Satan’s Failure in Resisting the High Priest
1. Religiously, the whole world of mankind needs what today, and why just that?
THROUGHOUT the earth today there are to be found high priests of various religious cults. The mightiest of such priestly chiefs is the Pontifex Maximus, the Supreme Pontiff, located at Vatican City. But what the whole world of mankind needs is just one high priest. Why so? Because there is just the one living and true God, the Creator of heaven and earth, the Sovereign of all the universe. He needs just one high priest to represent him to the people and to deal with Him for the people. This comports with the fact that there is just the one true religion, just the one pure worship of Him “with spirit and truth.”—John 4:24.
2. What one high priesthood did Jehovah recognize down to Nisan 16 of 33 C.E., when what one spiritual high priest appeared?
2 For more than fifteen centuries, from 1512 B.C.E. to 33 C.E., there was just one high priesthood that this living and true God recognized. That high priesthood was established in the line of Aaron the brother of Moses the prophet, of the tribe of Levi. Aaron was installed in office on the first day of the lunar month of Nisan in the year 1512 B.C.E. During the centuries that followed there was a succession of high priests from among the descendants of Aaron, down till Sunday, Nisan 16, in the year 33 C.E. That was the resurrection day of the Lord Jesus Christ from a sacrificial death. On the fortieth day from then he ascended as a spiritual High Priest to enter into the heavenly Most Holy and there presented the precious value of his perfect human sacrifice to the one living and true God, Jehovah.
3. Since then, why has Jehovah been able to deal with just one high priest?
3 From that time on till now Jehovah God has been dealing with just one High Priest—not a high priest of the family of Aaron the Levite, but the one never-dying High Priest, Jesus Christ. To him it was said prophetically: “You are a priest forever according to the manner of Melchizedek.”—Hebrews 5:5, 6, 10; 6:19, 20; 7:15-17.
4. (a) Also, by what other high priest, on the annual Day of Atonement, was Jesus Christ typed? (b) Hence, by whom was he typified in the fourth vision of Zechariah?
4 However, Jesus Christ, as a sacrificing spiritual high priest, was also prefigured or typified by the Aaronic high priest of the ancient nation of Israel. Just as the high priest of Israel on the annual Day of Atonement entered with sacrificial blood into the Most Holy of the temple at Jerusalem, Jesus similarly entered with the value of his own sacrificial blood into the true Most Holy, heaven itself, of the spiritual temple of Jehovah God. Consequently, Jesus Christ was prefigured by the Israelite high priest Joshua the son of Jehozadak, who returned from exile in Babylon in the year 537 B.C.E. to Jerusalem in order to rebuild the temple of Jehovah there. (Haggai 1:1) From this standpoint it is intriguing for us to consider the fourth vision of the prophet Zechariah, in which this high priest Joshua is the principal figure. As if looking into a courtroom Zechariah writes:
5. What did Jehovah’s angel say to the one at Joshua’s side?
5 “And he proceeded to show me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of Jehovah, and Satan standing at his right hand in order to resist him. Then the angel of Jehovah said to Satan: ‘Jehovah rebuke you, O Satan, yes, Jehovah rebuke you, he who is choosing Jerusalem! Is this one not a log snatched out of the fire?’”—Zechariah 3:1, 2.
6. (a) Who was that Satan? (b) Why was he resisting Joshua?
6 The Satan who is pictured here was no mere ecclesiastical “devil’s advocate” who was acting as a prosecuting attorney for Jehovah. He was the same Satan that appeared at the meeting of the angelic sons of God in heaven in the seventeenth century before our Common Era and wrongly accused the patriarch Job before the face of Jehovah God. (Job 1:6 to 2:7) But why, in that vision to Zechariah in the year 519 B.C.E. was Satan the Devil trying to resist the high priest Joshua before the angel of Jehovah? Because on the twenty-fourth day of the lunar month of Chislev of the preceding year High Priest Joshua had taken a decisive step for the worship of God. He and Governor Zerubbabel and the faithful remnant of Israel began working at the foundation of the second temple of Jehovah in Jerusalem. (Haggai 2:18, 19) High Priest Joshua was thus working for his reinstallation in the full service of Jehovah at a completed second temple. Such taking up of his duties at a completed temple would put Joshua in a new light.
7. (a) What was Satan trying to prevent in Joshua’s case? (b) Satan was trying to counteract whose prophesying, and how?
