The 13th chapter of Zechariah continues on with the final restoration of Israel. Chapter 12 had detailed the political, military, and spiritual deliverance. God pours out the Spirit on Jerusalem, with the people responding with grief at the realization that the Deliverer, the Messiah, had come already and been missed.
Now, in chapter 13, Adonai moves to solidify this repentance. It is important to be aware that people do not ultimately return to God by conscious or cognitive choice, although there is a role for that, but, by a sovereign and supernaturally gracious act on the part of the Holy One.
“In that day a spring will be opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem to cleanse them from sin and impurity. 2 It will happen in that day- it is a declaration of Adonai-Tzvaot- that I will erase the names of the idols from the land and they will no longer be remembered. Furthermore, I will remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. 3 If anyone still prophesies his father and his mother to whom he was born will say to him, ‘You cannot live because you tell lies in the Name of Adonai,’ “.
The initial sorrow is followed by a move of the Lord to cleanse the actual behavior of the people. All false religion, typified here by idolatry, ceases from the land. Jewish people today, as most modern cultures, run the gamut of a smorgasbord of religious belief and practice, but,that will end. Yeshua tells us in Matthew 28:19 that the Talmidim, the Disciples, were to make disciples of all nations. The cutting edge of this instruction was that these disciples were to be taught to observe and obey everything that Yeshua had taught them. There is no faith and no discipleship without obedience. This will also be true of the Israel of the prophetic period referred to here in our present passage. There will be such adherence to Truth, specifically to God’s Truth, that people will have no patience with anything false, particularly prophecy. The Truth of the Lord and His Word will be so clear that anyone uttering anything casting a cloud over the clarity of God will suffer severe consequences, even if at the hands of those closest to him. We are aware of the many false prophets and false priests confronting the true prophets in Scripture. Still, there have been many who seek the prestige of being known as a prophet without submitting to the safeguards instructed to us by Paul, John, etcetera. No one will dare even taking the chance of deception. They will be wounded in “the house of my friends”.
In preparation for this time, the Lord sifts His people, as described in the sobering words of verses 7-9.
The shepherd will be struck and the sheep scattered. This is the sacrifice and death of the “Good Shepherd”, the prophetic Protector and Deliverer of the sheep, particularly the sheep of Israel, as we will see in chapter 14. Yeshua tells us in John 10 that the shepherd gives his life for the sheep, as opposed to the hireling to whom it is only a job. Without the Shepherd, the people are scattered and food for the wolves and other wild beasts, with a staggering loss of two thirds. The remaining third comes through the trials, calling on “My Name”, with God’s responding to them. 9”I will say, ‘They are My people. They will answer, ‘Adonai is my God.’ “
Rabbi Jeffrey A. Adler
Rabbi Jeffrey Adler is on the Board of HaShomer and also Rabbi of Sha’arey Yeshua in Indianapolis, IN.