…Let’s direct our attention if we could, this evening to the book of Zechariah chapter 5, Zechariah chapter 5 and verse 1 (Zech 5:1) and Wednesday evenings we’re continuing our verse by verse study through the book of Zechariah in that second major part of the book which deals with the eight night visions that Zechariah received
and these next two visions that we’re going to look at here in chapter 5, if time permits deal with the issue of sin, Oh my goodness! So, I wanna… I was so taken by this quote from Charles Feinberg as he is giving some introductory comments on Zechariah 5, that I just want to read it to you and the reason I read this to you is because nobody in commentaries says stuff like this anymore. This is a 1950, you know, older commentary and the problem with most modern academic commentaries, the problem with academia, quite frankly, is academics are really busy trying to impress fellow academics and it’s very unusual to find an academic like Charles Feinberg who is interested in pleasing God more than his contemporaries. So, listen to these words and tell me if this doesn’t minister to you, as he’s making introductory comments on what is coming in chapter 5.
Charles L. Feinberg – God Remembers:A Study of Zechariah (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950, p. 82-83.
“Zechariah knows nothing (nor does any other writer of the Scriptures) of the mawkish theology which is so much in vogue in our day that considers God as the God of love, overlooking every failure, shortcoming, and defection in man. True, twice over John the Apostle in his First Epistle designates God as. the God of love, but he sounds forth the warning of impending judgment on all ungodliness in all the writings that the Spirit of God directed him to pen. If God can overlook sin lightly because of His love, then what need is there for Isaiah to a state of him that He is ‘the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy’ (Isa. 57:15)? What object is accomplished in Habakkuk’s great declaration: ‘Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that canst not look on perverseness’ (Hab. 1:13)? Why should the majestic Epistle to the Hebrews inject such notes as these ‘it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ or ‘our God is a consuming fire’ (Hebrews 10:31; 12:29)? Away with half-baked theology! Let us magnify the love of God and at the same time maintain His irreproachable holiness.”
Feinberg says: “Zechariah knows nothing (nor does any other writer of the Scriptures) of the mawkish theology which is so much in vogue in our day that considers God as the God of love, overlooking every failure, shortcoming, and defection in man. True, twice over John the Apostle in his First Epistle designates God as. the God of love, but he sounds forth the warning of impending judgment on all ungodliness in all the writings that the Spirit of God directed him to pen. If God can overlook sin lightly because of His love, then what need is there for Isaiah to a state of him that He is ‘the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy’ (Isa. 57:15)? What object is accomplished in Habakkuk’s great declaration: ‘Thou that art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and that canst not look on perverseness’ (Hab. 1:13)? Why should the majestic Epistle to the Hebrews inject such notes as these ‘it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ or ‘our God is a consuming fire’ (Hebrews 10:31; 12:29)?… And then, here is how he concludes his introductory thoughts: Away with half-baked theology! Let us magnify the love of God and at the same time maintain His irreproachable holiness.”… (close quote) Isn’t that awesome? Because we are so accustomed to talking about love and grace, we forget that God is also holy and it’s hard to make sense of chapter 5, unless you first understand that God is holy. 4:09
So with that being said, we’re now looking at our sixth night vision and then if time permits the seventh-night vision which is the woman in the basket, number 6 is the flying scroll and here is our chart as we’re sort of looking at these different night visions from a bird’s eye view.
The sixth one down there, chapter 5, verses 1 through 4 (Zech 5:1-4), the flying scroll, deals with the severity and totality of divine judgment on individual Israelites. So we’ve read a lot in Zechariah about God’s plan to restore the nation one day, but God can’t restore the nation until He first removes the sin problem in the nation and that’s what chapter 5 is about.
