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The Prophet, The Priest, and Israel.

Posted: 2023.01.16

Written by: Thomas Kilian, Chaplain

“Your fathers, where are they? And the prophets, do they live forever? But my words and my statutes, which I commanded my servants, the prophets, did they not overtake your fathers? So they repented and said, ‘As the Lord of hosts purposed to deal with us for our ways and deeds, so has he dealt with us.’” — Zechariah 1:5-6 (ESV)

LESSON 1 (1:5-6): Zechariah points out that although prophets are dead, the truth they spoke still lives on. Although the prophets condemned the Israelites, it was the truth that did. The reality is that we should allow the Truth to nurture us because fathers pass and nurture wanes. Let the Word discipline us because faithful relatives shall pass. We must study and speak the truth and seek reconciliation with God when heard because it is the only thing that will last the test of time.

“So the angel who talked with me said to me, ‘Cry out, Thus says the Lord of hosts: I am exceedingly jealous for Jerusalem and for Zion. And I am exceedingly angry with the nations that are at ease; for a while I was angry but a little, they furthered the disaster.’” — Zechariah 1:14-15 (ESV)

LESSON 2 (1:14-15): The prophet is to proclaim this message of love and hope. The message tells us something about the loving nature of God. God was concerned for the Israelites, though it might not seem so in His discipline of them. 

God was about to condemn the nations who around Israel who were at rest, enjoying the peace and their deeds. God would no longer be silent on His promise of bringing prosperity to Israel, a people set apart onto Himself; it was their time to be peacefully prosperous. 

His intercession for His Church prevails. Though there are times of discipline and waning response to the Gospel from those we minister to, God will flourish the Church, and will not die out.

“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. And the Lord said to Satan, 'The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?’” — Zechariah 3:1-2 (ESV)

LESSON 3 (3:1-2): The trial is in progress when the prophet is permitted to see. We do not hear the pleading on either side but the dismissal and then rebuke of Satan—an acquittal. Satan was accusing Joshua (the high priest). Today, there is a debate about what Joshua was being accused of. Was it of his sins in the present or the ones in the future recorded in Ezra 10:18. Further thoughts teach that Satan accuses Joshua only because he represented Israel at the time. I agree with the understanding that Joshua was charged on behalf of Israel, as he was their mediator. Satan wanted to remind Joshua that Israel should not be looking forward to any blessing because they are no different from the nations. Israel was like any other nation, but one thing set them apart: God chose them to be holy nations.

The way the passage is written in Hebrew indicates that satan is standing in the way to resist the official capacity of Joshua, and the angel is standing in the midst. I believe Joshua is interceding for Israel in his role as mediator in the presence of the representative of Jehovah and the LORD.

There is a truth here for all leaders. Satan will try to accuse us, as leaders, of the imperfections in the church we serve. But, we do not need to defend ourselves, for the Lord protects us as He cleanses His Church. 

Furthermore, satan resists what we are trying to accomplish in the Kingdom of God. The Lord did not restrict Satan from being in the courtroom. So just as we can expect the Lord to send the Holy Spirit to His Church for good works, we can also expect Satan to send his spirits of evil to the Church to do the work of undoing (Galatians 3:1). So, do not be surprised when people rebel and accuse you, even those from among churches.

Let us trust and not be troubled.

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