Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire? Zechariah 3:2b

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Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Senior
Greetings brothers and sisters, on this His Day,

You know the old expression "You should have been there,” when something fun or interesting happened, but the listener wasn't around to experience it. It means something like "If you were there, you would have enjoyed what happened."

That’s how I feel about the Zechariah passage and the short commentary by Matthew Poole. For several weeks I have been troubled by my nagging remaining corruption. I was having some trouble worshipping the Lord with my usual freedom. Then, while I was already being helped by our loving Father to rely on the finished work of His dear Son, I thought of the phrase “a brand plucked out of the fire,” and looked up the Scripture and Matthew Poole. Like I said, “you should have been there.” It was like life from the dead to my weary soul. I hope someone out there is likewise helped.

Under the type of Joshua the high priest receiving clean garments, 1–5,
and a covenant of promise from God, 6, 7,
Christ, the Branch and Corner-stone, is foretold, 8–10.​

1 AND he shewed me [a]Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and [b] ǁSatan standing at his right hand to resist him.​

And he; the Lord of hosts, whose servant Zechariah was, and in whose name he spake. Showed me; in vision represented to me, Zechariah. Joshua the high priest; for that office was by hereditary right descended on him, and how mean soever his state was, yet still he was that great officer of the church. Standing; either as accused, and to make his defence; or rather ministering in his office, according to his duty. Before the angel: this angel was Christ, whose minister, or servant, the high priest was, as well as type of him. Satan; that adversary, as we might render the word, either Satan the devil, or some instrument of his stirred up by him, Sanballat, or, &c. Standing at his right hand; either because the accusation was true, or to hold his working hand from its work. To resist him; Joshua.

2 And the Lord said unto Satan, [c]The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that [d]hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee:​
[e]is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?​

The Lord said, i.e. Christ, the great Redeemer, Restorer, Lord, and Mediator of the church. The Lord; the great God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who as Mediator rather chooseth to rebuke him in his Father’s name than in his own, though this he could have done. Rebuke thee; he who was accused was God’s high priest, and to minister in the temple at Jerusalem, the city which God had chosen, in which respect it was sure that God would take cognizance of the matter and judge aright; he would prohibit Satan’s attempts. Is not this, this man, this Joshua, a brand plucked out of the fire? like a brand half burnt, or all smutty with long lying in the fire of affliction? Reject him not for this.

3 Now Joshua was clothed with [f]filthy garments, and stood before the angel.​

At the time Zechariah saw this vision he saw also in what a mean, dirty, and tattered garb he was who represented the high priest. It was the hieroglyphic of Joshua, not Joshua himself. Filthy garments; emblem of a poor or sinful state, or both. Stood: see ver. 1. Before the angel; the Lord Christ, called the Angel.

4 And he answered and spake unto those that stood before him, saying, Take away the filthy garments from him. And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, [g]and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.​

And he; the Lord Christ, who purifieth his church, who purgeth away her sin, and clothes her with rich and clean garments. Answered; so the Hebrew, and so this prophet speaks, though no question went before. It is an idiom of that language. Spake; commanded. Those that stood before him; some of the attendants, those ministerial angels, who were Christ’s servants, and as such are represented standing before him. Take away the filthy garments; remove, or cause them to be removed, from him, as altogether unbeseeming his person, office, and employments. These filthy garments those angels took away, but another hand takes away what is signified by this emblem. From him; from this high priest Joshua. He, Christ, the Lamb of God, said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee: what angels could not take away, Christ did; he removed the filth of sin, the guilt and stain of it. I will clothe, adorn and beautify, thee, O Joshua, with change of raiment; clean and rich, emblem of graces and spiritual excellencies given to him.

5 And I said, Let them set a fair [h]mitre upon his head. So they set a fair mitre upon his head, and clothed him with garments. And the angel of the Lord stood by.​

And I said: Zechariah takes the boldness to desire that for Joshua which might add to his veneration and authority; and he asks the thing of Christ, or rather Christ commandeth this be done. Let them, who minister before Christ, set a fair mitre; a rich and beautiful ornament for the head of the high priest; not a crown, which is for royal heads, but a tire, a pontifical ensign. So they set, as they were commanded by Christ at the request of the prophet. And clothed him with garments; all the garments which did appertain to the high priest, of which you read Exod. 28:4, which probably were put on, though they are not expressly mentioned here. The angel, who is the Lord Christ himself, stood by; withdrew not till all this was done.
a Hag. 1:1.
b Ps. 109:6. Rev. 12:10.
ǁ That is, an adversary.
† Heb. to be his adversary.
c Jude 9.
d ch. 1:17. Rom. 8:33.
e Amos 4:11. Rom. 11:5. Jude 23.
f Is. 64:6.
g Is. 61:10. Rev. 19:8. Luke 15:22.
h Ex. 29:6; Ex. 6:11.
Poole, M. (1853). Annotations upon the Holy Bible (Vol. 2, p. 994). New York: Robert Carter and Brothers.
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