Last Updated on : Saturday, November 22, 2014
DOWNLOAD EUREKA volumes in PDF: Eureka downloads page
AN EXPOSITION OF THE APOCALYPSE
Section 1 Subsection 5c
The Harlot of the Ephah.
In Zech. 5:1, the prophet tells us that he "turned." In doing this, he occupied an altered position, which caused him to face new objects. The Lamp and Trees were behind him; and on lifting up his eyes, and looking, he beheld "a roll twenty cubits long, and ten cubits broad, lying." On this roll a curse was inscribed; it is, therefore, styled "the curse." The flying of the roll indicated its progress, which became coextensive with the whole earth. The angel's words express this. In telling the prophet what it signified, he said, "This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of all the earth:" not of all the globe; but of "all the earth" in the sense of the phrase as it is used in Dan. 2:39; 4:22. In these places, the dominion of Nebuchadnezzar is said to extend "to the end of the earth;" and the brazen kingdom of the Greeks to "bear rule over all the earth:" the extent, however, of these two dominions was unequal; and neither of them included the countries now known as China, Burma, Central India, Russia, Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, the British Isles, and other countries. We need not, therefore, look for something coextensive with the globe as the significancy of the symbol; but coextensive with that section of it over which the subject of the symbol prevails. This is "all the earth" in relation to it, though of very limited extent in regard to the globe at large.
The roll contained cursing on both sides upon certain criminals designated as thieves and perjurers. These were not common criminals; but "the prophets that steal my words, saith Jehovah [Yahweh], every one from his neighbor, and use their tongues, and say, "He saith" (Jer. 23:30). These prophets were not only thieves, but also swearers - they invoked the name of the Lord falsely. "Both the prophet and the priest were
profane; yea, in my house have I found their wickedness, saith Jehovah [Yahweh]." This was the moral condition of the leaders of the Jews who caused them to err, and brought the Chaldean desolation upon them, from which a remnant had just been saved. The roll, therefore, which Zechariah saw, related not to the past, but to the future; when the prophets and priests in Jehovah's [Yahweh's] house should become thieves and swearers falsely by his name. In due time the curses of the roll would be brought forth upon them to their utter destruction -"they shall be consumed, together with the timber and stones of their house" (Zech. 5:4).
The resemblance of these ecclesiastical thieves and false invokers of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] name, is an "Ephah going forth." It is the measure of their wickedness, which, when filled up, would cause them to be brought forth from their land, as their fathers were. "This ephah is their resemblance over all the earth." But their wickedness which filled the measure is personified by a Woman, who is confined within the measure by a leaden weight, indicative of their being destined for the furnace of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] anger, which should blow upon them like fire, and melt them as lead -- Ezek. 12:18-22. A measure of wickedness subjected to the melting fury of Jehovah [Yahweh] inscribed upon the sides of the roll is the signification of the Talent of Lead, the Woman, the Ephah, and the Roll. But, in order to show whose wickedness is contained within the ephah, Ezekiel's Two Women are attached by the Spirit to the ephah. They were seen by Zechariah "lifting up the ephah, between the earth and the heavens;" that is, exalting wickedness to high places. These women are Aholah or Samaria, and Aholibah, or Jerusalem (Ezek. 23:4,5); the two capitals put representatively for the nation. At a future period of their history, Zechariah saw them in vision, "going forth," and "carrying the ephah," or measure of their wickedness, with them into the land of the enemy, that rends them with its "great iron teeth" -- the land of their captivity, where they build for their wickedness" a house which should be established upon its own foundation;" -- a house destined, with its occupants, to be consumed "to the timber and stones thereof."
The two women are represented with wings, like the wings of a stork. Moses classed the stork with unclean birds; so that for them to have such wings, shows that they were lewd, or unclean, women or communities. The stork is also a bird of passage, migrating from one country to another, at an appointed time; hence the women-bearers of the ephah being storklike in their means of flight, were to migrate at an appointed time from the land of their uncleanness. The last feature of the symbol to be named is that "the wind was in their wings." Wind is air in motion. When birds fly the air fills their wings, and eddies
into them, so as to waft them onwards in the course of flight. The wings of the two women indicate that they were fugitive; and being storklike, ass we have said, that they were unclean and migratory. But wings are of no use without air to fill them; and no bird can pass through the air without setting it in motion, or producing wind. A bird could not fly in vacuo. Hence these unclean, and fugitively migratory communities must be propelled by wind. What is "wind" in relation to such? "Terrors," says Job, "pursue my soul as the wind" (30:15). In Jer. 4:11-13, the coming in of an army swiftly and fiercely, destroying all before them, is expressed by a dry wind, and a full wind. Thus, "It shall be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse: even a full wind from those places shall come unto me. Now also will I give sentence against them. Behold, he (the Destroyer of the Gentiles) shall come up as clouds and his chariots as a whirlwind: his horses are swifter than eagles. Woe unto us! for we are spoiled." This was the kind of wind that was in the storklike wings of the two ephah-bearing women. They were borne on the wings of the wind, into the land of the spoiler.
