JUDGMENT OR REPENTANCE
Zechariah 5:5-11 (NIV)
“ Then the angel who was speaking to me came forward and said to me,
Look up and see what is appearing. I asked, What is it? He replied,
It is a basket. And he added, This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land. Then the cover of lead was raised, and there in the basket sat a woman!
He said, This is wickedness, and he pushed her back into the basket and pushed its lead cover down on it. Then I looked up and there before me were two women, with the wind in their wings! They had wings like those of a stork and they lifted up the basket between heaven and earth.
Where are they taking the basket? I asked the angel who was speaking with me.
He replied, To the country of Babylonia [to the land of Shinar], to build a house for it. When the house is ready, the basket will be set there in its place.”
This is the 7th vision given Zechariah during one night’s session.
The woman in the ephah (basket) is being flown to Shinar, the spot of the tower of Babel.
The woman is defined here as “Wickedness.”
An ephah or basket, was the standard dry measure of commerce.
She is confined in the basket by a heavy leaded lid and carried by two women with the wings of storks to her final resting place, the spot where the tower of Babel was erected.
There are direct associations here in this vision #7 with corrupt world economy, wickedness and pending judgment.
The ephah, bushel basket, was, as I have stated, the universally accepted dry measure of commerce. By dry measure we mean that the ephah was used as the standard measure for grains such as wheat or barley, as well as fruits such as figs and grapes. Thus the connect here in this vision is with world economic commerce.
“This is the iniquity of the people throughout the land.” This statement causes us to look beyond Israel and take a more widely world view for this vision. The Hebrew word here in the NIV translated “land” is H776 in Strong reference and is the word “eres” meaning the whole earth as opposed to just a part of the earth. So, we are looking beyond Israel and toward the entire planet. The horses of vision one were going to and fro throughout the whole earth and now with this vision we have once more, our attention directed toward the entire earth.
The ephah or bushel here is the universally accepted standard for dry measure. There is a worldwide commerce view here.
And what is this iniquity of the people throughout the earth that is related to commerce? It is the worldwide corrupt world economy. It is the taking advantage of the poor!
Listen to Amos 8:4-6. NLT
“Listen to this, you who rob the poor and trample down the needy!
You can’t wait for the Sabbath day to be over and the religious festivals to end so you can get back to cheating the helpless. You measure out grain with dishonest measures and cheat the buyers with dishonest scales.
And you mix the grain you sell with chaff swept from the floor.
Then you enslave the poor people for one piece of silver or pair of sandals.”
And things haven’t changed one bit – in fact – things are much worst now. And this vision is speaking to our day and to our time!
Almost everything we purchase in this corrupt economic environment of our day contain ‘fillers.’
And, there is no honour among thieves! The drug pushers “cut down” their products by adding fillers – baby milk powder, rat poisons . . .
The prophet Amos is telling us that we can’t wait to get out of church so we can rush back to our stalls and peddle our dishonest products for an unholy price. And we assume God will wink at it all. Well, not according to Amos!
We measure out a dishonest measure by adjusting the size of our ephah. We make it smaller so it is no longer an honest standard and we fill it with mixture, floor scraps or whatever mixed in with the grain or other dry goods.
Have you noticed how our packaging has become smaller and smaller over time so that we may not notice that we are getting less and less for the same price? The world’s ephahs are becoming smaller and smaller and yet the price ever goes up.
Smaller ephahs, added fillers, higher prices. This is what Amos was directed to condemn.
This was partly the reason for Jesus overturning the money changer’s tables in the temple. Recall what He said in Matthew 21:13?
“My house will be called a house of prayer but you have made it a den of thieves.”
You think dishonest commerce is a little thing to the LORD? Listen to Proverbs 11:1 (see also Proverbs 20:23)
“Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but a just weight is his delight.”
I can think of a lot of things that are an abomination to the Lord but I would not have thought dishonest scales as such. And, that fairness in a just weight causes Him delight! A just weight – a fair ephah – no fillers.
Why has the Lord stressed economic honesty and fair commerce so much? Perhaps it has to do with 1 Timothy 6:10. NLT
“For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.”
So, the ephah here directs our attention to a corrupt and evil world commerce system that takes advantage of the poor. And the fact that a woman, defined as “Wickedness” is pictured seated herein, reinforces the fact that the world’s economic system is totally corrupt and wicked.
We don’t need to go far afield to see the operation of this unjust economic behemoth – our own country stands guilty.
Every community has its “street people,” or the more politically correct “the un-homed.” All our laws and by-laws are established by the upper echelon of society for their precise advantage. Home ownership has become nothing more than an unattainable mirage for many of our children and grandchildren.
We are instructed over and over in Scripture to care for the poor, the elderly, the widow and the orphan. But if it doesn’t meet the bottom line, well, that’s not our problem.
So, the basket relates to corrupt world economy.
I mentioned last day that the first five visions were those of comfort and encouragement, mainly for the people of Israel, but now, with visions 6,7 and 8 there is a change in tone and direction. The tone is one of impending judgment and an application is to a world view.
The woman here is defined as “Wickedness” but not a general wickedness but an absolute wickedness – a wickedness that is specific.
One absolute specific wickedness we have already addressed – the specific wickedness of corrupt commerce.
The second specific wickedness that she represents is that of ethical or religious wickedness. She represents absolute spiritual wickedness.