7 Satan the Devil, who fights the true religion, was out to resist High Priest Joshua on this score, so as to downgrade him and keep him out of his full service to Jehovah in behalf of the nation of Israel. That would keep Joshua in poor appearance because of a major deficiency in his service to God. To that end Satan would try to counteract the prophesying of Haggai and Zechariah and rouse up overwhelming opposition on the part of the enemies of Israel against the rebuilding of the temple. In that way he could charge High Priest Joshua with failure to discharge his full high-priestly duties, and this would result in reproach upon Jehovah.
8. (a) Why did the angelic judge say that it should be Jehovah who should rebuke Satan? (b) How had Jehovah already chosen Jerusalem?
8 Satan, however, was too late in his malicious attempt. Before he could give force to his resistance and launch his wicked charges against High Priest Joshua, the angel who was acting as a judge for Jehovah said to Satan: “Jehovah rebuke you, he who is choosing Jerusalem!” The Most High God was the One high enough to rebuke Satan, and not some subordinate angel who was merely representing Jehovah. Thus the angel was giving due regard to Jehovah’s position. (Jude 8-10) Furthermore, Jehovah had already begun action to the magnifying of his own holy name. He was already choosing Jerusalem as the city for his temple. Satan could not alter this divine choice nor make it an unrealizable choice. He was the one to be frustrated, rebuked by beholding the temple completely rebuilt in the year 515 B.C.E. This rebuke would be from Jehovah, for he had successfully accomplished this!
9. (a) What did the “log snatched out of the fire” symbolize? (b) What now showed that it had been snatched out of the fire, and how?
9 Why, though, did the angelic judge of Jehovah add the question: “Is this one not a log snatched out of the fire?” Because, after a rescue from the fire not too much was to be expected instantly of a symbolic “log.” “This one” who was pictured by the log snatched out of the fire was the high priest Joshua. But, due to his office, Joshua represented the whole nation of Israel for whom he served as high priest before God. Joshua was not the only one who had come back from exile in Babylon, where Satan the Devil had tried to burn to ashes their identity as Jehovah’s chosen nation. More than 42,000 other Israelites had also come back, along with thousands of servants and singers. So the whole number of the remnant were, all together, like a “log snatched out of the fire.” It was Jehovah’s mercy and faithfulness to his promises that snatched them out of the symbolic Babylonish “fire” and restored their nationhood on the “holy ground.” Since this was so, He was patient toward their long delay in rebuilding His temple, but He stuck to his purpose to have a temple there at Jerusalem for which purpose he chose her. Hence Satan should not be too hasty with his charges.
10. What was now done to Joshua to remove any possible grounds for Satan to lay charges against him?
10 Satan’s resistance to High Priest Joshua was blocked. So what is done with Joshua to clear him of anything about him that Satan might have used as a ground for bringing charges against him? Zechariah describes it for us, saying: “Now as for Joshua, he happened to be clothed in befouled garments and standing before the angel. Then he answered and said to those standing before him: ‘Remove the befouled garments from upon him.’ And he went on to say to him: ‘See, I have caused your error to pass away from upon you, and there is a clothing of you with robes of state.’”—Zechariah 3:3, 4.
HOW A CHANGE OF GARMENTS WAS NECESSARY
11. How could it be that Joshua in befouled garments pictured the heavenly High Priest Jesus Christ?
11 Here a question arises: Since Joshua the high priest was pictured as clothed with befouled garments, how could he typify or prefigure Jesus Christ as the heavenly High Priest? Does not Hebrews 7:26, 27 say to true Christians today: “Such a high priest as this was suitable for us, loyal, guileless, undefiled, separated from the sinners, and become higher than the heavens. He does not need daily, as those high priests do, to offer up sacrifices, first for his own sins and then for those of the people: (for this he did once for all time when he offered himself up)”? Yes, this is true. Yet it is with the High Priest Jesus Christ as with the ancient High Priest Joshua. The high priest represents the people for whom he serves in this high office, and their condition reflects upon him. He bears the iniquities of his people.
12. What had long ago been said to Aaron’s two surviving sons and to Aaron himself to indicate that the priests bore the people’s error?
