In the 3rd chapter of Zechariah, God shows us a vision of the high priest in those days, a man named Joshua (a different man than the one who fought the battle of Jericho).
Joshua is a real person. He is the High Priest of Israel. He is a priest with an unfinished temple. When the refugees of Judah returned to the land their fathers and grandfathers called home, the walls of Jerusalem were broken down. The glorious temple of Solomon was a charred ruin. Men like Joshua the High Priest, Zerubbabel the builder, Ezra the Bible teacher, Nehemiah the governor, and Haggai and Zechariah the prophets were all key players in putting the pieces back together.
In this vision of what really goes on behind the curtain in spiritual realms, Joshua the High Priest stands before THE Angel of the Lord (with a capital “A”). That’s an Old Testament name for Christ Himself.
This Joshua the High Priest stands before the Lord to represent not just himself but God’s people. And in this courtroom scene, guess who stands at his right side as a prosecuting attorney? Satan himself, the devil, the old evil foe. The very name, “Satan,” means adversary or accuser.
It is Satan’s main task – to accuse us before God, to point out the sins we jolly well know and that others know too, the sins that we have sought to hide from others, even from God, even from ourselves – all of them. Satan points his finger and smirks. We blush, cower and tremble. We look for a hole to climb into. After all, who are we to say it isn’t so? We have no defense.
Or do we? In this vision given to Zechariah, the Lord Christ Himself comes to Joshua’s defense, to the defense of His blood-bought people. Twice, in case Satan is hard of hearing, Christ comes to Joshua’s defense and says: “The Lord rebuke you, Satan!”
Here stands Christ, our great Defender. Suddenly, in the vision, there is a change of wardrobe. Joshua’s filthy robes are removed. He is given new, white clothing and a clean priestly turban. It’s what Christ does for us all.
He who came from His white and wonderful world to our filthy and shameful one stoops down to give us a wardrobe change, to clean us up. “Here,” He says, taking off His dazzling robe, “I’ll take yours…you take Mine.” Taking the kingly, priestly turban from His brow – ‘Holiness unto the Lord’ it says – He places it on your head and mine while placing a crown of thorns on His own. We have never looked so good. He is disfigured and marred beyond all recognition. He takes it all…up that hill far away…and on that old rugged cross…takes all our shame away. And we stand clean before Him!