Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones. (Matthew 3:9) Produce fruit in keeping with repentance. And do not begin to say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father.’ For I tell you that out of these stones God can raise up children for Abraham. (Luke 3:8)
Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. (Acts 13:26)
If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise. (Galatians 3:29)
Then the heavenly messenger showed me a fourth vision:
Joshua, the high priest, was standing in front of the Eternal’s Special Messenger who was presiding over a heavenly council meeting. Standing to Joshua’s right was the one called the Accuser.
He was ready to argue that Joshua was unworthy to serve as high priest.
In this vision Zechariah sees a heavenly court.
Joshua the high priest is on trial, charged with impurity and accused of being unfit to serve as high priest. The Accuser appears in the role of a prosecuting attorney, bringing charges and attempting to undermine the credibility of the one person God wants to lead His people. But the Judge will have none of it.
Eternal One (to the Accuser):
I am reprimanding you, Accuser. I, the Eternal One, have chosen Jerusalem as My own, saved her from My fiery wrath as if she were a wooden poker just pulled from destruction in a fire.
Joshua stood motionless before the Eternal’s messenger, still dressed in filth-covered clothes, as if recently returned from captivity.
Special Messenger of the Eternal (to the other heavenly council members):
Remove the filth-covered clothes from this man.
(to Joshua) Just as I have taken away your dirty clothes, I have taken away your guilt from you. In place of those clothes, I will dress you in pure, expensive garments. Then you will be ready to serve God and lead the festival.
Zechariah (to the Eternal’s Special Messenger):
Your fellow council members should put a pure turban befitting of the high priest on his head. It will indicate his dignity.
So they placed a pure turban on his head and finished dressing him in his new clothes while the Eternal’s Special Messenger stood by, supervising the cleansing. Joshua could now safely approach God.
The Eternal’s Special Messenger then stood before Joshua and cautioned him.
Special Messenger of the Eternal:
Listen to what the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, has to say: “If you bind yourself to Me, walk according to My teachings, and perform your priestly duties without fail; then you will be in charge of My house in Jerusalem, you will organize the activities in the courtyards surrounding the most holy place, and I will give you a place among all My heavenly council members gathered here. Listen to Me, Joshua the high priest—you and your colleagues who maintain the temple alongside you. These men are a sign of wonders to come. Watch, because I am going to bring My servant, who is the Branch of David, to lead you.” The Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, has this to say: “You will see the stone I set before Joshua: on it are seven eyes, on it I will engrave a special word, and in a single day I will purge guilt from the land. And on that day I, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, promise everyone will invite one another to sit under the shade of his own vine and fig tree and be at peace.”
“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land.”
(Jeremiah 23:5) In that day the Root of Jesse will stand as a banner for the peoples; the nations will rally to him, and his resting place will be glorious. (Isaiah 11:10)
Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this. (Isaiah 9:7)
Out of the stump of David’s family will grow a shoot–yes, a new Branch bearing fruit from the old root. (Isaiah 11:1) This is the genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham. (Matthew 1:1) From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised. (Acts 13:23)
Once more a remnant of the kingdom of Judah will take root below and bear fruit above. (Isaiah 37:31)
“In those days, at that time,” declares the LORD, “search will be made for Israel’s guilt, but there will be none, and for the sins of Judah, but none will be found, for I will forgive the remnant I spare.” (Jeremiah 50:20)
No longer will they teach their neighbor, or say to one another, ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest,” declares the LORD. “For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”
As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. (Psalm 103:12)
The Story of the Greedy Farmhands
“Here’s another story. Listen closely. There was once a man, a wealthy farmer, who planted a vineyard. He fenced it, dug a winepress, put up a watchtower, then turned it over to the farmhands and went off on a trip. When it was time to harvest the grapes, he sent his servants back to collect his profits.
“The farmhands grabbed the first servant and beat him up. The next one they murdered. They threw stones at the third but he got away. The owner tried again, sending more servants. They got the same treatment. The owner was at the end of his rope. He decided to send his son. ‘Surely,’ he thought, ‘they will respect my son.’
“But when the farmhands saw the son arrive, they rubbed their hands in greed. ‘This is the heir! Let’s kill him and have it all for ourselves.’ They grabbed him, threw him out, and killed him.
“Now, when the owner of the vineyard arrives home from his trip, what do you think he will do to the farmhands?”
“He’ll kill them—a rotten bunch, and good riddance,” they answered. “Then he’ll assign the vineyard to farmhands who will hand over the profits when it’s time.”
Jesus said, “Right—and you can read it for yourselves in your Bibles:
The stone the masons threw out
is now the cornerstone.
This is God’s work;
we rub our eyes, we can hardly believe it!
“This is the way it is with you. God’s kingdom will be taken back from you and handed over to a people who will live out a kingdom life. Whoever stumbles on this Stone gets shattered; whoever the Stone falls on gets smashed.”
God says, “Rebuild the road! Clear away the rocks and stones so my people can return from captivity.” (Isaiah 57;14)