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Transcript of L o c k h a r t | 1 STANDING BEFORE · PDF fileL o c k h a r t | 4 Haggai who was the first...

  • L o c k h a r t | 1

    STANDING BEFORE GOD

    (Zechariah 3:1-10)

    A Paper by

    Aaron T. Lockhart

    Presented to

    Dr. Michael Michelson

    In partial fulfillment of the requirements of

    Hebrew Prophets

    Nazarene Bible College

    Colorado Springs, CO

    May 22, 2010

  • L o c k h a r t | 2

    TABLE OF CONTENTS

    INTRODUCTION...3

    ORIENTATION AND CONTEXT.....3

    SIGNIFICANCE OF TEXT3

    HISTORICAL AND SOCIAL SETTING...4

    LITERARY CONTEXT..........5

    PRESENTATION OF TEXT..............6

    SCRIPTURE PASSAGE.6

    TEXT CRITICAL NOTES.................8

    OUTLINE OF PASSAGE..................8

    PRESENTATION OF JOSHUA....................9

    ACCUSATION AND DEFENSE OF JOSHUA...10

    PURIFICATION OF JOSHUA.....................12

    COMMISSIONING OF JOSHUA................13

    FUTURE PROMISES...............15

    CONCLUSION......17

    SUMMATION...17

    APPLICATION.................................18

    WORKS CITED....21

  • L o c k h a r t | 3

    INTRODUCTION

    ORIENTATION AND CONTEXT

    Significance of the Text

    The theme of our position before God is the central focus of the entire Bible. Thomas

    Hale succinctly defined the Bible as a unified, unbroken story of Gods unchanging redemptive

    plan for mankind (Hale 117) and this redemptive plan centers around our standing before God.

    We would not need a redemptive plan unless something had gone awry in our relationship with

    our Creator. So the Bible begins straight away in addressing how this problem developed, the

    consequences that ensued, the steps God took to correct this problem and redeem us, and then

    steadily points towards the day of our final redemption and perfected relationship with God. This

    is the focus and theme of the Bible.

    The passage that will be examined here presents this theme in but ten verses through

    Zechariahs vision of Joshua, who was high priest after the Babylonian exile. Symbolic of man

    but focused on one, this passage presents the problem, the accusation, the defense, the plan of

    salvation, and the response thereof. In this immediate case, this applies to Joshua the high priest

    and we will examine this facet of the vision primarily. However, we cannot neglect to explore

    other dimensions of this vision, their meanings, and especially the application to our lives as

    individuals.

    Historical and Social Setting

    Zechariah was a prophet to the children of Israel who had returned from captivity in

    Babylon to settle back in Israel. That makes this post-exilic prophet a contemporary of

    Zerubbabel who was commissioned to rebuild the temple (Haggai 1:2, Ezra 3:2) and the prophet

  • L o c k h a r t | 4

    Haggai who was the first prophet we hear from after the exile and who spoke to Zerubbabel as

    well (Haggai 1:1).

    The children of Israel were destined to spend 70 years in Babylonian captivity (Jer.

    25:11), apparently one year for each of the Sabbath years they did not keep over their 490 year

    existence (Lev. 25:2-7, 2 Chron. 36:20-21). Upon the completion of this designated time, Cyrus,

    king of Persia and conqueror of Babylon issued a decree in approximately 538 B.C. that the

    Hebrews could return to their land to dwell there and rebuild their temple (Ezra 1:1-4).

    Approximately 50,000 chose to do so (Ezra 2:64-65) and among these were Zerubbabel and

    Joshua the high priest (Neh. 12), Iddo (Zechariahs grandfather), and probably Zechariah

    himself.

    Zechariah gives us specific dating for his ministry, stating that the word of the Lord came

    to him in the eighth month of the second year of Darius (Hystaspes), making this October-

    November of 520 B.C., which would be a mere two or three months after the word of the Lord

    came to the prophet Haggai (Haggai 1:1). So in order to gain a better understanding of the

    current mood and setting of Zechariahs time, it is imperative to examine Haggais prophecies

    and purpose as well.

