Zechariah Chapter 13

The subject matter of chapter 13 is well defined in the first two verse. We are using the ESV this time. It is more inclusive and understandable than are some other translations.

Zechariah 13:1,2 “On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.

“And on that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will cut off the names of the *idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness.

*Idols: hinderances blocking our fellowship and commitment to God alone.

We again read the identifying words of “on that Day”. Our previous chapter article comments have defined the meaning of On That Day as the coming of Christ. At minimum the conclusion of the 7-year tribulation in not only Israel but the world i.e. Daniel’s 70th week as found in Daniel 9. Chapter 9 begins with Daniel praying for Israel, acknowledging the nation’s sins against God, and asking for God’s mercy. As Daniel prayed, the angel Gabriel appeared to him and gave him a vision of Israel’s future. [cf. see our ahabiblemoments commentary on Daniel 9 then continue below]

The future to which Daniel is directed by the angel Gabriel is spelled out in the Book of Zechariah. Verse 1 and 2 are multiple and incredibly significant events.

  1. On that day…not a traditional 24-hour day, but the turning point in God’s plans for his creation. “Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done” [Matthew 6:9 and Luke 11:2] now begins.
  2. A cleansing fountain is opened (in Israel)
    1. This cleansing includes the mind, memories, bad deeds, wrongful hearts, false intentions of those surviving members of God’s chosen people of Israel. The seed of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
  3. To whom? The House of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem
    1. The church of the Gentile age is not even hinted
    1. Do not spiritualize what is not there. The First Church of anything is NOT mentioned including the Papal Roman church and global denominational branches
  4. Cut off the names of idols
    1. This is major. Distractors will no longer be remembered by those being cleansed by the “fountain” in Israel. A totally clean memory of God alone will be on minds.
    1. As we will find out at the end of this chapter, 2/3rds of Israeli life is gone. Only 1/3rd remains. They receive a second chance of salvation entering the Millennial Reign.
  5. This is God speaking through Zechariah about THAT DAY that begins the transition of this world to the Kingdom of God with Jesus on the throne. It is not a traditional 24-hour period but a beginning of a new time, a new age, a new world rule. ”Thy kingdom [IS] come”.
  6. Idol worship will be cut off. The names or memories of any god other than Jehovah-God will no longer be on the minds of Israelites.
  7. Removal of distractors and deception in Jerusalem and Israel.
    1. David Guzik says it well: “Idolatry and false prophecy were the two principle ways Israel was led astray from God. God not only provides a fountain to cleanse, but He also promises to cut off the source of uncleanness – in this case, idolatry and false prophecy.”
    1. This includes any type of substitute or distractor that impeded worship of God by man.

All of this is packed into the first just two verses of Zechariah 13. A study in and of itself.

Verse 3 needs a bit of insight. We read that the sons of some will be “thrust through by their own parents” for continuing to prophecy in this land of Israel. The sons will know (yadda) that they are false prophets seeking recognition in that land by their appearance including the wearing the traditional animal skin clothing. The Hebrew word for through is dâqar. It can mean to be fed no longer, tossed out, starved, reviled [Strong 1856]. We should not automatically think it as thrust with a spear, knife, or sword. We must also allow for it. It will be like a parent disowning a child. ”You are no longer our son” is the interpretation of strongest value.

Zechariah 13:4,5 offer additional consideration to the above dâqar. They must still be among the living to deny their being prophets, claiming to be mere farmers, to be shamed by others including themselves, etc. Verse 6 gives us additional understanding of the corner into which these “sons” have painted themselves. It was a tradition in bible times and in the dark ages of the Catholic Church [and other religious groups] up to today, to validate their honesty and chastity by wounding themselves with whips, knives, or devises to leave bodily wounds visible to others in hopes of being held in awe for their sincerity. These wounds are thought to somehow increase their viewed honesty of intent. This is false pretentiousness. These “sons” who will claim to be farmers, not prophets, would have callused hands, not bleeding hands. They will also lack the dark tans and rough skin of active farmers.

