Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: The Ephah that Goeth Forth

Monday, September 24, 2018

The Ephah that Goeth Forth

Chapter Twelve
The Ephah that Goeth Forth

          The Babylonian captivity was a life changing and shaping event in the lives of the Jewish people, even the faithful remnant.  They had lived in the Babylonian culture for seventy years before the faithful remnant was released and funded by the Persian king Cyrus to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Temple of God (II Chronicles 36:21-23).  God had wrought a miracle in the heart of king Cyrus that began with a prophetic promise to the children of Israel through the prophet Jeremiah at the beginning of the Babylonian captivity.

8 For thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed. 9 For they prophesy falsely unto you in my name: I have not sent them, saith the LORD. 10 For thus saith the LORD, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place. 11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end” (Jeremiah 29:8-11).

          This prophecy was miraculously and exactly fulfilled seventy years later when God moved the heart of a pagan king named Cyrus in the very first year of his reign.  The whole Temple building venture was to be financed by free will giving from the now wealthy children of Israel that remained in the Persian Empire.  It is also a prophetic dualism, because it will be fulfilled again after the fulfillment of the seventieth week of Daniel (the seven-year tribulation). 

1 Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and put it also in writing, saying, 2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah. 3 Who is there among you of all his people? his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the LORD God of Israel, (he is the God,) which is in Jerusalem. 4 And whosoever remaineth in any place where he sojourneth, let the men of his place help him with silver, and with gold, and with goods, and with beasts, beside the freewill offering for the house of God that is in Jerusalem” (Ezra 1:1-4).

Part of the seventy-year time span of the captivity was to restore the land-rest sabbaths that the Jews failed to keep for seventy years in their greed and disobedience to trust God for His provisions (II Chronicles 36:21).  In their disobedience, God had refused to bless their crops.  They simply by-passed God’s chastisement out of desperation and planted land that was supposed to be rested during the planting cycles.  The point is that the rebellious Jews refused to accept the fact that the land was not theirs.  They were merely stewarding God’s land.  This is true of all earthly possessions.  Never lose this perspective of possessions.  

The last half of Zechariah chapter five is dealing with an infection that would corrupt the Jewish people from the time of the captivity until today.  The culture of empire building was permeated with the capture of wealth, land, and slaves through the spoils of war.  This love of wealth and greed is Babylonianism.  The people of the Assyrian Empire, and later the Persian Empire, enjoyed luxurious lifestyles unsurpassed and probably never replicated even in the Roman Empire.  The Jews that were absorbed into the Babylonian culture also enjoyed luxurious lifestyles.  The Jews, at first the servants of the wealthy, enjoyed the luxuries of the households in which they lived.  The scraps from the tables of kings are still scraps of luxury.  They became accustomed to these luxuries.  These slaves under the Babylonians would later become absorbed into the Persian culture.  

Once a certain standard of lifestyle has been experienced and lost, it is something always longed for again.  God sees this desire as an unacceptable form of lust.  Even though the faithful believer may repent and rebuke his own spirit for this infection with this lust, the memories remain, and the desires constantly come to the forefront of his mind with every remembrance.  This was the complaint of the mixed multitude that came out of Egyptian slavery while eating God’s daily provision of manna in the wilderness to keep them from starving to death.  They were not starving in the wilderness, but they were not satisfied either. 

4 And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting {for different food}: and the children of Israel also wept again {they all were infected with this complaining against God}, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? 5 We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: 6 But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes. 7 And the manna was as coriander seed, and the colour thereof as the colour of bdellium. 8 And the people went about, and gathered it, and ground it in mills, or beat it in a mortar, and baked it in pans, and made cakes of it: and the taste of it was as the taste of fresh oil. 9 And when the dew fell upon the camp in the night, the manna fell upon it. 10 Then Moses heard the people weep throughout their families, every man in the door of his tent: and the anger of the LORD was kindled greatly; Moses also was displeased” (Numbers 11:4-10).

