Sixth and Seventh Visions - Flying Scroll and Woman in a Basket (Zechariah 5)
A scroll the exact size of the tabernacle (30 feet long by 15 feet wide) contains a curse for violators of the third and eighth commandment (Exodus 20:7, 15) probably representing judgment on anyone who violates God's Law.
The woman in a basket (In Hebrew, it means a large barrel or basket used in household dry measurement ranging in size from 5 to 10 gallons) symbolizes wickedness (the Hebrew word for wickedness is in the feminine gender) that would be banished and sent to Babylonia which was a symbol for wickedness and idolatry (Revelation 17:3-5). Sin's power and penalty have been removed because of Christ. One day, Christ will remove all sin from the earth when He comes again! Then, there will be eternal peace and safety. Come Lord Jesus!
Eighth Vision - The Four Chariots (Zechariah 6)
This vision concludes the eight visions that Zechariah saw on the night of February 15, 519 B.C. These four chariots and horses are similar to the four horsemen in Zechariah 1. They come out of two mountains made of bronze with this metal often symbolizing righteous, divine judgment against sin (Revelation 1:15; 2:18). The chariots with their horses represent four spirits (or "winds", Hebrews 1:14) that go out throughout the earth to accomplish His purposes. The chariots suggest the idea of battle and indicate judgment (Isaiah 66:15). Many believe the colors of the horses are significant and connect it with Revelation 6:1-8 where the red horses symbolize war, the black horses going toward the north (Babylon), famine; and the white horses going after the black horses, death. There is speculation that the dappled horses going toward the south symbolize plagues. Overall, this vision means God's judgment on Gentile nations for their sins.
The Scarlet Thread of Redemption
Zechariah 6:9-15 tells us of the rule of Jesus (the "Branch" - see comments from yesterday) who will rule as a Priest on His Kingly throne (A totally perfect Priest-King instead of two separate people who were often corrupt!). A time will come when there will be perfect peace and harmony between civil and religious authority in the person of Jesus Christ!
I watched the Mumbai Massacre documentary on PBS this week; and I am, once again, struck by the fact that we live in a very unsafe world! It led me to pray for the families of the 170 people killed in November of 2008 but also the families of the terrorists. My heart ached to hear the survivors tell of the 10 scared, young gunmen controlled by masterminds sitting in safety in Pakistan and giving orders to kill over cell phones. None of the survivors interviewed expressed animosity toward their attackers but rather a "highly grudging sympathy" for them. They came from poor and uneducated backgrounds. One of the gunmen had been sold to the Jihadists for $3,000 US by his own parents!
Author of the excellent book, Three Cups of Tea, Greg Mortenson says, "If you fight terrorism, it's based on fear, but if you promote peace, it's based on hope." Greg has promoted peace by supporting community-based education, especially for girls, in remote regions of Pakistan and Afghanistan. Since 1993, his Central Asia Institute has successfully established 130 schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan which provide 51,000 students, with an emphasis on girls' education. Why girls? Because statistics show that educated mothers are less likely to allow their sons to go on Jihad. (For those of you who have concerns about this organization from watching the news, ALL lawsuits were dropped in October 2013.)
What have you done to promote peace today?
Lord, we long for the day when we will have perfect peace and security when the Prince of Peace reigns. As we celebrate His first coming soon, help us to be instruments of His peace today. We ask this in Jesus' name. Amen.