A Brand Plucked From the Fire

Scripture: Zechariah 1:1-21, Zechariah 2:1-13, Zechariah 3:1-10
Date: 05/28/2011 
Lesson: 9
The visions from the first three chapters of Zechariah demonstrate justification by Christ's merits alone through prophecies of Jerusalem's restoration.
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Good morning and a very Happy Sabbath to each and every one of you this morning who are joining us from across the country, around the world, whether you're listening on the radio, watching on our website live this morning at saccentral.org, or on the various television networks, through dvd, however you are joining us, we welcome you to the Sacramento central Seventh-day Adventist Church. Today we are going to be treated to two special pieces by our visiting girls chorus. They come to us from the orangevale Seventh-day Adventist school, which is very close to Sacramento central. And they've been together as a group for the past 10 years. And each year we hear them they just seem to be getting better.

And this morning they're with us to sing two songs for us. The first one is "God of the promise," and then "swing down sweet chariot." The girls are ranging from grades 5 through 8, and they're conducted by brad davis, who I believe is also the principal-- are you the principal--? Of the school as well. So we welcome them this morning as they sing two pieces for us. [Music] Out of bondage, out of slavery, you have lead us to this place. Out of affliction from the hands of our oppressors, you have led us here to age.

And we will not lose heart 'cause this is the second start. You are the God of the promise and you will go before us, and we will follow you are God of the desert with mercy beyond measure and now we know that you have not forgotten us, God of the promise. Out of bondage, out of slavery, you have lead us to this place. Out of affliction from the hands of our oppressors, you have led us here to age. And we will not lose heart 'cause this is the second start.

You are the God of the promise and you will go before us, and we will follow you are God of the desert, with mercy beyond measure and now we know that you have not forgotten us. God of the promise. God of the promise. God of the promise. [Music] why don't you swing down chariot stop and let me ride.

Swing down chariot stop and let me ride. Rock me Lord, rock me Lord calm and easy. I've got a home on the other side. Why don't you swing down sweet chariot stop and let me ride. Swing down chariot stop and let me ride.

Rock me Lord, rock me Lord calm and easy. I've got a home on the other side. Well, Ezekiel went down and in middle of a field he saw an angel working on a chariot wheel. He wasn't so particular about the chariot wheel. He just wanted to see how the chariot feel.

Why don't you swing down chariot stop and let me ride. Swing down chariot stop and let me ride. Rock me Lord, rock me Lord calm and easy. I've got a home on the other side. Why don't you swing down chariot stop and let me ride.

Swing down chariot stop and let me ride. Rock me Lord, rock me Lord calm and easy. I've got a home on the other side. Well Ezekiel went down and he got on board. He chariot went a bumpin' up and down the road.

Zeke wasn't so particular 'bout the bumpin' of the road. He just wanted to lay down his heavy load. Why don't you swing down chariot stop and let me ride. Swing down chariot stop and let me ride. Rock me Lord, rock me Lord calm and easy.

I've got a home on the other side. Why don't you swing down chariot stop and let me ride. Swing down chariot stop and let me ride. Rock me Lord, rock me Lord calm and easy. I've got a home on the other side.

I've got a home on the other side. I've got a home on the other side. Thank you. Thank you, orangevale girls chorus. It is very exciting to see young people involved in ministry.

And music ministry is an excEllent way to get lots of people involved. And if you would like more information about the orangevale Seventh-day Adventist school, you can visit their website at ovschool.org, o and v, v as in victor, school.org. At this time, let's bow our heads for prayer. Father in Heaven, thank you so much for loving us, for blessing us, and for blessing these young people with musical talents and a desire to serve you. And I just pray that you will bless them.

Be with each young person that is here today that can hear my voice as well, that you will just reveal yourself to young people in a very special way, that they will know the calling that you have for their lives. We thank you so much for blessing us with the ability to support young people. I pray that we will always do that. We will never discourage them, but we will always lift them up and encourage them. Father, we thank you so much for the beautiful Sabbath that you have blessed us with, and the opportunity that we now have to open up Your Word and study together.

Be with our speaker, Pastor Doug, as he opens up Your Word. In Jesus' Name, amen. At this time, our lesson study will be brought to us by our senior pastor here at Sacramento central, Pastor Doug bachelor. Morning. Thank you, debbie.

Thank you for the orangevale girls choir singing. That was always sweet to hear. And I want to welcome you all to our central class, good to see each of you. We are studying, continuing our study in the lesson dealing with "garments of grace." And today we're on study number nine, the "garments of grace." And a lot of this is dealing with some of the lessons from the book of Ezekiel. Now we have a free offer, as always.

And the offer that we're making available, all you have to do is call the number. It's called, "assurance," "assurance: justification made simple." And if you call that number: -866-study-more, 866-788-3966. We'll send that to you just for asking. Lesson nine-- ah, how is everyone? I found myself getting up here just diving into the lesson. I've seen pastors do that.

