Zechariah 13 (emphatically highlighted and notated by me)
“In that day [not a literal day as we have seen but a specific period of time which is certainly not parenthetical or in perpetuity] a fountain [again, not literally a fountain of water but symbolism of a great amount, easily accumulating] will be opened for the house of David [not David’s literal house] and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity. [Notice that the fountain is for sin and impurity] And it will come about in that day,” [keeping it simple we assume it’s the same day mentioned before which is not a literal day but a specific, set, period] declares the LORD of hosts, “that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land [interesting, Jesus shut up the scribes and cast out demons but “spirit” is singular; we have to keep reading]. And it will come about that 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’; [a commandment found in the law of Moses] and his father and mother who gave birth to him will pierce him through when he prophesies. [Sounds harsh but I think God must be going somewhere with this] Also it will come about in that day [same said period] that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive; but he will say, ‘I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth.’ And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’ [very interesting] Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, And against the man, My Associate,” [obviously an allusion to Christ] Declares the LORD of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd that the sheep may be scattered; [again, an obvious allusion to Jesus which we see fulfilled in Matthew, during this “day”] And I will turn My hand against the little ones. And it will come about in all the land,” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’
As a recap and reminder to those who have read my last missive and as an introduction to those who have not, we examined some of the proclamations put forth by the prophecy pundits. Let’s look at these proclamations again and possibly some others at this time. The first presupposition of the prophecy pundits we will explore is which that God has two distinct people with two distinct plans and the church is in a parenthetical period with a parenthetical plan. We must examine this presupposition because of the claim that two thirds of future Israel will be slaughtered like sheep, after the church is raptured, is based on a tiny tidbit of today’s text.
Is this presupposition found in the text or is it an imposition on the text? We certainly do see the house of David mentioned but what does that mean? Here we utilize the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics where, context is king, author’s aspirations to his audience are apex, genre is the general, expository exegesis of examples enlightens and dividing rightly the word of truth either confirms or cancels our preconceived notions and presuppositions. In order to establish any position on God’s plan and people, one must examine examples other than the text in front of us. That is, when reading Zechariah 13 on its own, nothing is said about God’s people being distinct from each other. As we search for examples in the Bible, letting the Bible interpret the Bible, we actually see that there is no distinction between Jew and Gentile other than the Messiah and the Gospel go to the Jews first and then the Jews bring the gospel to the gentiles. The Jewish people are not separate from the church but are the first fruits and fathers of the church–they, through the Holy Spirit, establish the church. This is not a presupposition imposed on the Scripture but a careful consideration of examples in the Scripture.
In Romans 9 Paul writes, “But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For they are not all Israel who are descended from Israel; neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants.” John the Baptist warned the Pharisees that simply because of their ancestor Abraham, they were not considered the people of God; “do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father;’ for I say to you, that God is able from these stones to raise up children to Abraham.” The indication is not only that the Pharisees are not sons of Abraham but that God can bring anyone he chooses into the family of Abraham.
Paul also wrote to the Galatians, “be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. And the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham.”
And to the church in Ephesus Paul wrote, “But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one, and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, in whom the whole building, being fitted together is growing into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit.”
A few more quotes from Paul; “a renewal in which there is no distinction between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised.” “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything.” “What does the Scripture say? ‘CAST OUT THE BONDWOMAN AND HER SON, FOR THE SON OF THE BONDWOMAN SHALL NOT BE AN HEIR WITH THE SON OF THE FREE WOMAN.’ So then, brethren, we are not children of a bondwoman, but of the free woman.” “But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, in order that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call upon Him; for ‘WHOEVER WILL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED.'”
