Zechariah 5:5-11 The Woman in the Ephah

Zech. 5:5   Then the angel who talked with me came forward and said to me,  “Lift your eyes, and see what this is that goes forth.”  6 And I said,  “What is it?” He said,  “This is the ephah that goes forth.” And he said,  “This is their iniquity in all the land.”  7 And behold, the leaden cover was lifted, and there was a woman sitting in the ephah!  8 And he said,  “This is Wickedness.” And he thrust her back into the ephah, and thrust down the leaden weight upon its mouth.  9 Then I lifted my eyes and saw, and behold, two women coming forward! The wind was in their wings; they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the ephah between earth and heaven.  10 Then I said to the angel who talked with me,  “Where are they taking the ephah?”  11 He said to me,  “To the land of Shinar, to build a house for it; and when this is prepared, they will set the ephah down there on its base.” 

The Ephah

An ephah is unit of measure as well as a storage container for dry grains, roughly equivalent to a bushel, which means nothing to most people in the modern industrial world.  How about a container roughly the size of half a barrel.  It would not have been large enough to hold the average woman.  But this is a vision not reality.  What it was designed to do was to hold about the largest amount that a men can easily shift by hand, all day long, about 35 pounds.  In our industrial world we would more likely put her on a shipping pallets and shrink-wrap her, then shift her with a forklift.

These ephah when used for storage always had heavy stone or lead lids, this kept the grain safe from rodents.

As a unit of measure it reminds one of Daniel 5 where the LORD informs Belshazzar that his kingdom does not measure up to God’s standards.

TEKEL, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; Dan. 5:27

The Woman

This is one of the few times in Scripture where the symbol is defined by the text.  This woman is literally “The Wickedness”.  Though out the Scriptures, we are presented with two juxtaposed women: the bride, wife, or almeh, as opposed to the whore, prostitute, or harlot.   One represent the true and faithful believers; the other, the pagan false beliefs that constantly mix with and corrupt the true faith.

The Wickedness is the woman who works in the leaven of false doctrine  [Matt 13:33], Jezebel corrupting the church of Thyatira, [Rev 2:20], the whore of Babylon [Rev 17-18].  She is to be sealed up and carried back to where she came from, the valley of Shinar, i.e. Babylon.

The Two Women with Wings.

This is the only time in scripture where female “angels” are presented; if these are even angels at all. The women have stork wings.  All commentators explain that Israel sits on one of the main migration roots for birds going between Africa and Europe /Asia.  Of all the birds that migrate through here, the stork is one of the largest.  They fly very high and very fast.  Since there were no jet planes, this was the fastest mode of travel they could imagine.

inannatriumphantHowever, storks are in the list of unclean birds[Lev. 11:13-19].  As such, one can hardly imagine that they would be put for angels.  More likely, they are evil and come from the prince of the power of the air [Eph. 2:2].

It is interesting to note that most of the deities of the people who dwell in the valley of Shinar, i.e. Mesopotamia, are half man – half animal.  Many of these deities have wings. So it seems that there should be some meaning beside just swiftness.  So far, after reading a mountain of Babylonian mythology, nothing sticks out.  We’ll keep looking;  in the meantime if one of our readers finds something, let us know.

The Wickedness is to be removed from Jerusalem and sent back to where all apostasy marduk4began.  In Babylon, at the tower.  There are many towers through out the Mesopotamian valley.  These Ziggurats are made of mud bricks. They are three to seven stories high and were erected in honour of their deities. They are all called the house of something  The one at Nippur was named “E-kur,” the house of the mountain, the one at Agade, ” E-an-dadia,” the house reaching to heaven, the one at Babylon, ‘E-temen-an-ki,” the house of the foundation of heaven and earth, etc.  Mystical Babylon is to be returned to literal Babylon.

In the past, Jerusalem and even the temple had been full of all this paganism, one of the reasons they were exiled to Babylon.  It was a kind-of, if this is what you want, have your fill of it. [1 Sam. 7:3; 1 Kings 11:7; 1 Kings 14:24; 2 Kings 23:7  Jer. 32:35; Ezek. 8].  So off to Babylon they went. For 70 years, all that was before them was the depravity that a polytheistic faith gives a people.  If one’s action offend one god, simply go to another’s temple and get permission from that god.  Especially if that god is the mother or father of the one you have offended, then they can put in a good word to the god one has offended and maybe get off any consequence.  Evil thrives in such a system.  One of the reasons that Christianity swept through the Roman world so quickly is that it offers one God with one set of rules for all.  Clearly, a morally superior way of life.  (not that Christians have always lived up to the way they were given.)

Whether one remains true to the One True God, or goes as God puts it “goes a whoring after others”, depends on how much we trust.  If our trust is weak, and it usually is, we want to cover our bases by seeking others advice and protection.  We read our horoscopes, or turn to tarot cards, all things forbidden.  Then there is always the Roman Church that offers other lesser gods to watch over you;  prayers to Mary and other saints are encourage, and not recognized for what they are, idolatry.

The other reason for not remaining true to the One true God, is coveting.  We covet their pagan festivals and their parties.  Saturnalia became Christmas, weeping for Tammuz became Lent, and Easter no one even bothered to change the name it is just been anglicanised from Ishtar.  The Sabbath has been lost and replaced by the venerable day of the Sun.  We treat God’s festivals as found in Leviticus 23 and holy days as if they are insufficient for our joy or assurance.  They are treated by many as if they are contaminated.  They are called Jewish rather than Biblical.  We are told that we are not under the law so we don’t have to keep them.

As the Roman Church had destroyed the Biblical Holy Days, so now the dispensationalist have removed the law from God’s people.  The dispensationalists, starting in 1830 with the ecstatic utterance of Margaret MacDonald, being picked of by the Plymouth Brethren under the leadership of  John Nelson Darby, The Catholic Apostolic Church, who’s leader was Edward Irving and the the Oxford Movement in Anglican Church by John Pusey, finally being spread by the notes of  C.I. Scofield in the Scofield reverence Bible.  Dallas Theological Seminary, teachings were futher spread in their famious student Hal Lindsey’s book, “The Late, Great Planet Earth”.  And more resently the “Left Behind” series of 16 novels by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins.  Those that teach these fallacious views are either false brethren or they are the dupes of false brethren’s.  The word clearly does not support their theories.  There is no RaptureSeven year Tribulation nor political antichrist.   They are simple not in the text.   To teach falsehoods, to confuse God’s people, to lead astray, may lead one to face the Judge under a curse.

And then will I declare to them,  ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ Matt. 7:23 

but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.  Matt. 18:6

Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,  “So shall Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and shall be found no more; Rev. 18:21 

In their dispensations, they have made the law pass away, for what they call the church age.  They speak as if there is such a verse.  They state with authority that “The law has passed away.”  But when pressed they can never come up with such a verse.  This declaration is nothing more then swearing falsely.  The law did not pass away as they falsely teach.  They can never show us such a verse.  What Paul actually said was—

Do we then overthrow the law by this faith? By no means! On the contrary, we uphold the law. Rom. 3:31 

This is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put my laws into their minds, and write them on their hearts, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people.  Heb. 8:10

So the believers have been lead  into idolatry and  lawlessness [2 Thess. 2].  If we do not remove this idolatry and lawlessness, then we too shall have the scroll of judgment hanging over us. We too shall be broken off, or as it were, tied to that millstone.

But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the richness of the olive tree,  do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you.  You will say,  “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”  That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief, but you stand fast only through faith. So do not become proud, but stand in awe. For if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will he spare you. Rom. 11:17-21

.

Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, 

 “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; Rev. 18:4

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