It never works very well. You just gotta connect with people for a second. Alright, so let's all take a breath. Okay, this isn't meditation; it's communication. Okay, let's try it again.

Lesson is "a brand plucked from the fire." And if you go to the memory verse, Zechariah 3:4. And I'd like to have you say that with me, Zechariah 3:4, you ready? "Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from me, and I will clothe thee with a change of raiment." Now our whole theme during this quarter is dealing with the subject of "garments of grace." There are probably no verses in the Bible that draw such a tight connection between purity, righteousness and garments. "I've caused your iniquity to pass, behold I will clothe you." And there's a whole vision we're going to look at shortly that deals with this. Now as we're delving into the book of Zechariah, we're not going to jump right to that passage we quoted. I'd like for you to go to Zechariah 1.

And in Zechariah 1, we've got a message there and a vision there. Somebody read for me Zechariah 1:3. "Therefore say to them, 'thus says the Lord of hosts: 'return to me,' says the Lord of hosts, 'and I will return to you,' says the Lord of hosts." Now what you've got happening here is there is a separation. And the very fact that God is saying, "if you return to me, I will return to you, tells us that the separation was not his choice," that the other party left. And he said, "look, I want to be together, but you've left me.

If you'll turn and come towards me, I will come towards you." Now that just doesn't apply as a message to the nation. I think that applies to everybody. We are all inclined to drift. You know that song, "prone to wander, Lord, I feel it." We're all prone to wonder. And here it's talking about how do we come back to the Lord? Turn in your Bibles to the book of Hosea, Hosea 6:1-2, "come, and let us return to the Lord: for he has torn, but he will heal us; he has stricken, but he will bind us up.

After two days he will revive us; on the third day, he will raise us up." You know, in the Bible you often find that great things are achieved after the third day. Many, many stories in the Bible it says, "but after the third day," the tables were turned. What else happened after the third day that you find in the Bible? When did Jesus rise? And so you've got that there. It says, "he's torn, but he will heal." Just to give you a little background, some of these minor prophets are dealing with the time after the Babylonian captivity. It specifically is addressed in the book of Zechariah.

They have been carried off captive for 70 years. Now they've returned to the promised land, but they've sort of been beat up. They're looking at the prophecies where Moses said, "if you forsake me, I'll forsake you. The nations will carry you away. You'll be a captive.

Your city will be destroyed." All the curses that God had foretold would happen if they abandoned the Lord all happened. Well now they realize that there are people that has been cursed, but they've managed to come back to the promised land. And they're still wondering, is it going to get better? Are we going to get carried off again. God is encouraging them through these prophecies, "I want to redeem you. I want to restore you.

Draw near to me, and I will draw near to you." By the way, that's another verse here, James 4:8. We did a revival series a few years ago that I enjoyed very much which is called, "drawing near." And it was based on this verse. James 4:8, "draw near to God and he will draw near to you." Is that a promise? What a wonderful promise. How do you draw near to God? I mean first of all, let's back that up. How many want God to draw near to them? Well it depends.

You want him to draw near to you in judgment, or do you want him to draw near to you in mercy and blessing? We all want God to draw near to us in blessings, right? How do you get that? Step one, draw near to him. What did The Father do? You know the story, Luke 15, prodigal son. As soon as The Father saw the prodigal son making an effort to come home, what did he do? He got up and he ran to meet him. What's the attitude of our Heavenly Father when we draw near to him? He runs. He's anxious, loves his children more than any earthly father, runs to meet them.

Draw near to God. How do we draw near to God? Well, you tell me. The typical answers, but they're very powerful. Prayer. Aren't we drawing near to God-- matter of fact, in the Bible, I believe there's another verse that says, "let us draw near to God and they prayed.

" And so whenever you get on your knees, you're beginning steps towards heaven. When you're seeking to hear God's voice through His Word, you open the Bible, you're drawing near to God. It's good to do the two together: pray and open the word. If there's anything in your life that you know is out of harmony with God's will, and you by his grace lay those things aside, you repent. Repentance is always drawing near to God.

You're turning away from the things that are bad, and you're drawing closer to God. Any effort that he sees us make in that respect, he draws near to us. He respects that. He honors that. And so--and he gives some other specifics here.

I'm going to read Isaiah 55:6-7, "seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near. Let the wicked forsake his way." So what is one of the way we draw near to God? "Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his--?" Are you--you may not have that-- "thoughts." I thought you knew that one by heart. "Let the wicked forsake his way and the unrighteous man his thoughts." So it's not only in your deeds you draw near to God. It's in your thinking. God wants us to have a revival and reform in what we think about.

