SIGNS IN THE SKY
Father God, as I read your Word today, open my eyes to connect the temporal with the permanent, my daily life with your eternal plan.
Read ZECHARIAH 5
The Flying Scroll
5 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.[a]”
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.’”
The Woman in a Basket
5 Then the angel who was speaking to me came forward and said to me, “Look up and see what is appearing.”
6 I asked, “What is it?”
He replied, “It is a basket.” And he added, “This is the iniquity[b] of the people throughout the land.”
7 Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman! 8 He said, “This is wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed its lead cover down on it.
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.
10 “Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel who was speaking to me.
11 He replied, “To the country of Babylonia[c] to build a house for it. When the house is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.”
New International Version (NIV)Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
‘… if [ judgment] begins with us [God’s household], what will the outcome be for those who do not obey the gospel of God?’1
Like some great advertising banner trailed behind an airplane for everyone to see, the oversized scroll in Zechariah’s sixth vision flies throughout Judah, warning the returnees against breaking God’s commandments. Two offences are mentioned (theft and taking God’s name in vain, vs 3, 4). Committing these offences is equivalent to breaking the whole Law and leads to divine retribution.2 Some Jews probably imagined that their participation in building the Temple meant that God would gratefully overlook their acts of disobedience. The vision issues a warning to every one of us. We must never compromise with sin and try to bargain for God’s favor.
The flying scroll spoke of God’s judgment of individual sins and sinners among the people. In the seventh vision, their sinfulness in general is likened to a basket containing wickedness (personified as a woman), which is carried off to Babylonia. The Tower of Babel once stood there, causing the region to be identified henceforth in Scripture with man’s defiance of God. The passage seems to imply Babylon’s future judgment by God (when the house being built for the basket ‘is ready’, v 11).
Babylon’s ultimate doom is graphically portrayed in the book of Revelation.3 There, as in Zechariah’s seventh vision where the woman cannot break out of the basket that contains her (v 8), we see that wickedness is limited by God’s power and it is under his sovereign control. Let us not fret when evil seems openly and triumphantly to parade before our eyes with apparent impunity! God is too holy, just, and good to let evil-doers get away with it! May we take comfort in his supreme authority over all things!
The scroll and basket were signs of impending judgment given to Zechariah. Use the signs of the end times Jesus gives us4 to inform your prayers today.
Patient One, forgive me for not taking sin seriously. I become so used to adjusting to sin in my life that I lose my sensitivity to it. Forgive me, and once more cleanse me from sin.
1 1 Pet 4:17 2 Cf James 2:10 3 Rev 17–19 4 Matt 24
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