Keep in mind that this chapter follows chapter eleven and must be understood in the context of eleven. It follows 11:9-14 which tells us of the glorious day of grace, the day of Christ. The prophet follows 11:9-14 with the statement, "in that day" (13:1). Therefore, he is referring back to the time spoken of previously.
V. 1. "In that day." This was a day that had been greatly anticipated for many years and by all the saints of old. Zechariah, as he encourages God's people to press ahead, speaks a lot about "that day." He knows no date, only what will take place "in that day." He does know and tell enough about "that day," that when it comes, only the blind can miss it, 1 Cor. 4:1-6.
Abraham looked for and saw "that day," John 8:56. Many prophets, kings and righteous men desired to see "that day," Mat. 13:17; Lu. 10:24. This expectation was alive and well when "that day" came, Luk. 2:25-32.
Zechariah could not be more obvious in its identification as he identifies what will take place "in that day." This is easy for us to say from this side of "that day" as we look back. From his side of "that day" this probably seemed preposterous.
Once again we are reminded that these prophets spoke in terms which they understood. These prophecies must be read and understood from their viewpoint. Zechariah saw "a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." And this is probably just what he saw.
Not until Christ came and identified Himself as this fountain did this prophecy make any sense. Most of the literalist of our day would see this as a literal fountain if they would hold true to their method of Bible interpretation. In fact, many are so committed to a literal interpretation that they would more that likely reject Christ because He did not come spouting literal water (to boarder on the sacrilegious).
Zechariah gives the outline.
1. In that day.
2. There shall be a fountain.
3. Opened to the house of David.
4. Opened to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
5. The purpose is for the cleansing of sin and the removing of uncleanness. The rest of the context would indicate this removal of uncleanness includes the cleansing of the land. We will identify this land when we get to v. 2.
We will take these points one at a time.
1. In that day.
The context both before and after this verse makes it clear the reference is to the gospel-day. This term is used many times in the OT in the context of the day of Christ. Just a few of the more obvious ones, Isa. 11:10,11, 12:1-3 (which Christ quoted, referring to Himself, as we will see in the next point); Hosea 2:16-18; Amos 9:11; Micah 4:6; and the ones here in Zechariah (2:11, 3:10, 9:16, and all of chapter 12. See our notes on chapter twelve). Christ also makes it clear that the day spoken of is His day, John 8:56.
Thus, we can identify "that day" referred to here as the period of time which started with Christ and will continue on until the Spirit of Grace no longer works among men. The context here is telling of this working.
2. There is a fountain.
Isa. 41:17,18 speaks of this fountain. Jeremiah 2:13 identifies this fountain as the Lord Jehovah. Ezekiel chapter 47 (1, 8 and 9) and Joel 3:18, also describe this fountain (see my notes in Ez.). All of these passages bear a striking resemblance to the river mentioned over in Rev. 22:2.
In addition, this fountain has a reference to the many washing that took place at the tabernacle. Barns points out the passage in Num 8:7 ("And thus shalt thou do unto them, to cleanse them: Sprinkle water of purifying upon them, and let them shave all their flesh, and let them wash their clothes, and so make themselves clean.") is "lit. the water of taking away of sin: living waters (Num. 21:17), put to the ashes of an heifer, were appointed as a "water for (removing)" defilements; a cleansing of sin."
Everything in the OT speaks of one thing, Christ and the work that He was going to do. These many rites and rituals that spoke of His work were done away with by Him on the cross, Col. 2:14, where He fulfilled them all for His people. His people continue to keep ALL of them, IN HIM. Thus, He has kept and is keeping them all for us at this very moment.
The fulfillment by Christ as this fountain could not be more obvious. Every time He had the opportunity, He said that He was this prophesied fountain of living water that takes away sin. John 4:10, 14 (where He goes on to say that the world is dying for lack of this water and we need to be busy getting it out), 7:37,38.