And that I think is also influenced by what we read and what we watch and what we listen to. That affects your thinking. So you draw near to God, and say, "Lord, I want to think about you." "And let him return to the Lord." And what will God do? "He will have mercy on him; and to our God, for he will," partially pardon? "Abundantly pardon." Have you wondered, "have I sinned too much and gone too far?" How much does God pardon? Abundantly. He wants us to have abundant life. Alright, I gave out Malachi 3:7-8, are we ready for that? Go ahead.

"Yet from the days of your fathers you have gone away from my ordinances and have not kept them. 'Return to me, and I will return to you,' says the Lord of hosts. But you said, 'in what way shall we return? Will a man rob God?' Yet you have robbed me! But you say, 'in what way have we robbed you?' In tithes and offerings." So here we've got some specifics. We know that we can draw near to God through prayer. We can draw near to God through seeking him in His Word.

We can draw near to God in asking for purity of heart in our thoughts. And then it's also in your property. God specifically says--they say, "how do we draw near to you?" He says, "here's something you can start with." You know, if you love God you give him your time. You show your love for him by giving your time. All of your time belongs to God, every heartbeat.

But we remember it every Sabbath, right? Holy time is evidence. We love God because everything we think we own really belongs to him. And we demonstrate that, he says, "one-tenth of everything you return to me." He basically gives us this as a reminder to help us keep before us that everything belongs to him. So one of the ways we draw near to God is by faithfulness in our time and our means. Obviously if you come to church on Sabbath are you drawing near to God? That's a pretty practical way, come to the house of the Lord.

Let us draw near. But another way is bring a gift with you. Return your tithes. So it's not only giving him your life. That's your time.

You're giving him your means. You've often heard me say in the judgment there's two principal things we give an account for: what you do with who you are, your life, your time; and what you do with what you have. And so faithfulness in tithes and offerings is one of the ways we show God we want to return to you. Now I'm not going to rush past that point. Can you think of an example of someone in the Bible, and if you get an idea, raise your hand.

If you say it I'll repeat it so that the microphone will pick it up. Give me an example of someone in the Bible that drew near to God, and also gave something tangible when they did it. Abraham with his sacrifice. Zacchaeus. What did zacchaeus do when Jesus invited him to come? When he came to Jesus, and the Lord accepted him.

He said, "Lord, half my goods I give to the poor. And I kept the other half for all the people I robbed." And so what happened with his conversion and drawing near to God? He wanted to give. You notice God didn't even tell him to. He wanted to. I've got someone else in mind.

I'm waiting for someone to say it. The widow who brought her two mites. Was she drawing near to God? She came to the temple. That's still not who I'm thinking of. Come on, can't you guys read my mind? Who? Samuel, what did Samuel give? Samuel's mother, oh she drew near to God.

She gave her son. That's still not what I'm thinking of. That's a good one though. I heard another one. David.

What did he give when he draw near? Oh, he drew near to God. Yeah, he made all that provision for the temple. That's true. That was actually like a billion dollars. I'm thinking of naaman.

After naaman was cleansed, he could have gone home from the Jordan river, but he made a u-turn for one purpose. He went to Elisha and he said, "take a blessing of your servant." What made him do that? He didn't get an invoice in the mail. Why would he want to go back? When you're drawing near to God, when God's done so much for you, you kind of have this reciprocal response of a converted heart. You want to give. It's just, it's like, it's natural.

You know, first of all, it's the mind of Christ. When you see that "God so loved the world, he gave," and you receive that, you want to pass it on. You want to give. You want to share the blessing. And so one of the ways we draw near is through giving.

Let me think. I think I covered that one pretty well. Now we're going to jump to Zechariah 3. And we're going to spend quite a bit of time here so this is in the minor prophets. You'll find the book of Zechariah after the book of Haggai.

And it's one of the apocalyptic prophecies. He has prophecies like Daniel. He has visions with signs and symbols in them. And if you look in Zechariah 3, it says, "then he showed me Joshua the high priest--" alright, let's stop. Who's that? Well, the word "Joshua" is yeshua, which is Hebrew for Jesus.

But there was a real person named Joshua. There's actually at least two that we know of in the Bible besides Christ in the old testament. There is a general by the name of Joshua who was the chief of staff for Moses. He was the aid of Moses, or the servant of Moses, who led the children of Israel from the wilderness into the promised land, right? Then you have a high priest by the same name. When they were in Babylon, he led a group from persia and Babylon back to the promised land.

They are both types of our Jesus, our Joshua, who is our general and our high priest. Isn't Jesus our high priest, who leads his people into the promised land. And so just wanted to throw that in. But there was a real priest back in the days of Zechariah and Ezra in that time called Joshua the high priest, "standing before the angel of the Lord, and satan standing at his right hand to oppose," or to accuse, "him." Now who is the angel of the Lord? Well, every time in the Bible it says the "angel of the Lord," is that always Jesus? Sometimes, you know, you could probably make an argument it could be just an angel like gabriel or something, who has been sent from the Lord. But most of the time the Bible, when it's talking about "the angel of the Lord," it's talking about this as a Christophany.

