Read Zechariah 3. How is the gospel portrayed here?
With, perhaps, the exception of Isaiah 53, no portion of the Old Testament better reveals the wonderful truth of salvation by faith alone than does Zechariah 3. In this vision, the high priest Joshua is being tried on accusations brought forth by the official accuser, Satan. The accusations against the high priest also apply to the nation which he represented. The name Joshua (also spelled as Jeshua) means “the Lord saves” (see Matt. 1:21), and can also be spelled Jesus.
In the Bible, the position of standing on the right side is one of defense and protection. The psalmist says, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken” (Ps. 16:8, NIV; see also Ps. 44:3). In this case, the accuser is doing just the opposite (Ps. 109:6). While Joshua is interceding before God for the people, Satan is bringing accusations against them based on their sinfulness.
The Lord rejects the accusations, reminding the accuser that in His mercy He already has chosen Joshua. Moreover, His people already have suffered the full measure of divine punishment. Joshua and the remnant people were snatched as a burning stick from the destructive fire (Amos 4:11) of long captivity in Babylon.
At the command of the angel of the Lord, Joshua’s clothes, which represent people’s sins, are removed, and he is cleansed and then given the new festive garments of salvation and righteousness.
Finally, Joshua is commissioned to do God’s will and to walk in His ways, an attitude that will result in God’s manifold blessings.
“The high priest cannot defend himself or his people from Satan’s accusations. He does not claim that Israel is free from fault. In filthy garments, symbolizing the sins of the people, which he bears as their representative, he stands before the Angel, confessing their guilt, yet pointing to their repentance and humiliation, and relying upon the mercy of a sin-pardoning Redeemer. In faith he claims the promises of God.”—Ellen G. White, Prophets and Kings, pp. 583, 584. Those promises, of course, include the covering of Christ’s righteousness.
Imagine having to stand before God in your own “filthy garments.” What great hope is presented here, and how can you not only claim that hope for yourself but reveal the reality of that hope through a holy and sanctified life?