          There is a great perspective on prayer given to us in Numbers 11:4-10: BE CAREFUL WHO LEADS YOU IN PRAYER!  Make sure your prayer is not really a complaint against God disguised as prayer.  Who shall give us flesh to eat” (Numbers 11:4)?  The question is really communicating that any person that can provide these complainers with meat to eat will be the person they will follow.  We tend to see this as innocent boredom with the mundane provision of tasteless food.  It was not.  This was rebellion against God and God’s leadership and it was rooted in wickedness. 
This is the same type of wickedness found in the woman sitting in the “midst of the ephah” in Zechariah 5:7.  Zechariah 5:8 says, “This is wickedness.”  We would be wise to do all we can to discover what “this” is that “is wickedness” because God hates “this . . . wickedness” and is going to judge it severely.  These last seven verses of Zechariah chapter five are a further explanation of the “flying scroll” judgment of God that this judgment is already in progress and it is a judgment upon something that already exists.  

This judgment is upon religious apostasy in any and every form.  Religious apostasy corrupts, distorts, and perverts true WORSHIP and SERVICE to the One True God.  Religious apostasy infects and affects almost every local church to some degree for this corruption is carried in the heart of sinners, even in the hearts of saved sinners.  The “perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry” (Ephesians 4:12) is the work of purifying the corruptions of false doctrines, false practices, and false attitudes from the hearts of believers by replacing them with right doctrine, right practices, and right attitudes.  This is a formidable task against a formidable enemy with which our own hearts have already been infected in various degrees.  This is “spiritual wickedness in high places” against which we “wrestle” (Ephesians 6:12). 

5 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. 6 And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. 7 And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. 8 And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. 9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. 10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? 11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base” (Zechariah 5:5-11).

          As we look at Zechariah 5:5-11, we gather our understanding of the prophecy given to Zechariah (and thereby to us) by seeing the four elements of the vision and what each element signifies.  Each element represents a degree of ever-growing and increasing religious apostasy. 

1. The “ephah that goeth forth” (Zechariah 5:6)
2. The “woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah” sealed there by lead (Zechariah 5:7-8)
3. The winged two women that exalt the ephah between heaven and earth (Zechariah 5:9)
4. The house for the ephah in Babylon (Zechariah 5:11)
The “ephah that goeth forth”

          The ephah was simply a measure of about one-bushel capacity.  The emphasis is not upon the size of the measure, but upon the fact that the measure is full.  Since we know this is further explanation of the “flying scroll” from Zechariah 5:1-4, we know this is connected to “the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth” (Zechariah 5:3).  Therefore, we are not guessing here about what this ephah is.  We know it is connected to the wrath of God’s curse when it is full.  From this known fact we can begin to find our understanding from numerous other portions of Scripture defining each of these four elements.  This process of finding understanding of Scripture from Scripture (exegesis) is known as the Inductive Methodology – SCRIPTURE INTERPRETS SCRIPTURE!

          The ephah of Zechariah 5:6 is the prophecy of the cup of God’s wrath.  The longsuffering of God will come to an end when that cup, the same as the ephah, becomes full. 

5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up {amass or accumulate} unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God; 6 Who will render to every man according to his deeds” (Romans 2:5-6).

The “woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah”

          The ephah, the same as the metaphor of the cup of God’s wrath, is than connected to “the woman” that leads into apostasy.  C.I. Scofield, in the Scofield Reference Bible, makes some interesting and accurate comments on what the Scripture teach inductive regarding this typology.  Scofield’s comments certainly reflect the summary intent of God’s vision of the ephah and the woman to Zechariah in chapter five.  

A woman, in the bad ethical sense, is always a symbol of that which, religiously, is out of its place.  The ‘woman’ in Mt 13:33 is dealing with doctrine, a sphere forbidden to her 1Ti 2:12.  In Thyatira a woman is suffered to teach Re 2:20.  The Babylon phase of the apostate church is symbolized by an unchaste woman, sodden with the greed and luxury of commercialism. Re 17:1-6; 18:3, 11-20.”[1]

6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, 7 Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. 8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon {religious apostasy} is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her {spiritual} fornication. 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture {the intent is without dilution} into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 12 Here {vs. 13} is the patience of the saints: here {vs. 13} are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth {the faithful martyrs of the Tribulation who refuse the mark of the beast}: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.” (Revelation 14:6-13).

