By Bobby Blakey on August 6, 2023
By Bobby Blakey on August 6, 2023
Well, when we moved here to Huntington Beach to see Jesus plant this church, we had a goal. As it says in 1 Thessalonians 1:8, we wanted to let the word of the Lord sound forth, or as we like to say it, we wanted the gospel to ring out here in Huntington Beach. And so, we did this event, I remember called the equipped evangelism seminar. And we came here on a Saturday morning, because we wanted everybody to be able to share the good news, everybody in our church, we're all on the on the team, and we're all going to tell people, hey, we’ve got good news that Jesus, he really is the Christ, the Anointed One of God, and he died for your sins, and he rose from the dead, so you could have a new life. So, it's like, alright, everybody, we're at this seminar, we're going over the gospel together, who's ready to take it out to the streets? And you know, there's two different kinds of people, some people are like, yes, let's go. They're gung-ho evangelists, right? And then some of us are like, yikes, you know, I'm not really ready to go. I don't know what to say, people aren't going to like me. And so, we were like, what could we do to help everybody feel like, yes, we're going to go share. And so, what we did, and you've actually got the flyer there in your bulletin, if it didn't fall out yet, is we got you can see it on the back of this flyer, we’ve got an airplane pulling a Jesus Saves sign right over the beach, right over the pier here in HB. And so literally, to start a conversation, all you had to do is like point one finger up in the sky and say, hey, what do you think about that, you know? And then, boom, we got to share with all kinds of people all over town, that Jesus saves it. So, I have this great memory of an airplane pulling a Jesus Saves sign here in Huntington Beach.
Well, in today's chapter of Zechariah 5, there is a flying scroll, it's even better than a plane pulling the sign. It's like a flying Bible over the people. Go to Zechariah chapter 5 with me. And I want you to see this night vision where there are two night-visions here in Zechariah, chapter 5 that we'll look at together this evening. And the first one is a flying scroll. And there's a handout there if you want to take some notes about it. But Zechariah 5 is what we're going to be getting into. And I think that picture of an airplane flying over town, you're familiar with that from the beach. Sometimes, you're like, what, what does that say up there? I can't really read that. But you see the airplane pulling something over the beach. Well, we've got this image of a massive scroll flying in the sky that we're going to study together tonight.
And some of you have been asking, like, how long are we going to do Zechariah? When are we going back to Romans? And sometimes, I'm not sure if you want to keep doing Zechariah or you're ready to get back to Romans. Or you're just like happy either way, I don't know. But we're going to do Zechariah all the rest of this month of August. And then starting in September, we'll be getting right back to Romans, chapter 8, verse 29. We'll be picking it up right after Labor Day. So that's our plan.
So, if you know about Zechariah, if you've ever read the whole book, and just while you're in Zechariah with me, go to chapter 8, because this is kind of the break you can almost see in our English translation. There's even a change in the way that it is laid out. So, the night vision section, it traditionally, in the commentaries in the study of Zechariah, it's broken down into two halves, Zechariah 1 to 8, and Zechariah 9 to 14. And you can kind of see the difference there in the way the text is laid out. You can see in Zechariah 9:1, it starts an oracle of the Word of the Lord, and it moves forward from there. So, we're going to get all the way through the first half of Zechariah, then we're going to go back to the book of Romans, and then, Lord willing, we'll come back and finish up Zechariah sometime in the future. But tonight, we're going to go through Zechariah chapter 5, and out of respect for God's word, I would love for all of us to stand and see the vision of a flying scroll and see what it means for us together here today. So, both of these night visions, these are the Word of God, and I encourage you to give it your full and undivided attention. Zechariah chapter 5, verse 1.
Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a flying scroll! And he said to me, “What do you see?” I answered, “I see a flying scroll. Its length is twenty cubits, and its width ten cubits.” Then he said to me, “This is the curse that goes out over the face of the whole land. For everyone who steals shall be cleaned out according to what is on one side, and everyone who swears falsely shall be cleaned out according to what is on the other side. I will send it out, declares the Lord of hosts, and it shall enter the house of the thief, and the house of him who swears falsely by my name. And it shall remain in his house and consume it, both timber and stones.” Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said to me, “Lift your eyes and see what this is that is going out.” And I said, “What is it?” He said, “This is the basket that is going out.” And he said, “This is their iniquity in all the land.” And behold, the leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the basket! And he said, “This is Wickedness.” And he thrust her back into the basket, and thrust down the leaden weight on its opening. Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, two women coming forward! The wind was in their wings. They had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven. Then I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are they taking the basket?” He said to me, “To the land of Shinar, to build a house for it. And when this is prepared, they will set the basket down there on its base.”
