Lesson 10 - Zech. 13:1-9 - IT WILL COME ABOUT IN THAT DAY
LAST WEEK: In Zech. 8:1-8; 9:9-12, we heard from the post-exilic prophet Zechariah (ca. 520-470 B.C.), whose message was directed at the weak faith of the returned exiles. These exiles basically needed to completely re-learn everything about how they should worship and serve the LORD GOD of Israel. The dominant themes of the prophet's message of hope delivered on behalf of the "LORD of Armies" (YHWH tsaba) were four-fold: (1) That they (the returned remnant) were still His people, of whom He is jealous and protective; (2) That He would return to Zion and dwell in their midst in Jerusalem; (3) That He would re-gather and save His people; and (4) That He would restore His kingdom as their king. There were two major points of applications: (1) This prophecy foretells a time in the future of a national restoration if Israel and its land when Christ returns to establish His kingdom on earth; and (2) The first coming of Christ is a promise and pledge that confirms His Second Coming, when as Messiah, Jesus will bring salvation to the entire nation of Israel.
THIS WEEK: As we continue in Zech. 13:1-9, the prophet will put us on the steepest slope of OT Messianic Prophecy. This chapter has generated a firestorm of biblical interpretation and debate over the ages, but I plan to teach it according to the conservative and most literal views followed by the Dallas Theological Seminary and all of the predominant Southern Baptist Theological seminaries. The prophecy contains three dominant themes: (1) The spiritual cleansing of the nation of Israel in the end-times; (2) The exposure and elimination of false prophets and false teaching; and (3) The restoration when Jews take a stand for Jesus Christ as their Messiah.
Read Zech. 13:1 - A FOUNTAIN FOR ISRAEL
1 "In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.
v. 1a: "In that day a fountain will be opened" - In the future "that Day of the LORD," YHWH will provide for the complete cleansing of the nation Israel. The nation will come to their Messiah like a flowing fountain that produces a flood, and this flood will constantly cleanse the nation of Israel (1 John 1:7). While the cleansing is available to all of those who accept Jesus now, God will cleanse multitudes of the Israelites in the future, after they turn to their Messiah in faith (Zech. 12:10-14).
v. 1b: "for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem," - The "house of David" is a reference to the leaders of Israel and "inhabitants of Jerusalem" is a metaphor for the entire nation.
v. 1b1: "for sin" - (Heb. chatta'ah [khat-taw-aw], lit. intentional transgressions against men and God.
v. 1b2: "for impurity" - (Heb. niddah [nid-daw']), lit. the consequence of sin that separates the relationship between the sinner and God.
APPLICATION 1: There is coming a day of spiritual cleansing for the nation Israel at the Second Advent of Christ. When the Holy Spirit convicts Israel of their true Messiah, there will be a cleansing of the entire nation (Zech. 12:10). Israel will be cleansed by looking to the One that they "pierced" (Heb. 1:3), and at the moment when Israel embraces Jesus as their Messiah, a great national cleansing will take place, making Israel ready to enter into the Millennial Kingdom.
Read Zech. 13:2-3 - JUDGMENT OF ALL IDOLATRY AND FALSE TEACHING
2 "It will come about in that day," declares the LORD of hosts, "that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. 3 And if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, 'You shall not live, for you have spoken falsely in the name of the LORD '; and his father and mother who gave birth to him will pierce him through when he prophesies.
v. 2a "It will come about in that day," declares the LORD of hosts," - "that day" is a continuing point of emphasis with Zecahriah. In this phrase, it refers to the day before the Second Coming of Christ, when God will judge idolatry and cleanse Israel so that she will be prepared for the coming of Christ.
v. 2b: "that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be" - This is external and internal cleansing, with Idols will being cut off (destroyed) from the land to such extent that there will be no more memory of them.
v. 2c: "and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land." - The "prophets" described in this verse are false prophets; and the spirits behind their falsehoods are "unclean," which implies that they are demonic in origin. The idea here is that God values truth and deals with it in a very serious way. When people falsely lead people astray-separating them from God-it brings about extremely severe consequences.
OBSERVATION-IDOLATRY AND FALSE PROPHECY AND TEACHING
1. Idolatry: Idols are simply false gods that cause spiritual contamination to anyone who worships them. In the modern context, idols can represent many things: Money, material possessions, work, hobbies, organizations, and recreational activities and sports. These things aren't inherently evil in themselves like the lesser gods and spirits of the prophet's time; yet, if any of these things are allowed to be first or even share first place with God in a person's life, then they have slipped into idolatry, and they need cleansing.
