Summary: God has promised restoration to the repentant remnant but before that period of blessing can dawn, God must deal with stubborn & unrepentant sinners. If the way of Grace is not accepted, judgment must come.
ZECHARIAH 5: 1-4
THE FLYING SCROLL
(The Sixth Vision)
The first five visions are certainly prophecies of hope and of glory. They abound in most glorious promises of restoration and enlargement of temporal and spiritual prosperity and blessing. These promises in the full and exhaustive sense are still to be fulfilled, "When Yahweh shall arise and have mercy upon Zion and again choose Israel" (Isa. 14:1).
God has promised restoration but before that longed for day of blessing can come both the land and people must be cleansed from everything that defiles or works wickedness or swears falsely (CIT). (This is the thrust of the dark episode unfolded in the two visions of the fifth chapter). For covenant blessings may not be enjoyed without covenant obedience.
How will God deal with the sinner and the ungodly who reject His gospel covenant? The LORD of Hosts has two methods to deal with sin and remove iniquity, both of which are in perfect accord with the absolute holiness of His character. The preferred one is Grace, the other is Law. If a person refuses to accept Grace, which is so beautifully depicted in chapter three by the cleansing and clothing of Joshua, the representative of God's people, then the only other option is to be visited with severe punishment. When a sinner is so intertwined in his sin that he will not be separated from it, he will become an object of God's judgment and will be cleansed away from the earth. This thought is set forth in the two visions of chapter five. The prophecy has application to the restored remnant community, but again it goes beyond the immediate historical situation and portrays the unsparing destruction of sinners prior to the establishment of the millennium and the Messiah's justice during the millennium itself.
[God has promised restoration to the repentant remnant but before that period of blessing can dawn, God must deal with stubborn and unrepentant sinners. If the way of Grace is not accepted, judgment must come. Grace accepted but not followed results in an outbreak of sin and will be handled justly in the "rod of iron rule" of the Millennium (Ps. 2:9; Rev. 2:27; 12:5; 19:15).]
I. THE APPROACHING SCROLL, 1-2.
II. THE APPROACHING PURGE, 3-4.
I. THE APPROACHING SCROLL, 1-2.
The interest catching vision of the Fly Scroll is introduced in verse 1. Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked, and behold! A flying scroll!
The prophet was absorbed in a season of meditation probably concerning the wonderful things which had been presented to him in his previous visions. Now he senses in his spirit a new vision approaching. The lifting up of his eyes brings the blessing of a new vision into his perception. Behold! indicates that his attention was drawn to an object in an intense manner.
He sees a flying scroll. The Megillah ( -a roll or scroll) is the emblem of a message or pronouncement of solemn importance from God to man (Ezekiel 2:9-10). The ancients wrote on the inner bark of trees, rolls of papyrus and the dressed skins of animals - which is probably what is indicated here. [For ease of storage scrolls would be rolled up. Usually this was done by attaching sticks to the ends of the scroll and circling the material round them. As it was read, a scroll was rolled from one stick to the other so that only a small portion would be visible at any time.]
This flying scroll winging in flight like some bird of prey graphically symbolizes the active energy of the Word of God it represents. The scroll is flying in because its pronouncements will be swiftly carried out.
The interpreting angel asks the prophet to interpret what he sees in verse 2. And he said to me, "What do you see?" And I answered, "I see a flying scroll; its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits."
The interpreting angel, desirous of leading the prophet to correctly understand what is involved asks him a question. The angel's question demands the prophet formulate words for what he sees. The prophet's effort to focus his attention is the first step toward a correct appropriation of the vision. We notice repeatedly in these visions how the interpreting angel keeps the prophet from mental laziness. Only as the prophet earnestly seeks will God let him find; according to the principal, "Seek and ye shall find."
After closer scrutiny of the facts the prophet reveals to us that the scroll was also spread out so it could be read and unrolled so its dimensions could be seen. The dimensions of the scroll which the prophet carefully notes are not without significances. 20 cubits long by 10 cubits wide (30 ft. x 15 ft. - that's one wide scroll) corresponds to both the porch of Solomon's Temple (1 Kings 6:3) and the Holy Place of the Tabernacle where the lampstand was found (remember they were building a temple). These are the places where prayers are offered by the priests, (Joel 2:17) and where the law was usually read.