BEWARE OF WOLVES IN SHEEP’S CLOTHING

V6:Wounds from the home of a friend.” When a false prophet wanted to make an example or public statement of his predictions or prophecies, he would wound himself while taking a vow in the name of God for his truthfulness. Recall the prophets of Baal and Elijah [I Kings 16]. Between verse 5 and verse 6 of Zechariah 13 we find this false prophet being caught changing his story. In v5 he claims to be a farmer. In v6 he claims to have provided evidence to a friend of his prophetic sincerity. One should consider that this is the basic meaning of taking the Lord’s name in vain, i.e. to prophecy or make false claims using God’s name as a witness to his prophesying truthfulness by making a vow. He may also be claiming to have had a fallout with a friend and received his wounds from a fight at his friend’s house.

Zechariah 13:7 changes the focus. Now Zechariah isolates his discussion to the false shepherds of the flocks in Israeli towns and villages. That is, the people (flocks) over whom s/he has authority but do not have their interests at heart. Commentaries are divided over this verse. Some see it as the cross and crucifixion of Jesus some 600 years later. Some see it as the continued scattering of the Tribes of Israel to the four corners of the earth with or without provocation. But Zechariah is talking to those who returned from Babylonian captivity. This is long after the ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom of Israel were scattered by the Assyrians in 722 B.C. The Babylonian remnant to whom Zechariah is prophesying will later be dispersed by Alexander the Great (Greek) and the Romans. However, Zechariah is discussing a time 2,000 or so years later “On the Day” at the end of the Tribulation yet to come.

Zechariah 13:8 is another controversial verse or prophecy. It is best to take this verse just how it is presented. Two-thirds of those living in Israel (Jerusalem) will die at the hands of their enemy. One third will survive. The answer to this dilemma is in a question itself. What will it take for the stubborn Israelites to accept the Messiah who their descendants will crucify? It will demand that they be put into an impossible situation of which there is no escape. Any intervention will need to be from God. They will know it and no longer deny him. This is the summation and the beginning of every verse that says “in or on that day” statement throughout the entire Book of Zechariah. His prophesies mark the end of the way it was and the beginning of the way it will be during the Millennial Reign. The Messiah Jesus will finally be recognized and accepted as their King on the Throne of David. Jesus is in the DNA line of David, a Judean from the Tribe of Judah.

This slaughter of 2/3rds of Israelis in Israel will be at the hands of all nations aligned against then. Those who have since the establishment of Israel have been the thorn-in-the-side of the world, particularly against *Satan since King David made Jerusalem his home and capital city of Israel. This takes us back to Zechariah 12:3 keeping us within the context of who is being discussed and prophesied about by Zechariah. The church of believers is no longer on earth. They had been raptured but return with Christ in the clouds to rule and judge alongside of him.

*This issue between man and Satan goes back to Genesis 3:15. “And I will put enmity between thee [Satan] and the woman [Israel; God’s chosen], and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.” [KJV]

What a day that will be,
When my Jesus I shall see,
And I look upon His face,
The One who saved me by His grace;
When He takes me by the hand,
And leads me through the Promised Land,
What a day, glorious day that will be.

(Bill and Gloria Gaither)

Rev Dr. Jstark
2020

Jeremiah – Chapter 8

time.jpgThis is a very unusual chapter in almost all of scripture. Jeremiah is telling his countrymen what to expect in the immediate and end time future in and around Jerusalem and Judah. The Babylonians are coming! Not just this, but the almost cannibalistic marauding they will do in this Kingdom of Judah.

The Babylonians will be grave robbers!!! As did happen 1,500 years later when the Spanish conquistadors invaded and conquered the Inca, Aztec and other South American Indian cultures and civilizations, their [Babylonians’] thirst for treasures and gold simply could not be satisfied. Jeremiah is telling the people of Judah that the Babylonians will even defile the graves of the average citizen of this  kingdom. Why? A two-fold reason.

