Babylon

Babylon

2019 Devotional 2019Devotional Weekly Devotional

“And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY
BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.”
Revelation 17:5

“Babylon the great is fallen…. come out of her my people.”
Rev18: 2,4.

Origins

In the Book of Genesis Babylon is presented as the root of all that is wicked and evil. Though the region where this city was situated is small, seeds were sown here that would in the end impact the world, deceive it and plunge it into conflict with God and, as a consequence, see millions of people placed on the “broad road” to destruction (Matthew 7:13). This region known as the Fertile Crescent was not only witness to the fall of humanity that has caused all to sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans3: 23) but it also saw the birthing of a system that would one day impact the world at every level and challenge the purpose of God for it..

The Tower of Babel

This somewhat strange structure was in essence an attempt by Nimrod and those with him to challenge the existence, nature and sovereignty of God (Genesis11: 1-9). Much has been written about this phenomenon and I will not here attempt to “re-event the wheel”. Nevertheless, a number of things are clear. The Tower of Babel was:

1. A place of deception.
2. A place of strong demonic power.
3. A place of rebellion against the God of the Bible.
4. A place that took advantage of the fallen nature of humankind so as to galvanize it in an effort to resist God.
5. A place where the advantages for wickedness could be achieved through globalization.
6. A place of judgement.

Let’s take a closer look at these six points:

1.A place of deception.

Babylon offered an alternative to the worship of the one true God. It was a place where, through its mysteries, religious deceptions of all kinds were introduced into the world. This deception was strengthened greatly because it was driven by powerful forces of darkness and in the end, just like leaven, it found its way into many religious beliefs that we know and recognise today. For instance, the cult of mother and child began here, took root in Egypt and eventually impacted the Roman Catholic Church.

In addition, the various strains of Luciferianism originated in Babylon and these strains have found their way into the Secret Societies of our world such as Free Masonry and its so-called Grand Lodges of the Orient, the Illuminati and many others. Given that the fall of humankind took place in this region and that the area birthed, as a consequence, all of the above and more, it is clear that Babylon constitutes a powerful demonic stronghold out of which a very strong deception has gone into the world. (Zechariah5: 5-11)

2. A place of strong demonic power.

A region that is capable of impacting the world with dark deception has a nerve centre of strong demonic power. It appears then that this demonic power has the ability to influence and corrupt all who endeavour to grapple with the place! It is worthwhile noting that over the centuries there has been little Gospel impact in the area. It is a place of demonic darkness. A type of throne-room where Satan has immense authority and power and those then who attempt to assault it will be subject to this unseen but very real power. There should be a big Neon Sign placed over the region that states:

“Beware strong demonic powers at work here, you enter at your own
risk”

Satan has established these regions in the world and the Book of Revelation for instance acknowledges that Asia Minor is another region like this and consequently Jesus refers to Pergamos as a place where the throne of Satan is entrenched (Revelation2: 13). The Church of Jesus can by its great spiritual weapons tear down these “gates of hell” (Matthew 16:18; 2 Corinthians 10:4).

The message is then clear, those who attempt to engage this region had better be sure of the will and purpose of God in this regard. The Bush Administration was bold enough to do this and as a consequence, the demonic “dust up” is clear for all to see and particularly so in the rise of ISIS and the genocide that it unleashed on the Church of Jesus in the region. Was George Bush, right? I personally think that he was, but the more penetrating question is, “Did he do so in the perfect timing and purpose of God?” The answer to this question we shall only know in the future. What is clear however is that a mighty conflict is in the process of being played out before our eyes on the Nineveh Plains and beyond and most of it is not physical and visible but unseen and invisible. Daniel learned this lesson as he prayed over the region in his day (Daniel 10).

3. A place of rebellion against God.

Babylon and its seeds of wickedness have attempted to dethrone the God of the Bible and cast a smokescreen of deception over the revelation of who He is and what He has done for the world in Christ. According to the Bible, Babylon has targeted God by taking aim at His people and His revelation called the Word of God.

