Visions Six and Seven

Zechariah Five


          The sixth vision that Zechariah saw was that of a flying scroll. (Zechariah 5:1-4) In this vision Zechariah saw a scroll flying without any human assistance. The vision does not identify the speaker. We simply read, "He said." Likely the messenger was the angel that had spoken in the earlier visions. In this vision the attention must be upon the scroll. In that day a writing scroll might be up to twelve inches wide and possibly several feet in length. This scroll was 20 cubits by 10 cubits or about 30 feet by 15 feet. The flying scroll represents the curse that went out over the whole land against those who steal and those who swear falsely. The message was that God's curse would be upon anyone who repeated the dishonest deeds that had helped to bring about the captivity. The people had spent 70 years in captivity because of these sins and now they could not relapse into that same evil again.


          The seventh vision was that of a woman in a basket. (Zechariah 5:5-11) In this vision the first thing that the prophet saw was an ephah or a basket going away from him. The lid of the basket was made of lead. Inside the basket was a woman. This “basket vision” represented the iniquities that were in the land. The woman that represented wickedness was shoved back into the basket and the lid was put back on the basket. Zechariah then saw two other women who were taking the basket away. The messenger said they were taking it to the land of Shinar to build a house for it. The picture is that the sins of the people were taken to a land far away. Shinar (Genesis 10:10-11) and Babylon (Revelation 14:8) are two expressions that represent evil nations that stood against God. The sins of the people were removed during captivity. Now they are home and rebuilding their land. However, this does not completely remove the evil powers that are in the world.


          The prophet saw a flying scroll -- Zechariah 5:1-2: The two visions in this chapter deal with the removal of evil from the land. The sixth vision deals with the removal of lawbreakers from the land. The next vision deals with the removal of wickedness itself. The nation of Israel would enjoy glory but first it must be purged of iniquity. Zechariah saw a flying scroll. A scroll was a book used for writing. This scroll contained a message from God. The message was that every person that steals and every one that swears shall be cut off from the land. These two sins represent all sins that might be done against God or man. The scroll that Zechariah saw was large. It was 30 feet by 15 feet. This flying scroll was sent out over the land. It was open so that it could be easily read. Today God's message is written so clearly that no one can claim ignorance.


          The meaning of the flying scroll -- Zechariah 5:3-4: The messenger explained that the scroll contained the curse that God decreed against the nation of Israel that had stolen and sworn falsely in the Lord's name. This scroll puts a curse on everyone in the land that steals or tells lies. The writing on one side tells about the destruction of those who steal, while the writing on the other side tells about the destruction of those who lie." God's desire was that the land be purged of sin. He had said that the people of the Land were sinful and should be destroyed. He could not allow His people to do the same sinful things. Most of the time a scroll was written on one side only. Much like the tables of stone that God gave Moses this scroll was written on both sides. "And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written." (Exodus 32:15) In breaking part of the Law the Jews were guilty of breaking the whole. James 2:10 says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." God's curse would seek out the guilty and bring judgment upon them. The "curse" would go into houses seeking out the law breakers. You cannot hide from God's judgment. The captivity is over and the people cannot go back to the sinful things that they did that brought about the captivity in the first place. The sinners that would not repent are to be cut off from the land. God's message cleanses the heart and the life of people. 


          The vision of a woman in a basket -- Zechariah 5:5-7: The messenger called the attention of Zechariah to an ephah or a basket. The sixth vision dealt with removal of the sinful persons from the land. This vision deals with the removal of wickedness itself. Zechariah was given this most unusual vision to picture the removal of evil. The prophet saw a basket flying away. The basked was an ephah in size. This was a basket about the size of a bushel or a little over. Inside the basket a woman was sitting. The ephah is presented as having a lead stone as a cover which was lifted or opened to allow Zechariah to see inside. The lead cover was to guarantee that what was inside could not get out. In the style of the other visions Zechariah inquired as to what this vision meant. Great evil had been committed and now evil must be removed from the land. The woman gives birth to all living beings. She is used here to picture that which gives birth to sin and vileness. The desire of God was that all wickedness be removed from the land.


          The meaning of the woman in the basket -- Zechariah 5:8-11: The messenger explained to Zechariah that the woman represented wickedness. This would be a picture of the conflict between good and evil. We know that wickedness never wants to be restrained. Wickedness leads to a horrible end for the sinner. "Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner." (Proverbs 13:6) The prophet next saw two other women flying through the air with stork wings. Storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills. They are related to the herons and spoonbills that we would be much more familiar with in our area. Zechariah asked where the basket was being taken. The answer was "To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base." Shinar refers to Babylon, the land of their captivity. Such abomination says that idolatry and other sinful practices that the Jews were involved with belonged to Babylon and should be left there forever. Babylon is the source of these sinful practices so back to Babylon they will go. This does not speak well for Babylon or for the Jews who chose to stay there.


             Our all-powerful God expects sincere worship and moral living from people today. Zechariah taught concerning the importance of purity of life. The fountain has been opened whereby we can be cleansed. "In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness." (Zechariah 13:1) This fountain that is opened to all is filled with the blood of Jesus. To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus (John 8:24), repent of sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Acts 8:37), and be baptized to be saved. (1 Peter 3:21) After baptism follow Jesus in faithfulness as He leads you home to heaven. (Revelation 2:10)