Devotional Commentary on Zechariah 13


Again in this chapter, one is going to find Christ remembering what He said Himself to Zechariah and some of it applies to Himself and thus, He just took from the shelf what He placed there anyway.

“On that day, a spring shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for purification and for sprinkling” (verse 1). Naaman in the Old Testament had to baptize himself in the Jordan seven times, not just sprinkling, in order to properly get rid of the uncleanliness of leprosy. An excellent sermon on this is that of C. D. Brooks online at Delitzsch emphasize sprinkling a lot but also talked about the baptism of Christ. Delitzsch did not say, but Christ was immersed from head to toe. It is the method of the New Testament baptism. Sprinkling has not place for baptism in the Bible but the Lutheran Delitzsch somehow cling to sprinkling for baptism (Delitzsch 1884: 392).

One cannot clean the hands by pretending it is washed or by dropping here and there a drop of water. It has to be immersed.

Ellen White and Delitzsch agree with the salvation by Christ event here in His death and blood that cleanses us from sin.

Said Delitzsch: “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin [1 John i.7; compare v. 6]” (Delitzsch 1884: 392).

Said Ellen White cited by Phillip Samaan in his Sabbath School Quarterly of 1989 on this verse: “When the soldier pierced the side of Jesus as He hung upon the cross, there came out two distinct streams, one of blood, the other of water. The blood was to wash away the sins of those who should believe in His name, and the water was to represent that living water which is obtained from Jesus to give life to the believer.” Ellen White in Early Writings, p. 209.

On the cross in 31 CE was cut off the names of all idols and Satan included “I will cut off the names of the idols from the earth” (verse 2). Satan had no more access to heaven from that moment. A command is given that they shall no longer be mentioned [in the heavenly spheres].

Prophecy and the spirit of contamination Christ promises to later in the eschaton completely destroy “I will remove from the earth”. The fulfillment of verse 1 and 2 should be seen as starting with the cross event in 31 CE and extending to the Hell event with the final extermination of all evil.

What verse 1 is saying is that with Christ as essence of the Kingdom of Hope established on the cross, with the Warrior Messiah as essence of the Kingdom of Glory evil will be eradicated. That is why the verse is using absolute terms: “and they shall no longer be mentioned” (verse 2).

Ellen White and Delitzsch had both probably the same in mind.

That the whole period is involved here between 31 CE and the Hell event is from verse 3 very clear. Prophecy was to stop and if someone is prophesying his parents would kill him. Christ was not the last prophet since John wrote Revelation in 97 CE long after Christ. But then again, John was not prophesying but writing a book with data handed to him by Christ. Ellen White was a prophet. The idea of Delitzsch that prophecy was to stop with John the Baptist and the hairy garments no longer used as was used by Elijah, is maybe not correct.

In verse 4 it is said that prophets will be ashamed on that day and they will not wear hairy mantles “in order to lie”. It is probable that in the days before Christ many false prophets wore hairy garments and claim prophetic powers but the Lord did not inspire them.

Does this mean that when they forsake wearing hairy garments but they are prophets that they claim to be farmers (like Amos)? (verse 5).

“And one will say to him: ‘What are these wounds between your hands?’ And he shall say, ‘That I was smitten, the house, from my friends’” (verse 6).

The syntax is very cryptic since there is not a preposition before the “house” and the preposition “from” = /m/ before “friends” is a must.

The relative pronoun “that” at the head of the phrase is also noteworthy.

Who is the person speaking in verse 6? Phillip Samaan wants to see it as Christ. Here is his full explanation in 1989:

“’In its context the question concerning these wounds seems to be addressed to the converted false prophet (Zech. 13:5, 6). Some interpreters have applied this text to Christ as predictive of His scourging and wounds received at the hands of those who should have been His friends (see Matt. 27:26; Mark 14:65; 15:15; Luke 22:63; John 19:1, 17, 18). This must be done by secondary application or by making a break after Zech. 13:5 and by connecting v. 6 with v. 7, which is clearly predictive of Christ (Matt. 26:31).’—SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 4, p. 1115. Zechariah 13:6 seems to begin a new thought: the wounding of the Messiah. Verses 6 and 7 seem to belong together. The piercing of His side (12:10) and the opening of the fountain (13:1) lead logically to the subsequent question, ‘What are these wounds in thine hands?’ (13:6).”

In verse 7 we have a Messianic prophecy.

A great persecution was predicted by Daniel 7 against the saints of the Most High for a period of 1260 years. The Shepherd function of the true spiritual leaders were cut off by the sword of the Catholic Church between 538-1798 since only Catholicism was tolerated as religion. Two thirds died in the persecution but one third would be melted in fire of tribulation but their faith would be refined. This part of the remnant remaining “will call upon My name and I will answer it”.

