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Lowell Brueckner

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The Vision of the Flying Scroll


Then again I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, a flying roll. And he said unto me,
What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits. Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole land: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off on the one side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off on the other side according to it.  I will cause it to go forth, saith Jehovah of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name; and it shall abide in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.                                   Zacariah 5:1-4

Up to this point in his first four chapters, the message of the prophet was full of consolation and hope for Israel. He prophesied that God had prepared destruction for her enemies and promised protection for her future. God would dwell among them and the Gentiles would be drawn to her, as well. He saw the purification of the high priest and learned of a Unique Stone, a Servant and a Branch, who would take away sin from the earth in one day. In the last chapter, he received a message for Zorobabel that stated that the Holy Spirit would do a supernatural work to reconstruct the temple.

Nevertheless, the message would not be properly balanced, if it did not also present the curse upon those, who persisted in their evil ways; God also cares for them. They will be excluded from the blessings to come. So that none will be deceived, along with the promise of forgiveness for the repentant sinner, the Scriptures guarantee with solemn certainty that “no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God… because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience” (Eph.5,5,6) and “those that practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal.5:21). “The cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and immoral persons and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars” (Rev.21:8), will be excluded. 1 John 3:8 proclaims: “He that practices sin is of the devil”.

In the last chapter, Zechariah had to be awakened, but not any more; he is now totally attentive to the messages that are coming from God. To see heavenly things, one has to lift up his eyes. Heaven has to attract our attention. Only the one who keeps his eyes fixed on heavenly things can have a message for those on earth. We have to be focusing with expectant eyes. As we must have ears to hear, we also must have eyes to see. He now sees a flying scroll and this is the theme that we now seek to understand.

Zechariah does not ask a question this time, but before he can, the angel asks him what he sees. Heaven must be assured that we are capturing the scene correctly or it may want to see that we are fixed with all our attention in what we see. If the eye is whole, all the body has light. Zechariah is sanctified and set apart for God and the Holy Spirit inspires him, so that we can receive by him the word of God. Think of the responsibility that there is in seeing this thing well.

 A scroll, more than the spoken word, carries more weight because it has a written message. It cannot be altered by a mistaken utterance or a faltering ear. It is not silenced by the death of the speaker. It is a faithful word and no one can be excused when the message is put in writing. Also the scroll is big enough (30 x 15 feet, more or less) and it will not escape the sight of anyone, who wants to see and read it. It is sent from heaven and flies, in order to be viewed quickly over the whole land. Ezekiel also saw a scroll that was open (Ez.2:9-10) and this is surely open as well, according to the measurements given.

 Ezekiel’s scroll, just as this one, had writing on both sides and the message addressed the consequences of sin. Clearly, the angel declares to Zechariah that the scroll symbolizes a curse. God in His goodness wants the world to know of the curse that lies ahead. Jesus demonstrated that concern, because he spoke more about hell than about heaven. The preachers are very cruel and unfaithful, who do not warn their hearers to flee from the wrath to come. If these speakers ignore the curse that awaits the transgressor, surely they do not understand the nature of the love of God, which they pretend to announce. The love of God only saves a sinner, the ungodly, and the enemy, according to Paul in Romans 5:6-10. These false prophets cover their lust for fame and popularity by exuding a sentimental sympathy and a humanistic love that does not come from God.

This scroll has writing on both sides. It is a curse for having broken at least two of the Ten Commandments: Thou shalt not steal on one side and thou shall not bear false witness by swearing on the other side. Paul warned the Ephesians (4:28,29) “He who steals must steal no longer… Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth…”. Perhaps these were prevailing, dominating sins in the time of Zechariah. Some think that stealing represents the sins against mankind and that swearing falsely represent the sins against God. Any way we might look at them, sins are inter-relational; for example, to kill and covet also is to steal and to swear falsely is blasphemous. The moral law reflects the nature of God and for this reason the Psalmist delighted in the law, seeing the attributes of God in it. He rejoiced in the beauty of holiness and the purity of God.

