SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4 (EGW)

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Chapter 3

1. Same Work Today—Joshua is represented as pleading with the Angel. Are we engaged in the same work? Are our supplications ascending to God in living faith? Are we opening the door of the heart to Jesus, and closing every means of entrance to Satan? Are we daily obtaining clearer light, and greater strength, that we may stand in Christ's righteousness? Are we emptying our hearts of all selfishness, and cleansing them, preparatory to receiving the latter rain from heaven? 4BC 1177.9

Now is the time when we are to confess and forsake our sins, that they may go beforehand to judgment and be blotted out (The Review and Herald, November 19, 1908). 4BC 1178.1

1-3. False Accuser—Those who honor God and keep His commandments are subject to the accusations of Satan. The enemy works with all his energy to lead persons into sin. Then he pleads that on account of their past sins, he should be allowed to exercise his hellish cruelty on them as his own subjects. Of this work Zechariah has written. “And he shewed me Joshua the high priest”—a representative of the people who keep the commandments of God—“standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to resist him.” 4BC 1178.2

Christ is our High Priest. Satan stands before Him night and day as an accuser of the brethren. With his masterly power he presents every objectionable feature of character as sufficient reason for the withdrawal of Christ's protecting power, thus allowing Satan to discourage and destroy those whom he has caused to sin. But Christ has made atonement for every sinner. Can we by faith hear our Advocate saying, “The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan; even the Lord that hath chosen Jerusalem rebuke thee: is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?” 4BC 1178.3

“Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments.” Thus sinners appear before the enemy who by his masterly, deceptive power has led them away from allegiance to God. With garments of sin and shame the enemy clothes those who have been overpowered by his temptations, and then he declares that it is unfair for Christ to be their Light, their Defender (Manuscript 125, 1901). 4BC 1178.4

4. Self-admiration Results From Ignorance—All self-exaltation and self-admiration are the result of ignorance of God and of Jesus Christ, whom He has sent. How quickly will self-esteem die, and pride be humbled in the dust, when we view the matchless charms of the character of Christ! The holiness of His character is reflected by all who serve Him in spirit and in truth. 4BC 1178.5

If our lips have need of cleansing, if we realize our destitution, and come to God in contrition of heart, the Lord will remove the uncleanness. He will say to His angel, “Take away the filthy garments,” and clothe him with “change of raiment” (The Review and Herald, December 22, 1896). 4BC 1178.6

4, 5. A Change of Raiment—Poor, repentant mortals, hear the words of Jesus, and believe as you hear: “And he answered [the accusing charge of Satan] and spake unto those [angels] that stood before him [to do His bidding], saying, Take away the filthy garments from him.” I will blot out his transgressions. I will cover his sins. I will impute to him My righteousness. “And unto him he said, Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.” 4BC 1178.7

The filthy garments are removed; for Christ says, “I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee.” The iniquity is transferred to the innocent, the pure, the holy Son of God; and man, all undeserving, stands before the Lord cleansed from all unrighteousness, and clothed with the imputed righteousness of Christ. Oh, what a change of raiment is this! 4BC 1178.8

And Christ does more than this for them: [Zechariah 3:5 quoted]. 4BC 1178.9

This is the honor that God will bestow on those who are clothed with the garments of Christ's righteousness. With such encouragement as this, how can men continue in sin? How can they grieve the heart of Christ (Manuscript 125, 1901)? 4BC 1178.10

4-7. An Experience Being Re-enacted—[Zechariah 3:4-7 quoted.] The one who was clothed with filthy garments represents those who have committed wrongs, but who have come into so sincere a position of repentance that the Lord, who forgives all sins that are repented of, was satisfied. Satan seeks to place in a humiliating position those who have truly repented of their sins. And those who are continuing in a wrong course of action are prompted by Satan to tantalize the one who has repented.... 4BC 1178.11

Men who have gone to great lengths in transgression, and who have never confessed their sins will seek to bring all the reproach possible upon those whom Satan has worked to destroy, but who have repented and humbled themselves before God, confessing their sins to the sin-pardoning Saviour, and receiving pardon. Men who have not repented of their sins, and have not received pardon, will tantalize the truly repentant ones, repeating their wrongdoing to those who knew nothing of the wrong done. They accuse and condemn the repentant ones as if they themselves were guiltless. 4BC 1178.12

It has been shown me that the experience recorded in the third chapter of Zechariah is now being acted over, and will continue to be while men, making profession of cleanness, refuse to humble the heart and confess their sins (Letter 360, 1906). 4BC 1179.1