So as we look at the flying scroll, vision number six, we have the vision described, verses 1 and 2 and then the vision interpreted verses 3 and 4. So notice if you will Zechariah chapter 5, verse 1 (Zech 5:1), Zechariah says: Then I lifted up my eyes and again looked, and behold, there was a flying scroll… Verse 2 (Zech 5:2): And he said to me, What do you see?, I answered, I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits… So you’ll notice how he keeps saying “I saw”, “look up… lift up your eyes” “What do you see?” So that’s our verb of perception or verbs of perception which typically tell us in this section that we’re going to get information on yet another vision that Zechariah had in a single night. So what did he see? Second part of verse 1, he saw this flying scroll and the scroll had something written on both sides of it, as we’ll see in a second, but the scroll is talking about God’s written word. 6:30
So, God when He has disclosed Himself, He’s basically disclosed Himself in three sources. The first source He’s disclosed Himself in is something called natural revelation, that would be creation and conscience. You read about those in Romans 1 and Romans 2. So this is a disclosure to everyone, so that men are without excuse and then God has disclosed Himself in His son, Jesus Christ, who was God in human flesh and then the third way God has disclosed Himself, via, is through His written word, which is the Bible, you know, the 66 books that we have. 39 Old Testament books, 27 New Testament books and to be completely honest with you, you cannot grow as a Christian without availing yourself to this book. 7:35
2nd Timothy 3, verses 16 and 17 (2 Tim 3:16-17) says: All Scripture… that includes the parts of it that we might find boring or convicting… All Scripture is inspired by God… there’s that Greek word “theopneustos”, God-breathed… All Scripture is inspired by God (God-Breathed) and profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work… So a Christian who has a closed Bible or goes to a church where they don’t teach the Bible and unfortunately, there’s a lot of those around, amen? A lot of people go to church and they get more of a pep talk for the day or a psychological type of approach, you know, rather than biblical truth. Well, if you’re in that environment you can’t be taught, you can’t be reproved, you can’t be corrected, you can’t be trained and you can’t be equipped for every good work because God does those works in the life of the Christian through His word and if we close the Bible, those ministries stop. So, you’ll notice here that this flying scroll represents God’s written word and you’ll notice that the scroll has something written on both sides of it. So when you open the scroll, it’ll say something on one side then you look at the other side and it says something else and that is sort of common, you find that with the law of Moses. Exodus 32, verse 15 (Exo 32:15) says: Then Moses turned and went down from the mountain with the tablets in his hand, tablets which were written on both sides.. just like we’re reading here, they were written on one side and on the other. So, it’s kind of an interesting thing as you go through God’s word to see that God does things on both sides of something. For example, in the eternal state there’s going to be a river, you know, with the tree of life on both sides of the river and you see God doing both sides, you know, quite frequently in the Bible, and that’s apparently what he did with His law that Moses brought down from Mount Sinai and as Zechariah sees this flying scroll, he sees the scroll when it’s open, it’s written on both sides. So that causes Zechariah to ask a question, verse 2 (Zech 5:2): He… that’s the interpreting angel… said to me, What do you see?… And then Zechariah gives an answer, also in verse 2… I see a flying scroll… and actually Zechariah gives the measurements of the scroll… its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits… I mean, generally most people understand the cubit as the distance between the tip of your middle finger all the way to your elbow and if that’s true, this would be 20 cubits long, 10 cubits wide and it would translate into something that’s about 30 feet by fifteen feet written on both sides, you know, that Zechariah sees. By the way, you’ll find those identical measurements with the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle. You’ll notice it in Exodus 26, verse 8 (Exo 26:8) and also the Holy of Holies within the temple, same dimensions. 1st Kings 6, verse 3 (1 Kings 6:3) says: The porch in front of.. this is describing the Solomonic temple… The porch in front of the main room of the house was twenty cubits in length, corresponding to the width of the house, and its width along the front of the house was ten cubits. So, those are the same measurements and now, why are the identical measurements given? The identical measurements are given because God, I think it’s showing that judgment begins where? In the house of the Lord. So this is a scroll revealing judgment and it has the same measurements of the Holy of Holies in the temple and in the tabernacle because God, when He brings judgment, starts with His people first, and works out from there. 12:47
1st Peter chapter 4, verse 17 (1 Pet 4:17) says: For it is time for judgment to begin with the household of God.. that’s why entitled this lesson “Where does judgment begin?” Well, judgment begins in the house of God… For it is time for judgment to begin with the house of God and if it begins with us first, what will be the outcome of those who do not obey the Gospel of God?… So, a lot of times we’re so upset about what’s going wrong in the White House that we kind of ignore what’s going wrong in the Church House (haha) and the Family House and the way God looks at things is He starts judgment right with His own people and what I mean by judgment is divine discipline. When God wants to bring a revival, when He wants to bring a purification… He starts with His very own and I think that’s the significance of the dimensions of this particular scroll. So, that is what Zechariah sees. Here’s a… what Doctor Constable says, he says:
Thomas L. Constable – Constable’s online notes on Zechariah, p. 56.
“The scroll that Zechariah saw was open—and large—so that people could read it easily. During the restoration period, the returnees demonstrated an increased interest in the Mosaic Law, which was written on scrolls (cf. Neh. 8). No one could plead ignorance, because the scroll in Zechariah’s vision was large enough for all to see and read.”
The scroll that Zechariah saw was open and large so that people could read it easily. During the restoration period, the returnees demonstrated an increased interest in the Mosaic Law, which was written on a scroll in Nehemia 8 (Neh 8). No one could plead ignorance, because the scroll in Zechariah’s vision was large enough for all to see and read… So you’ll notice this with God, when God discloses Himself, He does it in a way that people can’t ignore it, they cannot ignore it. His first disclosure is through natural revelation or creation, you know, it’s obvious God exists, Romans 1, because God has revealed Himself in creation and you can pretend like God isn’t there, you can play little games about everything came about accidentally and randomly over millions of years, but the truth of the matter is, anybody can see God exists because He’s disclosed Himself in creation. So it’s a revelation that cannot be ignored. The only way to ignore it is to deliberately suppress it and that is the significance of the size of this scroll. I mean, it is so big that you can’t, you know, pretend like it’s not there. You know, things that annoy us, we just kind of pretend like they’re not there, like if someone is annoying you or you get an annoying email, you just kind of pretend like it’s not there. Well, this thing is so big that you cannot pretend like it’s not there and that’s how God works when He wants to speak.
