Zechariah Chapter 13: Holy Remnant, End Times

Jun 3rd, 2009 | By | Category: Psalm 83 and Gog & Magog, Verse by Verse --Studies led by Br. Frank Shallieu (Click on Book name), Zechariah

Zechariah Chapter 13

Zech. 13:1 In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness.

A fountain of grace, mercy, and truth for sin and uncleanness will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. The time setting is when Jesus’ merit is applied for the world and the Kingdom is inaugurated—and then continuing throughout the Kingdom.

Zech. 13:2 And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the LORD of hosts, that I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered: and also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.

Zech. 13:3 And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth.

The cutting off of idols and causing the “unclean spirit to pass out of the land” will occur all through the Kingdom as generations come forth from the tomb. First, the current religious leadership will be removed and replaced. Only pure doctrines will be allowed when the Kingdom is established. As others come out of the tomb, they will be instructed in truth and righteousness. If the former religious leaders and false prophets try to retain their previous roles, they will be put to death. As under the Old Law Covenant, their nearest earthly kin will have to “throw the first stone,” as it were. Others will then assist in the punishment.

“Cut off the names of the idols out of the land.” Not only will literal idols be prohibited, but even the desire for idols must be removed from the people’s hearts. The same principle applies to Christendom’s leaders: popes, cardinals, etc. They will emerge from the tomb with the same aspirations but will have to lose them in order to get life.

Comment: In the Kingdom one might go into Adamic death again and be brought forth. For instance, if this situation were a first offense, the parents would be tested in their obedience to the Lord’s commandments in seeing that punishment takes place. Subsequently, if the Lord saw fit, the son or daughter might be resuscitated again with another opportunity.

Reply: The parents would have to show their attitude but not necessarily have to literally kill with a sword, for example. In other words, the parents would at least have to give token consent that they agree with God’s will as expressed under Messiah. Along another line, the Mosaic Law required the exposure of a false prophet lest the one hearing also incur responsibility and guilt.

Generally speaking, each individual will have a 100-year trial to make a real change in his or her life. However, some recalcitrant, incorrigible individuals will not get a full 100 years. The test is to truly love God with all one’s heart, mind, soul, and strength—and not just to obey out of prudence. To obey merely to avoid death is not the proper motive. The test at the end of the Millennium will manifest this distinction.

Comment: If such a strong test is needed for life on the human plane, then the same spirit must operate among the Spirit-begotten ones now. A stand for truth and righteousness must be taken now, when necessary.

Reply: Yes. See Luke 14:26,27. “If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.” We must love God more than any earthly relative and more than our own life if we would be Jesus’ disciple. That is the divine standard for all who get life in this age, Little Flock or Great Company. And perfect love is the standard for the next age too—perfect love for God. The difference is that conditions in the Kingdom will be favorable to obedience and the attainment of life, whereas now we have obstacles.

Comment: The fountain in verse 1, being one of mercy, forgiveness, grace, and truth, shows that every opportunity for life will be given. But if the opportunities are not used properly, then the judgment comes.

Reply: Yes. The period of time for cleansing will start with the fountain being opened. Each  individual who comes forth from the tomb will have to partake of the fountain in order to be forgiven.

To love our brethren and lay down our life for them does not mean that we agree with them or that we should console them in wrong conduct. We are to think of their long-term interest rather than their short-term friendship. To be too loving and forgiving is the easier  way, but it does not help the sinner. For us to take a stand or to admonish another causes a problem unless the errant one recognizes that we are right. The rebuke of a friend far surpasses the consolation of seven others; the seven merely confirm the sinner in his wrong way (Prov. 27:5,6). Long-term interest is more important than short-term pleasure and fellowship. Jesus laid down his life for the brethren, and so did the prophets. The prophets were stoned—and yet they had the interests of the people in their hearts. The true prophets had God’s approval and the people’s disfavor. On the other hand, the false prophets prophesied “smooth things” and were well liked; they tickled the ears of their listeners. Love should not be an emotional judgment but should be based on God’s Word and principles. We are to have God-like love—and if we do, we will be misunderstood. The minority view is usually more correct, especially today, as the end of the age closes in. The world forgives adulterers, homosexuals, etc., and that very attitude is creeping into our midst. That attitude can even be Satanic, but under the guise of love. 1 Corinthians 13 does not describe all the facets of love.

Comment: Verse 3 says “when any shall yet prophesy,” and the context is negative, yet Joel 2:28 says that prophesying in a good sense will take place in the Kingdom.

Reply: Yes, that verse in Joel 2 speaks of a happy, proper prophesying in harmony with Kingdom teaching. An example of proper prophesying in the Gospel Age is when Simeon held up the babe Jesus and prophesied of him as Messiah, yet Simeon was not a regular prophet. At the end of the Kingdom, Satan will have sympathizers in the Little Season who will promote his message. That will be wrong, false prophesying.

Zech. 13:4 And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive:

Zech. 13:5 But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.

The previous false prophets who come forth from the tomb and properly react by repenting and obeying will be ashamed of their past and the exposure of their false deeds. In other words, of the class of false prophets in the present life, there will be two different reactions in the Kingdom: verses 2 and 3 show the incorrigible false prophets, and verses 4 and 5 show the repentant prophets, who will get life. In the next age the repentant prophets will not again wear a prophet’s garment. In Old Testament times some wore rough garments to appear like Elijah. The counterpart in the Gospel Age is rich priestly robes. The papal hierarchy believes we are in the Kingdom now, but it is the false Millennium with glory garments.

