Things to Come, Lesson 36, Babylon Is Fallen, Revelation 14:8-13
Revelation 14:8-13, And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. 9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 10 The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name. 12 Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write, Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them.
From our previous lessons we have learned that the Tribulation period will be one of much Gospel preaching.
First there will be the preaching of the Gospel of the Kingdom, followed by a God sent angel who will preach the Everlasting Gospel.
This is the Gospel that has no end for it is a message to Fear God, and give glory to him; and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.
This is the Gospel that will be carried throughout all the endless ages of eternity.
But included in this Gospel for this Tribulation time is the warning that the hour of his judgment is come.
Time as we know it will fade fast for Godís judgment and purging is a must in order for His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to sit on the throne in Jerusalem for His millennial reign.
And we learn that much of that judgment has to do with Babylon for in verse 8 we learn by the cry of the second angel, of Babylonís fall.
This same Babylon in Revelation 17 is called, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.
Revelation 17 and 18 expound on this Babylon the Great.
She is called a great harlot sitting on seven mountains, many waters, nations, and languages and is in concert with rulers of nations where she prostitutes herself with the worldís merchants who also sell themselves to her for wealth.
The message that Babylon is fallen is again announced in Chapter 17, verse 2 and her activity is described in verse 3.
2 And he (the angel) cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
And in verse 4 the call is given from heaven to: Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
This calling out of Godís people is the same calling to not receive the mark of the beast, a mark which all must have to take part in her delicacies.
The Babylon of the Old Testament provides us with that which we need to know in order to interpret the Babylon of Revelation.
The seed of the Babylon of Revelation was planted in the Babylon of the Old Testament.
A principle of planting is that one seed results in many seeds.
Another principle is that when you sow the wind you will reap the whirlwind.
So the Babylon of old, great as she was, is expanded thousands of fold in the Babylon of the end times.
Ezekiel 17:4 referred to the Babylon of old as "a city of merchants."
Archeological finds from the Babylon of old detail a flourishing free enterprise system with great merchant activity from all parts of the world.
It is the seed plot of the world system of capitalism and commerce we find today and this connection of the Babylon of old and the Babylon of Revelation is very clear when we read in Chapter 18 of the results of its fall during the Tribulation.
9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, 10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. 11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,16 And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
So Babylon, starting out as a city, turns into an ideology, a world system of self-reliance, a system devoid of God, a system of Satan which excludes God from life or Godís will for his creation.
It is not a religion within the normal definition of religion but it is a way of life.
Many in our country describe this way as the American dream, a social ideal that stresses egalitarianism and especially material prosperity.
The American Dream is a set of ideals in which freedom includes the opportunity for prosperity and success, and an upward social mobility through hard work.
Jesus said, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life.
Babylon says, No, Follow me and you will find everything you need in me.
Isnít this the message of the merchants?
Notice in the passage in Revelation 18, the variety of goods listed, gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, silk, scarlet, wood, vessels, brass, iron, marble, cinnamon, odors, ointments, frankincense, wine, oil, flour, wheat, sheep, horses, chariots, and slaves and even the souls of men.
These are the objects of worship in the city of Babylon.
Materialism is the religion of the world which is a religion excluding the true God.
Materialism is the religion that has no bounds, no doctrinal barriers, and no fences to limit its extent.
Peace and unity though trade is the mantra of Babylon.
Donít let principles get in the way of trade for in Babylon global trade is what makes merchants wealthy.
Godís Holy Word tells us the love of money is the root of all evil.
Think about that in light of Babylon.
The love of money is the root cause of all evil.
So all evil results from the pursuit of money which is what Babylon is all about.
The world system ruled by the prince of the power of the air is Materialism, a belief system promoted by Capitalism.
As Revelation 17:6 and Revelation 18:24 tell us Babylon is responsible for the death of every righteous person who has ever been killed unjustly.
Rev. 17:6, And I saw the woman (the woman is Babylon) drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
Rev. 18:24, And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
You can trace the pursuit of money as the cause of all wars and conflict.
Greed moved the Romans to invade nations, plundering their wealth and using their people as products to sell.
We have seen our military fighting wars and dying to keep the American Dream alive.
