Today: [Zecheriah 5] A Flying Scroll and an Ephah of Grain: In the sixth vision of Zecheriah he is shown a scroll flying through the earth with a curse written upon it relating to original sin. The second vision is that of a quantity of grain upon which an ingot of lead is cast as a picture of the impact of sin upon man as an explanation as to why God doesn’t need man’s help to bring about His purposes.
[Zec 5:1-11 KJV] 1 Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll. 2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof [is] twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. 3 Then said he unto me, This [is] the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off [as] on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off [as] on that side according to it. 4 I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof. 5 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what [is] this that goeth forth. 6 And I said, What [is] it? And he said, This [is] an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This [is] their resemblance through all the earth. 7 And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this [is] a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. 8 And he said, This [is] wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. 9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind [was] in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. 10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? 11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.
In chapter 5 of Zecheriah we come to the sixth vision of the prophet, that of the flying roll and the ephah. This sixth vision is explained to the prophet but is not applied to the specific situation at hand. To give context to what is revealed, let us review the previous visions leading up to this one:
- The first vision is of an angel astride a red horse in a stand of myrtle trees.
- The second vision is of four horns defeated by four carpenters representing the purpose of God to defeat and remove Egypt, Assyria, Babylon and Persia.
- The third vision was of an angel being instructed not to measure the city of Jerusalem for it will be a city without walls, supernaturally protected by God Himself.
- The fourth vision is that of the governor Zerubbabel’s counterpart, Joshua the high priest being resisted by Satan himself.
- The fifth vision of Zecheriah is that of a candlestick (or, menorah) between two olive trees. Representing a very important word of the Father for the saints of God.
- The sixth vision in the current chapter of a flying roll and an ephah in connection with a talent of lead and a woman sitting in the midst of the ephah.
The meaning of this two part vision speaks not only of the condemnation of sin but of the universality of the fallen nature in humanity. The first thing Zecheriah sees is a roll or scroll flying through the air. The angel asks Zecheriah if he understands the meaning of this and goes on to explain that this scroll contains the pronouncement of judgment for sin not only upon the people of Israel but upon humanity in its entirety. Theologically speaking, the concept of universal sin is expressed in a doctrine referred to as total depravity. This is an understanding that because of the fall through the disobedience of Adam and Eve that the sin nature passed to every successive generation without variation or exception. We are born in a state of separation from God, inherently evil and disposed in our persons to disobedience. There are two schools of thought regarding the impact of salvation in Christ.
The Calvinists believe that even after salvation through Christ man is still irretrievably evil, even though he may outwardly demonstrate Christian character. Salvation to a Calvinist is portrayed not in true inward sanctity in any way, but in the clemency of God extended and necessary even to the most pious believer. John Wesley on the other hand, likewise believed in the total depravity of man, but went so far is to assert that the grace secured FOR us in Christ produces grace IN US as well to deliver us from the sin nature to the degree that after the new birth we are no longer left to what he called the unalleviated evils of total depravity. In other words, to John Calvin, sin is the unavoidable consequence of the fall whether one is born again or not, and to followers John Wesley, once one has received saving grace, sin is not incumbent upon the believer but an option that may be avoided by the comfort and enablement of the Holy Spirit. As to which position is correct we would suggest the following scripture:
[Rom 6:12-14 KJV] 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members [as] instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members [as] instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
The two aspects of sin that the vision of Zecheriah puts forth is that of theft and dishonesty. This vision surely influenced the doctrine of Jesus when he mentions these two things as characteristics of Satan himself:
[Jhn 10:10 KJV] 10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have [it] more abundantly.
The consequence of these things causes the curse written on the flying scroll to enter into every house and remain in our house till it be consumed. Our house is our physical body.
Death was not the original plan for our Heavenly Father where we are concerned. Romans 6:23 tells us:
[Rom 6:23 KJV] 23 For the wages of sin [is] death; but the gift of God [is] eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The second part of Zecheriah’s vision is that of an ephah, or a measure of grain we might compare to a sack of flour. As Zecheriah looks on he sees a ingot of lead suspended over the ephah and spies the figure of a woman sitting in the midst of the quantity of grain or flour. What does this mean? The ephah of grain represents the environment God placed man in the midst of. The first woman speaks of man’s soul placed in this environment much as man was placed in the garden of Eden. When the lead (representing man’s disobedience) was cast into the ephah we see in v. 9 not one woman but now two with wings like a stork. In other words, after the disobedience of Adam and Eve man now struggles with two natures within him, that of his created purpose, to worship God and that of the power of sin as a spiritual pollution passed upon every man generation after generation.
As Zecheriah watches, the two women lift the ephah upon and bear it away to build a house in the land of Shinar. Shinar is a location in Babylon, and speaks of bondage. In other words, the entire two-part vision in Zecheriah is an explanation of the sin nature, the curse of sin and man’s bondage to sin. This is a picture of man’s dilemma under the Old Covenant as expressed by the prophet Jeremiah:
[Jer 17:9-10 KJV] 9 The heart [is] deceitful above all [things], and desperately wicked: who can know it? 10 I the LORD search the heart, [I] try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, [and] according to the fruit of his doings.
We can understand this vision in its context by considering the vision before it of the lampstand. In the fifth vision God is saying “not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord…” That means that the purposes of God are brought about without the instrumentality of things arising from man’s doings such as military conquest or political influence. The unspoken question between the fifth and sixth vision is why does God not employ might or power originating in man to accomplish His purposes? The answer is in the sixth vision, because man is depraved at his core, speaking lies, walking in theft, incurring as a result the curse written on the flying scroll that causes everything originating in men to come to corruption and death therefore our only hope is in that purely brought about by God without man’s assistance or help. In short, the testimony of the law, in bringing us to Christ is to utterly impress upon us our need of a Savior who needs nothing other than our total surrender to Him in order to accomplish His purposes in the earth.
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