A Vision of a Flying Scroll
I looked up again and saw a flying scroll.
“What do you see?” the angel asked me.
“A scroll flying in the air,” I replied. “It’s 30 feet long and 15 feet wide.”
He said to me, “A curse sent by the Lord is written on it. It is going out over the whole land. Every thief will be driven out of the land. That is what it says on one side of the scroll. Everyone who lies when promising to tell the truth will also be driven out. That is what it says on the other side. The Lord who rules over all announces, ‘I will send the curse out. It will enter the house of the thief. It will also enter the house of anyone who lies when making a promise in my name. It will remain in that house and destroy it completely. It will pull down its beams and stones.’ ”
A Vision of a Woman in a Basket
Then the angel who was talking with me came forward. He said to me, “Look at what is coming.”
“What is it?” I asked.
“A basket,” he replied. “The sins of the people all through the land are in it.”
Then the basket’s cover was lifted up. It was made out of lead. A woman was sitting in the basket! The angel said, “She stands for everything that is evil.” Then he pushed her down into the basket. He put the lead cover back over it.
I looked up and saw two other women. They had wings like the wings of a stork. A wind sent by the Lord carried them along. They lifted the basket up between heaven and earth.
“Where are they taking the basket?” I asked the angel.
He replied, “To the country of Babylon. A temple will be built for it. When the temple is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.”
A Vision of Four Chariots
I looked up again and saw four chariots. They were coming out from between two mountains. The mountains were made out of bronze. The first chariot was pulled by red horses. The second one had black horses. The third had white horses. And the fourth had spotted horses. All the horses were powerful. I asked the angel who was talking with me, “Sir, what are these?”
The angel answered, “The four spirits of heaven. They are going out to serve the Lord of the whole world. The chariot pulled by the black horses is going toward the north country. The one with the white horses is going toward the west. And the one with the spotted horses is going toward the south.”
The powerful horses went out. They were in a hurry to go all over the earth. The angel said, “Go all through the earth!” So they did.
Then the Lord called out to me, “Look! The horses going toward the north have given my Spirit rest in the north country.”
A Crown Is Given to Joshua
A message from the Lord came to me. His angel said, “Get some silver and gold from Heldai, Tobijah and Jedaiah. They have just come back from Babylon. On that same day go to Josiah’s house. He is the son of Zephaniah. Use the silver and gold to make a crown. Set it on the head of Joshua the high priest. He is the son of Jozadak. Give Joshua a message from the Lord who rules over all. He says, ‘Here is the man whose name is the Branch. He will branch out and build my temple. That is what he will do. He will be dressed in majesty as if it were his royal robe. He will sit as king on his throne. He will also be a priest there. So he will combine the positions of king and priest in himself.’ The crown will be given to Heldai, Tobijah, Jedaiah and Zephaniah’s son Hen. The crown will be kept in the Lord’s temple. It will remind everyone that the Lord’s promises will come true. Those who are far away will come to Jerusalem. They will help build the Lord’s temple. Then his people will know that the Lord who rules over all has sent me to them. It will happen if they are careful to obey the Lord their God.”
Have Justice and Mercy
During the fourth year that Darius was king, a message from the Lord came to me. It was the fourth day of the ninth month. That’s the month of Kislev. The people of Bethel wanted to ask the Lord for his blessing. So they sent Sharezer and Regem-Melek and their men. They went to the prophets and priests at the Lord’s temple. They asked them, “Should we mourn and go without eating in the fifth month? That’s what we’ve done for many years.”
Then the message came to me from the Lord who rules over all. He said, “Ask the priests and all the people in the land a question for me. Say to them, ‘You mourned and fasted in the fifth and seventh months. You did it for the past 70 years. But did you really do it for me? And when you were eating and drinking, weren’t you just enjoying good food for yourselves? Didn’t I tell you the same thing through the earlier prophets? That was when Jerusalem and the towns around it were at rest and enjoyed success. People lived in the Negev Desert and the western hills at that time.’ ”
Another message from the Lord came to me. Here is what the Lord who rules over all said to his people. “Treat everyone with justice. Show mercy and tender concern to one another. Do not take advantage of widows. Do not mistreat children whose fathers have died. Do not be mean to outsiders or poor people. Do not make evil plans against one another.”
But they refused to pay attention to the Lord. They were stubborn. They turned their backs and covered their ears. They made their hearts as hard as the hardest stone. They wouldn’t listen to the law. They wouldn’t pay attention to the Lord’s messages. So the Lord who rules over all was very angry. After all, his Spirit had spoken to his people through the earlier prophets.
“When I called, they did not listen,” says the Lord. “So when they called, I would not listen. I used a windstorm to scatter them among all the nations. They were strangers there. The land they left behind became dry and empty. No one could even travel through it. This is how they turned the pleasant land into a dry and empty desert.”
The Lord Promises to Bless Jerusalem
A message came to me from the Lord who rules over all.
He said, “I am very jealous for my people in Zion. In fact, I am burning with jealousy for them.”
He continued, “I will return to Zion. I will live among my people in Jerusalem. Then Jerusalem will be called the Faithful City. And my mountain will be called the Holy Mountain.”
He continued, “Once again old men and women will sit in the streets of Jerusalem. All of them will be using canes because they are old. The city streets will be filled with boys and girls. They will be playing there.”
He continued, “All of that might seem hard to believe to the people living then. But it will not be too hard for me.”
He continued, “I will save my people. I will gather them from the countries of the east and the west. I will bring them back to live in Jerusalem. They will be my people. I will be their faithful God. I will keep my promises to them.”
The Lord who rules over all says to his people, “Now listen to these words, ‘Let your hands be strong so that you can rebuild the temple.’ This also was said by the prophets Haggai and Zechariah. They spoke to you when the work on my temple began again. Before the work was started again, there was no pay for the people. And there was no money to rent animals. People could not go about their business safely because of their enemies. I had turned all of them against one another. But now I will not punish you who are living at this time. I will not treat you as I treated your people before you,” announces the Lord who rules over all.
“Your seeds will grow well. Your vines will bear fruit. The ground will produce crops for you. And the heavens will drop their dew on your land. I will give all these things to those who are still left alive here. Judah and Israel, in the past you have been a curse among the nations. But now I will save you. You will be a blessing to others. Do not be afraid. Let your hands be strong so that you can do my work.”
The Lord who rules over all says, “Your people of long ago made me angry. So I decided to bring trouble on them. I did not show them any pity. But now I plan to do good things to Jerusalem and Judah again. So do not be afraid. Here is what you must do. Speak the truth to one another. Make true and wise decisions in your courts. Do not make evil plans against one another. When you promise to tell the truth, do not lie. Many people love to do that. But I hate all these things,” announces the Lord.
Another message came to me from the Lord who rules over all.
He said, “You have established special times to go without eating. They are your fasts in the fourth, fifth, seventh and tenth months. They will become days of joy. They will be happy times for Judah. It will happen if you take delight in telling the truth and bringing about peace.”
He continued, “Many nations will still come to you. And those who live in many cities will also come. The people who live in one city will go to another city. They will say, ‘Let’s go right away to ask the Lord for his blessing. Let’s look to him as our God. We ourselves are going.’ Large numbers of people and nations will come to Jerusalem. They will look to me. They will ask me to bless them.”
He continued, “At that time many people of all nations and languages will take hold of one Jew. They will grab hold of the hem of his robe. And they will say, ‘We want to go to Jerusalem with you. We’ve heard that God is with you.’ ”