Why did the Lord say this?
In 2009 Christmas our family was going through our church’s daily reading program and at the time we were reading Zechariah 3. After my dad broke down the chapter for us he asked an interesting question: Why did God say, “The Lord rebuke you,” instead of I rebuke you”? Over the past few years I had been battling with this question. I have also been on and off with the research only because I forgot about it until now!
The clue he gave us was that it had something to do with Daniel. He said nothing more than that. I began to wonder what connection Daniel had with the problem Satan had with Joshua presenting himself as a priest to God in His presence. Looking more into the book of Daniel I noticed that he walked with God very closely and had an extremely strong faith! He had a special type of faith which could draw from God a power to understand His mysteries. Daniel shared the knowledge and the wisdom of God and also the mysteries of God’s doings. He walked very close to God. Daniel’s book is a difficult book to understand. Many of the present events and future events are there. Daniel is the John of the Old Testament. He would see a vision and be so overwhelmed by its impact as to fall down and become weak. When God’s mighty thoughts enter our mind, sometimes we become weak. But Daniel would not leave God.
Zechariah 3:2 in context
Earlier on I had asked about what Daniel had with Satan stopping Joshua entering the presence of God to minister as a priest. Before getting into what I believe the reason is, first let us find out what this portion of the Scripture is all about. Here are verses 1-3
Then [the guiding angel] showed me Joshua the high priest standing before [a]the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at Joshua’s right hand to be his adversary and to accuse him.
And the Lord said to Satan, The Lord rebuke you, O Satan! Even the Lord, Who [now and habitually] chooses Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is not this [returned captive Joshua] a brand plucked out of the fire?
Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the Angel [of the Lord].
Alright let’s break this down:
The guiding angel (most versions just say “he”)– The Lord represented to me in a vision
Standing– Ministering in his office
The Angel of the Lord (most versions just say “angel”)– Christ
The Lord — Christ, as a mediator, rather chooses to rebuke him in his father’s name, than in his own.
Is not this — Joshua.
With filthy garments — The emblem of a poor or sinful state.
The Angel (of the Lord) — Christ.
It seems as though the One mentioned as The Lord in verse 2 is actually the Father Who is being referenced by Jesus. He chose to be a mediator and rebuke Satan in His Father’s name as opposed to His own. This makes perfect sense because it will clearly explain why the parallel passage in Jude has the same expression:
But when [even] the archangel Michael, contending with the devil, judicially argued (disputed) about the body of Moses, he dared not [presume to] bring an abusive condemnation against him, but [simply] said, The Lord rebuke you!
So the archangel Michael rebuked Satan in the name of the Father, the same way Jesus did it. Taking careful note of this suggests that directly rebuking the devil is not what we are supposed to do. Besides how many demons does he have chasing us every moment of every day! As far as our responsibility towards the devil is concerned, all we have to do is:
So be subject to God. Resist the devil [stand firm against him], and he will flee from you.
2 Corinthians 2:11
To keep Satan from getting the advantage over us; for we are not ignorant of his wiles and intentions.
1 Peter 5:8
Be well balanced (temperate, sober of mind), be vigilant and cautious at all times; for that enemy of yours, the devil, roams around like a lion roaring in fierce hunger], seeking someone to seize upon and devour.
1 Corinthians 10:13
For no temptation (no trial regarded as enticing to sin), [no matter how it comes or where it leads] has overtaken you and laid hold on you that is not common to man [that is, no temptation or trial has come to you that is beyond human resistance and that is not adjusted and adapted and belonging to human experience, and such as man can bear]. But God is faithful [to His Word and to His compassionate nature], and He [can be trusted] not to let you be tempted and tried and assayed beyond your ability and strength of resistance and power to endure, but with the temptation He will [always] also provide the way out (the means of escape to a landing place), that you may be capable and strong and powerful to bear up under it patiently.
For we are not wrestling with flesh and blood [contending only with physical opponents], but against the despotisms, against the powers, against [the master spirits who are] the world rulers of this present darkness, against the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenly (supernatural) sphere.
2 Corinthians 10:3-5
For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons.
For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds,
[Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One)
Making The Connection
In my studies about the passage of Zechariah 3 I looked further into the specifics Daniel had with the scene taking place in the presence of God. Satan was just trying to make Joshua feel belittled for entering as a priest into God’s presence with filthy rags! That’s proof that you can come to Him just as you are:
Let us then fearlessly and confidently and boldly draw near to the throne of grace (the throne of God’s unmerited favor to us sinners), that we may receive mercy [for our failures] and find grace to help in good time for every need [appropriate help and well-timed help, coming just when we need it].
Thankfully Jesus was there to rebuke Satan in the name of the Father. When I observed the book of Daniel I noticed that Michael was one person that played a big role in Daniel’s life. I noticed here that Michael was the one my dad was referring to. Check out what I discovered in a commentary I read:
Yet Michael the archangel by whom is meant, not a created angel, but an eternal one, the Lord Jesus Christ; as appears from his name Michael, which signifies, “who is as God”: and who is as God, or like unto him, but the Son of God, who is equal with God? and from his character as the archangel, or Prince of angels, for Christ is the head of all principality and power; and from what is elsewhere said of Michael, as that he is the great Prince, and on the side of the people of God, and to have angels under him, and at his command, ( Daniel 10:21 ) ( 12:1 ) ( Revelation 12:7 ) .
That means there is a very close connection between Jesus and Michael. It is not to say that Michael had the same authority as Jesus but rather that they both held very high ranks. From the above statement you can see that a part of Michael was in Jesus and a part of Jesus was in Michael. In Jude Michael also stood as a mediator and rebuked Satan in the name of the Father. My guess is to respect rank since Jesus rebuked Satan in the same way.