1 I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll. 2 He asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.” 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. 4 The Lord Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones.’” Zechariah 5:1-4
At this point in the book of Zechariah, we have considered five visions which were rather encouraging to the people of Israel. And, even though God has a tremendous heart for the Jews, He has always had a tremendous heart for the world, as well. But, as we saw in Zechariah 3, God must deal with our sin before we can access His blessing.
In v.1-2 of today's text we read, "1 I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll. 2 He asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide."
Zechariah sees a scroll which was rather large, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide. That is thirty feet by fifteen feet. And, it was a flying scroll, which meant it was unwound. It was a wide-unrolled scroll flying through the air, and, it was exactly the size of the Holy Place in the tabernacle. That meant God made it to conform to His divine dimensions. It meant the scroll was the divine standard by which He judges all things.
Now, as we will see, this scroll contained the curse of God’s judgment which needlessly awaited every person who had no atonement for his sin. The criterion for God’s judgment has always been and will always be His definition of all things. God made this flying scroll to conform to the Holy Place in the tabernacle in the temple because that was the form of His divine measurement. And the flying scroll is simply the curse that is based on God’s divine measures. That’s the criterion for judgment. This is a symbol of the Word of God, and it is the Word of God that is alive and powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword, that pierces and divides accordingly. It is the Word of God that is the criterion, the written and the living Word of God.
In v.3 of today's text we read, "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."
Here, God uses exactly the same phrase that He used to describe the Mosaic Law when it was given on tablets of stone. “On one side and on the other side.” Again, aligning it with His divine standard. His divine standard is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Lord Jesus said in John 3:17-18, "For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son."
God will not judge mankind on the basis of man's good works, He will judge man on the basis of His truth. And, His Word is the truth. Judgment will always be based on the Word of God. So the criterion for God’s judgment on the sinner is God’s Word. His written Word, the Bible, and His living Word, the Lord Jesus.
But His judgment received by man will be needless since the Lord Jesus took the penalty for our sin on Himself on the cross. In 2 Corinthians 5:21 we read, "God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God."
Again, in v.3 we read, "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 better translation of the word "land" is "earth." God is describing the finality and totality of His judgment on all mankind at the end of time as we know it. And, the word "curse" means the punishment or the retribution, which will fall on those who reject God’s Word and His Son. So, the scroll describes God's judgment.
According to Revelation 5, when the Lord Jesus comes, He will take the scroll out of the hand of His Father and He will unroll it and the seven seals, the seven trumpets, and the seven bowls, will come forth. This will happen during that seven year period designed to bring Israel back to God. In Jeremiah 30:7 it is called "A time of Jacob's trouble." You will remember that Israel is the believing name of Jacob, therefore it is a time when God will draw unbelieving Israel or Jacob back to Himself. And, once He does, He will use them to reach the world with the Gospel.
We read at the end of v.3, "every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished."
For those who have no forgiveness for violating God's law, and we have all done that, they will feel the wrath of God's rod. The rod and the staff used by the shepherd will either comfort us or they will judge us. It all depends upon what we did with the Lord Jesus' offer of salvation.
In v.3, God highlights two specific sins, stealing and lying. These are mentioned here because God wrote His law on one side of the tablet of stone and on the flip side He wrote the rest of it. There were five laws on one side and five laws on the other side. On the front side, the command about stealing, was the third command, the middle of the five. On the other side, swearing falsely was the third of the five, the middle of the five. By referring to the middle one on both sides of His law, God was encompassing the whole law.
And so, we find that by taking one command from each side of the Mosaic Law, the middle command, God was representing the whole Law and He is simply saying that if a man defiles God’s law on one side or God’s law on another side, he will be banished.
And, if a person has not received the salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ, he will stand condemned by those acts of violating God’s law. Religious arrogance and personal pride are both major stumbling blocks for people when they are offered the unmerited and undeserved Gift of God through His Son. And, v.3 ends with it says they will be banished or separated from all that is good and whole for eternity.
Finally, in v.4 of today's text we read, "The Lord Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of anyone who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely, both its timbers and its stones."
This judgment can be seen in Revelation 6-16. It will be a needless judgment in a sense, since the Lord Jesus came to bear the penalty for our sin. All those who reject God's free gift of salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ will suffer this judgment. C.S. Lewis once said, "A man whose hands are full of parcels can’t receive a free gift." Most people do not know this forgiveness of sin because it is accessed by our need to let go of all our "good works", and simply cry out to the God of the Bible for His help in order to receive His amazing gift of GRACE through the Son of His name, the Lord Jesus Christ.