12 That the priesthood bore the error of the people, the prophet Moses indicated, when he said to the two surviving sons of Aaron for a failure on their part: “Why did you not eat the sin offering in the place that is holy, since it is something most holy and he has given it to you that you may answer for the error of the assembly so as to make atonement for them before Jehovah?” (Leviticus 10:16, 17) The sanctuary or temple was holy, and if the people touched it this would be committing an error on their part; and so the sanctified priests had to serve at the sanctuary for the people in order to prevent the committing of such an error. To this effect we read, in Numbers 18:1: “And Jehovah proceeded to say to Aaron: ‘You and your sons and the house of your father with you will answer for error against the sanctuary, and you and your sons with you will answer for error against your priesthood.’” So the priests acted as shields against error by the people.
13. How had Haggai pointed out the uncleanness of the nation of Israel, in his dialogue with the priests, and why was it unclean?
13 Now as regards the sanctuary or temple in Jerusalem at the time that Haggai and Zechariah had begun to prophesy, its foundation had lain neglected without a superstructure’s being built upon it for sixteen years. This was due to forcible opposition by surrounding enemies. During that period the repatriated Israelites had lapsed into indifference and had turned to materialism. Hence, in a dialogue with the priests, when Haggai asked what would happen when someone ceremonially unclean touched a part of a sacrifice, they answered: “It will become unclean.” At once Haggai came back with this statement: “‘That is how this people is, and that is how this nation is before me,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and that is how all the work of their hands is, and whatever they present there. It is unclean.’”—Haggai 2:13, 14.
14. So why did Joshua appear as if clothed with befouled garments?
14 Since High Priest Joshua represented the nation of Israel before Jehovah, this unclean condition of the people was also attributed to him. As a consequence, it was as if he were clothed with befouled garments. He was trying to officiate without a temple, and for that reason it did not look right. He could not serve with the full dignity and grandeur as in a temple. In leveling charges against High Priest Joshua, Satan the Devil would be leveling charges against the entire negligent, unclean nation.
15, 16. (a) Did the spiritual condition of the surviving remnant of spiritual Israelites in 1919 C.E. reflect favorably or unfavorably on the appearance of High Priest Jesus Christ in heaven, and why? (b) What did the remnant’s outcry like that of Isaiah at the temple indicate?
15 Similarly with the antitypical High Priest, who was prefigured by High Priest Joshua in that year 519 B.C.E. The High Priest Jesus Christ was reflected upon by the spiritual condition of the remnant of the spiritual Israelites on earth as these entered into the postwar year of 1919 C.E. Because of impediments due to war restrictions, opposition and persecution, the remnant had come short in many respects with regard to the open, courageous worship of Jehovah at his spiritual temple. They had yielded to bondage to Babylon the Great and her political and military paramours. They were in a spiritual state like that of the ancient remnant of Israel that had been repatriated. Like Isaiah, when he had his vision of Jehovah at his holy temple, they could say:
16 “Woe to me! For I am as good as brought to silence, because a man unclean in lips I am, and in among a people unclean in lips I am dwelling; for my eyes have seen the King, Jehovah of armies, himself!”—Isaiah 6:5.
17. Judged by the remnant’s appearance, how did their High Priest appear, and so was this the proper condition for the remnant to be in then?
17 If one judged the appearance of their High Priest by the spiritual appearance of the surviving remnant, their High Priest Jesus Christ would appear to be “clothed in befouled garments.” This was an improper appearance to be attributed to him. The spiritually befouled condition was an improper situation in which the remnant was representing their High Priest, and it reflected badly upon the heavenly High Priest Jesus Christ.
18. In the vision, what was done to remedy the situation?
18 Such a state of affairs deserved to be remedied—promptly. Jehovah’s judicial angel saw to that: “Remove the befouled garments from upon him.” Then he said to Joshua: “See, I have caused your error to pass away from upon you, and there is a clothing of you with robes of state.”—Zechariah 3:4.
19. What did Joshua the high priest have to do himself in order to experience a change of garments before God?
19 How did this occur with High Priest Joshua? By getting the restored nation of Israel whom he represented in holy office out of their unclean state before Jehovah. This would be by getting the restored remnant to work again upon the temple of Jehovah and completing it, letting everything else be put in a secondary place, in the background. The cleansing of the people in this vital regard would result in a cleansed appearance of their high priest. It would be as if he had had a change of garments. He was meant to be clothed with “robes of state.” He was meant to have a temple in which to serve clothed in those “robes of state.” The completing of the temple and the inaugurating of it would call for him to don those “robes of state” and present a glorious appearance to the praise of Jehovah. High Priest Joshua as the national religious representative took the lead with Governor Zerubbabel in getting the temple rebuilding started again, and for this reason he deserved a change of garments for the better. In that way his religious appearance would not reflect reproachfully on God.
