Put together, Aug 1990. Taught, November 11, 1994

Zechariah five

The prophet is now shown two more visions, the roll and the epahah. The previous visions had been joyful and victorious, but these two of Chapter 5 speak of judgment against the secret sins of individuals, the church and society. Chapter 11 presents the same thought.

Ch 5 gives us an insight into the major purpose of Zechariah's prophecy: His goal was not to urge the people to build the temple at any cost, i.e. the end justifies the means; rather, his goal was to call the people to repentance and faith. Godly repentance and faith will cause people to have a genuine zeal for God's work. The visions of the roll and ephah deals with an ungodly zeal, a zeal apart from repentance and faith.

The roll obviously represents the Word of God. And faith is defined as doing all things according to God's revealed Word regardless of personal feelings and opinions.

Vv. 1-4

V. 4 shows that zeal in the work of God will not hide from His sword of judgment against sin . There is absolutely no place man can go t hide from the roll (Word of God), Ps. 139:7-12.

The flying roll has the same dimensions of the porch on the temple, I Ki. 6:3. The altar was built before the porch and the priests were called on to approach past the altar toward the porch as they sought to intercede for a sinful people, Joel 2:17.

Whether or not the flying roll and the porch are closely related in judgment is really not the point; the point is that the roll consistently, throughout Scriptures, represents the law-word of God (cf. Ezek. 3:1-3, etc.).

Thus the teachings of the first vision (5:1-4) are clear-cut

(1.) The flying roll represents the law-word of God.

(2.) The violation of this law-world is twofold:
(a.) the thief... covers mans relationship to man.
(b.) sweareth falsely... covers mans relationship to God.

And these tow point represent the total of man's duty to God, Mk 12:28-34.

(3.) The violation of the law-word of God in either area or both areas will result in the curse.

(4.) The violation, therefore the curse, covers, the face of the whole earth. It covers the law-breaker whether inside or outside of the covenant. The main message here in Zechariah is to those inside of the covenant. Jer 1:10, &c.

(5.) There will be no hiding from this curse. The curse will consume everything for all time.

One of the primary purposes of Zachariah's prophecy was to call those who were zealously involved in God's work to faith and repentance. The Lord here threatened not against a failure to be involved in the hard labor to rebuild the house of the Lord, but His treat is against the failure to have Godly faith within the heart.

The judgment is promised against zeal apart from Godly faith and repentance.

The Lord makes it clear that if the situation is not dealt with, the curse (law-word of God which moves as a curse against the ungodly of heart), will consume even the stones and timbers of the temple which they were working so hard on. It will consume their own homes as well as their nation, and the curse did not stop there. The curse would consume the ungodly world-wide, v. 3.

The protocol applications of God's Word, the curses and blessings, are not restricted to any physical location. (See our paper on blasphemy).

Here we see that God's Word will seek out the ones who remain unconverted to the Lord in their hearts regardless of their physical location. The ones who hide evil in their hearts behind outward zeal for God's work or behind closed doors at home or under the cover of darkness (the closet), will be found out by the Word of God, Ps 139:11.

If zeal for God's work is not an outflow of godliness and purity of heart, then judgment will follow.

"Spiritual" leaders who attempt to build zeal in God's people, for whatever reason, personal glory or even godly reasons, apart from faith and repentance, Godliness, brings judgment upon themselves and upon those who yield to their "motivation."

On the other hand, if leaders, such as Zechariah, call for Godly faith and repentance, yet the people refuse to head his call to do the work of God honestly and continue in their ungodly zeal, the leader has delivered his own soul, e.g. Jeremiah and all the OT prophets.

But even unholy zeal is used for God's purpose, Ps. 76:10.

Another thing:

Anyone who has worked with people for any length of time has met those who have an ungodly 'spirit' which they refuse to repent of and give up. They then use an outward zeal for God's work to hide their ungodly spirit. Others look at them and say, "My, look at how spiritual they are. Every time I see them they are doing something for the cause of Christ."

