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Revelation 18:1-11

The Mystery of Babylon

  • Rich Jones
  • Weekend Messages
  • January 07, 2018

In this passage, we are told that Babylon the Great has fallen. There is so much interest in what this could possibly mean and what impact this might have on world events leading into the last days that it’s very important we understand what he means when he speaks of Babylon the Great in the book of Revelation.

  • Sermon Notes
  • Scripture

The Mystery of Babylon

Revelation 18:1-11 

At this point in the book of Revelation we’re nearing the end of the Tribulation period; that seven-year period of time in which God pours out His wrath
to a world that has rejected Him even though God has reached out to them. Interestingly, we also read that God will continue to reach out with the
gospel even during the great Tribulation.

In the verses we’re studying today, we read that Babylon the Great has fallen. There is so much interest in what this could possibly mean and what impact
this might have on world events leading into the last days that it’s very important we understand what he means when he speaks of Babylon the Great
in the book of Revelation.

Is it an actual city? Which city might it be today? What does the Antichrist have to do with this city? What does it represent? How will it be destroyed?
Does God destroy it? You might be surprised by the answers.

Many books have been written on these chapters and many theories as to what this city represents. What we must do is to look at all the clues and prayerfully
consider how to interpret and understand as well as to apply these verses.

I. History Connects to Prophecy

  • First, Babylon in Revelation as a mystery, in other words, it’s not literal, it’s symbolic.
  • In Revelation 17:5 John specifically says that there is a name written upon the forehead of a great harlot, which is also a symbol here, saying,
    “A mystery: Babylon the great, the mother of harlots…”
  • Let’s begin by considering some basic facts about this famous city, beginning with this…

A. Historically; a city

  • Babylon was a great city; at one time it was the largest city in the world. It was the power center of the ancient Babylonian Empire. The “Hanging
    Gardens of Babylon” were once considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
  • It was also the city which oppressed and destroyed Israel and took them captive 70 years.
  • It was a center for occultic religion from which comes the number 666 based on the magic square. History connects to prophecy.
  • The name Babylon in Greek means “gateway of the gods,” but in Hebrew its name comes from Babel meaning “confusion.”
  • God saw to it that the city received its due return for what they did to Israel.

Jeremiah 25:12, “Then it will be when seventy years are completed I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation and the land of the Chaldeans for their iniquity,” declares the LORD, “and I will make it an everlasting desolation.”

  • Babylon was overtaken by the Medes and Persians when they diverted the Euphrates River. The Medes and Persians entered under the water defenses while
    the city was in a drunken celebration and quickly overthrew the king.
  • After Babylon fell, the Persian king, Cyrus, released the Jews from captivity.
  • Alexander the Great tried to rebuild the city, but died there in Babylon suddenly and his kingdom was divided amongst his generals.

B. Prophetically; a symbol

  • First, it’s a symbol for the city the Antichrist will use as headquarters for his position of world power.

Note: Some have suggested that Babylon is New York City since it is the headquarters for the United Nations. Some also have suggested that the events of September 11, 2001 fulfill verse 18 which describes the smoke rising as it is destroyed in one hour. This is doubtful.

  • Many have thought perhaps Babylon could be the city of Rome; since Rome was the capital of the ancient Roman Empire and bible prophecy suggests that
    the Antichrist will rule over ten nations of a revived Roman Empire.
  • This has led some to suggest that the Catholic Church is the religion of the Antichrist and the Antichrist is the Pope. I’m not seeing that one at
    all.
  • However, history connects with prophecy and there is a connection to the Roman Empire. The Antichrist will reign over a ten-nation alliance of states
    that were once part of the Roman Empire.
  • The desire to have the ruling power of Caesar had led many to use the title in various forms.

Note: Various forms of the title Caesar have remained until even recently.

The “Holy Roman Emperor” in central Europe was given the title by the Roman Catholic Church beginning with Charlemagne in 800 AD. Later Germany was called “The Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation.” The German king was known as the Kaiser. Later, Nazi Germany referred to itself as the Third Reich, or the third kingdom of the Holy Roman Empire.

The leaders of the eastern Roman, or Byzantine Empire, used the title. When the Ottomans overthrew them, their leaders used the title of Caesar. Constantinople was called the second Rome. Later when the Ottoman Turks, who were Muslim, conquered it, many political and church leaders moved to Moscow, which then became known as the “Third Rome.”

