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Tuesday, June 18th, 2024
the Week of Proper 6 / Ordinary 11
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Bible Commentaries
Zechariah 5

Gaebelein's Annotated BibleGaebelein's Annotated

Verses 1-11


1. The sixth vision (Zechariah 5:1-4 )

2. The seventh vision (Zechariah 5:5-11 )

Zechariah 5:1-4 . The three remaining night visions are of a different character. The first visions the prophet had were visions of comfort for Jerusalem and the dispersed nation, the overthrow of Babylon and all their enemies, divine forgiveness and the theocracy restored. Now follow the last three visions, and these are visions of judgment. Judgment precedes Israel’s restoration, and is very prominently connected with it.

The sixth night vision is the one of the flying roll. The prophet’s eyes seem to have been closed after the fifth vision, for we read, “And I lifted up my eyes again.” The flying roll he sees is twenty cubits long and ten cubits broad. The interpreting angel tells the prophet that it is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole land; for every one that stealeth shall be cut off on this side according to it, and every one that sweareth shall be cut off on that side according to it. The LORD of hosts has brought it forth and it is to enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth by His Name to a falsehood, and it shall lodge in the midst of His house and consume it, both its wood and its stone.

That this vision means judgment is evident at the first glance. Ezekiel had a similar vision. “And when I looked, behold, an hand was sent unto me; and, lo, a roll of a book was therein; And he spread it before me; and it was written within and without: and there was written therein lamentations, and mourning, and woe Ezekiel 2:9-10 ).” Ezekiel was to eat that book. This reminds us at once of the books in Revelation (chapters 5 and 10), which are likewise connected with God’s judgments in the earth. The flying roll is written on both sides, signifying the two tables of stone, the law of God. Stealing and swearing falsely are mentioned because the one is found on the one side of the two tables of stone, and the other on the other side. However, it is no longer “Thou shalt not,” but on the flying roll are written the curses, the awful curses against the transgressors of God’s law which are now about to be put into execution. The curse is found in its awful details, as it refers to an apostate people in Deuteronomy 27:1-26 ; Deuteronomy 28:1-68 . The roll is of immense size, and on it are the dread curses of an angry God. The vision must have been one of exceeding great terror. Imagine a roll, probably illumined at night with fire, moving over the heavens, and on it the curses of an eternal God--wherever it moves its awful message is seen; nothing is hid from its awe-inspiring presence. It reminds one of the fiery handwriting on the wall in the king’s palace. Surely such an awful judgment is coming by and by, when our God will keep silence no longer. One of the sublimest judgment Psalms, the Fiftieth, mentions something similar to this flying roll. “When thou sawest a thief then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit. Thou sittest and speaketh against thy brother, thou slanderest thine own mother’s son. These things hast thou done, and I kept silence; thou thoughtest that I was altogether such a one as thyself. but I will reprove thee, and set them in order before thine eyes” Psalms 50:18-23 . The flying roll stands undoubtedly in connection with wickedness, theft, and false swearing, as it is found in so many forms in unbelieving Israel, but it finds also a large application in the judgment of wickedness throughout the earth in the glorious day of His appearing.

Zechariah 5:5-11 . The angel commands the prophet to lift up his eyes to behold another startling vision. What are the leading figures in the vision? An ephah--which is a Jewish measure standing here for commerce. The eyes of all the land (or earth) are upon it. Commercialism is very prominent in Revelation in connection with the full measure of wickedness, the climax of ungodliness. In Revelation 18:1-24 merchants are mentioned who have grown rich through the abundance of her delicacies. Then the merchants are seen weeping, for no man buys their merchandise any more. And then a long list follows, including all the articles of modern commerce. Compare this with the awful description of the last times in James 5:1-20 . Rich men are commanded to weep and howl, for miseries are come upon them. They heaped treasure together for the last days, and it was a heaping together by fraud, dishonesty in keeping back the hire of the laborers. They lived in pleasure (luxuriously) and were wanton. Indeed, here is that burning question of the day, capital and labor, and its final outcome, misery and judgment upon commercialism, riches heaped up, and all in wickedness. In Habakkuk 2:12 the woe of judgment of that coming glory of the Lord is pronounced upon him that buildeth a town with blood and established a city by iniquity! The people are seen laboring for the fire and wearying themselves for vanity. Luxuries increase, riches, etc., are mentioned in the second and third chapters of Isaiah, chapters of judgment. Other passages could be quoted, but these are sufficient for our purpose. They show us that the climax of wickedness as it is in the earth when judgment will come, and Israel’s time commences once more, will be connected with commerce, riches and luxuries. The ephah points to this.

In the second place let us notice that in the midst of the ephah there is seen a woman. She is called wickedness. The Hebrew word wickedness is translated by the Septuagint with “anomia”. We find that the Holy Spirit uses the same word in 2 Thessalonians 2:8 , and then shall be revealed in the wicked one (anomia) whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the Spirit of His mouth. The woman in the ephah personifies wickedness. She has surrounded herself with the ephah and sits in the midst of it. Have we not here the great whore having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication? Undoubtedly. This woman is the type of evil and wickedness in its highest form. Let us glance at that wonderful description of that woman in Revelation. She is the great whore sitting upon many waters. She sits upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman is arrayed in purple and scarlet decked with gold, precious stones and pearls. Upon her forehead is seen her name, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations in the earth. She is drunk with the blood of the saints. The woman in the ephah represents the same great whore, Babylon the Great. This becomes at once clear when we take into consideration that the woman in the ephah is carried swiftly away an a house is built for her in the land of Shinar, and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base. Now the land of Shinar is Babylonia. But while in Revelation 17:1-18 the mystical Babylon is seen, in the eighteenth chapter there is another Babylon, the final great political-commercial world system; it is still future, not very far away, for we see that the trend of modern events is towards such a combination. The vision of the ephah and the woman evidently sealed up in it may denote the overthrow and judgment of the final Babylon.

Bibliographical Information
Gaebelein, Arno Clemens. "Commentary on Zechariah 5". "Gaebelein's Annotated Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gab/zechariah-5.html. 1913-1922.
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