Zechariah 10:1-12; Revelation 18:1-10; Psalms 146:1-2; Proverbs 30:18-20
NT: “After this I saw another angel with great authority coming down from heaven, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. He called out in a mighty voice: It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen! She has become a home for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, and a haunt for every unclean and despicable beast. For all the nations have drunk the wine of her sexual immorality, which brings wrath. The kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy from her sensuality and excess. Then I heard another voice from heaven: Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues. For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. Pay her back the way she also paid, and double it according to her works. In the cup in which she mixed, mix a double portion for her. As much as she glorified herself and indulged her sensual and excessive ways, give her that much torment and grief. For she says in her heart, “I sit as a queen; I am not a widow, and I will never see grief.” For this reason her plagues will come in just one day — death and grief and famine. She will be burned up with fire, because the Lord God who judges her is mighty. The kings of the earth who have committed sexual immorality and shared her sensual and excessive ways will weep and mourn over her when they see the smoke from her burning. They will stand far off in fear of her torment, saying, Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the mighty city! For in a single hour your judgment has come.” (Revelation 18:1-10 CSB)
The three arenas of warfare for the living believer and follower of Christ are the world, the flesh and the devil. The flesh refers to our own corruptible mortal bodies in which we must live until we either die, or we are caught up to meet the Lord in the sky. Babylon is symbolic of the second enemy that we wage war against: the world.
Babylon was an actual ancient city that grew in power and ultimately became a powerful empire that ruled over the known world. We can find the beginnings of Babylon in Genesis 10. Babylon of old was founded by Nimrod, a descendant of Noah’s son Ham. It was in this ancient city where it’s population said, “Come, let’s build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky. Let’s make a name for ourselves… (Genesis 11:4)” Therefore, Babylon became symbolic of mankind’s rebellion against God and all of humanity’s efforts and systems deployed over the ages to “make a name for itself.” All-in-all, Babylon is the symbol of independent sinful humanity and its capacity for self-delusion, ambition, sinful pride and depravity. It is the world culture in rebellion against the word, will and ways of the Lord. John would later write in 1 John 2:16 that ultimately everything in the world boils down to lust and pride: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life.
In Revelation 17, it was revealed that Babylon, the great harlot – the humanistic systems of the world, were undergirded by the beast – the Antichrist, and ultimately by the dragon – Satan himself. Our desire for self-governance, for independence, to become self-made, to rise to power and influence through our own efforts, to make a name for ourselves – all of that is ultimately anti-Christ and a device of Satan to lure us away from the worship and dependence of God. In Revelation 17:16, it was revealed that Satan and his beast merely used humanity’s attempt at self-exultation as a ruse for his own purposes… that in actuality, he hated everything about humanity and its systems – and when the world’s usefulness was spent, Satan and his beast devoured the systems of the world and burned them with fire.
Babylon, by design, is a flawed and ultimately failed system. At best, it is mortal and short-sighted in its scope. At it’s worst, it is selfish, self-absorbed and cannibalistic. It will never last. Yet, it is amazing how committed people are to a failed system rather than committing themselves to a way and a kingdom that will last for eternity. We see this played out in a small way with how committed some are to socialism and communism. Those two ‘isms’ in their purest form are fatally flawed and have never proven to be successful, yet time and time again, people believe that if they give it one more chance… if they do it right this time, it will succeed. Ultimately all ‘isms’ (capitalism included) are flawed and will ultimately fail, yet we put our faith in them instead of the God who will never fail.
In its fall, the angel declared that Babylon had become a home for demons and a haunt (prison or cage) for foul spirits and everything unclean. Hell is the home of demons and Gehenna will be the eternal prison for all that is unclean. Therefore, in its eventual collapse, the systems of the world will become a literal hell on earth. The call that went out, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues,” is a call that has reverberated through the pages of scripture for millennia. Though we are called to live in the world for a time, we are also instructed to not be of the world. In light of this revelation, a question to ask ourselves is this: How much trust do we place in the world? Do we trust ‘isms’ more than we trust the word, will and ways of God? Are we more focused on making a name for ourselves than glorifying the name of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ? When we exalt ourselves, we ultimately will be humiliated. If we humble ourselves, the Lord Himself will exalt us. People of God, come out of Babylon and place your lives in the hands of Christ.
Prayer: Lord I thank You that You are the King of a kingdom that will never fail. Your ways are founded on truth and righteousness, and they will prevail and endure for eternity. It can be easy to fix my eyes on the things of this world instead of the eternal things of heaven. Help me, in everything, to be heavenly-minded – to build up treasure in heaven instead of accumulating wealth, influence and prominence on earth. If I am to be exalted, may You be the one doing the exalting and not myself. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.