Zechariah 5 Commentary
Zechariah 5 gives us two different visions. The first vision is about how volitional sin in our lives will not stop the work of God in this world. The next vision given is another one dealing with sin. The fact that sin is prevalent in the land should not prevent the work of rebuilding the temple.
In both visions, we see that removing the systemic sin from Israel is needed before the coming of the kingdom.
Zechariah 5:1 – Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, a flying scroll!
Almost immediately after seeing the vision of the lamp and the trees, Zechariah turns and immediately finds himself in another vision.
Zechariah 5:2 – 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.”
The scroll that he saw is fully opened so that he can measure the size. An interesting note is that the size of the scroll is exactly the same size as Solomon’s Porch of the original temple in 1 Kings 6:2-3. The original temple had two porches made by Solomon. The dimensions describe the size of the second porch.
Zechariah 5:3 – 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.
So this scroll is the curse for anyone who steals or swears falsely. In Revelation 18:5 we see that her sins have reached heaven and God has remembered her sins. This scroll is symbolizing at least part of the Law.
James 2:10 says that whoever keeps the whole law but fails to keep one point of it has become guilty of the entire Law.
The fact that there are only two points of the Law specified (the third and the eighth), holds up what James says in that failing to keep one point will violate the entire Law.
This message is both immediate and future. The future message brings us to something Jesus said in Matthew 25:31-46.
It is interesting that these two Laws were chosen. The stealing violates your neighbor’s rights. Swearing a lie is like lying under oath in court. It violates God. The focus of the Law is to love God and love others. The two Laws chosen show that loving God and others is of prime importance.
It could also be that these two sins were the main sins that those returning from captivity were falling prey to.
Zechariah 5:4 – 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.”
There is no hiding from the scroll. Isaiah 55:10-11 says that God’s Word will not return empty after it goes out from His mouth and that it will accomplish its purpose. The only way to remove the curse is to repent.
This is similar to Leviticus 14 and the house of leprosy. In Leviticus, leprosy symbolizes sin. In Leviticus there is an opportunity to repent of the sin.
Zechariah 5:5 – 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.”
Basically this is the beginning of the next vision. It isn’t really clear where the angel is asking Zechariah to direct his eyes except to lift his eyes.
Zechariah 5:6 – 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.”
Just like in previous visions, Zechariah is unsure of what he is seeing. Depending on the version you are reading, it is either a “basket” or an “ephah,” which is, in essence, a bushel. Inside this bushel is the sin of the people.
This is likened to Revelation 18:5 in which the sins of the people are heaped up high.
Again, depending on your interpretation, there is a little more depth to this verse. I don’t particularly like the ESV translation in that it simplifies it too much. In other versions, this is not just God saying that it is their sin. God is saying that this is the “resemblance” of their sin. This means it is what God sees.
God sees all their sin. He doesn’t approve, of course. He is seeing and observing it, preparing for vengeance.
Zechariah 5:7 – And behold, the leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the basket!
Inside this ephah is a woman. In the vision, the woman is Judea and they are being seen for their sins. The lead is the cover of sin for Judea.
This woman is a representation of the church in sin and a corrupt Judea. The woman in the basket could go on to mean that she is being carried away, perhaps forced to live elsewhere, such as in a diaspora.
The lead cover is heavy. And lead is poisonous. The sin that covers the woman is heavy and poisonous.
Zechariah 5:8 – And he said, “This is Wickedness.” And he thrust her back into the basket, and thrust down the leaden weight on its opening.
This woman is not a woman, but the personification of evil. Think of mystery Babylon in Revelation. It appears the woman tries to leave the ephah but is forced back down and the heavy lead cover is placed back over her.
Think of Genesis 29:2 where the great stone was on the mouth of the well so that there wouldn’t be access.
Zechariah 5:9 – 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.
Now we move from the single woman in the basket to two other women with wings of storks. In the book of Leviticus, storks are seen as unclean. This means that these women are the protectors of evil. They are the demonic forces that are setting up the system of evil. There are several ways we can look at these women. It could be Samaria and Jerusalem. Or it could be the apostate church and mystery Babylon.
God allows this so that it can be destroyed as seen in Revelation 19:11-16.
The wind beneath their wings and the wings like storks show unclean and powerful creatures.
Zechariah 5:10 – Then I said to the angel who talked with me, “Where are they taking the basket?”
Zechariah is wondering where the women are taking the basket.
Zechariah 5:11 – 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.”
