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Fourth Vision: Joshua and Satan


Then he showed me the high priest Joshua standing before the angel of the L ord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him. 2And the L ord said to Satan, “The L ord rebuke you, O Satan! The L ord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is not this man a brand plucked from the fire?” 3Now Joshua was dressed with filthy clothes as he stood before the angel. 4The 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.” 5And 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 L ord was standing by.

6 Then the angel of the L ord assured Joshua, saying 7“Thus says the L ord 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. 8Now 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. 9For on the stone that I have set before Joshua, on a single stone with seven facets, I will engrave its inscription, says the L ord of hosts, and I will remove the guilt of this land in a single day. 10On that day, says the L ord of hosts, you shall invite each other to come under your vine and fig tree.”

He more fully sets forth what we have observed in the last verse; but he speaks figuratively. He says that there were seven eyes on the stone which was set before Joshua; and that God would in one day take away the iniquity of the land, so that nothing would prevent it from recovering its ancient glory. This is the import of the whole; but interpreters vary, especially as to the eyes.

Almost all Christians agree as to the stone; for they think Christ to be meant; and we know that there are many similar passages, where Christ is called a stone, because the Church is on him founded; “Behold, I lay in Zion a precious stone,” says Isaiah in the Isaiah 28:1; and in Psalm 118:1 and in other places there are similar words. I yet think that the Prophet alludes to the temple, which was then begun to be built; but at the same time I take this as admitted, that Christ is called metaphorically a stone, as before he was called a Branch. But we must bear in mind that the external figure of the visible temple is applied to Christ himself. Behold, says God, the stone which I have set before Joshua has seven eyes; and further, I will engrave it with sculptures, that it may appear wonderful before the whole world. We now perceive what the subject is, and the mode of speaking here adopted.

As to the subject, the angel says, that the temple which Joshua had begun to build, was a celestial building; for God here declares himself to be its founder and builder, — The stone, he says, which I have set; and he says this, that Joshua might know that he labored not in vain in building the temple. For had it been the work of men, it might have fallen, and might have been pulled down a hundred times by the hand of enemies; but God declares that the temple was founded by his own hand. He, at the same time, as I have said, raises up the thoughts of the godly to Christ, which is the substance and reality of the temple. Hence he says, I set a stone before Joshua; that is, “Though Joshua builds, and workmen diligently labor with him, yet I am the chief framer and architect of the temple.”

He then says, on this stone shall be seven eyes. Some apply this to the seven graces of the Spirit: but the definition which they make, who have said, that the grace of the Spirit is sevenfold, is puerile; they know not about what they prattle and vainly talk; for Scripture speaks of many more. They also falsely adduce a passage from the Isaiah 11:1 for they mistake there as to the number: the Latin version has led them astray. Others think that the seven eyes have a reference to the whole world; as though the angel had said, that all will direct their eyes to this stone, according to what is said by Christ, that he was raised up on high, that he might draw all men to himself: then seven eyes, that is the eyes of all men, shall be turned to this stone. 4343     “Seven eyes looking to it,” is the explanation of Kimchi. “Seven being taken for an indefinite number.” “The eyes of Patriarchs, Prophets, and of all Christians,” says Menochius. The words may indeed admit of this construction, that is, that “seven” or many “eyes” are fixed on the same; but the probability is that eyes are ascribed to the stone, which betoken vigilance and care. See Psalm 32:8. — Ed. Some again apply this to the fullness of grace which has been given to Christ. But I think that the simpler view is, that his glory is set forth, according to what immediately follows, — I will engrave its engravings. For it is a vain refinement to say, that God engraved engravings when the side of Christ was pierced, when his hands and his feet were perforated: this is to trifle, and not seriously to explain Scripture. But the Prophet by engraving, means the valuable and extraordinary character of this stone; as though he had said, “It will be a stone remarkable for every excellency; for God will adorn this stone with wonderful engravings; and then it will be a stone having eyes, that is, it will not only turn to itself the eyes of others, but it will illuminate them, and exhibit as it were such brightness as will, by its own reflection, lead men to behold it.” 4444     With this view correspond the remarks of Marckius, and also of Drusius, Piscator, and Pemble. The address of the Angel of Jehovah from verse 7 to the end, seems to consist of two parts; the first is spoken to Joshua and his associates, to the middle of verse 8, — and the second, to the Prophet, beginning with the words, “Verily men of sign are these,” or “they,” as though he pointed to Joshua and his companions. Then the “Branch” and the “stone,” are proofs of the men being symbolical persons. To separate the two, as Henderson does, does not appear right. I give the following version of the whole passage: —
   7. Thus saith Jehovah of hosts,
If in my ways thou wilt walk,
And if my charge thou wilt keep,
Then shalt thou also rule my house,
And keep also my courts,
And I will give to thee perambulators
From among those who stand here:

   8. Hear this now, Joshua, the high priest,
Thou and thy associates.
Verily men of sign
are these;
For behold, I will bring my servant, the Branch;

   9. For behold the stone, which I have set before Joshua,
On one stone seven eyes;
Behold, I engrave its engraving,
And will remove the iniquity of that land in one day:
In that day saith Jehovah of hosts,

   10. Ye shall invite every one his neighbor,
Under the vine and under the fig-tree.

   The “Branch” and the “Stone,” as designative of the Messiah, were symbols well known to the Jews, as they had been used by former Prophets. Vitringa, Blayney, and others have rendered “eyes” fountains, and the following line thus, “Behold I open its opening,” that is, the orifice through which the fountains were to flow; they conceived the allusion to be to the rock smitten by Moses in the wilderness. The main objection to this, as observed by Marckius and Henderson, is, that the word rendered “eyes” is masculine, and means “fountains” only when in the feminine gender. — Ed.
We now understand the full meaning of the Prophet. What remains I cannot finish now.

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