees Joshua, the high priest and he stands before the angel of the Lord.

Allow the text to create the image for you. Joshua, a human being, sinful, though dedicated to God, was standing literally in God’s Presence as he likely ministered in the Temple.

Picture yourself standing before God with your sin nature still intact. Yes, you’re saved and because of it, you are justified (clothed in Christ’s righteousness). However, as you stand there, you feel filthy because of the presence of your sin nature.

Try to imagine how you would react if you were in Joshua’s shoes. In the New Testament, we have the apostle John on the island of Patmos taken to God’s throne in a vision and he was filled with dread. We see this in Revelation 1:17-18 as a reaction to seeing the Living Christ, in His glory.

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. (Emphasis added)

Notice in Zechariah, Satan was accusing Joshua the same way he accuses us before God (Revelation 12:10). What could Joshua say? How could he defend himself?

Jesus (the Angel of the Lord), came to Joshua’s defense as He comes to ours. Zechariah is telling us that Satan is a real being, malevolent to the core, and bent on our destruction (as well as God’s). To this end he works daily, all day, 24/7, 365 days per year. The gospels also treat Satan as a very real entity, one who is capable of intelligent thought and dialogue (Matthew 4; 2 Corinthians 11:14).

Zechariah saw behind the spiritual curtain and understood what we now also understand. Satan is real, his hatred for God and His Creation is also real, and he exists to destroy God’s purposes and plans. He will not succeed, but he is allowed to continue his attempts.

God alone will rebuke our accuser Satan, as he does where Joshua is concerned.

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? – Zechariah 1:2 ESV

Without equivocation God fully rebukes Satan. Do you think Satan stopped talking/accusing?

Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments.

This is us, folks. We stand before God in filthy rags that we think of as our righteousness. In that state, we are not fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. Moreover, we are not fit to enter into a relationship with the Living God through Jesus our Lord either because that filthiness (sin) separates us from Him. Yet, God does something marvelous and miraculous for each of us who places faith in Jesus. The object lesson is seen in what God does for Joshua as well in the next verse.

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. (v. 4)

Notice this very clearly. God says, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments,” which He does in the next verse.

What has happened here? God and God alone has remade Joshua, not based on anything Joshua did. God takes away the sin for each person who places faith in God in Christ. God removes something but God also adds something to each person as well. God clothed Joshua in “pure vestments” and He does the same with us.

Notice that the angel presents a charge to Joshua, in Zechariah 3:7.

Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, 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. (ESV)

Even though God took the initiative and literally exchanged Joshua’s filth for righteousness, there is a directive given to Joshua following God’s work and it is essentially the same one given to authentic Christians by Paul and others in the New Testament. Joshua was charged with walking according to his new (outward) nature. God changed Joshua’s clothing; filthy for pure. God now exhorted Joshua to walk according to the new “clothes” (righteousness) he now had on.

Isn’t this very same exhortation given in the New Testament repeatedly? Aren’t we Christians told to walk not according to the flesh but according to the new nature within us? It’s all over the NT.

Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)

That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. (Romans 8:4)

This  I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

I, Therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called. (Ephesians 4:1)

For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light. (Ephesians 5:8)

That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. (Colossians 1:10)

There are plenty of other passages that tell Christians how to “walk,” a word that means how we carry ourselves. Our lives should be noticeably different after we become Christians. We are supposed to work at making it happen, just as an athlete or soldier trains for the upcoming contest or battle. It requires effort on our part. The effort we put in is denial of self and submission to God. Not easy.

Because we are Christians, we have a completely new nature, one that is much more tuned to God and His will. Our natural “sin” nature stands against God and is still within us. It “wars” against us and any desires we might have to serve and please God.

Paul tell us in Romans 7 that through Christ, we have been released from bondage to our sin nature. The problem though is that it remains within us until we die, but this does not negate the truth that we have actually died to our sin nature because we are “in” Christ. Therefore we have an obligation to obey our new nature and ignore the sin nature when it wants us to sin. Again, not easy.

In Romans 7:18-24, Paul builds a case to its climax by asking a very solid question that applies to all Christians.

