Zechariah 13 - Outline of Zechariah (MENU page)
III. Prophetic Burdens (ch. 9-14)
  1. The Burden of the Shepherd for His wayward flock
    Israel's Messiah: Redeeming, Rejected (ch. 9-11)
  2. The Burden for Israel when they turn to their Shepherd
    Israel's Messiah: Received, Reigning (ch. 12-14)
    1. Jerusalem's Defence (ch. 12:1-9)
      • The nations trembling
      • The LORD defending
      • His people standing in His strength
    2. Israel's Cleansing (12:10 - 13:9)
      • through Holy Spirit enabled recognition of a pierced Son, an opened fountain (12:10 - 13:1)
      • from idolatry & false prophecy (13:2-5)
      • by their Shepherd's wounds (13:5-7)
      • through refining flames (13:8-9)
1. In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David
and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.
In that day there shall be a fountain {ie., a spring} opened...-
This Fountain of cleansing has been available ever since the Lamb of God shed His blood for our sin (Joh 1:29; 1Pet 1:18,19; Rev 1:5). However, most Jewish people (and also most gentiles) did not avail themselves of it, because they were blind to their need, and to the Source of cleansing (Rom 10:3; 2Cor 3:13-16). At His first coming, though He had personally invited them to come to Him, they had refused the fountain of life (cp. Jer 2:13; 17:13; Joh 7:37,38). "In that day," when they "look upon me whom they have pierced," they will enter into the cleansing for which He had previously provided (Titus 3:5-7; Joel 3:18-21; Rev 21:6).
...for sin and for uncleanness.- This cleansing has two aspects:
First, from the sinful condition within the human heart, and
Secondly, from the defilement of interaction with external corruption. Joh 13:8,10; 1Joh 1:7-9; Heb 9:13,14 (The 'ashes of an heifer' provided ceremonial cleansing for an externally defiled man so that he could serve the LORD, Num 19:17-19. The cleansing by the blood of Christ goes far beyond the illustration of that ceremony, to clean the sinner from the inside out (purging even the conscience), to make him truly pure and fit for service.) As the hymn, "Rock of Ages" explains:
"Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
    Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
    From thy riven side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
    Cleanse me from its guilt and power."
        [words by: Augustus M. Toplady]
2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts,
[that] I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered:
and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.
3 And it shall come to pass, [that] when any shall yet prophesy,
then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him,
Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD:
and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.
4 And it shall come to pass in that day,
[that] the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when
{which} he hath prophesied;
neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:
5 But he shall say, I [am] no prophet,
I [am] an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.
...in that day... I will cut off... the idols... the prophets... the unclean spirits... out of the land...-
Not only will the hearts and lives of the people be cleansed, but also the land of Israel will be cleansed of evil influences, through the power of the LORD of hosts. This is the cleansing of the Kingdom (Mat 13:40-43) of...
  • ...the idols {HB='atsab, hurtful things, vexing things} were not only 'worthless' {HB=eleel', cp. Zech 11:17, and the related Book Notes}, but harmful. Though Israel had previously held them in reputation {given them 'a name'}, the antichrist and all false gods will be removed from the land.
  • ...the false prophets, who turned people to worship false and hurtful gods, will be removed from the land. cp. Rev 13:11-17; 19:20
  • ...the unclean spirits {or, "the spirit of uncleanness," YLT}, which sway the nations, and which will be especially active during the Tribulation (Rev 16:13; 18:2), will be removed from the land. Satan, the chief of these unclean spirits, who empowers the false gods and false prophets (Rev 13:4), will be cast out and bound by the One who has authority, even over the unclean spirits (Mark 1:23-27; Rev 20:1-3)
...when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him... shall thrust him through...-
'Thrust through' is the word translated 'pierce' in 12:10. The parents of a false prophet will slay him with their own hands. Although the primary offenders will be removed, at the initial cleansing of the Kingdom, some lesser false prophets may still pretend to be spokesmen for the LORD. However, those who know the LORD will love and defend the Truth with a fervency which exceeds their love for their own children (cp. Mat 12:48-50).
    False prophets speak "lies in the name of the LORD," claiming God's authority for their message which contradicts His Word. Such is the message of apostasy proclaimed by the counterfeit church of the Tribulation period.
...in that day... the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision...-
Some, who had been false prophets, once confronted with the Truth, will be ashamed of their previous lies (cp. Zech 10:2) and will abandon all pretense of being spokesmen for God.
    Only through God's great grace and mercy, will former purveyors of falsehood live to enter the millennial Kingdom (cp. Paul's testimony of God's mercy, 1Tim 1:13).
...neither shall they wear a rough {lit., hairy} garment to deceive.-
'Rough garments' were worn by some true prophets as a mark of separation from the world and of devotion to the LORD (eg., Elijah, 2Kin 1:8; John the Baptist, Mat 3:4; 11:7-9). Therefore, false prophets sometimes wore such costumes to make their 'act' more convincing to the people. But whether course or fine, religious looking clothing does not make anyone a representative of God. Having turned to the Truth, these former practitioners of religious error will disavow any authority to speak for God, and will return to their rightful place as humble workmen.