It's a pre-incarnation, manifestation of Christ. Now did Jesus live before he was born to mary? He said, "before Abraham was, I am." Christ is from everlasting to everlasting. That means before he was incarnate, or he came into human flesh, he lived. What did he look like? If he wanted to talk to man, how did he appear? Alright, think about this. In the garden, all things that were made were made by Christ.

In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth. God formed man from the dust of the ground. Which member of the Godhead was probably the carpenter who made man? God The Son, right? Christ breathed into adam's nostrils, the breath of life. He came to life. Who walked with him in the garden in the cool of the day? Who was it they ran from when they sinned? It's God The Son probably.

One that they looked at. "No man has seen The Father," the Bible says, right? So was that the last time that Christ appeared to humanity until he was born of mary, or were there other times that he appeared? Who was it that appeared to Abraham with two other angels that were on their way to sodom to destroy it? God The Son, or Christ. Now let me give you some other examples in the Bible. Somebody read Exodus 3:2. I think--if I didn't give that to anyone, we just need to-- you have it? "And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of the bush.

So he looked, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, but the bush was not consumed." Alright, now what does God say to Moses about his shoes during that apparition? Taking your shoes off is an act of worship. And he said, "this is holy ground." Does an angel make ground holy, a regular cherub or seraphim? No example in the Bible of anyone saying that we should worship where angels walk. Matter of fact, when John the apostle in Revelation-- I think it's in chapter 19, maybe again in chapter 10. He tries to worship an angel. What does the angel say? "Eh, eh, eh! That's against the commandments.

Don't do that." They, you know, were sinning ignorantly. And you and i, if we saw an angel in their glory, we might feel just this natural urge of something divine to worship. But the angel said, "oh, you haven't seen anything yet. Don't worship me." One of the commandments says, "thou shalt not have other Gods. Just worship the Lord.

" And so we're not told to worship angels. But this was treated as holy ground. "God," then it says, "God spoke to Moses from the bush." It says it's the angel of the Lord. And then it says it's God. It is, it's God The Son.

I'm going to read Joshua 5:13. "It came to pass, when Joshua was by Jericho," getting ready to invade the city or the promised land and take Jericho, "that he lifted his eyes and looked, and behold, a man stood opposite him with his sword drawn in his hand. And Joshua went to him--" they're about to go to battle. He doesn't know who he is. "Are you for us or our adversaries?" "So he said, 'no, but--'" I'm not what you think.

I'm not a common soldier. "But as commander of the army of the Lord I have now come. And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshipped him and said, 'what does my Lord say to his servant?' Then the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, 'take your sandal off your foot, for the place where you stand is holy.'" Now there you've got a very interesting Christophany, because there you've got Joshua talking to Joshua. You've got Christ appearing as the commander of the Lord's army. Who is it that leads the angels against the dragon in Revelation? Michael.

I'll get to that in just a second. Let's go ahead and read now Genesis 32:30. "So Jacob called the name of the place peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." Alright, how many of us know the story about where Jacob wrestled with the angel? Does it ever call it an angel? Well that's the angel of the Lord, but it doesn't say it like that. But we end up finding out who this messenger is. Jacob says, "I've seen--" who? "I've seen God.

" So who was it that gave him his new name? That was God. Jesus says, "I'm the one that gives you a new name." So another example of where this angel of the Lord represents Christ. Let me give you one more. Genesis 16, and we'll talk maybe a moment, 'cause I want to-- we'll go back to Zechariah. I want to just nail down who these characters are.

Genesis 16:7-10. You remember when hagar fled because she was sort of evicted. Had that dispute with Sarah. "Now the angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, by the spring on the way to shur. And he said, 'hagar, sarai's maid, where have you come from, and where are you going?' She said, 'I am fleeing from the presence of my mistress Sarah.

' And the angel of the Lord said to her, 'return to your mistress, and submit yourself to her, under her hand.' And the angel of the Lord said, 'I will multiply your descendants exceedingly, that they will not be counted for multitude.'" Who is it that's making a promise that her descendants would be multiplied? Is this an angel or is that God that does that typically? He said, "I will multiply." He didn't say, "I've got a message that God will." He said, "I will." What about that time when the angel appeared, the angel of the Lord appears to maNoah and his wife, his nameless wife? I always feel bad they never told her name. And they have the boy Samson. First time the angel appears to maNoah's wife, she gives a report to her husband, he comes back and they pray that the angel will appear again. The angel appears to them both. They say, "what is your name?" He says, "why are you asking after my name? It is wonderful.

