In Zechariah chapter three, the prophet sees a vision concerning the High Priest of his day, Yehoshua (Joshua). The passage has a triple meaning.
- The historical events around the restoration of Jerusalem.
- A pre-figure of the Messiah (who has the same name: Yeshua = Yehoshua).
- A universal lesson about satanic accusation.
It is the third level I want to address here. The High Priest may be seen as anyone desiring to serve the Lord. The Angel Yehovah (Angel of the LORD) is standing before him. Satan is standing at his side to accuse him.
וַיַּרְאֵנִי אֶת-יְהוֹשֻׁעַ הַכֹּהֵן הַגָּדוֹל עֹמֵד לִפְנֵי מַלְאַךְ יְהוָה וְהַשָּׂטָן עֹמֵד עַל-יְמִינוֹ לְשִׂטְנוֹ; וַיֹּאמֶר יְהוָה אֶל-הַשָּׂטָן יִגְעַר יְהוָה בְּךָ הַשָּׂטָן…
And He showed me Yehoshua the High Priest standing in front of Angel Yehovah; and the Satan standing on his right hand to accuse him. And Yehovah said to the Satan, “Yehovah rebuke you, Satan!”
“The Satan” is the name of a fallen angel (Hillel ben Shahar [Lucifer – Isaiah 14:12)] whose name was changed to Satan when he rebelled against God).
Satan is the Hebrew word for enemy.
The Hebrew root S-T-N in verb or gerund form means to accuse or oppose.
“The Satan” is the accuser; he is the angel Satan.
The Satan figure is there to accuse or oppose the Yehoshua figure. The verb there actually says “to satan him”. Satan is standing there to “satanize” him. In this case it means to accuse, as in most other instances.
There is a letter written against the Jews rebuilding the Temple at this same time period. The letter is an accusation against them (possibly referring to Haman in the book of Esther). In Ezra 4:6, this is referred to as a letter of SiTNah, שטנה , a letter of accusation.
The name Satan is a word meaning enemy, opposer or accuser. Its primary active ingredient is to accuse. The devil is also referred to as the “accuser” of the brethren.
עַתָּה בָּאָה יְשׁוּעַת אֱלֹהֵינוּ, גְּבוּרָתוֹ וּמַלְכוּתוֹ וּמֶמְשֶׁלֶת מְשִׁיחוֹ, כִּי הֻשְׁלַךְ שׂוֹטֵן אַחֵינוּ הַמְקַטְרֵג עֲלֵיהֶם לִפְנֵי אֱלֹהֵינוּ יוֹמָם וָלַיְלָה.
Now the salvation of our God has come, His power and kingdom, and the authority of His Messiah, because the accuser of the brethren has been thrown down, the one who accuses them before our God day and night.
The Greek word for accuser/accuse here is kategor and is used as “prosecuting attorney” in Hebrew. The reference to Satan as accuser points back to both Zechariah 3 and Job 1.
(Kategor is found 38 times in the New Covenant; 33 referring to those who accused Yeshua or the apostles, 2 about accusation by Moses [John 5:45], 2 about the woman caught in adultery [John 8:6]; one about our conscience [Romans 2:15].)
Revelation 12 identifies Satan as the source of accusation against ALL the brethren. Satan works to promote accusation against all those who serve Yeshua and the kingdom of God.
Anyone who wishes to serve the Lord in righteousness is going to suffer a constant barrage of demonic accusation. This is unavoidable. It “comes with the territory.” The more you serve the Lord, the more accusation there will be against you.
Those accusations will be voiced by other people (often well-meaning); but the spiritual energy behind those accusations is from Satan. Satan is THE accuser of the brethren.
This of course does not mean that we should not be open to criticism and correction. We all sin; we all make mistakes. When we sin, we must repent. When we are confronted by our mistakes, we must weigh each criticism objectively, with humility and discernment.
We are also called to confront sin in others. On the one hand we must exercise the moral courage to confront sin. On the other hand, we must be careful not to cooperate with demonic accusations. Yeshua demonstrated that perfect balance of standing against both sin and accusation in His response to the woman caught in adultery (John 8:1-11).
Approximately one third of the angels sinned and serve to help Satan (Revelation 12:4). Unfortunately a high percentage of human beings are also happy to be involved in both sinning and accusing. The devil has enough “helpers” to bring accusation against the saints; you don’t need to enlist in his ranks.
This problem has been exacerbated today by the rapid increase in social media. A brief recording showing another person’s error can turn into a “viral” clip, spreading exponentially in a moment. Gossip, bad news and accusation have always had “quick wings,” but today it has expanded into a flood.
The Bible describes this phenomenon in the end times as a “flood being spewed out of the mouth of the serpent” (Revelation 12:15).
We have to be careful not to be caught in the devil’s lying deceptions and sinful temptations on the one hand; and also not to cooperate with the accusations of the devil against the saints on the other.
The difficult part of accusation is that it usually has an aspect of truth to it. People make mistakes. Even the best of saints can be caught in error. Religious leaders sat before Yeshua to listen to catch Him in a word to use against Him as accusation (Luke 20:20).
We often think we are exercising discernment, when we are actually serving to disqualify a person. We tell ourselves we are just “discerning,” but we are in effect “disqualifying.”
We say we have to “tell the truth,” but we easily become obsessed with a negative narrative about another person. Mike Bickle describes this as the devil’s narrative. If a person has 5% of error, the devil will present a total negative accusatory narrative about him.
But God sees the potential in that person. He has a different narrative. If we are willing to notice the 5% narrative of the enemy, why can we not focus 95% on God’s narrative about that person. Let’s celebrate people for who they are, not for who they are not.
(Mike goes on to say that most people have an “in-between” narrative that we tell ourselves; somewhat better than the devil’s, but less than God’s.)
What is God’s narrative about the person you are thinking and speaking so negatively about? Let’s not be like Satan, standing at the right hand of others to accuse them. The Angel of the Lord rebuked Satan for his accusations. Let’s be like that Angel Yehovah, rebuking satanic accusations.
Let’s admit that the 5% negative narrative exists. It’s obvious. Let’s search for the 95% and talk up God’s narrative toward that same person.
Let’s not be a prosecuting attorney against our friends and loved ones, or even against those who speak negatively about us. Let’s be like Yeshua who is our advocate, parakletos, before the Father (I John 2:1). Yeshua died to redeem us. If we repent and believe, there is power in the blood of Yeshua to cancel all accusation.
This article originally appeared on Revive Israel, October 29, 2020, and reposted with permission.