ZECHARIAH, BABYLON & THE EPHAH
By Keith Malcomson
Zech.5:5-8, “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…This is an ephah that goeth forth…This is their resemblance through all the earth…and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. And he said, This is wickedness.”
As a foundation and backdrop to our text we must point out that there is a difference between MYSTERY BABYLON in Revelation chapter 17, and literal Babylon in chapter 18. If you study carefully from chapter 16:17 to chapter 19:3 you will see both similarities and great differences.
Mystery Babylon is seen in symbolic vision, but the Babylon of chapter 16 and 18 needs no interpretation, it is literal. Mystery Babylon is called a Harlot but the literal Babylon is not, it is most often called Babylon the Great. The judgement of Mystery Babylon comes from the hand of man before the Beast rules, but the judgement of literal Babylon comes at the end of the Beast’s rule by the hand of God.
The Kings of the earth are glad for Mystery Babylon to be destroyed but the Kings and merchants weep over the fall of literal Babylon. Mystery Babylon is a religious system but literal Babylon is a merchant city of trade. Mystery Babylon makes herself rich at the expense of the kings and nations of the earth but literal Babylon makes others rich.
There are also distinct similarities between these two Babylon’s which tie them together in a unique bond. Both fornicate with the kings and peoples of the earth. Both have a cup in their hand. Both are cities and both are called Babylon. Their clothing and adornments are the same, albeit one is physical and one spiritual. Lastly both are guilty of killing God’s people.
So where shall this great literal physical city of Babylon be in the last days? While many teachers have tried to make this city of Babylon in Revelation a spiritual name for some great city of the earth in our own day, such as New York, but Scripture states differently. It seems very clear that this city is the same city, and in the same place as the famed foundation of ancient Babylon in the land of Shinar (modern day Iraq).
It would seem that in the days of the ten horns (ten toes) and upon the destruction of Mystery Babylon that physical Babylon will rise to power. Revelation 17 finishes with the destruction of Mystery Babylon and then continues into the next chapter with the statement: “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven.” This other angel then deals with the city of Babylon (18:1).
In chapter 18 this city is revealed as living “deliciously” (v7) which means ‘in luxury.’ In this we find the secret of her quick rise to prominence. It is her riches, wealth and luxury which comes through trade. This one city makes the world rich again. We are told: “the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (v3, 15). That: “all that had ships in the sea” were made rich through her (v19). Also: “the kings of the earth...lived deliciously with her” (v9). Everything they desired that was good, sumptuous and magnificent was found within her. She traded in everything imaginable from gold and silver to flour and wheat. She was also marked by her production of music, singers and musicians (v22).
What will lead to ancient Babylon’s restoration and her quick rise to glory, influence and riches? The Prophet Zechariah was told to: “Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth” (Zech.5:5). When he asks “What is it?” he is told “This is an ephah that goeth forth.” (5:6). Its going forth is very important. What is an ephah? The term originated in Egypt and was used in Judea for the instrument that measured corn. It is the symbol of commerce; it speaks of the economy of nations. This is how it appears outwardly “through all the earth” (v6). This word “resemblance” can also mean fountain or source of supply. So this ephah was being looked to as the source of all supply right across the earth. Initially there does not seem to be anything sinister behind this sight.
This is a small insignificant prophecy which I believe is very pertinent to our present time in world history. I believe that it pertains to the present economic situation which started over three years ago and also to a worse international economic crisis which is about to hit the whole world. Within the past three years the nations of the world have been brought to a place where all are looking to the world’s economy with great fear believing that their only security is to be found in securing the world economy by a united international political intervention and effort.
To outward observation there does not appear to be anything sinister behind this flying ephah. The economies of the nations are, however, being used to bring something sinister about. Hidden in the ephah under a talent of lead was a woman (v7). At a time when everyone is looking to the economy for security this woman is secretly using this for her own ends. When the angel lifts the lead and shows Zechariah he says “this is wickedness.” This wickedness is separate and distinct from the woman. The Angel then casts the wickedness into the ephah and seals it up with the lead weight. So the woman and wickedness are sealed up and hidden behind the economic situation ready to be revealed. This is the working of the “mystery of iniquity” until “that Wicked be revealed” which was so long held down (II Thess.2:6-8). This word “revealed” means to take the lid off. The mystery of iniquity is of course the revealing or manifestation of Antichrist.
Then Zechariah saw: “…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” (5:9). We are told in Jeremiah 8:7 that: “…the stork in the heaven knoweth her appointed times;” It is normal and traditional for storks to leave western and mid Europe in August in what is considered one of the most spectacular migration flights in the world. Over a quarter million storks fly in clouds over the city of Istanbul in Turkey during the course of a few weeks. Their main nesting place in the Middle East is Iraq. The stork is well known for returning to nest in a previously used nest.
