O Joshua - thou, and thy fellows - Thy countrymen, who have now returned from your captivity, in a very wonderful manner. מופת אנשי anshey mopheth, figurative men, men whose office and ministration prefigured the Lord Jesus Christ; and therefore it is immediately added, "I will bring forth my servant The Branch." Abp. Newcome thinks this means Zerubbabel, so called because he was the grandson of Jehoiakim, or Jeconiah, king of Judah, Matthew 1:12, and heir to the throne of Judah. The Chaldee has, "My servant the Messiah." See the note on Isaiah 4:2; (note). I think the word cannot apply to Zerubbabel, except as a type of Christ; in that sense it may be understood of him. See Zechariah 6:11, Zechariah 6:12.
Thou and thy companions which sit before thee; yea men of marvelous signs are they - oIt seems probable that the words addressed to Joshua begin here; else the “men of signs” would be the companions of Joshua, to the exclusion of Himself. His companions are probably ordinary priests, who sit as sharing his dignity as priest, but “before him,” as inferiors. So Ezekiel says, “I was sitting in my house, and the elders of Israel were sitting before me” Ezekiel 8:1. They are “images of the things to come” Hebrews 10:1. Isaiah‘s two sons, with their prophetic names, “Haste-spoil speed-prey, and a-remnant shall-return,” were with his own name, “salvation-of-the-Lord, signs and portents” Isaiah 8:18 of the future Israel. Isaiah, walking naked and barefoot, was “a sign and portent” Isaiah 20:3 against Egypt. God tells Ezekiel, that in the “removal of his stuff, as stuff for the captivity, I have set thee for a portent unto the house of Israel” Ezekiel 12:6.
I, he explains his act, “am your portent; like as I have done, so shall it be done unto you” Ezekiel 12:11. When forbidden to mourn on the death of his wife; “Ezekiel is unto you for a portent; according to all that he hath done, shall ye do; and when this cometh, ye shall know that I am the Lord God” Ezekiel 24:24. Wherein then were Joshua and the other priests portents of what should be? One fact alone had stood out, the forgiveness of sins. Accusation and full forgiveness, out of God‘s free mercy, were the substance of the whole previous vision. It was the full reinstatement of the priesthood. The priesthood so restored was the portent of what was to come. To “offer the offering of the people, and make an atonement for them; Leviticus 9:7; “to make an atonement for the children of Israel for all their sins once a year” Leviticus 16:34, was the object of the existence of the priesthood. Typical only it could be, because they had “but the blood of bulls and goats to offer, which could,” in themselves, “never take away sins” Hebrews 10:4. But in this their act they were portents of what was to come. He adds here, “For, behold, I will bring My Servant the Branch.”
The Branch - Had now become, or Zechariah made it, a proper name. Isaiah had prophesied, “In that day shall the Branch of the Lord be beautiful and glorious for the escaped of Israel” Isaiah 4:2; and, in reference to the low estate of him who should come, “There shall come forth a rod out of the stump of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots” Isaiah 11:1; and Jeremiah, “Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a king shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth, and this is the name whereby He shall be called, The Lord our Righteouness” Jeremiah 23:5-6; and, “In those days and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David, and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land” Jeremiah 33:15. Of him Zechariah afterward spoke as, “a man whose name is the Branch” Zechariah 6:12.
Here Zechariah names him simply, as a proper name, “My servant, the, Branch,” as Ezekiel prophesied of “My servant David.” The title “My servant,” which is Isaiah‘s chiefest title of the Messiah, occurs in connection with the same image of ills youth‘s lowly estate, and of His atoning Death. “He shall grow up before Him as a sucker, and as a root from a dry ground” Isaiah 53:2; “a scion shall grow out of his roots” Isaiah 11:1.. Lest then God should seem to have spoken untruly, in promising to the legal priesthood that it should ever have the oversight over His house, there was need to fore-announce the mystery of Christ, that the things of the law should cease and He Himself should judge His own house through the Scion from Himself, His Son.
