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Zechariah 13 connects chronologically to Zechariah 12. In Zechariah 12, Zechariah first speaks of a covenant of peoples who march against Jerusalem, only to find their end there (Zechariah 12:1-1 Samuel :). The remnant receives from the LORD the power to fight the enemy, while He Himself is not visible. Judah will be able to drive out the occupying power (Assyria) before its main force returns from Egypt.
Then the second phase is described, in which the LORD does appear (Zechariah 12:10-2 Chronicles :). They will look on Him Whom they have pierced. When God as a Man was present in humiliation, they pierced Him. That humbled Jesus will return to show Himself to His people.
The first effect is mourning. In Him they smote God Himself on the cheek (Micah 5:1). True spiritual restoration begins with a mourning over one’s own sins before God. This is a general principle. They will see the Lord Jesus and recognize Him as the One rejected by them. They will also see Him as the One Who God has set as a throne of grace.
An Open Fountain
In Zechariah 12, God’s work in removing sin and subsequent purification follows man’s repentance and conversion, which is worked by God’s Spirit. Everything is a work of God and His grace, without falling short of man’s responsibility. Just as God Himself pours out the Spirit of supplication upon Israel, He also provides the means for the cleansing of sins. “The house of David” and “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” represent the whole people here, just as in the previous chapter (Zechariah 12:10).
Here takes place what is presented in the great Day of Atonement. Through the cross, Christ has become the fountain of reconciliation; on the cross that fountain is opened. The people have sentenced Him to the cross, but God has made it this fountain. It is a fountain from which cleansing water comes.
There is a distinction between cleansing by water and cleansing by blood. Both came from the side of the Lord Jesus when He was pierced (John 19:37). Blood is the righteous foundation toward God to forgive us our sins. Water is towards man. The Word of God, which is compared to water (John 15:3; Ephesians 5:26), is used to convince us of sins through which we come to confess our sins. The water comes from the side of the Lord Jesus. What would the Word benefit if the Lord Jesus had not died, so that we could live a pure life?
The purifying stream of water continues throughout the entire realm of peace (Joel 3:18; Ezekiel 47:1-2 Kings :). A fountain keeps giving fresh water at all times. Not only do we need this water for our conversion, which completely cleanses us from our sins, but we also need it as our daily cleansing. The latter is done by reading the Word of God. We are born again once, but each time we need a new application of the water.
Idols and Their Prophets Cut off
This verse contains one of the results of the always flowing fountain of the previous verse. In their lives and land they will no longer be able to endure anything that cannot endure the light of God’s Word. Cutting off the names of the idols means that their authority, power, and influence will be nullified (Exodus 23:13; Joshua 23:6-Judges :; Psalms 16:4). The worship of God will be completely free from mixing with idolatry. The LORD says in Hosea of that time: “Then I will remove the names of the Baals from her mouth and their names will not be remembered” (Hosea 2:17).
Idolatry is everything that takes the place of God’s authority that shows that we find something more important than the Lord Himself. That may even be the church of God. We are warned not to give the idols a place in our lives (Colossians 3:5; 1 John 5:21).
Also, all false “prophets” who speak to the people and lead them to the idols will be removed from the land, along with “the unclean spirit”. The expression “unclean spirit” appears only here in the Old Testament and is in sharp contrast to the Spirit of grace and supplication.
The False Prophet Killed
Here the possibility is suggested that there is another false prophet walking around (Zechariah 13:3). But that prophet will not live long (Deuteronomy 13:6-2 Samuel :; Deuteronomy 18:20). He will be accused by his own father and mother (cf. Matthew 10:37). The love for God and His truth surpasses the most precious natural bond. However much God-fearing parents love their children, their love for God and His honor goes beyond that.
His father and mother will judge him in spiritual strength. They do that by piercing him. If the true Prophet is seen and they have confessed what they have done to him, there will be spiritual power to exercise discipline as God wills.
The message of false prophets has always been well received by wicked kings. Those prophets will be ashamed if it turns out that nothing comes true of their lies (Zechariah 13:4). They have given the impression of being prophets by wearing a hair coat (1 Kings 19:13; 1 Kings 19:19; 2 Kings 1:8; 2 Kings 2:82 Kings 2:13; Matthew 3:4), but they have been false prophets.
As far as our time is concerned, we can think of different doctrines of roman catholicism, such as purgatory, the sacraments and confession. The pope and the priests put on their ‘hairy robe’ and give the crowd the impression of a superior holiness. If the Lord Jesus rules, He will settle that posturing once and for all.
The True Prophet
What is in Zechariah 13:5 is a great contrast with the previous verses. There it is about the false prophets, here it is about the Lord Jesus. He occupies an extremely humble position. With Him there is nothing of the posturing that so characterizes the false prophets. He declares Who He is and what has been done with Him. He speaks as He is, in extreme humility.
