Babylon was the greatest city in the earth at the time of Nebuchadnezzar. We read of its greatness in Daniel. But when John received the visions that are in Revelation, the original city had long been in ruins. It had been destroyed “to rise no more” as Jeremiah prophesied (Ch. 51, note the last verse) In recent years the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, visited the ruins and in 1982 his workers began building a 600 room palace for him there! It all came to nothing.
The description of ‘Babylon the Great’ in Revelation is a challenge to understand! Nebuchadnezzar was told he was the “head of gold” of the image he saw in his dream, and he was a failure. The ‘Babylon’ in Revelation is a counterpart – a dominant head that that proves to be a spiritual failure. Today we read of “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations’ [17 v.5], a “woman drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” [v.6]
So we identify Babylon as the power that made martyrs out of those who truly followed Jesus, they believed and practiced what he taught – and taught the same. History shows that down the centuries, for well over 1,000 years, the Roman Catholic Church has made martyrs of true believers, especially those who proclaimed her teaching wrong.
In her power she dominated many nations and some kings came to be crowned by the Pope! It is remarkable that today most nations have a diplomatic relationship with the Vatican. She has a unique standing among the nations, members of the British royal family and even the Russian leader have visited the Pope.
We read today of her riding on a beast (v.3) “arrayed in purple and scarlet” [v.4] but she comes to a dramatic and sudden end “in one hour” [18 v.10]. It says, “her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine and she will be burned with fire for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her” [v.8]
Have her actions been purely spiritual? No, she has exercise much influence in all ways of life. It is fascinating that when we is destroyed the “merchants … shipmasters” etc. “wept and mourned.” [v.15,17] .
Some see that because the European Union was established by the “Treaty of Rome” that there is a connection here. Is there a form of judgement God will bring upon it? But the subject is too vast for us to comment further. But we note how John also says, “I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues for … God has remembered her iniquities … “ [v.4,5]
The Almighty has unlimited ability to remember! May He remember the reality of our faith.
Let us remember what we read in 1 John 5 v.4 earlier this month. “…everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” How close are we now to the end of “the last hour” – from God’s perspective? Let us be “be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” was the warning of our Lord. [Luke 12 v.40]
By Bro D.Caudery
|18 v. 5 – This idea of sins reaching up to heaven is found in odd other places too. It is a picture of sin so great that God chooses to punish rather than forgive, and appears to be reserved for description of only the worst situations. Gen.18:20,21 – Sodom and Gomorrah, 2Chr.28:9 – Judah, Ezra 9:6 – Israel, Jer.51:9 – Babylon, Jonah 1:2 – Nineveh.|
|Peter Cresswell [Derby Bass Street (UK)]|
|17 v.5 – Mysteries are things that the mind of the flesh loves to think about. However the ‘mystery‘ which we are to be concerned with has been revealed. [1 Corinthians 2:7-10]. We should not investigate the mysteries that the world offers in the various religions and philosophies. Our Father has revealed the most beautiful mystery to us – and we are involved in it.
18 v.4 – The call to ‘come out of her‘ is not restricted to the time of the destruction of Babylon. Believers at all times must avoid association with the Babylonian systems of their age. If we cannot dissociate ourselves from Babylon now we will not heed any call from the Lord at the time of the overthrow of this world’s order.
|Peter Forbes [Glenfield (UK)]|
|CALLED, CHOSEN AND FAITHFUL
The kings and the beast will make war with the Lamb, but we read, “the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” (Revelation 17 v 14). Those who are with Christ will be those who have “overcome,” as we read in chapters 2 and 3. But those who are not with him will be overcome, defeated, and will bow to his power. So it must be our aim to be part of the company who are with Christ who are called, chosen and faithful. Someone else termed it like this: Selected, Separated and Dedicated.
We do not have much control over the calling or being chosen, but what we do have control over is how we respond to the calling we have received. Will we accept it and respond to it, or have we rejected his calling and turned away from it? And we also have control over how we respond to being chosen. Do we separate ourselves to God from the world or do we just keep doing our own thing our own way? And most of all we have control over how faithful we will be. How firmly will we stand by our Lord? How long will we dedicate ourselves to him?
Will we be one of that faithful crowd who have overcome and stand on the side of Jesus facing eternity?
|Robert Prins [Auckland – Pakuranga – (NZ)]|
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