Osorius: “Look ye to the Branch of the Lord; set Him as the example of life; in Him, as a most strong tower, place with most becoming faith all your hope of salvation and immortality. For He is not only a Branch, who shall fill you with the richness of divine fruit, but a stone also, to break all the essays of the enemy.”
God's commandment-keeping people are described by the prophet as “men wondered at.” We are to be a people distinct from the world. The eyes of the world are upon us, and we are observed by many of whom we have no knowledge. There are those who know something of the doctrines we claim to believe, and they are noting the effect of our faith upon our characters. They are waiting to see what kind of influence we exert, and how we carry ourselves before a faithless world. The angels of heaven are looking upon us. “We are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men” (1 Corinthians 4:9).—The Review and Herald, June 18, 1889. 2SM 386.1Read in context »
“If any man's work abide, ... he shall receive a reward.” Glorious will be the reward bestowed when the faithful workers are gathered about the throne of God and the Lamb. When John in his mortal state beheld the glory of God, he fell as one dead; he was not able to endure the sight. But when mortal shall have put on immortality, the ransomed ones are like Jesus, for they see Him as He is. They stand before the throne, signifying that they are accepted. All their sins are blotted out, all their transgressions borne away. Now they can look upon the undimmed glory from the throne of God. They have been partakers with Christ of His sufferings, they have been workers together with Him in the plan of redemption, and they are partakers with Him in the joy of beholding souls saved through their instrumentality to praise God through all eternity. 5T 467.1
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The world was stirred by the enmity of Satan, and when asked to choose between the Son of God and the criminal Barabbas, they chose a robber rather than Jesus. The ignorant multitudes were led, by the deceptive reasonings of those in high position, to reject the Son of God, and choose a robber and murderer in His stead. Let us all remember that we are still in a world where Jesus, the Son of God, was rejected and crucified, where the guilt of despising Christ and preferring a robber rather than the spotless Lamb of God still rests. Unless we individually repent toward God because of transgression of His law, and exercise faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, whom the world has rejected, we shall lie under the full condemnation that the action of choosing Barabbas instead of Christ merited. The whole world stands charged today with the deliberate rejection and murder of the Son of God. The word bears record that Jews and Gentiles, kings, governors, ministers, priests, and people—all classes and sects who reveal the same spirit of envy, hatred, prejudice, and unbelief manifested by those who put to death the Son of God—would act the same part, were the opportunity granted, as did the Jews and people of the time of Christ. They would be partakers of the same spirit that demanded the death of the Son of God. TM 38.1
In the scene representing the work of Christ for us, and the determined accusation of Satan against us, Joshua stands as the high priest, and makes request in behalf of God's commandment-keeping people. At the same time Satan represents the people of God as great sinners, and presents before God the list of sins he has tempted them to commit through their lifetime, and urges that because of their transgressions, they be given into his hands to destroy. He urges that they should not be protected by ministering angels against the confederacy of evil. He is full of anger because he cannot bind the people of God into bundles with the world, to render to him complete allegiance. Kings and rulers and governors have placed upon themselves the brand of antichrist, and are represented as the dragon who goes to make war with the saints—with those who keep the commandments of God and who have the faith of Jesus. In their enmity against the people of God, they show themselves guilty also of the choice of Barabbas instead of Christ. TM 38.2Read in context »
When men, themselves liable to temptation, erring mortals, shall be free to pronounce upon another's case, who is humbled in the dust, and shall take it on themselves to decide by their own feelings or the feelings of their brethren, just how much feeling the erring one should manifest to be pardoned, [they are] taking on themselves that which God has not required of them. When I know that there are those who have fallen into great sin, but we have labored with and for them, and God has afterwards accepted their labors, when these have pleaded for me to let them go and not to burden myself for them, I have said, “I will not give you up; you must gather strength to overcome.” These men are now in active service.... TSB 241.3Read in context »