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Zechariah Chapter Five, Visions of Judgment

In our study of Zechariah chapter five, we look at his eighth and ninth visions which tell of coming judgement. In this chapter, God uses a scroll and a basket to tell of the coming judgement on those who have turned away from God's Word because of their love of money.

Zechariah 5:1

I looked again - and there before me was a flying scroll!

Once again, the prophet is awake and looked up to the sky where he saw this scroll. The scroll represents the Word of God. This is like the scroll that was given to the prophet Ezekiel (see Ezekiel 2:9). It is also like the scroll that was given to John for him to eat (see Revelation 10:9 & 10). On this scroll was written the Ten Commandments with the laws concerning man's relationship with God on one side and man's relationship with their fellow man on the other side.

Zechariah 5:2

He asked me, 'What do you see?' I answered, 'I see a flying scroll, thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide.'

This scroll was twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide (one cubit is about eighteen inches). This scroll is the same size as the porch that was on Solomon's Temple (see 1 Kings 6). This was the place where people met to talk about the things of God. It is also the size of the Holy Place. It is amazing to see how God is in charge of even the smallest of details.

Zechariah 5:3

And he said to me, 'This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished.'

The word for "curse" here speaks of judgment and the vision speaks to the fact that the Ten Commandments written on this scroll is the standard by which the people will be judged. We see that it is a curse for those who are under the law but we, who are under the grace of God through Jesus Christ, are not subject to the law (see Romans 6).

Zechariah 5:4

The Lord Almighty declares, 'I will send out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of him who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in his house and destroy it, both its timbers and its stones.'

This verse describes the two sides of the scroll as one side has on it the commandments concerning man's relationship with man (the thief). The other side has the commandments concerning man's relationship with God (swears falsely by my name). God says that the scroll (law) will be sent out and it will condemn those who are disobedient. This is bad news for those that trust in the law to save them from God's wrath. As the verse says, their house will be destroyed because of their disobedience. We have to admit that, even on our best day, we cannot keep the Law.

Zechariah 5:5 & 6

Then the angel who was speaking to me came forward and said to me,' Look up and see what this is that is appearing.' I asked, 'What is it?' He replied, 'It is a measuring basket.' And he added, 'This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land.'

Zechariah's ninth vision rapidly follows the eighth and this time it is of a measuring basket or ephah. This basket was used in commerce to weigh stuff for sale and tells of the fact that God's people had turned away because of their love of money. This also speaks of the commandment to not covet your neighbor's possessions. The thing about loving money is that, just like drugs or alcohol, you never have enough. God's people had learned the ways of commerce from Babylon while they were captives there and they had embraced it. Today, this is more relevant than ever before as it seems that the world worships "free markets" and "global trade". Greed has caused some of the greatest damage to people's lives and even made many groups of believers turn their back on the widows and the poor. It is going to get even worse, as we see in Revelation 13, and this love will even cause men to follow the beast.

Zechariah 5:7 & 8

Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman. He said, 'This is wickedness,' and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed the lead cover down over its mouth.

Lead is a very heavy metal and is even used as shielding to prevent the spread of radiation in a nuclear reactor. This basket is a container that is holding the wickedness of the love of money. The woman is a sign of adultery and the people have turned away from God to worship money and the things that it can buy. That is why Jesus warned us that we cannot serve both God and money (see Matthew 6:24). That is also why Paul warned us that the "love of money is a root of all kinds of evil" (see 1 Timothy 6:10).

Zechariah 5:9

Then I looked up - and there before me were two women, with the wind in their wings! They had wings like those of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between heaven and earth.

Now, the prophet sees two women and we remember that, throughout the Bible, two is the number of required legal witnesses for anything to be established. Here, they are lifting the basket in the air to carry it away. The stork has big strong wings and is a migratory bird (travels long distances).

Zechariah 5:10 & 11

'Where are they taking the basket?' I asked the angel who was speaking to me. He replied, 'To the country of Babylonia to build a house for it. When it is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.'

The basket is being taken back to Babylon where the commercialism started which is the modern nation of Iraq. Today, we may ask how the words of this passage can be true as the city of Babylon is mostly in ruins. The fact of the matter is that the city is being rebuilt just as it says here about building a house for the basket. It is being rebuilt as a tourist destination.

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