Zechariah Summary

As we wrap up this study of Zechariah, I felt I needed to pull together the “big picture” of the book, the summary of what we have discovered along our journey.

Did I miss something?  No.

Did I need to correct something I said?  Not that I know of.

Instead, I felt like I needed closure to the book – a way to wrap up what we have been reading and studying.

While preparing this study, I read the book multiple times and had an idea of what I thought it was about.

In the Introduction to Zechariah, I offered these thoughts:

“The major messages of the book are as follows:

Restoration of the Temple (chapters 1-  8)
Coming of Messiah first. and then His Eternal Kingdom (chapters 9-14)

There are a lot of important topics and key verses in this book.  The overarching theme, however, is the nations’ desire to know the One True God.”

After journeying through the book of Zechariah, I still love the theme that I saw in the Introduction:

20 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Many peoples and the inhabitants of many cities will yet come, 21 and the inhabitants of one city will go to another and say, ‘Let us go at once to entreat the Lord and seek the Lord Almighty. I myself am going.’ 22 And many peoples and powerful nations will come to Jerusalem to seek the Lord Almighty and to entreat him.”

23 This is what the Lord Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”
(Zechariah 8:20-23 NIV)

In this journey through Zechariah, I came across this summary of the book that provides such a concise synopsis that I wanted to share it with you:

“I close with this.
The theme of Zechariah, I’ll tell you in one word, “Christ.”
He’s the theme.

In chapter 1 He is the riding one.
In chapter 2 He is the measuring one.
In chapter 3 He is the cleansing one.
In chapter 4 He’s the empowering one.
In chapter 5 He’s the judging one.
In chapter 6 He’s the crowned one.
In chapter 7 He’s the rebuking one.
In chapter 8 He’s the restoring one.
In chapter 9 He’s the kingly one.
In chapter 10 He’s the blessing one.
In chapter 11 He’s the shepherding one.
In chapter 12 He’s the returning one.
In chapter 13 He’s the smitten one.
In chapter 14 He is the reigning one.

Zechariah saw Christ.
 I hope you caught his vision.
And I hope you know the Christ he looked forward to.”
(from John MacArthur’s sermon given October 30, 1977; online transcript at https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/2171/the-day-of-the-lord)

May we see Christ and His work in us, around us, and through us.

May we know Him as the One True God and as His followers, reflect His character traits and love for others.

Blessings,
~kevin

Zechariah 14:16-21

16 Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem will go up year after year to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, and to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles. 17 If any of the peoples of the earth do not go up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord Almighty, they will have no rain. 18 If the Egyptian people do not go up and take part, they will have no rain. The Lord will bring on them the plague he inflicts on the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.19 This will be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not go up to celebrate the Festival of Tabernacles.

20 On that day holy to the Lord will be inscribed on the bells of the horses, and the cooking pots in the Lord’s house will be like the sacred bowls in front of the altar. 21 Every pot in Jerusalem and Judah will be holy to the Lord Almighty, and all who come to sacrifice will take some of the pots and cook in them. And on that day there will no longer be a Canaanite in the house of the Lord Almighty.
(Zechariah 14:16-21 NIV)

Recapping quickly, we know that God is speaking about the future, both for Zechariah and for us.  Jesus comes back to earth.  He is crowned king of the world and wins the war against the nations that have gathered together against Him.

As we step into today’s text as we end the book of Zechariah, we see the Lord describing the character and nature of the new kingdom He has established.

Verse 16 is a bit confusing at first glance, so let’s step through it.  Verse 16 begins with “Then the survivors from all the nations that have attacked Jerusalem…“.  Does this mean that God did not destroy all His enemies with the plague we studied during our last time together?  No.

Instead, God is saying that while all nations came together to fight against Him at Jerusalem, not all citizens of those countries participated in the battle.  There are many who came to Christ during the tribulation and refused to fight against the Lord.  Christ says they are survivors, and He protects them from the plague and ultimate destruction.

So how many survivors will there be?  Revelation 7:9-14 is a parallel passage, and states that there was “a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language….”.  John’s description of the survivors?  Too many to count.

So let’s continue with the second half of verse 16.  What will these survivors do?  Come to Jerusalem year after year and worship God during the Festival of the Tabernacles.