Yet behind closed doors apart from the public view, they are ungodly.
Maybe they have their Playboy well hidden, yet within their reach (I remember moving into one house and had to go into the attic for some reason. There were hidden some dirty books.);
they have their dirty movies piped right into their house (or sneak around and rent them).
They abuse their families with their words as their tempers overflow.

Probably one of the best measures of the godliness behind the outward zeal would be the personal private dedication to the law-word of God. How dedicated are they to their private Bible study and prayer?

Beyond any doubt, zeal apart from this personal dedication is nothing but hypocrisy. Zechariah clearly shows us that God will overtake those who cover up inner sin with outward zeal. He will consume all they have.

We should take note here with Zechariah that both the Godly zeal and the unGodly zeal can produce appealing, outward results. Even though the people did not heed Zechariah's warning, the temple was built. Matt. 7:24-29 clearly presents the curse against the ungodly zeal used to build 'God's work."

We should mention that zeal apart from inward holiness will draw a larger following and attract more funds. Human nature enjoys a message which permits them to feel accepted by the Father without having to pursue personal holiness.

The main thrust of the modern charismatic movement was this very thing. Direct access to God apart from holiness. (See our work, 'Tongues," a Biblical View), But let us hasten to add, Baptist cannot point an accusing finger at any group. From what I have been involved in the past as well as what I know of, charismatic zeal apart from holiness is very prevalent in our movement. The Baptist may condemn the outward fringe of charismatic zeal, e.g. tongues, healings, but we have still attempted to approach the Holy Father through zeal, hard work and dedication to His task, all apart from holiness of heart and spirit.

Anything permitting approach to the Holy Father apart from holiness will gain wide support.

No doubt a large percentage of 'temples' built today are built apart from holiness of heart. We could call these the Zig Zigler churches as the world's means of motivation is used to create zeal in the people to work. Sword of the Lord promoted Zig Zigler material, including his videos.

Everything was used to motivate that the world used except open sex. Many of the works would be more at home selling insurance because of the secular (i.e. without God) methods of building zeal. On the surface they look exciting and successful, but one day the truth will be revealed: The roll will consume them, Heb. 12:27-29.

Just observe some of the speakers used by churches and 'Christians' colleges, and check out their suggested resource material and required reading lists. A vast majority use worldly motivation rather than godliness and holiness of heart.

On the other hand, we have 'temples' (works) built on holiness of heart. They do not seem to be in the majority because many folks do not like to be confronted with sin.

Ungodly zeal is any kind of excitement used to "pump up" toward God's work (I Cor. 10:31 identifies God's work) that overlooks godliness of heart. Folks are much easier to get excited over all kinds of things as long as it doesn't involved confronting personal sin, turning from that sin and walking by faith. Yet any other kind of work will fail.

It is very tempting to tailor the message to an outline which involves no personal responsibility toward God nor toward society. Protest meetings will draw a crowd, but we won't build the temple with protests. We really don't find our Lord forming protests. He called people to Himself, and the result of following Him was an outflow which turned the world upside down.

We know from history that Zechariah's warnings fell on deaf ears. The 'germ' of zeal without holiness of heart and emotions remained; the curse came, and all was consumed.

Human nature has not changed, and it demands that ungodliness be covered or ignored rather than repented of and forsaken, Prov. 28:13, 14.

It is so much easier to blame others for the difficulties which we face. Let's make them responsible so I won't be. We see a tremendous amount of zeal around us, yet very little, if any call to godliness and holiness behind it. Of course, this cannot be a blanket statement as there is some very godly zeal at work today, but they seem to be the exception.

By far, the prevalent thought of our day is: "any means to win some to Christ. Whatever compromise as long as I can continue to preach the gospel of the death, burial and resurrection." It is the Billy Graham gospel that was permitted behind the Iron Curtain, and does not include another King, one Jesus. It compromises the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ as well as the great commission which DEMANDS another King. Whatsoever I have commanded you clearly places the command of the word of God far above any earthly power or authority.

