BECAUSE GOD TAKES SIN SERIOUSLY THERE WILL BE NO ESCAPING HIS CERTAIN JUDGMENT
Some people can get so involved in the work of the Lord that they imagine the requirements of holiness don’t apply to them. They think that their religious activities should somehow give them a pass when it comes to certain aspects of obedience. The people of Zechariah’s day who were committed to rebuilding the temple may have had such thoughts. Here God makes plain His view of transgression of His holy law. He will not hold anyone guiltless who breaks His covenant. His judgment will be certain and his judgment will be severe.
I. (:1-2) THE PRESENTATION OF THE FLYING SCROLL – THE IMPARTIALITY OF THE LAW – ITS CURSES APPLY TO EVERYONE
A. (:1) Overall Image
1. Standard Introduction
“Then I lifted up my eyes again and looked,”
2. Special Effects – public message to read by all
“and behold, there was a flying scroll.”
B. (:2) Outstanding Features
1. Introduced by the Interrogating Angel (interpretating angel as well)
“And he said to me, ‘What do you see?’”
2. Identified by the Prophet Zechariah
a. Special Effects
“And I answered, ‘I see a flying scroll;’”
Dolphin: The fact that the scroll was “flying” likens its messages to some of the advertisements one can see at a seashore, fair or football stadium, where a small aircraft flies overhead trailing a long sign. In the case of the scroll, however, the message was being guided by God. It is almost as if the scroll were on automatic pilot.
MacArthur: The scroll represents, then, a divine standard, by which man is to be measured.
b. Specific Size
“its length is twenty cubits and its width ten cubits.’”
Merrill: Among biblical objects or places with these measurements are the Holy Place in the Tabernacle (Ex. 26), the “porch” of Solomon’s Temple (1 Kings 6:3), and the great bronze altar of the Temple (20 cubits long and 10 high; 2 Chron. 4:2). All three of these have to do with the sanctuary, the place where YHWH meets with His people.394 As the interpretation shows in vv. 3-4, the connection of the scroll with the dwelling-place of YHWH leads to the conclusion that the scroll contains the covenant document that binds YHWH and the nation together.
Dolphin: Since a “cubit” is about eighteen inches, this scroll was about 30 feet x 15 feet. Scrolls, which antedated our modern books, were usually long strips of papyrus or parchment, but this scroll was unusually wide.
II. (:3-4) THE PROCLAMATION OF GOD’S CURSE AGAINST LAW BREAKERS – THE CERTAINTY AND SEVERITY OF GOD’S JUDGMENT
A. (:3) Four Aspects of the Targeted, Terrible Curse
1. Scope of the Curse – Targeted against the Land of Judah – No Mistake
“Then he said to me, ‘This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the whole land’”
2. Subjects of the Curse = Targeted against those breaking God’s Ten Commandments – No Exceptions
“surely everyone who steals will be purged away according to the writing on one side”
b. Swearers = taking the name of the Lord in vain
“and everyone who swears will be purged away according to the writing on the other side”
Ryrie: The scroll was not rolled up since both sides could be read.
Merrill: The flying scroll of Zechariah mentions only two of the covenant stipulations, violation of which will invite the sanction of curse. These two, however, represent the whole law, for the one has to do with interpersonal, human relations and the other with man’s responsibility before God
3. Severity of the Curse = Terrible in its Effects
“will be purged away”
4. Signature of the Curse = Terrible in its Sovereign Disposition
“according to the writing”
Just as it is determined whose names are written in the book of life
B. (:4) 3 Sobering Descriptions regarding the Execution of the Curse
1. Sovereignly Dispatched – it cannot be stopped
“’I will make it go forth,’ declares the Lord of hosts”
2. Selectively Invasive – it will find the appropriate targets
“and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name”
3. Severely Destructive – it will do the intended damage
“and it will spend the night within that house and consume it with its timber and stones.”
Dolphin: Surely this indicates the severity of the judgment that God would bring against those who violated His covenant. Moreover, the curse would “consume [the houses], with its timber and stones” (v. 4d). Such a consuming judgment from God reminds us of the fire that fell from heaven when the prophet Elijah prayed for God to answer his prayer by fire (1 Kings 18:38). The fire ate up the sacrificed animal, the twelve stones of which the altar was made, and the water-filled trench surrounding the altar. The wicked may not expect to escape the judgment of God.
Lindsey: The severity and the totality of the judgments suggest a fulfillment in the Millennium because only then will divine judgment on sin be so rapid and so complete.
Feinberg: The curse will not go astray; it will find the guilty and extirpate him, root and branch.