20. How was the heavenly High Priest Jesus Christ given a bad appearance because of the remnant’s appearance after World War I?
20 The same was true of the one whom High Priest Joshua prefigured, namely, the heavenly High Priest Jesus Christ. The remnant of his spirit-begotten, anointed disciples came out of World War I in an “unclean” spiritual condition. They were spiritual Israelites, yes, spiritual underpriests of Jehovah under his High Priest Jesus Christ. Their spiritual garments were befouled by their deportment and deficiencies during World War I. This reflected badly upon their High Priest in the heavens and hence misrepresented him. Since he bears or answers for the iniquity or error of the nation of spiritual Israelites, it was as if he himself were clothed with befouled religious garments.
21. Therefore, what did the surviving remnant need to do as the postwar period opened up?
21 What was needed, then, was for the remnant of spiritual underpriests to repent and return to Jehovah and be forgiven by Him through Christ. This is what actually happened at the beginning of the postwar period. They showed their return or conversion to Jehovah by searching the Holy Scriptures diligently to determine God’s will and work for the postwar period and then applying themselves whole-souled to these things of first importance.
22. To what then did the forgiven remnant apply themselves, and who was taking the lead in promoting these efforts?
22 Thus the repentant, converted remnant of spiritual underpriests applied themselves whole-souled to Jehovah’s worship at his temple and endeavored to purify that worship from any and all Babylonish pollution. Their efforts at rebuilding the pure, undefiled worship “from the standpoint of our God and Father” corresponded with the renewed work of the repatriated Israelites in rebuilding Jehovah’s temple at Jerusalem. (James 1:27) It was the invisible, heavenly High Priest, Jesus Christ, who was taking the lead in this reviving of the remnant of his underpriests in Jehovah’s worship and service. So, when Jehovah mercifully forgave them and cleansed them, this gave them a clean appearance before Him.
23. How was the heavenly High Priest thus relieved of his figurative “befouled garments”?
23 Even the false accusers under Satan the Devil began to see the difference in the doctrines, the message and the public activity of the remnant of Christ’s underpriests. This served to cast due credit upon their heavenly Chief Priest, Jesus Christ. He no longer had to bear or answer for such error on the part of his underpriests. The “befouled garments” that were indirectly attributed to him were taken from upon him, and he was given a change of garments. Bring forth “robes of state” for him!
24. What did Zechariah ask to be put on Joshua’s head, and what did Jehovah then say with regard to Joshua’s privileges?
24 Who would not want to see the high priest of the one living and true God adorned with an official headgear? The prophet Zechariah wanted such a thing. Either in his mind he thought of such a thing or he even spoke out impulsively for such a thing! He tells us: “At that I said: ‘Let them put a clean turban upon his head.’ And they proceeded to put the clean turban upon his head and to clothe him with garments; and the angel of Jehovah was standing by. And the angel of Jehovah began to bear witness to Joshua, saying: ‘This is what Jehovah of armies has said, “If it is in my ways that you will walk, and if it is my obligation that you will keep, then also it will be you that will judge my house and also keep my courtyards; and I shall certainly give you free access among these who are standing by.”’”—Zechariah 3:5-7.
25. Why would Joshua the high priest be glad when Zechariah revealed this part of the vision to him?
25 How glad the high priest Joshua the son of Jehozadak must have been when the prophet Zechariah disclosed to him this part of the prophetic vision! Joshua could then realize that he had now an acceptable appearance before God and was no cause for reproach upon Him. Satan’s malicious effort to find continued cause for shaming the high priest of Jehovah had failed!
26, 27. What obligations to Jehovah would Joshua conscientiously keep, in order to enjoy what privileges?
26 Joshua surely must have desired to judge Jehovah’s “house” of Israel according to divine law and to keep the courtyards of God’s temple.
27 Hence Joshua would take to heart the admonitory witness from the angel and walk obediently in Jehovah’s way and conscientiously keep his obligation to Jehovah, so as to prove worthy of the privileges mentioned.
28. Who were those standing by in the vision among whom Joshua was to have free access, and how was this to be?
28 Besides that, Joshua would be given “free access among these who are standing by.” It was the heavenly angels who were standing by in the vision; and just as they had access to God in heaven, so Joshua as high priest could approach God directly as an intermediary for the house of Israel. He would also be honored with the privilege of entering into the Most Holy of the completed temple of Jerusalem on the annual Day of Atonement.
