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ch. 13:1-6    ch. 13:7-9

Cleansing From Sin (ch. 13:1 - 6)



Throughout chapter 13 and 14 you will see the words "on that day."   These words can be understood in two ways.  It can mean a particular day, that is, a twenty four hour day, or, it can mean a period of time.  Most of the time in the last few chapters of Zechariah "in that day" refers to a period of time.  The question is what period of time is being spoken of?   It is clear to me it is the time period that is at the end of this present age in which we live.  The things referred to in these chapters and verses in connection with "that day" makes that pretty clear.  None of the things mentioned here in that day have happened in human history to date, at least not in the fullest sense of the word.    


In verse 1 we see the result of true repentance.  God says that a fountain will spring up for Israel and Jerusalem .  This fountain will wash away the sin and iniquity from Israel .  I would think this fountain is symbolic.  The fact of the matter is that Israelís sin will be gone from God's records and the Jews will be seen in Godís eyes as sinless. This will only take place through Israel 's repentance when they see their Messiah coming to this earth.  There is no salvation without repentance.  Also, this salvation comes through the blood of Jesus; the cross of Christ.  There is no other way for anyone to be saved, not even this remnant of Jews at the end of this age.       


Although this fountain is a symbolic fountain, or so I believe, there is a fountain, or a river, as seen in Ezekiel 47 that flows from underneath the temple described in that chapter.  I believe this will be a literal river, a literal fountain of water during the thousand year rule of Jesus on earth. 


In verse 2 we see that in that day God will remove the
idols and the false prophets from the land.  The word "land" refers to Israel.  No longer will there be idols and false prophets in Israel.  There may not be too many literal idols in the land of Israel right now or in the future, but Israeli people do have their idols.  Whatever one gives himself too can be an idol. 


We also do not know what lies ahead in Israel 's future.  We do not know exactly what days in the future we are looking at hear.  The world is becoming progressively more pagan than ever, and who knows, idols may some day come back in style, as they are now in the world of gardening and landscaping.


Note also that impurity will be removed from the land.  As I write in 2018 there are more abortions performed in Israel per-captia than in the United States.   


Verse 3 may be disturbing to some.  It tells us that as Israelis repent, and, if their are still false prophets, their parents will kill them.  This is a hard verse to understand.  Why would repentant parents kill their sons, even if they were false prophets?  This seems to tell us that this repentance is understood as repentance was understood in Old Testament days.  In Ezra 10 we see that as an act of repentance Israeli men sent their pagan wives and the children born to these pagan wives home to their homeland.  They did so to express the sorrow for disobeying God by marrying pagan women.  With sending of pagan wives and children back home to their pagan families demonstrated genuine repentance in their thinking.           


The one thing we can say about this verse is that Jesus will rule with a rod of iron as stated in the book of Revelation and elsewhere during His thousand year rule on earth.  He will judge, and His judgment is immediate, and not delayed. 


All of the above being said, as stated in the Law of Moses (see Deuteronomy 10 and18) false prophets were to die.


In verse 4 and 5 we see that these false prophets will be ashamed of themselves.  Many of them admit that they are not really prophets but farmers, or whatever form of income they would have had.  So they go back to their real profession. 


Verse 6 says this.  "What are these wounds on your body?"   The question is raised, "whose body is being spoken of here?"  There have been two answers given to this question over the years.   Because of the context some say that it is the false prophets being spoken of here.  They have gotten wounds in the houses of their friends, even in the house of their parents as we have already seen.  Since the NIV does not separate verse 6 into a new paragraph, that suggests to me that this might be the interpretation of the translators.  Others say the body spoken of here is in reference to the wounds in the body of Jesus.  He too was wounded in the house of His friends, or so they say, and He will have these wounds at that day and all through eternity.  At the moment, I tend to think the body spoken of here are the bodies of the false prophets, but I could be wrong. 


