“Now I raised my eyes again and looked, and behold, four chariots were going out from between the two mountains; and the mountains were bronze mountains.”

One of my favorite, all-time movies is Ben Hur. Probably one the iconic scenes from that movie is the chariot race towards the end of the movie. If you haven’t seen it, I won’t spoil the ending for you. But it is a great race with lots of action. Those chariots were intimidating in a race. I can’t imagine how they appeared in battle. They must have been terrifying for any soldier on the ground.

This eighth vision of Zechariah is so full of imagery. Most scholars agree, both Jewish and Christian, that the four chariots represent the four great powers that ruled – Babylonian, Medes and Persians, Greek and Roman. But notice the bronze mountains. This seems to indicate that their course was defined by God. He controls and restrains all powers. They can only do what He allows.


If that is the case, then we have nothing to fear. If every power is under the ultimate authority of God, we know that He will allow only what we can handle. Romans 8:28 comes to mind. “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”

So, explain the bad things that we face, Carl. I can’t. But I do know that we have to trust the Lord in all things. James talks about that in the first chapter of his epistle. James 1:2-4 says, “2 Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. 4 And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”

I do not understand why we face world powers like these mentioned here in Zechariah. I do not understand the mind of God. I don’t have to. I trust Him. That may sound foolish or naïve. You can think that if you wish. “I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I’ve committed unto Him against that day.”

Thank You, Lord, for restraining the powers that come against me. I know You are in control.

Allegiance, Belief, Betrayal, Bible, Deceit, Deception, Evil, Scripture, Worship



“Then he said to me, ‘To build a temple for her in the land of Shinar; and when it is prepared, she will be set there on her own pedestal.’”

We live in a world of false religions. They are all around us, and I’m not talking about the ones we can see. Some people make their careers their gods. Others put all their faith and trust in sports teams and live and die whether they win or not. It’s all deception. It’s all an attempt to fill that “God hole” in their hearts. But nothing will – except Him.

When Zechariah asked the question of the angel in the previous verse, he received this answer. They (the two winged women) were carrying her (wickedness) to Shinar to set her on a pedestal to be worshipped. Shinar was a well-known place. Does it sound familiar? Genesis 11:2 tells us, “And it came about, as they journeyed east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there.” This was the place of the tower of Babel, man’s first attempt at a world empire against God. Here in this vision, the Lord is showing Zechariah that it would happen again.


Before you start throwing stones, let me ask you something. What are you building for God? Are you so focused on yourself that you have no need for Him? We certainly don’t call it empire building, do we? Oh no! We are just trying to be successful. Do you know how God measures success? Joshua 1:8 speaks it clearly. “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will achieve success.”

Success is about building God’s empire. It’s about knowing and living His Word. If you want to be successful and build something, then build on that. That pedestal holding wickedness will one day come tumbling down, along with all those who worship her. Just like the tower of Babel, it is a false tower, a tower built on evil.

You are probably thinking Carl has gone off the deep end. What is he talking about? Listen friends, one day we will all be judged according to who we have followed down here. I am in the camp with Jesus. How about you? The only place I have to look is up. He’s right there. He is there for you, too. Let’s build this together.

No matter where evil builds their tower, Lord, I will be focused only on building Your kingdom.

Access, Asking, Bible, Cleansing, Cross, Direction, Escape, Forgiveness, God's Will, Heaven, Salvation, Scripture



“So I said to the angel who was speaking with me, ‘Where are they taking the ephah?’”

If you have children, you have probably put up with “explorations.” We put up baby gates and all sorts of contraptions to try to keep the little buggers contained. But lo and behold, they would find ways to escape. I can remember sitting and watching my children trying to figure out how to get loose. I would jokingly ask them, “Where do you think you’re going?”

Zechariah just watched the two winged women swoop down and pick up the ephah with the woman (wickedness) inside and fly away. His first thought was “Where are they going?” I don’t think he was concerned about the woman’s welfare. He was just curious about their destination. By this time, Zechariah wasn’t afraid to ask anything of that angel. (Come back tomorrow to see where they take her.)


As I was thinking of an application for this verse, the thought came to me – what happens to our sins? Where does God carry them? We have the answer right in Scripture. Psalm 103:11-12 says, “11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His mercy toward those who fear Him. 12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our wrongdoings from us.”