2. False Prophecy and Teaching: This was a major problem in Zechariah's time and is still a serious problem in the present age. Billions of people all over the word have been deceived by people who either deny the existence of God or falsely claim to have received revelation from God, for example:
▪ Buddhism does not acknowledge the deity of Jesus Christ; ▪ Hare Krishna regards Jesus as a 'guru' but not a deity; ▪ the nation of Islam claims that Jesus was a prophet superseded by Mohammed;
▪ Jehovah's Witnesses teach that Jesus was created as an archangel, a lesser God than Jehovah;
▪ Mormons believe that Jesus was born in heaven as the spiritual child of Elohim (Heb. God) by one of His spiritual wives, and that Jesus is just one of many gods; and ▪ Scientology teaches that Jesus was a false memory implanted in humans by people not from this planet. These are just a sample of major cults founded on false teaching; there are many others too numerous to list. Syncretism (a/k/a New Age)-which combines the ideas of various world religious cults with Christian beliefs-is based on the false premise that there are many paths to 'spirituality' and to God.
v. 3a: "And if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, 'You shall not live, for you have spoken falsely in the name of the LORD'" - The penalty that God prescribes for those who engage in false teaching and idolatry is death.
v.3b: "and his father and mother who gave birth to him will pierce him through when he prophesies. - If anyone attempted to play the part of a false prophet, his own parents-those closest to him-would put him to death. And they would 'pierce' the false prophet mortally as they had pierced the Messiah at His First Advent.
APPLICATION 2: God hates idolatry and false teaching and on "that day" will erase it from the face of the earth. On that day, the people of Israel will put Jesus Christ as Messiah before everything else in life; and they will totally eradicate any idolatry or false teaching that defiles their Messiah.
Read Zech. 13:4-6 - EACH PROPHET WILL BE ASHAMED OF HIS VISION
4 Also it will come about in that day that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive; 5 but he will say, 'I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth.' 6 And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will say, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'
v. 4: "Also it will come about in that day that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive;" - Before this time, the false prophets wore distinctive clothing, hairy robes (fur coats?), to distinguish themselves, but in this scenario, they are taking active steps to conceal their identities.
v. 5: but he will say, 'I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth.'" - This verse suggests that the false prophets will not only be silenced but will be hunted down and exposed. When challenged, they will lie, claiming to be in a different line of work.
v. 6: "And one will say to him, 'What are these wounds between your arms?' Then he will say, 'Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'" - The false prophets apparently have marks-scars-on their bodies that were associated with their false teaching. When interrogators question them about these marks they will not be easily dissuaded by the false prophet's attempts to explain that these marks were inflicted on him by parents or others for punishment. Three verses may seem kind of cryptic, but what they intend to convey is that false teachers are deceivers and what they teach is deception. They teach outright lies-that there are other gods in addition to the one true God (syncretism) or that there are spiritual alternatives to God, which are all heresies.
APPLICATION 3: All false teaching is based on deception. Any attempt to add to or subtract from or alter or contradict Biblical truth is false. When Jesus returns as Messiah at His Second Advent, all false teachers will be unmasked and exposed for the deceivers that they are. And their efforts to hide themselves and conceal their identities will fail. And the penalty for false teaching is death (v. 3).
Read Zech. 13:7-9 - THE THIRD WILL BE LEFT IN IT
7 "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate," Declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; And I will turn My hand against the little ones. 8 "It will come about in all the land," Declares the LORD, "That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. 9 "And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"
v. 7a: "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate,' Declares the LORD of hosts.'" - This verse speaks of an inanimate object, a "sword," an instrument of death that "the LORD of hosts" will allow to bring about the death of His "Shepherd," the Messiah (John 10:11; Heb. 13:20; 1 Pet. 5:4). So, God Himself determined the death of Christ to pay for sins of mankind.
v. 7b: "Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered;" - Jesus later quoted this verse in relation to His arrest (Mt. 26:31; Mark 14:27), claiming that it was a prophecy about Him at His first coming. And when the sword kills Him, the "sheep," a metaphor for the nation of Israel, would scatter because it had lost its true leader, the Messiah.
v. 7c: "And I will turn My hand against the little ones." - By this phrase, God would use His divine "hand" to cause His sheep to go through a period of discipline. He did this in 70 A.D. when the Romans destroyed Jerusalem and dispersed the people; and it was also experienced in the persecution of the early church. Scholars regard the divine witness to the death and deity of the prophesied Messiah in Zech. 13:7 to be one of the most significant verses in the entire OT.
v. 8: "It will come about in all the land," Declares the LORD, 'That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it.'" - The strong implication derived from this verse is that there will be significant persecution of Israel during the Great Tribulation just before the Lord returns (Rev. 12:6, 13-17). Two-thirds of the nation of Israel will perish; however, a remnant, "the third," of the Jewish population will be allowed to enter the Millennial reign of Christ on earth.
v. 9a: "And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested." - God will allow one-third of the Jews to survive. The phrase "refine them as silver and test them as gold" expresses the cleansing and purification process that they will undergo during the Tribulation period in order to prepare them for the establishment of the Kingdom of the Messiah.
v. 9b: "They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, 'They are My people,' And they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'" - The saying "My people" expresses the Jew's covenant relationship with YHWH. But in the context of this prophecy, it refers to a New Covenant that acknowledges their national regeneration (Jer. 31:31-34). To summarize, the nation will invoke God's blessing and He will answer them.
APPLICATION 4: One day, at the end of the Tribulation, the nation of Israel will make a stand for Jesus as their Messiah and God will answer them. By the cleansing process specified in vv. 1-2, above, God will restore Israel to a faithful nation. At that time, YHWH will not only restore Israel but will establish it as an entirely new kingdom under the lordship of Jesus as their Messiah King (see, Rom. 11:25-27).