If it is Jesus spoken of in verse 6 it appears to me that the Jews at the end of this age will need to be taught the gospel.  They do not seem to know why Jesus had the wounds in His body.  This shows such a great misunderstanding on the part of the Jews at the time of the end if this interpretation is indeed correct.  They are still looking for the King, as they were when Jesus was on earth.  They do not expect their king to have such wounds in His body.  At this point they will finally know that the Jesus they once rejected really was their King and their Messiah.   


There is another way that some look at these verses.  They say that the false prophets do not dress like a prophet but like a farmer to disguise himself.  The wounds in their flesh might well be self inflicted or gotten by some other means.   This does not seem to be the best way to view this passage.  Whatever the case, there are a multitude of different view points on many of these Old Testament prophetic books.



The Shepherd Struck, The Sheep Scattered (ch. 13:7 - 9)


As we move back and forth through history in Zechariahís prophecies, we now move back to the time when Jesus was first on earth.  You will note that the phrase "in that day," meaning the end of this age, does not appear here in verse 7.


God tells the sword to awake and go against the shepherd, "the man who is close to me."  This is clearly in reference to Jesus being executed.  There is no real dispute over this among Evangelical Bible teachers.  I have said it before; it was not the Jews or the Romans that were behind the death of Jesus.  It was God Himself.  This is clear from Isaiah 53:10 as well as this verse.  God tells the sword to awake and go against Jesus.  God uses the Jews and the Romans in the process, but He is behind it all.


This tells us one way in which God interacts with humanity.  Christians are not Deists.  We believe that God in more involved in His creation than we can know.  Here God tells the sword that it is time to rise, but God is not really talking to a sword.  He is manipulating events, or so I believe, to cause the death of Jesus.   


Also in verse 7 God says to "strike the shepherd, and the sheep will scatter."  God tells the sword to strike Jesus and He predicts with accuracy that the sheep will scatter, and that is exactly what took place after the arrest of Jesus in the garden.  Matthew 26:31 and following speaks of Jesusí disciples being scattered, running from the Roman soldiers.


The above being said, I think these words go beyond the scattering of the disciples.  The next phrase says the hand of God will turn against the little ones.   I believe the little ones are in reference to Israel , as in the children of Israel .  "Little ones" might actually refer to children who will grow to be adults and experience God's judgment on Israel with the attack of the Romans on Jerusalem in 70 A. D..


There has been a debate over the centuries to how we should understand verse 7 in relation to verse 8.  Some say they go together and some say they don't.  Some say that those who are killed were killed in 70 A. D. when Jerusalem was sacked by the Romans.  Others say, as I do, that those being killed are killed at the end of this age.  It is the nature of Old Testament prophecy to jump around from one time period to another without warning.        


Verse 8 says that two thirds of the land will be struck down and perish, while one third will survive.  The land refers to Israel.  I see this as the final fulfillment of the dispersion of 70 A. D. which occurs at the end of this age.  Two thirds of Israel will not survive the Great Tribulation, but one third will.  The one third is most likely the remnant that Paul spoke about in Romans 9 through 11, especially Romans 11:26 and following.  When Paul says that "all Israel will be saved," in Romans 11 he means all Israelis who are left at the end of the Tribulation, will be saved.    


In verse 9 we see the eventual outcome of this one third of the Jewish population.  After a long period of time of refining as with fire they will come around and recognize their God, and He will recognize them.  This takes place during the time which Jeremiah calls the "time of Jacob's trouble," otherwise known as the Great Tribulation; the last seven years that ends this age.


Note the wording of verse 9.  The process of refining, the Great Tribulation, will cause the one third of Jews who are not killed to call out to God in repentance.  The text does not use the word "repentance" but that is exactly what happens.  This word "call" here should be understood as a cry.  It is a heart felt, meaningful, cry to God for help.  When these Jews cry out to God, He will respond as we saw in Zechariah 12:10.  He will pour out a spirit of grace and supplication and those surviving Jews will be saved, and, they will be saved in the name of Jesus, because it is Jesus who returns to Jerusalem to bring their salvation.  When that day comes, they will mourn, as the chapter states, over the One, meaning Jesus, who they had crucified.  This salvation is not based on obedience to the Law of Moses because that is not what takes place here.  This salvation is an act of God's sovereign will.          


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