Here, then, in the vision of the Roll Flying, and the Ephah, was a symbolical representation to Zechariah of a captivity of Jerusalem and Samaria in a period of judgment subsequently to his time. Hence, in searching out the meaning of the vision, we have to consult the history of the Jews posterior to the times of the prophet, and to ask of it this question - What "going forth" or captivity, on account of wickedness, has happened to Judah, since her return from the seventy years in Babylon? The only answer that history gives, and therefore the only answer that can be given, is, the "going forth," compelled by that dry and full-destroying wind which swept over the land as a whirlwind when the legions of the LITTLE HORN OF THE GOAT came from the eastern frontiers of the empire; and planted their Eagles before the walls of Jerusalem, under VESPASIAN and TITUS* It was the prophecy of Daniel in ch. 8:9-12,23-25; 9:26,27, symbolically reproduced before the mind of Zechariah; and embodied by the Lord Jesus in his denunciations of the ecclesiastical thieves and perjurers, who "filled up the measure" or EPHAH "of their fathers" in crucifying him, in rejecting and perverting the glad tidings of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] Kingdom and Name; and in imprisoning, banishing, and killing the apostles whom he sent to them: so that upon Jerusalem and Samaria, with all that adhered to their wickedness,
* "Titus was adored by the EASTERN LEGIONS, which under his command had recently achieved the conquest of Judea." (Gibbon, vol. 1, p. 37).
personified in the Apocalypse as "that, woman, Jezebel, who styles herself a prophetess, teaching and seducing the Lord's servants to commit fornication, and to eat things sacrificed to idols" (ch. 2:20) upon her came all the righteous blood shed upon the land, from the blood of the righteous Abel even to the blood of Zechariah, son of Barachus, whom they slew in the siege between the temple and the altar - all came upon this generation - Matt. 23:32-36.
But the wind in their wings was not to fan nor to cleanse, but to spoil, and send the women and their wickedness of the ephah, forth from the land they had defiled. That "wicked generation" was as a man exorcised of an unclean spirit; but afterwards repossessed of one seven times more wicked. John the Baptist had ministered to all "Jerusalem, and all Judea, and all the region round about Jerusalem," the immersion of repentance, on the confession of their sins; and many of the Pharisees and Sadducees even came to be baptized (Matt. 3:5-7). This was a great national repentance; a casting out of the unclean spirit - an emptying, sweeping, and garnishing of the house of Judah, which now waited for the manifestation of the King of Israel, whom John proclaimed to be in their midst, though unknown to him and them. But when their attention was directed to Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Mary - who was claimed by a voice from heaven, and designated by the descending Spirit in dovelike form, as Son of God - they "saw no form nor comeliness; no beauty in him, that they should desire him." This national feeling of disappointment was aggravated by the rulers, whose hypocrisy he unveiled and denounced. The old spirit of evil, sevenfold increased, effected its entrance into the house of Judah, and dwelt there. Under its inspiration, Jesus was despised and rejected; they hid their faces from him, and esteemed him not. They oppressed and afflicted him; and though he had borne their griefs, and carried their sorrows, healing their diseases; yet they scourged, imprisoned, and ignominiously crucified him between thieves (Isa. 53). Thus Jerusalem, that killed the prophets, and stoned those that were sent unto her, when she had added to her crimes the death of Jesus, and the iniquity of the subsequent forty years, had attained to the consummation of transgression; and nothing remained but for "her house to be left to her desolate." So that, though the first of that generation was bad enough, its last condition was worse. In the green tree they had crucified the Holy and the Just One; in the dry, there was no abomination they eschewed. The ephah was filled, and the lead for the furnace rested upon it, to be melted when the fire should be kindled in Zion.
