I think what fascinates me most about the Bible is prophecy. Everything in the Bible has at least three levels: a literal or surface meaning, an application, and prophecy.
Most of the prophecy in the Bible has been fulfilled with 100% accuracy. The rest is future. Because we don’t know the future, we can’t say exactly how the prophecies will be fulfilled. As technology changes though, we may glimpse what God knew would happen. For example, Revelation 13:16 says that the mark of the beast will be placed on people’s right hands or foreheads. From what I’ve heard, those are two places in the human body that generate enough energy to power tiny embedded chips, something people in generations past could not have imagined. I can remember when I was a boy that my mother checked to see if I had a fever by putting her hand on my forehead or the back of my hand.
As we near the end times, more and more prophecy will unveil itself before our eyes. Of course, we have to be cautious that we don’t jump to conclusions and say that any current event fulfills a specific prophecy. We can’t possibly see the big picture. Think about the media coverage of what is happening in Israel. The Israelis are more and more often portrayed as the aggressors. One day it may be difficult to support their position with our neighbors and fellow Americans because media coverage. The Bible says that Israel will stand alone in the end.
By the way, the way to tell who is and is not the aggressor is ask yourself two questions. What would happen if Israel unilaterally stopped fighting? Most likely, Israel's enemies would fulfill their long-standing vow to drive all the Jews into the sea. What would happen if Israel's enemies unilaterally stopped fighting? I believe Israel would lay down their arms and there would be peace. An aggressor is an instigator or warmonger. Not everything Israel does is good or right, but I am convinced that on the whole Israelis prefer peace to war.
Today, I’d like to share a prophecy from Zechariah 5, verses 1-4. This is one of several visions shown to Zechariah by an angel. I’ll should tell you in advance that I don’t completely understand this prophecy and I'm not an authority on prophecy.
I looked again — and there before me was a flying scroll! He (the angel) asked me, "What do you see?" I answered, "I see a flying scroll, thirty feet long and fifteen feet wide." And he said to me, "This is the curse that is going out over the whole land; for according to what it says on one side, every thief will be banished, and according to what it says on the other, everyone who swears falsely will be banished. The LORD Almighty declares, ‘I will send it out, and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of him who swears falsely by my name. It will remain in his house and destroy it, both its timbers and its stones.’"
Commentators usually describe the scroll as a large parchment unrolled and waving in the wind. A problem with that is that it wouldn’t be visible over the whole land. Instead of thinking about the appearance of a scroll, think about its function. In Bible times, a scroll was the means to communicate over a distance. Words could be written on a scroll and carried to communicate with people far from the writer's location. In those days, scrolls were the best means available to communicate large quantities of information over a distance.
Thieves and perjurers are singled out for judgment in this prophecy. Have you ever wondered why Jesus was crucified among thieves, rather than murderers or people who did something we might consider much more serious? One possibility is that the thieves represent us. Imagine preparing a special gift for someone only to have them steal it, run off with it and destroy it, despising you as the giver. Life is a gift from God. Our natural tendency is to steal the gift of life and despise the Giver. One thief on the cross is saved and the other is lost, despite their circumstances and crimes being identical. Isn’t that like us?
What about lying? Lying in the name of God, perjury, is especially offensive to Him. God is pure truth. Satan is called the father of lies, who speaks lies as his native language. The liars in this prophecy most likely represent those whose father is the Devil, as described in John 8:44:
You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desire. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.
Zechariah wrote thousands of years ago, looking into the future at things not then in existence. He couldn’t have known of the technology man would eventually develop. 2 Peter 1:20-21 says:
Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet’s own interpretation. For prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
Think about what we have now that flies through space and allows us to communicate over a distance. Is there anything that allows information to enter our homes, remain in our homes and even destroy our homes? In Zechariah’s day there were no telephones, televisions or computers. Could it be a coincidence that the cargo bay of the space shuttle is 15 feet wide? Some communication satellites flying through space above us right now, serving the same function as did the scrolls of old, are 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.
Think about the rest of the prophecy. Do communication satellites bring a curse, or have the potential to do so? Do their messages go out over the whole land? Can or could these messages enter the house of every thief and liar, remain in the house and destroy the house?
In Revelation 11:9, after the two witnesses are killed by the Beast, it says:
For three and a half days men from every people, tribe, language and nation will gaze on their bodies and refuse them burial.
Critics of the Bible in centuries past pointed out that it would be impossible for people from every nation to gaze on the bodies of the witnesses at one time. It was impossible, until recently.
I’m not saying this interpretation is the correct one or that others are wrong. But I was surprised when I learned this! It might offer us a glimpse into how this prophecy will play out in the future.
Note: This talk was presented by my husband Dennis at our small church.
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