The 'germ' of ungodliness dealt with by Zechariah remained. He returns again to the problem in ch 11 as those who had the ungodly zeal reject the Good Shepherd. The ungodliness of heat does the same today: it denies the Good Shepherd. A person doe not have to be outside of the covenant to make refuse to glorify God as God, Rom. 1:21.

This denial is zealous toward the work of the Lord, yet that zeal is not based upon the Word of God. Paul addressed this in Rom. 10:2, they have a zeal of God but not according to knowledge.

Paul's context is clearly talking of the Jewish people depending upon their words to qualify them to stand righteous before God. It was LEGALISM, and it is not dead in our day. Only through Christ's righteousness can any person stand before God.

In the light of Zechariah let's observe a couple of things from Rom. 10:2.

First zeal of God. This is an excitement of mind or fervor of spirit. JN. 2:17 (Ps. 69:9) tells us that this excitement or fervor is for the work of God. This is a zeal in behalf of the work of God, even His house. Yet here in Romans (and Zechariah), it is a wrong kind of zeal.

Second knowledge. We see from Col. 1:9; 2:2 this is a correct knowledge and use of the Scriptures in all things. It includes repentance of sin and Godly faith, doing all things in accord with His Holy Word. But the correct use of what we know from God's Word is missing in unholy zeal, Rom. 10:2.

Third ignorant. Not knowing the proper way to do the work for God. (See Acts 13:27; 17:23.)

Fourth righteousness. Speaking of being right before God for salvation (Rom. 1:17; 3:21; 10:3; --That divine arrangement by which God leads men to a state acceptable to him, Rom. 10:4---.)

finally submitted to subject one's self, to obey.

Using Rom. 10:2 in the light of Zechariah's prophecy, Paul's words apply to situations within the those claiming to be God's people, the saved. (Paul's context refers to those outside the covenant of Christ and refusing to enter in through him.)

Thus we have folks very zealous for the work of God, yet their zeal is built apart from the principles of God's Word. Either they do not know the requirements of God's Word concerning the area they are zealous in, or they are willingly ignorant of them. Either way, they zealously are going about their work, maybe even exciting others to follow them, yet that zeal is not according to Biblical holiness of heart and motives.

Included in this unholy zeal would be a couple of things:

(1.) Working folks up with secular means (Zip Zigler motivated works), to go do 'spiritual work.' (See Zech. 4:6, etc.)

(2.) Another thing included here would be exciting people to think that the answer for a problem would be anything except individual repentance over sin and faith, obedience to every word which proceeds from God's mouth. Obedience in evangelazation and teaching.

The total of Zacharah's warning is against zeal excited or worked up apart from the basic requirement of holiness of heart from God's Word; trying to establish personal standards apart from God's Word, and refusal, to submit to the standards of God's Word.

God help us to examine our own hearts and make sure that the zeal we have for God's work is based in obedience to His word, a clean heart and pure motives.

November 20, 1994

Zech 5:1-4

We saw last time that the roll represented the Word of God going throughout the earth to judge the motives of those doing the work of the Lord.

Vv. 5-11

After a slight pause, the second vision follows. And it is closely connected with the first. The angel which is explaining to Zechariah what he is seeing approaches him and says, "Looking up there and see what goeth forth." Zechariah looks up, and sees a form rising that he is unable to make out. The angel explains this vision to also: This is the ephah that goeth forth.

Remember, these two visions are a pair; the second vision is expanding upon what was presented in vv. 1-4, the warning of the result of the lack of repentance and faith even though there was a zeal for the work of God. In this second vision, the Lord is showing that the people were filling up the measure of iniquity.

