Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord , and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him…. And the angel said to those who were standing before him, “Remove the filthy garments from him.” And to him he said, “Behold, I have taken your iniquity away from you, and I will clothe you with pure vestments.”
– Zechariah 3:1-5
In this passage we see Joshua, the high priest standing before the angel of YHWH (who is/represents YHWH Himself and is, I believe, God the Son: the pre-incarnate Christ) and he is in filthy garments. This is startling because the high priest was supposed to be the holy representative of the people, he was the one who carried the names of the people “on his heart” before God (Exodus 28:30)….if he was filthy in God’s sight, that didn’t bode well for the rest of the people. And, of course, Satan is there to bring a seemingly airtight case against the priest. Joshua is filthy and everyone can see it, the angel of YHWH is holy. There would seem to be no hope.
But startling, the angel of YHWH removes Joshua’s filthy garments and clothes him in pure vestments. This is an awesome foreshadowing of Christ! Jesus Christ, the angel of YHWH in our midst will be the one to remove the garments of our sin and to clothe us in the vestments of His righteousness, and HE will accomplish it “in a single day” (3:9) at the cross.
So, in this picture you see the Angel of YHWH with his hand on Joshua’s shoulder, having just silenced the accuser and clothed the priest in pure garments. However, I also wanted to show what that act would “cost” YHWH, what He would do in order to enable it, namely, the death (and resurrection) of Christ. As the God the Son purifies Joshua, it is on the merits of His own death and resurrection that He is acting. I added the filthy garments to the cross to show that the record of our iniquities (and, indeed, our iniquities themselves) were set aside and nailed to the cross at Christ’s death (Col.2:14). The halo around the angel of YHWH’s head is cruciform to point forward to the cross as well as to note his deity. And lastly, the serpent/accuser lies silenced under the heal of the pre-incarnate Christ because, his silencing in heaven before Joshua was a foreshadowing of the final head-crushing silencing that Christ would deal him at the cross.