By Sean Gooding – http://www.raptureready.com/2017/10/14/evil-is-alive-and-well-for-now/
Zechariah Lesson 12, Chapter 5: 5-11
“Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, ‘Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth.’ So I asked, ‘What is it?’ And he said, ‘It is a basket that is going forth.’ He also said, ‘This is their resemblance throughout the earth: Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket.’ Then he said, ‘This is Wickedness!’ And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth. Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven. So I said to the angel who talked with me, ‘Where are they carrying the basket?’ And he said to me, ‘To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base'” (Zechariah 5: 5-11, NKJV).
We have had a tumultuous week here in North America, with the shootings in Las Vegas; the cry of ‘pure evil,’ referring to the man who shot all those people. We can also consider that this is a typical week in cities like Chicago, where 50+ people are gunned down each week. At the same time, we hear of sex trafficking going rampant in the world; and, for the life of me, it seems that more female teachers are having sex with students than men all of a sudden. We have the leader of North Korea threatening to launch a nuclear attack against the West, and on and on we can go. There is much more that we can probably talk about, but Evil is everywhere. And, as we approach the end times, it is rapidly going to get worse and worse.
The death of Hugh Hefner, who helped to make Pornography commonplace like all other books, signaled the end of an era. What he began as simply pictures of naked women has spawned into a global billion-dollar industry of immense proportion, with young women and young men now offering themselves to anyone who will pay attention. Pornography has helped to normalize such behaviors as homosexuality, lesbianism, having multiple partners, and just about any kind of sexual perversion one can think of. These things have always been around (Solomon had 1000 women at his sexual disposal). But, what pornography did was to bring them out of the shadows into the light. They made palatable what was once behavior to be hidden. And, last but not least, there has been a removal of shame from our lives.
It would seem that no behavior is shameful anymore; and worse, it seems that most, if not all, can now be excused by the cry of ‘I have a disease.’ Sinful choices are the fruit of our disease. Yes, the disease is our totally corrupted sin nature, and the only cure is Jesus.
Evil is Real, verses 1-8
Today, we will explore the eighth vision that Zechariah sees, that of a woman (representing Evil) in a basket; and her being taken away to the city of Shinar. As we get into this, we need to clear a few things up. In the King James Bible, the word ‘basket’ is referred to as an Ephah; it is a description of a basket that was common in the era, that carried an ephah of measurement. So, in translations like New King James, it is translated as a basket. That is what it was. In the basket sits a woman. An ephah, as far as I can research, was about 6-7 gallons. So, this basket was not big enough to hold a grown woman; but a lot of the deities that the Jews followed after in rebellion to God were female deities such as: Asherah (the lady of the sea) from the books of the Kings, who was supposedly the wife of God; Anat, the goddess of war and sister of Baal; and Astarte, the goddess of fertility.
There are others, but these were some of the ones who stole the hearts of the people of Israel. Later in the New Testament we would hear of goddesses like Diana and others, who were worshiped by many cities in the Roman Empire. Many of these female deities were worshiped in sexual perversion and promiscuity. In the Roman times, prostitution – including temple prostitution – was normal everyday behavior.
The book of Romans tells us in Chapter 1:24-26 that, when we turn our backs on the Lord God, the Creator, we will then be able to do all manner of evil:
“Therefore, God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. Likewise, also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.”
We see the whole idea of sexual perversion in these verses, but these are a gateway to other evils; and the two often go hand in hand. The word that is used in the Bible for evil is ‘Wickedness.’ This is defined as ‘baseness, viciousness, depravity, immorality, corruption, villainy and dishonesty.
Wow! This gives us a whole new understanding of the growth and prevalence of evil in our midst. We are an evil people, and we would love to be able to blame it on a disease, a mental disorder, a lack of proper upbringing – whatever takes the blame from me, us, the man in the mirror. I am evil, sold under sin, and so are you. Our world system is corrupt, sold under sin. The religious system is wicked, sold under sin and greed.
We have, as a society, turned our backs on God. Sadly, a lot of churches have done the same. They have traded the truth of God’s word for money, popularity and attendance. God’s truths are cast aside like dung. New ideas and new gospels are preached; and wickedness grows. How many pastors have been arrested for corruption or stealing, or have been caught in adultery? Some that I have read of don’t even believe the Bible, or have never trusted God as Savior. This is wickedness.
I recently read of a congresswoman in the US that was indicted on 37 counts of stealing from a charity to pay for her lifestyle. The corruption is just as strong in the Canadian government.
Folks, evil is alive and well in our time. It has taken over the schools. For instance: The man who helped to write the sex education course for the Province of Ontario was arrested for child pornography. This is wickedness. Now we can understand why the curriculum is so sexually explicit. He is helping to groom our children to be perverts like him.
There are systemic evils around us. The Vatican continues to cover up the sexual predators of the ‘church’ from all over the world. They even house some in Vatican City so that they cannot be prosecuted.
Idolatry is rampant. We have kicked God out of our homes and schools; and now He has to be replaced. We need something or someone to worship. God built that into us; we cannot escape it. So now, instead of prayer rooms to God, we have Muslim prayer rooms. We have more yoga being pushed on our kids than ever before. There are Buddhas, and just about everything but God.