" His name is wonderful? This angel's name is wonderful? Who's name is wonderful? Speaking of Christ, it says they'll call his name wonderful. Now I just want to--you know, sometimes when people first hear this, especially some of our listeners who maybe are watching on the internet or tv, they think it's almost a flag for a cult to say that Jesus is an angel. We don't believe that. We believe Michael the archangel is Christ. It's one of the titles, or Christophanies.

The angel of the Lord, Michael means, "who is as God." He is the one who leads his angels against lucifer. Now you find that the angel of the Lord in Zechariah is having a face-off with lucifer. You find in Revelation 12 it talks about Michael and his angels fought with the dragon. Alright, stop here. Who's the dragon? Does anyone have any question that the dragon is a symbolic name for lucifer? It says in that same chapter, that old serpent, the dragon, the devil.

No question, satan. It uses all the names: dragon, serpent, devil, satan. Don't have to ever guess about them being the same person, there in Revelation 12. So if the devil is being identified by a symbolic title, dragon, then why would it surprise us that Christ was being identified by a symbolic title, Michael. Wouldn't that be true? So you got Michael and his angels, Christ and his angels, fighting with the devil and his angels.

And so he is the angel of the Lord. Furthermore, the Lord himself, Thessalonians 4, "the Lord," is the subject, "himself shall descend from heaven with a shout and the voice of the archangel." Who descends with the voice of the archangel? the Lord himself, but he's called--he has the voice of the archangel. Archangel means the greatest messenger. So this is just one of the titles for Michael. I know that confuses people, you know.

And I used to go to catholic school and they had an angel called, not only gabriel, they had one called rafael. Any of you remember that? They kind of named this. That's not in the Bible at all. You do find gabriel in the Bible and that means "man of God." Oh, let me give you one more. In Daniel 12, when Michael stands up, "the great prince that stands for the children of thy people, there will be a time of trouble such as there never has been, since there was a nation even unto the same time.

" When Michael stands up. That's a lot of power for an angel to stand up and the end be signaled. But if Michael is the one who is our intercessor, "the great prince that stands for the children of thy people." That means he stands to intercede, to defend. Who is it that's defending Joshua the high priest in this vision we're reading in Zechariah? It's Christ, but he's called the angel of the Lord. Let me think.

Is there one more? Yeah. In the book of Jude, I think it's verse 9, when Michael comes to resurrect Moses. Can an angel resurrect, or is that Jesus? The devil, the adversary, resists him. There you've got it again. Christ and the devil, fighting over souls.

The devil was saying, I don't know what the conversation is, but I can surmise, it was something like, "what are you doing here? You can't have him. I made him lose his temple--his temper at the waters of meribah. And he got angry, and you told him he couldn't enter the promised land. How come you're resurrecting him?" And Jesus said, "the Lord rebuke thee." And he took Moses. And we know Moses is alive.

He appeared on the mount of transfiguration. So you got that dispute again between Michael and the dragon. You see that all through the Bible. It's the way that Christ often appears typically in the old testament. Jude is referring back to the old testament, as is Revelation, before his incarnation.

When Moses was resurrected, new or old testament? Old testament. Battle between--I'm talking about Moses was raised three days after he died. It doesn't say that in the Bible, but we know he appears in the new testament. And it is in Jewish literature that Moses was assumed. It's called the assumption of Moses three days after he died.

And it says God buried him. We believe that he was raised. There's no reason to doubt that, 'cause he does appear in the new testament alive. In Revelation 12, when it talks about the war between Christ and satan, is it referring to something future or past? It's going back before his incarnation. So the only times you hear him called, "Michael," they're going back to the pre-incarnation experiences.

That's why it took some time to explain that. Alright, back to Zechariah 3, "and he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and satan standing at his right hand to oppose him." Why at his right hand? Somebody read psalm 109, I didn't give it to anybody, :6. "Appoint a wicked man over him, and let an accuser stand at his right hand." An accuser stand at his right hand. Why does it say satan is standing at the right hand? Now in Bible times, if you were going to accuse someone as a witness, it could mean they were stoned to death. You needed to be real certain about your testimony and be willing to look that person in the eye.

And you know, it was only in the mouth of at least two witnesses, but you would stand at that person's right hand and say, "I am looking you in the eye and saying you did this and this. You said that and that." I had a meeting this week with a couple of people, and one of 'em was reporting that I said something in a context I didn't say it. I got the two of 'em together, and I looked 'em both in the eye and I said, "this is what I said to you, right? I want you to say it in their presence." Yeah. Sometimes you can have what they call a liar's meeting. And you bring everybody together and you look each other in the eye and say, "let's hear it one more time.

