The Worthless Shepherd - The Antichrist!

Zechariah 11:15-17 NASB

15 The Lord said to me, “Take again for yourself the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 For behold, I am going to raise up a shepherd in the land who will not care for the perishing, seek the scattered, heal the broken, or sustain the one standing, but will devour the flesh of the fat sheep and tear off their hoofs.

17 “Woe to the worthless shepherd
Who leaves the flock!
A sword will be on his arm
And on his right eye!
His arm will be totally withered
And his right eye will be blind.”

Zechariah 11 is in stark contrast to the previous chapters in which the true Messiah is pictured as a wonderful, loving caring Shepherd. In Chapter 11 we are seeing the Jews that returned from the Babylonian captivity and restored the temple in Jerusalem reject the true Messiah, which they did in His First Advent. The Pharisees and Scribes screamed for the crucifixion of Christ and said, let His blood be on our hands and of our children.  That prophecy has been and is being fulfilled as part of the judgment upon Israel and the Jews (the use of the word "flock"[sheep] is symbolic of God's relationship to Israel for several times the Bible refers to Israel as the flock [sheep] of God).   

When reading the whole chapter it is clear Zechariah is prophesying of events related to both advents of Christ -  Verses 12-13 is a reference to the First Advent for Judas betrayed the Lord Jesus for 30 pieces of Silver. 

Zechariah is told to play the part of a shepherd over a flock doomed to slaughter. He takes two staffs and names them Favor and Union. He breaks both in the sight of the leaders of Judah showing God no longer favored them as His people. In Verse 14 when he broke the staff named Union, it signified God annulled the brotherhood between Israel and Judah, which was fulfilled after Solomon's death when the kingdom was divided resulting in the House of Israel with its capital in Samaria and the House of Judah with its capital in Jerusalem. Both were destroyed - Israel in 721 B.C by the Assyrian Empire and Judah in 606 B.C. by Babylon.  The city of Jerusalem and the temple were later destroyed in 70 A.D. by the Romans and in 135 A.D. the Jews were expelled from the  land of Israel - what the Bible calls the Iron Yoke of judgment.  There is coming more destruction for the Jewish people and the city of Jerusalem.

This brings us to the main point of the article which is seen in the above passage.  With the removal of the true Shepherd (See John 10 where Jesus refers to Himself as the Good or true Shepherd, which proves Zechariah was prophesying about Jesus), Zechariah is told to play the part of a foolish shepherd - Verses 15-16 above. The foolish shepherd is clearly the Antichrist of Daniel's 70th Week (Daniel 9:27, 2 Thessalonians 2:3, John 5:43).  Zechariah's prophecy skips over the present Church Age to the last days before the Second Coming of Christ. 

This foolish shepherd has a broken staff or club which is used to beat sheep into submission not something a true shepherd would do. Zechariah is letting us know that God is going to permit this wicked shepherd to arise and to destroy the sheep (this is why I said the Jews or the modern nation of Israel are going to be destroyed again). The reason for this further judgment is they did not choose the true Shepherd when He came to them in His First Advent (He came unto His own and they received Him not - John 1:11). 

For nearly 2000 years the majority of Jews still do not believe or accept Jesus as their Messiah.  They will accept the foolish shepherd, but he will do the exact opposite of what they expect him to do - he will destroy the sheep - the flock (Verse 16). This is what the Antichrist will do - see Dan. 9:27, Matthew 24:15-22. 

Now notice in Verse 16 this foolish shepherd (Antichrist) will arise from the land. What land?  The Hebrew language provides the answer.  The Hebrew word for land is eretz, which is normally used for the land of Israel:

To follow Tyndale and translate ’eretz as “earth” is to mislead the modern-day reader into pic­turing “Planet Earth,” for this is what the word “earth” inevitably conjures up for us in the con­text of a cosmology. As before, what Tyndale could get away with (without doing injustice to the Hebrew text) is no longer possible for us. “Land”—the most frequently used English equivalent for ’eretz—is much less likely to mislead. This, however, is not merely land as in real estate, but also (and often) land as in “promised land” or “land of Israel” (’Eretz Israel is now the state of Israel).

Zechariah is telling us this foolish shepherd will originate from the eretz - the land of Israel, not New York, not Washington, D.C., not Moscow, not any major city in Europe or other parts of the world. He will come from the land of Israel and from among the Jews for Zechariah's prophecy deals solely with the Jewish people.

As I said, I believe this passage in Zechariah is irrefutable evidence the biblical Antichrist will be Jewish.  Dr. Thomas Ice, a devout traditional dispensationalist (pretrib) proponent and Joel Richardson, a renowned prophecy author and teacher recently debated whether or not the Antichrist will be a Muslim (Richardson's position) or from the Roman Empire (area of the old Roman Empire, principally Europe) and a non-Jew.  I believe they are both wrong.  By the way, Joel Richardson is not his real name. He is Jewish and changed his name he says to  protect his family. 

My position has always been the Antichrist will be Jewish and maybe from the tribe of Dan.  Jesus Himself alluded to the Antichrist coming from among the Jews when He told the Pharisees that He came in His Father's name and they rejected him, but they would accept one who comes in his own name. 

John 5:42-44 NKJV

42 But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in you. 43 I have come in My Father’s name, and you do not receive Me; if another comes in his own name, him you will receive. 44 How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?

In the context, Jesus was speaking to the Jewish Pharisees so it is reasonable to assume He meant someone from among them - the Jews, they would accept as the Messiah - the false Messiah or the Antichrist.

The Foolish Shepherd of Zechariah 11.

Contributors to this article:, the book of Zechariah