“He cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof” (Zechariah 5:8).

          The judgment of “the woman” is sealed along with all who join themselves to her in religious apostate fornication.  The “woman” is “wickedness.”  To purposefully corrupt or distort the Word of God is wickedness.  She, in her wickedness, is “cast” {thrown down or away} into the Ephah, which is the judgment of God upon all sin and apostasy.  We know that the judgment upon all religious apostasy is already sealed because God has already pronounced judgment upon the “GREAT WHORE” in Revelation 17:1-6.  The point of the text and God’s judgment is directly connected to the judgment on all Antichristism, for all corruptions of Biblical Truth immediately become anti-Christian and anti-truth.  All corruptions of Biblical truth are sourced in the father of lies (John 8:44).

          The judgment of the “GREAT WHORE” is the seventh “vial” recorded in Revelation 16:17 going through Revelation 17:6.  All religious apostasy will be fully and completely judged and removed from the world prior to the beginning of the Kingdom Age.  Under the reign and “rod of iron” rule of Christ and His Kingdom of glorified Church Age priests, any type of religious corruption or distortion will immediately be confronted, corrected, stopped, and removed during the Kingdom Age. 

17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done {God speaks, perfect, active, indicative; the completion of the judgment of the nations}. 18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great. 1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 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: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration” (Revelation 16:17-17:6).

          Babylonianism is simply the corruption that views worship commercially as one sees a business intent upon producing a profit.  This includes apostate Judaism, which was the first to corrupt the Gospel of grace bringing this corruption into Christianity (Galatians 1:7-9).  Religious apostasy uses the worship of God to capitalize profit for preachers and to build religious empires generating enormous personal wealth for religious leaders and organizations.  This religious capitalism is often a simple definition and criterion of cultism.  Once people are merely viewed as customers to satisfy, the product of religion must be sold to these customers. Then, Truth will be sacrificed to the god of Capitalism and Commercialism and Christianity will be reduced to just another branch of the entertainment industry.  This is Babylonianism

          Babylonianism is portrayed in Scripture as the GREAT WHORE because she is false religion willing to compromise purity and virtue and sell herself for money. Although Roman Catholicism is the epitome of the capitalization of religion, this commercialism has invaded almost every level of the Church in the last days where churches begin to compete in necessary compromises just to gain customers.  Avro Manhattan, in his book The Vatican Billions, says:

“The Catholic church is the biggest financial power, wealth accumulator and property owner in existence.  She is a greater possessor of material riches than any other single institution, corporation, bank, giant trust, government or state of the whole globe.”[2]

“Jesus was the poorest of the poor.  Roman Catholicism, which claims to be His church, is the richest of the rich, the wealthiest institution on earth. (…) How come, that such an institution, ruling in the name of this same itinerant preacher, whose want was such that he had not even a pillow upon which to rest his head, is now so top-heavy with riches that she can rival - indeed, that she can put to shame - the combined might of the most redoubtable financial trusts, of the most potent industrial super-giants, and of the most prosperous global corporation of the world?”[3]

          Once Roman Catholicism and all religious capitalism, integrated and enveloped within Ecumenicism, is judged by God, the economies of all the nations of the world will be destroyed.  This is the lamentation of the nations described in Revelation chapter eighteen.

1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. 7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. 8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (Revelation 18:1-8).

The Converging of False and True in Ecumenicism

In Revelation 18:4, John hears another voice from heaven giving a command; “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”  The words “my people” lead me to believe this is Jesus speaking.  The question that comes to my mind is if He is speaking to believers at the end of the Tribulation or if the message is intended more as a warning that transcends the Tribulation, intended for believers of the Church Age.  Let me give you a few reasons why I think the message is intended for the Church Age. 