6 And [one] shall say unto him, What [are] these wounds in thine hands?
Then he shall answer, [Those] with which I was wounded [in] the house of my friends.
7. Awake, O sword, against my shepherd,
and against the man [that is] my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts:
smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered:
and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.
And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands?
Some commentators think the person with wounded hands is a former false prophet who has now returned to his farm (v.5,6). However, the following verse (v.7), which explains the nature of that wounding, cannot refer to a reformed false prophet.
    Jesus applied v.7 to His rejection and suffering, at His first coming (Mat 26:31; Mark 14:27), when His own people ('the house of my friends') turned against Him (Joh 1:11).
    These two verses (vs.6,7) are not isolated. In the context of this section, the One with wounds in His hands is the pierced One (12:10), who will "in that day" be recognized and mourned by His people (12:11-14), and who will effect their cleansing from sin (13:1). False gods and false prophets had long obscured Him from their view through the deception of the unclean spirit (Satan) (cp. 10:2,3). But with the removal of ungodly influences and false teaching (13:2-5), the Jewish people will see Him who is Truth and understand how and when their Shepherd bled and died for them, while they were in blindness (2Cor 4:4). Now, with the eyes of understanding opened, they explore the meaning of His visible wounds (cp. Joh 20:27-29).
...then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded {HB=nakah, smitten, slain}...
...in the house {HB=bayith, abode, household, Zech 12:12} of my friends {HB='ahab, lovers, family} -
His wounds speak of His humanity, for He became a man in order to die (Php 2:6-8; Heb 2:9). He was born into the tribe of Judah, and into 'the house and lineage of David.' His own people and nation delivered Him to death (eg., Joh 18:35; 19:14-16).
...awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts.-
Whereas verse 6 emphasizes the humanity of Christ, verse 7 speaks of His Deity. The LORD Himself is the true Shepherd of His people (Zech 9:16; 11:7,11).
    As a man, the Shepherd was smitten by the sword {ie., slain with violence} (Psa 22:16; Heb 13:20).
    Yet, the smitten One is the LORD's "fellow" {HB='amiyth, relation, associate, peer, equal} (cp. Joh 1:1,2; 5:17,18; 10:11,14-15,17-18,30-33; 17:5,8; Col 1:15-19).
    By means of the good Shepherd's wounds, the fountain of cleansing was opened for His people (v.1). When completed, this cleansing will include the purging of all false religion from the Kingdom (v.2-5), and the purification of a remnant to love and serve the King (v.8-9).

8 And it shall come to pass, [that] in all the land, saith the LORD,
two parts therein shall be cut off [and] die; but the third shall be left therein.
9 And I will bring the third part through the fire,
and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried:
they shall call on my name, and I will hear them:
I will say, It [is] my people:
and they shall say, The LORD [is] my God.
I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined...-
Verse 8 returns again to the description of the final conflict (Zech 12:1-9). The whole world will be wracked by terrible suffering and loss of life during the Great Tribulation, the Time of Jacob's Trouble, the Day of the LORD, when His wrath will be poured out upon the earth. Large portions of the earth's surface and population will be destroyed (eg., Rev 8:7-12). But here, the focus is upon the destruction that overtakes the land of Israel, the city of Jerusalem, and the Jewish nation (cp. Rev 16:19; Zech 14:1,2). Only one third of the people will survive to enter into the Kingdom of the Messiah. Yet, this period of suffering is by the LORD's design, to purge His people of sin and sinners, in preparation for the Kingdom of righteousness. Jer 30:11; Joel 2:31,32; Mal 3:2,3; Mat 24:22
...they shall call upon my name, and I will hear them...-
Isa 58:9; 65:24; Jer 29:11-14; Hos 2:21-23
I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.-
Zech 8:8; Jer 31:33; Rev 21:3,4,7

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