This basket containing absolute wickedness, as personified by the woman, is being escorted under “house arrest” by two women guards. The image of these two are pictured as having stock wings. Storks were unclean according to the Mosaic laws. This emphasizes the uncleanness of the woman in the basket – unclean in terms of her spiritual fornications.
She is being returned, taken back, to the plain of Shinar, to the very spot where the Tower of Babel was erected and spiritual fornication had its beginnings.
The image of this woman being returned to Babel to await judgment should take us to the woman of Revelation 17 – the one riding the beast. Without going into too much detail I will quote a few verses to give us a picture of this woman and how God views her. Revelation 17:4-5.
“And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS and ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
From where do you suppose she obtained all of her fancy colourful apparel and her precious stones and pearls? She took advantage of the poor and unsuspecting ones of this world.
“Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon was built around the ruins of the Tower of Babel, which was erected shortly after the flood by the descendants of Noah under the leadership of Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10; Micah 5:6). Its original purpose was clearly stated by its builders: ‘Let us build us a city and a tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name. Lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth’ (Genesis 11:4).’
The city was a political/civil union of earth’s inhabitants at that time. The tower was clearly a religious enterprise, the means of reaching heaven. Babel thus represents the unity of state and church, involving the entire world in the attempt to elevate man to God’s level. That this would be accomplished through a tower built by human genius and energy obviously represents man’s religion of self-effort.
Inasmuch as the entire world was united in this effort, we have the first example of world government and world religion joined as one. As man began in this unity, so he must end in it as well; such is the clear message on the woman’s forehead.
The tower was the obsession of the city’s inhabitants, the purpose of life that both united and enslaved. Thus religion dominated the partnership of church and state. That such will be the case in the new world order of Antichrist, at least for a time, is clearly depicted by the fact that the woman rides the beast.” 1
The place where sin originates is the place that GOD returns the offender to experience either repentance or judgment. I have spoken on this before. Israel failed and sinned at the Jordan and GOD caused them to journey ‘around their mountain’ once more until 40 years had elapsed – one year for each day the ten faithless spies judged the land and GOD before returning a bad report – and they were brought once again to the same spot. Joshua and Caleb took them across.
GOD will bring the whole world to Jerusalem in the final battle, and plead with them there. More on this at a later time. The same is always true in our own lives. It is always the same – GOD brings us back to the point and place of our failure and sin to give us a second opportunity to repent and seek forgiveness. And if we don’t judgment continues.
The woman in the basket and the woman of Revelation 17 are one and the same.
What was the condition of the world just before Babel? Genesis 11 gives us a view.
“The whole earth was of one language and of one speech.” We are almost there again – with social media, with instant translation by hand-held devices and by English becoming dominant in world commerce. When God brings the world back to the place of their original spiritual fornication know for a certainty that judgment stands at the door!
“Let us make us a name.” Let us not be scattered abroad but rather let us be of one mind and one purpose.
Let us develop policies that unite the whole world;
How about the green movement that brought every young school child on board;
How about climate change;
How about politically correct speech;
How about accepting everyone into a collective;
How about outlawing speech that offends the least number of us;
How about being all inclusive – leaving none out;
Anyone can marry anyone – let’s not exclude.
And on and on and on. Some of these policies may seem harmless and some even good, but the point is they are the types of agendas that are uniting the world under one voice. And I have to wonder as to the voice.
We, the sheep of His fold, know His voice! The world does not possess such an ear.
In our desire to “get back to the garden” we are being led to pass by way of Babel once again.
Babel was the foundation of every act and practice of fornicating religion. It represents total apostasy – total rejection of GOD’s way to salvation. And the world is being set up to believe its lie again. We Christians are urged to flee from her, to run to the Truth Who alone can save.
Babel represents all world religions apart from our Judeo-Christian faith. It is the combining of ‘church and state – of king and priest. For the woman, apostate religion, committed fornications with the kings of the earth. Revelation 17:2.
There is only one King and Priest – Jesus the Messiah and He calls us to become kings and priests, ruling with His holy direction.
The prophet Zechariah sees the woman being returned to her birthing place – the plain of Shinar – to the foundation of the Tower of Babel – to fall under the judgment of our Holy God. Understand what is being spoken here, for the world has its own agenda – an agenda of deceit and falsehood – and it is leading its world-wide followers back to Babel too. Consider these two images if you would.
The first is an image from the Financial Times showing Europe’s new Tower of Babel Parliament building in Strasbourg. The top appears unfinished as the original would have appeared.
The slogan associated with this effort is, “Many Tongues One Voice.” The attempt to reverse God’s judgment. Europe is honouring all that the Tower of Babel represents.
The second image is a sculpture outside the front of the Council of Ministers in Europe. It also appears on European bank notes and currency. The Woman Rides the Beast.
The bull in Greek mythology had the woman clinging to the Father of the gods, who had disguised himself as a bull with crescent-shaped horns! The symbol for the Middle-Eastern god Baal. The bull with great crescent-shaped horns was the ruling god of ancient Babylon and was the moon god. This moon god has been embraced by members of the second largest religion on the planet and given another name.
The 7th vision of Zechariah involves the union of spiritual fornication with economic control. It warns us of a coming spiritual deception whose roots are in the Tower of Babel and a union of this spiritual fornication with the wicked commerce of a coming economic world order.
Christ warned us not to be deceive but when we see these things coming to pass, then we are to look up for our redemption draws nigh. (Luke 21:28) Amen.
1 Dave Hunt A Woman Rides the Beast page 53