That's the reading of God's Word. Please go ahead and have your seat. We’ve got a flying scroll and we’ve got a woman in a basket. What is going on in this chapter? And if you've been here at all, during Zechariah, you know that this is a time where they've come back to Jerusalem, they're rebuilding the temple. And if you were here last week, God promised that they would finish rebuilding the temple. They were only five months into their construction. And he promised Zerubbabel, the leader, that he was going to put the top stone in, and everybody was going to be shouting, Grace, Grace. So, if you've heard these sermons from Zechariah, the first four chapters have been very encouraging. But now this fifth chapter gets a little more sobering, a little bit more intense. And so, let's kind of see, do our best to make sense of what Zechariah is seeing in this vision.
Let's start with the first one, the vision of the Flying scroll. And let's look there at Zechariah 5:2, where you get the dimensions 20 cubits by 10 cubits. And cubits may not be how you're measuring things at your house, right? But a cubit might be like, a foot and a half. So, when you see 20 by 10 cubits, that's like 30 by 15 feet. Okay, so 30 by 15 feet. The idea is, this scroll is kind of big enough, and it's flying over everything that may be, you could even read the Hebrew characters that are written on this scroll, the idea that you could see them from a long way, that would kind of be the idea. And if you keep reading here, in Zechariah 5:3, it says that this scroll actually represents the curse that goes out over the whole land. And that one of the sides of the scroll is about he who steals, and the other side of the scroll is about he who swears falsely. So, I don't know what that's bringing to your mind when you hear that. But this scroll that's flying around that's big that you can see, well, it's got writing on both sides of the scroll. And that might bring up in the mind of the Jews. Something else that had writing on both sides was the tablets of stone, we often refer to them as the ten commandments. In fact, that you should not steal, that would be one of the ten commandments, that would actually be the middle of the second half of the ten commandments. And the fact that you should not swear falsely by God's name, that would actually be the third commandment, the middle of the first half of the commandments. So, it's quite possible that what we have here is a flying scroll with the with the ten commandments. So, on either side, clearly, this is a flying scroll meant to represent the law of God. And look what it's meant to show everybody in Zechariah 5:4, as God is the one who's going to send out this flying scroll. He's going to send out his law, his Word. I will send it out, declares the LORD of hosts. And it's going to go into the house of the thief, it's going to go into the house of someone who's stealing, whoever’s swearing falsely by God's name, whoever's taking God's name in vain. That's the way it's often referred to whoever's doing that, well, this flying scroll is going to fly into their house, at least this word in the scroll, it's going to go into their house, and it shall remain in his house, and it's going to consume the house, both the timber and the stones.
So, the people have come back to Jerusalem, they've rebuilt their houses. Now they're rebuilding the Lord's house. And now it's like, here's a vision. You're going to rebuild my house. I'm going to have a relationship with you. I'm going to return to be with you in Jerusalem, God says, but it's almost like hey, but don't forget my law. Don't forget my Word. Don't forget how I've commanded you to live. Yeah, we're now in a relationship. We're getting back to things here in Jerusalem, but hey, let me just make sure that you know that my law has authority over your house. And I'm actually the one telling everybody how they should then live. And so, it's pronouncing actually a curse. So, when you see a flying scroll, you're not like, hey everybody, gather around, look how cool this is. No, the Flying Scroll has kind of an ominous tone to it here. It's reminding of a curse that's going out into the whole land. And if you are not paying attention, if you are not listening to what God says, to what God commands of his people, well, then it's like these words need to come into your house, and they need to remain in your house, and they're actually going to consume your house because you’re not obeying God, it is going to be the destruction of you and your family.
And so, turn with me to that we got to go back to the law to really understand this. Go to Deuteronomy, chapter 29. Let's just jump right back to the end of God's law, where it talks about this curse that's going out into the whole land. So, I want to invite everybody to turn to the Torah. That might be what the Jews would call it; we might call it the law of Moses. Sometimes it gets referred to as the Pentateuch. It is the first five books of the Scripture, the first five scrolls, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. And Deuteronomy is the second telling of the Law of Moses. These are Moses’ last words before Joshua is going to lead the people into the promised land. And here in Deuteronomy, chapter 29. Look at verse 19, where we can see what does it mean by the curse that's going out into the whole land? Well, if you were familiar with the law of Moses, and you saw a flying scroll, bringing the curse throughout the land, you would know right away what that was about, because that's how Deuteronomy ended. Deuteronomy ended that if you obey what God says, you will be blessed. But if you do not listen to what God says, you will be cursed. And here's how it describes it. This is Deuteronomy 29:19-21. This is so important for us to think about here. “one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike. The Lord will not be willing to forgive him, but rather the anger of the Lord and his jealousy will smoke against that man, and the curses written in this book will settle upon him, and the Lord will blot out his name from under heaven. And the Lord will single him out from all the tribes of Israel for calamity, in accordance with all the curses of the covenant written in this Book of the Law.”
