This chapter is about a flying roll then, a woman in a basket. For those who are familiar with the restaurant called Lambert’s the first four verses are not about Lambert’s “flying rolls”; the ones being tossed to customers from across the restaurant. The word roll in the very first verse is megillâh meaning a volume; a scroll. Now that we have had a moment of fun, here is Zechariah 5 and the flying [sc]roll.
Even though this chapter does not state it in the words of God: “Draw close to me so I can draw close to you” Zechariah 5 focuses on this. We will give a couple examples but well over 30 times in the Bible such a declaration is made to mankind. Examples include James 4:8; Hebrews 10:1-10; Zephaniah 3:2; Malachi 3:7.
An interesting and memorable way to grasp the focus of chapter 5 is a story told about President Calvin Coolidge. He was not known to be a man of many words. As the story or legend goes…He attended church one Sunday. His wife remained at home. When he returned home his wife asked him what the message was about. Coolidge replied: “SIN”. Wanting to know more about the message she asked, “What did the preacher have to say about sin”. Coolidge replied, “He is against it”. Essentially this is Zechariah 5, God is against it…SIN.
Zechariah 5:2 This passage gives us the dimensions of the scroll Zechariah sees. In previous articles we have mentioned that “if a person, place or thing is mentioned in a verse, it has some sort of significance.” We are told in verse 2 that it is 20 cubits by 10 cubits; about 30 feet by 15 feet. I Kings 6:20 gives very similar dimension regarding the Holy place within the sanctuary of the Temple. This Bible researcher has not discovered the purpose for giving the dimensions of the scroll in Zechariah 5:2, but perhaps a reader of this article has run across something of added value. One reader reminded us that this is also the dimensions of Solomon’s Porch in II Chronicles 3. Again, why the dimensions are given is unclear but there is a purpose when anything is included in a passage of scripture. Every word is ordained of God. Translation issues are a different discussion.
Zechariah 5:3 & 4 The concept here is sometimes difficult to grasp. We have been taught, instructed in, or heard about the 10 Commandments. These two verses condense the sins of Israel to just two sins of Israel; “…over the face of the whole land”. One is swearing an oath in the name of God and then not living up to every letter of the oath. The other is [most interpretations] the verb “stealing”. This is when a good commentary or lexicon helps one’s understanding. The word translated steal or in some Bible versions it Is identified by the pronoun “thief”. So which is it? Actually both yet it is also neither. The Hebrew gânab means deception, to get by stealth. This Zechariah passage should remind us of 2 Thessalonians 2:11…to deceive one another means lying to the Holy Spirit. We call it lying to each other. The Bible calls it an attempt to deceive. Think about it per Zechariah 5:3&4. All of the commandment sins can fit into one of these two sins. Israel is guilty and will be punished since they were supposed to be the Flag-ship of God’s elect. These sins are listed one on each side of the flying scroll. One can mentally picture one of those airplanes flying overhead with a message-banner in tow.
The Vision of the Woman in a Basket
Zechariah 5:5 is often another enigma to those who just-scan read hoping understanding will leap upon them from the pages; even to those who take the time to do some research on this section of Zechariah. Some commentaries attempt to limit the scope of Zechariah’s visions to his time-period. However, there is much in his writing that is pre and post End Time. Caution and understanding only come after gaining knowledge. In this specific situation we defer to Scofield’s explanation. It makes better applicable sense.
“The Babylon phase of the apostate church is symbolized by an unchaste woman, sodden with the greed and luxury of commercialism… Prophetically, the application to the Babylon of the Revelation is obvious.” [Scofield]
JIV NOTE: The land of Shinar [Zechariah 5:11] is the territory of Babylon in the Mesopotamia Valley [Genesis 11:2]. The large majority of commentaries agree with this deduction: Babylon and Shinar are the same. Keep in mind, historically this is the same territory of Nimrod; one who was very anti-God with a heart to Do It His Way.
It gets even betterJ. This woman is in a basket, can’t get out, a lid put on the basket, is taken away by two other women with wings, and confined to Shinar. To what do all of these actions hint? To or teach about End Time? VERY PROBABLE!
Let’s summarize Zechariah 5:5 to the end of this chapter (5:11) and vision number seven in a simplified approach. You can read the Bible text on your own but here is the explanation.
The ephah, similar to a bushel basket, is a form of measure. God will “measure out his judgements”. There is nothing random about his plan for End Time. Satan has ruled and ruined the world God created. Now God provides a measured response and a return to order.
During the 7 year Tribulation there is the beast, anti-Christ, and false prophet…Satan’s “trinity.” These three have differing identities by differing commentaries or preachers but all consist of a leader, spokesperson, and establishment.
JIV NOTE: We will not get into the Revelation description of seven heads, ten horns, ten crowns (diadems), a smaller horn growing up, three leaders or nations being subdued, etc. These are discussed in the Revelation study in this website.
The woman in vision #7 is tucked in a basket from which she tries to escape but can’t. When Jesus returns after the Tribulation, he will 1) confine Satan, 2) deliver him to a place he is bound and cannot escape, 3) do the same with his false establishment/system and his evil minions; fallen angels. The Millennial period will begin and all will be as Jesus demands it. It will now be His earth and Kingdom (to come)…as stated in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew and Luke.
In verse 7 and 8, this woman is trying to escape just as will Satan when he is bound for a thousand years. This place [Babylon/Shinar] to which the woman is taken becomes her habitat for a thousand years. So is the basket and its contents. We know there is a lid on this basket because verse #7 tells us it is lifted up so Zechariah can see its contents. He is told by the messenger to LOOK INSIDE.
The two women, symbolic of those who usher one from place to place, take the lidded ephah (basket) to a place of total isolation with restraints. According to verse #8, there is nothing gentle about the woman who is pushed into the basket, covered, and ushered away against her will. Bear in mind this is symbolic of End Time events following the 7-year Tribulation; Jesus’ 2nd advent.
Some have wondered about the gender tense used in verses 8 and 9. Verse 8 refers to a “he”. Verse 9 identifies two women. Follow the sequence. Satan (the wicked woman) is pushed into the basket with a heavy lid put over it. The next verse identifies the couriers who usher the basket and its contents far away to a place reserved just for it. The women “angels” (?) perhaps carry it all away. The “HE” identified is the power that forces and binds the evil or wickedness putting it all in isolation. Revelation calls it the abyss.
Revelation 20:1-3 uses other terms… [John] saw an angel coming down from heaven, holding the key of the abyss and a great chain in his hand. And he laid hold of the dragon, the serpent of old, who is the devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he threw him into the abyss, and shut it and sealed it over him [like a lid on a basket], so that he would not deceive the nations any longer, until the thousand years were completed;
Zec 5:10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?
Zec 5:11 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.
Rev Dr Jstark