Follow by Email

Monday, September 16, 2013

Zechariah Bible Study # 8 Zechariah 5:5-11 The Ephah

This study led me into a direction I did not expect and into a depth, that I don't even think I was able to scratch the surface of, but here it is and may it inspire others to go "deeper still."

Zechariah Bible Study # 8
Zechariah 5:5-11
The Ephah

5 Then the angel who was speaking with me went out and said to me, “Lift up now your eyes and see what this is going forth.” 6 I said, “What is it?” And he said, “This is the ephah going forth.” Again he said, “This is their appearance in all the land 7 (and behold, a lead cover was lifted up); and this is a woman sitting inside the ephah.” 8 Then he said, “This is Wickedness!” And he threw her down into the middle of the ephah and cast the lead weight on its opening. 9 Then I lifted up my eyes and looked, and there two women were coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens. 10 I said to the angel who was speaking with me, “Where are they taking the ephah?” 11 Then he said to me, “To build a temple for her in the land of Shinar; and when it is prepared, she will be set there on her own pedestal.” NASB

In the previous vision from this book, two commandments were emphasized, “No lying” and “No stealing.” It leads us to this vision because it is in the interest of “man's petty kingdom” that people resort to lying and stealing.
Ephah, the largest measure for dry goods among the Jews. (Ton, would that be a similar term?) It is a symbol of trade or commerce and we are about to go very deep in God, together, we will 'selah', stop and look at this bush that burns but is not consumed.
Zechariah ends with this verse, 14:21 “And every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holy to the Lord of hosts, so that all who sacrifice may come and take of them and boil the meat of the sacrifice in them. And there shall no longer be a trader in the house of the Lord of hosts on that day.” A trader, a merchant, no longer in the house of the Lord. Who are you trusting in?. Where do you put your trust?

This scripture brought other verses to mind.

Revelation 17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5 and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” 6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. 7 And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.
8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. 9 Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11 The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. 12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.

Revelation 18:10-20 10 They will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will cry out,
How terrible, how terrible for you,
O Babylon, you great city!
In a single moment
God’s judgment came on you.”

11 The merchants of the world will weep and mourn for her, for there is no one left to buy their goods. 12 She bought great quantities of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet cloth; things made of fragrant thyine wood, ivory goods, and objects made of expensive wood; and bronze, iron, and marble. 13 She also bought cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, horses, chariots, and bodies—that is, human slaves.
14 “The fancy things you loved so much
are gone,” they cry.
“All your luxuries and splendor
are gone forever,
never to be yours again.”

15 The merchants who became wealthy by selling her these things will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will weep and cry out,
16 “How terrible, how terrible for that great city!
She was clothed in finest purple and scarlet linens,
decked out with gold and precious stones and pearls!
17 In a single moment
all the wealth of the city is gone!”

And all the captains of the merchant ships and their passengers and sailors and crews will stand at a distance. 18 They will cry out as they watch the smoke ascend, and they will say, “Where is there another city as great as this?” 19 And they will weep and throw dust on their heads to show their grief. And they will cry out,
How terrible, how terrible for that great city!
The ship owners became wealthy
by transporting her great wealth on the seas.
In a single moment it is all gone.”

20 Rejoice over her fate, O heaven
and people of God and apostles and prophets!
For at last God has judged her
for your sakes.

NLT

The anti-Christ is said to control buying and selling.
And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark, or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.” Revelation 13:17

1 Timothy 6:9,10 “For men who set their hearts on being wealthy expose themselves to temptation. They fall into one of the world’s traps, and lay themselves open to all sorts of silly and wicked desires, which are quite capable of utterly ruining and destroying their souls. For loving money leads to all kinds of evil, and some men in the struggle to be rich have lost their faith and caused themselves untold agonies of mind.” Phillips

The most evil thing about evil is that it does not appear to be evil.

Mammon, is more than money. Money personified and trusted in, as opposed to God.

Matthew 6:19 “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in or steal; 21 for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
22 “The eye is the lamp of the body; so then if your eye is clear, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light that is in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!
24 “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.(mammon)

The Cure for Anxiety

25 “For this reason I say to you, do not be worried about your life, as to what you will eat or what you will drink; nor for your body, as to what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? 27 And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? 28 And why are you worried about clothing? Observe how the lilies of the field grow; they do not toil nor do they spin, 29 yet I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory clothed himself like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you? You of little faith! 31 Do not worry then, saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear for clothing?’ 32 For the Gentiles eagerly seek all these things; for your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
34 “So do not worry about tomorrow; for tomorrow will care for itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Proverbs 11:44 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
But righteousness delivers from death.

