7 “Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, Against the Man who is My Companion,” Says the Lord of hosts. “Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered; Then I will turn My hand against the little ones. 8 And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the Lord, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it: 9 I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”
Verses 7-9 present the True Shepherd, who stands in contrast to the false prophets of verses 4-6. He will restore the remnant of Israel.
“Awake, O sword [judicial power], against My Shepherd [the Messiah], Against the Man who is My Companion,” Says the Lord of hosts [God the Father speaking].
This verse addresses an impersonal object—a sword. This idea is a personification of a sword as an instrument of war and even death. The LORD of armies will direct the death of His Shepherd, the Messiah (Jn 10:11,14; He 13:20; 1 Pe 5:4). God Himself determined the death of Christ to pay for sins.
The Shepherd of this verse is Jehovah’s “companion,” a person close to the LORD. This closeness may indicate that Jehovah and the Shepherd are of the same essence, affirming the Messiah’s deity.
“Strike the Shepherd, And the sheep will be scattered;
The Lord Jesus quoted this verse relating to His arrest (Mt 26:31; Mark 14:27). Jesus claimed that this prophecy pertained to Himself; it was a prophecy about His first coming.
The LORD calls on the “sword” to strike the Shepherd (Isa 53:4,7,10). When the sword does this, the sheep will scatter (Mt 26:31, 56), and the nation Israel will lose its Leader.
Then I will turn My hand against the little ones.
God will allow His sheep to go through a period of discipline. There are times when He did this during the Roman invasion in AD 70 and the persecution of the early church.
And it shall come to pass in all the land,” Says the Lord, “That two-thirds in it shall be cut off and die, But one-third shall be left in it:
The probable indication here is that there will be significant persecution during the Great Tribulation just before the Lord returns (Re 12:6, 13-17). Two-thirds of the nation of Israel will perish. There will, however, be a surviving remnant of Jews. Only one-third of the population of Jews will enter the Millennial reign of Christ.
I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested.
God will allow one-third of the Jews to survive. He will refine them as silver and purify them by tribulation. He will prepare them for the establishment of the kingdom of the Messiah.
They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The Lord is my God.’ ”
“My people” expresses the covenant relationship to Jehovah. This sentence may refer to the New Covenant dealing with national regeneration (Jer 31:31-34). This chapter ends in a dramatic climax with Israel’s restoration. The nation will invoke God’s blessing, and He will answer them.
One day Jews will take a stand for Jesus as the Messiah.
By the cleansing of the earlier part of chapter 13, God will restore Israel to a faithful nation. They will engage in believing that Jesus is the Messiah. Then the Lord will restore Israel, and more than restore; He will establish an entirely new kingdom under King Jesus, King of the world (Ro 11:26-27).
The Tribulation has two purposes: (1) to reject unbelieving Jews from entering the Millennial kingdom, and (2) to bring to faith those with positive volition toward the Messiah.