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The Curse of the Flying Roll

INTRODUCTION: Background Information:

The Prophet Zechariah – A prophet during the return from Babylonian captivity. He and Haggai preach a return to the building of the temple after work had ceased for 16 years because of opposition.

Earlier chapters – The first four chapters of Zechariah are uplifting and encouraging. Samples of this message can be seen in Zechariah 1:13; Zechariah 2:10; Zechariah 3:10; Zechariah 4:6. The children of Israel are encouraged to obey the Lord in the building of the temple and see the blessings that He will bestow upon them.

Chapter Five – But chapter five turns to the negative side with two visions:

  • The vision of the flying roll (Zechariah 5:1-4). The roll is identified in verse three: This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth. We will see in this message that it is a picture of the curse of the law to those who disobey it.
  • The vision of the ephah with the woman in the midst (Zechariah 5:5-11). This vision is identified in verse eight: This is wickedness. The ephah is like a bushel basket and the woman who is returned to her base in Shinar (the land of Babylon) is a picture of false religion.
  • Note: So, the two visions of chapter five give a double picture of condemnation. They are condemned because they disobey the law of God and they are condemned because they follow false gods.

In this message, we will look at the curse of the law as pictured in this vision; its description and the destruction it brings. Then, we will go to the New Testament to see God’s provision for deliverance from the curse of the law.

  1. DESCRIPTION OF THE CURSE (Zechariah 5:1-2)
    1. A Roll
      1. That is, a roll of animal skin or papyrus used for the recording the words of a book. Jeremiah 36:2 Take thee a roll of a book, and write therein all the words that I have spoken unto thee against Israel, and against Judah, and against all the nations, from the day I spake unto thee, from the days of Josiah, even unto this day.
      2. Matching its work of condemnation, it shows up in the fifth chapter of Zechariah.
        1. The law, which is called the ministration of condemnation (2 Corinthians 3:9), is centered around the ten commandments, which are listed a second time in the Bible in the fifth chapter of the fifth book (Deuteronomy 5).
        2. The seven-sealed book of tribulation judgments is introduced and opened in the fifth chapter of Revelation (Revelation 5:1)
    2. Its Writing
      1. Written on both sides (Zechariah 5:3) on this sideon that side
        1. Like the Ten Commandments. Exodus 32:15 And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written.
        2. Like the Seven-Sealed Book. Revelation 5:1 And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.
      2. Featuring the two tables of the Ten Commandments (Zechariah 5:3)
        1. First Table
          1. First set of commandments deal mainly with mans relationship to God
          2. If the first table had five commandments, the middle of these five would be the third commandment, which is the commandment against taking the name of the Lord in vain (Exodus 20:7 Thou shalt not take the name of the LORD thy God in vain; for the LORD will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.
          3. The flying roll will put its curse o all who swear falsely by Gods name (Zechariah 5:4).
        2. Second Table
          1. Second set of commandments deal mainly with mans relationship to other men
          2. In the second table had the last five commandments, the middle of these five would be the eighth commandment, which is the commandment against stealing (Exodus 20:15 Thou shalt not steal.
          3. The flying roll will put its curse on those who steal (Zechariah 5:3-4).
        3. Evidently, swearing and stealing are taken to represent all the restrictions of the entire Ten Commandments. Those who fail to obey it are under the curse.
          1. The teaching of the law. Deuteronomy 27:26 Cursed be he that confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen.
          2. The confirmation of the New Testament. Galatians 3:10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.
    3. Its Dimensions (Zechariah 5:2) twenty cubits by ten cubits
      1. Shows that it was open since only an open scroll (usually rolled up) could be measured. This points to the time that the books will be opened
        1. Daniel 7:10 the judgment was set, and the books were opened.
        2. Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
      2. Obviously important
        1. Since exact dimensions are given
        2. Since the dimensions are so unusual
      3. Scriptural comparisons; only a couple of things in scripture have the same dimensions
        1. The porch of Solomons temple (1 Kings 6:3)
        2. The holy place of the tabernacle; the first room holding the candlestick, the table of showbread, and the altar of incense. [The determination of these dimensions require a bit of study, but they are strongly supported by scripture.]
      4. Conclusion concerning the dimensions
        1. Both of the places mentioned above are entry points into the presence of God
        2. The keeping of the commandments of God are also a way into the presence of God. See Leviticus 26:3, 11-12.
        3. In fact, two of the three pieces of furniture in the holy place of the tabernacle (candlestick and table of showbread) are types of the word of God.
        4. Failing to keep the commandments of God separates one from the presence of the Lord. See Exodus 33:7.
    4. Its Activity Flying (Zechariah 5:1-2)
      1. It is Alive (Hebrews 4:12)
      2. It Cannot be Escaped (Amos 9:1-3)
    1. The Roll Identifies the Offenders (Zechariah 5:3)
    2. The Roll Locates the Offenders (Zechariah 5:4)
    3. The Roll Condemns the Offenders (Zechariah 5:4)
    4. The Roll Destroys the Offenders (Zechariah 5:4)
      1. Universal Responsibility it goes forth over the face of the whole earth
      2. Universal Condemnation
        1. Romans 3:19 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.
        2. Galatians 3:22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.
        3. The commandment becomes a means of death. (Romans 7:10-14)
      3. Complete Destruction
        1. With the timbers and stones (Zechariah 5:4)
        2. Punished with everlasting destruction (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9)
    1. The Curse of Christ on the Cross
      1. The curse of one hanged on a tree (Deuteronomy 21:22-23)
      2. The curse Christ became on the cross. Galatians 3:13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.
    2. The Deliverance From the Curse Through Him
      1. He became sin for us. 2 Corinthians 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.
      2. He was made our righteousness through faith in Him. Galatians 3:14 That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

CONCLUSION: The mark of Cain a type of the curse of sin (Genesis 4:8-13). What Christ did is akin to someone offering to take the curse of Cain on themselves so that Cain might be spared. That is what Christ did for you.