This passage in John seven is worth a quick look. V. 37 is the plea by Jehovah God (Jesus) for the Jews to come to the Living Water. His reference would have been to "the water of taking away of sin: living waters (see above)" which would have been obvious to the Jews who heard Him teach at the temple, v.14. Is it any wonder the priests and leaders of the Jews were so hostile against Him? Look at what He is saying as He stands here in the temple. He is saying that the sacrifice which takes place inside is no longer any good. That water no longer can be used for the taking away of sin.
To make matters even worse, there were very few places Jesus could be referring to, Isa. 12:3, 41:18, Jer. 2:13 ; Ez. 47:1, 8, 9; and Joel 3:18. The context of what Jesus says would lead us to Jer. 2:13, although the others speak of the salvation which He was offering here in the temple. By His presence at the temple when He said this, He would be referring to the law regarding the water of cleansing and the Jew's departure from God.
Let's not suppose for a moment that His hearers didn't understand exactly what He said. When He said "as the scripture hath said..," they readily identified the passages He referred to. It angered them so much they tried to take Him, v. 44.
(Because of our lack of knowledge about this extremely strong Jewish context which Christ came into, we fail to appreciate the understanding His enemies had of His claims, as well as the horrendous hostility this understanding caused. This understanding and hostility was enough to cause His enemies to plot His death and carry it out in the most horrible way they could devise.)
With JER 2:13 ("For my people have committed two evils; they have forsaken me the fountain of living waters, and hewed them out cisterns, broken cisterns, that can hold no water."), Jesus straightly told them they had forsaken God and His law for their own ways. He told them He was the only method of forgiveness of sin, He was the Living Water spoken of by Jeremiah, Isaiah and (to their utter cringe and hate) Moses.
The passage in Ez. 47 would also be extremely pointed toward Christ as He stood and cried out here at the temple. Ezekiel said many years previous to Christ, "every soul, to whom it shall come, shall live." Christ was extremely clear, there is life only in Him. His hearers would have quickly made this connection between His words and Ezekiel's prophecies.
John 7: 38 also gives the implication that the child of God will have the irresistible urge to share this Living Water, Christ, with those around them. This would be the desire to obey the command of God and go into all the world.
This fountain is also a reference to "the pierced side of Jesus Christ, spoken of just before (ch.xii. 10), for thence came there out "blood and water," and both for cleansing (M. H.)."
3. Opened to the house of David.
See our notes on the house of David in chapter twelve where we establish this as Christ and all who are in Him by faith, members of this house of David. Here in chapter thirteen, Zechariah is adding to or building on what he has previously established.
4. Opened to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
He continues to add to what was given in Chapter twelve where he identified the difference between the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
In short, he is referring to the rich and poor, the great in men's eyes and the ones who are not so great, yet they are all believers in Christ and members one with another. These are "the spiritual seed of Christ, are of the house of David, and, as living members of the church, are inhabitants of Jerusalem. Through Christ all that believe are justified, are "washed from their sins in his [own] blood," that they may be "made to our God kings and priests," Rev.i.5,6 (M.H.)."
It is extremely important that this be understood, because the rest of this chapter is built upon the fact that these people are the ones in Christ, those who are born again, no matter what nationality or race.
5. Which brings us to the fifth point, the purpose of this fountain which is opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
That purpose is for the cleansing of sin and the removing of uncleanness. The rest of the context would indicate this removal of uncleanness includes the cleansing of the land.
This is an unmistakable reference to Christ. John the Baptist said, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world, John 1:29."
Probably the clearest reference is the whole third chapter of I John, with the key verses being vs. 3-10. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.
The hold of sin is broken. The power of sin is gone. The purpose of Christ's redemptive work is to free His people from the power of sin, and to present them holy and pure to the Father, I Pet. 1:14-23.
Christ was manifested to take away the sins of His people and to destroy the works of the devil in their lives.
Another obvious reference is found in II Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. The Child of God has this cleansing work being done in him by the Holy Spirit, which is separating him from sin to God and holiness.
This is an important point for our study in Zechariah.