First the ephah... it was one of the largest measures of Israel's day.
Second the talent of lead... the largest measure of his day.
Third a woman in sitting in the midst of the ephah and the lead seem to go together.
Fourth two women with wings carry away the ephah containing the lead and the woman.
Fourth the ephah and its contents are carried into the land of Shinar to build it an house.

Let's follow this through.

Vv. 1-4, the context is demanding judgment for sin. And that vision is followed with the ephah, a large measure large enough to hold the lead and the woman.

Using Scripture to interpret Scripture, we have two passages which will shed some light on the ephah.

Gen. 15:16 & Matt. 23:32 The Lord's words in Matt are the most revealing: He refers to the measure as a measured amount of sin.

Rom chapter 1 & 2 tell us that there is a certain point to which the Lord allows sin to progress. When that point is reached, God acts, Rom 1:26-28. During the time of God's mercy before He acts, He pleads for man to repent, but if man does not, God acts and judgment comes, Rom 2:5.

God's judgment didn't come until the 'measure' of the Amorites was full. During the time was plenty of opportunity for them to repent. Gen 16 is following by Gen 19, Sodom & Gomorrah. In other words, the Amorites (Canaanites) saw God's judgment against sin. Therefore, when Joshua came into the land hundreds of years later, the people knew of Canaan knew how God dealt with sin, yet they did not repent, Josh 2.

The ephah... 1) is a measure of sin established by God; 2) it is a large measure, the size of which is established by God; 3) only God knows the size; 4) it is a just measure, and no man will be able to say that God is unjust, Ezek 45:10, 11; Rom. 9:19, 20.

the talent of lead... Though Wilson (Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types, Eerdman, pg. 283) identifies this lead in a good light, the context will not support his view. God is assuring the nation through His prophet here of judgment against sin. Ezek. 22:18-22, lead represents the sins of the house of Israel which causes the wrath of God to burn against them.

Therefore, the ephah is the just measure which God has established.

The lead is the wickedness which fills the measures as the whole nation works at filling up the measure.

["the efforts of the whole nation are directed to the filling up of the measure of its sin (Hengstenberg)."]

the woman... She is another symbol that is not difficult to follow. The nation Israel is consistently compared to a woman. In fact, Jer. chp. 3 tells us that her husband divorced His unfaithful wife after a tremendous amount of patience. The measure of His patience was full; she refused to return to her rightful husband, so He put here away in his anger. (See notes in Jer. 3 and Lam.)

The woman, representing the Jewish nation, is seated in the basket. The led represents the weight of her wickedness is cast into the basket, v. 8. The basket is now full of the wickedness of the nation.

The two woman which had wings, 9. They take the full basket with its full measure of wickedness, lift it up, and carry it away with the woman.

Notice the tremendous patience until the ephah (measure) was filled. But when the basket is full, it is carried off with the speed of the wind. When enough is enough, judgment comes quickly.

The prophet says, "Where are they taking the basket with the woman and the led?" The interpreter tells him that it is going to the land of Shinar where it will be established. Shinar is another symbol easily identified as Babylon, Dan. 1:2.

Finally, the prophet is told that there in the land of Babylon the Jewish nation will be established, Jer 29:5ff. Judah was carried away into Babylon for refusing to return to her husband, Jer 3. There in Babylon (Shinar), they were told to settle down, build houses and raise families. They are also instructed not to create turmoil in this heathen land because when the time is right, the same Lord that carried them off will return and carry them back.

What do we have?

The carrying away of the Israelite nation had already been accomplished. Therefore, Zech 5 was not speaking of something which was already done; hence we again have a general teaching from this passage as there was in 4:6. Zechariah is shown something yet to come from his time.

Vv. 1-4, the Lord had called for repentance on the part of those who had returned from Shinar, Babylon. He had warned of another coming judgment against them for their zeal apart from a proper heart attitude.

Thus we have:

(1.) The context requires that this is referring to the Jewish people.