Wow. So, it's saying, here's somebody who's hearing what God is commanding. God's saying, don’t steal from other people. Don't think about how you should treat other people don't steal from them. Think about how you should treat me. Don't swear falsely by my name. Don't take my name in vain. Don't bring my name down to your level, here's God giving his commands that go out. And somebody in their heart says, you know what? I don't have to live that way. You know, as for me, in my house, we don't need to serve the Lord. I'm kind of my own person. I can do whatever I want. I'm free to make my own decisions. So Deuteronomy 29:19 here is describing somebody, and it says there you can see in verse 18, beware, watch out you don't want your heart turning away from the Lord. You don't want this root of poisonous and bitter fruit growing up within you. Because if you’ve got that bitter fruit, that poisonous fruit, oh, all of that, whether it's a dry fruit, a moist fruit, all of that's going to be destroyed. If you get this root that you think you can get away with disobeying God? That's not going to work. And so, there's this idea you have in your heart. Yeah, okay, well, we're building God's house in Jerusalem, but in my house, I can still kind of do whatever I want to do.
Now, let's get this down for point number one: God's word has authority over your house. God's word has authority over your house. Man, maybe you have this idea that you're the man of your own house, maybe you have this idea that you bought your own home, and you have this idea that in America, we're free, and we have rights, and we can kind of do whatever we want. We are the people and we get to just kind of live our own lives. Well, no, if we go back to God's law, if you know what God says, and you decide, well, I don't really have to do that. I can do my own thing. Oh, no, don't have that stubborn heart. Don't have that rebellious heart. If you have that. Look at Deuteronomy 29:20. The Lord he's not going to forgive your choice to keep on sinning after you know what God says. And you decide in your heart, no, I'm not going to do what God says; I'm going to keep doing my own thing. Oh, no, the Lord is going to get angry, the Lord will be jealous about that. And the curses, the consequences of your disobedience that are written in this book, they're going to settle upon you. It's like they're going to come, and they're going to live in your house, and they're going to consume your house, they are going to consume the wood, they're going to consume the stone. Hey, that sin, that you let that root of bitterness that you let grow up in your heart, it's going to tear your whole house down is what it's saying. You’ve got to listen to God, it's not optional. It's not extra credit. It's not bonus, it's not just the good or right thing to do, obeying what God says in His law is necessary for survival, you think you can live another way that will be the end of your house, and the curses will come upon you. And it's like, the scroll is flying over the land so everyone can be reminded that God has authority over us all. And so I think the reason it's kind of zeroed in on these two things. Stealing, because that kind of gets to whether you're taking from other people, or whether you're treating others in the same way that you want to be treated. And swearing by God's name falsely, this brings up all that you think about God. Do you act, do you speak in a way that is consistent with all that you know about God? Or do you act like God is somebody over here, and I can live my life over here, and it will be fine for me to live my own life, I don't really need to worry about God. See, that's what these commands are getting at.
Go over just to back, to Leviticus chapter 19. Let's keep working our way into the foundation of the law here. Let's keep thinking through these two specific commands. You're going to be cursed if you don't obey these commands in Leviticus 19. This is just one example where it highlights these two commands together, Leviticus 19. Here, it goes over many different kinds of commands. This is where the idea of loving your neighbor as yourself originally comes from, here in Leviticus 19:18. So that idea that it's kind of a universal idea, hey, you should love your neighbor as yourself. Or as Jesus said it famously in the golden rule, you should treat others in the same way that you want to be treated, for this is the law and prophets. Well, here's an example of those two commands, and Leviticus 19:11-12. And you can see there's a lot of different commands, kind of addressed here in a quick succession at this part of Leviticus, but it says in Leviticus 19:11, “You shall not steal; you shall not deal falsely; you shall not lie to one another.” And then it goes right into this, “You shall not swear by my name falsely, and so profane the name of your God: I am the Lord.” So, this idea like I am God, and really the idea that I am the Lord, there is no one else. There is no one like me there, you shall have no other gods, there are no other gods to even have. I am God. I'm the one who made heaven and earth, this is my world, you're just living in it. And I'm telling you, this is how you’ve got to live. And if you think in your heart, you can live another way, there will be curses, but you should not steal from your neighbor. And you should not swear falsely by my name, because I am YHWH, I Am that I Am. I am the one and only. That's what he's saying. See, there's like this idea that God has authority. Yes, God, he loves his people. He wants to have a relationship. But God is telling us how we must then live in this world that he has made, if we want to be people that know him. And so that's, that's the idea here, the Lord is speaking. And you should look down at Leviticus 19:18. It says, “You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.” So, how are you treating other people? How are you treating God? How are you thinking about God's name? God is all of his attributes, his character that is revealed to us in Scripture? Are you thinking, wow, here's who God is. I need to talk about him and act towards him in a way that is worthy of his name. Or are you like, I can talk, I can talk however I want. I can do whatever I want. And I can just say God's name, however I want, almost like he's not God, I am. That's the idea that we're getting out here.