    In approximately 538 B.C., 50,000 Jews had returned to Judah with one of their main

    intents being to rebuild the temple. Unfortunately, it had not been completed and some of the

    people had either become lax in this duty or discouraged (Haggai 1:4-6, 2:4-5, respectively).

    This is the primary purpose of Haggais prophecies and this was the time and the setting in

    which Zechariah was ministering, though not for this specific purpose. Zechariah gives a wider

    view of the worlds scene and Gods ultimate plan for the purpose of giving hope in Gods

  • L o c k h a r t | 5

    salvation. This salvation is revealed predominately in two ways: a coming Messiah, and Gods

    final victory.

    Literary Context

    This passage appears in Zechariah in the midst of a sequence of visions (1:9-6:8), eight or

    nine in total (depending on whether one views the vision[s] in 1:18-21 as singular or separate). In

    these visions, which he possibly sees all in one night, Zechariah sees the Lords compassion and

    promise for Israel (1:8-17), His displeasure with those nations who were not compassionate to

    Israel (1:18-21), and the future day when all nations shall be joined to the Lord (2:1-13). This is

    followed by visions specifically speaking of two contemporaries of Zechariah: Joshua the high

    priest and Zerubbabel, the overseer of the project to rebuild the temple (3:1-4:14); though these

    can possibly be applied to the entire nation of Israel as well (see McGee 917). In chapters five

    and six, the final three visions speak of Gods judgment of sinners (5:1-4), the removal of

    wickedness from Israel (and being displaced to Babylon; 5:5-11), and Gods judgment on the

    nations (6:1-8).

    In these visions, one detects a progression of events dealing with nations present in

    Zechariahs time up until the final judgment of God (see similarities with Revelation chapters 6,

    18, 19). With this, there can be many ways to interpret this succession of visions and specifically,

    the vision under examination here. If this series of visions is to give insight into Gods judgment

    of and dealings with nations, then Joshuas presentation before the Lord, his cleansing, and his

    commissioning can be likened to Israels presentation, cleansing, and commissioning. If, like

    some do with Revelation chapters 2-3, you can apply this progression of visions to the ages of

    the Gods people, then this could be interpreted to be the presentation, cleansing, and

    commissioning of the newly-born church under Christ. If viewed from a purely historical

  • L o c k h a r t | 6

    standpoint, one might take the most obvious (and least far-reaching) interpretation of applying

    this only to the one present within the vision: Joshua. But can we benefit from each of these

    interpretations while properly exegeting this passage and remaining true to the text and original

    intent? I believe we can; and we will examine many of the facets of this vision here in our study.

    Presentation of the Text

    Passage Zechariah 3:1-10, NASB

    1Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the

    LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.

    2The LORD said to Satan, The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD

    who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?

    3Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel.

    4He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, Remove the

    filthy garments from him. Again he said to him, See, I have taken your iniquity

    away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.

    5Then I said, Let them put a clean turban on his head. So they put a clean

    turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD

    was standing by.

    6And the angel of the LORD admonished Joshua, saying,

  • L o c k h a r t | 7

    7Thus says the LORD of hosts, If you will walk in My ways and if you will

    perform My service, then you will also govern My house and also have charge of

    My courts, and I will grant you free access among these who are standing here.

    8Now listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who are sitting in front

    of you--indeed they are men who are a symbol, for behold, I am going to bring in

    My servant the Branch.

    9For behold, the stone that I have set before Joshua; on one stone are seven eyes

    Behold, I will engrave an inscription on it, declares the LORD of hosts, and I

    will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

    10

    In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his

    neighbor to sit under his vine and under his fig tree.

    Textual Criticism

    The variants readings of the Old Testament number only a few, for several reasons.

    Copies were made by an official class of sacred scribes who labored under strict rules. The

    Masoretes systematically destroyed all copies with mistaken or variant readings (Hindson and

    Caner 97). In my research, there were very few textual variants that I could find. We do see the

    following omissions in some manuscripts: Yahweh before showed in verse one, the angel of

    before Yahweh in verse two, and goodly before garments in verse five. In a few other

    manuscripts we also see the following errors: the angel is substituted