And the angel tells Zechariah to Shinar, which is an ancient term for Babylon (see Genesis 10:10). The fact that they will be setting this basket on a base means that this will become an idol most likely inside of a temple.
This is very easily a foreshadowing of the second coming of Christ. This is the final Babylon (Revelation 17-18) and the second coming of Christ in Malachi 4:1-3.
This could be the warning for God’s people to leave Babylon, whether the physical Babylon of their day or the spiritual Babylon of the millennial kingdom.
Zechariah 6 Commentary
Zechariah 6 starts with another vision. This is the eighth and final vision. This vision serves as a connector to the first. The horses that are in the first vision are shown in this vision. This vision shows us the quick judgment that comes upon Babylon.
Zechariah 6:1 – Again I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, four chariots came out from between two mountains. And the mountains were mountains of bronze.
Here comes the war. Chariots symbolize war. In the previous vision, the sins went out of Israel (physical and spiritual) and were taken to Babylon. Now that the sin is in the world, God is declaring war on the sin.
The mountains could have a dual meaning. It could be the physical placement of the mountains as many think they are Mount of Olives and Mount Zion. But the Lord calling these mountains of “bronze” or, in some translations, “brass,” means that they hold symbolic meaning as well. Typically we see the color bronze used with strength.
Putting the strength of the mountains together with the chariots and we see both strength and judgment.
The reasoning behind the physical mountains is because it is the actual Kidron Valley. That is the place that Jews, Christians, and Muslims believe will be the place of final judgment.
Zechariah 6:2 – The first chariot had red horses, the second black horses,
The horses, as we will see, match up to the horses seen in Zechariah 1 with one exception. There is the addition of a black horse.
In Zechariah 1 we see that the horses are on reconnaissance. In this, we see that the horses are hooked up to chariots. This means that we are seeing these horses coming in war, not reconnaissance.
These horses are pretty much the same as the horses as in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.
Revelation 6:4 – And out came another horse, bright red. Its rider was permitted to take peace from the earth, so that people should slay one another, and he was given a great sword.
Then again in Revelation 6:5 – When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, “Come!” And I looked, and behold, a black horse! And its rider had a pair of scales in his hand.
The black horse talks about troubled times and famine.
Zechariah 6:3 – the third white horses, and the fourth chariot dappled horses—all of them strong.
White horses are typically peaceful. The dappled horses are typically mixed times of peace and adversity.
At the end of the day, it is God whose plans are made a reality. Man can plan how this world will move forward, but God’s plan is true. It is timeless. And the strength of these horses show that man cannot have an impact on the mission of these horses.
Zechariah 6:4 – Then I answered and said to the angel who talked with me, “What are these, my lord?”
Again, as we have seen throughout the book, Zechariah is confused and asking for wisdom. This is the wisdom that can only come from God alone.
Zechariah 6:5 – And the angel answered and said to me, “These are going out to the four winds of heaven, after presenting themselves before the Lord of all the earth.
The symbolism here is the four corners of the world. Similar to the four kingdoms in the book of Daniel, these horses go out to the entire world.
These angels are to present themselves before the “Lord of all the earth.” This is the millennial title of Christ.
Zechariah 6:6 – The chariot with the black horses goes toward the north country, the white ones go after them, and the dappled ones go toward the south country.”
Now this is going to get a little deep. If we look directly at the historical significance of these horses in the physical realm, we can match up the horses to different times in history. The red horse, which isn’t mentioned here, has already occurred. The red horse was the time of the Chaldeans. That empire was already gone, so there is no mention of that horse here.
The black horse was Cyrus. He destroyed the Chaldeans and his kingdom is called “the north” in much of Scripture.
The white horse comes after Cyrus, which is Alexander. He was a fairly peaceful ruler. Which makes sense he would get the white horse.
The dappled horses could be the Egyptian rulers which were had some that were peaceful and others that were cruel.
Israel’s enemies came from the north and south. Babylon and Egypt. God is calling the judgment upon those areas.
Zechariah 6:7 – When the strong horses came out, they were impatient to go and patrol the earth. And he said, “Go, patrol the earth.” So they patrolled the earth.
Who are the strong horses? Rome? Could be. It could also be any of the other kingdoms that strived to go well beyond their boundaries such as the Huns or the Goths or the Vandals.
These horses are told to go an walk to and fro through the earth. This means they have subdued the earth so that they can comfortably go through the world.
