The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.
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Spiritual Warfare
Zechariah 3
Spiritual warfare is ultimately about accusation and justification, sin and righteousness, and whether or not you belong to Jesus Christ.
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#righteousness
#justification
Published April 21st, 2017; Updated April 29th, 2017
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1 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. 2 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?” 3 Now Joshua was standing before the angel, clothed with filthy garments. 4 And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.” 5 And 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. And the angel of the Lord was standing by. 6 And the angel of the Lord solemnly assured Joshua, 7 “Thus says the Lord of hosts: If you will walk in my ways and keep my charge, then you shall rule my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you the right of access among those who are standing here. 8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign: behold, I will bring my servant the Branch. 9 For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day. 10 In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.” (Zechariah 3:1-10 ESV ) We just finished a class on Spiritual Warfare. Our last activity was an in depth study of Zechariah 3. That passage brings an important perspective to the topic that you could easily miss if you just look at Ephesians 6:10-20, which is where I think most people turn when thinking about spiritual warfare. The main characters we see are Joshua the high priest, the angel of the LORD, the LORD, and Satan the accuser The setting is Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the LORD and Satan standing next to Joshua to accuse him The angel of the LORD* is standing as the judge ( John 5:22 ) verse 2 The LORD rebukes Satan twice. His reason: He had chosen Joshua (and Jerusalem) and was not going to allow Satan to accuse his chosen ones verse 3 Joshua is clothed with filthy garments. Notice that the LORD rebukes Satan before cleansing Joshua. From this we learn that the LORD is going to cleanse all whom he has chosen (Matthew 22:14 ). Our protection from Satan and cleansing does not ultimately depend on us but on Him. verse 4 The angel of the LORD says to remove the filthy garments (symbol of Joshua's iniquity). He tells Joshua that he has taken away his iniquity and has clothed him with pure garments (symbol of His righteousness) verse 6-7 The angel of the LORD assures Joshua that if he walks in his ways and keeps his charge then he will have charge of his courts and right of access among those who are standing there in heaven. That quotation from Scripture may come from 1 Kings 3:14, which was a promise to Solomon. While Solomon enjoyed some of the promise's fulfillment, he didn't enjoy the full extent of it. His sin caused the kingdom to be torn away from him (1 Kings 11:9-13). So who is the one who would walk in the ways of the LORD and keep his charge without sin? Read on... verse 8 "Here now, O Joshua the high priest, you and your friends who sit before you, for they are men who are a sign:" How are the men who sit before Joshua a sign? I believe the men who sit before Joshua are priests who are a sign that the priesthood is still continuing and that a perfect sacrifice must come one day that can take away sins since the blood of bulls and goats cannot ( Hebrews 10:4 ) Two prophecies, the Branch and the stone: verse 8 "behold, I will bring my servant, the Branch." This servant, the Branch would be the one who would serve as the perfect high priest and reign righteously forever (Jeremiah 23:5; Isaiah 11). He would walk in the ways of the LORD and keep his charge. The Branch is Christ. verse 9 "For behold, on the stone that I have set before Joshua, a single stone with seven eyes, I will engrave its inscription..." While this image is more difficult to interpret I believe the stone is a symbol Christ (Isaiah 28:16; 1 Peter 2:6-9). The seven eyes are probably a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God (Revelation 5:6). For more on the "inscription" see (2 Timothy 2:19; Exodus 28:36). "And I will remove the iniquity of this land in a single day." see (Hebrews 7:27; Hebrews 10:12) verse 10 "In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, everyone of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree." That phrase "under his vine and under his fig tree" is quoted two other places in the Bible (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4). Just like the quotation in verse 7 I think this is a reference to the peace and prosperity in the days of Solomon, which only lasted for a short time. The days of peace and prosperity that the servant will bring will be ones of everlasting peace and prosperity. Now that you hopefully have a good understanding of what the text is saying, let's look more closely at what this text can teach us about spiritual warfare. What is Satan's role in this story? He's an accuser. How did the LORD respond to Satan? The LORD rebuked him. Twice. Once rebuked by the LORD, did Satan have any response or do anything further? Nope. How does this story help you understand spiritual warfare? It's ultimately about accusation and justification- sin and righteousness- whether you belong to Jesus the Christ (the angel of the LORD*) or not. What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written, “For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.” No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:31-39 ESV) In light of this truth how do you respond to demonic possession, oppression, and temptation? Demons should be cast out of those who are possessed in the authority of Jesus Christ Those who are being oppressed by demons, whether it be thoughts of accusation, condemnation, fear, doubt etc, should command the demons to leave in the authority of Jesus. The person should also read the truth and pray God's promises that relate to their situation. If the person is in Christ, they cannot be separated from the love of God by this demonic activity. Also know that God is in total authority over the demon and that they can do nothing unless God allows them to (Luke 22:31-32; Job 1:12; Job 2:6; Matthew 8:29). There are two aspects to the temptation to sin. It is a result of our own desires as James tell us ( James 1:13-14 ). Satan is also called the tempter ( 1 Thessalonians 3:5 ; Matthew 4:3 ; 1 Corinthians 7:5 ), so we know he can play a part in temptation. We are always guilty when we sin. No one is going to be able to make the excuse before God that Satan caused them to sin. Jesus was tempted by Satan, but he never for a moment succumbed to it (Matthew 4:1-11). When we are tempted to sin we should recognize that our own sinful nature and desires are the root of it. The Word of God and prayer are the weapons that God has given us in our battle against sin and Satan (Ephesians 6:17-18). Use them! * I believe the angel of the LORD in this text to be Jesus for a few reasons. The angel of the LORD was recognized as God in various place in the Bible ( Genesis 16:11-13; Exodus 3:2-4 ). In addition, 1 Corinthians 6:3 tells us that the saints are to judge angels, not that angels are to judge saints. Therefore, it could not just have been an angel judging Joshua. Lastly, Jesus is the Judge of the living and the dead ( Acts 10:42 ; 2 Timothy 4:8 ).
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