Delitzsch also felt that the shepherd of Yahweh “cannot of course be a bad shepherd, who is displeasing to Jehovah, and destroys the flock, or the foolish shepherd mentioned in ch. xi. 15-17, as Grotius, Umbr[eit], Ebrard, Ewald, Hitzig, and others suppose; for the expression “man who is my nearest one” implies much more than unity or community of vocation, or that he had to feed the flock like Jehovah”.

Christ applied Zechariah 13:7 to Himself.

Phillip Samaan said in his Sabbath School Quarterly pages 87-88:

“Christ personally applied the prophecy of Zechariah 13:7 to Himself (Matt. 26:31; Mark 14:27). The scars will remain. ‘They will again behold that face, bright as the noonday sun, and will seek to flee from before it. Instead of that shout of brutal triumph, they will wail because of Him. ‘Jesus will present His hands with the marks of His crucifixion. The marks of this cruelty He will ever bear. Every print of the nails will tell the story of man's wonderful redemption and the dear price by which it was purchased. The very men who thrust the spear into the side of the Lord of life will behold the print of the spear and lament with deep anguish the part which they acted in marring His body.’” Ellen White in Early Writings, p. 179.

"Even the manner of His death had been shadowed forth. . . . “‘One shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’ “ Ellen White in The Acts of the Apostles, p. 226.

Does that mean the Catholic Church persecution application falls apart supra? No. The text is in two parts: the one with wounds and the persecution of the three parts. The wounded One is Christ. The sword against the three parts is the remnant church later.

Ellen White and Delitzsch again agreed here in Zechariah 13:7 because Delitzsch also said: “

“The idea of nearest one (or fellow) involves not only similarity in vocation, but community of physical or spiritual descent, according to which he whom God calls His neighbor cannot be a mere man, but can only be one who participates in the divine nature, or is essentially divine. The shepherd of Jehovah, whom the sword is to smite, is therefore no other than the Messiah, who is also identified with Jehovah in ch. xii. 10; or the good shepherd, who says of Himself, ‘I and my Father are one’ (John x. 30)” (Delitzsch 1884: 397).

“Smite the Shepherd [Christ] and the flock [remnant] shall scatter” (verse 7). It is not only the disciples of Christ that will like autumn leaves scatter in the wind of the tragedy of His death. It is the Christian church that will be persecuted in this event trying to cling to His [smitten and pierced Good Shepherd] doctrines, His hope of return, His lifestyle, His Torah [Old and New Testaments].

“And I will return My hand upon the little ones”. The remnant or flock will be taken care of. It is not the whole flock but just a part of it (Delitzsch) and Delitzsch cited Kliefoth who said that “the assertion that the flock is to be scattered, but that God will bring back His hand to the small ones, evidently implies that the small ones are included as one portion of the entire flock for which God will prepare a different fate from that of the larger whole which is about to be dispersed” (Delitzsch 1884: 399).

The fulfillment of the scattering may sound as if it is just the disciples in Matthew 26:31-32 and Mark 14:27 after the Institution of the Lord’s Supper when Christ referred to this verse saying: “I will smite the Shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad. But after I am risen again, I will go before you into Galilee”. Christ is the Shepherd and He will smite Himself! The disciples will be scattered but He will appear to them again.

Delitzsch also had in mind the persecutions later. Of course he lined up the persecutions under Vespasian and Titus and the further one in the suppression of the rebellion led by pseudo-Messiah Bar Cochba. He does not restrict it here but added that “but was continued in the persecutions…with fire and sword in the following centuries” (Delitzsch 1884: 400). Now Delitzsch and I are closer with interpretation here. It is from the time of the death of the True Shepherd and his disciples through the 1260 years of ecclesiastical persecution until 1798 as predicted by Daniel and repeated by Christ in Mark 13, Luke 21 and Matthew 24.

A test of faith is in mind in verse 9. “And I [Christ] will bring the third in fire and I will refine them…” The Jewish Targum translated this as “And I will bring the third in straits in the smelting-pot of fire”.

About the test of faith, Rabbi Rashi in the 12th century said: “So that some of the proselytes should bear the birth pang of the Messiah and the war of the Gog and the Magog with Israel. From there they shall be tested whether they are true proselytes.” He anticipates that some of them will drop the truth.

About the test of trials, Ellen White said cited by Phillip Samaan:

“God permits trials to assail His people, that by their constancy and obedience they themselves may be spiritually enriched, and that their example may be a source of strength to others. . . . The very trials that task our faith most severely and make it seem that God has forsaken us, are to lead us closer to Christ, that we may lay all our burdens at His feet and experience the peace which he will give us in exchange. “God has always tried His people in the furnace of affliction. It is in the heat of the furnace that the dross is separated from the true gold of the Christian character. Jesus watches the test; He knows what is needed to purify the precious metal, that it may reflect the radiance of His love.” Ellen White in Patriarchs and Prophets, p. 129.


Dear God

In pockets of Messianic expressions you have explained to Your days on earth what they should look for and many did. Help us to look for the things You have given for our days. In Jesus Name. Amen.