Monday, February 27, 2012

The Rebuilding of Babylon

Revelation Chapter 18

In our previous blog we discussed the religious “Babylon” in chapter 17. This chapter also deals with “Babylon”. The Babylon of chapter 18 is not the same as the Babylon of chapter 17. In fact this chapter begins with the phrase “after these things.” Anytime a verse begins by saying “after these things” you should stop and ask yourself, “after what things?” In this case it is after the destruction of the religious Babylon in chapter 17.

Then if mystical Babylon was destroyed in the previous chapter she cannot be the same as the Babylon in this chapter. Therefore the city here described must be a literal city called Babylon, and as there is no city today by that name it must be referring to some future city of Babylon. I have stated on numerous occasions that it is clear Babylon will be rebuilt and play an important role in the latter days.

History of Babylon

The ancient city of Babylon from the days of Nimrod grew in size and importance century after century until it reached its peak of great glory in the days of Nebuchadnezzar in B. C. 604-562.

Babylon was an exact square of 15 miles on a side or 60 miles around, and was surrounded by a brick wall 87 feet thick, and 350 feet high. On the wall were 250 towers and the top of the wall was wide enough for 6 chariots to drive abreast. The city was divided into two equal parts by the river Euphrates that flowed diagonally through it. At each end of the river was a palace. Near one of the palaces stood the Tower of Bel, or Babel. It is said that Babylon was probably one of the most magnificent cities the world has ever known, and its fall reveals what a city may become when it forsakes God and He sends His judgment upon it.

It is no coincidence that the book of the Bible that speaks the most about Babylon is the book of Daniel. Since Revelation is an extension of Daniel this city plays an important role once again.

Babylon Rebuilt?
Many do not believe that this city will be one day rebuilt. Both the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah speak of the destruction of Babylon. Some claim that the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah are completely fulfilled, therefore leaving nothing to be fulfilled in a future Babylon. Therefore they conclude that this chapter is symbolical and must not refer to a literal city.

To see if that is true we must consider what the prophets said about Babylon. The following is said of this city:

“It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.”  Isaiah 13:20

“Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.”   Jeremiah 51:43

“And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate forever, saith the Lord.”  Jeremiah 51:26

While Babylon does not stand today, that land is not desolate. Further still one must remember the specific statement made by Isaiah concerning the time in which this destruction was to happen.

“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”   Isaiah 13:9, 10

Nothing like this happened when Cyrus took Babylon. In fact Cyrus made Babylon his capital, he did not destroy it. Xerxes plundered Babylon, but did not destroy it. Alexander the Great wanted to make it his capital, not destroy it. Babylon, while suffering much through history, was not destroyed. Peter even visited Babylon according to 1 Peter.

We are also told in chapter 18 that the city will be destroyed by fire, which is in perfect harmony with the prophecy of Isaiah.

“And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.”  Isaiah 13:19

As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities thereof, saith the Lord; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.”   Jeremiah 50:40

The destruction of Sodom was not prolonged through many centuries; their glory was destroyed in a few hours. Just as Babylon was not destroyed this way is further proof that this must be referring to some future destruction of Babylon. This fits perfectly both the description given to us in chapter 18, and also the description of the destruction mentioned once the 7th vial was poured out in chapter 16.

It would appear that since the city of Sodom was first set on fire and then destroyed by an earthquake, Babylon will be set on fire, and as Babylon is under laid with asphalt, that an earthquake will break up the crust of the earth and send the city into a lake of fire. The city will sink below the surface of the earth as into the sea.

The city will be swallowed up, making it impossible to take her stones for building, and the land will become a wilderness where no man shall ever dwell.

Babylon’s Roll in End Times

There is a remarkable prophecy recorded by Zechariah that has a meaning in these verses.

Zechariah 5:5-11

The "Ephah" which the prophet saw, is the largest of Hebrew dry measures, and is often a symbol of commerce and its resemblance or going forth through all the earth is a symbol of a universal commercialism.

In this prophecy Zechariah saw a woman called wickedness. This woman attempted to rise but the angel thrust her back and replaced the lid made of a "talent of lead." After this we see two women with the wings of a stork lift up the Ephah and carry it into the "Land of Shinar."

The land of Shinar was the place where the tower of Babel was built on the ancient site of Babylon.