" And so the idea is that if you're going to bear testimony, "that person did this and this!" They say, "are you ready to say that and look them in the eye in front of witnesses?" So they were to stand at the right hand and accuse them for their execution. So you understand the context? If you read the rest of psalm 109, it's talking about Judas. And matter of fact, Peter quotes that. And so his office would be taken away. And so satan is standing at the right hand.

Someone Revelation 12:10. "Then I heard a loud voice in heaven, saying, 'now the salvation, and the power, and the Kingdom of our God and the authority of his Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren has been thrown down, he who accuses them before our God day and night." Wow. Satan is called the what? The accuser of the brethren. Brethren meaning the people of God. That means--and he accuses them once in some judgment or how often? Day and night.

How often is Jesus interceding for us? Day and night. Do you realize that there's a battle for your soul every day? Friends we're not talking about hypothetical theories and philosophies. We're not talking about legends and myths. We're talking about reality here, that right now as you sit there that in this Great Controversy between good and evil, the devil and his minions are looking for you to do something wrong so that they can impugn you before Christ and say, "there your people, look at what they're doing. Look at where they're going.

Look at how they act. Look at what they watch. Look at how they speak." And they're accusing us. And then they're trying to get you destroyed. Penalty for sin is death.

They're standing at your right hand to get the stones to fly. Remember that woman brought into the temple, caught in the act of adultery. Similar situation. Was she guilty? You notice that in the vision of Zechariah, and even in Revelation, it doesn't dispute the innocence or guilt of the people. What it does say is that Michael, that Christ, is defending them and rebuking the devil.

Why? Because he's pleading his sacrifice. So do you and I give the devil something to talk about? Please try not to do that anymore than absolutely necessary. It's never necessary. I didn't mean to say it that way, but really! Didn't Jesus say that if we stand up for him here on earth, he will--if we will confess his name and represent him-- confessing his name doesn't just mean use it at the end of your prayer, it means living a life where you confess Christ, that he will confess our name before his father and the angels in heaven. So it's not just the devil and his angels accusing.

Christ is interceding at the same time, 'cause he's constantly shielding and battling off these accusations of the devil. We see this principle all through the Bible. And he is our intercessor. He ever lives to make intercession for us. You notice it tells us the devil is the accuser of the brethren.

Now that spirit of accusing the brethren, can that sometimes be found even among the brethren? You know, this has always been sort of a conundrum for me, because on one hand as Christians, when you see some glaring inconsistency that needs to be addressed, or a brother or sister that are slipping off in the world and you feel like you need to plead for their soul, you want to talk to 'em. You want to do it the way Jesus describes in Matthew 18. You don't want to just gossip and try to hurt their reputation. And so there's a balance between caring about people and being able to discuss those things in a redemptive way, as opposed to just talking about someone because you're being--it just makes you salivate to discuss the faults and weaknesses of others, or to talk about how bad things are in the church today. Then you're kind of like those scribes and pharisees in the temple that were ready to stone mary.

They stood at their right hand, that woman caught in adultery just like the devil. And what did Jesus say? He that is without sin among you, cast the first stone, right? There again you've got that accusation going on and Christ defending, right? Same scenario. We've got to be real careful in the church that we don't become the accuser of the brethren. Judas became an accuser of the brethren and he didn't realize he ended up accusing Christ. And so pray if you ever need to talk about something, and pastors every now and then, you know, things are going on you got to deal with, it's never pleasant.

Those things need to be addressed. You need to care about your brother. You need to go to them one-on-one first. If they won't hear you, you bring the church, right? Get some mediation to resolve the disputes. But don't try to send it to the tabloids of the church and just gossip.

That's just, you know, it just hurts people. And we need to pray for the Holy Spirit to remind us if we are acting the part of the accuser of the brethren. Typically, ha, think about it, who is the most guilty of all the beings who ever existed? The dragon, the devil, satan, lucifer. Who is the accuser? The guiltiest one of all is the biggest accuser. Does that play out also in the church sometimes? You've heard that old adage that when you got one finger pointing away you got three pointing back.

And so sometimes it is true, not always, but sometimes it's true the ones who are the most critical of everybody else, they're conscience is bothering them and it is a diversionary tactic. They feel convicted about some inconsistencies in their life, and so they try to deflect that attention by pointing at everything everyone else is doing wrong. And it's really a way of coping with their own guilt. So you've got to pray for them. Let's not be the accuser of the brethren.

Devil's doing--he's on the clock, he's on the job around the clock; we don't need to try and fill in for him, right? And let's not be his advocates of accusing the brethren. Okay, so there's satan standing at the right hand to oppose or accuse. I'm back to Zechariah 3. And the Lord said to satan--you notice it calls him the angel of the Lord, then it says the Lord. "the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem," it says, "the Lord rebuke you.

