Zechariah 13 – Messiahs and Meta-Prophecies, Third Edition

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Today’s PassageZechariah 13

Unsurprisingly, the prophecies continue. Today we’ve got a prophecy that Jesus himself identifies as about him, but before that we’ve got a prophecy about prophets.

To begin with, we’re still talking about the same time period as the last chapter. Three times God identifies it with the phrase “in that day” (1, 2, 4), a phrase often accompanied by “it will come about” both in this and previous chapters. Same day. I’m not sure if the events of Zechariah 12 come before those described here, or whether Zechariah intends to establish a chronology via the ordering of his revelations. After all, a lot can happen in a day, especially when that day is longer than twenty-four hours.

So, what’s going to happen in said day? First, a fountain. “In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity” (1), God declares. This is not a fountain to promote sin and impurity. This is a fountain to cleanse it. Metaphorically speaking, it’s the blood of the crucified Messiah, shed to wash away the sins of the world. Don’t take my word for it; take James Burton Coffman’s.

Second, the day in question will be a bad day to be a false prophet. How bad? This bad:

And if anyone still prophesies, then his father and mother who gave birth to him will say to him, ‘You shall not live, for you have spoken falsely in the name of the Lord’; and his father and mother who gave birth to him will pierce him through when he prophesies. (3)

It will be so bad to be a false prophet that your own parents, who gave you life, will straight up take your life back for giving bad prophecies. It’s clear we’re talking about false prophets, not simply prophets in general; if the whole parental accusation “you have spoken falsely in the name of the Lord” doesn’t give it away, it comes on the heels of God promising to wipe idols from memory and purge unclean spirits along with the prophets.

That’s what the prophecy has to say for prophets. That’s the meta-prophecy.

Finally, we have a shepherd and sheep again. If you’ve read through Matthew or Mark, particularly the events leading up to the crucifixion, you may recognize some of these lines:

“Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd,
And against the man, My Associate,”
Declares the Lord of hosts.
“Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered;
And I will turn My hand against the little ones.” (7)

It would be easy to think of the worthless and foolish shepherd from Zechariah 11:15-17 who is absolutely no good at shepherding and deserves to have a sword raised against him. But not so, says Jesus Christ! He quotes those last two “strike the Shepherd” lines to the disciples in Matthew 26:31-35 and Mark 14:27-31, identifying himself as the shepherd to be struck down. And given that Jesus Christ is absolutely not no good at shepherding, he is not the worthless shepherd from earlier in Zechariah. There are at least two different shepherds.

And that’s that chapter. We only have one chapter left in Zechariah! And tomorrow we’re going to read it!

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