Study Notes

Zechariah 13:1-9


Previously, we looked at Zechariah 12, which described all the world's nations united in their attack against Israel, and God's miraculous saving of His people. Jesus is going to appear to defend the people of Judah and Jerusalem, and when they see Him, there will be an intense time of mourning over this pierced only Son, Who is God Himself. Chapter 13 begins in the same time period, saying, "In that day..."

13:1 A Fountain For Sin And Impurity

During the same period of time that Jesus returns to earth to protect the Jews and judge the nations, a fountain is going to be opened for the Jews, a fountain for sin and impurity.

The Bible twice describes God as being the "Fountain of Living Water" (Jer. 2:13; 17:13). He is God Who alone can cleanse us from our sin and wash it way.

Because they cried out to Jesus for their salvation, He will wash away their sin and impurity.

13:2 Idols Cut Off And Forgotten

Until this reign of Christ begins on earth, there are three things which will continue in Israel and in the world: Idolatry, false prophets, and the "unclean spirit."

Idols Removed

There have been many times in Israel's history when the idols were removed from the land. King Asa burned them (1Kings 5), King Josiah removed them (2Kings 23); Even wicked King Manasseh was eventually convicted and got rid of them (2Chron. 33). But these reforms were never permanent. The people kept remembering their foreign gods and would turn to them, forgetting the Lord (Deut. 32:18-21; Isa. 57:11-13). But in Christ's kingdom, not only will the idols be removed, they won't even be remembered!

The Unclean Spirit Removed

During the earthly ministry of Jesus, He encountered a lot of unclean spirits. These were the demons that were inside of people, controlling their bodies and speaking through their mouths.

Jesus cast these terrible creatures out of many people. But here in Zechariah, there seems to be an unclean spirit who is singled out as "the unclean spirit." I believe that this is talking about the devil himself.

In that day, the unclean spirit will be removed from the land. John tells us how this will happen in the Revelation:

Rev. 20:1-3 And I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years, and threw him into the abyss, and shut {it} and sealed {it} over him, so that he should not deceive the nations any longer...

The unclean spirit, satan, will be removed from the land.

The Prophets Removed

Thirdly, the prophets will be removed from the land as well. Paul told the Corinthians,

1Cor. 13:8-10 ...if {there are gifts of} prophecy, they will be done away; if {there are} tongues, they will cease; if {there is} knowledge, it will be done away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part; but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away.

Some folks have determined that "the perfect" was the completion of the Bible, but I disagree. If you continue to read Paul's statement in chapter 13, you see that when "the perfect" comes, then we will see face-to-face. Also, we will know fully just as we also have been fully known. This clearly has not happened yet. John wrote in his first epistle,

1John 3:2 Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we shall be. We know that, when He appears, we shall be like Him, because we shall see Him just as He is.

So "the perfect," I believe, is Jesus appearing, His perfect love coming to earth. When He comes, spiritual gifts such as prophecy, tongues, and the word of knowledge will be done away with. There will be no need for them, because the teaching, prophecy, and supernatural knowledge will be coming directly from God's mouth in those days. Isaiah wrote,

Isa. 2:3 And many peoples will come and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; That He may teach us concerning His ways, and that we may walk in His paths." For the law will go forth from Zion, and the Word of the LORD from Jerusalem.

Prophecy from man will be unnecessary - the prophets will be removed from the land. If that were the only information given, it would be plain and simple to understand. But that is not the case, because there is some more description given in these next few verses which makes this a terribly difficult passage...

13:3 Who Gave Birth To Him

Simon Peter told the multitudes, that Jesus was received into heaven...

Acts 3:21 ...until {the} period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

One of the names for Christ's thousand-year reign on earth, is "the period of restoration of all things." In other words, things will return to the way before the flood devastated the earth and . Animals will again be vegetarians and non-violent.

Isa. 65:25 "The wolf and the lamb shall graze together, and the lion shall eat straw like the ox; and dust shall be the serpent's food. They shall do no evil or harm in all My holy mountain," says the LORD.

And human life spans will again be hundreds of years long. But people will still be born and people will still die. Isaiah said,

Isa. 65:20 "No longer will there be in it an infant {who lives but a few} days, or an old man who does not live out his days; For the youth will die at the age of one hundred and the one who does not reach the age of one hundred shall be {thought} accursed."

During the Millennial Reign of Christ, people will be born, and people can be killed. They won't be killed by animals anymore. Remember,

Isa. 11:8-9 And the nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper's den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

People won't be killed by poisonous snakes, but one way that they will die is if they prophesy. That's right - since prophecy will be done away with, any word of prophecy spoken will be obviously false. And when someone speaks such a false prophecy, their parents will kill them.

13:4-6 The Prophets And The Prophet

This is where it gets difficult, and where I believe the commentators get off track. If you've read up on this, you many have thought, "How can Pastor Ron keep quoting verse six as being about Christ, when every commentary I read said that this verse does not refer to Jesus Christ, but to a false prophet saying that that he was beaten up, or who is lying about his scars of mutilation received in worship of false gods?"