So why the Festival of the Tabernacles?  Why not celebrate Jesus’ birth into humanity or His resurrection from the dead?  Remember what the Festival of the Tabernacles commemorated: God coming to live among His people while they lived in tents in the desert (Leviticus 23:33-43).  God told His people to construct and live in temporary shelters made of branches for seven days, celebrating God’s presence with them.  When God repeats His command to observe this festival in Deuteronomy 16:13-17, He says that it is for everyone, not just the Jewish people – including the foreigners (Gentiles) living in the land.

So the celebration continues as Jesus comes back to be king of the world and dwell among His people once again.

Verses 17 – 19 say that this worship is mandatory, not optional.  Jesus is king and ruler of the world.  Today the worship of God is optional – God gives each person free choice as to whether they worship Him or not.  But in that future day, with evil banished, worship is required for all God has done for each person.

God is not picking on Egypt when He talks about the punishment for people that choose not to come to Jerusalem and worship Him.  He is simply using them as an example of what will happen if they don’t.  God promises to bring about a drought on them if they don’t come for the Festival of the Tabernacles.  God uses Egypt as an example because of the natural rain and water provision from the Nile river overflowing its banks each year.  If the people thought it would not matter that a drought came and they would have enough water for the year, they are sadly mistaken.

Verses 20-21 end the book with a vivid description of God’s holiness.  At this point in history, everything is holy to the Lord… the decorative bells on the horses, the pots and pans used for cooking meals, everything.   We often divide our lives into “secular” and “sacred”, into “common” and “holy”, but in that day, there will only be “holy”.

The phrase “Holy to the Lord” was the inscription on the front of the high priest’s turban, signifying that he was special and set apart before the Lord.  Now God is saying that everything, even common cooking pots, are just as holy as the special bowls made specifically for service to the Lord in the Temple.

Verse 21 ends with the description of the people as holy.  Again, God was not picking on the Canaanites; He is saying that the uncleanness and moral bankruptcy normally associated with the Canaanites is now gone – no person has that designation anymore.

In that day, there will only be one designation.  Everything and everyone is holy.

Remember what Ezra said about Zechariah’s ministry?  He said that the people were greatly encouraged and prospered because of Zechariah’s and Haggai’s input into their lives.

I trust this study of Zechariah’s book has been as much of an encouragement to you as it has been to me.

Blessings,
~kevin

Zechariah 14:12-15

12 This is the plague with which the Lord will strike all the nations that fought against Jerusalem: Their flesh will rot while they are still standing on their feet, their eyes will rot in their sockets, and their tongues will rot in their mouths. 13 On that day people will be stricken by the Lord with great panic. They will seize each other by the hand and attack one another. 14 Judah too will fight at Jerusalem. The wealth of all the surrounding nations will be collected—great quantities of gold and silver and clothing. 15 A similar plague will strike the horses and mules, the camels and donkeys, and all the animals in those camps.
(Zechariah 14:12-15 NIV)

Let’s do a quick review of our context.  The events we’re reading and studying are prophecy, set to take place in teh future, at the end of the world as we know it.  Judah will be surrounded and captured by a unified force of nations, and two-thirds of the Jewish people killed.  Jerusalem will be captured and half of its inhabitants exiled.

Just when it seems like life is over, Jesus shows up.  An earthquake shakes the whole world, and the land all around Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives transforms into a valley.  Jesus is crowned king of the world, and Jerusalem becomes His throne.  The city is secure, never to be overthrown again.

As we step into today’s text, the scene shifts from Jesus’ coronation and glory, to the fate of those who fought against Jerusalem.  Verse 12 says that the people who fight against God will be struck with a plague that will affect them physically.

Verse 13 says that the Lord will also strike them mentally as well as physically.  A great fear (a panic, sheer terror) will overtake them to the point that they turn on each other and start killing each other.

If we look back in Scriptures, we see God using fear and terror within an enemy’s heart to accomplish His purposes.  Judges 7:19-22 tell the story of Gideon’s victory over the Midianites.  God took an ordinary farmer named Gideon and used this man for His glory.

God told Gideon to pare down his army to a mere 300 men.  Clearly outnumbered by the Midianites, the only way Gideon and his men would win this battle was for the Lord to intervene.  God instructed Gideon and his men to carry trumpets and torches covered by clay pots.  While the Midianite army was asleep, Gideon and his men surrounded the Midianite camp.

On Gideon’s command, the soldiers threw off the pots covering their torches, raised the torches in the air, and blew the trumpets.  As you can imagine, such a commotion in the camp would create great confusion.  The Midianite soldiers, roused out of a deep sleep, grabbed their swords and rushed out of their tents.  In their confusion and terror, they turned on their fellow soldiers and started killing one another.

