The scroll in Zechariah’s vision is 20 by 10 cubits. A cubit is the distance from the elbow to the tip of the middle finger, about 17.5 to 20 inches, generally about 18 inches. A cubit for me is 18 inches. So the scroll is about 180 by 360 inches or 15 by 30 feet. The actual measurements may not be of great significance here, but we know it was big—too big to fit in most of our Sunday School class rooms. James Blevins, in his commentary on Revelation (Revelation as Drama, Convention Press, 1984), says that the number ten, in Apocalyptic literature, signifies completeness. So maybe this represents God’s complete judgment on “everyone” who steals or swears falsely, for the “whole land,” and for every house.
Today is Mother’s Day. A woman in a basket as the personification of wickedness is not the best Mother’s Day image, is it?
Reading the Scripture
Here are some ways you might read the scripture or tell the story:
• Apocalyptic visions are visual and meant to be seen in the mind’s eye. I like the activity suggested in the Teaching Guide (p. 11), which encourages listeners to visualize the images in this passage.
o The Bible Experience: The Complete Bible includes the Old Testament (“presented by a stellar ensemble of today’s top-name actors, musicians, clergy, directors, and award-winning producers.” Available from Keith).
• Renovation Committee: I mentioned the nominating, renovation, and property committees last week. In this week’s lesson the Israelites are presented with another challenge related to rebuilding the temple, “They could build the foundation of the temple all they wanted, but unless their own lives were built on obedience to God, everything else was useless” (Study Guide, p. 13).
o How can our church building renovations go hand in hand with spiritual renovations?
o How could our church building renovations help us grow spiritually or hinder spiritual growth?
o Pray that as we renovate our buildings and grounds we also engage in spiritual renewal.
• I have placed artists’ depictions of the images of Zechariah 5 & 6 on the web page (below).
• A Large Flying Scroll:
o How effective are large signs? For example, you may have seen Christians standing on the corner of Main and Fourth Streets carrying signs with Christian messages. How effective do you think these signs are? How effective was the scroll in Zechariah’s vision?
o Funny Church Signs: I’ve placed a link on our web page to some funny church signs. You might enjoy sharing these with your class (below).
I have set aside a shelf in the library with resources for Sunday School teachers. I will place there resources of general interest and some specifically applicable to current lessons.
• For additional commentary on the text see these commentaries in our library:
o Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi: The New Century Bible Commentary, Paul Redditt. Recommended to me by Dr. Greg Earwood, president of Baptist Seminary of Kentucky.
o Mercer Commentary on the Bible (Mercer University Press, 1995)
o Harper’s Bible Commentary (Harper & Row, 1988)
• In Keith and Tommy’s offices:
o The Book of the Twelve: Micah-Malachi, Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary, James D. Nogalski (Smyth & Helwys, 2011)
• Bible Atlas of maps: available in my office and hopefully soon in the library.