And we move away from what the vision is or how it’s described and now we move into the interpretation, verses 3 and 4 (Zech 5:3-4) and the interpretation is that judgment is coming. Judgment is coming to the people of Israel because of sin and God has to purge the nation of sin in order to restore them. So all of the wonderful things that He’s promised to do for them that we’ve read thus far in the book, that can’t happen unless God cleans house and that’s the description or the interpretation of the vision. So, you start to see this here in verse 3 (Zech 5:3), it says: Then he said to me, This is the curse… notice that…. that is going forth over the face of the whole land… so what’s written on this scroll is designed to bring a curse to the nation of Israel to discipline them for sin and that language of curse goes right back to the Mosaic Law that the nation of Israel was under. When God brought them to Mount Sinai, He put them under the Mosaic covenant and the Mosaic law and the covenant had built in it blessings and curses.
Blessings for obedience, Deuteronomy 28, verses 1 through 14 (Deut 28:1-14) but then the rest of the chapter is curses for disobedience, Deuteronomy 28, verses 15, I think through verse 68 (Deut 28:15-68), if memory serves.
Six Parts of a Suzerain-Vassal Treaty in Deuteronomy
And you’ll see the same, you’ll see a parallel passage in Leviticus 26 (Lev 26) and if you read through those passages you’ll understand exactly what’s happening in basically every Old Testament book. God is calling the people accountable according to the terms of this covenant and He’s calling them back to obedience so they’ll be blessed and if they continue on in disobedience by ignoring the ten commandments and all of the applications of the ten commandments, then they are going to be cursed. So, that’s what Zechariah is talking about here, when he said: Then he said to me, This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land. 18:32
Deuteronomy 27, verse 26 (Deut 27:26) concerning the Mosaic law says: Cursed is anyone who does not fulfill the words of this Law by doing them and all the people shall say, Amen… So that’s what this curse is, Uhm… you know, if you guys continue the way you’re going, there’s going to be a pile of curses that are going to build up. Eventually you’re going to be kicked out of your land and taken away as a captive, but if you go back to the law of Moses then, I’ll bless you and so this is what it’s dealing with. You’ll notice there in verse, again verse 3: Then he said to me, This is the curse which is going forth over the face of the whole land. Now the word for land here is “ha’arets” in Hebrew meaning “earth” and it’s true that sometimes that word can refer to the whole world, as in Genesis chapter 1, verse 1 (Gen 1:1) which says: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth… So that’s talking about everything but it’s also true that ha’arets can also be used to describe just the land of Israel. You’ll see it used that way in Zechariah 12:12 (Zech 12:12) where it mentions: The land will mourn, every family by itself; the family of the house of David by itself ; their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself and their wives by themselves… So there, ha’arets is used not of the whole world but it’s used just to the land of Israel and the term “ha’arets” is used of the land of Israel in Matthew 2, verse 6 (Matt 2:6) which translates that Hebrew word as earth or land, it kind of looks like in English, GEIGE.. and it says there: And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; for from you shall come forth the ruler who will shepherd my people Israel… So, ha’arets or land, whether it’s the Old Testament word or the New Testament word, can refer to the whole world, but it can also refer just to the land of Israel and I think the context here indicates that this word earth or land or ha’arets is used just to the land of Israel because we just saw earlier that judgment begins with who? The house of the Lord. 21:23
So, you figure out does ha’arets mean the whole world or just the local land of Israel based on what? Based on context. So Charles Feinberg says this concerning ha’arets:
Charles L. Feinberg – God Remembers:A Study of Zechariah (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950, p. 85.
“In this case ha’arets can only refer to the land of Israel, the whole of it. The reasons are to be found in the context: (1) because of the land of Judah only could it be affirmed that they swore in the name of Jehovah (vs. 4); (2) because in verse 11 the land is distinctly contrasted with the land of Shinar; and (3) because the reference to the two tables of the law restricts the curse primarily to those under the law. In view of these facts it is difficult to see how the whole earth could be referred to here.”