If the Ephah stands for commerce, and the occupant of the Ephah is called wickedness, it reveals the fact that the commercialism of the time of the vision will be characterized by all manner of dishonest methods. The fact that the woman is thrust back and a lead lid placed on her, tells us that the dishonest schemes are to be hid and kept out of sight.

In the Old Testament the stork is an unclean bird, which is characteristic of this day. This prophecy is further proof that the city of Babylon will be rebuilt and become the commercial center of the world. It will be from Babylon that the Antichrist will rule and reign.

It will not take long to rebuild this city with the wealth of the world and the command of Capitalist. Once the lid is lifted off the “Ephah” the wickedness will reveal itself and no man will be able to buy or sell, but he who has the mark of the beast.

You may be asking yourself the question, how can you say that you are expecting Jesus to come at any moment if the city of Babylon must be rebuilt before He can come? There is not a word in the scriptures that say that Babylon must be rebuilt before Jesus can come. The church may be taken out of this world several years before the city is built.

This future city will be the greatest commercial city of the world. It will be a market for gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, or silk, scarlet and costly wools. It will be a place of high fashion for the people will be clothed in the most costly raiment and decked with costly jewels. Their homes will be of the finest wood, brass, iron, marble and the richest of draperies and rugs.

Babylon Finally Destroyed

The destruction of the city will be sudden and without warning. A storm will sweep over the city, lightning and thundering will come. The city will be set on fire and a great earthquake will shake it from its center. The tall office buildings will begin to collapse and the whole city will sink as a milestone.

As the city sinks into a lake of burning asphalt, the smoke will come like a furnace. The burning city, and the river Euphrates will generate steam. The steam will reflect off the burning city. When night comes the illuminated clouds will reflect the light of the burning city. People will be able to see the lights from the burning city for miles.

The kings of the earth, the merchants, the shipmasters and sailors and all who profited by the city will stand afar off and cry. While the earth cries the heavens will rejoice for God will have rewarded her according to her works and Babylon will be no more.

Babylon Today

Today Babylon is in the process of being rebuilt. A simply Google search will reveal that the Iraqi people are in the process of rebuilding the ancient ruins of Babylon. Today a museum has been built in Babylon with future plans to make the city a thriving tourist attraction. The people believe that rebuilding Babylon will boost the economy. Little do they know that the economy will soon be boosted, and Babylon will play a huge roll. In fact Babylon will play such a huge roll that it will become the economic capital of the world.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Babylon, The Universal Church

Revelation Chapter 17

This chapter begins with one of the seven angels, which administered one of the seven vial judgments, coming to John and inviting him to witness the judgment of God upon the “great whore.” We are told that this woman sits upon many waters. These waters are people in which the woman is controlling according to verse 15.

The fact that the ancient city of Babylon is to be restored and play an important part in the tribulation period is very clear. This is seen in the following two chapters. At first glance the following two chapters have some things in common and one would think they are speaking of the same thing. This is not the case however. As we move forward we will see that these two “Babylon’s” are different.

The seventeenth chapter speaks of “Babylon” as a woman. This woman is called “Mystery Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth.” In the eighteenth chapter the city of “Babylon” is referred to as a city. The fact that the two do not symbolize the same things is clear for that which is said of a woman cannot be said of a city, and that which is said of a city cannot be said of a woman.

There are also things that do not make since if these two chapters are talking about the same things. For example:

  1. The woman and the beast are symbolic in chapter 17. Nothing is symbolic in chapter 18.
  2. Everything has to be explained in chapter 17. Everything is clear in chapter 18.
  3. The woman of chapter 17 will rule the nations. The city of chapter 18 will not.
  4. In chapter 17 we are told that the ten kings of the earth will become angry and destroy the woman. In chapter 18 the kings of the earth weep and cry because of the destruction of the city of Babylon, which is not caused by them but by a great earthquake and fire.
  5. No voices warn people to come out of one. But warn people to come out of another.

Again, we see that the woman of chapter 17 will be destroyed 3 ½ years before the city of chapter 18 will be destroyed. In fact chapter 18 begins with the phrase “After these things”, referring to the destruction of the woman in chapter 17. These two therefore cannot be the same. Having established this plainly let us consider this woman called Babylon.

One question we must ask is, “Why is this woman referred to as Babylon?” When you think of Babylon this begins to make sense. The river Euphrates, on which the city of Babylon was built, was one of the four rivers that flowed through Eden. Satan no doubt chose this site as his headquarters from which he would perform his work.

It was near Babylon that Satan first tempted Adam and Eve to disobey God and eat of the forbidden fruit. And from that time mankind worsened and worsened until the day that God sent forth a flood and destroyed them from the face of the earth.

After the flood the city of Babel, or Babylon, was built by Nimrod, the descendent of Ham, according to Genesis 10: 8-10. This was the seat of his first great apostasy. It was here that the “Babylonian cult” was formed. This cult was a group claiming to posses the highest wisdom and to reveal divine secrets. (Much can be learned about this cult with a simple web search.)

The city of Babylon continued to be the seat of Satan until the fall of Babylon at the hand of Xerxes. At this time the Babylonian cult was forced to move. Satan moved his seat to Pergamos according to Revelation 2:12-13.

When the King of Pergamos died in B. C. 133, he bequeathed the Headship of the “Babylonian Priesthood” to Rome. They set up a Pontiff who was head of this priesthood. Later the Romans accepted this Pontiff as their civil ruler and Julius Caesar was made Pontiff in B. C. 74. In B. C. 63 he was made “Supreme Pontiff” of the “Babylonian Order.” This cult continued to pass down the position from generation to generation until in A. D. 378 the head of the “Babylonian Order” became the ruler of the “Roman church”.

When Gratian refused the position of Supreme Pontiff, Damascus, the Bishop of the Christian church at Rome was elected. In A.D. 378 the Babylonian System of worship became part of the Christian church. Thus Satan united Rome and Babylon in one religious system. Soon the rites and traditions of the Babylonian cult found their way into the church.

The worship of saints and the Virgin Mary was set up in A. D. 381. Most all of the festivals of the Roman church are of Babylonian origin. The “rosary” for example is of pagan origin. Celibacy, the Order of Monks and Nuns all have no warrant in the scriptures. The Nuns of the Roman church are nothing more than an imitation of the “Vestal Virgins” of the Pagan Rome.

Many of the traditions that even conservative churches celebrate today have roots in Babylonian religion. Festivals and holidays such as Easter and Christmas have roots in Babylon.

Not only is this woman called Babylon, but she is also called “Mystery.” Mystery is a good way to describe the Roman church, for they surround themselves with mystery. For many years the papal crown actually bore the word “Mystery”. The mystery of baptismal regeneration; the mystery of the Lord’s supper where the bread and wine actually become the body and blood of Christ; the mystery of holy water; and the mystery of lights on the altar. You even think of mystery when you think of the priest when during rites and ceremonies he mumbles in a language that is dead and confusing to all who hear.

Cardinal Newman, in his book “The Development of the Christian Religion” admits that … “Temples, incense, oil lamps, votive offerings, holy water, holidays and seasons of devotions, processions, blessings of fields, sacerdotal vestments, the tonsure and images are all pagan in origin.”

All this was a mystery in John’s day because the Papal church had not yet developed; though the mystery of iniquity was already working according to II Thessalonians 2:7. This however is no longer a mystery, for you and I have history to look upon and compare with the scriptures to realize the identity of this woman as being the Papal church.

Notice also that this woman is called a “mother.” If she is a mother then there must be some children. Many branches of churches have come from the Catholic Church. Many churches today are denying the truth of the scriptures. They have a, “form of godliness but deny the power thereof.” Soon these babies will return to their mother. We are already seeing the movement of “non denominational churches” growing by leaps and bounds today. That mentality will fit in perfect with this false church.

The fact that the woman sits on a scarlet colored beast reveals the fact that at time the beast, or Antichrist, supports or is controlled by the woman. In other words there is a state church that will rule over the state and thus the long time dream of the Roman church will be realized, to have worldwide supremacy.

Let me point this in perspective for you. After the true church is taken out of the world, the false church will rise to power. This false church will have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. It will quickly become a universal church, but it will only continue for a short time, 3 ½ years to be exact.

John tells us that the beast on which the woman rides has seven heads. While we know that the seven heads of the beast represent seven mountains, which represent the Roman Empire. Geographically speaking, Roman is the only city with which sits upon seven hills. Please don’t miss this for it is a tremendous text in that it shows us the center of this world church.

