Well, here we are again, tools in hand, ready to explore what will take place in Babylon in the near future. Just as Revelation 17 reveals the utter destruction of the Babylonian false religious system, Revelation 18 describes the great fall of the Babylonian economic and political system. Take time to read Revelation 18.
Babylon will be the capital of the antichrist’s empire. Some believe Babylon is simply a “system” during end times, others believe that Babylon will be an actual city in end times (though perhaps without a country). If it is an actual city, then in order to be destroyed in the future, it must first be re-built. Though ISIS is making a mess of Iraq and we can’t be dogmatic, evidence suggests that a degree of re-building is happening. Read this example.
What are your thoughts about the evidence that Babylon seems to be being re-built?
Before going further, let’s glimpse into the mind of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon. Please read Daniel 4:30.
Not only was King Nebuchadnezzar high on himself, but his worldview also reflected what we see today. Humanism (“I can live independently of God”) and materialism (“Stuff is what matters”) are running rampant, and those are examples of placing power and possessions above the importance of God.
Let’s discover how a mindset like Nebuchadnezzar’s negatively serves mankind. The foundation of our teaching today will be Pastor Mark Martin’s teaching of Revelation 18, entitled Babylon is Fallen!
Whereas Revelation 17 focused on the doom of the false religious system, chapter 18 describes the destruction of the economic and political system. The prophet Zechariah recorded his vision of this destruction in Zechariah 5:1-11, identifying the woman we met in Revelation 17 as “Wickedness,” and verifying that her temple will be in the land of Shinar. Where do you suppose Shinar is? You’re right…it’s another name for Babylon, where the antichrist’s financial and political capital will be.
Now, let’s turn our attention to Revelation 18. If you haven’t already read the 24 verses of Revelation 18, do so now. Then contrast what Babylon will be like prior to destruction with what Babylon will be like after this destruction. What was it like before destruction? (Hint: verses 12-13, 16-17) After destruction? (Hint: verses 2, 8-11, 14-15, 19)
Verse 20 prophesies that God will pronounce judgment against her (Babylon). According to verses 21-24, what will that judgment look like?
Why is Babylon judged so harshly? Well, let’s identify at least eight reasons:
- According to verse 2, what sorts of beings inhabit Babylon during end times? These beings certainly do not exhibit the character or God. In fact, they are evil, and a time will come when the Lord will destroy all evil!
- What is going on in Babylon, according to verse 3? Babylon is full of immorality! The time of God’s judgment will arrive.
- Verse 3 also describes materialism…man’s pursuit of riches and wealth. According to verses 12-13, what evidence is there of great riches and wealth in Babylon?
- Look at verse 5. What piled as high as heaven? What does God remember?
- We are told in verse 7 that Babylon “glorified herself and lived sensuously.” In other words, she was prideful and arrogant. Recall what you know about Babylon’s size, structures and amenities. Having “things” is not the sin…being prideful and arrogant about them is.
- Perhaps hidden in these verses is a small detail in verse 13. Notice the last things listed among the treasures of Babylon. What are those things? When slaves and human lives are listed among the commodities, it reveals that slavery is re-instituted. God surely sees that as evil and worthy of His judgment.
- According to verse 23, what was used to deceive all the nations? The Greek word translated “sorcery” is pharmakeia. What does that word sound like? If you indicated our current word, pharmacy, you are on track! You see, that word has to do with the administration or use of drugs or poisoning! Significant drug abuse, magical arts and deceptions and seductions of idolatry will play a part in the culture of Babylon at end times, and God will certainly judge the city because of it.
- A significant reason for God’s judgment is found in verse 24. Whose blood was spilled, and who was slain? Prophets and saints are God’s chosen. I am reminded of the Lord’s words in Zechariah 2:8b: “…he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.” I fail to see the wisdom in touching the apple of God’s eye! Indeed, it brings righteous judgment from God!
Perhaps you can find additional reasons for God’s judgment on Babylon, but these are certainly enough to demonstrate that God is not pleased with the evil that occurs in Babylon. But there is another interesting thing I want you to see before we finish today’s lesson.
According to Revelation 18:10 and 19, how long will it take for the city of Babylon to be destroyed?
Does that seem incredible to you? It does to me! This mighty city will seem to be absolutely invincible, but will be destroyed in only one hour! Wow! God means business, doesn’t He!
Based on what we’ve studied before, what will believers be doing during the events of Revelation 17 and 18? (Hint: we won’t be on this earth! Refer to your diagram, “The Plan of the End” in Week 1.)
Aren’t you grateful for the grace and salvation of our Lord Jesus? His perfect love and His perfect judgment are both fully displayed during The Tribulation. Believers, we have such a blessing ahead! Keep looking for the Blessed Hope, my friends…it is coming soon! The signs are all around us, and we’ll examine a few during our next time together.
See you tomorrow!