When and where does the lid come off? Zechariah asked the angel where this ephah which was being carried by the two women with stork wings is going. The angel replies: “To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.” Shinar in modern Iraq was the ancient home where Babylon was first established. Now we see this ancient power which began in Babylon returning to her home on the Euphrates. Babylon will become the economic centre of the world and the political base for antichrist for a short infamous period of 3½ years during which the world will prosper financially and no one will buy or sell without the mark of the beast (Rev.13:17).
The purpose of the present crisis, which started three years ago, is in part to destroy the value of the dollar as a world currency, America as a world power, and Wallstreet as a centre of influence in the world economy. The centre of economic power is going to move East back to Babylon in Iraq probably via a revived Roman Empire which will stretch across Western Europe and the Middle East. This will happen over a period of years by means of financial crisis, insecurity and instability.
From the beginning of the crisis in 2009 the call for a “one world currency” and one “world governance” has changed from a private whisper to a public deafening call. This call has come from political, religious and economic leaders and institutions on an international scale. The Pope stated: “There is a strongly felt need…for a reform of the United Nations Organisation, and likewise of economic institutions and international finance, so that the concept of the family of nations can acquire real teeth…there is urgent need of a true world political authority.” Later that year the UN also set forth its agenda in making suggestions for the radical redesigning of the global monetary system in calling for a world currency.
In 2010 the Institute of International Finance (a group that represents 420 of the world`s largest banks and finance houses) issued yet another call for a one-world global currency. The President of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet stated that: “global governance is extremely necessary if we want to prevent another financial crisis.”
The idea of a world currency is not new. English Economist John Maynard Keynes, politician, banker and practising homosexual, proposed an “international currency union” and world central bank in 1941. In 1944 this was discussed but rejected at the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, known as the Bretton Woods conference, which was a gathering of 730 delegates from all 44 Allied nations, to regulate the international monetary and financial order after the conclusion of World War II. Although Keynes’ proposal was rejected a compromise was put in its place. As a result the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank were established. These are now the very institutions which are eagerly calling for a world currency. In farewell remarks at the conference by Henry Morgenthau, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, it was stated that the establishment of the IMF and the World Bank marked the end of economic nationalism (national currency).
Again in April 2011 a conference hoping to repeat the famed 1944 conference was held by the Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET) in Bretton Woods designed to “remake” the entire global economy and called for a new “global system.” One of their themes was ‘The role of the UN system in global economic governance.’ In May, the Bretton Woods Committee held its twenty-eighth Annual Meeting at the headquarters of the IMF in Washington. Both of these conventions were attended by hundreds of top economists, business personnel and politicians. We also see that the G-20, which was formed in 1999 in Berlin, is following hard after the same agenda. All of these global pursuits are in preparation for the flight of the ephah.
The prophets of the Old and New Testaments were shown these things in great detail thousands of years ago. This is all in fulfilment of biblical prophecy. We have come to the end of the age. But let’s be sure that we understand and are convinced that God is in control, not man, and that He is working out His own eternal purpose for His own glory.
In the first world Empire, prophesied of in Scripture, ancient Babylon, the Lord sovereignly set Daniel and a remnant band in the midst of that kingdom. These saints of the Most High would not bow, bend or budge. This was the Lord’s testimony and witness to His glory and of a spiritual heavenly kingdom which cannot be moved and which shall have no end. Their stand resulted in a proclamation concerning the Lord's everlasting kingdom across that great empire. Again in the fourth World Empire predicted by Daniel, the Roman Empire, the Lord sovereignly birthed His Church and commissioned His Church to preach the Gospel to all nations. The Roman roads were in place, the Greek language was in place, and the Jewish scriptures had been scattered through the whole empire. The Lord again used the machinery of this empire for the spread of the Gospel across whole nations.
Lastly as we see the revival of this fourth kingdom in our own day and the soon rise of ten great world leaders, the Lord will again have a people who will not be moved, will not compromise, and who will not lose heart. In this the consummation of the Church age, on the eve of the coming of the Lord for His Church, we are caught up in a wonderful divine purpose of glorifying Christ one last time in each nation in gathering out a last harvest of souls. This is indeed an exciting time to be alive, a time in which biblical prophecy is quickly coming to pass and being fulfilled.
“…this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come” (Mt.24:14).
Just in case you are in any doubt as to the truth, substance and reality or likelyhood of what I have wrote above I would encourage you to read the followong Vantican document released over a month after it:
Vatican proposes a world government to stabilize the financial system