Comment: The repentant false prophet’s saying “I am no prophet” shows he will give up his pretensions.

Reply: Yes, this confession shows humiliation. Such will be ashamed and express their shame, confessing their former misdeeds and pretensions. They will not remain silent. They will say they are just ordinary people, and not religiously superior.

Zech. 13:6 And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

The time setting or posture already taken continues—that verse 6 takes place not initially when the Kingdom starts but during the Kingdom Age. However, this verse is not saying that someone will speak to the false prophets. Verse 5 shows that rightly exercised false prophets will admit they are ordinary people and will unabashedly confess their sin. But there is another situation. What will happen when those who lived before Christ come forth from the tomb and find a crucified Messiah? Such individuals, being puzzled to learn that Messiah died, will ask “Why?” Therefore, verse 6 should be disconnected from verse 5. As each person comes forth from the tomb, he will need to be told not only why it was necessary for Jesus to die but why he had to die by crucifixion.

Zechariah 12:10 says that God will pour the spirit of grace and supplications on the Holy Remnant and the Ancient Worthies. The reference is back to when Joseph forgave his brethren who had betrayed him. As prime minister of Egypt, Joseph was gracious to them, but when he said, “I am Joseph,” they were startled and very afraid. Seeing God’s hand in the matter, Joseph replied, “God overruled what you did for good. I can now be a blessing to you that was not possible otherwise.” And so those who come forth from the tomb in the Kingdom will be given an explanation of the permission of evil.

Just as Joseph’s brethren betrayed him, so Israel betrayed Jesus. The nation “received him not” and crucified him (John 1:11). Jesus “was wounded in the house of … [his] friends.”

Verse 7 is related, for it definitely applies to Jesus, but the perspective changes. Verses 1–6 refer to the opening of the fountain and afterward in the Kingdom. Verses 7–9 apply to the Gospel Age up through the deliverance of the Holy Remnant.

Zech. 13:7 Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.

Verse 7 is a prophecy that the coming Messiah would be crucified with a “sword,” that the Gospel Age would be initiated with the Crucifixion. Jehovah says, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd [Jesus], and against the man that is my fellow [my associate].” Jesus would be on the right hand of the Father; that is, he would be an associate of the Father in the highest sense of the word. All three terms refer to Jesus: “shepherd,” “man,” and “fellow” (associate). He is the Shepherd God selected to care for the sheep. Jesus came to give his life—that was part of God’s plan.

Jesus quoted part of this verse as he and the apostles left for the Mount of Olives after the Last Supper. “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” (Matt. 26:31).

Zech. 13:8 And it shall come to pass, that in all the land, saith the LORD, two parts therein shall be cut off and die; but the third shall be left therein.

This verse goes to the end of the Gospel Age. “Two parts [Little Flock and Great Company] … shall be cut off [out of the land] and die; but the third [Israel, the Holy Remnant] shall be left therein.” God’s purpose down through the Gospel Age was to develop the Little Flock and the Great Company, but they are quickly passed over here, and the account concentrates on the third part at the very end of the age.

Zech. 13:9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, The LORD is my God.

God “will bring the third part through the fire” and “refine them” and “try them” so that they will call on Him and say, “The LORD is my God.” The purgation will start with Jacob’s Trouble, which will bring Israel to Jehovah, their God. But then, in the next phase, they will be converted to Jesus. They will recognize him as Messiah. The silver and the gold (the righteous element) will remain, but the dross (the Jews who are not marked to survive and escape, that is, the majority) will be removed. When the Holy Remnant see Messiah and the Crucifixion in vision, they will mourn for him. That event will introduce the Kingdom Age.

The refining process will be like going through a wringer; it will be marked by severe tribulation and an intense emotional experience. The revealment to the Holy Remnant of the identity of the true Messiah will be the real crusher.

A message in the near future to Israel will encourage them to search the Old Testament, which they are not doing now. God will use both the Little Flock and the Great Company to give messages and ignite the spark of interest in the Hebrew Scriptures. Of the two classes, the Great Company will be more successful later, after the Little Flock is off the scene. The foolish virgins will give the message when they get the oil.

Q: What does the end of verse 7 mean? “I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.”

A: It is a ministry of suffering for the Christian. The most holy class of Israel was anointed in AD 33, the midst of the week, when God turned His attention to Christian Jews. Then in AD 36 He recognized all Christians, both Jew and Gentile.

Comment (from former study): The turning of the hand upon “the little ones” refers to the Little Flock. How does God do this? With favor and yet with judgment. Isaiah 1:25 expresses the principle: “And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin.” The turning of the hand is the hand of discipline that purges away the dross and the tin, refining us so that the good remains. When Jesus was taken off the scene, God dealt with the Church, but He did not pamper them. Many Christians have died violent and suffering deaths. The turning of the hand has been favorable; it is designed to discipline the consecrated so that they can be victorious like Christ—and be saviors with the Savior (Obadiah 21).

The Zechariah prophecy, especially Chapters 12–14, will be the most meaningful to Israel before the revealment of Messiah. The Jews, particularly the right-hearted, will study about the last days.

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