And God got the glory for defeating the Midianite army.

Verse 14 says that the remnant of people in Judah will fight in this battle as well.  Remember when we studied Zechariah 12:8-9?   God said that He would make even the feeblest of Jerusalem’s inhabitants like King David, the mighty warrior.  And those able-bodied warriors in Jerusalem?  They would be like angels, having supernatural abilities that would defeat any and all enemies.

And what would the result of this battle be?

Victory for the Lord and for His people.

The second half of verse 14 says that the fortunes of those enemies of God will now be given to God’s people.  In verse 1 of chapter 14, God has said that Jerusalem’s possessions would be captured by God’s enemies and the plunder divided within Jerusalem’s walls.  Now God is saying that they will get all their possessions back, plus all the gold, silver, and clothing of their enemies.  The text is clear – not just a few items, but “great quantities” of these treasures.  All the wealth of the world comes back to God, who owns it all anyway.

Lastly, the final thing to happen as part of this plague is that the animals of these enemies of God will fall under a similar plague as well.  Verse 15 says that all the animals in the enemy’s camp will be affected.  If the enemies of God had associated the fear and the plague with that particular location, they might try to run away.  But if the animals typically used for fast transportation (horses, mules, camels, and donkeys) were affected by this same plague, they were going nowhere except on foot.  And since this plague affects both their body and their eyesight, the people were not going anywhere, period.

In the end, God wins.

Hallelujah!

Until that day, may we be the light and life of Christ to the hurting and broken world around us, loving God, and loving our neighbors.

As followers of Christ, that’s why we’re here.

Blessings,
~kevin

Zechariah 14:9-11

The Lord will be king over the whole earth. On that day there will be one Lord, and his name the only name.

10 The whole land, from Geba to Rimmon, south of Jerusalem, will become like the Arabah. But Jerusalem will be raised up high from the Benjamin Gate to the site of the First Gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the royal winepresses, and will remain in its place. 11 It will be inhabited; never again will it be destroyed. Jerusalem will be secure.
(Zechariah 14:9-11 NIV)

As we saw in our last time together, the Lord gives us a glimpse into the end of the world as we know it.  The countries of the world show up at Israel’s borders and overtake the country.  After they kill two-thirds of the people there, they zero in on the city of Jerusalem, their final conquest.

God says that these enemy countries will overtake Jerusalem, then stop and count their plunder.  Just when it seems that Jerusalem is about to be wiped from the pages of history and forgotten forever, God shows up.

Jesus arrives on the scene.  As He steps out of heaven onto the Mount of Olives, the entire earth shakes with a record-breaking earthquake.  The Mount of Olives splits in two, a valley appears between the two mountains, and God leads the Jewish remnant through this newly-formed way of escape.  The earth goes dark – no sun, moon, or stars for light; at the evening, God’s glory provides the illumination for the earth.  Fresh spring water flows out of Jerusalem, both to the Mediterranean and to the Dead Sea.

As we open today’s text, we see even more changes.

First, Jesus is crowned King of the world.

Not just king of heaven.

Not just king of Israel and Judah.

Not just king of Jerusalem.

King of the whole world.

Take a moment.  Can you imagine that coronation ceremony?  It is hard to get our heads and minds around something that big and that grand.

The Lord says that on that day, there will only be one name spoken – that of Jesus.  All the other kings and rulers, all of God’s enemies will speak not of themselves or their countries or armies – only the name of Jesus.

The Apostle Paul sums up this event so well:

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
    and gave him the name that is above every name,
10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
11 and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.
(Philippians 2:9-11 NIV)

Okay, I don’t know about you, but I can stop right here at the end of verse 9.

But that’s not all.

Verse 10 says that all the earth around Jerusalem shrinks down to the level of the Arabah valley, leaving the city of Jerusalem sticking up as a high mesa.  This will be Jesus’ throne, sitting on the plateau, overlooking all the earth in every direction.

To put this in perspective, the Mount of Olives is about 2,700 feet above sea level.  The Arabah valley (at its lowest point) is 1,300 feet below sea level (at the Dead Sea).  Scientists tell us that the Arabah valley is the deepest land valley in the world.  Depending on how low the ground around Jerusalem shrinks down, Jerusalem could be as much as one-half to three-quarters of a mile higher than all the surrounding land.

Does the land around Jerusalem shrink away at the same time as the earthquake when Jesus steps onto the Mount of Olives?  Or is this a separate event that takes place when Jesus is crowned king of the world?  The text does not say.

