Zechariah is remindful of the donkey, bringing to mind his famous prophecy of the Lord coming in peace, riding on a donkey.

Vision 1 – God’s pity for God’s people | Zechariah 1:7‑17

Vision 2 – God’s protection of God’s people | Zechariah 1:18‑21

Vision 3 – God’s purpose for God’s people | Zechariah 2:1-13

Vision 4 – God’s purification of God’s people | Zechariah 3:1-10

Vision 5 – God’s empowering of God’s people | Zechariah 4:1-14

Vision 6 – God’s perfecting of God’s people | Zechariah 5:1-4

Vision 7 – God’s purging of God’s people | Zechariah 5:5-11

Vision 8 – God’s protecting of God’s people | Zechariah 6:1-8

An angelic guide helped Zechariah understand what God was showing him, throughout the night.

PART 1: Cast of Characters

Vision Four: The Priest Joshua and Satan

Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satanstanding 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 man a brand plucked from the fire?” 

Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.

The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.”

And to him he said, “See, I have taken your guilt away from you, and I will clothe you with festal apparel.” 

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 the apparel; and the angel of the Lord was standing by.

Then the angel of the Lord assured Joshua, saying, “Thus says the Lord of hosts:

“IF you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, 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.

“Now listen, Joshua, high priest, you and your colleagues who sit before you! For they are an omen of things to come:

* I am going to bring my servant the Branch.

* For on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the Lord of hosts, and

* I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day.

* On that day, says the Lord of hosts, you shall invite each other to come under your vine and fig tree.”

Zechariah 3:1-10 (NRSV)

Who are the Characters?

Zechariah had now received one of the great Messianic prophecies in the Hebrew scriptures.

  • Joshua the high priest was well-known to the prophet Zechariah. He was one of the two leaders Zechariah and Haggai had accompanied, with the first wave of returning exiles to begin the rebuilding of Jerusalem and the temple

Joshua represented those who were faithful to God, who had returned to Zion, and were living the mandate the Lord had given God’s people during the years of wilderness wandering.

Now therefore, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession out of all the peoples. Indeed, the whole earth is mine, but you shall be for me a priestly kingdom and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the Israelites.”

Exodus 19:5-6 (NRSV)

Which Isaiah echoed in his own writings,

you shall be called priests of the Lord,
    you shall be named ministers of our God.

Isaiah 61:6 (NRSV)

And which the Apostle Peter later appropriated to the people of God in Christ.

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

1 Peter 2:9 (NRSV)
  • Satan is presented in scriptures as a real being, and a formidable enemy of humanity. Yet, Satan is not depicted as an enemy equal to God. Satan’s power is limited, he can only do what God will permit. The devil and his demons have been defeated by Christ’s triumph at the cross. Death and hell no longer have any hold over God’s people.

Yet, even though Satan is a real personality, interestingly, a lot of people don’t believe it. The Barna Research group found that in 2020 only a little over half of all adults surveyed in the United States, 56%, said that the devil, or “Satan, is not merely a symbol of evil but is a real spiritual being and influences human lives.”

In an earlier 2007 survey, Barna discovered that nearly half of all born-again Christians, 46%, denied Satan’s existence.

Yet both the Pharisees and Jesus acknowledged that Satan was a real person, the prince of demons whom they referred to as Beelzebub, which means “lord of the flies” in Hebrew, and was meant as a mockery of the actual title “Prince Baal.”

Scripture talks about a spiritual being, an angel named Lucifer, who was accompanied by a large angelic force in a rebellion against God. Isaiah 14 describes the thoughts that went on in Lucifer’s mind, “I will make myself like the Most High.” He was portrayed as the most powerful, the most beautiful, of all the angels. His name meant “light-bearer,” “shining one,” “Son of the Dawn,” and he aspired to the throne of God.

Illustration for John Milton’s “Paradise Lost

Evidently, Satan wanted God’s possession of and dominion over all the universe, with earth as his footstool.

Jesus said he saw Satan, which means “adversary,” fall like lightning from heaven when God cast him out, and in his Revelation, John saw the same thing, “a star that had fallen from heaven to earth, and he was given the key to the shaft of the bottomless pit.” Later, John observed the cataclysmic clash between God and Satan,

Then another portent appeared in heaven: a great red dragon, with seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads. His tail swept down a third of the stars of heaven and threw them to the earth.

Then the dragon stood before the woman who was about to bear a child, so that he might devour her child as soon as it was born. And she gave birth to a son, a male child, who is to rule all the nations with a rod of iron. But her child was snatched away and taken to God and to his throne; and the woman fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared by God, so that there she can be nourished for one thousand two hundred sixty days.

And war broke out in heaven; Michael and his angels fought against the dragon. The dragon and his angels fought back, but they were defeated, and there was no longer any place for them in heaven. The great dragon was thrown down, that ancient serpent, who is called the Devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole world—he was thrown down to the earth, and his angels were thrown down with him.

Account of Satan and a third of the angels, Revelation 12:3-9 (NRSV)

From this passage, it is understood fully a third of God’s angels then became demons when they were cast out of heaven with Satan and made this earth their dark world. Since that time Satan has been referred to as

– The prince of darkness.

– The father of lies.

– The accuser.

– The beguiling serpent.

– A murderer.

The Apostle Peter described Satan as a roaring lion looking for someone to devour, and the witness of all four gospels as well as the Apostle Paul’s letters shows demons as having the primary purpose of possessing or oppressing humans and tormenting us.

The Christian Testament describes demons as causing physical as well as mental ailments. They have superior knowledge, supernatural strength, and an ability to foretell the future. The devil is fierce, powerful, evil, and all the more dangerous because he is a spiritual being; he is invisible.

As soon as he had successfully enticed the first man and woman to disobey God, that Serpent of Old took ownership of the world and now receives worship from it. To this day, Satan continues his rebellion against God, seeking in every way to usurp God’s position as Almighty Sovereign.

  • The angel of the Lord is a phrase used from Genesis all the way through the Hebrew Scriptures to connote a vision of God. We now know from the Christian testament this phrase represents the second person of the Trinity. It is called a “theophany” a vision of the preincarnate Christ, Jesus before he became born as a human being.

[From Revelation 12:4,
William Blake – The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun – Google Art ProjectFXD | By William Blake – This file was derived from: William Blake – The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun – Google Art Project.jpg:, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=81439883%5D

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