But before the fire was kindled, Jerusalem and Samaria had received the word of the Lord - Acts 8:14; 5:28; 6:7. They did not,
however, long continue faithful; but began to steal the words, and to swear falsely by the name of the Lord. They began to teach contrary to the wholesome words of the Lord Jesus; and to assume authority in rivalry to the apostles themselves. They were opposed to the glad tidings of the kingdom being preached to any but Jews; but not being able to prevent it, they contended that all Gentiles ought to be circumcised, and to keep the law of Moses, as well as to believe the gospel and be baptized, or they could not be saved (1 Thess. 2:16; Acts 15:1-5). These Judaizers were particularly troublesome to the apostles. They commended themselves and gloried after the flesh, saying that they were Hebrews, and Israelites, and the seed of Abraham, and apostles, and ministers of Christ (2 Cor. 10:12; 11:13,18,22). But Paul says that they were false apostles, deceitful workers, and ministers of Satan, who perverted the truth, and preached another Jesus, another Spirit, and another Gospel; and that therefore they were accursed - (Gal. 1:6-9; 2:4; 4:17; 4:42). These accursed Judaizers were indefatigable in exalting themselves to the exclusion of Paul and the other apostles. Peter, James, John, and Jude are very hot against them in their epistles and in the letters to the seven ecclesias, they are denounced as pretended apostles, Nicolaitans, the Synagogue of Satan, holders of the doctrine of Balaam, jezebel the pseudo-prophetess, Satan, liars, and so forth. They were evil men and seducers, deceiving and being deceived; having forsaken the right way; and therefore "cursed children." These were the "false prophets" that Jesus predicted would arise, and deceive many. The effect of their teaching was to cause the spread of iniquity in all the cities of the land; and because of this the love of the many became cold; and the congregations in Judea became as apostate as the faithless generation whose carcasses fell in the wilderness. Jerusalem and Samaria had again earned for themselves the character of Ezekiel's Aholah and Aholibah, two women of lewd and treacherous demeanour. The Judaizers had corrupted them, and nothing remained but for them to be brought forth from the land with judgment, according "to the curse," or Roll in flight.
When the Apostasy in Judea was fully matured, the Ephah contained the Woman under the Talent of Lead; and when the Mosaic Law and institutions had vanished away as the result of the desolation of the Temple, all that were not slain or imprisoned, became sojourners in the lands of the Little Horn of the Goat. This national dispersion of the Jews was the flight of the two women into the countries of the Fourth Beast dominion, then pagan. In their flight, the Judaic Apostasy from the Christian Faith was not left in Judea, to grow up into a papacy there. But having been formed and organized in that country, and
propagated from that centre, it was expelled from thence, and driven by the national calamity, the wind in the storklike wings of the two women, out of Canaan, that "they might build for her a house in the land of Shinar."
This saying connects the Judaic Apostasy with the Babylon of the Apocalypse - that "they," the Harlot-Judaizers of Judea and Samaria, "might build for her," the Wickedness, or Falsehood, systematized by them, and symbolized by the Ephah, Woman, and Lead, they bore with them in their flight, "a house," or kingdom, "in the land of Shinar," into which they were expelled. The house of Judah, in which Christianity was born and nourished, and transformed by "false brethren" into a system of falsehood, had been demolished. If this had not come to pass, they would, doubtless, in process of time, have got the upper hand in the Jewish State; and have built for their Harlot of the Ephah a kingdom in the native land of Christianity. But the demolition of Judah's Commonwealth, and the dispersion of all Jewish communities from Judea and Samaria, compelled the adherents of the Harlot of the Ephah, or Jezebel the Prophetess, to build for her a house in some other region than the Holy Land. This other region is styled in Zech. 5:11, eretz Shinar. This phrase is as symbolical, or representative, as the ephah, the woman, the lead, and so forth; and consequently is no more to be interpreted of the Shinar where Nimrod flourished, and his contemporaries built the Tower of Babel, than that "Ephah" is to be interpreted of three pecks and three pints; or the woman therein, of a literal woman shut up in a three-peck measure under a cover of lead. The literal and typical land of Shinar was that country into which Aholah and Aholibah had gone forth, because of profanity and falsehood against the Mosaic Law; and from which they had returned before Zechariah saw the vision of the Harlot of the Ephah. That was the Shinar of the past -- the Shinar of the Chaldeo-Babylonian Olahm, beginning with Nimrod and ending with Belshazzar. The Chaldeans, the rod of chastisement in Jehovah's [Yahweh's] hand, had blindly punished Judah and her companions for their apostasy from Moses; and had afterwards been punished in turn for their own crimes by the Medes and Persians. Thus, the Chaldeans being set aside, Judah and the nations entered upon a new cycle. The judgment on Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, and the judgment on Babylon by Cyrus, had avenged the past. A new era was now commenced, as indicated in Jehovah's [Yahweh's] words by Haggai, saying, "Consider, now, from this day forward; from the four and twentieth of the ninth month from the day that the foundation of Jehovah's [Yahweh's] temple was laid, consider. Is the seed yet in the barn? As yet the vine, and the fig-tree, and the pomegranate, and the olive-tree have
not brought forth: from this day will I bless" (ch. 2:19). Judah was thus invited to faithfulness, and consequent blessedness. Nevertheless, Jehovah [Yahweh], foreseeing that, when Messiah should appear among them, and cause that system of truth to be proclaimed, which was the great burden of the Law and the Prophets, they would become more wickedly apostate even by sevenfold than when carried off the land to Babylon - revealed it to Zechariah in the vision of the Harlot of the Ephah who should dwell in a future Shinar, antitypical in its relations to Judah and her Apostasy from Jehovah [Yahweh] to the Shinar of the past.