In this case ha’arets can only refer to the land of Israel… The reasons are to be found in the context: (1) because of the land of Judah… because of the land of Judah only could it be affirmed that they swore in the name of Jehovah; (2) because in verse 11 the land is distinctly contrasted with the land of Shinar… where the nation has just come back from Babylonian captivity… (3) because the references to the two tables of the law restrict…. restricts the curse primarily to those under the law. In view of these facts it is difficult to see how the whole earth could be referred to here… So this is not talking about a judgment that’s coming on the whole earth. This is talking about something that’s specifically coming to the nation of Israel and it’s something that God has to do to allow them to be restored, He’s got a deal with the sin issue, or the sin problem.
So what sins is God going to deal with? I’m so glad you asked. Those are mentioned second part of verse 3 and into verse 4 (Zech 5:3,4), there’s actually two sins mentioned here. Stealing, verse 3 and swearing falsely, end of verse 3 and the verse 4. So this is talking about the eight commandment, stealing. Exodus 20, verse 15 (Exo 20:15): Thou shalt not steal… and it’s also talking about the third commandment, Exodus chapter 20, verse 7 (Exo 20:7) about, you know, swearing falsely. So, let’s take a look at this. Notice what it says there, at the very end of verse 3, it says: …and everyone who swears will be purged away according to the writing on the other side… and just before that, it says: …surely everyone who steals will be purged away according to the writing on one side… So one side of the scroll repeats one of the commandments “don’t steal”, the other side of the scroll repeats a different commandment about swearing falsely and God says: Those who are involved in those activities in the land of Israel are basically going to be purged off or purged away. 24:20
So focusing, just for a little bit here on stealing. Verse 3 again (Zech 5:3): Then he said, This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land; surely everyone who steals will be purged away according to the writing on one side… So on one side of the scroll, was probably a repetition of commandment number, let’s see, eight “Thou shalt not steal”. You’ll find that in Exodus 20, verse 15 (Exo 20:15) when the original decalogue or the ten commandments was given to Moses, commandment number 8 was “Thou shalt not steal”. Now, we all know what stealing is and we all know or we should know that God doesn’t like it when we steal, you know, taking things that don’t belong to us. In the New Testament, this is what it says about stealing, Ephesians 4, verse 28 (Eph 4:28), it says: The one who steals must steal no longer; rather he must labor, producing with his own hands what is good, so that he will have something to share with the one who has need… So, this is talking about someone that’s a thief and then they get saved and now God says: The hands that used to steal, you know, pickpocket or whatever, embezzle money, let those same hands go to work and let them produce with productivity. So now, instead of stealing, you’ll be giving things away which is the opposite of stealing. 26:11
Uhm..when, you remember Zacchaeus in the tree, the tax collector. The reason he was in the tree is because he was so short probably and he was probably pushed to the back when the crowd wanted to see Jesus and the reason he was pushed to the back is a tax collector, in that culture, was the bottom of the barrel. It would be like an abortionist in today’s society or a pornographer, I mean, it’s like the low of the low and essentially what happened with the tax collector is… the tax collector was a Jew that went to work for Rome and when they work for Rome they were supposed to extract money from the Jews for Rome and once they were finished extracting a certain amount of money from the Jews for Rome, they could take anything else they wanted for themselves. So they were known as a) traitors because it was a Jew working for the occupier, Rome and they were known as thieves. So, when Zacchaeus gets saved, this is what it says, remember Jesus said to Zacchaeus: I’m coming to your house for dinner tonight? Zacchaeus in the tree, you know, this rejected, discarded dreg of society that just wanted to get up into the tree to see Jesus, this is what Zacchaeus says in Luke 19, verse 8 (Luke 19:8): But Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I am giving to the poor, and if I have extorted anything from anyone, I am giving back four times as much…(hahaha) That’s the biblical position on stealing. You get saved, you stop stealing and you start giving. So apparently in the land of Israel there was a lot of theft going on and there’s a lot of creative ways to steal. Uhm, you can steal by just wasting time on your employer’s dime, so to speak. You can steal by not paying someone their fair wages, withholding wages. Uhm, I think the government steals a lot by inflationary type things, you know, running up the money supply so that suddenly the hundred dollars in my wallet doesn’t buy much as it did last week, that’s a form of theft and there’s all kind of creative ways to steal, you know, there’s blue collar crime, there’s white collar crime, there’s outright pickpocketing, outright robbery but then there’s people that do it secretly, you know, where they just take a little bit of money per transaction for themselves so when you see it on your credit card and you don’t really notice it. I mean, we all know what theft is, we all know what stealing is, it comes in various forms and I’m just here to tell you that God hates it and He hated it when it was happening there in the land of Israel. 29:38