What more do I have to quote to prove that God has but one distinct people with one distinct plan? Let me also nip in the bud the thought that God the Father, “Jehovah,” is the God of Israel and that therein lies the distinction– that the Jewish people belong to the father and the church belongs to the son. First, the absolute truth that no man has seen the father at any time is emphasized by John very early on in his gospel account. Also, Jesus said that if they knew the father, they would know him because he and the father were one. They wanted to kill him for saying this. Jehovah, which is almost certainly a wrong pronunciation– YHWH, the great I am, the angel of the Lord, the one who spoke to Moses and the prophets, was Jesus. That’s not a presupposition but a careful consideration of the continuing context and explicitly stated by John in the very first chapter of his gospel account. Therefore Jesus, the father and the Holy Spirit have but one people, those who have the faith of Abraham. That’s found in Romans 4, it’s not a presupposition. But God having two distinct people with two distinct plans is a presupposition and a presupposition which is easily eradicated by even a cursory reading of Paul’s epistles.
Unfortunately we hold tightly to our taught traditions and try to explain away the simplicity of the Scriptures. “There is no distinction between Jew and Greek” doesn’t mean that there is no distinction between Jew and Greek to the prophecy pundits, just like “this generation” means “that” generation in Matthew 24, or so the prophecy pundits would have us believe.
Moving on; there is an order to the gospel going forth and there is a blessing upon true Israel to preach the gospel to themselves first, then to their partial relatives known as the Samaritans and then to the nations. This is a theme found in Matthew’s gospel account where Jesus first sends his disciples, two by two, “only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Yet at the end of Matthew’s gospel account, the remaining eleven apostles are now sent to baptize the nations. It’s also a prevalent part of the book of Acts. Before Jesus ascended to the righthand of the father, he instructed the apostles in the following way: “you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Therefore while there was no longer a barrier or dividing wall between Jew and gentile, there was an order of which the gospel was to be spread. And therein lies one of the many arguments against antisemitism–you owe your faith not only to a Jewish Messiah, but Jewish apostles and missionaries.
Yet the blessing promised to true Israel also came with a curse, found in the flying scroll of Zechariah, amongst other passages. My children used to love to watch the 60’s Batman television series on DVD therefore I assume that everyone is familiar with its famous, ending tagline “…same bat time, same bat channel.” The point is that rather than have a parenthetical period with a parenthetical plan, Jesus came to true Israel with a fountain but to apostate Israel with a sword, same Messiah time, same Messiah channel. Otherwise we can make the Bible say anything we want it to say. That’s correct, we have to keep things in their context and not superimpose our preconceived notions and presuppositions onto the text. Rather we draw out the context by using a hermeneutical tool such as the CAGED method of Biblical hermeneutics, where; context is king, author’s aspirations to his audience are apex, genre is the general, expository exegesis of examples enlightens and dividing rightly the word of truth either confirms or cancels our preconceived notions and presuppositions.
Let’s look at another presupposition of the prophecy pundits; they claim that after the rapture and during a great tribulation, in which is God pouring out his wrath on two thirds of future Israel, two thirds are slaughtered but one third is saved. What’s wrong with this proclamation of the prophecy pundits? Firstly, we have already established that there has come to be but one people of God, without distinction because the apostle Paul preached it to almost every early church. Secondly, Zechariah has established that the blessing of the Messiah comes with a curse. Not at that exact second in time but within a generation. Jesus confirmed this to not only his disciples but the high priest and the other hypocrites as well.
In Matthew 21 Jesus goes on the offensive against the Pharisees. “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you build the tombs of the prophets and adorn the monuments of the righteous, and say, ‘If we had been living in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partners with them in shedding the blood of the prophets.’ Consequently you bear witness against yourselves, that you are sons of those who murdered the prophets. Fill up then the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell? Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, that upon you may fall the guilt of all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. Truly I say to you, all these things shall come upon this generation.”
Now we can consider the context of Zechariah 13, after we have examined a handful of examples without exhausting the evidence. “In that day a fountain will be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for impurity.”
Notice God has set forth the fulfillment in a specific time. While not a literal day, based on the context, it is a specific period of time. Notice that a metaphor of a fountain is used and that it is for sin and impurity. What else on this planet, in all of history, other than the blood of Jesus, is truly for sin and impurity? It certainly wasn’t the blood of bulls, sheep and goats. We have seen that the gospel goes to the House of David first, but it also comes through the House of David. The Gospel of Matthew begins thusly; “The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” Therefore we must see the cross and the gospel going forth “in that day.”
