Question #279

What does Zechariah 13:2 mean?

Hello, I am seeking help in understanding (Zech.13:1-5). I am especially concerned about (13:2).

The Answer:

To understand Zechariah 13:1-5 some background is necessary. The great mourning to which reference is made in verse one is carried over from chapter 12:11. (Remember that chapter and verse divisions are man-made and not inspired.) The day that a fountain will be opened is the same day as the day of mourning. The mourning is brought about by the outpouring of God’s grace on the house of David as they look on Him whom they have pierced (identified as the Lord, see John 19:37). In spite of their crime, a fountain will be opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and impurity, or uncleanness. (“Sin” is the general word for human misconduct; “uncleanness” covers ritual and sexual impurity. The latter is a favorite word of Ezekiel (e.g, Ezek. 36:17, 25), who, along with other prophets, included idolatry under the figure of adultery.) Zechariah has already dealt with false prophets or sham leaders (10:2-3a), and in 13:2 he declares that they shall be exposed and removed forever. The first step of the unmasking will be the abolishing of the names of the idols; men will no longer attribute supernatural powers to mere things. Men will not worship them as divine. Since idolatry and false prophets were the primary causes of the destruction of the theocracy, Zechariah declares that they shall not be found in the new theocracy. “Unclean spirit,” a term familiar in the New Testament, occurs only here in the Old Testament. Here it is the lying spirit that works in the false prophets. In verse 3 Zechariah declares that when the fountain of cleansing comes a false prophet will be rejected (punished) by his own family. Their exposure as false prophets shall make them so ashamed that they shall be ashamed to utter their prophecies in public and shall hide themselves in hairy robes (v. 4), denying that they are prophets and posing as tillers of the soil sold into slavery as youth (v.5). When someone says that the marks on their bodies are those of they will deny that they are self-inflicted in the service of an idol (see, 1 Kings 18:28; Jeremiah 48:37), but were received in a brawl in the house of friends.

Taken together, these verses speak of the coming of the Messiah, his crucifixion, and the pouring out of the Spirit of God on the day of Pentecost, and the creation of spiritual Israel, the church. The fountain of blessing has come:

There is a fountain filled with blood

Drawn from Emmanuel’s veins.

And sinners, plunged beneath that flood

Lose all their guilty stains!


God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)