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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 13

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-9


1. The cleansing (Zechariah 13:1 )

2. The blessed results of the cleansing (Zechariah 13:2-6 )

3. The smitten Shepherd (Zechariah 13:7 )

4. Salvation and condemnation (Zechariah 13:8-9 )

Zechariah 13:1 . This verse is misplaced; it belongs to the preceding chapter. It is a prophecy of the cleansing of the repenting portion of God’s earthly people. The fountain of cleansing, so beautifully expressed by Cowper:

There is a fountain filled with blood, Drawn from Immanuel’s veins, And sinners plunged beneath that flood, Lose all their guilty stains--

was in existence through all the centuries of Israel’s long dispersion. But the nation in blindness did not believe. Now all is changed. Their guilt is pardoned; all unrighteousness and iniquity is taken away. The Redeemer has come and turned away ungodliness from Jacob Romans 11:26-36 . The prophetic Word is filled with promises concerning this future cleansing of the remnant of the nation Psalms 103:1-22 ; Isaiah 33:24 ; Ezekiel 39:29 ; Isaiah 59:20-21 ; Isaiah 45:19 .

Zechariah 13:2-6 . The cleansing is followed by the cutting off of the names of the idols, so that they will no longer be remembered. The false prophets and the unclean spirits, which had control during the great tribulation will be cast out and forever pass away. We have seen before in the 10th chapter that Israel will return to idolatry in the last days. The unclean spirit of idolatry which was cast out will at last return with seven others and will find the house empty, swept, and garnished. And the evil spirit, with the seven others more evil than himself, will enter in and dwell there, so that the last state of Israel becometh worse than the first. This will happen to this evil generation. This section of the 13th chapter makes it very clear that when the fountain is opened against sin and uncleanness, that idols will have been in the land, and false prophets prophesy there immediately before the manifestation of the Lord from heaven; for how could the names of the idols be cut off from the land if there were none there? Palestine may well be put down now as the great centre of false worship. Greek and Latin crosses are seen on all sides in Jerusalem and other places, while saints, holy houses, and places are worshipped and adored.

On the spot where the LORD’S house stood, there stands today the mosque of the false prophet. All is idolatry. Of course when the Lord returns these false temples will be destroyed, and the Greek and Latin idolatries, as well as Islam, will forever pass out of existence. There will be a purging of the land from these abominations. This may be included in the prophecy here. Still, it is the people of Israel who are especially concerned in the prophecy before us. The land has often been the scene of idol worship, and the people engaged in that which Jehovah despises. It will be so again, only in a much worse form, when false prophets who are inspired by the unclean spirit and demons themselves will be their guides.

We must look to Revelation for a key. It is well known to all students of the prophetic word that all which comes after the third chapter in the last book of the Bible is future still. We are yet in the things which are present. When the Lord has taken the Church to Himself then the great visions, tribulations, wrath, and judgment will be fulfilled. Aside from the scenes in heaven we learn from Revelation the events in the earth during the great tribulation which ends with the wrath from heaven. Now in the 9th chapter and the 20th verse of Revelation .(Revelation 9:20 ) we read, And the rest of mankind which were not killed with these plagues repented not of the works of their hands that they should not worship demons and the idols of gold, and of silver, and of brass, and of stone, and of wood, which can neither see nor hear nor walk.

Who is the person mentioned in verse six (Zechariah 13:6 )? In Studies in Zechariah we speak of this man as representing the counterfeit Christ, imitating the true Christ. But after more careful consideration we have come to the conclusion that this view is untenable. It is Christ Himself. He is here contrasted with the false prophets. It is the Pierced One. After they look upon Him they will inquire about those wounds in His hands and He will answer them, revealing the story of His rejection. This leads to the prophecy in the next verse.

Zechariah 13:7 . This certainly is Christ, whose rejection, more than His rejection by His own, is here revealed. It is the same as in Isaiah 53:1-12 , the suffering One, who is a man, and called My Fellow, the fellow of Jehovah of Hosts, Jehovah Himself, who speaks here, and what does He speak? The sword is to work against His Shepherd and against His own Fellow. The blessed mystery of the atonement is thus brought out. Indeed it is the heart of the Gospel here. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on Him should not perish but have life eternal.” The Lord laid on Him the iniquity of us all. It speaks of Him, the forsaken One, the Son of God, forsaken in the hour of His agony, the sword upon Him and against Him. In the New Testament we find the passage quoted in the Gospel of Matthew 2:0 6th chapter and 31st verse (Matthew 26:31 ): “Then saith Jesus unto them, all ye shall be offended because of Me this night; for it is written, I will smite the Shepherd and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”

Zechariah 13:8-9 . There is a very misleading idea among many students of prophecy as if the statement of Romans 1:26 , “all Israel shall be saved,” meant that all the Jews will receive the blessing and the glory on that coming day of salvation. Some of the evil systems, like the Russell cult (International Bible Student Association), go so far as to teach that there will be a resurrection of all the ungodly Jews of past generations for a second chance. This passage silences these unscriptural theories. The promise of restoration and glory belongs to the godly, the believing and repenting remnant. The mass of Jews, who call themselves “Reform Jews,” who in reality are infidels, because they deny the Word of God and have completely discarded the faith in a coming Messiah, will be cut off. The third part (the remnant) only will be saved.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Zechariah 13". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/zechariah-13.html. 1913-1922.
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