The prophesy of Zechariah concerning the coming messiah is another evidence to the world that the Christian faith is the truth and that the Bible is a supernatural book.
Here is the scripture written over 500 years before Christ by the prophet Zechariah:
Clean Garments for the High Priest (Chapter 3)
1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”
Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.”
5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by.
6 The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.
8 “‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.
First of all, the name “Joshua” is the Hebrew name for Jesus. The New Testament is written in Greek, and the name Jesus (“Iesous” in the Greek) means “Jehovah is salvation.” The Old Testament is written in Hebrew and the name “Joshua” means “Jehovah is salvation.” So the Hebrew people actually called Jesus “Joshua.” Zechariah referred to the messiah by name hundreds of years before he came!
Secondly, we see that Joshua was called a high priest. The book of Hebrews characterizes Jesus as a “high priest after the order of Melchizedek.” (Hebrews 7:17) Since Jesus came from the tribe of Judah, he wasn’t qualified to be a priest from Levi’s tribe, the tribe which the law had appointed as priests. Instead, he was a priest from the order of Melchizedek, to whom:
“Abraham apportioned a tenth part of everything. He is first, by translation of his name, king of righteousness, and then he is also king of Salem, that is, king of peace. He is without father or mother or genealogy, having neither beginning of days nor end of life, but resembling the Son of God he continues a priest forever.” (Hebrews 7: 2-3)
The writer of Hebrews explains that even though Jesus wasn’t from the priestly tribe, he comes from a different order of priests that was revealed at the time of Abraham. Melchizedek came to Abraham with bread and wine. He was a type and shadow of Jesus, who fulfilled the Melchizedek priesthood.
“And these things become even clearer when we see that another priest has come who is like Melchizedek. He was made a priest, but not because he met the requirement of being born into the right family. He became a priest by the power of a life that will never end. This is what the Scriptures say about him: “You are a priest forever—the kind of priest Melchizedek was.” (Hebrews 7: 15-17)
A priest is a person who stands as a mediator between God and man. Timothy said: “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.” (1 Timothy 2:5) Zechariah told us that the messiah would serve as a high priest –and Jesus fulfilled this role.
Next, we see that Joshua was standing next to Satan in a court of justice. He was wearing filthy clothes and Satan was accusing him. These filthy clothes represented sin. We know this because the angels are commanded to change Joshua out of these clothes and put clean clothes on him. Why? Because according to Zechariah, the sins of Joshua were “taken away.” In the book of Revelation, the disciple John explains that clean, white, linen represents the “righteousness of the saints.”
“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Revelation 19:7-8)
White clothing is a symbol of righteousness.
Joshua was found righteous because he didn’t sin, yet he suffered the wrath of God on behalf of others. The universe, which was ravaged with sin, was not left without hope. Jesus was forsaken by God for a time because he took the sins of the world upon himself. But because he was actually sinless, the court of justice “snatched” him out of the fire. This story explains how the resurrection happened. Jesus was in the process of receiving God’s wrath and judgment, and Satan was accusing him before the court, but the universal court stopped the punishment and called him righteous instead. This caused Jesus, who was sinless, to not pay the wages of sin, which is death. Instead he was raised back up from death, ever to remain alive.
We see in this piece of scripture that Joshua was given a charge. The contract was this: walk in obedience to the Lord and his commandments and afterwards he would be given the right to govern God’s house and have charge over his courts. Joshua was to live a sinless life and he would be made king and become the judge of humanity and determine who enters the courts of heaven. This is what Jesus said in the gospel of John:
“For as the Father raises up the dead, and quickens them; even so the Son quickens whom he will. For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment unto the Son:” (John 5:21-22)
Jesus knew this was his role even before he was crucified because this was part of the heavenly agreement.
The “Joshua” depicted in the prophecy was then called a symbol of the “coming servant,” the “Branch.” The prophet Isaiah also referred to this “Branch” eight centuries before Jesus came. (In 1949, an intact copy of the scroll of Isaiah was discovered as part of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which was dated to at least 100 years before Christ, so we know that the prophecy came before the fulfillment.)
“And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:” (Isaiah 11:1)
The prophet Jeremiah, writing 600 years before Jesus, also prophesied of a coming, righteous “Branch” who would be a descendant of King David (the son of Jesse), and who would be a king who judges.
“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.” (Jeremiah 23:5)
We know, according to the lineage of Jesus, (Matthew 1:6) that he was a descendant of David. Finally, the court reminded Satan of the agreement made with Joshua, and pulls out a stone with these words engraved on it:
“‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day.'” (Zechariah 3:9)
This was proof that there was a plan in place which involved a man becoming the sacrifice and taking the sins of the world upon himself. That Joshua would be “snatched” from the fire and be made king, priest, and judge is part of the reward for his obedience. Because of the Cross, the sins of the land were removed in a single day and the prophecy of Zechariah was fulfilled.
I think it’s interesting to reflect on the universal concern over what happens on Earth. According to the scriptures there is an entity outside of our planet, or outside of our dimension, that has interjected himself into our world. This entity has a great interest in universal justice. He is trying to communicate to us about how it’s necessary for us to be justified in this court of judgment. He made sure that this communication was given in a form that was different and unusual . . . even miraculous . . . so that we could trust that the message had authority from a source that’s beyond human ability.