The fact is, most commentaries do say, "This cannot be about Christ because of the context." While I can understand the confusion, I cannot go along with their interpretation.

I could be wrong, but I believe that Christ is exactly Who the passage is referring to. Let me explain why:

First of all, the very next verse is all about Jesus the Shepherd being stricken, which He Himself clearly explains in Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27.

We have also just seen the description of God Himself as the Pierced One returning to earth (12:10). We have just seen the description of God Himself as the fountain for sin and for impurity (13:1). We have also just learned that there will be no more prophets in the land speaking the Word of God, because God Himself will be speaking His Word (13:2).

Who will have vision and prophesy? Jesus. Those who would be prophets will be put to shame by Jesus' prophecy and vision. They won't deceive people by their "prophet's uniform" of a hairy robe anymore. Instead, they will be ashamed of Jesus' vision when Jesus prophesies. I think the context is clear in that we are speaking of the prophets as plural, and Christ as "Him." Notice the pronouns in the text: the prophets are "they" and Jesus is the "He" and "His". (The NAS, KJV, and the NKJ get these pronouns right, but the NIV muddies it up, and the NLT misses it entirely.)

A Tiller Of The Ground

Those who would be false prophets if allowed will be ashamed of His vision when He prophesies. But Jesus will say, "Hey guys, I'm not a prophet, I'm a farmer. The seed I'm sowing on soil is the Word in men's hearts. So I'm not seeking attention for myself as I prophesy, I'm planting the Word in people's hearts."

Why is He describing Himself as a farmer planting seeds? Your understanding of that depends on the version you're reading.

Zech. 13:5 (NAS) "...for a man sold me as a slave in my youth."

Zech. 13:5 (NIV) "...the land has been my livelihood since my youth."

Zech. 13:5 (KJV) "...for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth."

Zech. 13:5 (AMP) "...I have been made a bond servant from my youth."

Zech. 13:5 (NKJ) "...The soil has been my means of livelihood from my earliest youth."

How can there be such divergent translations? Again, I believe it is because the Hebrew text doesn't make any sense unless you apply it to Jesus Christ. The Hebrew simply says, "Aw-DAWM kaw-NAW naw-OOR."

"Aw-DAWM" is "man" or "Adam."

"Kaw-NAW" is a verb that means "got, acquired, bought, or possessed." It is in a tense that denotes causing, making it mean, "he caused the buying of." "Naw-OOR means "youth," which can be anything from the beginning of life to early adulthood. And so literally the Scripture is quoting Jesus as saying, "Adam caused Me to be acquired as a youth."

It was the sin of Adam that brought about man's separation from God. It was Christ Who restored the relationship by being born of a virgin, sowing the seed of the Word, and dying in our place.

1Cor. 15:21-22 For since by a man {came} death, by a man also {came} the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

Jesus will be sowing the seed of the Word because human beings on earth will still be descendants of Adam - sinners who are in need of salvation. As they are born without knowledge of the crucifixion, they will need to be taught.

And it is they who will say to Him,

Zech. 13:6 ..."What are these wounds between your arms?" Then He will say,"Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends."

The word translated "arms" here is "yawd," which never means arms. It is always "hands," or can sometimes refer to the wrist. So the proper translation here is, "What are these wounds between your hands, or within your wrists?"

I want to point something out to you here: When Jesus is asked about these wounds, He does not say He received them in the house of His friends. He says He was wounded with those wounds in the house of His friends. (Again, the NIV totally misses the boat here.)

You see, Jesus did not receive those wounds in the house of His friends. But He was wounded with those wounds in the house of His friends. Remember that when He rose from the dead, His friends did not believe Him. He was wounded in the house of His friends with those wounds. It was Thomas who said,

John 20:25 ... "Unless I shall see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

Eight days later,

John 20:27 ...He said to Thomas, "Reach here your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand, and put it into My side; and be not unbelieving, but believing."

My personal belief is that Jesus was more emotionally wounded by the unbelief of His friends than He was by the sin of the Jews who condemned Him and the Romans who crucified Him. Of them, He said

Luke 23:34 ..."Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing"...

But to His friends,

Mark 16:14 ...He reproached them for their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they had not believed those who had seen Him after He had risen.

Now God decrees that these things will happen to His Son...

13:7 Strike The Shepherd

Jesus would be stricken, and the sheep would be scattered. This happened the night He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. After the Last Supper, Jesus took the eleven apostles with Him to the Mount of Olives before going to Gethsemane.

Matt. 26:31 Then Jesus said to them, "You will all fall away because of Me this night, for it is written, ‘I WILL STRIKE DOWN THE SHEPHERD, AND THE SHEEP OF THE FLOCK SHALL BE SCATTERED.'

Sure enough, the Roman cohort came with the officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, carrying lanterns and torches and swords and clubs. Jesus was arrested, and all the disciples left Him and fled. The Shepherd was stricken, the sheep were scattered.

13:8-9 A Third Part Through The Fire

Again we are given details of the final days. Two thirds of the Jews will be killed, but the third that is left will cry out to their Messiah and be saved.

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