The word Shinar is derived from the nouns shain, a tooth, and ur, an enemy; it means, therefore, Enemy's Tooth; as Shinab signifies Father's Tooth. Hence the phrase eretz Shinar, means "the Land of the Enemy's Tooth." This was a very appropriate appellation for the region into which the Harlot of the Ephah was to be transplanted; and to acquire a house set up upon the foundation of her own wickedness. The Fourth Beast of Daniel's vision, the beast of the "GREAT IRON TEETH," had been a wind in the storklike wings of the two women by whom the Harlot of the Ephah was carried forth; and the testimony of the Apocalypse, as we have already seen, reveals her subsequent existence with all the impudence of a harlot and pretended prophetess, in the midst of the Seven Ecclesias of Asia Minor. This was a province of the dominion of the Great Iron Teeth; the enemy of Jews by nature, and of Jews by grace; in other words, the land of the enemy's tooth, or Shinar's land, where "Babylon the Great" was to be built up for Jezebel, the Harlot of the Ephah, by those "who say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie, and are of the Synagogue of Satan" - (Apoc.2:9; 3:9) -- the two women that carry the Ephah.
When John was in Patmos, the Judaic Apostasy as leaven was leavening the whole lump. It was on this account that the seven letters were written to Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea. It was an era of contending elements, from which a new civil and ecclesiastical order of things was to "be established, and set upon her own foundation in the land of the Great Iron Teeth." At the epoch of the Apocalypse, the Iron Teeth were a pagan power; and ready to rend all that were not pagans. The Jews were divided between the Synagogue and the Church; and though the former boasted in Moses, and the latter in Jesus, the Iron Teeth regarded them all as Jews, and was the enemy of both. But in John's day, the Jews of the Church were divisible into two classes; first, those who were Jews inwardly without regard to flesh; and secondly, those who said they were Jews, but were liars. The first class were in scriptural fellowship with the apostle, but rapidly falling into the minority; so
that in Sardis, for example, only "a few names" remained undefiled. It was the second class of Jews that constituted the great majority of those who passed current by the name of Christian. It was these who labored indefatigably in building a house for the Harlot of the Ephah. They became a powerful political faction in the land of the enemy; and having found a warrior to their mind in Constantine, they placed themselves under his leadership; and in A.D. 324, became the sole ruling power "in the land of Shinar" as defined.
The twelfth chapter of the Apocalypse opens with the exhibition of Jezebel the Prophetess, tricked out with the paraphernalia of royalty - not the royalty of the Kingdom of God, but the royalty of "the Twelve Caesars." In this chapter, the two classes of Jews are necessarily comprehended in the same symbol until the birth of the Man Child, after which a separation ensues; or rather, is symbolically manifested. Those who are Jews inwardly are represented by the fugitive woman, a persecuted community, defended by "the earth," and nourished in the wilderness for I260 years. But the Jezebel faction, commonly styled "Catholic," and "Holy Catholic Church," had become the Harlot of the State. Her palace was built in the land of the enemy's tooth; for the Fourth Beast dominion had become her habitation to dwell in.
But she was not content to be subject to the civil power. She aimed to be THE STATE; and the State she at length became. Her growth was rapid, and her power became supreme over the Kings of the earth. She is brought out in this relation in Apoc.17 and 18. There she is seen in her house or kingdom, as the Great Harlot, ruling over many peoples, multitudes, nations, and their Kings; drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus; and saying, "I sit queen, and am not bereft, and sorrow can not at all behold." Such is the Harlot of the Ephah in the apocalyptic manifestation of Zechariah's vision. She is a ruling element in that "Great Mountain" which is to become a plain before Zerubbabel, according to the vision of the Lamp and Olive Branches - the Anointed Ones that stand before the Ruler of all the earth.