And what happens next?  Something the world has longed for but never seen, has prayed for but never experienced.

Peace.

Jerusalem will be inhabited, never to be destroyed again.  Jerusalem will be secure.

This gives new meaning to the bumper sticker prayer, “Pray for the peace of Jerusalem”, doesn’t it?

Come, Lord Jesus, come.

Blessings,
~kevin

Zechariah 14:1-8

14 A day of the Lord is coming, Jerusalem, when your possessions will be plundered and divided up within your very walls.

I will gather all the nations to Jerusalem to fight against it; the city will be captured, the houses ransacked, and the women raped. Half of the city will go into exile, but the rest of the people will not be taken from the city. Then the Lord will go out and fight against those nations, as he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem, and the Mount of Olives will be split in two from east to west, forming a great valley, with half of the mountain moving north and half moving south. You will flee by my mountain valley, for it will extend to Azel. You will flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all the holy ones with him.

On that day there will be neither sunlight nor cold, frosty darkness. It will be a unique day—a day known only to the Lord—with no distinction between day and night. When evening comes, there will be light.

On that day living water will flow out from Jerusalem, half of it east to the Dead Sea and half of it west to the Mediterranean Sea, in summer and in winter.
(Zechariah 14:1-8 NIV)

As we look at the last few chapters of Zechariah, we remember that these are descriptions of events that are yet to happen, both for Zechariah and for us.  As we finished chapter 13 last time, we saw the Lord say that two-thirds of the Jewish people in the nation of Israel will perish; only one-third will survive and remain.

As we begin Chapter 14, we see the focus change from the nation of Israel down to the city of Jerusalem.

Verse 1 opens with the scene of Jerusalem already captured by her enemies.  The enemies have taken over the city, and have stopped to count the spoils of war and divide up the plunder.  The enemies are not passing through – this is their final destination, their crowning achievement.

“A day of the Lord” refers to a general time, not a literal day.  We might say, “in these days…”, referring to a specific period of time, such as World War 2.

Verse 2 gives the specifics of the plunder:  the city is captured, the houses ransacked for treasure and valuables, the women raped, and half the city sent into exile.

Sounds pretty grim, doesn’t it?  And notice that God gathers the nations to fight against Jerusalem.  Does that mean that God sanctions or approves of all these horrible deeds?   Not at all.  These gathered nations are pure evil – they are fighting against God himself as represented through the nation of Israel.  They take anything and everything that is of any value to them and will hurt and shame and disgrace everything and everyone else.

So where is God during this time?  Verse 3 answers that question.   At Jerusalem’s darkest hour, God shows up.  God has gathered up the nations to fight them all in one place, at one time.

Verse 4 tells us that Jesus arrives on the scene and stands on the Mount of Olives.  And when Jesus steps down out of heaven and onto earth, it creates a massive earthquake (see Revelation 16:18 for more details).

Remember that the Mount of Olives is on the east side of the city, and blocks any escape from the city because of its rugged terrain.  The enemies have surrounded the city on its north, south, and west sides; there is no escape for those remaining people.  There is one mountain and no valley to exit.

Notice what happens when Jesus sets foot on the Mount of Olives.  The one mountain formerly known as the Mout of Olives now divides into two and a valley opens up between the two mountains.  God provides a way of escape.

Verse 5 says that God will lead His people through this way of escape.  The Lord references the earthquake that happened during the reign of King Uzziah.  We don’t know much about this earthquake, other than it was notable in Judah’s history and referred to in Amos 1:1.

So the remnant of Jewish believers is trapped and pursued by its enemies, and God shows up to save the day.  Does this sound familiar?  Does it sound like God rescuing His people out of Egypt and crossing through the Red Sea (Exodus chapter 14)?  Different place, different means of salvation, but the same God.

There is a lot of conjecture about who lives and who dies in these prophetic events.  Are the Jewish people who believe and confess Jesus as Savior the ones that live, and the others who die represent the Jewish people who reject Jesus as Messiah?  Possibly, but it is not crystal clear in this or other texts, so we’ll not venture down that rabbit trail.

Verse 6 shifts again – from a time period to a single day.  When Jesus shows up, there is an earthquake of mountain-splitting proportions.  And what else happens?  The sun, moon, and stars go dark.  Isaiah 13:9-10 tells of this day; John records the same thing in Revelation 6:12-14.

Verse 7 tells us that there will be a source of light that evening.  And where will that light come from?  Is God going to restore the sun, moon, and stars?  No.  The source of light will not be a “what” but a “Whom” – it will be God’s glory manifested through His Son Jesus, lighting up the whole world.

When Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), that was not a temporary statement limited to His first time on earth.  This verse tells us that Jesus’ glory is and will be the permanent source of light and truth in all eternity.

One other supernatural event will happen when Jesus shows up on that day.  The ground in Jerusalem will crack open (likely caused by the earthquake) and fresh water will come streaming forth.  The stream of water will split and flow in two directions – one stream toward the East (flowing into the Dead Sea).  The other stream will flow toward the West into the Mediterranean Sea.  This will not be a seasonal water source, but a permanent one – through summer and winter.  Isaiah says that the desert will blossom like a flower (Isaiah 35:1-2) because of this water source.

This will be a terrible time to be alive, and at the same breath, an incredible time to witness as Jesus returns to earth the second time.

Come, Lord Jesus, Come.

Blessings,
~kevin

Zechariah 13:7-9

“Awake, sword, against my shepherd,
    against the man who is close to me!”
    declares the Lord Almighty.
“Strike the shepherd,
    and the sheep will be scattered,
    and I will turn my hand against the little ones.
In the whole land,” declares the Lord,
    “two-thirds will be struck down and perish;
    yet one-third will be left in it.
This third I will put into the fire;
    I will refine them like silver
    and test them like gold.
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 our God.’”
(Zechariah 13:7-9 NIV)

Let’s do a quick review of the last few sections to understand today’s passage.  Remember all of this is in the future, both for Zechariah and for us.  In chapter 12, starting at verse 10, the people of Israel come to the realization that Jesus, the One that their forefathers rejected, is in fact, Messiah.  Their realization is not just head knowledge; it brings about deep mourning and repentance.  And the Lord, true to His character, offers grace and mercy to His children.

Starting in Chapter 13, we see the Lord providing cleansing from sin, symbolized by a fountain (13:1).  Those who are truly repentant will be cleansed of their sins.  The redeemed, the forgiven ones, then, are markedly different from those who are still in their sins.  Verses 2 – 6 identify the remaining false prophets and idols that will be purged from Israel.  This is both objects (household idols) as well as people (fortune tellers, soothsayers, false prophets, etc.).

As we begin today’s text, we see the focus shift from the children of Israel mourning (12:10-ff) to the redemption fountain (13:1) and removal of false prophets (13:2-6) to the Redeemer, the One who will make all this possible.

Verse 7 is God Himself speaking.  He calls for the sword (death) of His Shepherd, against Messiah.  God says that this man (Messiah) is close to Him.  This phrase might be more accurately translated “against the mighty man who is my equal”.

Let’s stop for just a moment here… this is noteworthy.  God is saying that He is responsible for Messiah’s death!  In chapter 12 verses 10-14, the Jewish people thought their forefathers were responsible for Messiah’s death.  God is saying that He takes full responsibility for calling for the death of His Son.  Yes, the Jewish forefathers of Jesus’ day rejected Him, but God had the final responsibility for the death of His Son.

And what will happen when the Shepherd is killed?  The sheep (God’s people) will be scattered, even the defenseless “little ones”.

What is God saying?  Jesus quotes verse 7 in Matthew 26:31.  God is talking about persecution of those associated with Jesus.  Remember Jesus’ words to His disciples in John 15:18-25?  If Jesus’ enemies persecuted Him for no reason, they will persecute anyone associated with Jesus as well.  Jesus goes on to say that those who scatter the sheep (persecute followers of Jesus) will think they are doing a noble thing, even as they kill those who vow allegiance to Christ (John 16:2-3).

And what happened in Jesus’ day?  After Stephen was stoned to death, the followers of Jesus were persecuted and were scattered (Acts 8:1).  And what took place as these followers of Jesus fled for their lives?  They preached the Word wherever they went (Acts 8:4).  Persecution happened in Jesus’ day, and it continues today.

God fast-forwards the time reference from to Jesus’ death and the persecution of the saints to the end times as we read verses 8 – 9.  Here we see God saying that there will be a battle and two-thirds of the Jewish people of that day will be killed; only one-third will survive.  These are likely the events leading up to (and possibly including) the Great War, the final showdown between God and Satan, the Battle of Armageddon.

Jesus talked about this time of immense loss in Matthew 24.  In fact, in verse 22 of Matthew 24, Jesus said that no one will survive without God intervening.  And that is what God promises in verse 8 of today’s passage – there will be a remnant of Israel that survives.