We are also told that there are seven kings.

Revelation 17:9-10

This tells us that in John’s day five kings had already fallen, one king was in power, and one was yet to come. The last or seventh king no doubt will be the Antichrist. In this verse John tells us that one of the heads of the beast had received a deadly wound.

Revelation 17:11

The only clear explanation is that the seventh head, or the Antichrist is the one who receives the deadly wound, probably at the hand of an assassin. The body of the Antichrist will lie dead, but before the burial his body will come back to life and he will therefore become the eighth king as well as the seventh.

This will make the world wonder after the Antichrist and they will proclaim, “Who is able to make war with the beast.”

This will probably take place at the middle of the week, the time in which the dragon is cast out of heaven. It will account for the drastic transformation in the attitude of the Antichrist. It will be at this time he will break his covenant with the Jew, desecrate the temple and calling himself God. All this will fulfill Daniel chapter 9.

After the short time of power is expired for the woman Babylon, the kings of the earth will begin to hate her. The kings will receive power at the hand of Antichrist and therefore they will no longer need the woman (church). They will eat her flesh (take away her riches) and burn her with fire (burn her sanctuaries and churches).

While Antichrist allows the role the false church plays during the first 3 ½ years, he will not do so for long. Once raised from the dead, and embodied by Satan, Antichrist will not permit any worship that does not focus on him alone. Proclamation will be made commanding all to worship the Antichrist. Marks will be applied to identify his followers. And those who do not worship the Antichrist will lose their head.

Friday, February 3, 2012

The last of God's judgment. "Great Tribulation"

Revelation 16

In the previous chapter we see the seven angels come out of the temple and are given the remainder of the wrath of God. They then make themselves ready to pour out the judgment of God.

In this chapter we witness as the seven angels pour out the last of God’s judgment. Many of the things we see in this chapter are repeat judgments seen either in the Egyptian plagues, or previously in the book of Revelation. The difference being that I believe the judgments of this chapter are more severe than those seen in the past. When Christ spoke about this time of judgment in Matthew 24 He referred to the judgment in the first half of the tribulation as “the beginning of sorrows”. To the last half however Jesus says that it will be “great tribulation.”

Let me once again say that the judgments mentioned in this chapter are very literal. Many of them have happened before in a literal form and they will be brought forth again in a literal form.

First Vial

This first judgment is a repeat from the sixth Egyptian plague, the “Plagues of Boils,” that fell upon the people of Egypt in:

Exodus 9:8-12

Boils are a result of bad blood and they reveal corruption in the body. These sores come upon men only who have received the mark of the beast. This reveals to us the corruption of not only the bodies of the people of this day but also of the corruption of their heart.

These boils will make it hard for people to simply stand up. I would imagine this would make it even more difficult to bow their knee to the image of the beast.

When God brought this plague upon the land of Egypt it was to harden the hearts of the people, and likewise the followers of the Antichrist will harden their hearts even further because of the judgment. We read in verse 9 that the people were angry with God and blasphemed His name.

Second Vial

When the second trumpet blasted in chapter 8 we saw that 1/3 of the sea became blood. The third part of the creatures in the sea died and the third part of the ships were destroyed. Under the pouring out of the second vial judgment the entire sea is affected. All the creatures in the sea will die because of this judgment.

When the sea becomes corrupt it will result in a foul odor that will prevent men from being around the water. No doubt disease and even starvation will occur.

It may be that the sea mentioned in this verse is the Mediterranean Sea, and not all of the oceans of the world. I believe many of these last judgments will be focused on the Middle East, particularly Babylon.

Third Vial

This again is a repeat of one of the Egyptian plagues, the first to be exact. When the rivers in Egypt turned to blood all the fish in them died, there is nothing said however about the fish in these verses.

As the judgment of God is coming under the pouring out of this vial John hears a voice. The voice is that of the “angel of the waters”, and calls out testifying that the inhabitants of the earth are worthy to drink blood, or that “they deserve it”. Then John hears another voice speak up and second what the first voice said. This time it is the “angel of the altar”.

These people are guilty of shedding the blood of the 144,000 witnesses. They are guilty of shedding the blood of those who refused to take the mark of the beast. Because of their acts they will reap what they have sown.

