In the third chapter of Zechariah, we see an example of what Bible scholars would call “corporate solidarity”, where one person stands as a representative of a larger group, a group determined by context. The representative here is Yehoshua, the “Kohen gadol’, or great or High Priest. Those he represents are the newly returned exiles from Babylon. The priest is on trial for the sins and offenses leading to the exile.
There are some notable details to the trial. One, the Judge is Adonai, the Lord seated on His throne. Secondly, the defense attorney is also Adonai. Thirdly, the prosecutor is HaSatan, the Adversary, Satan. Fourthly, the defendant, Yehoshua, shows for court wearing “b’gadim tzoim, generally translated “rags”. He is probably wearing the rags because of his concession of guiltiness and surrender to Satan’s accusations.
Amazingly, as Satan throws out accusation after accusation, probably the sins leading to exile, the defense attorney stops him in his tracks, saying, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, Who has chosen Jerusalem as a brand plucked from the fire!” The sins of our forefathers had certainly been real, and, certainly worthy of wrath, but, the provision and mercy of God had allowed for the nation to be plucked from the flames of judgement. What a picture of divine deliverance and forgiveness! God reaches into the flames of Hell and pulls us out! Then, a command is given to take away the rags, worn in the dungeon, and replace them with festal or princely robes. We may feel we deserve the worst, but, through Yeshua, instead we get the best!
We should take note that there are here two figures referred to as Adonai, the substitute for the divine Name – the Judge and the defense attorney. You have two distinct members of the Godhead here – one, the Judge – is the Father, and, the other –the defense attorney and advocate of Y’hoshua – is the Son. It is through the mediation and intercession of the Son that Israel is rescued from prison and judgement and ushered into the glorious destiny determined for her before the foundation of the world !
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler is on the Board of HaShomer and also Rabbi of Sha’arey Yeshua in Indianapolis, IN.