(2.) The context requires that Zechariah is seeing a yet future event from his time. Types and symbols from the past were used to explain what the future held.

(3.) God patiently warns His people to turn in repentance and faith unto Him. If they do not, the measure of their iniquity will be full at some point. The history of Israel shows God's word in action. Instead of turning to the Lord, they killed the Lord.

(4.) When that full point was reached, judgment swift

(5.) they were banished from their land. V. 11 indicated the banishment was permanent. ["long duration and final in its character."]

(6.) The land of banishment is called Shinar, but it is not a particular location as was Babylon; rather, Shinar represented something: it represented any land in the world where God's elect are located.

The land of Shinar had been a land of banishment for sin. The place where the woman (Jewish nation) is carried after she returned from literal Babylon is also called Shinar; this banishment shows that the many places where the nation was to be scattered were also lands of banishment for their sin. ["their future oppressors are called by the names of Assyria and Egypt (10:11)."]

(I'm sure as we go on that we will see that this is a reference to the judgment which came upon the Jewish nation who had a zeal for God, yet this zeal was apart from true knowledge, as they killed His Son. With this in mind let me make a point, v. 11. The banishment of this nation would be final in character.)

The original banishment was clearly established as being only 70 years in duration. When the 70 years were completed, they came back. Zechariah is speaking to those who returned. This banishment which he speaks of here has no time limit upon it; therefore, it could be permanent.

The banishment and regathering of OT Israel was fulfilled; therefore, Zechariah is speaking of another banishment.

The previous banishment to literal Babylon was types and symbols of what laid ahead for the unrepentant, Jewish nation. A point would be that the leaders considered themselves the builders of this nation, Acts 4:11; Ps. 118:22; Isa. 28:16; Matt. 21:42. In their zeal to build, they attempted to leave out the stone which it had to be built on, the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead of including the true foundation stone, they killed Him. The result was judgment.

"The meaning of this vision," says Archbishop Newcome, "seems to be, that the Babylonish captivity had happened on account of the wickedness of the Jews, and that a like dispersion would befall them if they relapsed into like crimes." The woman who sat in the {ephah} was an emblem of the Jewish nation; the casting the weight of lead on the mouth of the{ephah} seems to mean the condemnation of the Jews, after they had filled up the measure of their iniquities by crucifying the Messiah; the "two women, with wings like a stork, and the wind in their wings," seem emblematical of the Roman armies and the rapidity of their conquests; and their lifting up the{ephah} and carrying it through the air, to build it a house in Shinar or Babylon, where it was fixed on its own basis,represents the taking of Jerusalem, the dispersion of the Jews, and the long continuance of that calamity, as a just punishment of their unbelief.


(1.) Zeal without a proper heart attitude or repentance and faith had the judgment of God against it.

(2.) There is a point, unknown to us, when the measure is full.

(3.) At this point, judgment is swift and sure. Maybe we could call it, "The point of no return." How long will God tolerate the "Zig Zigler churches?" What will be the judgment of this kind of pumped up zeal for his work?

But it would go past the "Zig Zigler churches" even to the point of having to beg, plead, and shame people into serving God. Which is why I try to avoid doing these things. I want people to serve the Lord because He wants them to.

Same would also be a wrong motive behind serving Him. Any motive behind His service apart from repentance and faith (the just shall live by faith) will bring judgment. We have zeal for his service because HIS WORD tells us to serve Him. Any motive other than this will have His hand against it.

God help us to have our motive proper in all of our service for Him. God judges motives. Zechariah makes this point abundantly clear. He will judge inactivity, so we are to be busy about the Master's business. But just being busy will not solve the problem and avoid the judgment. That business must be in accord with his total law-word.

Chp. 5 contains two visions: one deals with sin, the other deals with the results of remaining in that sin.

These two visions must be seen as a unit. One deals with a present sin and the other with the coming result of that sin. They both are very applicable for our day.