Saturday, June 17, 2017

Babylon's Licentiousness

"And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies." 
(Revelation 18:1-3)

For many, this Babylon is symbolic whether it be of Rome, the kingdom of the antichrist or of some other evil entity. However, the wording and the context suggest that this is a real city. The prophet Zechariah spoke of a house which would be built for the wickedness which had been sealed in the ephah of the prophet's vision.

Both Haggai and Zechariah prophesied to the Jewish exiles who had returned to build the temple of God during the reign of Persia. Haggai prophesied of things very near. His visions provided the people with guidance for the here and now. Zechariah's prophecies were much more distant. He dealt with the end times and the advent of Jesus' kingdom. In chapter five, Zechariah saw an ephah (a dry unit of measurement equally approximately 35 liters). Inside the ephah, Zechariah noticed a woman sitting. The angelic interpreter told Zechariah, "...This is wickedness." Upon the mouth of the ephah, the angel placed a lead weight thus preventing the escape of the woman who symbolizes evil. Afterward, the ephah, the woman and the lead weight were lifted up and carried away. Zechariah said, "Whither do these bear the ephah?" The angel answered, "To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base." Shinar means two rivers. It refers to the plain region between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers (Genesis 10:10, Daniel 1:2). It is the same location to which Stephen referred when speaking of God's call upon Abraham's life (Acts 7:2). In this area, the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar's day was built, and in this same region a house will be built from which the powers of wickedness will rule.

The straightforward and vivid prophecies of both Isaiah and Jeremiah are yet another reason for believing in the existence of a future Babylon. Both men speak of a sudden and violent overthrow of the city. Even though Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon did become a desolation over time, she did not experience a sudden and violent destruction. The Persians took the city in 539 BC with little resistance. After the death of Alexander the Great, Babylon did experience a steady decline into oblivion; however, the suddenness of the overthrow described by the prophets has yet to occur. In light of these things, it would seem that God's men saw not only the near destruction of the Chaldean kingdom but also the far away terror of a city built upon the foundations of a worldwide false religion.

For many, Babylon and the ideals upon which it stood are things of the past, but the observant man will soon notice that the rebellion for which Babylon stands is anything but forgotten. After the Gulf War, Saddam Hussein attempted to rebuild the city. He manufactured bricks which contained these words, "This was built by Saddam, son of Nebuchadnezzar, to glorify Iraq." Such events illustrate the reality that the rebel principles upon which Babylon was built are alive and well. It should not be thought impossible that the wealth of a one-world religion will someday be used for the construction of a rebellious city built upon the same principles of those who once spoke against God and said, "Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven...(Genesis 11:4)."

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