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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There is no picture presented before our imagination of a sorrowful shepherd returning without the sheep. And the Lord Jesus declares the pleasure of the shepherd and his joy in finding the sheep causes pleasure and rejoicing in heaven among the angels. The wisdom of God, His power and His love, are without a parallel. It is the divine guarantee that not one, even, of the straying sheep and lambs is overlooked and not one left unsuccored. A golden chain—the mercy and compassion of divine power—is passed around every one of these imperiled souls. Then shall not the human agent cooperate with God? Shall he be sinful, failing, defective in character himself, regardless of the soul ready to perish? Christ has linked him to His eternal throne by offering His own life. FE 274.1
Zechariah's description of Joshua, the high priest, is a striking representation of the sinner for whom Christ is mediating that he may be brought to repentance. Satan is standing at the right hand of the Advocate, resisting the work of Christ, and pleading against Him that man is his property, since he has chosen him as his ruler. But the Defender of man, the Restorer, mightier than the mightiest, hears the demands and claims of Satan, and answers him: “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and stood before the angel. And He answered and spake unto those that stood before Him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him He said, Behold I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment. And I said, Let them set a fair miter upon his head. So they set a fair miter upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.” FE 274.2
Bear in mind, every teacher who takes the responsibility of dealing with human minds, that every soul who is inclined to err and is easily tempted, is the special object for whom Christ is solicitor. They that are whole need not a physician, but those that are sick. The compassionate Intercessor is pleading, and will sinful, finite men and women repulse a single soul? FE 275.1Read in context »
And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Zechariah 3:2. Mar 213.1
The remnant church will be brought into great trial and distress. Those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus, will feel the ire of the dragon and his hosts. Satan numbers the world as his subjects; he has gained control of the apostate churches. But here is a little company that are resisting his supremacy. If he could blot them from the earth, his triumph would be complete. As he influenced the heathen nations to destroy Israel, so in the near future he will stir up the wicked powers of earth to destroy the people of God. All will be required to render obedience to human edicts in violation of the divine law. Those who will be true to God and to duty will be menaced, denounced, and proscribed. They will be betrayed “both by parents, and brethren, and kinsfolks, and friends.” Mar 213.2Read in context »