Sixth Vision: The Flying Book
5 I looked up again and saw—surprise!—a book on the wing! A book flying!
2 The Messenger-Angel said to me, “What do you see now?”
I said, “I see a book flying, a huge book—thirty feet long and fifteen wide!”
3-4 He told me, “This book is the verdict going out worldwide against thieves and liars. The first half of the book disposes of everyone who steals; the second half takes care of everyone who lies. I launched it”—Decree of God-of-the-Angel-Armies—“and so it will fly into the house of every thief and every liar. It will land in each house and tear it down, timbers and stones.”
Seventh Vision: A Woman in a Basket
5 The Messenger-Angel appeared and said, “Look up. Tell me what you see.”
6 I said, “What in the world is that?”
He said, “This is a bushel basket on a journey. It holds the sin of everyone, everywhere.”
7 Then the lid made of lead was removed from the basket—and there was a woman sitting in it!
8 He said, “This is Miss Wickedness.” He pushed her back down into the basket and clamped the lead lid over her.
9 Then I looked up and to my surprise saw two women flying. On outstretched wings they airlifted the bushel basket into the sky.
10 I said to the Messenger-Angel, “Where are they taking the bushel basket?”
11 He said, “East to the land of Shinar. They will build a garage to house it. When it’s finished, the basket will be stored there.”
Eighth Vision: Four Chariots
6 Once again I looked up—another strange sight! Four chariots charging out from between two mountains. The mountains were bronze.
2-3 The first chariot was drawn by red horses, the second chariot by black horses, the third chariot by white horses, and the fourth chariot by dappled horses. All the horses were powerful.
4 I asked the Messenger-Angel, “Sir, what’s the meaning here?”
5-7 The angel answered, “These are the four winds of heaven, which originate with the Master of the whole earth. The black horses are headed north with the white ones right after them. The dappled horses are headed south.” The powerful horses galloped out, bursting with energy, eager to patrol through the earth. The Messenger-Angel commanded: “On your way! Survey the earth!” and they were off in every direction.
8 Then he called to me and said, “Look at them go! The ones going north are conveying a sense of my Spirit, serene and secure. No more trouble from that direction.”
A Man Named Branch
9-12 Then this Message from God came to me: “Take up a collection from the exiles. Target Heldai, Tobiah, and Jedaiah. They’ve just arrived from Babylon. You’ll find them at the home of Josiah son of Zephaniah. Collect silver and gold from them and fashion crowns. Place one on the head of Joshua son of Jehozadak, the high priest, and give him this message:
12-13 “‘A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies. Be alert. We have a man here whose name is Branch. He will branch out from where he is and build the Temple of God. Yes, he’s the one. He’ll build the Temple of God. Then he’ll assume the role of royalty, take his place on the throne and rule—a priest sitting on the throne!—showing that king and priest can coexist in harmony.’
14 “The other crown will be in the Temple of God as a symbol of royalty, under the custodial care of Helem, Tobiah, Jedaiah, and Hen son of Zephaniah.
15 “People will come from faraway places to pitch in and rebuild the Temple of God. This will confirm that God-of-the-Angel-Armies did, in fact, send me to you. All this follows as you put your minds to a life of responsive obedience to the voice of your God.”
“You’re Interested in Religion, I’m Interested in People”
7 On the fourth day of the ninth month, in the fourth year of the reign of King Darius, God’s Message again came to Zechariah.
2-3 The town of Bethel had sent a delegation headed by Sarezer and Regem-Melech to pray for God’s blessing and to confer with the priests of the Temple of God-of-the-Angel-Armies, and also with the prophets. They posed this question: “Should we plan for a day of mourning and abstinence next August, the seventieth anniversary of Jerusalem’s fall, as we have been doing all these years?”
4-6 God-of-the-Angel-Armies gave me this Message for them, for all the people and for the priests: “When you held days of fasting every fifth and seventh month all these seventy years, were you doing it for me? And when you held feasts, was that for me? Hardly. You’re interested in religion, I’m interested in people.
