Zechariah 5-6:8 | Judging the World’s Iniquity
1I looked again, and there before me was a flying scroll.
2He asked me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a flying scroll, twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.”
3And 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. 4The 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.’ ”
- Just as God is going to re-establish his people as a light to the nations (Ch4), so in parallel God is going to judge the nations for their iniquity against Him. He will judge them according to His law, which he has revealed in general through his created order.
- God’s word will enter the lives of those who live in sin and bring conviction, so just as the light of God’s people shines brightly, so truth and conviction will also be our message. And for those not willing to receive, conviction will be an unsettling feeling in the lives of those unwilling to turn to God
5Then the angel who was speaking to me came forward and said to me, “Look up and see what is appearing.”
6I asked, “What is it?”
He replied, “It is a basket.” And he added, “This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land.”
- The conviction of the word of God (the scroll) will reveal the iniquity of the people, and it will not be not be a small thing, but a basketful of iniquity and sin.
7Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman! 8He said, “This is wickedness,” and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed its lead cover down on it.
- Wickedness and sin is personified as a woman, just as wisdom and wickedness are personified in the proverbs
- This could suggest that the cause of the people’s iniquity was their internal wickedness which is true of the nature of sin. We sin because we are by nature sinners.
- Wickedness was pushed down and retained by the lead cover, speaking of how strong wickedness can be but how greater the hand of God to restrain it.
9Then 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.
- The images of storks in the Bible are negative (unclean birds) so these could be representative of demons/fallen angels
10“Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel who was speaking to me.
11He replied, “To the country of Babylonia to build a house for it. When the house is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.”
- The iniquity of his people will spread throughout and represent the iniquity of the whole world, and will take its center in Babylon
- God is going to allow wickedness and iniquity to continue, grow and fester so that he might make a public spectacle of it
6:1 I looked up again, and there before me were four chariots coming out from between two mountains—mountains of bronze. 2The first chariot had red horses, the second black, 3the third white, and the fourth dappled—all of them powerful. 4I asked the angel who was speaking to me, “What are these, my lord?”
- The four horses make a second appearance in Zechariah and are used again in the image of judgment (as in Revelation)
- ‘two mountains’ – as pictured in Zechariah 14, the mountains splitting in two to commence the final day of the Lord and bring God’s judgment
5The angel answered me, “These are the four spirits of heaven, going out from standing in the presence of the Lord of the whole world. 6The one with the black horses is going toward the north country, the one with the white horses toward the west, and the one with the dappled horses toward the south.”
- East is not mentioned in the directions, possibly because the nations of power at the time were in these directions: Babylon – North, Greece – West, Egypt – South
7When the powerful horses went out, they were straining to go throughout the earth. And he said, “Go throughout the earth!” So they went throughout the earth.
- ‘Straining to go’ – after standing in the presence of the Lord and witnessing the injustice and evil in the world, they are straining to be released and bring God’s judgment. This speaks of the heavenly beings witnessing God’s great patience towards humanity and straining to bring justice.
8Then he called to me, “Look, those going toward the north country have given my Spirit rest in the land of the north.”
- The result of God’s judgment will be that there is rest in the world, speaking specifically of the north (Babylon) as this is a focus in Zechariah’s visions
- The end result being that God will deal with the sin and iniquity of the world, and even though he waits and his judgment lingers, he will bring peace and rest to the world.
As God will establish his people once more to be a light to the nations (chapter 4), he will convict the world of sin and iniquity. God will allow sin and rebellion to endure under his restraint until the time is ready to deal with it once and for all, when he will reveal his judgment against evil and bring everlasting peace.