" By the way, that's what Jesus quotes in Jude 9. "the Lord rebuke you, satan! the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you!" Now you might wonder why would the Lord invoke his own name? Why would Jesus, identified as Michael, say to the devil, "the Lord rebuke you," and not say, "I rebuke you?" Well, is the Lord singular, or is the Lord three persons? So here Christ is speaking in half of the entirety of God. He's speaking on behalf of The Father and the Spirit and himself, and he says, "the Lord rebuke thee." So, you know, I don't think that's unusual. It's not uncommon for royalty to refer to themselves outside of themselves. And Christ is certainly royalty.

He's invoking his own name. "the Lord rebuke you, satan! the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?" You know, it's like they used to throw a brand of grass or something, or a piece of stick in the fire. And our kids loved to do this, whenever we'd burn brush, they would deliberately take one dry stick and put it part way in the fire, because then they'd want to pull it out, and wave it around, play with the fire. But you'd got to get the end of the stick burning. And it was a brand plucked from the burning.

It's not talking about a cow brand. I've heard some preachers say that. And it's not talking about branding cows. They didn't do that back then. It's talking about a fire brand.

Something that they used to start from the fire. It's like it's given to destruction, but they pull it out and they spare it. They save it. They put it out. They extinguish it.

Jerusalem looked like it was destroyed back in the days of Nebuchadnezzar. And the devil wanted it to be obliterated forever. God said, "no, it's a brand plucked from the burning. It's going to be spared." Why is it the high priest that's clothed with these filthy garments? Who does he represent? He was to plead for the people. Who bore the sins of the people? God very specifically says in Leviticus that aaron, he said, "you will bear their sins.

" So the reason the high priest is chosen to represent the people who have filthy garments, they have sin in their lives, he represents all of Israel. Jerusalem was their dwelling place. So it's talking about God's people. When it in Revelation talks about measuring the temple, it's talking about a judgment of the people of God. God is not coming into the world to save cities.

He's coming to save people that will live in that city. You and I are that bride of Christ. But it also calls the new Jerusalem the bride of Christ. So those are synonymous. He says, "the Lord rebuke you, satan! the Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee! Is not this a brand plucked from the fire?" A lot of people look like they're given to destruction.

Then God saves them at the last minute. "Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments." Here's where the garments come in. "And he was standing before the angel." Of all the people in Israel, who was supposed to have the best pressed, cleanest garments? More attention was given to the garments of the priest, with the exception of maybe when Solomon came along. It tells us that he had some pretty spectacular garments. Remember, Jesus referred to, "even Solomon was not arrayed like one of these," speaking about the flowers.

But typically in the Bible, the priest was to keep his garments were to be spotless. Any of you ever seen a five-star general go to some official function? And he's got his white uniform on. They might have their blue uniform, but sometimes you'll see them wearing a white uniform. How carefully is it creased? How straight are the metals on his chest? When you think about the high priest, I want you to picture that. I mean it was--they went over him before he walked out on stage, their attendants, to make sure there's nothing wrong with his garments.

Why? It represented the purity of God, and he was going to be the representative for the people. So for Joshua to be wearing filthy garments, what does that mean? He's been bearing the sins of the people that were confessed. They've gone through the whole Babylonian captivity, the whole failure, Jerusalem being destroyed, the ten tribes being carried off captive, the idol worship, the sins of manasseh, everything that they had done wrong during all that time, now you've got Joshua standing before the Lord, those filthy garments. How do you deal with all those sins of that nation? They're trying to get a new start. So in this vision he's saying, "look, you can have a revival, a new beginning.

" He was clothed with filthy garments and standing before the angel. "And the angel spoke to those who stood before him, saying, 'take away the filthy garments from him.'" Now who is that angel of the Lord? That's Jesus. "Take away his filthy garments. And to him he said, 'see, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.'" Beautiful, majestic, clean, royal, valuable robes. What do those robes represent? That represents the purity of Christ, the rich robes that God is willing to give us.

Now he's making this statement to the high priest, but is it a stretch for us to make that personal? "I have caused your iniquity to pass from you." Now the devil was accusing for all the filthy garments and the sins. Was the devil right? You hate to say that, don't you? Had they sinned? When the devil stood there to accuse Moses for losing his temper and disobeying God, was the devil right? Had he sinned? When mary or the woman--can't prove it's mary magdalene, you can't prove it's not--was in the temple there, and the Jewish leaders were accusing her, had she been caught in the act of adultery? Was she guilty? So when the Lord says, "your iniquity is cause to pass from me," should that be good news for all of us, that we can come before the Lord, repent of our sins? And while the devil might stand there to accuse, Jesus, we can plead his blood and he says, "I am going to cause your iniquity to pass from you, and I'm going to clothe you with royal, white, pure robes that represent righteousness. You know, it's always fun when we have a baptism. Frequently I'll be on the side here. And I like to remind them-- you know, it's one of the things about a baptism or a wedding, it's something like, well you know, any kind of public event where you stand in front of people that has symbolism attached to it, you can get so preoccupied--an ordination.

