Monday Club Sermons
And he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.…
Joshua appears to Zechariah in his dream, — Israel's representative, clothed not in the splendid priestly attire, with its immaculate purity and costly jewels, but in garments worn and soiled, symbolical of the nation's sins. Before the humiliated priest is the Angel of the Lord, and at His right hand is Satan. The question is, which shall conquer, the Angel or the adversary? But not long is the question unanswered. Joshua is as a brand plucked from the burning. Israel, despite her sins and her familiarity with the tempter, shall be saved and forgiven. Then, when reclothed, the faithful monitor urges upon Joshua the necessity of obedient, whole-souled service. And then comes the promise of the greater High Priest, the Branch of David, the Messiah Himself, and the stone of the new theocracy, with its seven eyes running to and fro throughout the world, and finally the millennial peace, when Israel shall sit in peaceful forgetfulness of all her tribulations, under her own vine and fig tree. The dream yields important lessons.
1. The representative function of the priesthood. Joshua stood for Israel. The soiled clothes in which he appeared indicated that both the priesthood and the people were leading lives which were not altogether in accordance with the Divine will, and from other sources we know that the priests of that day were given over to worldliness and materialism. While the priest can hardly fail to take somewhat of the tone of his life and character from the people to whom he ministers, it is also true that, because of his high position as a moral teacher and guide, he is under peculiar obligations to give the tone to his people, and determine in a large measure by his own words and life the standard of their lives.
2. The truth of angelic influence and guardianship. Joshua between the Angel and the adversary. The human soul facing the right and the wrong. But the Angel prevails. The temptation may be a mighty one, the guilt may be great, but Satan is never allowed to go unchallenged. No child of humanity is ever left alone under the power of evil. He may sometimes feel alone. He may get so low in the pit, may become so hardened in sin, that he loses all sense of God's presence, and feels that there is no help for him in this world or the next. But God cannot, even for an instant, leave one of His children wholly, alone with the powers of evil.
3. Another lesson is, that man's extremity is God's opportunity. The occasion of this vision was doubtless the discouragement of some of the more thoughtful Israelites, on account of their national sins. The exciting experiences since the return had tended to hold their minds to material interests, and make them forget their spiritual obligations. Notwithstanding the tendency to formalism under an established order of things, it is probably true that religion reaches its highest spiritual ideals under conditions which are not liable to frequent changes. But God does not forsake His children. He is with them always in the form of a searching and rebuking conscience. When the nation or the individual begins to feel deep down in his heart that a great wrong has been done against God and conscience and truth, then, and not till then, is the way open for forgiveness and restoration. Note the last scene of the vision. Strange enough, we find coupled with this revelation of the Divine heart the prophecy of the Messiah, who Himself was that Divine heart made flesh, and clothed with the features of humanity. Under Him shall the iniquity of the land be removed and the millennium shall dawn.
(Monday Club Sermons.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.