And right now, we're kind of getting back even further. Go to Exodus chapter 20. And let's get back to the original statement of the ten commandments. And a lot of times when we list out the ten commandments… I was talking about this with a friend of mine, just this week, because we read the 10 commandments together. And I don't know if you notice this, but the ten commandments are more than just ten commands. And unfortunately, when we usually teach our kids the ten commands, or when we write out the ten commands, we actually edit out some of the key things that God wants to say in these ten commands. One line that usually gets edited out is right here in Exodus 20:2, where he starts out by saying, “I am the Lord your God.” So, there's an authority that God is saying he has over us. And this flying scroll is meant to be, now a vision of the authority that God has over your house, over my house, over all of our houses, that he is the Lord, he is YHWH. And he gets to tell us how we then all conduct ourselves. In fact, not only is he the Lord your God, but he's the one who brought you out of the land of Egypt. He's the one who brought you out of the house of slavery. Aren't you glad you can even have your own house? Because he delivered you out of Egypt is what it's saying here. So yeah, he wants to have a relationship with you, he wants to have a covenant with you. And so, then he says, Exodus 20:3, “You shall have no other gods before me.” And then Exodus 20:4 says, this, “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything, you can't have any likeness of something in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth, you shall not bow down to them, or serve them for I, the Lord your God, am a,” what does he say there, everybody, “a jealous God.” A jealous God, like I am the only God, I don't want you acting like there are other gods; don't go worship other gods, don't go make images of other gods, it's just me out here.
And I want you now see we have to try to get our mind into the law. I mean, we're talking about something that was written 3400 years ago, by Moses, and even these ten commandments here in Exodus 20, the two tablets of stone with writing on either side, these were the first things that God says here that Moses put down on those tablets of stone that he brought down the mountain to the people. What God says there, this is the first written revelation from God that was given. It was started out with two tablets of stone, and then it became the five scrolls. So, we've got to get into the mindset of what it's saying here. Because when you and I hear the word jealous today, like the word jealousy almost might bring up this thought that if somebody's jealous, they're like an insecure individual. And you might start thinking that about God, even here, you might start thinking, well, why is God so insecure that he can't have people worshipping anybody else? See, that would be the wrong way to approach this, that would actually be the wrong way to even think about jealousy. If you're married, and you have a spouse, and somebody else comes and starts talking to your spouse, like you're not married to them, but they want to be married to them. See, that's completely inappropriate. That's out of bounds. That's not right. No, this is my spouse, we are one flesh. I don't know who you are, or what you're thinking. But that's not right for you to be thinking that, what you're thinking is inappropriate. That's what God's saying here. Imagining that you can live any other way with any other god is completely inappropriate for you to think. It doesn't make sense because I am the Lord your God. So, you making up some imaginary god so you can live whatever way you want to live? No, no, you should come and you should worship me. I'm the one who rescued you out of Egypt. I'm the one who gave you water from the rock. I'm the one who gave manna falling from the sky. I'm the one who's given you every good thing that you've ever received. I'm the one who has a covenant of steadfast love with all of my people. I'm the one who can bring you to be with me and glory forevermore. No, no, no, trust me, I am the Lord your God, and I am a jealous God, I know that you need to come and worship me. That's what God's saying.
And so, this is what this scroll is representing. Look at what it goes right after God says that he's a jealous God. Look at what it says there in the middle of verse 5. He says, I'm going to visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me. But I'm also going to show steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments. I'm a jealous God, I'm the only god, I'm the Lord your God, so you can go against me and you can be visited for your iniquity, or you can believe me, you can listen to me, and you'll experience steadfast love and forgiveness for all of your sins. And then he says here in Exodus 20:7, “you shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.”
See, that's the same idea that we just read in Zechariah 5 right there. Like the people who take God's name, and they use it in a vain way, they're not getting away with it. That's what the flying scroll is saying. It's going to find you in your house. There's nowhere you can run. There's nowhere you can hide. There's a scroll, kind of like when somebody's on the chase, and you start to hear the helicopters hovering over your neighborhood. And you're like, let's get the kids and the animals inside. You know what I mean? Because what's going on outside, right now, when we got all these different helicopters up above, like, that's what the scroll is representing like, hey, you're not going to be able to run and get away with you living however you want. See this idea of swearing falsely by God's name, this is such a powerful idea. And it's more than just how we kind of make it about taking God's name in vain. We are living first of all, in a country where people have no problem using God or using Jesus Christ as like curse words, as like expletives. I mean, it is all around you, all you’ve got to do is walk around in a public place, and you're probably going to hear somebody use God's name or Jesus's name. And they're not like joining us in worship, if you know what I mean. But see, it's so much worse than that. Because if you can just use the name of Jesus like that. If you can just say, oh, my God, and you're not crying out, my God, my God, come and help me, or my God, my God, why have you forsaken me? You're just like, this is who God is. And you're just acting like he's nobody. That's the real issue. The real issue is the way you're talking about God, the way you're acting is like God's name is not glorious. God's name is not almighty, God's name is not the one way the merciful, the loving God, no God's name. It's like something that we can just profane and do whatever we want with it, it goes way beyond just using his name in an inappropriate way. It shows that you don't really see God for all that he is, and you think it's not his world, you can still have your own life. That's bringing God's name down and starting to do whatever you want with it. And so, God, he takes this so seriously, he expects people to worship him. And we've kind of gotten in a mindset today, where we don't expect everybody to be Christians. We don't expect like everybody to believe. And so maybe a lot of us are kind of even okay with the disrespect, and the denying of God that is going on around us every day, when there is just one God, and he's a jealous God. And he's got a scroll flying over Jerusalem. And Zechariah has night vision, saying anybody who's stealing anybody who's swearing fall asleep by my name, you're not going to get away with it, the curse of those who think they can live their own way that's going into everybody's house. So, this is something that, that I want to encourage you, like, do you have a high view of God? Do you know God as he originally revealed himself? Or are you starting to have the kind of brought down to our level, low view of God that is becoming so common all around us? Like, can you imagine if God is over here? And I think I know God, but what I think God is isn't who he really is, could that be true of you?
