I have been reading a lot in the ‘minor’ prophets of the old testament lately. As I sit here with a cat trying to lie down on my Bible and steal my breakfast simultaneously, I am studying the last couple of chapters of Malachi.
It amazes me how often these prophets speak of Jesus and the days that were, at that time, still to come. When I was young, I never noticed this, but as I have dug in to God more I can’t help but see these things. Jesus is so present in the Old Testament of the Bible. We cannot get a full picture of our Lord without studying both the old and new testament. Jesus, himself confirmed in Matthew 5:17 his standing with the law and the prophets:
“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.” –Matthew 5:17 NIV
This tells us that the law is still important. Although we entered an age of grace through Jesus’ victory on the cross, it did not by any means abolish the law and its importance to the church.
Paul, as a man who was trained extensively in the law of Moses, speaks extensively about the Christian and our relationship to the law in Romans and many other areas of the Bible. Although I will not go in to all of it, feel free to check out Romans 6,7,and 8.
“What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” –Romans 6:1-2 King James Version (KJV)
In Malachi today, I read the following:
“So I will come near to you for judgement. I will be quick to testify against sorcerers, adulterers and perjurers, against those who defraud laborers of their wages, who oppress the widows and the fatherless, and deprive aliens of justice, but do not fear me, says the the Lord Almighty.
“I the Lord do not change. So you, O descendants of Jacob are not destroyed. Ever since the time of your forefathers you have turned from my decree and have not kept them. Return to me, and I will return to you, says the Lord Almighty.” -Malachi 3:5-7a
These things are relevant even today. Jesus also said that he had not come to abolish the prophets in the verse mentioned previously (Matthew 5:17), and this is written in the prophets.
In Zechariah 3, the prophet is shown of things to come (according to verse 8), and the specific time is after the coming of God’s servant, the Branch. According to the prophecy in Ezekial 3:16-21 as well as Jeremiah 23:5-6, we are told that the branch is Christ.
“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
“when I will raise up for David[a] a righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
and do what is just and right in the land.
6 In his days Judah will be saved
and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
The Lord Our Righteous Savior.” -Jeremiah 23:5-6
Referring to this time of history and the coming of Christ, Zechariah writes:
“This is what the Lord Almighty says: If you will walk in my ways and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.” –Zechariah 3:7
Another clue that tells us this is talking about after the Christ comes and accomplishes the cross is in the rest of the chapter. Let me go through the parts for you:
“Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan[a] standing at his right side to accuse him. 2 The Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this man a burning stick snatched from the fire?”(also check Jude 1:23– save others by snatching them from the fire)
3 Now Joshua was dressed in filthy clothes as he stood before the angel.4 The angel said to those who were standing before him, “Take off his filthy clothes.” (dirty clothes and dirty rags symbolize being cleansed from sins, Isaiah 64:6) (John 1:29)
Then he said to Joshua, “See, I have taken away your sin, and I will put fine garments on you.” (so God cleansed the high priest (remember according to verse 8, this is a symbol of things to come) from his sins)
5 Then I said, “Put a clean turban on his head.” So they put a clean turban on his head and clothed him, while the angel of the Lord stood by. (turbans denote a person’s position, and the high priest’s position would have been one of honor and authority. Christ has placed a fresh authority on his head. Matthew 16:19)
6 The angel of the Lord gave this charge to Joshua: 7 “This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘If you will walk in obedience to me and keep my requirements, then you will govern my house and have charge of my courts, and I will give you a place among these standing here.
8 “‘Listen, High Priest Joshua, you and your associates seated before you, who are men symbolic of things to come: I am going to bring my servant, the Branch. ( 9 See, the stone I have set in front of Joshua! There are seven eyes[b] on that one stone, and I will engrave an inscription on it,’ says the Lord Almighty, ‘and I will remove the sin of this land in a single day. (John 1:29) (Zechariah 2:10-13) (Christ came and removed the sins of the world when he died on the cross as a sacrifice for sin once and for all: Hebrews 7:27)
10 “‘In that day each of you will invite your neighbor to sit under your vine and fig tree,’ declares the Lord Almighty.” (this is mentioned in Jeremiah 23:6, 1 Kings 4:25, and Micah 4:4 This denotes a time of safety and blessing as it was in the days of Solomon, according to the reference in 1 Kings 4:25)
“But you will have a son who will be a man of peace and rest, and I will give him rest from all his enemies on every side. His name will be Solomon, and I will grant Israel peace and quiet during his reign.” 1 Chronicles 22:9
“23 King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 24 The whole world sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. 25 Year after year, everyone who came brought a gift—articles of silver and gold, robes, weapons and spices, and horses and mules.” 1 Kings 10:23-25