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Cleansing Work of Christ

Zechariah 3:9 (ESV) … “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.”

The passage.—Zechariah now sees “Joshua the high priest” (Hag. 1:1) being accused by Satan of unworthiness for his office. The Lord immediately rebukes Satan and describes Jerusalem (represented in Joshua) as “a brand plucked out of the fire” (v. 2), that is, brought back from exile by God’s action and for his purposes. Orders are given to remove Joshua’s filthy garments and give him a complete change of raiment (vv. 4–5).

The high priest is now charged by God to “walk in my ways” (guard his personal life) and “keep my charge” (fulfil the responsibilities of his office). If he will do these he will judge (rule) God’s house and “have right of access” (RSV) to the court of heaven itself (v. 7).

There follow several messianic promises to Joshua and his companions who are described as “men of good omen” (v. 8, RSV). The terms “servant,” “branch,” and “stone” are all familiar Old Testament designations of the Messiah (Isa. 52:13; Jer. 23:5; Isa. 28:16).

The description of the stone as having seven eyes (v. 9) should probably be understood in the light of 4:10. God’s eyes will be on the stone to give it protection and purpose. The inscription on the stone appears to be related to the statement: “I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” This was basically an assurance of divine cleansing for Jerusalem, its priest and people (see 5:5–11). But the words are most significant applied to the atoning work of Christ.

Truth for today.—God needs cleansed instruments for his work (2 Tim. 2:21). Though the best of men sometimes succumb to sin, there is cleansing provided in Christ (1 John 1:7, 9).[1]

[1] Ackland, D. F. (1972). Zechariah. In H. F. Paschall & H. H. Hobbs (Eds.), The teacher’s Bible commentary (p. 576). Nashville: Broadman and Holman Publishers.

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