For these reasons, and because its deceptions have invaded the world, by the time we come to the Book of Revelation Babylon is a world system not any longer limited to the region that we call the Fertile Crescent. In short, its impact is global because its ungodly values are penetrating the whole world! For this reason, God’s people are called upon to come out of her (Revelation 18:4).

This means, in the first place that we get Babylon out of our hearts so that we can then secondly, extract our lives from its many tempting snares. These snares are in every field of human endeavour and therefore the human heart has to be vigilant and close to God if it is going to survive. Those who fail in this regard will themselves be in rebellion against God (James 4:4). God is against those who get entangled with Babylon.

4. A place that takes advantage of mans’ fallen nature.

Whenever fallen man unites, he births evil and wickedness and a clear example of this is demonstrated in the remarkable unity that Hitler brought to the citizens of Germany in the 1930s. God Himself acknowledged this when the first Tower of Babel was built (Genesis11: 6). It is no coincidence then that globalization in our day has also birthed a new pressure upon the evangelical Church to compromise its biblical beliefs and with this the truth that Jesus is the only way of salvation (Acts 4:12). Is it also a mere coincidence that the buildings of the European Union in Strasbourg are constructed in the form of the Tower of Babel? This in itself should be a warning to all of us. To be honest it may just be a coincidence, but it is not a spiritual one! What appears to be artistically novel and appealing is in fact contrived and planned by unseen evil powers. It all has to do with placing humankind at the centre of all things and thereby resisting the God of the Bible upon whose values Europe was made great!

Now however, this resistance is on an international scale. No wonder when Jesus returns, He will come described as the Word of God. He will be unveiled finally for the entire world to see and this unveiling or revelation will be the Word of God. That is, the very thing that Satan in Babylon began to resist will in the end triumph (Revelation 19:11-14).

5. A place where the advantages of wickedness are harnessed through globalization.

We have already noted how the unity of unsaved or unredeemed people fosters wickedness and evil. God Himself saw this reality and reversed it by dividing and thereby diluting the wicked intentions of men. He did this by toppling their amazing structure and by keeping them apart by the use of language barriers (Genesis11: 6-7).

This judgement on what unredeemed men and women could do if united was reversed at the cross and demonstrated on the Day of Pentecost when those in the Upper Room spoke in other tongues and all nations heard them (Acts 2:1-13). The confusion that Babylon brings and manifests in all manner of deception, wickedness and demonic power is finally and only reversed at the cross. Paul wrote that because of what Christ did on the cross the world (Babylon) had lost its power over him and he had lost his desire for it (Galatians 6:14).

The plunge of our present world toward globalization should be of grave concern to every Christian. It will end with the manifestation of a tyranny and of wickedness such as the world has never seen. This is the clear warning of Paul in 2 Thessalonians 2 and of John in Revelation 13. A man of perdition, or another Christ, (Antichrist) is coming. He will come to power on the platform of solving the world’s most pressing problems and thereby uniting it. So, globalization will be his “ladder”, Babylon will be his roots and Satan will be his power. (2Thessalonians 2:9-10)

Sadly, the people of God and Israel will be his target (Revelation 13:8-10).

6. A place of judgement.

Though Babylon at the very beginning was awesome in its power and demonic origins it was judged and torn down by the God of Heaven (Genesis 11:5-9). This too will be the end of the world system of Babylon. It will fall without repair and men will weep and wail as they see it crumble. (Revelation18: 9-20)

It has taken Babylon 4000 years to recover from its initial judgement that saw it fall. It will fall again and forever; of this we can be sure but who will fall with it? There are far too many Christians who are playing around at its points of entry. Such foolishness could in the end “suck them in” and see them fall with Babylon. This is why scripture calls upon the people of God to come out of her and John the Apostle, in his first epistle, warns Christians not to love the world system (1 John 2:15-17). The Apostle Paul, with great sadness, noted that one of his fellow preaching companions called Demas had forsaken him because he was overcome by a love of the world (2 Timothy 4:10).

