WE ARE CONTINUING TO THINK ABOUT THE JUDGMENT OF BOTH

RELIGIOUS BABYLON AND POLITICAL BABYLON

REVELATION 17:1-18:24

Now to get us started with today’s study, we will carry forth from our last study in Revelation 17:9-10 to a deeper dive into the Antichrist and the End time.

NOTE:  The seven mountains or seven heads are said by many to refer to Rome.  That is, in the end time religious Babylon or false religion will sit in Rome.  This is because Rome was known in ancient times as the CITY ON SEVEN HILLS.

However, note: this is not what John says.  He clearly says that the seven heads represent seven kings or governments (Revelation 17:10).  By seven mountains he means that false religion sits upon seven kingdoms or empires that have complete and full rule and power.

NOTE:  that the seven mountains and seven heads mean seven kings of kingdoms and empires.  Think about what Scripture actually says or means:

“…the seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.  And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space” (Revelation 17:9-10).

Good QuestionWho are these kings or kingdoms or empires?  There are numerous ideas, but Scripture DOES NOT IDENTIFY THESE KINGS. 

The best way to discover who they are is to look back through the Old Testament and note the kings or empires that OPPOSED GOD’S PEOPLE.  When this is done, the following empires SEEM to be the most logical answer.

  • Five of the kings or empires are fallen.  That is, they no longer exist.  These seem to be Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece.
  • One of the kingdoms still remains.  That is, it still exists and has continued to exist down through the centuries.  This would be Rome and the traits of Rome that have continued to exist down through the centuries:  traits that exist in the ruling bodies and legislatures of governments, in the representative governments and law of nations, and in the religion of Papal Rome.
  • One king or kingdom is not yet come.  This would refer to a revival of the Roman empire or of many of the nations that were in the old Roman empire.  The Antichrist would embrace the traits of all the empires and rule over them all.  He would be the eighth ruler mentioned in verse eleven  (The Preachers Outline and Sermon Bible (page 228).

Now let’s move to Revelation 17:15-18: Key Words, False Religion and False Babylon and the destruction of religious Babylon.  The Antichrist and his political alliance turn against the religious movement of Babylon.  Remember: religion will be used by the Antichrist to gain and hold the loyalty of the masses all over the world. A state religion will be established:  and every citizen will be forced to give his first loyalty to the state.  It will be the state that will give people so much; therefore, the state, will expect first priority and loyalty.  Think socialism.

Note:  The Antichrist and the government will turn against religion and utterly destroy religion.

Note three significant facts:

1. Religious Babylon (false religion) will gain enormous power in the end time (v. 15). Religion will sit upon, that is, be supported by, multitudes and nations and languages. The idea is that practically everyone will be worshiping the image of the beast or state in the end time.  Why?  The answer is given in the above point — power and money.

  • Just imagine all the money that it costs to keep a world-wide religion going:  all the control and personnel needed and offices and other resources to oversee and make sure the citizens do show loyalty to the state.
  • Just image all the wealth that a world-wide religion would possess through contributions and through the property it would hold.
  • Remember the devastation that is taking place all across the world during the great tribulation.  It is because of the seals and trumpet judgments—God’s wrath.  Also think about the enormous cost and great sums of money needed to meet the needs of cities and nations.

2. Once the Antichrist and his state have the loyalty of the people committed to the state, they will no longer need the religion. The state will have the loyalty of the people.  What it will not have is the money and wealth of the religion.  Therefore, it will destroy the religion for its wealth and power.  Note exactly what is said.

  • The state will hate religious Babylon:  religion will have served its purpose.  The state now wants complete authority and full control of the people and the wealth that religion has acquired.
  • The state will make religious Babylon DESOLATE. Religion will be robbed of all its monies, wealth, property and holdings.
  • The Antichrist will strip religious Babylon, make her NAKED; expose her corruptions to public view, showing why the religion must be destroyed.
  • The state will EAT HER FLESH: that is, consume her and take everything that is worthwhile and beneficial for the state.  Whatever will benefit the state, the loyalty of the people and the wealth, will be consumed by the state.
  • The state will BURN RELIGION WITH FIRE.  There will be nothing left but ashes.

3. Religious Babylon will be destroyed because of God. In the final analysis God is the One who will cause the false religion to be destroyed.  God will plant the idea to destroy Babylon within the minds of the Antichrist and False Prophet.  God will then arouse the ten other governments to support him.  And false religion, religious Babylon, will be wiped off the face of the earth once and for all.