  1. The graves being defiled will be the graves of those of the Tribe of Judah who worshiped, as it states in verse two, the sun, moon, stars and unseen and imaginary heavenly hosts (not God however).
  2. All this in the quest for hidden or buried treasures in these graves.

Contemporary English Version (CEV): These bones will be scattered and left lying on the ground like trash, where the sun and moon and stars can shine on them.

A side note gives additional insight. This passage is probably from where we get the statement, make no bones about it.”

The God of Israel is allowing this to happen because of his disgust with the very people he has rescued over and over again. He took them from the edge of defeat many times. He blessed them when they didn’t deserve it. He called them HIS CHOSEN PEOPLE. We should note that God also promises in Isaiah 13 and *Habakkuk 2 that he will punish the Babylonians for what we would call today – overkill; brutal actuality. The bones of these Judeans were NOT reburied but left to sit under the false gods they worshiped; that is the sun, heavenly beings such as stars, and moon.  In a sense one might deduce that God is saying “their false gods won’t even care about this grave robbing and after-death abuse.”

* Habakkuk pleaded with God, asking Him to save Judah from her own wickedness. God answers, but not in the way Habakkuk expected.

To judge Judah’s wickedness, God says He will hand them over to the Chaldeans [Babylonians]: a nation even more wicked, violent, and corrupt.

Again, the CEV reads: Jeremiah 8:4, 5 The LORD said: People of Jerusalem, when you stumble and fall, you get back up, and if you take a wrong road, you turn around and go back.  v5 So why do you refuse to come back to me? Why do you hold so tightly to your *false gods? (of wood, stone, sun, moon stars…)

Deuteronomy 4:24 says that God is a jealous god. He will not have other gods put before him. Translation? Anything that comes before God in worship or importance is not acceptable in His eyes. Israel, Judah, today’s church, and its quasi-Christian membership, are guilty of this.

As powerful and descriptive as Jeremiah 8 is, verse 7 adds to it. God points out through Jeremiah that even the birds of the air know when to fly away from the impending winter. God’s chosen people hide behind things in their vain attempts to justify their ungodly actions and staying put in their ways. Remember back in Jeremiah 7:4 we have the Judeans pleading and hiding behind the fact that “we have the temple.”

To God this is not a safeguard. It is another obstacle to worshiping Him.  Later he promises to let the TEMPLE be destroyed in order to make this point. The Romans destroyed it for the final time in 72 A.D. What so many do not understand per Syria, the huge city of Aleppo and how the Levites treasure things more than God; Jews hid the “Aleppo Codex” in Aleppo for 6 centuries. Yes, the same Aleppo Muslims have conquered and destroyed in their attempt to wipe off the face of the map. They know things we Americans haven’t a clue.

Sarina Roff’e of JewishGen.org writes: “Few cities can match the glory of Aleppo, Syria, a city that spans Jewish history from the days of King David over 3,000 years ago. Aristocratic and noble, Aleppo was the crown of Jewish splendor in the Sephardic [Jewish] world.” 

The Book of Psalm [30:] and Samuel call Aleppo, Aram Soba. The New Testament sometimes identifies the same Aleppo of today as Ber[o]ea. The original settlement was called “Halab” which in Arabic (ﺣﻠﺐ) means: “where Abraham milked his cows.” Arab (Muslims) and Jewish tradition both state that Abraham first stopped in Halab (Aleppo) after leaving Ur, his home town.

SPECIAL BLOG NOTE: The Aleppo codex is the ONLY COPY of the entire text of the Bible. It is written on animal skins using a black iron ink. Hid and secretly protected for centuries by Levite priests.  Paul E. Kahle, when revising the text of the Biblia Hebraica in the 1920s, tried and failed to obtain a photographic copy of the Aleppo Codex. This forced him to use, believe it or not, the Leningrad [like in Russia] Codex instead for the [his] third edition, which appeared in 1937. This tells us something about where large dispersed communities of Jews, Levites and other Israelis from the Northern Kingdom must have lived for hundreds of years after the Assyrian and Babylonian dispersions; Aleppo and Leningrad. MY, my, my, how (secular) history IS [actually] all about God.