Not wars so that we could continue to serve God and worship God but wars so we could continue to buy and sell thus satisfying the dictates of Babylon.
So when our enemies bring death and destruction to our shores instead of hearing the call to pray we hear the call to shop, until you drop.
Jesus said, take no thought of what ye shall eat or drink or what ye shall wear. Babylon says, Take all thought!
Greed, one of the doctrines of Babylon, is what moves the modern world.
By reading Revelation 17:1-7 we will see this Babylon and what moves her.
We will also see Godís view of this world system and how it robs the souls of men, and Godís conclusion to the matter.
Revelation 17:1-7, And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: 2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. 3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: 5 And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth. 6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration. 7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
God gives us a picture of a woman bedecked with jewels and pearls and gold holding a golden cup in her hand full of the evidence of her greed.
By her attire she communicates the wealth of the world.
But the wealth of the world has been gotten by abominations and filthiness.
For the high qualities of Babylon are self-glorification, pride, complacency, reliance on luxury and wealth, avoidance of suffering, which are all marks of idolatry.
These marks are diametrically opposed to all Christ stands for and are not to be found in His children.
John in his first epistle warns us against being a citizen of Babylon holding to her values.
In I John 2:15,16, he writes: Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. 17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
John, under the power of the Holy Spirit does not mince words as he describes this woman, this Babylon the Great, as the Mother of Harlots, the Mother of Prostitutes, the Mother of those who debase themselves for money and quick profit.
For this world system is one of prostitution, one where men and women debase themselves promoting an unworthy cause and selling themselves for the purpose of ill-gotten gains.
How many billions, through the ages, have dedicated themselves at the altar of this woman?
Jesus asked this penetrating question: For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?
For the striving of the gaining of the world demands payment of the soul for this is the price of success for the citizens of Babylon.
Now in Revelation 17:9, we are told this: And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
And this verse is amplified by verse 15:
15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
Much of the study of Revelation through the ages has indicted Rome as Babylon for Rome sits on seven hills.
But this woman sits on seven mountains and her sitting place is described as peoples, multitudes, and nations and tongues.
Babylon is a worldwide city for it is a worldwide ideology.
Sitting on seven mountains indicates completeness of power and extent.
Are the seven mountains upon which the woman sits the seven continents of the world?
For her power and influence, that this is a material world, is complete and her reach is into all continents of the world.
But we see her destruction, we see the merchants weeping and wailing as this world mercantile system is destroyed.
For there will be war against her for we are told in Revelation 17:16 that the beast hates the harlot.
16 And the ten horns which thou sawest, and the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her utterly with fire.
This is the beast with seven heads and ten horns, the beast we have identified as Antichrist, who along with ten horns, or ten kings hate the harlot.
We will not go into a study of horns and heads but the thing we see here is a war against this material system.
And notice how this has come about by reading Revelation 17:17, 17 For God did put in their hearts to do his mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished.
As we study ďthings to comeĒ our focus is always on the Middle East.
We believe that at the end of the church age with its focus on the western world the world center will again be toward the east.
We see in our day a rise in opposition to the west and opposition to its values.
And much of that opposition is against materialism which brings a mindset to do anything that brings pleasure.
God has used the wicked to bring judgment against nations and we see here that God did put in their mind to give their kingdom unto the beast and the beast aims his power at the harlot, the present world system, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her utterly with fire.
What do we see happening today that is leading us to this confrontation?
The clash of values is clear as the nations of the Middle East take sides against the move of the harlot to influence their way of life.
It is a well-known fact that these nations hate the west, especially America, which is prostituting itself to the harlot completely as it goes down its godless path.
Can you imagine what America would be if the church today exited this land or what it will be 20 years from now if we keep selling ourselves to Babylon?
But the beast and the ten nations are committed to eat her flesh and burn her utterly with fire.
Eating her flesh requires small bites.
Is this a description of what we are seeing around the world?
Now the Tribulation period has not yet begun but events which lead up to it may have already begun as we see the eating of the flesh of the economic system of the world as country after country cry out for economic help.
We may be seeing the seed plot of the beastís all-out effort to bring the harlot to the fire of judgment.