The Typological Elements of Zechariah 13 in the First Century
Fulfilled! Zechariah 13: A Preterist Commentary: Summary and Highlights
Though fulfilled in the Maccabean Wars of the second century B.C., Zechariah 13 has elements that are typological of Christ and perhaps other first century events like the Jewish War with Rome.
The following may seem unbelievable. However, all information is taken from unbiased historical records and is easily verifiable. Sources listed at the end.
Zechariah 13 Fulfilled!
1“On that day a fountain will be opened to the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and impurity. 2“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. 3And if anyone still prophesies, his father and mother, to whom he was born, will say to him, ‘You must die, because you have told lies in the LORD’s name.’ When he prophesies, his own parents will stab him.
Fulfilled! Zechariah 13:2-3 Commentary: During the Jewish War many People were coerced to act as Prophets predicting Victory for the Jews. Israel’s defeat exposed these Men as False Prophets.
Though Zechariah 13 was fulfilled in the Maccabean Wars, could these prophecies also be typological of the Jewish War with Rome? Josephus writes the following in The Wars of the Jews:
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 [zealot leaders] 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 they might be buoyed up above fear and care by such hopes.[i]
Josephus states that the leaders of the Jewish rebellion bribed or in some way coerced a number of people to pretend to be prophets. These people were instructed to predict that God would deliver the Israelites from Rome in order to inspire courage and prevent desertion. These prophecies proved false. God did not save these people from the Romans. The Roman army eventually conquered Jerusalem and its temple; and there was not a “place in the city that had no dead bodies in it, but [the city] was entirely covered with those that were killed either by the famine or the rebellion.”[ii] In the following verses, did Zechariah also foresee the lament of these prophets commissioned to predict lies?
4“On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his prophetic vision. He will not put on a prophet’s garment of hair in order to deceive. 5He will say, ‘I am not a prophet. I am a farmer; the land has been my livelihood since my youth. 6If someone asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ he will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’
Fulfilled! Zechariah 13:4-6 Commentary: Were These Wounds Battle Scars or Signs of Forced Coercion?
Having witnessed the consequences of their deception, these false prophets compelled to prophesy are seen sorrowfully admitting that they are not prophets. Perhaps the wounds these prophets received in the house of their friends are battle scars incurred while present in the house of the Lord–the temple in Jerusalem, the fortress in which many of the zealots put up their last stand? Or maybe these wounds were incurred by forcible coercion on behalf of the leaders of the Jewish resistance?
7 “Awake, O 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. 8 In the whole land,” declares the LORD, “two-thirds will be struck down and perish; yet one-third will be left in it. 9 This third I will bring 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.’ “
Fulfilled! Zechariah 13:7-9 Commentary: The Shepherd is Christ. After Jesus’ Crucifixion, Christians were persecuted in Israel and Rome.
Though it is likely that v. 7 was initially fulfilled in the death of Judas Maccabees during the Maccabean Wars, the shepherd in this chapter seems to typologically point to Jesus Christ. Either way the sheep are the people of Israel, and the sword in v. 7 is the word of God (Hebrews 4:12). It was the will of God that the Messiah should die for the sins of his people (Isaiah 53:10). After Jesus’ death, Jewish Christians faced many hardships. Shortly after the crucifixion, Jewish Christians were persecuted by their brethren in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1-3). Then in A.D. 64, Nero burned Christians on crosses and fed them to wild animals in public spectacle. Two years later, Israel revolted against Rome and thousands more Jews were killed. Though the exact number killed during these hardships is not known, in this oracle Zechariah implies that only one-third of the people living in Israel survived these calamities.
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Interested in THE PRETERIST VIEW OF ESCHATOLOGY, or are you a PRETERIST struggling with a prophecy or verse? It DID happen just like the Bible says! If you liked this essay, see PRETERIST BIBLE COMMENTARY for a detailed explanation of the FULFILLMENT OF ALL MAJOR END TIME PROPHECIES IN THE BIBLE. The more unbelievable the prophecy, the more amazing and miraculous the fulfillment!
Also see Historical Evidence that Jesus was LITERALLY SEEN in the Clouds in the First Century. For an explanation of how the end of the age and its fulfillment during the Jewish War mirror Genesis 1-3; how the Bible teaches that the resurrection of the dead is a resurrection of heavenly bodies to heaven, not a resurrection of perfected earthly bodies; and how the resurrection is a mirror opposite of the fall see How the Jewish War and Resurrection to Heaven Mirror Genesis and the Fall; and How Preterism fixes the Age of the Earth Problem and unravels the Mysteries in Genesis.
[i] Josephus The Wars of the Jews 6.5.2.
[ii] Ibid., 6.7.2.
Fulfilled! Zechariah 13: A Preterist Commentary: Conclusion
In the above commentary on Zechariah 13, Zechariah seems to predict events in the Maccabean Wars in a typological way pointing to Jesus Christ and possibly the Jewish War with Rome as well.