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Communion Presbyterian Church ARP

On That Day, There Will Be a Purifying Fountain - Zechariah 13

Zech 13:1 "On that day there shall be a fountain opened for the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.

à From where does this fountain seem to flow?  The ideal location atop mount Zion!  Zechariah 14 will make that case, so lets not rule it out!

à For Zion to be the font of this blessing, we either will see it as a future physical reality, because it hasn’t happened yet… and I’m fine with that!  In fact, in the new heavens and new earth, I’d suspect to see waters flowing from the new Jerusalem – the book of Revelation tells me to anticipate that!

à Or we are seeing some imagery that announces the work of the Messiah, even in our day, On THAT DAY when Jesus provides his life as the source for our new life!

à Well chapter 12 concluded with the people of the land mourning and bitterly weeping for the one they had pierced, and in their sorrow they would know a spirit of grace and would cry out with pleas for mercy – perhaps in their shedding of tears, a fountain of repentance is being enjoyed!

à In either case, what is the result?  Cleaning from Sin and Uncleanness! – What kind of fountain can do that?  Are we looking to a physical fountain that you must use to wash away your sin?  Or is it a physical analogy of a spiritual truth?

à Fountains bringing life is important to the land of Israel.  Much of the action that takes place in Israel take place in the interior of an arid geography that depended upon dew, streams, wells, and cisterns  – the notion of a fresh bubbling fountain was THE idealized vision for a fruitful and blessed Israel – IN FACT, a recurring theme of judgment upon Israel was God saying, “I’m going to dry up all your streams!”  So desiring the water of the land as a panting deer was supposed to be the spiritual yearning for that God’s people were supposed to have for being in communion with the Lord.

à We also know that on the Feast of Booths, the related ceremony of taking water from the pool of Siloam and pouring it out on the step of the temple so that this prophesied stream from Ezekiel 47 & Zech 14 would be primed and begin to flow to the east and the west to bring abundant life to the land of Israel.

à So this restorative fountain was regarded as God blessing upon Israel, especially in a new age of salvation for Israel – just as Jesus said to the woman at the well in John 4 that he had water that would spring into eternal life, and as Revelation 21:6 …To the thirsty I will give from the spring of the water of life…

à So there is a day coming that life and the cleansing of sin will be known in Israel, and it will come from the one who said, John 7:37…"If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink. 38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" 39 Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive,

à And that’s we’ve read in Zechariah 12:10 "And I will pour out on the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem a spirit of grace and pleas for mercy, Zechariah 13:1 "On that day there shall be a fountain…to cleanse them from sin and uncleanness.

à Jesus sending his Spirit upon his new covenant people, the eternal remnant, who will enjoy this new life and refreshing from the Lord!

 

à Now Zechariah puts some tangible effects for how God will protect his newly cleansed people…

2 "And on that day, declares the LORD of hosts, I will cut off the names of the idols from the land, so that they shall be remembered no more. And also I will remove from the land the prophets and the spirit of uncleanness.

à So two things that were a spiritual bondage to the Israelites were: the desire to worship idols and the desire to entertain the teachings of false prophets.  These tend to go hand in hand, but God WILL insure that these temptations will no longer be a part of Israel’s religious landscape!

à No more syncretistic melding of the one true God with the practices of other religious systems!  “Sure Jehovah is the main focus of our worship; but we have some personal enhancements to add on to spice up the worship experience.”  This thinking will not be a part of the future day!

à The names of the Idols will be cut off – which is a term for putting someone to death, and they shall not be remembered.  NOW Remember, when the OT says remember, it doesn’t just mean cognitive thoughts, it means some type of action! 

à So, these Idols will be as good as dead in the minds of the new Israelites, and no one would dare perform any religious ritual related to a foreign religious system. 

à The sure way to ensure this would be to remove the practitioners of these foreign religions from the land so that no one would dare even appear to be engaging in idolatry

 

3 And if anyone again prophesies, his father and mother who bore him will say to him, 'You shall not live, for you speak lies in the name of the LORD.' And his father and mother who bore him shall pierce him through when he prophesies.

à  That is devotion to purity isn’t it?  Most of us read that and say, “That’s harsh!”  A parent who reads that and thinks about their own children thinks, “How could I ever do that?”

à But what is being described is obedience to the law related to false teachers…

à False prophets are not supposed to get a pass just because they are related to you!  The land of Israel was a covenant family!  They were commanded to protect the entire family by removing anyone who would not worship the correct God, correctly!

à It is quite interesting that when the Pharisees attempted to test Jesus’ devotion for keeping the law, he came back at them with this question, “Are you killing your rebellious children?  Because if you’re not, you’re not keeping the law either.  (AND what I’ve learned from the Dispensationalists is:  if an OT law reiterated in the New Testament, then that’s the law we are supposed to KEEP!)

à Matthew 15:1 Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, 2 "Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? For they do not wash their hands when they eat." 3 He answered them, "And why do you break the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God commanded, 'Honor your father and your mother,' and, 'Who ever reviles father or mother must surely die.'

à Where am I going with this?  A future sermon on purity most likely!  The Pharisees were concerned about the disciples washing their hands and Jesus came back at them with the TRUE LAW OF GOD which states that Israel might be more pure today not by hand washing but by removing a few offspring of the Pharisees…!

