A brief summary of what Babylon stands for in Scripture is the confusion (Babel) of man caused by godlessness (Gen. 10-11).  A world of godless people is confused and doesn't even know it. After the flood God commanded the people to increase in numbers and fill the earth but they disobeyed Him and remained in Babylon and tried to unite and build a civilization without God. Nimrod was a type of antichrist who led man's rebellion against God and began a pagan religion that eventually spread throughout the world when God confused their language and scattered them by dividing the earth (Gen. 10:25). Fallen man wants a world without God as seen from Genesis to Revelation from the first Babylon to the one in the end.

Scripture shows us three different "Babylons" beginning with Nimrod ("rebel"); then the Babylon that opposed and captured Israel under Nebuchadnezzar; and finally rebuilt Babylon seen in Revelation 18 (that is literally being rebuilt today) which will be the end-time "wall street" of the world and the headquarters for Antichrist in the last 3 ½ years of the Tribulation.

Some commentators think that the Babylon referred to in Revelation 18 is not an actual city but the evil empire of Antichrist which is worldwide in scope. Yet a number of Old Testament prophecies about God's complete destruction of Babylon were not fulfilled when God judged Babylon in 539 B. C. by the Medes and Persians. Jeremiah 51:60-64 is just one example: "Jeremiah had written on a scroll about all the disasters that would come upon Babylon-all that had been recorded concerning Babylon.  He said to Seraiah, "When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud.  Then say, 'O LORD, you have said you will destroy this place, so that neither man nor animal will live in it; it will be desolate forever.'  When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates.  Then say, 'So will Babylon sink to rise no more because of the disaster I will bring upon her. And her people will fall.' " {" Babylon has not yet completely fulfilled this prophecy of being utterly destroyed and never again being inhabited forever as it will be as seen in Revelation 18 (especially v. 21). (Also see Jer. 50:26; 51:26; Isa. 13-14; Zech. 5:5-11; Rev. 18:19, 21) Babylon has been occupied for millennia. After the deportation of the Jews to Babylon, when their seventy years of captivity was completed, only a remnant of Jews returned to rebuild Jerusalem (see: Ezra and Nehemiah). Many continued to live in Babylon. They were even there in the first century (1 Peter 5:13)."}

Also some commentators think that the reference to the wealth and immorality of the people of Babylon refers to the excessive and immoral lifestyle of the Western world (esp. the U.S. A). Yet the world-wide upheaval both before the Tribulation (to cause the world to be seduced by the Antichrist's promise of peace and prosperity and submit to his leadership) but more so the incomprehensible chaos and crisis that will occur in the Tribulation will "turn the world upside down" and shift the center of world power and influence to the Arabic world. Others think that since Babylon is not a port city that it would be impossible for "every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning" – Yet this assumes that these people are at sea and even if they are the smoke that rises from the total destruction of a rebuilt Babylon (probably a very large city) will be unlike any smoke of destruction ever seen. Thus considering this and the fact that Babylon is actually being rebuilt leads me to believe that Revelation 18 refers to the actual city. Like many Bible scholars in the past who "spiritualized" the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel's return to the Promised Land after 1900 years of dispersion all over the world, some today find it difficult to believe that rebuilt Babylon will be the center of wealth and power described in Revelation 18. I think it is both an actual city that God will literally judge and a representation of all godless cities that are filled with godless religions, government and commercialism that will be included in God's final judgment. Revelation 16:19 seems to distinguish the rebuilt city of Babylon from all other literal cities that God will judge. "The great city split into three parts (rebuilt Babylon), and the cities of the nations collapsed. God remembered Babylon the Great and gave her the cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath."

Some of the key points of application God shows us through Revelation and the anti-God message through Babylon are:

*God's ultimate judgment on man who opposes and rejects Him.

*God's warning of His destruction of all false religions, and all but Christianity are works-based systems. Jesus is the only way to God and salvation (John 14:6).

*God's warning against godless government – Don't sell your soul to godless leaders who promise peace and prosperity in this life (as the Antichrist will do in the Tribulation).

*God's warning against godless commercialism (James 5:1-9). 

*The reliability of Scripture and God's faithfulness to keep His Word.

*The prediction in Scripture (prophecy) of a radical upheaval in the present world order and God's righteous wrath poured out on unrepentant man.

*The impossibility of sinful man to unite (in love and truth) without God: Jesus says, "Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn a man against his father,  a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law-  a man's enemies will be the members of his own household. Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me; and anyone who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me." (Matt. 10:34-38)

*God's command for His people to be spiritual pioneers versus "settling down" in Babylon (in this fallen world). "Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matt. 28:18-20)  We are commanded to reach our neighbors and the nations by going, giving and praying so that all will come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9).

*God created people to worship Him (Isa. 43:6-7) and if we refuse to worship the Creator, we will worship some part of His creation to our temporal and eternal loss whether it be an evil (Satan-possessed) Antichrist, or money, sex and power, etc.: "For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles." (Rom. 1:21-23) When we choose to sin versus obey God we in some way worship something in creation more than God our Creator; i.e., we look to something or someone other than God to find joy, satisfaction, hope, pleasure, etc. Even legitimate desires (happy family, success in business, caring friends, good health) can become illegitimate expectations as we look to them versus God for love and joy, hope and meaning.

A. W. Tozer's prayer in his book, The Pursuit of God, is a prayer that we need to pray regularly to make sure nothing in this life means more to us than our God and Savior: "O God, be Thou exalted over my possessions.  Nothing of earth's treasures shall seem dear unto me if only Thou art glorified in my life. Be Thou exalted over my friendships.  I am determined that Thou shalt be above all, though I must stand deserted and alone in the midst of the earth. Be Thou exalted above my comforts.  Thought it mean the loss of bodily comforts and the carrying of heavy crosses I shall keep my vow made this day before Thee. Be Thou exalted over my reputation.  Make me ambitious to please Thee even if as a result I must sink into obscurity and my name be forgotten as a dream.  Rise, O Lord, into Thy proper place of honor, above my ambitions, above my likes and dislikes, above my family, my health and even my life itself. Let me decrease that Thou mayest increase, let me sink that Thou mayest rise above.  Ride forth upon me as Thou didst ride into Jerusalem mounted upon the humblest little beast, a colt, the foal of an ass, and let me hear the children cry to Thee, Hosanna in the highest." (See Psalm 57:5)


1) What is your main take away from today's message and table discussion and how can you apply it to your life this week?               

2) Which of these desires (creatures/created things) that Tozer listed do you find the most difficult to surrender to God and what do you need to do to repent of this?

3) How can you check yourself regularly to see how you are doing with each of these?

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