29. In the postwar period, what does the heavenly High Priest do about walking in Jehovah’s way, keeping His obligation, judging His house and keeping His courtyards?
29 Jesus Christ is, of course, the ideal High Priest for all the world of mankind. The royal priestly turban is placed upon his head as a “high priest according to the manner of Melchizedek forever.” (Hebrews 6:20; Psalm 110:1-4; 21:1-5) He has always walked in God’s way and kept his obligation to God. But after the experiences of his dedicated, baptized disciples on earth during World War I, he sees to it that the remnant of his underpriests learn more clearly God’s way in order to walk in it, and he helps them to discern more fully their holy obligation to Jehovah God, so as to keep it completely. His glorious priestly garments are pictured in the Revelation that he gave to the apostle John, in which the glorified Lord Jesus is seen walking among the seven golden lampstands. (Revelation 1:12 to 2:1) He faithfully judges the house of spiritual Israel according to the law of the new covenant. He guides them in the earthly courtyards of Jehovah’s spiritual temple, assigning to them their spiritual duties there.
30. How does the heavenly High Priest have “free access among these who are standing by,” and from when on and to what extent?
30 The earthly high priest, Joshua the son of Jehozadak, began entering the Most Holy of the temple of Jerusalem in the year 515 B.C.E. (Ezra 6:15); but the spiritual High Priest, the Greater Joshua, entered into the antitypical, real Most Holy, heaven itself, in the year 33 C.E. He ascended to heaven and presented the merit of his human sacrifice in the very presence of Jehovah of armies. He now being made “better than the angels” and having “inherited a name more excellent than theirs,” he also can have “free access among these who are standing by,” that is, among the angels of heaven. He, above all others, can approach God directly and intercede in behalf of Jehovah’s worshipers on earth. As Jehovah prophetically said of him: “I will cause him to come near, and he must approach to me.”—Jeremiah 30:21.
THE “SPROUT” AND “THE STONE”
31. To Joshua now in his robes of state, what does the judicial angel say about “Sprout” and “the stone”?
31 In the vision to Zechariah, the judicial angel of Jehovah continued to speak to the high priest in his robes of state: “‘Hear, please, O Joshua the high priest, you and your companions who are sitting before you, for they are men serving as portents; for here I am bringing in my servant Sprout [New Growth, By]. For, look! the stone that I have put before Joshua! Upon the one stone there are seven eyes. Here I am engraving its engraving,’ is the utterance of Jehovah of armies, ‘and I will take away the error of that land in one day.’”—Zechariah 3:8, 9.
32. How did Joshua and his “companions” serve as portents?
32 The message of this part of the vision, the prophet Zechariah had to make known, not only to the high priest Joshua, but also to his “companions” who were sitting before him, that is to say, the underpriests. Why? Because these were “men serving as portents.” In this case they would not portend anything bad, but, in view of the divine announcement that they are about to hear, they would portend something good, especially good. They would have to bear witness to what they were told through the judicial angel of Jehovah, and on that account they would portend the coming of a greater priesthood in the not too distant future, a priesthood of higher rank than theirs at the temple in Jerusalem. It would be a Messianic priesthood, and their high priest would be the Messiah himself. In harmony with that portentous significance that they as underpriests of the second temple of Jerusalem had taken on, their present high priest, Joshua the son of Jehozadak, was a portent of the Messianic High Priest. He was a type of that one!
33, 34. (a) So, as portended, there was a need of what then? (b) Was this needed High Priest provided according to a legal commandment or according to something extraordinary on God’s part?
33 There was need for a better priesthood, particularly a better high priest, one like ancient Melchizedek. (Genesis 14:18-20) In explanation of that fact it was later written, in Hebrews 7:15-22, to Hebrews who had accepted the promised Messiah:
34 “And it is still more abundantly clear that with a similarity to Melchizedek there arises another priest, who has become such, not according to the law of a commandment depending upon the flesh, but according to the power of an indestructible life, for in witness it is said: ‘You are a priest forever according to the manner of Melchizedek.’ Certainly, then, there occurs a setting aside of the preceding commandment on account of its weakness and ineffectiveness. For the Law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in besides of a better hope did, through which we are drawing near to God. Also, to the extent that it was not without a sworn oath, (for there are indeed men that have become priests without a sworn oath, but there is one with an oath sworn by the One who said respecting him: ‘Jehovah has sworn (and he will feel no regret), “You are a priest forever,”’) to that extent also Jesus has become the one given in pledge of a better covenant.”