So that’s why on one side of the scroll, you found the eight commandment “Thou shalt not steal”. So God says: The people that steal are going to be purged off… What does that mean? Purged. Well, it’s something that Zechariah speaks of in chapter 13, verses 8 and 9 (Zech 13:8-9) when the nation of Israel is going to be put into the future tribulation period and as they go into that future tribulation period, two thirds of them in unbelief are going to be purged off and only one third is going to remain and that one third will be the remnant which will be in faith, but God can’t bring the blessings that He wants to bring into and through Israel until this issue of theft is resolved. So, we’ll say it later in Zechariah 13, 8-9 (Zech 13:8-9): And it will come about in all the land, Declares the LORD, That two parts in it will be cut off and perish; But the third will be left in it. And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. Then they will call upon My name, And I will answer them; and I will say, They are My people, And they will say, The LORD is my God. So, once the purging is finished, once the purging is completed, the only thing left is going to be this believing one third and that’s how God is going to deal with this issue of theft. The people involved in theft, the two thirds unbelievers are going to be purged off in the coming tribulation and then over in the book of Ezekiel chapter 20, verses 33 (Ezek 20:33-38) through 38, there’s a similar kind of prophecy, it says: As I live, declares the Lord God, surely with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out, I will be king over you. I will bring you from the peoples and gather you from the lands where you are scattered, and with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm and with wrath poured out; I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will enter judgment with you face to face… This is God dealing with unbelievers in His midst in the land of Israel at the end of the tribulation period… As I entered into judgment with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will enter into judgment with you, declares the Lord God. I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; and I will purge… see that language? Zechariah 13 uses that language, Ezekiel 20 uses that language and that’s the same language right there in verse 3… I will purge from you the rebels and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the land where they sojourn, but they will not enter into the land of Israel. Thus you will know that I am the Lord… So in the end, Israel will be perfectly pure, every Jew will be in faith and stealing and theft as a way of life, you know, consequently, will become a thing of the past. This is… I think what is being described here, there in verse 3. A lot of people resist the eschatological interpretation that I’m giving, they think this has something to do with the past, but to be honest with you, God has never really purged Israel this way. I mean, even today, you go to Israel and you see Jews there in unbelief. So obviously, the type of purging that God wants to do hasn’t transpired yet. So I’m seeing an eschatological end times flavor to this and it fits with the context of the book because Zechariah picks up the subject in chapter 13. 34:06
Charles Feinberg of this issue says:
Charles L. Feinberg – God Remembers:A Study of Zechariah (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950, p. 86-87.
“To what period of Israel’s history should this version be referred?… We take the position that the immediate reference of the prophecy is to the time of the prophet without any need to specify that the sins were committed either with regard to the rebuilding of the temple or the offerings and tithes of the Lord. Surely these infractions were committed many times over by the contemporaries of the prophet and in many phases of their life. But, judging from the weight of the context, the fuller realization of the prophecy is in that time before the purging of the land from all sin and sinners, the period immediately preceding the setting up of the kingdom of the Son of David…According to the character of the former visions the prophet proceeds from the immediate present to the remote future.”
“…And so here. It is sufficient to say, in refuting the contention…granted that this passage does not speak of a cleansing preparatory to the kingdom of the Messiah, surely other passages teach it. First of all, we take the full force of the passage, but we must go on from this to compare Scripture with Scripture. There is a partial aspect to all prophecy which leads us not to expect all of any given truth in one prophetic revelation or passage. If it is sad to contemplate that such sins were actually present in Israel after the chastening of the Babylonian captivity, it is all the more so to understand from the Word of God that such will be the condition after a world-wide exile and dispersion during this age of grace.”
To what period of Israel’s history should this version… or vision… be referred?… We take the position that the immediate reference of the prophecy is to the time of the prophet without any need to specify that the sins were committed either with regard to the rebuilding of the temple or the offerings and tithes of the Lord. Surely these infractions were committed many times over by the contemporaries of the prophets and in many phases of their life. But, judging from the weight of the context… you notice how this word context keeps coming up? You define things in the Bible based on their context, So Feinberg says: But judging from the context the fuller realization of the prophecy is in that time just before the purging of the land from all sin and sinners, the period immediately preceding the setting up of the kingdom of the Son of David…According to the character of the former visions the prophet proceeds from the immediate present to the remote future. And so here. It is sufficient to say, in refuting the contention…granted that this passage does not speak of a cleansing preparatory to the kingdom of the