“‘And it will come about in that day,’ declares the LORD of hosts, ‘that I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, and they will no longer be remembered; and I will also remove the prophets and the unclean spirit from the land. And it will come about that 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.'”
This particular part of the passage is a less obvious allusion and is definitely more difficult to discern and digest. Nevertheless we see that it is not exactly like the fountain for sin and impurity but it is described as happening “in that day” and seems to coincide with the ministry of Jesus. It is also indicative to the fact that a single day is not in mind but that a specific period of time is. Notice that the unclean spirits are removed “in that day,” while you try to recall the number of demons Jesus cast out and the parable he told about tying up the strong man in his house. Notice that prophets are silenced and that Jesus often shut up the scribes and Sadducees. Also notice that the idols were cut off from the land “in that day.”
“Also it will come about in that day that the prophets will each be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies, and they will not put on a hairy robe in order to deceive; but he will say, ‘I am not a prophet; I am a tiller of the ground, for a man sold me as a slave in my youth.’ And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will say, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.'”
Also is an important word. In the original Hebrew, the word is a conjunction as “also” is a conjunction in English. While the original word may not exactly mean “also,” it does link these sentences to the former sentences as well as the repeated phrase, “in that day.” Clearly the Lord is describing the same time period. He is highlighting different aspects of “that day.” And “in that day” the prophets proclaim that they are not prophets but farmers. Many pastors and preachers, theologians and teachers, believe that the prophet proclaiming himself as a farmer is equal to honesty. Perhaps I am overthinking this but I see fear more than honesty. I look at the piercing from parents and wounds from friends and see fear of failure rather than honesty from a former prophet. Either way we see the rejection of false prophets “in that day.” However we have more context to consider.
“‘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 aagainst the little ones. And it will come about in all the land,’ Declares the LORD, ‘That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, “They are My people,” And they will say, “The LORD is my God.”‘”
And there it is, proof positive of a rapture rescue. Absolute proof that God has two distinct people with two distinct plans. Did you see it–right there there in the midst of the context of Zechariah. Tell me that you saw it–the parenthetical period in the middle of “that day.” Sorry for the sarcasm but I don’t see it either I see no transition from the first century to the 21st century. I see no parenthetical plan and no parenthetical people in a parenthetical period. All of these things are an imposition on the content of Zechariah 13.
As a reminder, Jesus said himself, on the night of the Passover, the night he was betrayed, the night in which he was arrested and sentenced to death, that he was fulfilling the prophecy about the sheep being scattered. Remember that we see the cross at the beginning of today’s text and that “in that day” is repeated. We’re left with only one conclusion concerning Zechariah 13, based upon the testimony and promises of Jesus–it was fulfilled in the first century exactly as Jesus said. From his life, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection, ascension to the righthand of the father, coming on the clouds of judgment to Judah and Jerusalem and the toppling of the temple in 70 AD, on the exact day he sent Babylon to topple the first temple, Zechariah points to them all.
One prominent prophecy pundit proclaimed preterism to be insane this week. I can understand her beliefs because I once held them myself. Nevertheless on this roundtable discussion, it was said to consider the context and divide rightly the prophecies in the Bible. But they don’t and I didn’t. I regurgitated that which I was taught. Unless you are learning for yourself you only know what you have been taught. Read the Bible for all its worth and please point me to the passage that promises a parenthetical period, plan and people because I can’t find it. But beyond not finding that, I have found that the Bible and Jesus are crystal clear about the judgment of the flying scroll against apostate Israel and the fountain for sin for true Israel. They came at the same time period. Zechariah prophesied it and Jesus confirmed it.
I am not a full preterist, that is, the resurrection of the dead and the abolition of death have certainly not occurred. We await the glorious return of Jesus to his world which he redeemed and bought back with his own blood. But the time of Jacob’s Trouble has long since passed. The tribulation and the final week of Daniel came and went long ago. Jesus conquered the world, sin, the devil and death on the cross. But just as sin entered the world and grew, Jesus said his kingdom would also grow. It’s slow but it is measurable. All these things become clear when we consider the continuing context of the Bible and let the Bible interpret the Bible, rather than the prophecy pundits.