“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. The LORD said to Satan, ‘The LORD rebuke you, Satan! Indeed, the LORD who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?'” (Zech 3:1-2).

Not only is Zechariah 3 a passage that points to the Messiah (see Zech 3:8-9), it provides us with a clue for understanding his mysterious identity. Notice something odd about Zechariah 3:2. Grammatically, the text should say, “The LORD said to Satan, ‘I rebuke you, Satan!” But oddly, the LORD in verse 2 speaks in the first person (“I”) to Satan about the LORD in the third person (“He”). What’s going on here?! The larger context makes it clear that the LORD who is speaking to Satan is the angel of the LORD (see vv. 6-7), who is mysteriously identified in the Bible as being WITH the LORD God of Israel, and also AS the LORD God of Israel. There are obviously not two LORDs in the Bible, but one LORD who is the angel of the LORD and the LORD simultaneously. This dual identity not only helps us make sense of Zechariah 12:10 (where God says “you shall look upon me whom you have pierced, and mourn for him”), but also gives a great hope. After all, what is the angel of the LORD doing in this passage? He is defending a dirty sinner, and providing him with the gift of forgiveness and righteousness.

“He spoke and said to those who were standing before him, saying, ‘Remove the filthy garments from him.’ Again he said to him, ‘See, I have taken your iniquity away from you and will clothe you with festal robes.’ Then I said, ‘Let them put a clean turban on his head.’ So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him with garments, while the angel of the LORD was standing by” (Zech 3:4-5; see also Zech 12:8, 10; 13:1).

This is not just something he did for Joshua. It is something he does for you and me when we put our faith in the Messiah Jesus!

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