He says: “I am not a prophet” (cf. Amos 7:14). He was sent to earth by God as Slave. This has become necessary because man has become a slave to sin. In order to free man from the power of sin, it has become necessary that He humbled Himself and became Man and Slave. In this sense man sold [literally: caused another to buy me] Him for this purpose from His youth, from His coming to earth. He was bought by man as the Hebrew slave and served a perfect period of time (Exodus 21:2).
As the Slave of God He became the Slave of man. He never sought His own honor (John 8:50). He devoted Himself completely to man. He was in our midst as One Who serves. He went through the land to seek fruit for God and to sow the seed in the world. His own life was one perfect fruit for God. And the results of His work are also perfect for the glory of God.
Man’s appreciation of His service is His rejection. The people He had come to serve have inflicted many wounds on Him and pierced Him in His side and hands (Psalms 22:16). When He returns in His glorified body as a glorious apparition, the wounds inflicted upon Him in the house of Israel will be asked for. The house of Israel is here called “the house of those who love me”. It is the wounds that were inflicted upon Him by His enemies in that house and will remain visible in His glorified body (John 20:24-Hosea :).
God Strikes His Shepherd
The Lord Jesus is first stricken by men in the house of His friends (Zechariah 13:6). Then He is stricken by God (Zechariah 13:7). If Zechariah 13:6 would not be followed by Zechariah 13:7, the mourning of Israel would not have come to an end and could never have been changed into a song of jubilation.
We are not reconciled by what people have done to the Lord Jesus, be it the Jews or the Gentiles. It was not the wounds of Pilate’s scourges that brought healing for our sins, but the wounds of God’s judgment (1 Peter 2:24). That is what the sword speaks of. Everything that we, humans, have done to Him has only made our guilt even greater. What has brought us reconciliation is not by what man has done, but by what God has done to Him. “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him” (Isaiah 53:10).
In Zechariah 13:7 the LORD takes over the conversation. However, He does not speak to His Son nor to man, but to the sword of judgment. When Abraham had to sacrifice his son, the judgment knife was stopped (Genesis 22:9-2 Kings :). When God had to sacrifice His Son, He gave Him up to the sword of judgment.
Here He Who sent the Shepherd speaks. He calls the Shepherd “My Associate”. That Shepherd is the Companion of God. That could not be said of any man on earth. How can God say “My Shepherd” and let follow directly after that “strike the Shepherd”? It is for the sake of the sheep and still sheep that are scattered. As fulfillment of this verse, the disciples fled (Matthew 26:31; Matthew 26:56), which also refers to the scattering of Israel.
But the consequences go much further. There will also come a moment when He will turn His hand to the little ones again. That will happen when He will fulfill the promises He made to Israel. He will gather His people from the ends of the earth and bring them into His land.
Only in a spiritual way, i.e. after repentance and conversion, will God re-establish the ties with Israel. It says that He will turn His hand to “the little ones,” the remnant, the little flock (Isaiah 40:11). Because His hand with in it the sword of His righteousness has come down upon His Shepherd in anger, He can turn His hand in grace to the little ones.
Two Parts and a Third Part
Zechariah 13:7-1 Samuel : cover the period from the cross to the millennial realm of peace, with a large gap in time between Zechariah 13:7 and Zechariah 13:8. Zechariah 13:7 looks back on the death on the cross of the Lord Jesus and its consequences for His own, His sheep. Zechariah 13:8 looks forward to the future. “Two parts” is the ungodly mass of the people. They perish in the final judgments. “The third” part is the remnant, the little ones of Zechariah 13:7.
The remnant, “the third” part, will come into “the fire” of testing, which is the great tribulation (Zechariah 13:9). Refined they will come out of the great tribulation and then enter the realm of peace. Gold and silver are melted because only then can these metals be cleansed from the unclean, leaving pure silver and pure gold from which the blacksmith can make something beautiful (Proverbs 25:4). It can only be purified when it is melted.
In the fires of trial a purification process takes place that is completed by the Lord Himself at His coming (Malachi 3:2-Leviticus :). Peter uses this picture in his first letter for the purification of faith and that in view of the revelation of the Lord Jesus (1 Peter 1:7; Psalms 66:10).
Out of the distress of the trial they shall call upon the name of the LORD, and he will hear them. Then the result of the cleansing process is achieved, the restoration of the relationship between God and His people. The LORD will acknowledge them again as His people (Hosea 1:9; Jeremiah 30:18-Song of Solomon :; Ezekiel 11:19-Proverbs :) and they will acknowledge that the LORD is their God.
Kingcomments on the Whole Bible © 2021 Author: G. de Koning. All rights reserved. Used with the permission of the author
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de Koning, Ger. Commentaar op Zechariah 13". "Kingcomments on the Whole Bible". https://studylight.org/
the Second Week of Advent