35. How was the greater High Priest a “sprout” rather than a “branch,” and from what was he foretold by Jeremiah to sprout?
35 The underpriests who were companions of High Priest Joshua and who sat before him to receive instructions from him had to be “men serving as portents” of something better, forasmuch as Jehovah by his judicial angel went on to say: “For here I am bringing in my servant Sprout!” (Zechariah 3:8) “My servant,” Jehovah’s servant, was not to be a branch of the priesthood of Aaron’s family. As far as priesthood was concerned, he was shooting up out of entirely different soil, from a different root. Jeremiah 23:5, 6 indicates of whom the Messianic High Priest would be the sprout, saying: “‘Look! There are days coming,’ is the utterance of Jehovah, ‘and I will raise up to David a righteous sprout [a new growth of David coming right, By]. And a king will certainly reign and act with discretion and execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel itself will reside in security. And this is his name with which he will be called, Jehovah Is Our Righteousness.’” God brought in this Sprout in the year 33 C.E.
36, 37. (a) Jehovah’s putting the “stone” before Joshua the high priest was a guarantee of what? (b) Whom did that “stone” picture, and how did Jesus apply Psalm 118:22, 23 in that connection?
36 What, now, about that “stone” that God would put before High Priest Joshua? In a literal way, it would be the stone with which the temple then under construction would be given its finishing touch and be made complete. The foundation of that second temple had already been laid, and so this “stone” would serve as a headstone. So Jehovah’s putting this stone before Joshua was a sign guaranteeing that the temple would be completed, despite any resistance on Satan’s part. That stone, too, was symbolic of the Messiah, the Anointed One. Picturing the Messiah as a stone, Psalm 118:22, 23 (By) said: “A stone that the builders had rejected has become the head of a corner. This was from Jehovah, it is a wonder to our eyes.” In the year 33 C.E., Jesus, when speaking to the Jews who rejected him as the promised Messiah, applied this scripture to himself and said to them:
37 “Did you never read in the Scriptures, ‘The stone that the builders rejected is the one that has become the chief cornerstone. From Jehovah this has come to be, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? This is why I say to you, The kingdom of God will be taken from you and be given to a nation producing its fruits.”—Matthew 21:42, 43. See also 1 Peter 2:4-9.
38. What is signified by the fact that on that one “stone” there are seven eyes?
38 This symbolic “stone” was to be given full divine attention. As confirmation of this the high priest Joshua and his companion priests were to be told, “Upon the one stone there are seven eyes.” (Zechariah 3:9) Not that seven eyes were to be carved upon that stone, to give the idea that those beholding the stone were being looked at in a sevenfold way. With the eyes we fix our attention upon something. Also, as the number seven Scripturally symbolized perfection, the seven eyes upon that one stone mean to say that Jehovah fixes his perfect attention upon that symbolic Stone, his promised Messiah. Others might overlook that symbolic Stone. Or, they might ignore it, reject it, but not so Jehovah. Because of such full attention from Him, it must be something most precious to Him.
39. In what way is it that Jehovah engraves the engraving of that symbolic Stone?
39 Consequently, in showing the complete attention that He gives to this symbolic Stone and its outstanding position and appearance, Jehovah goes on to say: “Here I am engraving its engraving.” In glorious fulfillment of this promise, Jehovah the heavenly Engraver gave the symbolic Stone, his beloved Son Jesus Christ, distinguishing marks of beauty such as he conferred upon no one else. Consequently, Hebrews 1:1-3 speaks of the outstanding Son of God as being the one who is the “exact representation [Greek, kharaktér, meaning ‘impress’] of his very being,” that is, of God’s being. As the symbolic engraved headstone, the Messianic High Priest, Jesus Christ, is given the highest and most responsible position of service in Jehovah’s spiritual temple of worship. This betokened something most beneficial for all mankind.