The conflict unfolding today in Iraq, Syria, Iran and beyond is evidence that a great unsettling has taken place in the demonic strongholds of ancient, but very real, Babylon. I believe that God has used, and is using, the USA to fulfil His purpose by heralding the beginning of the end of the “Throne-Room of the Devil” that has dominated this region of the world for far too long. It is then no coincidence that at the same time millions of people in the Middle East, and in countries like Iran, are making Jesus Lord of their lives. The world media will not report this and does see things differently but those of us who know and love the Lord can discern, not the hissing of the devil in this conflict but, the judging sword of the Lord and with it His mighty outstretched arm of salvation!

For this reason, we must pray as never before for the region and for the American people who will now enter into a unique “Day of Destiny” in the days ahead of us. Either they will continue to be the instrument of God’s will or they will give in to world (global) pressure, and domestic opinion, and thereby turn away from what could be their greatest historical role and calling in terms of the purpose of God. God does use nations in a particular form and fashion to advance His will in the earth. This is the clear teaching of scripture and it is seen in the manner that He used Britain to launch the great evangelistic movement that took the Gospel to the four corners of the world in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. God also mandated Britain, by virtue of the Balfour Declaration, to be an agent in bringing forth the re-born state of Israel in 1948.

In the end however Babylon will fall, the purpose of God will triumph, the evil well of Shinar, (Zechariah5: 5-11) which has been a source of wickedness for all the world, will be closed forever and God’s real throne over the world will be set up in Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2-4). In this regard Jeremiah 3:17 is worth noting:

“At that time Jerusalem shall be called “The Throne of
the Lord”, and all the nations shall be gathered to it, to
the name of the Lord, to Jerusalem. No more shall they
follow the dictates of their evil hearts.”

Finally, it is also worth noting that Jeremiah fifty, that great chapter of the book that promises judgement on Babylon and all that it stands for, states that Babylon’s fall and destruction has something to do with Israel’s final regathering and spiritual recovery (Jeremiah 50: 4-5).

Some may say that this passage refers only to the return of the Jews from the Babylonian exile at the end of the sixth century before Christ. This is not entirely true because John, writing in about AD 90, quotes from this passage and therefore applies its teaching to the people of God some six hundred years later.

In the final analysis then all that is happening in Iraq, Syria and Iran today has great implications for Israel. These I believe are to be understood in the realm of the spiritual. That is, great spiritual strongholds of darkness and of evil are being pulled down and this will in turn bring in a day of amazing redemption for Israel. When this happens humanity will unite again but, as Jeremiah points out, only at the Throne of God in Jerusalem. On that day the resounding chorus will be, “Babylon has fallen!”

Malcolm Hedding

A People Apart

A People Apart

2019 Devotional 2019Devotional Weekly Devotional

 

“How shall I curse whom God has not cursed?
And how shall I denounce whom the Lord has
not denounced? For from the top of the rocks
I see him, and from the hills I behold him; There!
A people dwelling alone, not reckoning itself
among the nations.”
Numbers 23:8-9

“For I will restore health to you and heal you of
your wounds, says the Lord, ‘Because they called
you at outcast saying; “This is Zion; no one seeks
her.”
Jeremiah 30:17

The scriptures declare that Israel is a nation set apart and living alone. This has indeed been the story of Israel but this “apartness” has also not been understood by the wider world or, for that matter, by the Church. The consequences have been all too evident! Israel is a lonely nation and even this week we learned this afresh as anti-Semitic Congresswomen in America repeatedly attacked Israel and the Jews. As I watched Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians and leaders responding to this evil I caught a sense of the anguish and loneliness that grips this people. What really caught my attention was a headline on a local news channel that stated; “Israel, the lonely people.” The Jews face hatred and even annihilation again and very few nations stand with them which is highly troubling because all of this is taking place just seventy-five years after the “Final Solution” was agreed upon and implemented by the Nazis at the Wannsee Conference near Berlin in 1942.