Zechariah 6:8 – Then he cried to me, “Behold, those who go toward the north country have set my Spirit at rest in the north country.”
This is most likely a millennial statement. God’s spirit of wrath won’t rest until the Messiah is on the throne. This is looking forward to Revelation 17 – 20.
Zechariah 6:9 – And the word of the Lord came to me:
In Scripture, one of the ways that prophets typically close out their visions is by giving focus to God. Zechariah is no different. He said that the Word of the Lord came to him. This is the moment that the topic moves from the vision itself to the word that God is giving Zechariah about the visions.
Zechariah 6:10 – “Take from the exiles Heldai, Tobijah, and Jedaiah, who have arrived from Babylon, and go the same day to the house of Josiah, the son of Zephaniah.
There are a ton of names here. Each of those names have meanings, as did most names from that day. Heldai is one of the exiles who returned from captivity and his name is based off the word cheled which means worldliness. Tobijah is another man from exile and his name means God is my good. Jedaiah is another formerly exiled man and his name means God has known.
Those three former exiles are to go immediately to Josiah. We don’t really know who this person is other than it is at his house they are crowning Joshua.
An interesting thing is that the name Josiah means God saves. While I am not sure it really works like this, these people were exiled in Babylon, in the world (Heldai). But God’s goodness knows what the exiles needed (Tobijah and Jedaiah)….saving from God (Josiah).
Zechariah 6:11 – Take from them silver and gold, and make a crown, and set it on the head of Joshua, the son of Jehozadak, the high priest.
It is interesting to note here that when Cyrus conquered Babylon in 539 BC, he allowed the Jews to go back to their homeland. When they arrived, they had joint leadership under Zerubbabel and Joshua. Throughout the history of Israel, God has commanded that the civil and the ceremonial leadership should be separate. Zerubbabel maintained the civil law while Joshua maintained the ceremonial.
The question here is why would they be putting a crown on the head of the high priest? This is not a normal thing. The only time we saw the two offices intermingle was in 2 Chronicles with Uzziah and it brought his death to him.
An interesting note is that Joshua is basically the same name as Jesus. This is most definitely a call out to the Messiah Jesus Christ. When Christ comes He will rule completely. This is a foreshadowing of the one to come from the Davidic line, Jesus the Christ.
Zechariah 6:12 – And say to him, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the Lord.
In the next 4 verses, we learn a lot about Jesus Christ. First, we learn the Jesus will come from Israel and that He will build a temple.
While the crown was placed on the head of Joshua, they are calling out the Branch (capitalized), meaning Jesus the Christ.
Mark 14:58 – “We heard him say, ‘I will destroy this temple that is made with hands, and in three days I will build another, not made with hands.’”
John 2:21 – But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
John 15:5 – I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.
Zechariah 6:13 – It is he who shall build the temple of the Lord and shall bear royal honor, and shall sit and rule on his throne. And there shall be a priest on his throne, and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”’
I am very confused by the various translations of this verse and, although I do most of my work from the ESV, I am not impressed with the translation of this verse in the ESV. Many other versions have the following:
Even he shall build the temple of the LORD; and he shall bear the glory, and shall sit and rule upon his throne; and he shall be a priest upon his throne: and the counsel of peace shall be between them both.”
When you read other translations, it is very easily seen as a singular person who is taking the role of both ruler and priest. When you read the ESV, it seems as though there are two separate people in this role.
As I believe this is a millennial verse that would go along with the others, I have to believe that this, too, is a millennial verse. If it is, then we learn several things about Christ here. First, we see the Lord’s glory. Next we see that He will be both king and priest. And finally in this verse we see that there will be peace.
Zechariah 6:14 – And the crown shall be in the temple of the Lord as a reminder to Helem, Tobijah, Jedaiah, and Hen the son of Zephaniah.
This crown that was given to Joshua is meant to be kept in the temple as a memorial to those who returned from exile.
This is a verse to speak to the faithful in Christ receiving the crown of glory.
The name “Hen” means gracious and is evidently another name for Josiah, who is being gracious himself.
Zechariah 6:15 – “And those who are far off shall come and help to build the temple of the Lord. And you shall know that the Lord of hosts has sent me to you. And this shall come to pass, if you will diligently obey the voice of the Lord your God.”
The next thing we learn about Christ is that God is opening His kingdom to the Gentiles, that we will know that this is from the Lord, and that it requires our obedience.
1 Peter 2:5 – you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 2:13-22 – But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.
I really appreciate you sharing this!