And the angel of the LORD protested to Joshua, saying,…
"I will give thee a place of access." We owe this beautiful promise to the Revised Version (Zechariah 3:7), for in the Authorised Version the text has quite a meaningless rendering. "I will give thee place to walk among these that stand by." The immediate reference of the promise is, of course, to Joshua, the high priest. It was his privilege and his duty, clothed in white linen, to enter the most holy place once a year, there to make atonement for the sins of the people. Instead, however, of this great office being fulfilled, the prophet sees Joshua clothed in filthy garments — the type of his own sins and of those people of his "standing," — with Satan at his right hand to be his "adversary." it appeared impossible that such a high priest, or such a nation, should ever be permitted to draw near the living God. Then comes the symbolic action of the prophetic vision. The filthy garments are taken away by command of God, from Joshua, and are replaced by "rich apparel," the mitre of high priestly office is set on his head, and the promise is made — made both to him and to his people — "I will give thee a place of access." In spite of Israel's unworthiness and sin, God Himself would permit His people to draw near to Him. Such were the original scope and meaning of these words. "I will give thee a place of access." How little we realise the great privilege of this great promise! To say that we can draw near to God is only to utter one of the commonest of all truisms; but familiar as the truth may be to us, let us never forget that there was a time when it would have been regarded as the strangest and most incredible of all truths. A Jew was never permitted in his own person to come near to God; he had to approach the Most High from a distance, and even the high priest himself was only allowed the. privilege of a place of access "once in" each year. Such were the awful holiness and the ineffable majesty of the Most High, and such the terrible sin and guilt of man, that no human soul dared to draw near the consuming fire. God was a God "far off" and not "nigh" to a Jew. There was no "place of access" opened for all the world. We do not wonder, therefore, at the exaltation and rapture with which the author of the Epistle to the Hebrews dwells on what Christ had done, in opening a "new and living way" to God, even into the holy place, by His blood, and on the fact that His sacrifice for sin makes it now possible for the sinful and guilty with "boldness to enter into the Holiest." It was the fulfilment of the promise of the text, "I will give thee a place of access." And this is the astonishing privilege of every child of man today. Howsoever unworthy and sinful he may be, still through the blood of Jesus, he may freely draw near to God. He may stand in the presence of the Eternal. He may speak face to face with God, and hear God speak to him. "In Christ Jesus," to use St. Paul's words, "we that once were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ."
(G. W. Barrett.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And the angel of the LORD protested unto Joshua, saying,