Note how clearly religious Babylon is identified (Revelation 17:18).  The woman — religious Babylon, the state religion — is the great city that reigns over the leaders of the world.  Religion, the false religion, will be the power that gains and holds the loyalty of the people to the state.  But once its purpose is achieved —once the people are loyal to the state — there is no more need for the religion.  The state will then covet the full power and wealth of religious Babylon and will go after it.

Now let’s consider the judgment of both religious Babylon and political Babylon a little farther.

Revelation 18:1-24 – Introduction:  this is the destruction of Babylon, the great capital of the Antichrist (see previous study from Revelation 14:8).  In the end time Babylon will be what any great capital city is: a great political, commercial, social, and cultural center.

There are two basic ideas as to what Babylon represents in our passage.

First, some commentators believe that Babylon represents an actual city upon earth.  The city is said to be either Rome or else the city of Babylon that will be rebuilt close to where it existed in ancient history.

Babylon itself sat somewhere on the Euphrates River at the head of the Persian Gulf.  The great preacher W.A. Criswell says that these commentators believe that the whole eastern area will become enormously wealthy with its rich oil reserves.

The commentators believe that the nations throughout the whole region will become nations of great commercial influence and power.  The area that has by far the largest population in the world, a population that demands goods and a growing economy.

In addition, the East sits right in the midst of what could become the greatest commercial market in the world; the whole of Europe sits to the north and west, and Africa with its masses sits due west.  Then to the east is the vast markets of China, Japan, Australia, Indonesia, the island of the Pacific and then there is the huge market of the great American continent.

Second, there are commentators who believe that Babylon represents all the political, commercial, social, and cultural systems of the world.  They believe that it symbolizes the godless and secular societies of this world.

Again, as W.A. Criswell says,

  1. Babylon could represent any great cities of the world such as Washington, New York, Tokyo, London, Moscow or Paris.
  2. These commentators believe that this chapter is picturing the great destruction of all the godless societies of the end time with their political, commercial and cultural systems.
  3. They believe that Babylon is just a symbol of destruction of the godless government and society all across the world. (Expository Sermons on Revelation, Vol. 5, p. 18f).

Both of these positions make sense, and both can definitely come true.  The eastern nations of the world can undoubtedly become some of the wealthiest nations of the world with their vast population and resources (the vast oil reserves and possibility of the minerals in the Dead Sea yet to be discovered).  Indeed, some nations already have enormous wealth.

World-wide political and commercial power can come when some leader arises who can pull some of the nations into a confederation of cooperating states, some leader like the Antichrist or some forerunner before he enters world history.

With this as background, Scripture declares emphatically that Babylon is going to be destroyed.  The great capital city of the world in the end time is going to be destroyed by the Lord Jesus Christ.  Remember CHAPTER SIXTEEN where the seventh bowl judgment was poured out and all the great cities of the world were crumbled to ashes.  This is where Babylon will be destroyed.

“And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great.  And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities (WORLD WIDE) of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of wine of the fierceness of his wrath” (Revelation 16:18-19).

Note that God Himself will destroy Babylon.  It will be God Himself who will pour out the cup of His wrath upon Babylon, that godless city and society who will bring the GREAT TRIBULATION to the world.  This is the picture of the COLLAPSE OF POLITICAL BABYLON (see Revelation 14:8).

STUDY OUTLINED – WHICH WILL HELP:

  1. There is the great angelic announcement (Revelation 18:1).
  2. The reasons why Babylon will be destroyed (v. 2-7).
  3. The quickness of Babylon’s destruction (v. 8).
  4. The impact of Babylon’s fall (v. 9-20).
  5. The actual destruction of Babylon (v. 21-23).
  6. The reason for Babylon’s destruction repeated (v. 23-24).

Today we have looked at information that should cause one to think about his own life as the Apostle Paul directs in 2 Corinthians 13:5, to ensure that we are in the faith:

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.  Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?” (2 Corinthians 13:5). 

Check out Romans 10:9-13 and ask yourself if you have actually traveled the road to heaven and accepted the free gift of God’s Salvation John 3:16. Remember, however, one cannot work their way to heaven (see Ephesians 2:8-9).

However, after salvation, after you have accepted Christ as your Personal Savior and Lord and Master, ask yourself, as a Christian, are you actually carrying out the commands of Christ.  This is important, why?  Look at John 14:15.

For instance, Christ commanded in Matthew 28:18-20 that we go to the world and make disciples [followers of Christ] of the unsaved.  Remember in Acts 1:8 He, that is God, has promised the power to do what He says.  See also Philippians 4:13 and 19 for encouragement.

For our next study please read Revelation chapter 18; I think you will find it challenging and interesting.  But remember, we are looking through John’s eyes at the future and you have nothing to fear….if you are saved.

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