Messiah, surely other passages do teach it. First of all, we are to take the full force of the passage, but we must go on from this to compare Scripture with Scripture. There is a partial aspect to all prophecy which leads us to expect all of any given truth… leads us not to expect rather all of any given truth in one prophetic revelation or passage. If it is sad to contemplate that such sins were actually present in Israel after the chastening of the Babylonian captivity, it is all the more so to understand from the Word of God that such will be the condition after a worldwide dispersion during this age of grace… (Close quote) So what he is saying is: If you think the purging has already happened, you ain’t seen nothing yet. Israel is going to go through this time of distress and she’s going to be purged like you wouldn’t believe to the point where two thirds of the Jewish people are going to be killed. 36:46
Now, you talk like this to a Jewish person today, they don’t want to hear anything about this because their philosophy is “Never again”. I mean, the holocaust killed a third, right? And they say: Never again, that’s never going to happen again… and here comes the biblical eschatologist saying: Actually, what Hitler did by eradicating a third of the Jews is going to be multiplied from one third to two thirds in the events of the tribulation period and this is all instructive for us to read even in the church age. I mean, although we’re not the ones purged, we’re raptured to heaven as these things are happening. You know, then why study this? because it shows us the hatred, the holy hatred that God has for sin. Is God a God of love? Of course He is, but at the same time He’s a God of holiness whose eyes are so pure that He cannot look upon sin and God can’t do what He wants to do with Israel until this issue of theft is resolved and so you see the drastic measures God’s going to take amongst His own people to pull this off. Judgment begins in the household of God and then… Now Zechariah deals with what’s on the opposite side of the scroll and he does that at the end of verse 3 and into verse 4, (Zech 5:3,4)
He says: And everyone who swears will be purged away according to the writing on the other side… So here he’s dealing with, end of verse 3 (Zech 5:3), the third commandment, the third commandment Exodus 20, verse 7 (Exo 20:7) says, this idea of swearing, it says: You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not leave him unpunished who takes His name in vain… I remember sitting next to, when I was… let’s see… this must have been my junior year in high school or my senior year in high school… a very devout Jewish guy named David Levi and we were having to read out loud, you know, going from student to student, reading different parts of a classic in English, supposedly, that involved taking the Lord’s name in vain. It was a…. Oh gosh, what’s the name of that book? Well, anyway… I guess it doesn’t matter cause it’s got profanity in it but it’s an English classic and so, I remember there was the name God and then the D word after it and I remember they got to David Levi and he just wouldn’t read it. The teacher told him to read it and he wouldn’t read it and I had a lot of respect for him for that because a devout Jewish person who understands the third commandment doesn’t take the Lord’s name in vain, it’s just something they do not do. In fact, when you look at how a Jewish person ends an email or signs a letter, they’ll spell out God’s name but they leave out, you know, a key vowel. So everybody knows who they’re talking about but at the same time they’re not being flippant with the name of God and apparently the nation of Israel had lost sight of this and there was a lot of swearing falsely in God’s name, a lot of taking God’s name in vain and God doesn’t like it and He basically says: Okay, let’s have on the opposite side of the scroll, just like we had on one side of the scroll the eight commandment, let’s have on the opposite side of the scroll the third commandment. 41:03
Now, is God only interested in enforcing the eighth commandment and the third commandment or is He interested in enforcing all ten commandments? I think He is interested in enforcing all ten and this is an example of something called a… Here’s the fancy word for the day: a “synecdoche” which basically means a part for the whole. So, when the person on the news says: Today the White House said… Obviously we don’t think… First of all, the White House cannot talk, right? Secondly, when you use the word White House, you’re using it as a reference to refer really to the whole United States government. So it’s a part for the whole and when you take the ten commandments and you divide them up, what you’ll see is commandments one through four deal with our vertical relationship to the Lord. The first four of the ten commandments deal with that. Then you get to commandment number five, I think it is, where it says: Honour your father and mother… you know… that you may live long in the land. Now, there’s a switch from the vertical to the horizontal and those are not so much dealing with our vertical relationship to the Lord directly, they are dealing with the horizontal relationship to one another. So, you have to understand that when Israel received the ten commandments on Mount Sinai, they had come out of Egypt in redemption and they had been there for four hundred years and so, they come out of Egypt, they are now redeemed nation, they’re totally grumbling against God for a period of about two months as they make their way to Mount Sinai and so God consequently puts them under the Mosaic law. Now, why did God put them under the Mosaic law? Not to redeem them, they already were redeemed thanks to the Passover lamb that was sacrificed, the blood of the Passover lamb, plague ten and the passing through the Red Sea, the closing of the Red Sea, the drowning of the Egyptians. So that’s redemption, they already had it. So God did not give them the law to redeem them. He did not give them the law to redeem a nation, he gave the law to a redeemed nation, you see the difference? Because the Pharisees around the time of Christ had this whole thing mixed up and they were using the law as an instrument for salvation when… if you just pay attention to the chronology of the Bible, you’ll see that God never gave the law as an instrument of salvation, they already had salvation, He give them the law so that they could understand how they are to act as God’s special redeemed nation. 44:20