That’s a long way! You can’t get to the east by traveling west or vice versa. You just keep traveling in the direction you are going, whether that be heading east or heading west. In other words, you can’t get back that sin once it has been forgiven. It’s gone. Now, you may choose to sin again, but it won’t be that same sin. It will be a brand new one.

God could pile all our sins up in one big heap in heaven (mine would be mountainous) and show them all to us when we get there. But no, He removes them. So, we don’t have to ask that question I asked earlier. We know where He carries our sins – to the cross, where they are forgiven forever. Amen? Amen!

Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Calvary, Calvary
Burdens are lifted at Calvary, Jesus is very near

Angels, Bible, Forgiveness, Scripture, Wickedness



“Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there two women were coming out with the wind in their wings; and they had wings like the wings of the stork, and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens.”

Once, while walking a beach in Florida, I witnessed an osprey (a large raptor) swoop down and grab a little dog that was walking by its owner. Fortunately, the dog was on a leash. However, this meant that now there was a tug of war between the lady and this bird. I watched as she snatched her dog out of the bird’s talons and back to the beach. (In case you are wondering, as far as I know, the dog lived happily ever after.)

We are near the conclusion of this vision, but not without another strange sight. Zechariah sees two winged women fly down and pick up the ephah with the woman inside and carry it away. Scholars have all sorts of opinions about this verse. No one seems to come to a concrete decision about who these women were and where they were going. It is obvious the wickedness in the basket is being carried away. We have to speculate these women were agents of God who alone has the power to vanquish sin. Let’s leave it at that.


With that view in mind, we need to see how this verse applies to us. Remember, every verse of Scripture is inspired by God and applicable to us. So, how does this verse apply to us. If you use the explanation that I ended the previous paragraph with, God is the one who has the power to take away our sin. He has done that through His Son, Jesus Christ. I don’t know what the two women in Zechariah’s vision represented. All I know for certain is they carried away the wickedness. Don’t you want God to do that for you?

I am involved in a men’s group that meets each Thursday evening. We are in the book of Romans right now and are in chapter 6. Oh man, is that chapter good. Verse 6 and 7 apply here. “6 …knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; 7 for the one who has died is freed from sin.”

Did you catch that? “our body of sin might be done away with.” The Greek word for “done away with” actually means to completely make inoperable. It might as well be carried away and dumped. Once we are in Christ, our old man is dead, gone, done away with. Aren’t you glad? I sure am.

Living, He loved me; dying, He saved me; Buried, He carried my sins far away; Rising, He justified freely forever: One day He’s coming—O glorious day!

Bible, Boundaries, Choices, Cleansing, Commands, Deceit, Devil, Evil, Flesh, God's Will, Holy Spirit, Redemption, Scripture, Sin, Wickedness



“Then he said, ‘This is Wickedness!’ And he thrust her into the middle of the ephah and threw the lead weight on its opening.”

Put a lid on it! You may have heard that expression in regard to asking someone to be quiet, to stop talking. It is usually used when someone keeps rambling on about something until someone gets tired of hearing it. Has that ever happened to you? Have you been told that or told someone else that? It happens to the best of us.

Zechariah watches as the angel “puts a lid on it.” He calls the woman “Wickedness” and shoves her back into the ephah and slams down the lead cover. Obviously, when the angel raised the lid in the previous verse to show Zechariah what was in the ephah, the woman tried to stand or escape. But that was not happening here. Slamming of the lead cover showed that God could and would restrain the sin of the nation. He was in control, not the wickedness symbolized by the woman.


We need to “put a lid” on sin. Our sinful nature is more prone to let it run free. I remember all too well how sin controlled me. It truly is wickedness. But we can gain control of that if we allow the Holy Spirit to slam the lid on it. We are actually told to do just that.

In Romans 6:12-14 we are told, “12 Therefore sin is not to reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, 13 and do not go on presenting the parts of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those who are alive from the dead, and your body’s parts as instruments of righteousness for God. 14 For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under the Law but under grace.”

Well, you can’t argue with that, can you? We are not under the Law. We are under grace. Praise be to God! Sin has no more control over my life through Jesus. He paid the price. He paid off our debts to sin and its master. We are free to live a life away from sin. We still have that sinful nature in us, but the Holy Spirit can restrain that, if we let Him. Will you?