See, this is something I want to really encourage our church to do. I've been thinking about this for such a long time. I'm so excited to share this idea with you. But I want to introduce everybody here tonight to Toralogy is what I'm calling. It's a study of the Torah, a study of God's law. But as we're going through God's law, what we're trying to find out is who does God say that he is? Like, how did God like God, he's the one who gave them these ten commands. I see. And this is how I think this works. Like if I say, well, God is a jealous God, you're like, well, that's kind of interesting that you would say it like that, I don't really think of God is jealous that much, is that one of his like more fringe attributes? Is that like, kind of something about God that's kind of like obscure, and you're just bringing it up to kind of to kind of make a point here? Do you realize that the first attribute that was ever written down about God was that he was jealous? That's what we just read. The first thing that God wanted down on a tablet of stone about himself is “I am the Lord your God am a jealous God. Can you then see how have you think jealousy is one of those like weird attributes of God? But if God is actually giving it as his first attribute, wow, maybe that's something we want to then think more about than we previously have.
And so, what we're going to start doing, where we're finishing the Psalms, if anybody has been reading summer in the Psalms, we are going to finish that this week. And then next week, we're going to start reading through the Torah, the law of Moses. We're going to start in Genesis, we're going to go through all the five scrolls. We're going to go through it very slowly so we can all dig in. We're going to try to see who God is, and how he explained himself from the beginning. “In the beginning, God created the heavens in the earth.” Okay, well, what is God then saying about himself when he says, let us make man in our image? What does God want you to know? Like, God introduced himself to us. And so we're calling it Toralogy. And if you open up your bulletin, you'll see next Monday night, there's going to be a kickoff event. And it's a free. Basically, a class we're going to have here at the church, you can participate if you want, we'd love to have you join us. It's a free online course. There'll be a new class every week. And we'll talk more about that in the future. But this is the idea that this scroll is flying around. Because the knowledge of God and the commands of God, they're supposed to be like over all of us, we're supposed to be seeing them high and lifted up there. And it's supposed to be elevating our thoughts about God to make sure that we're living worthy of the name of God.
And so, the question for us is, wow, do I have a low view of God? Am I bringing God down? To my level where I'm making God's name something less than it actually is? Or do I have a very informed high view of God, where I know what God's name is. Because I've heard God explain himself to me, and I've paid close attention to who God is, I understand that the Lord our God is a jealous God. And he doesn't want me worshiping anybody else, living for anything else, trying to find satisfaction in my soul through anyone else but him. Let's go back to Zechariah chapter five. Okay, so we got into the Flying School, stealing on one side, swearing falsely by my name on the other side. And if you're stealing, if you're bringing God's name down, whoa, this is going to get into your house, it's going to consume the wood in your house, it's going to consume the stone in your house. So, it's kind of this it starts out awesome. Wow, a flying scroll. But then it's actually pretty intense. It's actually pretty heavy to consider this flying scroll. Because it's saying that if you think you can live some other way than knowing God, and living his way, there's a curse that's going out over the whole land.
In fact, one of the things that you could write down, if you're taking notes about point number one there, if you want to write down that this scroll was 30 by 15 feet, 20 cubits by 10 cubits is 30. By 15 feet. So you can imagine that you could try to picture that that's a pretty big flying scroll around. But I don't think that it's just trying to give us the size there. One verse you might want to write down next to that is 1 Kings 6:3, because when Solomon built the original temple, and remember, they're rebuilding the temple now was horrible. But when Solomon built the original temple, the porch, or the vestibule, like the way to get into the temple, guess how big the porch was, it was 30 by 15 feet. And so if you want to have a relationship with God, you’ve got to come to God, God's way, you cannot make up a God of your own understanding. You cannot just say, Well, you know, I feel like so many people are treating God, like his attributes are all available on a buffet, and I'm going to go, I really like this attribute of God. And I really want to put a bunch of this attribute of God on my plate, but that attribute of God right there, I'm just going to leave that attribute for somebody else. And I'm just going to keep moving with my trade down the line. And see, that's not how this works. Like, if you want to go to God, you’ve got to go to God with the way that he says he is. So, it's possible. This is like a flying temple porch, over the entire city, reminding everybody, you want to come and have a relationship with me, while I'm a jealous God. And I'm telling you, this is how you got to come to me, this is the right way to respond to me, this is the way that will be good for you, where you will find real life and you will be blessed in your soul. God is saying these things because he knows it's what brings him glory. And it's what brings us good.