7-10 “There’s nothing new to say on the subject. Don’t you still have the message of the earlier prophets from the time when Jerusalem was still a thriving, bustling city and the outlying countryside, the Negev and Shephelah, was populated? [This is the message that God gave Zechariah.] Well, the message hasn’t changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now:
“‘Treat one another justly.
Love your neighbors.
Be compassionate with each other.
Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor.
Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil.’
11-13 “But did your ancestors listen? No, they set their jaws in defiance. They shut their ears. They steeled themselves against God’s revelation and the Spirit-filled sermons preached by the earlier prophets by order of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. And God became angry, really angry, because he told them everything plainly and they wouldn’t listen to a word he said.
13-14 “So [this is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies said] if they won’t listen to me, I won’t listen to them. I scattered them to the four winds. They ended up strangers wherever they were. Their ‘promised land’ became a vacant lot—weeds and tin cans and thistles. Not a sign of life. They turned a dreamland into a wasteland.”
Rebuilding the Temple
8 1-2 And then these Messages from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“I am zealous for Zion—I care!
I’m angry about Zion—I’m involved!”
* * *
3 “I’ve come back to Zion,
I’ve moved back to Jerusalem.
Jerusalem’s new names will be Truth City,
and Mountain of God-of-the-Angel-Armies,
and Mount Holiness.”
* * *
4-5 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“Old men and old women will come back to Jerusalem, sit on benches on the streets and spin tales, move around safely with their canes—a good city to grow old in. And boys and girls will fill the public parks, laughing and playing—a good city to grow up in.”
* * *
6 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“Do the problems of returning and rebuilding by just a few survivors seem too much? But is anything too much for me? Not if I have my say.”
* * *
7-8 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“I’ll collect my people from countries to the east and countries to the west. I’ll bring them back and move them into Jerusalem. They’ll be my people and I’ll be their God. I’ll stick with them and do right by them.”
* * *
9-10 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“Get a grip on things. Hold tight, you who are listening to what I say through the preaching of the prophets. The Temple of God-of-the-Angel-Armies has been reestablished. The Temple is being rebuilt. We’ve come through a hard time: You worked for a pittance and were lucky to get that; the streets were dangerous; you could never let down your guard; I had turned the world into an armed camp.
11-12 “But things have changed. I’m taking the side of my core of surviving people:
Sowing and harvesting will resume,
Vines will grow grapes,
Gardens will flourish,
Dew and rain will make everything green.
12-13 “My core survivors will get everything they need—and more. You’ve gotten a reputation as a bad-news people, you people of Judah and Israel, but I’m coming to save you. From now on, you’re the good-news people. Don’t be afraid. Keep a firm grip on what I’m doing.”
Keep Your Lives Simple and Honest
14-17 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“In the same way that I decided to punish you when your ancestors made me angry, and didn’t pull my punches, at this time I’ve decided to bless Jerusalem and the country of Judah. Don’t be afraid. And now here’s what I want you to do: Tell the truth, the whole truth, when you speak. Do the right thing by one another, both personally and in your courts. Don’t cook up plans to take unfair advantage of others. Don’t do or say what isn’t so. I hate all that stuff. Keep your lives simple and honest.” Decree of God.
* * *
18-19 Again I received a Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“The days of mourning set for the fourth, fifth, seventh, and tenth months will be turned into days of feasting for Judah—celebration and holiday. Embrace truth! Love peace!”
* * *
20-21 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“People and their leaders will come from all over to see what’s going on. The leaders will confer with one another: ‘Shouldn’t we try to get in on this? Get in on God’s blessings? Pray to God-of-the-Angel-Armies? What’s keeping us? Let’s go!’
22 “Lots of people, powerful nations—they’ll come to Jerusalem looking for what they can get from God-of-the-Angel-Armies, looking to get a blessing from God.”
* * *
23 A Message from God-of-the-Angel-Armies:
“At that time, ten men speaking a variety of languages will grab the sleeve of one Jew, hold tight, and say, ‘Let us go with you. We’ve heard that God is with you.’”