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The Fountain Opened And The Shepherd Smitten
Immediately linked with the time when Israel shall have reached, in spirit, the day of atonement, the fountain is provided for cleansing from all defilement which the first verse of this chapter announces. When the Spirit of God has wrought repentance in the remnant, the word of God will at once be applied in cleansing.
It is to (not “in,” as people often attempt to quote it) the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem that the fountain is opened in order that they may be morally cleansed from all sin and uncleanness, in accordance with the testimony of Ezekiel (chap. 36:24-27): “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. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. And I will put My Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in My statutes, and ye shall keep My judgments, and do them.”
The day of atonement brings them to the cross. The next step is the laver, to which the fountain answers. Observe well, it is not, as Christian poets have sung, “a fountain filled with blood,” but of living water-the word of God applied in the Spirit’s power to their consciences. The same truth is taught in the Lord’s washing His disciples’ feet, the laver of regeneration, and the washing of water by the Word, but all in connection with the present dispensation. So from the side of the crucified Saviour flowed both blood and water - blood, to expiate sin before God; water, to cleanse the ways and keep the saint free from defilement.
As the power of the truth is brought home to the remnant, it will lead them to judge all iniquity and to put away all uncleanness. Idolatry will become as an evil dream when it is past, and deceivers of all kinds will “pass out of the land” (ver. 2).
As all prophecy will have come to its glorious fulfilment, the office of the prophet shall cease. Any essaying that role will be judged even by his own parents (vers. 3, 4).
But One there is in contrast to the false prophets in every way, even the One for whom they shall mourn when they are brought to see how they have sinned against Him. “He shall say, I am no prophet, I am a husbandman; for man acquired Me as a servant from My youth.” Some have followed the rabbis in applying these words, and those following, to the deceivers; but it seems far clearer, and more in keeping with the context, to apply them to the Lord Jesus Christ. He was acquired as a servant from His youth, and, like the devoted slaves of Exodus 21:0, for love of His own He would not go out free. To Him the wondering remnant cry, “What are these wounds in Thy hands?” He replies, “Those with which I was wounded in the house of My friends.” What grace, that He should so speak of Judah, who knew Him not when He came among them in lowliness (vers. 5, 6).
But He could never have been wounded by them, had it not been according to the purpose of God that He should be made a sin-offering. So at once we read, “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, and against the Man that is My Fellow, saith Jehovah: smite the Shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn My hand upon the little ones” (ver. 7). Clearly the smitten Shepherd here is the wounded One of the preceding verses. There, it was man’s treatment of Him that was emphasized. Here, it is the solemn fact that God’s judgment fell upon Him when, for our sins, He was smitten on the cross. There, as the Good Shepherd, He gave His life for the sheep, and endured divine wrath, that all who trust in Him might be forever secure from the well-deserved vengeance of Jehovah’s insulted throne. So the words are directly applied in Matthew 26:31. The Shepherd was smitten by Jehovah Himself. The sheep were for the moment scattered, but God’s hand is turned in grace to the little ones who are lowly enough to own their guilt and trust in Him whose precious blood cleanseth from every stain. To the remnant, the value of His work will be made known when their blindness has passed away, and they will be numbered among the feeble and the poor in spirit who cast themselves upon redeeming grace.
Not all Israel, however, nor yet all of Judah, shall be saved. But of those restored to the land after the Church has been rapt away to heaven, two parts will be cut off in death during the time of Jacob’s trouble. The third part will be brought through the fiery trials of the great tribulation, and will be refined as silver and purified as gold. They shall call upon Jehovah’s name, and He will respond to them in grace and loving-kindness. To them He will say, “It is My people,” thus reversing the Lo-ammi sentence of Hosea, chap. 1; while they in turn shall cry with hearts uplifted at the thought of such abounding mercy, “Jehovah is my God!”
Their salvation will be thus of a double character, as was that of their fathers of old, wherever faith was in exercise, who were brought to God and saved from Egyptian bondage.
The closing chapter gives us the details of their deliverance from their enemies, and does not leave them till they are seen keeping the happiest feast of all the year-that of the tabernacles- with the assured sense of the favor of Jehovah.
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Ironside, H. A. "Commentary on Zechariah 13". Ironside's Notes on Selected Books. https://studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 22 / Ordinary 27