40. What was the “error of that land,” and how was it to be taken away by Jehovah?
40 With the topstone in place and the temple all completed for the full-scale worship of the one living and true God, what could we expect logically to follow? Blessings, blessings, blessings! Nothing would now be in the way of such blessings, for, as Jehovah went on to say, “I will take away the error of that land in one day.” (Zechariah 3:9) Because of the long interruption that the repatriated Israelites had allowed to take place in the rebuilding of the temple at Jerusalem, the whole land of Judah was lying in “error.” Its inhabitants were looked upon as unclean and the work of their hands in materialistic things was unclean. (Haggai 2:13, 14) But now, come 515 B.C.E., with the triumphant completion of the second temple at Jerusalem the erroneous course of the land of Judah was entirely corrected. So Jehovah was pleased, and he took away the error of inhabitants of the land in the special “one day,” the day when the temple stood complete, with its engraved headstone, and pure worship was inaugurated therein.
41. What stimulus should this give to us today with reference to God’s worship?
41 What a stimulus this should give to us today to put the worship of the true God at his spiritual temple in the first place in our lives! We should not let ourselves be delayed in doing this. We should not let interruptions take place in this effort.
42. Since 1919 C.E., in what way have the remnant of spiritual underpriests been “men serving as portents”?
42 The faithful remnant of spiritual underpriests of the Messiah know what blessings have come to them for doing this more and more determinedly during the now more than fifty years since that restoration year of 1919 C.E. They have come to appreciate more and more deeply that, like the underpriest companions of High Priest Joshua, they are “men serving as portents” for this “time of the end” of this worldly system of things. They portend the best of good things for all those who devote themselves to the pure, undefiled worship of the one living and true God.
43. What are the reactions of the remnant toward the one whom Jehovah calls “my servant Sprout” and the “one stone”?
43 They are not deceived by any false Messiahs or false Messianic organizations of today. They have identified the one whom Jehovah calls “my servant Sprout.” He is the one whom Jehovah of armies installed in the Messianic throne in the heavens at the close of the Gentile Times in 1914 C.E. and who has now begun his Messianic reign, namely, Jesus Christ. They have identified also the one symbolized by the stone that was laid before High Priest Joshua and upon which stone there were “seven eyes.” They admire how Jehovah has engraved this symbolic Stone with a beauty that befits the high position given to that Stone, and they rejoice that this one has been made the symbolic headstone or topstone, the highest and most responsible one in Jehovah’s system of worship. They are happy to be underpriests under that symbolic engraved Stone, Jesus Christ. They see from the Holy Scriptures that as “men serving as portents” they are under divine command to serve as witnesses to this exalted Stone, Jehovah’s one High Priest, Jesus.
SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY LEADING TO ENDLESS LIFE
44. After Jehovah’s taking away the “error of that land,” what was to be expected, according to Zechariah 3:10?
44 What was to be expected after Jehovah fulfilled his promise given through Zechariah: “I will take away the error of that land in one day”? Nothing else but divine favor, expressed in material and spiritual blessings for the Israelites worshiping at their completed second temple in Jerusalem. Most appropriately, then, that promise was followed up by this divine prophecy: “‘In that day,’ is the utterance of Jehovah of armies, ‘you will call, each one to the other, while under the vine and while under the fig tree.’”—Zechariah 3:10.
45. What does that prophecy of Zechariah 3:10 mean for worshipers at the temple where Jesus Christ serves as High Priest?
45 In this day when all false religions are crumbling and are about to be destroyed in the world’s worst trouble, that prophecy meant spiritual prosperity to sincere God-fearing persons who give themselves wholeheartedly to divine worship at the one true spiritual temple where Jehovah’s one approved High Priest serves. It means the fulfillment of the companion prophecy of Micah 4:1-4 (By):
And in the future days the mountain of Jehovah’s house shall be set at the head of the mountains, lifted above hills, and peoples shall stream to it. And many nations shall go and say “Come and let us go up to Jehovah’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, to have him instruct us in ways of his that we may go in his paths,” because from Sion instruction shall go out and Jehovah’s word from Jerusalem. And he shall give judgment between many peoples and pronounce verdicts for numerous nations to a great distance, and they shall pound their swords into hoes and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not take up sword against nation, and they shall never again learn war. And they shall sit each man under his grape-vine or his fig-tree with no one to alarm them, for the mouth of Jehovah of Armies has promised it.
46. So, what state of affairs do Jehovah’s witnesses maintain on their God-given spiritual estate?
46 Even so today, when nuclear warfare threatens the world, Jehovah’s Christian witnesses reside on their God-given spiritual estate in spiritual prosperity. They maintain loving peace among themselves, absolutely taking no part in the wars of this world. Satan has failed in resisting their High Priest Jesus Christ!