Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, Remove the filthy garments from him. And to him he said, Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments. -- Zechariah 3:3-4
Thursday, July 9, 2015
This Joshua is the high priest in the time of Zerubbabel. The prophet sees this scene in a vision that foreshadows the work of our Joshua which, as you know, is simply another form of the name “Jesus”. Jesus as our great high priest was clothed in the filth of humanity’s iniquity and rebellion. Because of His willingness to come down to us, to be shamed, humiliated, and put to death on our behalf, He was raised up, clothed in purity and perfection.
Unlike the high priests of Aaron’s line, the Lord had no iniquity of His own to be taken away. The sin that was removed was mine and yours.
There are days that I wake up and think that I am broken beyond all hope. I wonder if I can ever be anything except a miserable, pathetic excuse of a person who sometimes actually rejoices in evil. My self is a corrupt, grubby beggar. But between that soiled and sinful dead man stands the living Christ, clothed in spotless robes of righteousness, making intercession for me. He is the one who is seen and accepted in my place.
Numbers chapter 16 tells the story of a rebellion among God’s people led by Dathan, Abiram and Korah. Those who thought they were righteous enough to stand before God challenged Moses and Aaron and brought their own censers to offer incense (prayers) before the Lord. Korah was a Levite but not of Aaron’s line. He was a son of Kohath and had duties relating to the tabernacle. But he was not a priest. The principals in the rebellion were swallowed up by the earth, and two hundred and fifty of their followers where struck down by the fire of God.
The next day – and who thought this was a good idea? – the congregation was grumbling against Moses and Aaron. They said to them, “You have killed the people of the Lord” (v.41). Brilliant. The cloud of the Presence descends and the Lord tells Moses and Aaron to step back because He has had just about enough for this week. A plague falls upon the Israelites and people start dropping dead. At the urging of Moses, Aaron took a censer and ran into the crowd. And he stood between the dead and the living, and the plague was stopped (Numbers 16:48).
So today, the High Priest stands between the Living God who is a consuming fire and the dead man.