à How does that apply today?  This is a future sermon; but in short, The church, the New Israel, is protected by the Word of God and the leading of the Holy Spirit. The Word & Spirit assist us to determine what is morally and doctrinally foreign to God’s truth!  As our, so called, churches debate who is qualified to lead as pastors, when they debate what kind of doctrine and lifestyle is permissible, one begins to wonder if the Word and Spirit are honored as God’s voice to His people

à To one denomination, the word and spirit says – accept everyone and   everything because inclusiveness best demonstrates the love of God.

à To other denominations, the word and spirit – demands rigorous compliance to as many laws as we can find because that demonstrates how we love God!

à Where does that put us?  Well, one thing that I appreciated about Dr. Dwight Smith who preached here a few weeks ago said very clearly, from Ephesians 5: Look carefully then how you walk, and make the most of the NEW ERA in which you are now living == leave the futile ways of the life you used to live, and be a new kind of people who embrace holiness & purity, even at great cost to redeem situations that need redeeming.

à So IF one of our children grows up and says they are NOW _ insert your abominable lifestyle here_ (President of the Brett Farve fan club… whatever…) What should our response be?  The sword of the Lord!

à I would pray that as a community deeply committed to Christ and his rule over our lives, that we would be able to walk carefully with someone who embraces a fallen lifestyle with compassion and a mature faith.  I don’t want to see families dropping out of the church because their son or daughter has become something that the church has deemed unacceptable.  I’d rather have that family find support and guidance in how to be an effective witness to prodigal children than demanding that they slay them for, we would trust, a temporary hardening. (TALK MORE AT SS!)

 

4 "On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies. He will not put on a hairy cloak in order to deceive, 5 but he will say, 'I am no prophet, I am a worker of the soil, for a man sold me in my youth.' 6 And if one asks him, 'What are these wounds on your back?' he will say, 'The wounds I received in the house of my friends.'

à So here we see the lengths that someone will take who does not want to “remember” their past involvement in idolatry and false prophesying – they will deny their past in order to avoid punishment – as opposed to many false prophets of a different day who would flaunt their rebellion…

à You can see the denials… “I’m no prophet!  I’ve never worn a prophets clothing before!  Why, I’m a farmer, that’s it!  I’ve been a farmer from forever on this very piece of property!  And those wounds on my body that look like I’ve been involved in demonic worship services… ha, ha, ha, Yeah, I got crazy friends!  I can’t stop them sometimes, they tie me down and cut me – I know it looks bad; BUT I’M NOT A FALSE PROPHET!! I’m a farmer!  – Really, believe me!”

à the ESV goes for an interesting translation of the Hebrew question: “What are these wounds between your hands?”  These markings all over the middle of the chest and arms?”  It is a reference to the types of cuttings that the idol worshippers would inflict upon themselves in order to entreat their gods in religious prayers and practices.

à On a related point, did you know that if you get a tattoo – you can’t donate blood for 12 months!  I learned that when I gave blood this week – I have a scar.

à  So the denial of past practices – even obvious ones – will be a demonstration of how false religions will not be “remembered” on that future day of which Zechariah is speaking!

à So this is encouraging preaching for the remnant to embrace this new way of living as they reconstruct their temple and their religious devotion!

à à Zechariah is saying, wouldn’t it be a blessing to live in a society that would question people about their devotion to pursuing faithfulness rather than being a society that never judges anyone for pushing the boundaries… 

à That might sound a little Taliban to some; or as Christopher Hitchens calls it, A Christians North Korea… but there will be a future day where God, by His word and Spirit, runs the show.  Because Jesus rules on the throne, there is no need for us to run anyone through – we’re going to let Jesus take care of that!  But Because Jesus rules on the throne, those who live under his rule understand what it means to protect the lives of even the youngest children, and will live, and speak, and dress, and watch TV shows, and just live in a way that is appropriate for little children – Matthew 18 teaches such!

 

And look at what God does to ensure the purity of this future place…

 

7 "Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, against the man who stands next to me," declares the LORD of hosts. "Strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered;

à Again, Zechariah with a prophetic twist, mentions the Lord’s shepherd, the one who stands near him as taking on the beatings of a rebellious person.

à We’ve just been talking about what type of punishment will come upon heretics, and the next thing we read is that the true leader of God’s people – the Hebrew word reserved for the King, will be stricken.  The shepherd comes under the punishment of those in his realm who do not conform to God’s law.

à I’ve made the case that every punishment promised and delivered upon rebellious Israel is in fact, the same punishment exacted upon Christ as he atones for the sins of his people upon the Christ, and it would appear, even in some extent in his passion.

à It is seriously a prophetic twist because Jesus states himself very clearly by quoting this passage in Matthew 26, that this prophecy will be fulfilled by him!  Jesus is the near shepherd to God, he is the shepherd king for Israel, and he will take the punishment in order to preserve those who are truly members of God’s remnant people, the true sheep of his hand.

 

(7)I will turn my hand against the little ones.

à Difficult Hebrew phrase to translate and interpret.  I tend to agree with those who see this line as actually a phrase of protection for the portion of God’s flock He intends to save even as they seem to be scattering…

à Listen to how Zechariah mentions a group that will be judged and a group that will be saved…

8 In the whole land, declares the LORD, two thirds shall be cut off and perish, and one third shall be left alive. 9 And I will put this third into the fire, and refine them as one refines silver, and test them as gold is tested. They will call upon my name, and I will answer them. I will say, 'They are my people'; and they will say, 'The LORD is my God.'"

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