1. Romans 3:9-19 tells us that no person seeks after God. This would include the saved as much as the unsaved. Either the fallen nature is in total rebellion against God or it isn't. If it is, then the only hope anyone has is for God to place a desire in their heart to seek after Him.
2. As we follow this through, the Spirit of God gives the desire and the power to lay aside sin and please Him, Eph. 1:11; Phi. 2:13. It is all of HIM. Without the Spirit working, even in God's people, there would be no separation from sin.
Zec. 13:2. This brings us back to Zechariah 13 and the "I wills" in v.2. There were a great many of these in chapter 12, which 13 is built upon. In v.1, we saw the reason for the Redeemer, now we see His work in His people. This work is preformed through these "I wills."
The next point we need to identify is "the land." Where is this land? Is this, as the literalist would have us believe, the land of Canaan (physical location of Israel)?
No doubt the physical location can be included but I don't think this can be the primary understanding of this passage. There are far too many obvious facts that say otherwise. 1.) There were many false teachers from Christ's day onward. They were never completely removed from the location of Canaan. 2.) A consistent, systematic study of Scriptures will not support such a view.
Therefore, the primary understanding of this "land", must be Christ. All those who are in Him dwell in this land. If this were not true, the only hope anyone would have would be to move to the physical location of Canaan.
I am reminded of Rev. 22:14-16 and the city of God. I'm not about to place a timetable on that city, but obvious is obvious. The city is the dwelling place of the Most High God and His people. The whole world is not pure "For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."
I really know of no way to avoid what is said there. Heb. 12:22 would fit more into a time frame which we can understand. There the clear teaching is this city exists now, God dwells there now, and the redeemed who are yet alive dwell there in their spirit, Eph. 1:20-2:7.
I. As we look through the NT, there are a great many references to this location, for lack of a better term, of which these are only a few. First we will look at the position in Him, then at what is available in Him or the work that is to take place in Him.
ACT 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being;
as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his
offspring. ROM 15:12 And again, Esaias saith, There shall be
a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise to reign over the Gentiles;
in him shall the Gentiles trust.
1CO 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.
2CO 13:4 For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you.
GAL 3:17 And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
GAL 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
EPH 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:
EPH 1:10 That in the dispensation of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: 12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
EPH 2:13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.
EPH 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:
COL 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:
1TH 2:14 For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews:
HEB 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. 13 And again, I will put my trust in him. And again, Behold I and the children which God hath given me.
There are at least three obvious points in the above mentioned passages. These are not taken out of their context, thus, the meanings are clear.
1. Clearly we see that the believers position in Christ is compared to being in a location, in Him.
2. Here we see that the position in Him is not based on race but in grace.
3. Time and time again, in Christ is considered a location.
II. The second point, what is the purpose of God in Christ?
ACT 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through
his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of
ROM 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
1CO 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: 1CO 1:30 But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:
1CO 4:10 We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, but ye are strong; ye are honourable, but we are despised.
2CO 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
2CO 2:14 Now thanks be unto God, which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifest the savour of his knowledge by us in every place.
2CO 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
2CO 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.
2CO 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
GAL 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
EPH 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
EPH 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
EPH 3:11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:
PHI 2:5 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
PHI 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (Keep in mind that Paul is speaking of righteousness for salvation. He is confronting the false teachers who tried to add works to the finished work of Christ.)
COL 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
COL 2:6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:
COL 2:7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.
2TH 1:12 That the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and ye in him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ.
2TI 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,
2TI 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
2TI 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
Probably the clearest presentation for our purpose is the book of I John. We will only look at a very few verses.
1JO 2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments,
is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
1JO 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
1JO 3:5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.
1JO 3:6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.
1JO 3:24 And he that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.
Beyond any question, the purpose in Christ is that His people be purified from their sin. This is a function of the Holy Spirit.
There are a couple of points worth adding.
III. All of the promises of God are in Christ.
2CO 1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.