In verse 9, God says that this remnant of Jewish believers will not only survive, but they will pass the test of faithfulness to Him.  They will be refined through fiery trials just as gold and silver are refined through the use of fire to melt the metals and remove the impurities.

And what will be the end result?  The Jewish remnant will call on God, and He will respond to them.  God will say, ‘They are my people,’ and the remnant will respond, ‘The Lord is our God.’

Dear friend, are you a follower of Christ?  If so, what is your expectation of life?  That it will be a bed of roses, and everything will be for your comfort and convenience?

Jesus promised just the opposite.

May we choose wisely and stay true to Jesus and His commands, even when it may cause us great pain and suffering.   Through persecution, God is refining us to be more like Him, just as God promises to do with the faithful remnant of Jewish believers in the end times asd we saw in today’s passage.

Lord, we don’t know when these end times will come – whether in our day or in generations to come, beyond our lifetime.  Help us to remain faithful to You, to call upon Your name when times are hard and we feel the weight of persecution against You and against us.  Refine us with Your fire, so that we can reflect Your glory and others will see You in us.  May they then declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in Him for salvation.

Blessings,
~kevin

Zechariah 13:2-6

“On that day, I will banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more,” declares the Lord Almighty. “I will remove both the prophets and the spirit of impurity from the land. And if anyone still prophesies, their father and mother, to whom they were born, will say to them, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the Lord’s name.’ Then their own parents will stab the one who prophesies.

“On that day every prophet will be ashamed of their prophetic vision. They will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive.Each will say, ‘I am not a prophet. I am a farmer; the land has been my livelihood since my youth.’ If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’
(Zechariah 13:2-6 NIV)

To set the context for today’s passage, let’s look back at the previous sections.  In Zechariah 12:10-14, we see Israel mourning their sin when they see that their forefathers killed Messiah (Jesus).  We also see God giving grace and mercy to His children during this time (12:10).  In Zechariah 13:1, we see God cleansing His children in the fountain of forgiveness made possible by Messiah’s death, burial, and resurrection.  Remember, all this is set in the future, in the end times.

Today’s passage begins with the identification of false prophets and leaders that are still present in Israel.  Remember back in Zechariah 10:2-3 that the major idols like Baal were gone, but household “good luck charms”, “prophets”, and fortune tellers were still around.

God said that He will “banish the names of the idols from the land, and they will be remembered no more” (v. 2).  This is on two levels.  One, any power associated with mere objects will be forgotten.  A wooden “good luck charm” will now be a block of wood.  Two, any person that was known for being a “prophet” or fortune teller will be forgotten as well.

With God’s cleansing of Israel’s sins, the difference between the righteous and unrighteous is abundantly clear.  For those who persist in their unrepentant state, speaking false prophecies, using God’s name to give themselves credibility, they are to be treated as blasphemers of God and put to death (Deuteronomy 13:6-10).

Notice in verse 2 – the link between the false prophets and the spirit of impurity.  All false prophets have an underlying evil spirit that is driving them forward.  God says that he will remove both.

Notice also the contrast between these evil false prophets and their underlying evil spirits versus God’s love and Spirit (12:10).  The evil spirits serve themselves and take from others, while God’s Spirit comes to comfort and offer grace and mercy to the repentant.

In verses 4-6, when the false prophets see God’s justice being administered, they deny their past or present involvement with such wickedness.  They claim to be humble farmers, simple people who herd cattle.  They also no longer wear the typical clothes of a prophet such as a hairy outer garment like Elijah wore (2 Kings 1:8).

But the evidence as to their involvement in false prophecy is overwhelming.  The cut marks on their bodies betray their past.  Remember what the false prophets of Baal did to themselves on the top of Mount Carmel?  They cut themselves so Baal would hopefully hear them and answer their prayers (1 Kings 18:25-29).

These wounds are instant giveaways, as God had expressly forbidden His children to participate in these practices (Deuteronomy 14:1).  Faced with these undeniable facts, the false prophets finally confess and admit their involvement with their “friends”, the false idols and evil spirits.

The word “friends” at the end of verse 6 is better translated “lovers”, showing the depth of relationship these false prophets had with their cultic practices and the evil spirits that controlled them.

May we renounce anything that we put on to pretend to be good “Christians”, and instead seek to live authentic lives for and with Jesus.

May we let Christ take us to His cleansing fountain that removes our sins as far as the east is from the west and be clothed in His righteousness, not the filthy rags of our own self-righteous living and deeds.

Blessings,
~kevin