A Base For Mystery Babylon
In Zechariah chapter 5, there are a series of profound prophetic utterances that are rarely understood. On one level, the mysterious passages deal with the economic order of our time, but on another layer they describe, with an eerie accuracy, the devastating tribulational events that are just about to unfold. These prophecies are centered on a "woman" that is sitting in a large basket:
"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. 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. And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead on the mouth thereof.
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. Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the Ephah? And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set their upon her own base." (Zechariah 5:5-10)
The first item that is seen is something called an ephah. This item is mentioned about 20 times in the Bible, so it's easy to see it was a term describing a measurement of merchandise. In Leviticus, we find an offering for sin was "a tenth part of an ephah of fine flour." (Leviticus 5:11) In Numbers, another gift to the priesthood was said to be "the tenth part of an ephah of barley meal." (Numbers 5:15) Ephahs of corn are also mentioned, so the term was apparently used to describe a particular measure of a mercantile item - in these 3 cases flour, barley, and corn.
In modern times, we might see terms like a bushel, a barrel, or a peck. Furthermore, an ephah was apparently large enough for a woman to sit in, so the picture is one of a rather large container - perhaps not dissimilar to a large barrel.
Then in a setting of commerce (the ephah), the vision shows us that a woman is "sitting in the midst of" the ephah - a representation of the system of mercantile exchange. In example after example of prophecy, a woman represents religion, or a particular religious order.
In the Old Testament, Jezebel is very definitely a "type" or symbolic representation of an apostate church. Frequently, Israel is seen as the "wife" of Jehovah that has committed spiritual adultery as she "went a whoring after other gods." (Judges 2:17, I Chronicles 5:25) Although there are many examples of women as religion, perhaps the ultimate example is the picture of "Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth" seen in Revelation 17:5.
Indeed, the flavor of the prophetic language in Zechariah resembles that of Revelation. For instance, when the harlot is seen, the text tells us there are 7 mountains "on which the woman sitteth." (Zechariah 17:9) This is strikingly reminiscent of how the woman "sitteth" in the ephah. Even as the Zecharian vision likens the imagery to "wickedness" (verse 8), Revelation uses words like "abominations" and phrases referring to "the filthiness of her fornications." (Revelation 17:5, 4) The idea of her intimate association with commerce is also found in both passages - in Revelation, when she is judged, the merchants of the earth are the ones that bewail her burning.
In Zechariah, she is found to be immersed "in the midst" of the ephah. This speaks of the interior of the unit of measurement of trade - where one would not expect to find a religious component. This mixture of religion and commerce is also analogous to the money changers that had found their way into the temple in the time of Jesus (Matthew 21:13) - to say nothing of how Revelation tells us how organized religion has "committed fornication" with "the kings [governments] of the earth." (Revelation 17:2)
After we see the woman in the ephah, the angel seems to refer to another item - one that is not clearly articulated in the vision - an unseen aspect of the vision of which he says "this is wickedness." (Zechadiah 5:8) It's implied the "wickedness" is a separate item, because while the woman is already in the basket, "he cast it into the midst of the ephah" and then closed it up with the lead covering. It's as though there was a great measure of evil that is to be shut in the ephah with the woman - forming the totality of the whole system that is now comprised of commerce, religion, and wickedness.
Next, we see two women that could fly because they had "wings like the wings of a stork" pick up the ephah and transport it elsewhere. The stork was an unclean bird, and so the ceremonial consistency of evil is maintained in the vision. Furthermore, if we view the woman as the central religion that is seen to be "Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots" we would expect the other two women to also be religions that are aiding in the establishing of the unholy system that Zechariah is describing.
The two associated women are going to assist the primary harlot in the setting up of the unholy order of the apostate church - and they are empowered in the pursuit of that ungodly goal by the wings of an unclean animal.
While it is apparent that the specific identity of Mystery Babylon will help to pinpoint who the other two religions are, it is clear that there are a total three major world religions laying claim to Jerusalem and subsequently world religious dominion - Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism. All three are seen as symbolically unclean in this vision.
At the conclusion of the vision, Zechariah asks the angel where the flying women were taking the ephah. The angel replied "To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and there set upon her own base." (Zechariah 5:11)
This name Shinar is found in scripture as the plain where the tower of Babel was built - and that location became known as Babylon. Thus, the vision completes the system with a future relocation of the wicked economic-religious construct to a place that is cryptically identified as Babylon.
The scope of this vision is astonishing, for it speaks of a future alliance between a vast commercial order and the three dominant religious constructs of the world - all to be made operational after the entire system is "set upon her own base." (Zechariah 5:11)
While many Bible teachers continue to seek to claim that the literal city of Babylon is to be rebuilt and will become the new economic center of the world, these "prophets" are embarrassingly blind as a bat. For example, an associate professor at Dallas Theological Seminary named Dr. Charles Dyer categorically states that in the end times, a great leader will "establish and lead an international power paralleling the glory of ancient Babylon." (The Rise of Babylon, Dyer, page 16) Dyer, and others at the Rapture Cult, claim "The Bible says that ancient Babylon - the mightiest and wickedest city of the ancient world - will be rebuilt before the world's final battle at Armageddon." (Rise of Babylon, back cover)
The truth is, by the time these blind guides figure out that America is Babylon now, it won't be anymore. Common sense should take hold at some point, but unfortunately it completely eludes the liars at the Dallas Seminary. Think for just a moment: in order to run the world's finances, one must have infrastructure. Fiber optics, Internet, international banks, paved streets, transportation and housing are just a tiny portion of the necessary components for a global financial order. Even though Saddam Hussein has undertaken to rebuilt ancient Babylon, it would take him 50 years to do it on the scale that is required.
The prophecy of Zechariah gives us a huge clue about the end times Babylon: the text plainly shows how the system is to be moved at some point. Witness how the prophet asks the angel "Whither [where] do these bear the ephah?" (Zechariah 5:10) - plainly showing the system is going to be moved. Furthermore, the true identity of the woman in the ephah - "Mystery Babylon" - is crucial to the actual locale that will ultimately fulfill the role of Babylon The Great. It is most certainly not to be found in the ruins of a partially rebuilt city deep in an Iraqi desert.
At this juncture, we must point out that while the role of Babylon has shifted on more than one occasion throughout the age, it will ultimately be relocated to a place that is rather mysteriously, if not symbolically, referred to as "the land of Shinar" and it must be placed there in coordination with the location of the woman that "sitteth in the midst" of the global system of COMMERCE that is characterized by the vision of Zechariah. According to Zechariah's amazing prophecy, the system "shall be established, and set there upon her own base." (Zechariah 5:10)
Thus, when you know who the woman is that is characterized as "the mother of harlots" (Revelation 17:5), you will know where the final Babylon is located.
September 16, 2002 - James Lloyd
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