Lord, use Your Holy Spirit in my life to restrain me from sin, to put the lid on it.

Accused, Bible, Captivity, Death, Devil, Evil, Forgiveness, Judgment, Redemption, Salvation, Satan, Scripture, Sin



“And behold, a lead cover was lifted up. He continued, ‘And this is a woman sitting inside the ephah.’”

I have seen some strange things in my life. I remember once in Liberia; I saw a woman carrying a car engine on her head. That’s right, a car engine. I was told by a Liberian man that a Liberian woman could carry whatever two men could lift and put on her head. Now, that was strange. I wonder how she got it down.

I bet Zechariah was a little shocked when he saw what was inside that ephah. Under the lead cover was a woman. A what? A woman. What in the world? Albert Barnes explains it this way. The woman represented Israel’s sin. Her sitting symbolized their comfort in their sinful condition. And the lead cover showed the weight of their sin. Not a pretty picture. The largest measure (ephah) with the heaviest weight (lead) was what Zechariah was seeing.


Do you realize the weight of your sin? Hebrews 12:1 says, “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,…” You can’t run weighted down. Sin is heavy, much heavier than you think.

I love this quote. “Sin will cost you more than you ever thought you would pay. It will take you further than you ever thought you would stray. And it will keep you longer than you ever thought you would stay.” Zechariah saw the weight of Israel’s sins portrayed in his vision. We can see it all around us today.

Sin destroys families. It cost people their livelihoods. It wrecks relationships. And it keeps some people tangled in unhealthy lifestyles. You don’t believe in sin? Satan loves that. He loves you not believing in it because he knows he has you right where he wants you. But there is a way out. You can be set free from the chains that bind you. Just come to Jesus.

My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood His mercy reigns, unending love, amazing grace

Appearance, Battles, Bible, Confession, Deception, Evil, Forgiveness, Judgment, Salvation, Scripture, Sin



“And I said, ‘What is it?’ Then he said, ‘This is the ephah going forth.’ Again he said, ‘This is their appearance in all the land.’”

Let me begin this blog by saying that I cannot get the picture of our world right now as it relates to this verse out of my mind. Every day when I walk around our city, I see the appearance of evil. Maybe the Lord has just given me spiritual eyes right now. I do not want to sound judgmental. Believe me, I know my sins stink just as bad. But there just seems to be a flaunting of sin all around us.

God, through the angel, is showing Zechariah the ephah, the measuring basket, that is full of the people’s sins. They had been unrepentant. Their sins were rampant. They had reached a full measure demanding justice. Some scholars equate the use of the ephah with their sin of stealing mentioned earlier since they would use it falsely for measuring grain to sell.


I recall my late brother-in-law telling me that the older he got, the more he saw how sinful he was. The light exposes sin, and the closer we get to it, the more we see it. Look at the words of Paul in Ephesians 5:11-13. “11 Do not participate in the useless deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; 12 for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret. 13 But all things become visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light.”

Our sins will be exposed one day. As a matter of fact, they are exposed now to God. He knows everything we do. I love verse 8 in Psalm 90 which says, “You have placed our guilty deeds before You, our hidden sins in the light of Your presence.” Actually, I don’t really love that verse, but you know what I mean.

Don’t let your sins fill the ephah. Empty them out every day. Confess them to the Lord and seek His forgiveness. If you are not a believer in Jesus, come to Him now and receive forgiveness and eternal life. If you are a believer, purify your heart and walk in holiness today.

Cleanse me, Father, and let me walk hand in hand with You today.

Abiding, Angels, Answers, Bible, Devil, Direction, Distractions, Eyes, Looking, Scripture, Visions



“Then the angel who had been speaking with me went out and said to me, ‘Now raise your eyes and see what this is that is going forth.”

Sometimes it feels like something will never end – like a tennis match on tv, lol. My wife loves to watch tennis. She played a lot of it years ago and just loves to watch matches. But for me, they seem to just keep going and going. It seems they are almost done and then it continues.

