“And he shewed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him. And the Lord said unto Satan, The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” (Zechariah 3:1-2)
Satan tempts us to sin and then accuses us of sin and unworthiness before the Lord, just like he did with Joshua. Thank God for God’s Mercy and Grace, which is clearly evident in the Old Testament as well as it is in the New Testament. All of us have been pluck out of the fire by God. We didn’t choose Him, He chose us and we accepted the nudging of His Holy Spirit to receive Jesus Christ as our Savior.
Zechariah the prophet has a vision of Joshua the high priest standing before the Lord in filthy garments and Satan there to resist or accurse him (Zechariah 3:3-5). Now Joshua wasn’t just a Levite or a priest, but the High Priest that could enter into the Holies or Holy, where the manifest presence of God was. If Joshua had so much, as a boil on his body he was unfit for service. Why something as minor as a boil? A boil is an infection under the skin, another word, a unhealed wound. You could not operate in the high priest position with an unhealed wound or blemish; No more than you can operate effectively today in ministry with an unhealed wound (Leviticus 21:21).
Zechariah, Joshua, and a remnant return from Babylonian captivity to their homeland, Jerusalem. The temple wasn’t being built. Zechariah realized in this vision that it wasn’t the lack of mortar or brick, or enthusiasm that kept them from building the temple, but a lack of healing and transformation. Joshua like so many others was a prisoner or product of his past. He was free physically, but spiritually bound.
There are Christians today, who have accepted Jesus Christ as their Savior, but their lives seem unchanged. The only significant difference is they are aware that certain behavior is sin and not a habit or personal choice. However they are still struggling with the very thing Jesus Christ went to the cross to deliver them from. They still commit the same familiar sins, struggling to change their filthy garments for a garment of righteousness.
In verse four the Lord says onto those that stood before him, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” If you notice, Joshua didn’t remove his own filthy garments, no more than we can— although we try. We attend church, dress appropriately and may abstain from additive behaviors (alcohol, drugs, cigarettes etc.), but those filthy garments represents sins not habits. Sin is something we cannot remove only Christ can and He has.
Verse 4 continues to say, “I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” Notice that the Lord said iniquity. There are three levels of sin. Isaiah 53:5 says, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:
There is sin, the scripture says in Rom. 3:23, “For all sinned and come short of the Glory of God.” And if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John1:9).
However, a transgression is a deliberate or practice sin that if continued will turn into a stronghold. A stronghold will eventually become an iniquity. This sin (iniquity) will pass down the bloodline from generation to generation. (For further information on subject read: Redeemed from the Curse by R. A. Vukovich)
Joshua could not remove those filthy garments; neither can religion or self-works. The Lord spoke to those who were with him (ministering angels) to remove the garments and replace them with suitable garments. Those who struggle over sin need to confess their sins to the Lord as 1John 1:9 says. Then ask the Lord to remove those filthy garments (sins) and exchange them for the garment of righteousness. The Spirit of God wants to set us free, and cleanse us from all unrighteousness so we can enter into the manifest presence of God.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1John 1:9). God does not just want to forgive you of your sins, He wants to cleanse, or wash away that sin. Another words set you free from the bondage of sin, and give you a garment of praise, and a robe of righteousness (Is. 61:3,10).