You get so nervous with the ritual and the ceremony and the functionality and the people that are watching, you can lose what is happening here, what does this mean? You almost have to watch the video of the wedding later to find out what happened, because you're in a blur of nerves. And we'll be at a wedding tomorrow, one of our members is getting married. And I like to, if I'm involved in a wedding, I say to the bride and the groom when they come forward, I say, "alright, take a deep breath. Now turn around and look at everybody. Because you're so caught up in this ceremony that you're just not going to see who's even here.

These are all your friends. Just take it all in for a moment." I just stop everything, "take it in." Because they forget the beauty of all that's happening. Before people get baptized I tell 'em, "you realize when you come out of the water on the other side of that baptistery--" our baptistery, we got steps going in, we got steps going out. I like that because it's almost like transition. You're going out a different way than you came in.

You're going out a different person than you came in. If you believe the promise of God, when you get out on the other side, all of your sins are washed away and left behind. You've claimed the promises of God. You know you have eternal life, and if you slip on your way down the other side and you die, you're going to heaven in the resurrection." That's kind of exciting! I want people to think about that, 'cause I think most Christians kind of live their lives in the gray area of doubt. We hope we're saved.

We wonder. That little window, when you know you come out of the baptistery, that he's declared you clean, people ought to embrace that. And keep it as long as they can, because if we had more confidence in our salvation. I think if you know you're saved, it's easier to resist temptation. Isn't it? If you know you've got eternal life, and the devil comes along with some little temptation, it's a lot easier to say no when you feel like, "why would I gamble eternal life for that?" So when he declares, "I have caused--" it's not the government doing this.

It's not the church doing it. It's God saying, "I have caused your iniquity to pass from you. See I've removed your iniquity, and I will clothe you with rich robes." Verse 5, I'm running out of time, "and he said, 'let them put a clean turban on his head. So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put clothes on him." Now why the turban? What was on the turban of aaron? There was a gold placard. And something was written on that ostensibly in Hebrew.

What did it say? Holiness to the Lord. So you are a nation of Kings and priests. You and I are kind of like Joshua the high priest. He's saying, "yes, you've got filthy garments. But you come to me in faith and in repentance--" they had come back to Jerusalem seeking after God.

"You have drawn near to me; I've drawn near to you." I'm going to tell these attendants around. You remember when aaron first got dressed, it says they clothed him. He actually stood there. Some of you probably have seen royalty when they just go like this and all their attendants get around and dress him. Kind of like you do a baby, except they're not as cooperative.

And that's what they did with the high priest when they put his robes on. You ever have someone help you on with your jacket or coat or something like that? And they actually-- he had people clothe him. Here you got angels putting on the robes. He's telling the angels, "put on the robe. Put on the miter.

" Holiness to the Lord. You are not declared holy. When God looks at you, what does he see? You're holy. This is good news. Don't you think, friends? These garments.

Put a clean turban on his head, clean garments. "Put clothes on them. And the angel of the Lord stood by." Now listen to what the angel says. He "admonished Joshua, "thus says the Lord," and this is for everybody here, " if you will walk in my ways," notice that if, you have a choice, "if you will keep my commands, then you will also judge my house, and likewise have charge of my courts." What does the Bible say about the saints? "You are a nation of Kings and priests. We will live and reign with him.

" What did he tell the apostles? "You will judge the 12 tribes of Israel." We're going to be rulers with Christ, over the cosmos, for eternity. What he says to Joshua, the priest, is for all of us. You see that? You don't sound convincing, but I'm not gonna--I'm not gonna push it if you don't agree. "And I will give you places to walk among these who stand here." Wow. I'm going to give you an opportunity to be with these heavenly beings, in this heavenly place.

What Zechariah was seeing in the vision there was something taking place in heaven. And he says, "I will give you a place in this kingdom." That's good news, friend. That's very encouraging. You know, I know we kind of ran out of time, but you read on through the rest of this chapter, and it says, "behold, I am bringing forth my servant, the branch." Who is that branch? That's a name for Christ, several verses: Isaiah 42:1, psalm 71:7, and many others refer to the branch of jesse, the branch of David, which is Christ the Messiah. It closes all this vision by then tying it in with the Messiah, with Jesus himself who is to come.

Anyway, talking about the "garments of grace." I enjoyed that study. Wish we had more time for it. We are out of time, but I do want to remind our friends, we do have a free offer. If you did not hear us at the beginning, it's a book we'll send you called, "assurance: justification made simple," by yours truly. If you'd like a free copy of that, call this number, free phone call: 866-788-3966.

One more time I'll give it to you: 866-788-3966. I do that 'cause some are listening on the radio. And God bless you, friends. We'll study chapter 10 next week.

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