Habakkuk 3:17 Though the fig tree should not blossom
And there be no fruit on the vines,
Though the yield of the olive should fail
And the fields produce no food,
Though the flock should be cut off from the fold
And there be no cattle in the stalls,
18 Yet I will exult in the
Lord,
I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.
19 The Lord
God is my strength,
And He has made my feet like hinds’
feet,
And makes me walk on my high places.

Jesus tells an interesting parable in Luke 16:1-15 on “making friends with unrighteous mammon.”
Matthew Henry has some good comments on this parable.
The things of this world are the mammon of unrighteousness, or the false mammon, not only because often got by fraud and unrighteousness, but because those who trust to it for satisfaction and happiness will certainly be deceived; for riches are perishing things, and will disappoint those that raise their expectations from them. Though this mammon of unrighteousness is not to be trusted to for a happiness, yet it may and must be made use of in subservience to our pursuit of that which is our happiness. Though we cannot find true satisfaction in it, yet we may make to ourselves friends with it, not by way of purchase or merit, but recommendation; so we may make God and Christ our friends, the good angels and saints our friends, and the poor our friends; and it is a desirable thing to be befriended in the account and state to come.

We have no other way to prove ourselves the servants of God than by giving up ourselves so entirely to his service as to make mammon, that is, all our worldly gain, serviceable to us in his service (v. 13): No servant can serve two masters, whose commands are so inconsistent as those of God and mammon are. If a man will love the world, and hold to that, it cannot be but he will hate God and despise him. He will make all his pretensions of religion truckle (to be submissive) to his secular interests and designs, and the things of God shall be made to help him in serving and seeking the world. But, on the other hand, if a man will love God, and adhere to him, he will comparatively hate the world (whenever God and the world come in competition) and will despise it, and make all his business and success in the world some way or other conducive to his furtherance in the business of religion; and the things of the world shall be made to help him in serving God and working out his salvation. The matter is here laid plainly before us: Ye cannot serve God and mammon. So divided are their interests that their services can never be compounded. If therefore we be determined to serve God, we must disclaim and abjure the service of the world.”

Back to the Zechariah text.
The ephah is sent out to pervade the people with its influence. Trade or commerce with its temptations “to make the ephah small and the shekel great, and to deal falsely with balances of deceit” Amos 8:5

This is wickedness, the embodiment of iniquity, lawlessness. A principality just under Satan in its power. (The organism that is effectively the bride of Satan in a like manner to the church being the bride of Christ.)

Represented by a woman because its power is that of a temptress, enticing and bringing a dangerous influence over the souls of men. This system is altogether alien and opposed to the principles of God.

David Baron
It is a striking and noteworthy fact, which no intelligent man can fail to observe, that commerce is more and more bringing the nations under its sway.
It now sets up the governments and dictates the policies of the nations. It is for it that the mighty armaments are being built and that wars are being made. In all the earth and among all nations that which is symbolized by the ephah is becoming the great controlling center of society. The producing power of manufacture, the distributing skill of the merchant, the controlling power of those who trade in money and command the circulating medium of commerce—these and similar interests, when combined , are able to speak with a voice which no government can refuse to hear. Their will is potent. Legislation and government accommodate themselves to their demands. Indeed the state has become virtually and organ for the system of commerce. Its will is paramount. In the 18th chapter of Revelation, the close of this age, has 'merchants being the great men of the earth,' and the commercial city is the 'queen of the nations.' This system as a part to play in the final apostasy. Seductive attractiveness and luxury are used to allure men.
The two women... Apostate Christianity and Apostate Judaism both given over to the worship of Mammon;.
The land of Shinar, ancient land of the first rebellion against God.
The final anti-Christ apostasy “in which a godless Judaism and a corrupt, unbelieving Christianity will be united for the sake of a the false peace, and pomp, and luxury, and a humanitarianism dissociated from God and the truth, which the system, outwardly symbolized by the ephah, will for a time minister to them, but which, as Scripture also warns us, will end in the most terrible judgment which has yet befallen man upon the earth. “


So, what have we here? Beware when you are tempted to lie and to steal for any reason. Beware of trusting in the riches of this world. They are not evil, but they are viciously, seductive. The portion from Matthew 6 is worth a very slow and prayerful read. It is a loving warning, from the One who made us and knows our weaknesses. The passage from Habakkuk is worth a slow and prayerful read because God's answer to the prophet did not consist in even one temporary blessing of provision, His presence, intimacy with Him, a trust that goes beyond sight and grabs hold of the invisible, that is what God is after.

No comments: