What does it say?
The vision of the scroll that opens chapter 5 is defined as a curse. Curses in the ancient world possess destructive power. The second vision is that of a woman in an ephah (unit of measure) basket having a talent (unit of measure) of lead as a covering. She represents the personification of evil. Two winged women remove her to Shinar (Babylon) in representation of cleansing the land from evil.
The last of Zechariah’s 8 visions (Zec 6) is similar to the first as four chariots symbolize God’s sovereign control over the world. The Branch appears again, and it is clear that the high priest Joshua prefigures the Messiah. That he is crowned here pictures the dual role of Christ as Priest and King.
Chapters 7 and 8 are messages concerning empty ritualism and communicate the need for righteous living in response to past judgment and future glory. Zechariah 7:1-3 sets the stage as a delegation inquires about continuing to celebrate feasts previously instituted to commemorate events surrounding the destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian captivity. God reveals their hypocritical motives (7:4-7). A call to repentance follows (7:8-14), in light of what they have just suffered.
Chapter 9 is a glorious view of the coming Messiah entering Jerusalem on a young donkey. God will be the nation’s protection and salvation.
What does it mean?
In spite of the glorious future, Israel has to understand that sin brings its consequences. The vision of the flying scroll is a curse upon evildoers, while the woman in the ephah basket foresees cleansing the land itself from evil. A vision of future peace and glory does not excuse from the responsibility of righteous living. This thought consistently appears throughout Zechariah’s prophecies.
Zechariah 9 is fulfilled as Christ rides a young donkey into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday before his crucifixion (Mat 21:5). That he rides a donkey is significant because it is not a warhorse. The Messiah initiates a reign of peace, but he would not come as a political or military leader, but as the King of Peace.
How will I respond?
I live in an age of God’s grace fully revealed and reigning supreme. I am not subject to the Law of Moses. I am, however, responsible to live a righteous life. Israel was to be God’s light to the nations. I now participate in that mission. What needs to be added or take out of my life in order for God’s light to more perfectly shine through me?