What a terrible time in which to live. Can you imagine having nothing to drink but blood? How terrible it would be to turn on the faucet at home and out comes blood. You will go to your shower but again nothing but blood. These people will be getting however exactly what their ancestors asked for when they cried, “Let his blood be on us and our children.”

Fourth Vial

Some say that this fourth vial is a reoccurrence of the fourth trumpet judgment, but I believe that is obvious that this is not the case. Under the judgment of the fourth trumpet the sun was darkened by one third. As this angel pours out his bowl of judgment we are told that the heat of the sun is intensified. The heat is so great that men are actually scorched by the heat.

“For, behold, the day cometh, that shall burn as an oven; and all the proud, yea, and all that do wickedly, shall be stubble: and the day that cometh shall burn them up, saith the LORD of hosts, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch. But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in his wing; and ye shall go forth, and grow up as calves of the stall.”   Mal. 4:1-2

All of the grass will burn up. The trees will die. Homes will catch on fire. Men and women will not be able to leave their home during the hottest times of the day because the sun is so intense that you could literally die because of the heat. There is no way that air conditioner units will be able to keep up with the intense heat. It will be miserable even in the shade. Can you imagine having to wait until night comes just to be able to leave your home?

You would think after all of this, men would turn to God in repentance, but it is obvious in these verses that they do not. Instead of repenting men and women grow angry with God. They curse God and blame Him for their trouble. I’m sure Antichrist will spin these judgments so to make it seem that Jehovah God is an angry God.

Fifth Vial

Notice that this plague immediately follows the plague of scorching heat. These people are angry with God because of the intense heat, so God completely turns the lights out. These people complained because of the intense sun, now they have no light at all. Men and women will not be able to see to go out of their home.

The effect of the darkness is so great that it causes men to gnaw their tongues for pain and for the sores they have. This shows us that some of the plagues overlap each other. It is not necessarily true that because a new judgment begins the last has to end. These people are still suffering with the boils of the first vial.

Again their suffering brings no repentance.

Sixth Vial

You will remember that the Lord opened the Red Sea and allowed the children of Israel to cross over on dry land, escaping for Egypt. He also parted the river Jordan so that they could pass over into the Canaan land.

In these verses we see that the Lord will dry up the river to allow the kings of the east and their armies to cross over and assemble themselves for the battle of Armageddon.

“And the LORD shall utterly destroy the tongue of the Egyptian sea; and with his mighty wind shall he shake his hand over the river, and shall smite it in the seven streams, and make me go over dryshod. And there shall be an highway for the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria; like as it was to Israel in the day that he came up out of the land of Egypt.”   Isaiah 11:15-16

John sees three demons; described as frogs, go forth to the entire world. Let me first say that they are not literal frogs. This is clear from the miracles they perform. They are spirits of demons who will go forth out the mouths of the satanic trinity gathering together the kingdoms of the world to battle.

Why then describe them as frogs? They come forth out of darkness and do their dirty work in the shadows. They creep and croak and fill the ears of the nations with their noisy demonstrations, until they eventually set the kings and armies in an enthusiastic commotion toward the Holy Land. Performing miracles they will convince the kingdoms of the world to unite against God.

Seventh Vial

At the breaking of the seventh seal, the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the pouring out of the seventh vial many of the same things happen. For example there will again be voices and thundering heard. There will be lightning and a great earthquake. During the seventh trumpet and the seventh vial there is great hail.

When the seventh seal was broken there was silence in heaven for half an hour, but when the seventh trumpet sounded and when the seventh vial is poured out there will be great voices in heaven.

The great voice in this chapter comes from the throne and it cries out “It is done.” There is little doubt whom this cry is from. As the Lord died upon the cross, the Bible tells us that he cried out “it is finished.” Now he cries out again letting us know that the judgment of God is completed.

The earthquake we see in this chapter will be the greatest the world has ever known. This earthquake will be the result of Christ setting foot upon the Mount Olivet according to the prophet Zechariah.

Zechariah 14:4-5

When Jesus steps upon the earth it will level mountains, destroy islands and change the contour of the land of Palestine. It will divide Jerusalem into three parts and Babylon will be destroyed, as we will see in chapter 18.

As the earth quakes there will be hail fall from the sky, each piece weighing one talent or 100 pounds. This is fitting for the law demanded that a blasphemer be stoned to death, and in the end of times these blasphemer will be stoned from heaven.

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