          Chronologically, the judgment of Revelation chapter eighteen is at the very end of the Tribulation period (perhaps the last day).  Only a remnant of believers along with the glorified 144,000 sealed of Israel will still be living.  To be involved with this “great whore” of religious apostasy would involve believers in the worship of the “beast.”  Revelation 13:7-8 says this will not happen.

7 And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations. 8 And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:7-8).

Believers of the Tribulation will not be deceived by this “great whore” into her bed of apostasy.  Certainly, the words “come out of her” speak of spiritual fornication.  Let me ask this question, believers of what dispensation have been deceived in this way?

          We can accurately conclude that Christ’s warning of Revelation 18:4-8, given to John by inspiration, is intended for Church Age people.  The warning is the consistent warning of God to His people of all ages called the doctrine of separation, “Come out of her.”  The only period of Church history to which this warning is applicable is that of the period of Laodicea. This refers to the compromising, lukewarm period of the Church Age embodied in New Evangelicalism and Ecumenical inclusivism.

          We have many other similar warnings to the Church in the New Testament.  Each warning refers to a toleration of, or involvement with, religious apostates.

New Testament Commandments to Separate

“17 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. 18 For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience is come abroad unto all men. I am glad therefore on your behalf: but yet I would have you wise unto that which is good, and simple concerning evil. 20 And the God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Amen.” (Romans 16:17-20).

          The Scriptural command is to “MARK THEM.”  This means to publicly and openly declare who these people are, and what they are doing, so that the unsuspecting (“simple”) will be warned against them.  They are like a spiritual bear trap just waiting to destroy people.  Once they are marked, the command is to “avoid them.”  This means to break off any fellowship, co-operation, or connection with them.  They are to categorically be removed from the realm of influence with the local church.  Those understanding and believing the true Gospel will never allow the purity of that Gospel to be corrupted with falsehoods or confused by false alliances. 

The winged two women that exalt the ephah between heaven and earth for judgment (Zechariah 5:9)

          The lifting up of this ephah with the GREAT WHORE sealed inside is for visual purposes.  The whole world will witness this judgment by God as Revelation chapter eighteen details.  The two women with stork like wings simply refer to the swiftness of this judgment.  Revelation 18:8 says, “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day.”  This is the opposite of the “blessed hope” where the raptured, glorified Church Age believers meet the Lord in the air for eternal blessing.  This is all the false religious leaders meeting the Lord in the air for judgment at His second coming, which is the next chronological event of prophecy (Revelation 19:11-21).  The plagues will reveal her for what she has always been; a spiritually infectious spiritual whore virulent in her corruptions. 

“To build it an house in the land of Shinar” (Zechariah 5:11)

          During the Tribulation rise of Antichristism, the Antichrist and all his false religions with make Jerusalem their captured capital to thwart Biblical Zionism.  “Shinar” is Babylonia (Genesis 10:10) representing all that is false and corrupted.  Perhaps this sealed Ephah “shall be established, and set there upon her own base” in Babylon to continue as a constant historical monument to God’s hatred and judgment of all falsehood throughout the Kingdom Age. 

          How did Christianity become an infected whore?  The answer is simply that Christianity became corrupted by the progressive corruption of the interpretation and application of the Word of God.  Corruption happens in small almost unnoticed increments until a lifetime passes and the beginning is hardly recognized by what becomes the ending.  The apostatized ending just looks upon the beginning in distained amazement thinking it to be aberrant and radical.  There is an innate fault in the human psyche that does not want to give an appearance of being culturally abstract or peculiar.  This is the seed of compromise. 

[1] [1]1917 Scofield Reference Bible Notes, Module file location: C:\Program Files (x86)\SwordSearcher\Modules\Scofield.ss5cmty, Module file time: 7/31/2011 8:15:28 PM UTC.
[2] Manhattan, Avro, The Vatican Billions 
[3] Ibid

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Numerous studies and series are available free of charge for local churches at: http://www.disciplemakerministries.org/ 
Dr. Lance Ketchum serves the Lord as a Church Planter, Evangelist/Revivalist. 
He has served the Lord for over 40 years.

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