Now what do we do with this basket? Man! I mean, this basket, first of all, it's hard to even see this basket in the second vision here. This is vision number seven, that Zechariah had all these visions in one night. And you think, wow, the flying scroll, that would be a great last one to end with. No, we've got a basket of iniquity here. And what kind of a twisted picture is this? You open up this basket, it's not even that big of a basket. And there's a woman What's this? What's this woman doing inside of a little basket? Like that's kind of a disturbing picture and it says that the woman when it talks about her there in Zechariah 5:8, it says this is wickedness, and this angel who's been talking to Zechariah it's like he crams the lady back in the basket and you don't want that lady getting out of the basket and he keeps the cover closed on it. And you're like, well, that was bizarre, well, not as bizarre as then two more women coming forward. And so notice how in our chapter kind of a key word, and you might want to circle this on your handout, if you are taking notes, kind of a key word is the idea of it going out, or God sending it out. You can see in Zechariah 5:4, God says that he's going to send out his flying scroll to remind everybody who he is. And to remind everybody what he expects from them in how they live their life. Well, then you can notice that this basket is going out at the end of verse 5, do you see it where it says that it is going out? And I'm like, what Zechariah is saying, what is it and he's like, this is the basket that is going out. So, this idea is like one, the word of God, the law of the Lord is going out, God is sending out his word, God is sending out the commands and the knowledge of who he is. But then also this basket is now going out, this basket is on the move. And this wickedness, this thing that represents the iniquity in the land, or the eye of the land, like all the sin that God can see in the land, this thing, well, it's moving, it's going and then there are these two women, Zechariah 5:9 coming forward, and these women have wings. Okay, so now it's like, wait, what's going on? And they're like the wings of a stork. Okay, so if you're thinking like cute, flying creature that brings babies right now, that would not be the right mindset of the law and the prophets; a stork would have been an unclean animal in the mind, of the Jews. So, these aren't like beautiful women with wings, like some kind of happy angels. These are like unclean angels, like wings of a stork. That wouldn't be a good thing here in the original understanding.
And then there's this phrase that I would like for you to circle or underline, in verse 9, when it says, “between earth and heaven,” between earth and heaven. So, this is a phrase that is used in a couple of other passages, describing now kind of where we're, the judgment of God is now going to enter space and time. And one example of this that you could put down is 1 Chronicles 21:16. First Chronicles 21:16. Remember the Chronicles, they assembled the stories of the kings, once they were back in Israel, after the exile, they have chronicled all the kings so they could learn from the good examples, and from the bad examples. And in 1 Chronicles 21:16, maybe you can remember that David in his pride, he did a census where he numbered all the people and he knew he shouldn't do it. But in his own pride in a sinful way, he wanted to kind of number the people to see how kind of awesome his kingdom was. And so there was a consequence for the sin of David, and “David saw between earth,” and heaven, that same phrase, he saw the angel of the Lord with a sword drawn and stretched out, and this angel of the Lord was ready to strike Jerusalem, and to strike down people because of David's sin. So this was a phrase that was used in post-exilic Israel to describe okay, something is coming from the spiritual realm, something is coming from heaven, and it's entering Earth, it's happening between earth and heaven. And usually that was not a good thing. It was an ominous thing. And then here comes judgment from God, something angelic is now going to appear to judge us and maybe you can remember that David fell on his face and begged God for mercy and God was merciful and less people died than maybe were going to in that story.
Another example you could write down is Ezekiel 8:3. In Ezekiel 8:3, Ezekiel is actually lifted up by the Spirit between earth and heaven. So, Ezekiel, he was a prophet during the exile, and he got lifted up above Jerusalem. So, both of these other examples of between earth and heaven happen above Jerusalem, and they're about the judgment of Jerusalem. And this is when Ezekiel is brought in a vision to Jerusalem, to the entrance of the gateway of the inner core, and he sees the seat of the image of jealousy. He sees that they have made other images in the temple in Jerusalem, where they're supposed to be worshiping YHWH, and worshiping the Lord who's a jealous God, and worshiping God alone. They've actually put other things in there to worship, and Ezekiel can see that, and it says that the people are committing abominations, the people are doing things that God hates. And so now the judgment is coming upon Jerusalem. So, the two other times that we have this phrase, “between earth and heaven.” It's been talking about judgment on God's people in Jerusalem because they are not living to worship him, and him alone. And they are worshiping other things. They're getting involved in idolatry. And so, there's been judgment. But see, in this example, we're talking about wickedness, but wickedness is not staying in Jerusalem, wickedness is going out. It's being carried by these wings and the basket. It's in that place of judgment between earth and heaven. But then Zechariah 5:10, “then I said to the angel, who talked with me, where are they taking the basket? And he said, to me, to the land of Shinar, to build the house for it. And when this is prepared, they will set the basket down there on its base, which should immediately make us all wonder, Well, where is the land of shine are and why are these two wings stork women carrying it to the Land of Shinar. And if we know the law, once again, kind of going back to the foundation of Scripture.