IV. Obviously, there are still false prophets in Christ.
GAL 2:4 And that because of false brethren unawares brought
in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in
Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage:
Maybe we should not have gone into such depth with the passages, but we wanted to show beyond any doubt, Christ fulfills the promise in Zec. 13. "In that day" speaks of the day of Christ and the day of the working of the Holy Spirit in His people.
The land of v. 2 is Him, the location is in the body of Christ. Another name could be, The kingdom of God. The work described in vs. 2-6 is the Holy Spirit working in this 'land,' to purify a people unto Himself.
This must be the Spirit of Grace at work or we have a mess. If it is not, then it must be a literal sword and war (blood and guts) which does this. (See our notes on Psa. 45, or read C.H.S. on that passage.) There is no Scriptural justification to believe that the Prince of Peace must use warfare to accomplish His plan and purpose here on this earth.
There is a tremendous amount of N.T. passages on this. Two would be, 1 Thes. 4:13 and Eph. 1:4. There are as many as we want to take the time to look up. There is no warrant to see this literally fulfilled, such as all the false prophets being removed from a physical location by physical means.
Now, what is this work that He is prophesied as doing and is doing today? With the previous chapter in mind, here is what we have.
A very important observation to make here is the "I will," showing that the work in the land (body of Christ) is wholly of Him. Remember, the major purpose of salvation as found in I Peter chapter one is to purify to Himself a people that are holy even as He is holy.
Based upon this, true conversion separates from all forms of evil. The Holy Spirit is just that, HOLY. He will see to it that His dwelling place (the body of the believer) is holy or God will chastise the believer.
The rest of this chapter in Zechariah 13 is built upon this relationship, as we are told what the Spirit will do in the believer.
I. I will cut off the names of the idols out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered.
I will cut off the names.. See Det.18:20; Ex.23:13; Jos.23:6,7; Hos.2:17.
Joshua 23 gives the clearest instruction with four points given. There are three verses given in the thought, vs. 6-8, which must be kept together if we are to understand what the Lord is saying.
JOS 23:6 Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left;
Then v. 7. That ye come not among these nations, these that remain among you;
1. neither make mention of the name of their gods,
2. nor cause to swear by them,
3. neither serve them,
4. nor bow yourselves unto them:
Then the last verse. But cleave unto the Lord your God, as ye have done unto this day.
In this we see that the Lord forbids even mentioning the names of the god's of the heathens. He forbids our talking about, studying about or learning about them. He identifies any of these actions as a turning from Him. This forbids the pursuit of the things which the world holds important.
Let's pursue an illustration.
Education is the one that comes to mind. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pursuing as education, even higher education. This is a godly pursuit if there ever was one. The problem comes from the motive behind that pursuit.
1.) Is the motive a feeling that education is the answer to our ills and problems? Is it seen as the necessary ingredient for success? Do we feel that if we want to be something in life we must be well educated? Do we feel that it will cause us to be more accepted by our peers, maybe even rise above them a little?
2.) Or do we feel that education can and will better equip us to serve and please our God? Do we see education as better equipping us to advance His kingdom work? Do we see it as making us more effective for Him in the area that He has called us into? Will education help us to better glorify Him?
If any of our answers to the question of education are in #1, we had better check ourselves with the Lord or we are not only mentioning the names of the heathen gods, but we will find ourselves serving them.
Humanist manifestos I and II.
Point "Eleventh: Man will learn to face the crises of life in terms of his knowledge of their naturalness and probability. Reasonable and manly attitudes will be fostered by education and supported be custom. Er assume that humanism will take the path of social and mental hygiene and discourage sentimental and unreal hopes and wishful thinking."
The devil's device in this area is clear. Education can and will replace the principles of God's word as the means of success. Of course, his original offer was to Eve.
Of interest here with Zech. 13:2. I think this is consistent with what Zechariah is talking about. This cutting off of the names of the false gods would be His people no longer seeking after them as their means of prosperity and success. Instead, they see (God shows them, "I will") the principles involved and, by His grace, remain true to them in the face of all the pressure which the world can place on them.
