Sometime in the earlier months of 2007, a brother in Christ at the church I was attending shared a few verses from Zechariah 5 in a small group setting. It didn’t mean much to me at that point in time, but over the next few weeks the passage from Zechariah 5 came to my mind a few different times. So, I took some time to read the chapter for myself. As I read it made an impression on my heart. At that point, I realized that the Lord was bringing it to my attention.
1 I looked up again, and I saw, and look!—a flying scroll! 2 And he asked me, “What are you seeing?” And I said, “I am seeing a flying scroll twenty cubits long and ten cubits wide.” 3 And he said to me, “This is the curse going out over the surface of the whole earth. For everyone who steals has gone unpunished according to it, and likewise everyone who swears falsely has gone unpunished according to it. 4 ‘I have sent it out,’ declares Yahweh of hosts, ‘and it will go into the house of the thief and into the house of the one swearing falsely by my name, and it will spend the night in that house and will destroy it, with its timber and its stone.’ ”Zechariah 5:1–4 (LEB)
In Simple Terms
- Scrolls that are written on many times indicate judgment
- Applies to the whole earth and is not specific to a smaller audience
- Addresses two categories of people
- Those who swear falsely by God’s name
- The consequences is that He will enter their homes and consume them from the inside out
Interpretation – Who is a Thief?
Thieves are according to God’s point of view. This means it is those who are taking assets from others in a way that is not in accordance with God’s laws, commandments and ordinances. One of God’s commandments is related to charging interest. There are a few places where it is addressed in the Bible.
25 “ ‘If you lend money to my people, to the needy with you, you will not be to him as a creditor; you will not charge him interest.Exodus 22:25 (LEB)
35 “ ‘And if your countryman becomes poor and if he becomes dependent on you, then you shall support him like an alien and like a temporary resident, and he shall live with you. 36 You must not take interest or usury from him, but you shall revere your God, and your countryman shall live with you. 37 You must not give your money to him with interest or give your food for profit.Leviticus 25:35–37 (LEB)
19 “You shall not charge your brother interest on money, interest on food, or interest on anything that one could lend on interest. 20 You may lend on interest to the foreigner, but to your countryman you may not lend on interest, so that Yahweh your God may bless you in all your undertakings in the land where you are going, in order to take possession of it.Deuteronomy 23:19–20 (LEB)
It may come as a surprise, but this literally means that if you are a believer in God, you should not lend money at interest to other believers. This is what our entire financial system and modern economic system is based upon. So, this means that something that significantly deals with portions of the financial industry who are behaving like thieves from God’s point of view in their way of doing business could be subject to the curse described in Zechariah.
Interpretation – Who is Someone Who Swears Falsely by His Name?
This is actually pretty simple. It is someone who claims the name of God but does so hypocritically. For example, someone who says, “I am a christian” but who does not live according to how God would lead them if they listened to and followed Him.
Interpretation – To Enter the Home and Consume it from the Inside Out
In one sense this is also pretty simple, but there is a special reference in this text that tells us more about how God sees the condition of the houses that belong to the thieves and those who swear falsely by His name.
It is also important to keep in mind that the idea of a “house” in the Bible is both the physical dwelling and it represents the family who dwells in the house.
So, when God says He will destroy something “both stone and timber” it means that the house is confirmed to be infected with leprosy and cannot be healed. It has to be condemned and destroyed.
44 then the priest shall go and look. And if the disease has spread in the house, it is a persistent leprous disease in the house; it is unclean. 45 And he shall break down the house, its stones and timber and all the plaster of the house, and he shall carry them out of the city to an unclean place.Leviticus 14:44–45 (ESV)
The full passage is Leviticus 14:33-53 which prescribes how the priests were to cleanse a house.
— A. Layman