ZECHARIAH CHAPTER 13
BY REV. ALLAN MOORHEAD
Chapter 12 of Zechariah concluded with God pouring out his spirit upon the house of David and inhabitants of Jerusalem followed by a great mourning of the nation. Chapter 13 discusses the cleansing of the nation and the attack on the land and the city of Jerusalem. Only a remnant will survive. This is most likely the group Matthew talks about in 24:13, "But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved." This is the final remnant of Israel before the LORD returns.
Again, this lesson will go verse by verse with commentary. The nature of any prophetic teaching has to be done with the understanding that we only see through a dark glass and we don't have all the answers. Conclusions that I make are only that, 'my conclusions'. Many scholars may and will disagree. The important thing is to know what the scriptures say so when God's word is being fulfilled we can recognize it and comfort others.
Vs1: In this verse we begin to see cleansing of the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. This cleansing is by a fountain for sin and uncleanness. This fountain is opened by faith when Israel looks unto the 'one whom they had pierced'. What is this fountain? Jeremiah 2:13 says, "For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water." Jeremiah lets us know that the LORD is the fountain of living waters. Also, Yeshua in John 7:38 says "He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." John 4:10 says, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to these, Give me to drink; thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water. In John 4:14, Yeshua says, "But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." It is interesting to note that the word 'well' can be translated as fountain. So by using comparative reasoning, the LORD, who is the fountain of living waters, is Yeshua, who is also the fountain of living waters. This is just one of many dozens of scriptures that show the tri-unity or trinity concept.
This fountain and cleansing can be compared to Ezekiel 36:24-25, "For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you." Afterwards the LORD gives them a new heart and puts his spirit in them to cause them to obey the laws of God. (See Ezekiel 36:26-38).
Vs2: Now the idols will be removed from the land and will no more be remembered. The false prophets and demons will also depart. All idols and their names will be forgotten. They now have the truth and will worship the true God. They will obey God's laws concerning idols. Exodus 23:13b says, "make no mention of the names of other gods, neither let it be heard out of thy mouth." Israel will now obey these words. Hosea 2:17 says, "For I will take away the names of Baalim (false gods) out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. God will do this in the last days.
Concerning the unclean spirits that God will remove from the land, I believe that Isaiah chapter 34 speaks of this. Isaiah 34 is a chapter that shows the judgment of wicked angels and demons after God's final judgment on the earth. Although many animals and wild beasts are mentioned here, I believe that they represent the spiritual world of angels and demons. The main reason for this thought is that nothing can live in the place of judgment that God has set up for them. No animal or human can live in a place of burning pitch and brimstone (verse 9-10). This is not the abode for the wicked souls of men. That is a different place. A study of Isaiah 34 is a large undertaking in itself and will not be done at this time but I encourage you to read it.
Vs3: Here we learn that families will not let any false prophet live, even if they are their own relatives. (By the way, people will die during the time of the Messiah's reign. Isaiah 65:20 says that during this time an old man will live out his time and not die young). People during this time will be so jealous for God that they will not tolerate false prophets. Parents will 'thrust through' their own son if he falsely prophesies. Remember that the false prophets were the ones who kept telling Israel and Judah that God's judgment was not coming and that everything was fine. They led many to destruction. Israel will obey Deuteronomy 18:20-22 concerning false prophets in the millennium period.
Vs4: These prophets who falsely prophesied, and some how managed to get saved, will be ashamed of what they had said. No longer will they deceive people with their hairy mantles. These false prophets will try to impersonate Elijah, by wearing hairy mantles, pretending to be true prophets by trying to act and look the part. There will be many false prophets in the last days. I believe that Zechariah is speaking of the false prophets mentioned in Matthew 24:11 and 24. "And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many" and "For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect." These false messiahs will convince people to worship false gods like the Beast of Revelation and also lie to them about God's judgment to the disobedient.
Vs5: These false prophets will lie and pretend that they always have been ranchers and farmers since they were young. They will deny that they were ever prophets.
Vs6 and 7: These verses seem out of text here. They do not relate to verse five concerning false prophets but more of a continuation of chapter 12 verse 10 when talking about the one whom they have pierced. It is not unusual for scriptures to jump around in thought and context. One thought can begin, divert to another thought, and then continue with the original thought.