This would also include whatever the cost. In other words, if I never get any further than I am now, it doesn't matter. The only thing that matters is that I avoid the false gods of the heathen around me, and do the best with what I have been provided with be Him.
If I have a problem in this area, think of the pressure on others. My, HOW WE NEED GOD TO DO A LOT OF CUTTING OFF THE MANES OF THE IDOLS OUT OF THE LAND.
Now to continue on. What is another god? As we move on, we will see that it is anything which replaces the Lord God and obedience to His word in any way.
Keep in mind that an idol would be anything that is placed before the Lord and dependance upon Him. By dependance on Him we must mean what Joshua was told by the Lord, 1:7-9. Romans 1: 21 describes this idolatry. Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God.. Because we don't see the literal images standing around we think there is no idolatry, when nothing could be further from the truth.
This is a very sophisticated idolatry and takes on many harmless looking forms. This idolatry can be summed up as anytime one is willing to lay aside the principles of God's law-word for any other standard at all. This includes all areas of human endeavor. This idolatry is prevalent today. If it is preached against, 90% of the Christians would be offended and probably leave the church. It includes involvement in the state schools (as they are now), lack of involvement in civil government, not giving, the use of our time, lack of social involvement, in fact, anytime the law of God is not adhered to in any area.
The first thing we see is the Spirit of God giving the desire to please Him above all else. This would be the Spirit of Grace at work in the hearts of people. The indication is that this will be a general 'doing' of the Spirit, world wide in the body of Christ. I don't know history well enough to say if this has happened in the past, so offhand, I will say we are still to expect this.
As was pointed out in chapter 12, this would be a result of the pouring out of the Spirit of Grace upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, v. 10. This Spirit will show them where they have departed from His law and what that departure did to the Saviour. The result will be conviction, weeping and turning from sin. There can be no conviction and turning without the Spirit.
This started in Acts 2 and continues on in a limited way today, but these prophecies point to a coming day when the Spirit will sweep over the body of Christ with a huge awakening and turning to Him. The indication is that this awakening will not be restricted to the body of Christ, but will be world-wide. The results can be read about here in Zechariah 13 and 14 as well as many other places. Isaiah 65 and 66 would be another place this is found.
If all who profess Christ would obey Romans 1:21, the whole world would be subdued almost overnight. Obviously we are not seeing this, but we can fully expect it to take place. Paul tells us a little about this in I Cor. 15:24-28 as he quotes one of the most common prophecies of the O.T..
The Lord taught His disciples to pray, Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. This makes a nice sounding song, but it wasn't given to be a song. Maybe a song of victory for the elect to sing.
We live in a limited fulfilling of Zechariah 13. We have been called by the Spirit of the Father to the Son in accord with Zechariah 13. Our responsibility is to work at fulfilling the task we have been given by Him, in accord with that calling in His kingdom. His responsibility is to accomplish the subduing if all nations to the Lord Jesus Christ in accord with Zechariah 14:9. What a day that will be.
Things look anything but hopeful, but remember, our hope is in the Spirit of Grace. Will we see that day? Probably not, but we are to work toward it.
II. Now he starts down the list of works which the Spirit of Grace is going to accomplish in this 'land.'
And also I will cause the prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land. The cross reverence here is II Pet. 2:1. It is a good one which cannot be improved on. But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. We will look at this further on.
The Lord did not say here in Zech. 13 that there would be no more false prophets, but that He would cause them to pass out of the land. We see in II Peter this is exactly what He does, as they bring upon themselves swift destruction.
Let's look at the prophets which He will cause to pass out of the land.
False prophets have always abounded, every since there has been a word from God. The first one showed up in the garden with the original lie, You won't surely die. He has had his followers present every time God has spoken to man. Typical of their message is found in Zephaniah 1:12 And it shall come to pass at that time, that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The LORD will not do good, neither will he do evil.
In other words, God's law-word says this about that. The false prophet comes along and says, It doesn't really matter, God won't do anything if you don't do it His way. Or even the feeling that they might be the exception to the rule. "God's word says this about that but it won't happen to me."