It is hard to find a TV show that does not promote the homosexual lifestyle and make it seem normal. We murder 3000+ babies a day in North America; often their body parts are being sold for profit. There is no remorse and no regret, no shame, no fear of God, and no repentance. Abortion has become a get- out-of-pregnancy-free card. Sleep around, throw your legs open for anyone; and then just kill the child and do it again. Evil is prevalent and getting worse – and more and more accepted as the norm.
Evil is Kept at Bay, for Now, verse 7-8
There is a lead disc that is placed over the woman in the basket. With a bit of research, I was able to find out that this lead disc would have been about 108 lbs. or so of lead, enough to keep the woman in the basket. Evil is rampant, but it is still restrained by an outside force. In the New Testament, we find this verse in 2 Thessalonians 2:7: “For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work, but the one now restraining will do so until he is out of the way.”
This verse tells us that lawlessness is now at work. Actually, the ‘mystery’ of lawlessness is now at work, but there is someone restraining it. Soon, that someone will be taken out of the way, and there will be no more restraining. If you think that we have evil today in the world, the world after the Rapture will make ours look like a sunny meadow filled with beautiful yellow daisies. Right now, the Holy Spirit is on the earth; it is the heavy weight on evil. Soon, we will be raptured; the New Testament church will be ‘caught up’ to Jesus. The Holy Spirit will leave His job as restrainer, and then evil will become rampant like never before.
Society has called for the removal of God for the last 50 years, and He has gradually allowed the evil bound in us to come to the surface. Think of how children were mischievous back in the 60’s; but, in the last 10 years, we have seen the growth of evil amongst our youth. We see a rise in deliberate disobedience and defiance to any authority. Just a few years ago, there was a prostitution ring run by teenage girls through Facebook. Two of the girls were 15 years old, and the other was 17 at the time.
We have seen more and more ‘girly boys,’ but now suddenly rampant are these young boys who see themselves as girls; and worse, their parents and the society around them are condoning it and even promoting it.
We have had the growth of churches who don’t preach against anything. Everything is okay because Jesus loves you, and He does not want to hurt you or make you feel uncomfortable. Maybe they need to read the passages in the Gospels where Jesus addresses the Pharisees as ‘hypocrites’ and as ‘grave sites.’ He called the apostle Peter ‘Satan’ at one time; and He simply did not water down the truth for Nicodemus, letting him know that he did not know anything, and that he needed to be born again – saved. This was a teacher of the Law, but Jesus was not afraid to speak the truth to him.
The preaching of the truth keeps evil at bay; it reminds men that they are sinful and in need of a Savior. Honest preaching of the truth of the scriptures is followed by the convicting power of the Holy Spirit, and this keeps evil at bay. But too many have stopped preaching the truth. We have called sin a disease and not sin. We made it so that men are not responsible for their sin, their choices, and their decisions. Thus, there is no shame in doing evil. Once shame is removed, evil grows and grows and grows.
Imagine what life will be like without the Lord’s churches here and without the Holy Spirit here to thwart and hold down the growth of evil. I certainly do not want to be here. Even so, come Lord Jesus.
Evil Has a Head Office, verse 11
When we think of the New Testament church, we can immediately think of Jesus walking the streets of Jerusalem and the countryside of Israel. We can see Him as the King of the Jews. And if we are to trace our history, we can find our way back doctrinally to Abraham in Genesis 12. He left Iraq to come and find the Promised Land. We are told in Romans 4 that Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. That is all we have as well. We too are called to believe on the Lord Jesus, and we will be saved. Abraham links us to Jerusalem, as does Jesus. Jesus lived in and ascended from Jerusalem, and we are told in Revelation 19 that He will return to Jerusalem. Jerusalem is called the Holy city; it is the HQ (headquarters) of Christianity, so to speak. In much the same manner, evil has a HQ.
The first time we see an organized rebellion against the power and position of God, we find it happening in the plains of Shinar – a place in modern-day Iraq that we call Babylon today. If we are to go back and take a look at history, beginning with Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon, we can begin reading in the later parts of Jeremiah. Also in Daniel, we see that Babylon was the chief city of the Chaldean empire that took the Jews into captivity. They were conquered by the Medo-Persians, but the capital city stayed the same during that empire; we find that in Nehemiah. It was the Greeks who conquered the Persians; and, once again, the capital stayed the same during that empire. Then the Romans conquered the Greeks, and the capital of the empire moved to Rome.
Rome, for the most part, has never really been conquered; and it is gradually coming to life again in the form of the European Union. I have found out that the EU head office is built to look like the Tower of Babel from Genesis 11. They are the new persons defying God as a community and pushing God out of their space. There is no more pagan of a place in the ‘First World’ than Europe, and its paganism is growing by leaps and bounds.
There is a war coming: The kingdom of darkness and the kingdom of Light will clash. This sounds like a Disney movie, but I assure you that there is no happy ending, and no plot twists; rather, we will have a badly broken, beaten, abused and used-up world that Satan and his minions have ravaged. He, the father of Lies, has convinced some of us humans that he has the answers and that Jesus is the enemy. It is the same lie he told Eve in the Garden of Eden-God is cheating you; work for me and I will bless you beyond measure. But he is the ultimate ‘snake oil’ salesman. What you are going to see is Satan himself bound by angels and imprisoned for 1000 years, and then judged to Hell for eternity. If you follow him and believe the lie, you will be in hell with him as well. Repent; Jesus is coming soon. Don’t get caught in the Lie.
“And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years. But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever” (Revelation 20:4-10).