God hates the thief and the one who swears falsely, but His love provides a way to escape that hateful condition. The law is, said Paul, “for the transgressor and the disobedient…” (1 Ti.1:9). The law does not only provide commandments, but also pronounces a bitter sentence for breaking them. The whole world needs to know that it is guilty before God, before it can hear the gospel. Matthew Henry said, “All mankind are liable to the judgment of God; and, wherever sinners are, any where upon the face of the whole earth, the curse of God can and will find them out and seize them. Oh that we could with an eye of faith see the flying roll of God's curse hanging over the guilty world as a thick cloud, not only keeping off the sun-beams of God's favour from them, but big with thunders, lightnings, and storms, ready to destroy them! How welcome then would the tidings of a Saviour be, who came to redeem us from the curse of the law by being himself made a curse for us, and, like the prophet, eating this roll!” Today preachers have forgotten what Henry, and all those whom God has used to bring multitudes to salvation over the centuries, knew to be true… that “the Law has become our tutor to lead us to Christ, so that we may be justified by faith” (Gal.3:24).

Throughout this book of Zechariah, God is presented as the Lord of Hosts and in the case of the thief and the one who swears falsely, He releases all of heaven in order to fulfill His curse. He comes against all that is dear and sure to them. They think that gain an advantage by stealing and swearing, using the name of God for their purposes, but in the end God demonstrates His righteousness by showing that there is no gain, when His word is ignored by those who have no fear of God. The flying scroll enters the house of the wicked person permanently and cannot be exterminated until its destruction is total, people as well as material things.

Joseph Kennedy Sr.
Joseph Kennedy was a rich man, who knew how to take advantage of any opportunity to gain his fortune. When the prohibition law against liquor ended in the United States, the ships of Kennedy were waiting in New York harbor, ready with alcoholic beverages to sell across the country. They were emptied immediately and alcohol flowed freely in the streets of that city and many more, finding the hands of those, who were helpless against its vice. (Just so that you can see that I am not exaggerating, I copied a little of his biography from Wikipedia: After prohibition of alcohol ended in 1933, Kennedy consolidated an even larger fortune when he traveled to Scotland with FDR's son, James Roosevelt, to buy distribution rights for Scotch whisky. His company, Somerset Importers, became the exclusive American agent for Gordon's Gin and Dewar's Scotch. In addition, Kennedy purchased spirits-importation rights from Schenley Industries, a firm in Canada. He owned the largest office building in the country, Chicago's Merchandise Mart, giving his family an important base in that city and an alliance with the Irish-American political leadership there.)

Joseph Kennedy was able to buy the presidency of the United States for his son, John, and another son, Robert, took the position of U. S. Attorney General. Ah, but John was shot in the head and killed during a parade in Dallas and Robert also fell to an assassin. There are more stories to tell about the Kennedy family curse, which continues now over the grandchildren. Hear the story of the oldest daughter, Rosemary, also taken from Wikipedia: Kennedy allowed surgeons to perform a lobotomy (one of the earliest in the U.S.) on his eldest daughter Rosemary in 1941. Various reasons for the operation have been given, but it left her permanently incapacitated. Rosemary has since been deemed "mentally retarded," and she may have been "mentally ill" (for which no treatment other than incarceration was considered to exist in the 1940s. She was interred the rest of her life.). She died in 2005 at age 86. Rosemary's name "was never mentioned in the house" according to Janet Des Rosiers, Kennedy's secretary and mistress of nine years. Joseph Jr. died in combat in 1944. Daughter Kathleen died in an airplane accident in France. Joseph was the leading member of the Irish Catholic Community. The Kennedy family was and continues to be Roman Catholic and profess to swear in the name of Jesus Christ. They stole the finances and health of many families, as a consequence of alcoholism, but the Kennedys have been victims of the flying roll for at least three generations. “Woe to you who make your neighbors drink, who mix in your venom even to make them drunk so as to look on their nakedness!” (Hab.2:15)  

The scroll of the curse flies rapidly over all the earth, casting its shadow over this modern world still, entering into the private and secure lives of the rich and famous. Don’t ever doubt it, the God of salvation cannot be mocked, because He is also the God of the curse. No one, but no one, escapes the word written on both sides of the scroll!


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