So, how do we interact with the rest of the world as God’s special nation? They wouldn’t know how because they’ve been in Egyptian bondage for four hundred years which is an awful long time. That’s the United States of America roughly double. It’s a huge amount of time they were in bondage and by the way, Egyptian bondage is a type in the Bible of what we were like as Christians, before we were Christians as unbelievers. So we go through this same process, you know, we’re saved through the blood of Christ, in faith alone through Christ alone but we don’t have any idea how to act. So God puts us under, not the Mosaic law but the law of Christ to teach us how to be progressively sanctified, not redeemed, but progressively sanctified and the whole Lordship salvation controversy where people are preaching the Gospel saying: Unless you… you know… commit every area of your life to Christ, you are not a Christian… The most basic way to understand why that’s flawed is just pay attention to the order in Exodus. First comes redemption, then two months pass and then comes sanctification. The law was not given to save anybody. The law was not given to redeem a nation, but it was given to a redeemed nation. So as God is dealing with His people, they are not living up to the standards of the law, so they are in bondage for four hundred years, they’re redeemed, they had no idea how to act. Gee, how do we interact with the nations around us? Oh, the Mosaic law has the answer to that. You’re a kingdom of priests. Okay, well how do we worship you, God? I mean, we’ve been in Egyptian polytheism for four hundred years, now we’re redeemed, how do we worship you? Oh, the Mosaic law has the answer for that. It’s called the tabernacle. Oh, well, if we sin, we can’t lose redemption but how do we maintain fellowship with you, in spite of the fact that we as your people sin? Oh, the Mosaic law has the answer for that, it’s called the Levitical animal sacrificial system. Well, gee, Lord we don’t really know how to relate to you specifically as your redeemed people. Oh, the Mosaic law has the answer for that. It’s called commandments one through four. Yeah, but Lord we don’t really know as your redeemed people, how we’re supposed to interact with each other horizontally. Oh, the Mosaic law has the answer for that, it’s called commandments six through ten. 47:21
So, when the scroll appears and Zechariah sees on one side commandment eight from that first section, vertical, excuse me, horizontal and then he sees on the other side commandment number, what do we say? three which is not horizontal but it’s vertical, that’s a synecdoche. Both sections are covered, horizontal and vertical, they’re parts for the whole. So what Zechariah saw was a scroll with the vertical section on it, the horizontal section on it which is taken as a part for the whole or a synecdoche for all of the ten commandments. So God is not just upset that the nation of Israel is violating two of the ten commandments, He is upset that they’re violating all ten of the ten commandments and if they are violating all ten, then what in the world are they doing with the other, what are there? six hundred and thirteen laws? Because as you go through the book of Deuteronomy, a great way to outline it is to… it just goes in chronological order once you get past all of the historical review stuff. It’s a series of commandments that are an outgrowth of commandment number one. Next section, a series of commandments that are an outgrowth of commandment number two. So if you won’t respect the first ten, you’re not going to respect the, what is it? six hundred and thirteen laws total? and so God is not just upset that they’re violating two commandments, He’s upset that there are people that are God’s holy people and they’re just acting like His law doesn’t even exist. That’s what God is upset about. That’s why He’s got a put them through this purging so that the unbelievers doing this are going to be broken off and a third will come through the fire and respect the law of God and then God will bless the nation and bless the whole world in and through the nation of Israel. So this is what you call a synecdoche. 49:44
Thomas L. Constable – Constable’s online notes on Zechariah, p. 57.
“Writing was on both sides of the scroll, as it had been on the stone tables that contained the Ten Commandments (Exod. 32:15). On one side there was a curse against Israelites who broke the eighth commandment (Exod. 20:15), and on the other side was a curse for breaking the third commandment (Exod. 20:7). These two commandments, from the first part of the Decalogue and the second part, which Zechariah’s contemporaries were apparently breaking frequently, probably represent by synecdoche the whole Law (cf. James 2:10). ‘Synecdoche’ is a figure of speech in which the writer uses a part, or parts, to represent the whole, or the whole to represent a part.”
“Yahweh then promised to cause His curse to seek out the guilty and to bring judgment on them. He personified the curse and pictured it going throughout the land, even into homes, to seek out law-breakers. God’s Word still had its ancient power even in post-exilic Judaism. Even the privacy of their homes would not afford protection from the judgment that the Lord would send on those of His people who broke His law.”