The false prophet takes on many different sounding forms, but the one basic theme which identifies him is his message which justifies in any way, the lack of obedience to the law-word of God and the claiming of all things for His glory.
Moses warned the covenant people of this prophet in Deuteronomy
13:1-11, also giving the required punishment against him, death.
The reason the Lord permitted the false prophet to rase up and
even show signs and wonders, was to prove His people. Would those
who claimed to love Him obey His word over the beautiful words
and miraculous signs of the false prophet? We have experienced
this, even in our own lives. Men with tremendous personalties,
winning over people to follow them contrary to the word of God.
Throughout Biblical history, this has been the offer. We can open the Scripture anywhere and find God's man speaking and the false prophet saying, Don't worry, be happy. That preacher is an alarmist.
God Himself came in the form of a man with the warning for Israel to turn to her God. He told them if they didn't turn, there was a horrible destruction in store for them like the world had never seen. Almost all of Matthew chapter 24 gives this warning. They refused the warning and killed the messenger.
In that passage in Matthew, He warns of the proliferation of the false prophets who would tell everyone that everything was alright when destruction was at hand. Zechariah foretells the destruction of these prophets, among other things.
The N.T. authors warn of the false prophets many times. One such warning in found in I Peter 2:1 -. We will come back to this.
The Lord's words come to pass in the days of the 'holy city.' The city of Jerusalem had many false prophets in it who tried to convince the multitudes that Rome would not take the city. Josephus gives a very vivid account of their deception. "A false prophet was the occasion of these people's destruction, who had made a public proclamation in the city that very day, that God commanded them to get up upon the temple, and that there they should receive miraculous signs of their deliverance. Now, there was then a great number of false prophets suborned by the tyrants to impose upon the people, who denounced this to them, that they should wait for deliverance from God : and this was in order to keep them from deserting, and that the;y might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes (Wars, B. VI, ch. V, 2)."
Josephus goes on to tell of the horrible destruction which resulted from the people listening to these false prophets. God cut them off alright, and around three million others with them when Rome took the city (Josephus. B. VI. ch.x. 4, notes).
Even in this destruction, Rome sure didn't destroy the false prophets forever. Referring back to I Peter, even though Peter wrote before the destruction, he looks ahead all the way to the end of the age. We can rest assured that as long as there is a word from God, there will be the false prophets who will say, "Don't worry, be happy. Even though you are not obeying His laws, He doesn't really mind. After all, isn't that why Christ died, to free us from the law?" It is the same offer that was made in the garden. (We won't get into this at this time.) God warned us of such wicked teaching.
Now the obvious question. If the false teachers (prophets) are still all around (which they obviously are), how is Zechariah's prophecies fulfilled? How will He cause the (false) prophet to pass out of the land?
Based on the fact that the land is the kingdom of God, here is what we have.
1. The word of God exposes them. Their message does not line up with the O.T. law and prophets. Thus, if God's people are caught by them, they have no one to blame but themselves, 2 Cor. 2:11.
2. As we see in 2 Peter, they bring upon themselves swift destruction. God will catch up with them when His time is right. And let's remember, His time is not our time.
3. With the completing of the N.T., there are no more prophets in the since of foretelling the future. John was the last, and he finishes his last book with, For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. Rev. 22:19,20.
God stopped this gift of prophecy. Prophecy had several purposes. Peter defines one purpose, 1PE 1:10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: Its purpose here was to foretell of the salvation and grace to come in Jesus Christ.
Another purpose was to confirm that the new message of salvation and grace had come in Jesus Christ, Mark 16:20; 1 Cor. 14:22. When the purpose was completed, the supernatural gift ceased. The childish toys are to be put away, 1 Cor. 13:10,11. (See our little booklet, Tongues, a Biblical View.)