Why all this about Aleppo and Jeremiah? Jeremiah points out that Judaism of his time had become a religion of THINGS or religious items instead of God. We  need to know the significance of the bible being history, not a religious manuscript.

Judeans and the priestly Levites also hide behind the Laws of Moses but only when they are to their advantage. Jeremiah points this out in a backhanded way in Jeremiah 8:8 & 9. Again, the Israeli’s, in particular those of Judah (Jews), hide behind the teachings and laws of ‘the Lord’ rather than worshiping the God who created them.

Jeremiah 8:13 needs explanation. It reads as if God will wipe out the people of Israel and Judah. The translated Hebrew words “wipe out” are sûph in the Hebrew. It means to “snatch away” and be placed elsewhere but not as a country or kingdom. That reuniting of both the Northern Kingdom of Israel and the Southern Kingdom of Judah will not again happen until Jesus returns to the Mount of Olives. He will call his people from the four corners of the earth to return to Israel under his kingship (see this website: Book of Revelation series).

Once again and in reference to the birds that know to leave when winter is approaching, those of Judah simply say in V14, Let’s run and hide in a fortressed wall of another city. They never consider returning to God and confessing their sins to him. He did promise to not disperse them if they would. THEY NEVER DID! This confession of the sins of Israel happened about 70 years later. Daniel prayed a confessional prayer for his people, all Israel, from captivity in Babylon (Daniel 9).Admission of Guilt - legal concept

Jeremiah 8:17 is another step backward in their history and a parallel prophecy. It says in the CEV: Our enemies (plural as in enemies; so it is more than Babylon alone) have reached the town of Dan in the north, and the snorting of their horses makes us tremble with fear. The enemy will destroy Jerusalem and our entire nation. The northern kingdom by the time of Jeremiah was long dispersed as was this abode of Dan. This is either a reference back 120 years when the Kingdom of Israel still existed or a prediction of Armageddon in a history yet to be played out. This is an Armageddon or Har Megeddo where 200,000,000 troops from all nations gather to invade Jerusalem. (revisit our study on Revelation in the website).

Micah 3:11 puts the wrap in this deserved punishment of Israel and Judah. He writes:

Her leaders judge for a bribe, her priests teach for a price, and her prophets [prophecy] for money. Yet they look for the LORD’s support and say, “Is not the LORD among us? No disaster will come upon us.”

The vipers and snakes mentioned in verse 17 are symbolic of the invading enemy(ies). They will not be charmed or bought off either then or in End Time Armageddon. Neither will negotiation be available. Young’s Literal Translation (YLT) uses the past tense (have been bitten) meaning they are already determined to conquer. The wonderful promise in this parallel prophecy with Revelation 16:12-14, Israel will finally realize Jesus Christ IS THEIR MESSIAH when he destroys these invading armies of the nations. First is the invasion of Babylon; 597 B.C. Then comes the return of Jesus to the Mount of Olives where He proclaims himself as King of kings and the armies of the world gathered in Har Magiddo attack Jerusalem.

CLOSING STUDY NOTE: Jeremiah is not written in a chronological order. This makes it a little bit tougher to sequence events. One might out line this book in a broad way: the early chapters preview what is going to happen. Then the middle chapters and the bulk of them describe in great detail these events and how they will happen. Concluding the Book of Jeremiah is a summary of these same events and the prophesied destruction of Babylon, Egypt, Moabites, Philistines (today’s Palestinians; Jordan), judgment of Edom and the Ammonites (Jordon, Damascus of Syria and Kedar, Hazor, Elam in present day Islamic Iran but in End Time.

miniJimRev Dr Jstark
December 2016