So Constable writes: Writing on both sides of the scroll, as it had been on the stone tables that contained the Ten Commandments. On one side there was a curse against the Israelites who broke the eighth commandment, and on the other side was a curse for breaking the third commandment. These two commandments, from the first part of the Decalogue and the second part, which Zechariah’s contemporaries were apparently breaking frequently, probably represent… and there it is our S word… synecdoche the whole Law… By the way, doesn’t the book of James say that? If you break one part of the law you are guilty of what? You’re guilty of breaking all of it. Constable says: …A “Synecdoche” is a figure of speech in which the writer uses a part, or parts, to represent the whole, or the whole to represent a part… So this, most people would understand this, most commentators would understand this as a synecdoche. You look there at verse 4 (Zech 5:4) and it says: I will make it go forth, declares the LORD of hosts… Now watch this… it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name; and it will spend the night within that house and consume it with its timber and stones. So, you would think that, I mean, isn’t a man’s house his castle? I mean, whatever I do in my house, that’s my business right? No, because judgment begins in the house of the Lord, the house of the Lord would include what you’re doing in your individual house. So, in other words, once this judgment starts, God is not going to respect their privacy. God is not going to say, sorry I can’t go in there, that’s your private house. God says I’m going to right into your house and see exactly what you’re doing as you’re violating my law. So Constable says: Yahweh then promised to cause His curse to seek out the guilty and to bring judgment on them. He personified the curse and pictured it going through the land.. so notice it starts with the land, the land of Israel as we’ve explained and then it goes into people’s private homes… He personified the curse pictured going through the land even into homes, to seek out law-breakers. God’s Word still had its ancient power even in post-exilic Judaism. Even the privacy of their homes… Even the privacy of their homes would not afford protection from the judgment that the Lord would send on those of His people who broke His law… (end of quote) 53:11
So the application I guess for us is, Uhm, what’s going on in our homes? I think it was pastor Dennis Rokser, I heard him say once that the test of spirituality or the test of your spiritual maturity or spiritual growth or the test of the spiritual life is how we conduct ourselves in our homes, amongst our family and by the way, we nominate people for elders and deacons at this church because we have a kind of a term system, rotating type of system and there’s a time of questioning particular candidates who are nominated and a question frequently asked by our elders and I’m so proud that we have elders that have enough spiritual foresight to ask this question is: Oh, would your wife or your spouse nominate you for elder? Wow, would your wife or your spouse, would they nominate you for deacon? Because they probably know you better than anybody else and if the test of your spiritual life is what takes place in the home, I mean, that’s a fair question to ask, isn’t it? That’s the kind of thing that Zechariah is talking about. I remember Billy Graham talking about this. Billy Graham, I guess, before he was an evangelist, was a pastor and he was making like house calls on people and he would look in the window and he could see the people on the window and then they would figure out, Oh no, the pastor’s on the doorstep and they would, you know, hide the magazines or they would turn the channel on the tv because they didn’t want to be embarrassed when the pastor, unannounced, knocked on their door and came into their living room and Billy Graham’s point is: Well if they are that worried about little old me, what about God? I mean, if they’re afraid of me, that’s one thing, but shouldn’t they be afraid of God who is omniscient and can see everything? And so there’s this issue here of the homes, you know, or the houses. The judgment of God starts in the house (a) the land of Israel; (b) the temple. Now if you want to learn about the temple, read Ezekiel 8. You would not believe what the priests were doing in the temple. Ezekiel was actually shown a vision of it and they had all of these idolatrous paintings all over the temple walls and God shows Ezekiel in a vision why He’s bringing judgment, because of what they’re doing in His house. So, there’s the land of Israel and there’s God’s house; then God says: when I bring this judgment, I’m going into your house. So…uhm, and when I go in there, look at the very end of verse 4 (Zech 5:4): …and consume… Wow… with it, its timber and stones… So, it’s this idea of a consuming disciplinary curse, a consuming disciplinary fire that knows no… it knows no limits. So it’s kind of like when a hurricane goes through an area and unearths everybody’s house and everything going on in that house, what’s been read, what’s been watched… is now unearthed and is out for everybody to see… that’s the kind of thing that Zechariah, you know, it’s describing here. 57:24
So, that takes us to the end of the flying scroll and I’m glad that one’s over with, amen? I mean, it’s nor over with prophetically but it’s over with in terms of our Bible Study for tonight. So the next time we’re together, which will be next week, I will be here next week, even though I’m coming back from the pre-trib conference, I will be here to teach. I believe that’s our last study of the quarter, is that right? And so, then we won’t be having a formal Bible Study, we have our gingerbread house thing on the following Wednesday and then we reconvene, I’m pretty sure the first Wednesday in January, does that sound right?… which? The fifth? Well, we reconvene January the fifth, but even though we’re coming back on January fifth to finish the book… we’re not doing that bad, we’re almost halfway through. So, I mean, this isn’t like the book of Jude or Philemon, you know, that go by fast, this takes a little time. So we’re not doing that bad, can I get an amen from somebody out there? Thank you. We’re almost halfway through… next week we’re going to look at the woman in the basket
where it’s a description of: Okay, God is going to take all the sin out of Israel but where is it going? Where is the sin going? And where it’s going is to the place that they just got released from in terms of captivity. It’s going to Babylon and it’s going to Shinar. So this becomes one of the key pieces of prophecy about a last day’s program of evil headquartered not in Rome as we’ve all been taught by different prophecy teachers but headquartered in modern day Iraq and so, we’ll see that next time. So with that being said, it’s eight o’clock sharp, this would be a good time for you that need to go, go, collect your young ones…