BABYLON THE GREAT IS FALLEN
In Revelation chapters 17 and 18 we read about the great whore named Babylon
who sits on many waters and is the mother of all harlots. The imagery in which the
apostle John uses to describe Babylon has very significant meaning, in particular
for the church as she approaches the end of the age. It is of paramount importance
to understand who this Babylon is and how she affects the life of every believer.
Throughout the ages there have been many attempts to identify Babylon. Most
have agreed that she is the Roman Catholic Church (in particular the Vatican),
even to the point of identifying the Pope as the anti-Christ himself. Others have
suggested that Babylon is not a religious structure but more likely political,
pointing to the EEC (the common European market), or to the United States (in
particular New York with Wall Street). Further more, others have gone as far as to
suggest that Babylon is geographical, pointing to modern day Iraq from where that
former great civilisation originated, and suggesting that one day that civilisation
will rise again to become a modern superpower.
While it is true that one may find levels of Babylon in all these things, however,
none of these things in themselves can fully make up Babylon. In other words,
Babylon may, and does exist in these things, but no one can point to any one of
these things and say, “This is Babylon”. The reality is, that all these (ie. the
European Union, United States with its “big business”, the Vatican, and other
political and religious institutions) are made up of people, and it is IN THE
HEARTS of people you will find Babylon. These entities have been allowed by God
to visibly show us Babylon and point to something of the nature of fallen man.
“The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can
know it? (Jer 17:9).
The origins of Babylon, as far as mankind is concerned, dates right back to the
garden of Eden when Adam and Eve were given a choice as to whether they would
follow the Lord through a life of obedience and faith, or try to become as God
through their own striving. From the beginning, God’s intention was that man
would manifest the image of God and grow into full maturity through obedience
to the will of the Lord. As we know, Adam and Eve chose to disobey and eat from
the tree of knowledge of good and evil. From that time on, man has an inherent
nature which attempts to attain to the image of God in his own strength.
The so-called “non-religious” use natural strength to become “gods” of this world.
They build lives for themselves without the reality of the Creator. In their own
delusions they believe that they themselves are “creators”. They are in charge of
their own destinies. They set up moral and ethical standards of life which cannot
be violated because of “personal rights”, while at the same time enforcing those
rights on the wider community and insisting that everyone “submit” to those
standards. They even go so far as to take it upon themselves to not only decide
when to give life, but when and how to take it also. THEY HAVE BECOME
“GODS” WHILE AT THE SAME TIME COMPLETELY DISREGARDING THE ONE
AND ONLY TRUE GOD!
Likewise, many “religious/spiritual ones” combine spiritual laws to natural ones
but with one difference – they become “gods” not only of this world, but also the
next. They actually “de-throne” God by living independently of the one true
Creator. Their decisions of what is right and wrong is quite often based on what
benefits them and not on the “absolutes” of God. On the surface there is an
appearance of piety, but underneath quite often lies the hidden enemy of pride
expressing itself through man’s unsanctified intellect and emotions. This is the
“Babylon nature” in man.
It is this same nature resident in fallen man that makes man self-centred. Man will
tend to live His life and make his decisions based on how it will benefit him. Even
what appears to be the most sacrificial and compassionate acts can have traces of
selfishness in them. Even the church exhibit the characteristics of this nature –
from those with carnal lusts, to those who zealously attempt to build God’s
kingdom with their own strength. This is Babylon in the church. We all have done
it. But praise be to God, He understands and is not willing to condemn us, but
rather encourage us to see our hearts in order that we may turn to Him who is the
author and finisher of our faith (see Hebrews 12:2).
Babylon finds her expression through man as man attempts to unite the natural
and spiritual world using both natural and often spiritual principles in
independence from God. The culmination of Babylon throughout the ages finds
her full expression in Revelation chapters 17 and 18. This is where God passes final
judgement on man’s religion plus world commerce and trade. Of more concern to
us is how Babylon has her affect on the church as she drives believers to use this
world’s ways to build God’s kingdom.
As we read through Scripture, we see the progression of Babylon with the first
main sign being found in Genesis 11:1-9. Verse 4 reads as follows:
4 And they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is
in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad
over the face of the whole earth.”
