Reflections on Scripture

by Wayne Bandy

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Scripture Passage

      Zechariah - Chapter 13 (Contemporary English Version)
    1. In the future there will be a fountain, where David's descendants and the people of Jerusalem can wash away their sin and guilt.
    2. The LORD All-Powerful says: When that time comes, I will get rid of every idol in the country, and they will be forgotten forever. I will also do away with their prophets and those evil spirits that control them.
    3. If any such prophets ever appear again, their own parents must warn them that they will die for telling lies in my name--the name of the LORD. If those prophets don't stop speaking, their parents must then kill them with a sword.
    4. Those prophets will be ashamed of their so-called visions, and they won't deceive anyone by dressing like a true prophet.
    5. Instead, they will say, "I'm no prophet. I've been a farmer all my life."
    6. And if any of them are asked why they are wounded, they will answer, "It happened at the house of some friends."
    7. The LORD All-Powerful said: My sword, wake up! Attack my shepherd and friend. Strike down the shepherd! Scatter the little sheep, and I will destroy them.
    8. Nowhere in the land will more than a third of them be left alive.
    9. Then I will purify them and put them to the test, just as gold and silver are purified and tested. They will pray in my name, and I will answer them. I will say, "You are my people," and they will reply, "You, LORD, are our God!"

Zechariah - Chapter 13

Entered: November 17, 2009
The oracle begun in chapter 12 continues into chapter 13. Toward the end of chapter 12 the people of Judah and Israel at Christ's Second Advent came to repentance over their rejection of the Messiah after seeing Him fight for them when all the nations surrounded Jerusalem to destroy them. Now, in chapter 13, there is a purifying of the people from their idolatry. Leading up to Christ's Second Advent there is thought to be a period of tribulation during which time people will worship a beast in the Lord's temple. It is cleansing from this idolatry and other related idolatry that may be particularly in mind here.

Along with the cleansing from idolatry will be a removal of false prophets. This comes also with the removal of "the unclean spirit from the land." It would seem the two go together.  Deuteronomy prescribes the death penalty for false prophets and that seems to come into play here where the closest of kin, the parents, enforce this law.  Verse 3 says of the false prophet, "His father and his mother who bore him will say to him: You cannot remain alive because you have spoken falsely in the name of the LORD." Actually, verse 2 says, "I will remove the prophets," as if all prophets will be removed. But then, at Christ's Second Advent there will be no need for prophecy and it may be that any prophet will be a false prophet. The attitude at that time will be so strong against prophecy that no one will want to even have the appearance of a prophet.

Verses 7-9 seem to move backward in time to Christ's First Advent. Verse 7 speaks of the Lord striking His shepherd which may be a reference to Christ's crucifixion.  Following this striking of the shepherd the sheep, Israel, will be scattered and the Lord will turn His hand against them. This is thought to refer to events following Christ's crucifixion on up to His Second Advent. During this intervening period Israel will be scattered, two-thirds will be cut off and die, and a third will be left. This remaining third will be purified by fire as silver and gold are refined.

It is difficult with the jumping around of time periods and events to get a concise picture of events, but if we unite this scenario with the conclusion of chapter 12 and the opening of this 13th chapter it may be this remaining one-third of Israel that is present at Christ's Second Advent when Jerusalem is surrounded by all the nations and Israel is delivered by the Messiah and mourns over their previous rejection of Him. It is even possible that the siege of Jerusalem is a part of this trial by fire that purifies the people.

From the time of the Lord's covenant with Abraham He envisioned the time when Israel would "call on My name, and I will answer them. I will say: They are My people, and they will say: The LORD is our God." Although there were glimpses of this during the Old Testament period, they were short glimpses. But following Christ's Second Advent and the purifying of Israel by fire and her mourning over her rejection of the Messiah at His First Advent, God's vision for Israel may finally be fulfilled.

Entered: September 29, 2015

Zechariah began an oracle in the previous chapter that continues into chapter 13. The phrase, "On that day," continues to be used frequently in the oracle, a phrase that refers to the day of the Lord at the end of time. In the previous chapter we read of the Lord's protection for Israel through a time of great tribulation when all the nations of the world are against the nation. As we come to this chapter, that time is past and it is now a time of cleansing from sin for Israel. For the cleansing "a fountain will be opened for the house of David." (V. 1) This fountain was opened at Calvary, but Israel will be just then, on the day of the Lord, taking advantage of it. Witnessing the amazing way God delivers them through the time of tribulation, they are ready to accept Jesus as their Messiah.

Israel's cleansing will include ridding the nation of idolatry and false prophets, sins that have greatly plagued Israel. On that day, the Lord will "erase the names of the idols from the land." There will be no more remembrance of them. Also on that day, false prophets and unclean spirits will be removed from the land. As prescribed in Deuteronomy 18:20, in that day, false prophets will be put to death. The vigilance against false prophets will be so great that any who have practiced it will lie and say they are farmers if asked what he does.

Verse 7 is thought to be a Messianic reference. The Lord commanding the sword to strike "My shepherd" being reference to offering His Son on the cross. When He died the sheep were scattered. This scattering could be a reference to the scattering of the Jews in A.D. 70 when Jerusalem was destroyed by Rome. And they have been scattered ever since. The refining of Jews described in Vv. 8 & 9 with only a third surviving suggests that the awakening of the Jews on that day to accept Jesus as Messiah will happen for only a third of them.