Peter says it this way. 2 Pet. 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:
Therefore, we have two points here. The supernatural prophecy was cut off by God when His purpose was accomplished. Second, His covenant people are to separate (cut off) from all who would claim to have anything like this. Now the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy, Rev. 19:10
4. Another way He causes the false prophet to pass out of the land is found in Phi. 3:15. The spirit of truth reveals to them where they are in error according to His word, from His word. This leads into Zec. 13:3-5. This is what He did for me. And we will point out that His Spirit is the only One who can do this.
Why does He see fit to only do this for certain people? Only He can answer this. All we know is that He does what He does for His glory.
5. The main method He uses to causes both the false prophet and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land is by conversion. This leads into the next three verses, 3, 4 and 5. We will deal with this much more as we move on.
Now we move on to the unclean spirits. How are Zechariah's words fulfilled in this?
First, and most obvious, is the Lord Himself. As He traveled the land, the unclean spirits fled from before Him, Mk. 1:26, 3:11, 5:2, 7:25; Lk. 4:36, 6:18, 8:29, 9:42 and etc.. Then the book of Acts records the same kind of power and authority over unclean spirits, 5:16, 8:.
Another way this can go is found in LUK 11:24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. (Mat.12:43. See also Mk. 5:8; Lk. 8:29; Rev. 16:13, 18:2.)
The context of Lk. 11:24 must be considered. The passage in Mat. 12 is close, but Luke is obvious.
The context starts in v. 14 where the Lord is casting out a devil. After the devil was gone, His enemies accused Him of using the power of the devil to cast out this devil. He tells them that no kingdom can stand if it is divided against itself, with the obvious reference that the Satan's kingdom could not stand if he cast out other devils.
LUK 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you. With this He clearly tells them that what they just witnessed was God at work in their midst. He goes on to say that no matter how strong a man is, when a stronger comes along, he is spoiled. Again, the obvious reference is to Himself being stronger than Satan, therefore, spoiling Satan's kingdom.
LUK 11:23 He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. This is right in the middle of this exchange. Then He goes on to v. 24 When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walketh through dry places, seeking rest; and finding none, he saith, I will return unto my house whence I came out. The context must be observed on to v. 26.
What is the Lord telling us here? His words go right along with what Zechariah said in 13:2, I will cause the (false) prophets and the unclean spirit to pass out of the land.
In other words, when a person trusts Christ and is saved, the Spirit of God causes the unclean spirits to leave (pass out of the land). As long as that person stays "with him (v.23)," the unclean spirits are removed and remain gone. But, as that person departs from the Lord, the unclean spirit reenters with friends, and "the last state of that man is worse than the first."
Thus, the clear teaching here is that any area which is not submitted to and controlled by the Word of God is controlled by Satan. This is true in the individual or in society in general. This is the teaching here in the TO and all through the New.
James tells us this very thing as he says, But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves, 2:19.
Keep in mind that the land is the kingdom of God. See above. In this land the parents obey the Law of God.
We already referred to Deut. 13:1-11 which this verse three is referring to. There God calls for death to anyone, family member included, who might try to influence a covenant member away from the law-word of God. Moses is very explicit that any attempt to influence away from the LAW of God is to be met with death.
Quite obviously, this is not carried out among the covenant people today, so how can this cutting off by his father and his mother take place?
Matthew 10:34-39 gives the answer. The gospel of Christ separates families, friends and loved ones. 2 John 10 confirms this. When anyone comes to us with any message other than the message of Christ, they are to be "cut off." It is this willingness to separate from those who would try to hinder our obedience to the Lord and His word, that proves our love to Christ.
This false message includes far more than just a denial of His finished work. The passage in Deut. is speaking of any influence to depart from the LAW of God as revealed to Moses.
This would also fit in with Paul's warning found in Phi. 3:2 (notice the false prophets there are not bad men, as we think of bad. It was their message which made them wicked men. See our notes there in Philippians), Galatians one and the many other places where he covers this. One of his strongest statements on this is found in 2 Corinthians chapter 11. Clearly, this cutting off is REQUIRED in the N.T. and the personal relationship (emotional attachment) can not have any influence that might hinder this cutting off.