Man’s attempt to build a city is very significant in that it has always been God’s
intention to build a city for man. We find the apostle Paul saying of Abraham
that “…he waited for the city which has foundations, whose builder and maker
is God.” (Hebrews 11:10). But here in the plain of Shinar we find man trying to
build a city for himself in an attempt of self-preservation. Cain, after he was exiled
for murdering his brother, “…….went out from the presence of the
LORD……..and built a city…….”(see Gen 4:16-17).
Adam’s fall created many vacuums in the make-up of man. Man’s entire being
(spirit, soul, and body) began to experience the void left when the life of God
diminished and departed from him. Companionship and security, which was meant
to be fulfilled by the Creator, was lacking which pushed man to seek this with
others instead of God. The building of this city in Babylon, as well as Cain’s
intention of building a city, was an attempt to fill the vacuum in man’s body and
soul. Cities are the centre of business and commerce where every one of man’s
physical and material needs could be met, thus satisfying the void in man’s body.
Cities are also the centres of pleasure and culture where all the hungers of the soul
can be satisfied.
The tower in Babylon is man’s attempt to satisfy the void in his spirit. The tower
was to reach the heavens. It was to reach the dwelling place of God. However good
the outward appearance, the motives and method here are obviously one of
selfishness and self-preservation. Many times we may say, “Let’s build for God’s
name”, but the Spirit of God knows the thoughts and intents of man’s heart.
Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the
LORD guards the city, The watchman stays awake in vain.(Psalm 127:1)
The fact remains that this was a religious tower to build a name for man and not
for God, and through this tower man was trying to fill the spiritual void created
when God’s Spirit left Adam leaving him with the realisation that he was naked.
The city God intended was to be a spiritual one in the hearts of men, with men
themselves being the building materials with which God builds.
Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by
God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual
house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God
through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:4-5)
There are vast differences between the city of God (the New Jerusalem) and the
city Nimrod built on the plains of Shinar. Firstly we note that the New Jerusalem
is built by God Himself, and although it is true to say that this city (being built in
the hearts of men) will be one that glorifies its Builder and Maker, the motive for
God to build this city has always been one of love. That is to say, God’s intention
in building the New Jerusalem is for the benefit of those who will be part of the
New Jerusalem. What can man give to God that God doesn’t already have? Can
man give Him love? God IS love (see 1 John 4:8). Can man give him a body of
flesh in which to express Himself? The Lord Jesus Christ still has a body of flesh
(see Luke 24:39). Is God in need of companionship or worship? He has an
innumerable number of angels worshipping, adoring, and obeying Him non-stop.
No! God’s intention has ALWAYS been one of GIVING! He is the great shepherd
(see psalm 23:1) and He gives His life for His sheep (see John 10:11).
Nimrod, on the other hand, is known as a mighty hunter.
He was a mighty hunter before the LORD; therefore it is said, “Like Nimrod
the mighty hunter before the LORD.” And the beginning of his kingdom was
Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. (Genesis 10:9-10)
As opposed to our Shepherd Lord, a hunter is one who will kill in order to gratify
himself. For the purpose of provision, preservation, or pleasure, a hunter will not
hesitate to take life. The Shepherd will not only provide for His sheep, He will also
give His own life for their sakes, even leaving the ninety-nine to go after the one
(see Matthew 18:11-12).
Nimrod’s name means “rebellion” or “rebel”, which indicates the character of this
mighty hunter. We find in Scripture, “For rebellion is as the sin of
witchcraft…..”(1 Sam 15:23). It is not surprising to find “witchcraft” being a main
ingredient in the building of Babylon. Witchcraft is the use of emotions rather
than the Holy Spirit to manipulate, control, or alter ones behaviour or decisions.
Because it is the opposite of God’s love which allows freedom of choice, it forces a
person(s) to behave a certain way, usually through emotional blackmail. Extreme
forms of witchcraft used by the occult involve black magic. However, subtle forms
of manipulation can not only be found in the personal lives of many believers, but
also in the everyday running of many of God’s churches. Husbands and wives have
found that certain emotions will result in receiving a favourable response from
their spouse. Likewise, church leaders have found that certain words said in a
particular manner, or maybe a tear at the right time, or even a certain physical
gesture, is able to move the congregation towards the goal of that leadership. THIS
IS WITCHCRAFT! This takes away a person’s ability to make a free choice to obey
by FORCING their emotions to make a favourable response towards the one
displaying these emotions. THIS RUNS CONTRARY TO GOD’S LAW OF
LOVE!……….Love commanded is not love at all.