  • Babylon is also a symbol of spiritual idolatry. God uses marriage fidelity as a picture of spiritual faithfulness. Therefore, Babylon
    is a symbol of false religion. In the last days, a false prophet will arise and cause many to worship the beast. Religion is part of the Antichrist’s
    empire.
  • It’s also a symbol of the party manifesto. The Lord considers anything in our lives which takes the place that He should have in our
    lives as an idol or spiritual unfaithfulness. There is certainly a mentality in the world which is basically, “eat drink, and be merry!!” “Party
    on” or “Party hearty!” (Rev 18:3)
  • Symbol – economic idolatry. The kingdoms of earth are made rich by
    Babylon the whore. The system of materialism will also be destroyed by the wrath of God in the Tribulation.
  • The lesson immediately for us is that we should hold the things of the world loosely.

Luke 16:14-15, Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of money, were listening to all these things and were scoffing at Him. And He said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed among men is detestable in the sight of God.

C. It is destroyed by the Antichrist

  • This would be a surprise for many to hear. Why would the Antichrist destroy Babylon?
  • The Antichrist rises to power through by using the system, but once he has power, he destroys the system. Hitler did the same.
  • By destroying Babylon, the Antichrist also has a reason to move his capital to Jerusalem.

Revelation 17:16-18 The destruction of Babylon

  • All of this is executing God’s purpose. Even the Antichrist is part of God’s purpose in pouring His wrath on the earth.The word “imitate” in the Greek
    is “mimic.”

II. Don’t Buy into Babylon

  • There is a practical application from these verses that we should seriously consider.
  • Though the church will be removed from the earth in the rapture, there are several things we must apply to our lives now.

A. God is against all that Babylon represents

  • If God is against it, then we must be careful to not be for it.
  • We know that God is against it because heaven rejoices at its downfall.

Revelation 19:1-4 Four hallelujahs from heaven.

  • It is also a place of demons (verses 2). The power behind the immoralities is the Serpent of Old, Satan himself.
  • It is important that we be agreement with God rather than in agreement with Satan.

Illus – We know that the devil is called “the accuser of the brethren (Rev 12:10). We must be careful not to find ourselves doing the same ourselves – in our marriages, in our families, in the church.

  • Are you critical of people? Are you critical of your spouse? But God says we should edify and build up one another in Christ.

B. Don’t be part of the party

  • If Babylon is a symbol for the world’s party, we must decide that the world’s party is not where we belong.
  • Verse 3 – the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality. Passion is a powerful word.

App – We will become what we are passionate about. This is actually from A.W. Tozer who wrote that “we are becoming what we love, because love is a transforming power. Therefore, what we love is prophetic of our future.”

Illus – Woodstock was a great example of loving the wrong things. Max Yasgur’s farm in 1969 became the expression of a new counter culture; “flower power” was born as 500,000 gathered to “be free” and listen to Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin and many others.

As Jimi Hendrix once said, “Music is my religion. All I’m going to do is go on and do what I feel.”

But within 14 months both Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin were dead.

  • What we love becomes prophetic of our future.

Vs 4 – “Come out of her, My people,” says the Lord…that you may not participate in her sins, and receive of her plagues.

  • We see something similar in Paul’s letter to the church at
    Corinth.

2 Corinthians 6:14-16, for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God;

Notice what Christ said to the church at Ephesus…

Revelation 2:3-4, 7, “and you have perseverance and have endured for My name’s sake, and have not grown weary. But I have this against you, that you have left your first love… He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will grant to eat of the tree of life which is in the Paradise of God.”

C. “Turn your heart toward home”

  • This is a quote from James Dobson, but I thought it was very appropriate here. The question is, ‘where is home?’
  • God has taken us from the darkness and given us a relationship with the creator of heaven and earth.
  • The Tribulation events will bring the world to a great battle in the valley of Armageddon where the nations will come together to attack Israel in
    one final battle.
  • In the book of the prophet Joel, this is called the

    valley of
    Jehoshaphat, or the

    Valley of
    Decision. 




Illus – Joshua brought Israel together just before his death for one final challenge. It was there he declared powerfully, “as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”

  • We must decide from what we will drink. Either the wine of the passion of the world’s immoralities or the Living Water God offers through Jesus.

John 7:37-38, Jesus said, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the scripture said, ‘out of his innermost being will flow rivers of Living Water.’”

  • We conclude with a quote from Joel who prophesied of many of the events of the last days.

Joel 2:12-13, “Yet even now,” declares the Lord, “Return to Me with all your heart, and with fasting, weeping and mourning; and rend your heart and not your garments. Now return to the Lord your God, for He is gracious and compassionate,”

Revelation 18:1-11          NASB  

1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. 2 And he cried out
with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit,
and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all the nations  have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings
of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”

4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; 5 for
her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according
to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. 7 To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same
degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.’ 8 For this reason
in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
 
9″And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of
her burning, 10 standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one
hour your judgment has come.’ 11″And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more-
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