Monday, December 28, 2020

The Fall of Babylon

"In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth” (Revelation 18:24).

Revelation 18 consists of twenty-four verses of laments and woe directed against Babylon, the counterfeit Jerusalem. It is Babylon and not the beast, the false church and not the enemy state, that is central in the prophecies of woe in Revelation.

The wealth of Babylon is clearly seen in the Old Testament and in the information we have from other sources and archaeology. Here it is the false church that is said to have great wealth. In John’s day, Jerusalem was one of the wealthiest and most splendid cities on the earth because of the great wealth Jewish traders sent back to her. Jerusalem was also the great center of false worship after the new covenant was established. Thus, it is not a surprise that the wealth of historic Babylon would be combined with the false worship of the harlot in the visions of Revelation.

Also, we should remember that God has given all riches to the church. These are spiritual riches, but spiritual riches are the greatest of all. They are the riches of wisdom. When a church becomes apostate, she still possesses these riches for a time. Thus, picturing the false church as possessing riches is consistent with what the Bible reveals elsewhere. Consider the fact that today, it is the liberal, apostate “mainline” churches that have the great wealth: buildings, property, seminaries and colleges, etc., while the faithful churches at present are generally not characterized by such earthly, material riches.

Verses 1–3 declare that Babylon has been judged. Verses 4–8 call on God’s faithful people to depart from the false church because her doom is sure. In verses 9–18, three groups of people lament the fall of Babylon: the kings of the earth, the merchants of the earth, and the mariners who were employed by the merchants. In contrast, God’s people rejoice at her fall because God’s “eye for eye” perfect justice has been demonstrated in her destruction (v. 20). As He had promised through the ages, God has balanced the books, giving the wicked their due. Her riches have proven false, her trust in mammon has betrayed her, and she has lost it all (vv. 21–23). The chalices have poured out all the blood of the martyrs upon her, and she has been judged guilty of their murder (v. 24).

Every Babylon in history has fallen—from the tower of Babel to apostate Jerusalem to the false churches in every century. Every future Babylon will also fall. Is it possible that America is Babylon today? Does Revelation 18 have any warnings for you? If so, take heed.