The prophet Zechariah’s vision of Judah’s high priest Joshua in the court of the Lord continues:
6 Then the Angel of the Lord charged Joshua: 7 “This is what the Lord of Hosts says: If you walk in My ways and keep My instructions, you will both rule My house and take care of My courts; I will also grant you access among these who are standing here.
8 “Listen, Joshua the high priest, you and your colleagues sitting before you; indeed, these men are a sign that I am about to bring My servant, the Branch. 9 Notice the stone I have set before Joshua; on that one stone are seven eyes. I will engrave an inscription on it”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts—“and I will take away the guilt of this land in a single day. Zechariah 3:6-9 (HCSB)
Plucked as a brand from the fire, the Lord’s people and their representative high priest Joshua were saved after seventy years of destruction and exile imposed by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. With renewed and faithful hearts, they were restored to a position of honor before the Lord. After rebuilding His temple, they would be responsible for His courts, and be the center of God-worship for the entire world.
More than that, they would be a sign that the Lord was planning to do a much bigger and better thing – He would install the Branch, the Messiah of the Lord. There had been several mentions of the Branch in previous prophecies, including from the prophet Isaiah. This branch, or Messiah, would come in the line of Jesse, King David’s father, even after the line of kings in David’s line had been cut down to a stump by their unfaithfulness and subsequent defeat by Babylon.
1 Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
2 The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him—
a Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a Spirit of counsel and strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. Isaiah 11:1-2 (HCSB)
The Branch is a direct reference to Jesus Christ, who would be born of the Holy Spirit to a virgin, Mary, in the line of David. The seven eyes on the stone set before the high priest Joshua may refer to the “seven spirits” of God which will imbue the Messiah: the Spirit of the Lord, with His wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, and fear, or reverent obedience to His Father.
9 Notice the stone I have set before Joshua; on that one stone are seven eyes. I will engrave an inscription on it”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Hosts—“and I will take away the guilt of this land in a single day. Zechariah 3:9 (HCSB)
Six centuries after Zechariah, Jesus would take away the guilt of the land on the day of His crucifixion. Though Jesus came to fulfill the role of Messiah to the Jewish people, His pure life, selfless sacrifice, and victorious resurrection from the dead paves the way to eternal life for all believers worldwide, no matter our heritage. He will return one day to reign as King over the fifth and final world empire, the kingdom of Heaven.
God gives us great responsibility not because we are so good, but because He is. His mercy and grace are without limit, and He often gives us the most when we deserve it the least. As imperfect humans, it is sometimes difficult to understand the amazing nature of the Lord – He just seems too good to be true. And thankfully for us human beings that He loves so much, He is.
Have you yet experienced the grace and mercy of a loving and forgiving God? He is ready even now to settle all accounts and bless you beyond imagination. His goodness far exceeds all of our faults and failures.
Lord, thank You for being so good to us! We praise You and thank You for loving us enough to die on a cross to redeem us from the punishment that we deserve for our sin. May we rise as You did from the dead to spend eternity in Your presence in God’s kingdom. Bless and protect us and our loved ones in the here and now and guide us to be of loving service to You and to others. We ask this in Jesus’ name, Amen.