Both these verses are strongly messianic and relate to Yeshua. In verse 6, I believe it is Yeshua answering the question about the wounds in his hands. He says the wounds were received in the house of my friends. This is obviously speaking of the crucifixion and his friends were those that he came to save, Israel. The word 'house' can mean shelter or a group of people. In this case, it is most likely speaking of Israel.
In verse seven, God tells his sword to 'Awake" or be alert or aroused. This is a way to say let the judgment begin. The word sword is used often in scripture as indicating a taking of life. Sometimes God will use the wicked as his sword to punish his own people. He did this with the Assyrians and Babylonians. Psalm 17:13 says, "Arise, O LORD, disappoint him, cast him down: deliver my soul from the wicked, which is thy sword." God is saying that in this case, the wicked is his sword. The words 'which is' was added later by translators for more clarity.
This sword is against the shepherd and the man that is God's fellow. Who is this shepherd and who is God's fellow? Some say it is Zechariah himself, others say it is Judas Maccabee, or Jehoiakim. Although it can be argued that this scripture could refer to any one of many martyrs, it can only fit one, and that is Yeshua. In Matthew 26:31, Yeshua tells us that this scripture is speaking of him. "All ye shall be offended because of me this night; for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad." The phrase 'the man that is my fellow' also lets us know that this is Yeshua. The word 'fellow' in Hebrew refers to one who is a relation or neighbor. Stating the phrase 'my fellow' makes it more likely that it is a relative. Another way to say this would be 'a human closely united to me', 'the man my equal', 'the man who I associate with myself'. These are all phrases used by scholars discussing this scripture. There is only one who can make this claim of being equal with God and that is Yeshua. This goes along with Philippians 2:6, "Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God." The wicked and Satan became the sword of God and smote the shepherd by of crucifixion. This was of course God's will and delight that this happen. God was ready to offer redemption to all mankind by the death of his son.
As was stated in Matthew, when the shepherd was struck, the sheep scattered. This can have a two-fold meaning. First, shortly after Yeshua's death, Israel was scattered to the nations. Deuteronomy 28:25 warns Israel what would happen to them if they disobeyed God by breaking his laws. "The LORD shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies: thou shalt go out one way against them, and flee seven ways before them: and shalt be removed into all the kingdoms of the earth." When Israel as a nation rejected Yeshua, they in fact rejected God and the living Torah, Yeshua. Second, the disciples of Yeshua were also scattered for a time until the Holy Spirit came. The term sheep can be used for Israel as well as believers in Yeshua.
Next God will turn his hands upon the little ones. God will smite the sheep. Again this can refer to Israel and believers. First, this scripture refers to the Jewish people as shown by the persecution they have endured after they were scattered. It is God doing this by using the wicked nations. God chose Israel because they were the littlest among the nations. Deuteronomy 4:27 says, "And the LORD shall scatter you among the nations, and ye shall be left few in number among the heathen, whither the LORD shall lead you." Israel today still is few in number compared to the nations of the world. Second, Yeshua warned his disciples that they would face tribulation also. Luke 21:12 says, "But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake." John 15:20 also says, "If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also." Remember that it is God doing this with his sword. As each of his chosen is killed, his sword fills with blood. When his sword has reached its limit of the blood of martyrs, then judgment comes. This can be understood in Isaiah 34:5-6, "For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea (Edom), and upon the people of my curse, to judgment. The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs (sheep) and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea." Lambs, goats, and kidneys of rams are sacrificial items to God. They are holy. These represent believers. Martyrs are sacrifices to God and some day when His sword is full of their blood, judgment comes.
Vs 8-9: 2/3rds of the people of the land of Israel will die in this final invasion. 1/3 of the people will survive. This 1/3 will be the remnant. This 1/3 will go through the fire and be refined as silver and gold. This 1/3 will call upon the name of the LORD. It is this 1/3 that God pours out his spirit upon as we read in Zechariah 12:10. God hears them and say it is my people. How long has God waited for this moment, to hear them call for him and for him to say "it is my people calling me"? This remnant will say, "The LORD is my God". Some have said that this 1/3 is the Jewish people that survived after 70AD or after 135AD. This can't be because; they were not refined as silver or gold at that time. This scripture is speaking of the last days just before the Messiah arrives. Malachi 3:2-3 says, "But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner's fire, and like fuller's sope (soap): And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of LEVI, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness."
Read Jeremiah 32:37-42, Ezekiel 37:21-28, Hosea 1:9-11 for further study.
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