Turn with me to Genesis, chapter 11. Let's go all the way back to the beginnings. And if we were familiar with Genesis, we would know where the land of Shinar is. And Genesis chapter 11, tells us exactly where they're taking wickedness in a basket, where it's going to be judged between earth and heaven. And in Genesis 11:1-3, maybe you're familiar with the story, once you see the heading here, “The Tower of Babel.” “Now the whole earth had one language and the same words. And as people migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us,’” what do they say, here? Pay attention to this. This is like the whole sermon right here. Let us make a name for who everybody? Is it all about honoring God's name and seeing God's name for who he is, and worshiping the name of God? No. See there, this is now not one guy living in his house, saying I can do whatever I want. I don't have to do what God tells me. This is now all kinds of people coming together with one language, one voice, and they're all building a house together, a tower together. And they're saying, we don't have to do what God says we can build a name for ourselves. And so God, he's not going to allow people to get away with worshipping some other name, but his name. He knows that he is the only God. And so, this is what happens in Genesis 11:6-9, “And the Lord said, ‘Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language, and this is only the beginning of what they will do. And nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that they may not understand one another's speech.’ So the Lord dispersed them from there over the face of all the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called,” what, everybody. Babel. and later on, we came to know it as Babylon. This was the beginning of Babylon right here. This is the beginning of Babylon and Babylon, from Genesis to Revelation represents the world that is trying to set up its own kingdom, and will not worship the name of God, but wants to make a name for themselves. That's what Babylon represents. And so, this kind of scary, disturbing picture of a woman who represents wickedness in a basket being flown away to Shinar. What's being revealed to us in Zechariah 5 in that vision, we're already supposed to know about Shinar being the place of Babel, the place where people tried to make a name besides God's name. And really, if you know it in Genesis, you can also know it in Revelation 17.
Everybody, let's go from cover to cover from Genesis all the way to Revelation 17. Zechariah. Chapter 5 is just kind of a middle of the story stop between Genesis and Revelation. Zechariah 5 is just reminding us that we're going to take all the wickedness we're going to put in them basket, and we're going to take it over to Shinar because that's where the wickedness began. That's where the wickedness is going to end up. In fact, you want to talk about a lady who is wickedness? This is a disturbing picture here in Revelation, chapter 17. John's now having a vision. He sees when he's carried away in the spirit, he sees a woman this is Revelation, chapter 17:4, tell me if you think this is maybe what Zechariah five is referring to right here. There's a woman here and this woman She's sitting on a scarlet beast. And this beast will… start with me in verse 3, it says, “And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names.” So, notice the theme. The theme throughout the Bible is there is God's name. And we should worship God's name, we should come to know and love God's name, we should try to lift high and exalt God's name, or we can try to make a name for ourselves. And this woman, she's on a beast, and this beast is covered in names. This beast is trying to get people to worship all kinds of different things besides God. And the Revelation 17:4 says, “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup.” And what's in this golden cup? Well, it's “full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations.’ And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.”
So, this idea, now, this is both a very disturbing idea, and it's actually a very encouraging ideas. Stick with me on this what we're supposed to see when the basket has the woman of wickedness in it, and the basket is being flown away to Shinar, which we know as Babylon, and there's going to be a temple there built in Babylon, and then wickedness, it's going to have its place in time. And what's going to happen to wickedness? Well, if you know, when it's described here in Revelation 17, go over to Revelation 18:1-2, where it says, “After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!’” So, Babylon is where the world is going to be judged, where sin is going to be paid for, where Jesus is going to come back and defeat all of his enemies and throw them down and establish his name as King of kings and Lord of lords, and his reign overall, the earth.