18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want, cit is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? (ESV)

You can probably relate to what Paul is saying, as can I. Who among us does not ever feel torn between doing what is wrong (sin), and doing what is right (God’s will)? Honesty would force us all to answer that all Christians experience this. Paul tells us that there are actually two “forces” (or natures), living within all Christians. The sin nature and our new spiritual nature from God. These two natures war with each other from the moment we receive salvation until the moment we breathe our last breath in this life.

As Christians, we have the same obligation that Joshua, Moses, Zechariah, David, Paul, Peter, and all the rest had. We have an obligation to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. We should always do what Jesus did when faced with temptation. Though Romans 8:13 hadn’t yet been written in Joshua’s day (or Zechariah’s for that matter), the principle was certainly at work, though it wasn’t until the New Testament was written that it was thoroughly fleshed out for us.

For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

If we live according to the desires of our sin nature (even after we have received salvation), we will continue to “die.” We will die spiritually because our fellowship with God in Christ will be broken. Out of fellowship, we will begin to act no different from those who are lost. However, if we do what we are obligated to do – put to death the deeds of the body by submitting ourselves and our desires to God – then we will continue to live and even grow spiritually.

This is done only through our submission to God in Christ. This was made patently clear by Jesus Himself as He modeled for us the way to approach God, the Father. At every turn, Jesus literally gave Himself and His desires up, accepting only the Father’s perfect will as the way in which He should walk. He accepted nothing less.

Is it any wonder Jesus prayed so often, sometimes, through the entire night (Luke 6:12)? He obviously grew up steeped in God’s Word because He knew it backwards and forwards. Above all things, He wanted to fulfill the Father’s will and He never failed to do that.

We will not walk into heaven and stand before God’s throne without having to explain the things we said, did, and thought in this life. However, we will walk into God’s throne room clothed with Christ’s righteousness, not our own filth. Thanks be to God!

In the meantime, while we live, we are to strive to live our lives according to His good pleasure. We must endeavor to set our will aside (and certainly resist the attempts by our sin nature to pull us away from God), exchanging it for His will.

There is no other way that I am aware of how to live the Christian life. I can only assume that it gets easier in some ways the longer we live for God. However, I’m also under the distinct impression that the closer we grow to Christ, the more our sin and failures become that much more obvious. This great dichotomy is something that we must live with because of the fact that our sin nature seeks to thrive. It does not act “dead,” but continues to exert itself.

One quick example. I watched a documentary where a trained Mossad agent was put through a series of gauntlets. They monitored his vital signs the entire time. At one point, his blood pressure became a concern for doctors, but the agent waved them away and said he wanted to continue with the training. The amazing thing was he actually did better in the training as he pushed himself onward in spite of his body telling him he should stop! It was fascinating to watch as his BP came down and he became more focused.

God expects us to walk in His ways, just as He expected Joshua. God doesn’t tell us to use our own strength. He will help and strengthen us but only when we submit. We can see how difficult this was at times for even Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane where He was in agony over what was to come, sweating drops of blood. This anguish was real, yet Jesus was Victor and He can be Victor in our lives as well, through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit who will strengthen us from within…if we ask Him to do so.

Entry filed under: christianity, Cultural Marxism, Demonic, devil worship, Emotional virtue, eternity, israel, Judaism, Religious - Christian - End Times, Religious - Christian - Prophecy, Religious - Christian - Theology, salvation, second coming. Tags: , , , .

Today’s Prophet Doesn’t Like Criticism Jesus Shows Us How NOT to Retaliate

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Bonnie  |  November 10, 2017 at 5:17 PM

    I follow Study Grow Know and feel your opinion is reliable. Please tell me your opinion of Perry Stone and why. Thanks so much. I have been listening to him for some time and do not want to be deceived.
    Bonnie

    Reply
    • 2. modres  |  November 10, 2017 at 6:15 PM

      Hi,

      We’ve only heard of Perry Stone in passing and know that he is part of the Charismatic Movement. Some folks label him a heretic while others do not.

      It would probably be something we would need to research before commenting.

      We’ll take a look into his beliefs and see what we find. We’ll then write an article on it.

      After we’ve done that, you can compare what we say about his beliefs to Scripture and base your judgment in that. Will that work?

      Thanks for writing.

      Reply
  • 3. Daniel Eliet  |  November 3, 2017 at 4:03 PM

    Yes it comes to say, Lord make me what You want me to be for it is my will to do Your Will. Amen!

    Reply

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