Zechariah 3:1–5 (NKJV)
3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him. 2 And the Lord said to Satan, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord who has chosen Jerusalem rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?”
3 Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and was standing before the Angel.
4 Then He answered and spoke to those who stood before Him, saying, “Take away the filthy garments from him.” And to him He said, “See, I have removed your iniquity from you, and I will clothe you with rich robes.”
5 And I said, “Let them put a clean turban on his head.”
So they put a clean turban on his head, and they put the clothes on him. And the Angel of the Lord stood by.
In Israel, the requirements and restrictions for priests were strict. One of those requirements was that their garments be clean and unstained. This was because they ministered before God, whose very presence required purity. As Joshua, the high priest, stood before God, his garments were filthy, a strong statement of the wrongness of their appearance. These filthy garments were not, however, just a statement of how Joshua’s garments appeared, but also a statement of the condition of the priesthood in Israel in general. The priests offered to God, but also offered to idols. Their loyalties were divided. They did not come before God clean, but rather filthy with sin. Therefore, the Lord rebuked Satan for bringing sin to the practices of the priesthood and commanding that his dirty garments–his sin–be removed from him and clean garments be put on him. His robes and his turban, perhaps signifying his actions and his thoughts, were replaced. The turban could also represent that the priest was covered by a pure authority instead of a sinful authority. Either way, Joshua is freed from his sinfulness and–by extension–the priesthood is purified in Israel.
If a church or a nation is to be revived or restored, it must begin with the priesthood and the people of God. Politicians cannot bring a spiritual revival to a nation. Legislation cannot moralize a country. Charlemagne declared Christianity the state religion in the Holy Roman Empire, and yet the priesthood was corrupt and people were Christian in name only. No, revival must come from the people of God calling on the Lord for a fresh move of His Spirit, praying and inteceding for renewal in our land. Cry out to the Lord. Put off your filthy garments. Confess and repent as a Christian, and then pray for the nation to follow! This is the action that God ordains and will bless in these last days.