And so, the point here, of the second night vision number seven, out of eight, the second one, in chapter five, let's get this down for point number two: Wickedness will have a place and time of judgment. Wickedness will have a place and time of judgment. And the place is in Babylon. And the time is when it's all ready for it. So terrifying. If you're on Team wickedness, if you're trying to make a name for yourself, if you're trying to worship some other name, besides God, terrifying to consider the judgment that is coming upon those who don't exalt God's name but swear by God's name falsely and profane God's name. You do not want to be on Team wickedness, when it's the time and the place of judgment. But if you're the people rebuilding the temple, and you're the people in Jerusalem, and you're realizing that God's renewing his relationship with you, and God’s sending his word to turn your hearts to him, and you're seeing that the judgment is now leaving your city, and though those people over there, the people who are against us, our enemies, the ones who did wickedness to us, the ones who desecrated the temple, and they tore down the name of our God, and the worship of our God, you have those people, they're going to get judged. And there is actually for God's people, there is comfort to be found in the coming judgment, because it gives us hope that all the wrongs that we see will be made right, and someday every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus is the one and only name that anybody should be worshipping. And nobody should ever be using the name of Jesus in vain. And that day is coming. And for the people in Jerusalem, for the people in Zion, for the people who care about God's name and God's name alone, it's actually comforting that someday God's going to make it right. And God's going to get the glory that he deserves.
So, we are surrounded by people who are denying God his glory, we are surrounded by people who are profaning his name, even people at church sometimes talk about God in a way where even people at church are saying things like, well, I can still do what I want, and it's going to be fine. And that's not what the scripture is revealing to us. The Scripture is revealing to us that God's name is holy, and God is a jealous God, and we need to see God for who he really is. And when we see God for who he really is, there's a way that God wants us to respond to him as his people. And we want to be the people who respond to God in the right way. We don't want to be the people who have to deal with God on Judgment Day Can I get an amen from anybody on that? So, these two pictures, these are a little more intense, a little more ominous, they require us to have a high view of God and a low view of ourselves, and people are actually making God sound like he's being a big meanie or he's being unfair or God needs like, why does God want us to worship him so bad? And when I hear people go down those lines of reasoning, I just think, man, do you have any kids? Like, do you want your kids acting like, Who are you to have authority over my life, and I'm going to go live at somebody else's house. Who are you to tell me what to do? And I'm going to act however I want in this house. Like, I'm just like, man, when you have kids, and those kids, they don't listen to what you're saying, and they act like they can live however they want. And you know, you're not trying to be some brutal dictator over your kids. You want basic things, like you don't want your kids to die. Anybody want to say amen to that? You want your kids to learn what it means to be healthy, to learn what it means to be responsible to learn what it means to be safe, to learn what it means to care about other people. You want your kids to know God, like you know God. And then you see your kid act like well, I could just do whatever I want. You don't have to tell me. See, then, you know, no, that's not right for that kid to say that to me. Any parents want to say Amen, right now?
See that God, he made us. God is our Creator; God gives life and breath and all things to every single one of us. God has given you anything that you hold dear, anything that touches your heart, it came to you from God. And he has authority over your life. And he has a name that is highly exalted, and he demands a response. And when you live your life, like God gave it to me, and it's good, and I'm going to give it to him. That is the best possible way to live here on planet Earth. And so, we need to make sure that we're not letting how everybody else talks about God, and what everybody else says about God, change the way that you and I think about God. We need to hear it straight from him. And we need to see that his scroll, it's over all of us. And he has a name, you cannot bring God's name down to mean what you want it to mean. He's already told us what his name means. And we need to worship him for who he actually is. Let me pray for us, and then we'll respond in worship together here tonight.
Father in heaven, we just thank you for these night visions, we thank you for your Word that you've revealed to us. Father, we just want to all confess here together that if it was up to us to try to figure you out, we would make a God in our image. But that's not the way that it actually worked out. Because you made us in your image. And you are the name that is above all names. You are the only God there is no one else likes you. And so, God, will you please let everybody hear, all my brothers and sisters, that you're our Father in heaven. Will you please let all of us grow in our knowledge of you. Father, I pray that you will use Zechariah 5 to get us thinking more about you and who you are, and who you are. A God who has authority, a God who's going to judge those who disrespect his name and try to exalt another name. I pray that we would know you for how you reveal yourself. God, I pray that you would put in our hearts to read through the law together, that we could make sure that we're thinking the right thoughts about you. That the thoughts we're thinking are actually worthy of your name, that we're not bringing your name down to our level, but we're elevating our thoughts to who you actually are, that you are a God who is a jealous God. Father, I just lift up that right now, that you would put that on all of our hearts, that it's inappropriate for us to be looking to worship or find life in anything else but you, that there would be in our minds that sometimes God gets jealous, that it would be a foundational thing. That life only makes sense when we know that you are the Lord, and we worship your holy name. Father, help us to see that the best way for anybody here, to live is to hear you, to know you, to see you for who you really are revealed in your word. And then we should trust and obey because there's no other way, we're ever going to be happy in this life than to trust and obey what you tell us in your Word. So, Father, I pray for this church that we over this next season of life, that we would all come to know you more. God, thank you that we can know you through Jesus. But let us know you as the eternal old God, the immutable, unchanging one, the Lord of heaven and earth. Let us all grow in our knowledge of you so we can worship you with all of our heart and we can respond to you in a way that is consistent with your character God. Please show us your glory, we pray in Jesus’ name, Amen.
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