November 29, 2021
“I looked up and saw a flying scroll. ‘What do you see’ he asked me. ‘I see a flying scroll,’ I replied, ’30 feet long and 15 feet wide.’ Then he said to me...”
“I looked up and saw a flying scroll. ‘What do you see’ he asked me. ‘I see a flying scroll,’ I replied, ’30 feet long and 15 feet wide.’ Then he said to me, ‘This is the curse that is going out over the whole land, for every thief will be removed according to what is written on one side, and everyone who swears falsely will be removed according to what is written on the other side. I will send it out,’ – the declaration of the Lord of Hosts – ‘and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name. It will stay inside his house and destroy it with its timbers and stones.’” Zechariah 5:1-4
In Sikeston, Missouri, there is a famous restaurant called Lambert’s Cafe. Lambert’s is known as “The home of the throwed roll.” That is, whenever the dinner rolls are baked and just hot from the oven, the cook steps just outside the kitchen and yells, “Who wants a roll?” If you want a roll (and everyone wants a roll), you raise your hand, and the cook proceeds to throw your roll across the room to your table! Better yet, bring a catcher’s mitt!
Today’s chapter in the King James Bible is titled “The Flying Roll.”. My Bible titles the chapter “The Flying Scroll,” which is more accurate to the prophecy. Having left the Angel of the Lord, Zechariah is back with his “interpreting angel,” who explains the meaning of the scroll and its curse on all who steal and swear falsely by the Name of the Lord. Everyone knows what a thief is, but what does it mean to “swear falsely” by the Lord’s Name? Let’s start with what it does not mean. It does not mean to use the Lord’s Name as a swear word or as a curse. The offense is much deeper than that. To swear by the name of the Lord is more closely related to the third commandment: Do not take the Lord’s Name in vain. To understand taking (or using) the Lord’s name in vain, it helps to think of our relationship with Him in terms of a marriage. When two people get married, the bride generally takes the husband’s last name as her own. Anyone seriously studying the Bible knows that God often describes His relationship with Israel as that of a husband and wife. Furthermore, the New Testament refers to Jesus as the “groom” and The Church as His “bride.” It also commands men to love their wives as Messiah loves the Church.
Now, imagine a man and a woman get married and (as is the cultural norm) the woman takes the man’s last name as her own. But what if the woman refuses to live faithfully to her husband and flaunts her adulterous lifestyle? She would have received her husband’s name, but in vain, because she had rejected the essence of marriage: faithfulness. Now, imagine if she went around town telling people that her “husband” was saying things he never said, nor would he ever intend to say? This was Israel in Zechariah’s day. Israel wanted the benefits of being God’s “bride” and would swear to be faithful to Him. Still, all the while, she was practicing idolatry, serving other gods, all the while claiming that her “husband” had authorized such behavior. Just as an unfaithful woman will eventually face the wrath of a jealous husband, Israel was about to face the wrath God was storing–up for her punishment. 80% of American households have a Bible in them. On average, they have 2 Bibles. Far from a “flying scroll,” there is a “lying scroll,” i.e., a Bible lying around most American homes that testifies against all who refuse to read and obey it.