Zechariah must have felt like that. He gets through with one vision and here comes another. We are going to see this vision over the next few days. But I want you to notice something in this verse. The angel tells Zechariah to raise his eyes and see. He knew Zechariah had seen a lot and maybe was a little tired. So, he directed his eyes to this next vision. He wanted to make sure he was looking.


Where are you looking? Are your eyes wandering? In order to see what the Lord would have us do we have to be looking at Him. We can’t be distracted. Oh, that is a ploy of the devil. He wants to get our eyes off of Jesus. He wants us to look at anything other than Him.

Isaiah 45:22 tells us, “‘Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.’” Wow! God wants us to look at Him. He says, “Look to Me.” There is no other means for salvation. It only comes through Him There is no other source for direction. He points us in the right way. Where are you looking?

For most of my teenage years, my eyes were looking inwards. I wanted to please myself. I wanted what I wanted. It was not until I met my Master at age 16 that I started looking at Him. There have been days since when my eyes have gotten turned. But thanks be to God, He has never moved. He is there, waiting for me to look towards Him again. My eyes are fixed now.

Fix my eyes only on You, O God. I do not want any other view.

Accountability, Bible, Confession, Forgiveness, Judgment, Redemption, Scripture



“‘I will make it go forth,’ declares the LORD of armies, ‘and it will enter the house of the thief and the house of the one who swears falsely by My name; and it will spend the night within that house and destroy it with its timber and stones.’”

We have all done things which we hope no one ever finds out about. When we were little, we would lie to cover up a broken lamp. The infamous “nobody” did it, right? We lie to cover up another lie. We steal and hope no one sees. Am I right? Of course, I am. Sin lurks in dark places.

Today’s verse continues the thought from yesterday’s blog. Those who swear and steal will be found out and their homes will be made into a spectacle by the Lord. He wants all who see them to know that this is what happens to those who break His commands. This is what happens to the unconfessed.


God’s wrath is still real today. Those who thumb their nose at God and His commands will suffer judgment. Romans 1:18 tells us, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of people who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,…” It doesn’t have to be that way.

But John tells us plainly in 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous, so that He will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” We want the world to see this. We want all the world to see us confessing and being forgiven. Why? To draw them to Christ. Confessing our sins is a great way to show the power of our holy God.

So, let me ask you something. Are you all “confessed up”? Are you clean before Him? If Jesus appeared right now, how would He find you? I come to Him every day with a repentant heart because I long to be more and more like Him. I want to be holy because He is holy. Don’t you?

Father, I do not have anything hidden from Your sight. Purify my heart this day.

Accountability, Bible, Commands, Following, Love, Obedience, Salvation, Scripture



“Then he said to me, ‘This is the curse that is going forth over the face of the entire land; everyone who steals certainly will be purged away according to the writing on one side, and everyone who swears falsely will be purged away according to the writing on the other side.’”

My dad would not tolerate stealing. Nor would he put up with foul language. My dad wasn’t perfect and didn’t come to Christ until later in life, but he was intent on raising us right. I never had the desire to steal (except for that one piece of candy at the grocery store), but I was prone to cuss and swear. Of course, I knew better but still did it.

Do you wonder why this flying scroll singled out these two sins? The commandment against stealing was on one side of the tablet of the ten commandments and swearing (against God) was on the other. They were the eighth and third commandments, respectively. One had to do with sins against others and the other against God. These were representative of the sins of the people.


It is not hard to see how to apply this to our lives today. What are your sins against others? What are your sins against God? You know them, but have you confessed them to the Lord and asked His forgiveness? I understand that as a child of the Lord and a believer in Jesus as our Savior, we are under grace, not the Law. But we still need to obey His commandments. We are to still strive to be holy.

Leviticus 22:31 tells us, “‘So you shall keep My commandments, and do them; I am the LORD.’” Jesus said in John 14:15, “‘If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.’” Commandment keeping is still important. Let me repeat – we are under grace, not the Law. However, we are expected to follow God’s commands.

You may not steal or swear, but I am willing to bet that you have committed sins against others and God. Take a moment right now and search your heart. Ask the Lord to reveal those transgressions to you and then confess them as sin. Confession is saying the same thing about your sin that God says. Agree with Him. He will forgive. Follow Him.

Oh Father, keep me from transgressing against You and my neighbor. I want to please You.