Israel’s lonely station in history has been for the blessing of the world. This was indeed the calling that God Himself placed over her national destiny when he encountered Abraham some 4000 years ago and said, “In you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:1-3). He brought her to Himself so that He could reveal Himself to humankind through her. It was not because she was or is better than any other people or even superior to them (Deuteronomy 7:7-8). No, it was so that He could bless the nations through her and thereby save them. How amazing is this? In this endeavor God’s purpose has succeeded, but at great cost to the Jewish people and yet a day is coming when all nations will acknowledge the unique role she has played out in history for their joy, blessing and benefit (Isaiah 66:5-21).

Heavenly things are not well understood by the carnal heart (Romans 8:7) and therefore Israel has been misunderstood, mishandled and abused through the centuries. This continues today! It is true that Israel has failed God and has paid the price for it but this in no way absolves us from our responsibility to stand with her and bless her and it will not stop God from fulfilling His purpose through her. The God of the Bible always fulfills His purpose through the broken and weak people of this world for thereby He gets all the glory (1 Corinthians 1:26-29). Israel’s modern day restoration then is not a political accident or coincidence because, as Romans eleven and verse twenty-nine teaches us, the Lord God of Heaven has never changed His mind about Israel’s calling, possession of the land of Canaan and destiny. Those who oppose these things are in fact in conflict with God. It is this God that warns that a judgment is coming to the nations because they have repeatedly, with evil intent, attempted to disinvest the people of Israel of their inheritance by dividing their land (Joel 3:1-2). God alone is the judge and we should fear Him because He will apply the same standard of judgment to the nations and the Church as He has applied to Israel in her two historical exiles. Our biblical responsibility is to pray for her, bless her, comfort her and declare His word to her.

I sometimes get the feeling that the Church takes very lightly the warnings of Romans eleven. Here in this passage Paul states that arrogance toward the “fallen Jewish branches” coupled with boasting about their failure to accept Jesus’ Messianic credentials will have dire consequences. That is, God is not pleased with Gentile believers who do this and threatens to cut them out of the redemptive Olive Tree if they persist in this arrogance.

“And if some branches were broken off, and you, being a wild
Olive Tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became
a partaker of the root and fatness of the Olive Tree, do not boast
against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do
not support the root, but the root supports you. You will say then,
“Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” Well said.
Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.
Do not be haughty, but fear. For if God did not spare the natural
branches, He may not spare you either. Therefore consider
the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity;
but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness.
otherwise you also will be cut off.”
Romans 11:17-22

Note the words of verse twenty-two, “….you also will be cut off.” Is this just theoretical or does God mean it? I think that the answer is the latter! No wonder Paul said, “Do not be haughty but fear.”

So, as Israel faces a renewed wave of anti-Semitism worldwide coupled with continuous threats of genocide from Iran and other terrorist organizations like Hamas, Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine we sadly recognize that she is isolated and alone but, thank God, does have the unswerving support of the United States of America. Most nations would far rather do nothing and, as we have seen in Europe, would prefer to continue to do business with the radical Islamic Mullahs of Iran. The same spirit of appeasement that took hold of the western world seventy-five years ago has returned. Netanyahu said that Israel will nevertheless defend herself and not let Iran acquire nuclear weapons. She will also reserve the right not to tell anyone when and how she proposes to strike Iran; should there be no options left and the need to do so.

In the end Israel is really not alone because she only exists because of a God who guarantees her perpetual nationhood (Jeremiah 31:35-36) and Who has faithfully brought her home to Zion never to be plucked up again (Amos 9:14-15). In her modern day restoration the God of the Bible has displayed His mighty hand of power and the veracity of His word. Actually Israel is in the majority because God is with her and will not abandon her. Do you doubt it? Just wait and see! This God has already stated that He neither slumbers nor sleeps as He watches over Israel (Psalm 121:4). He will of course correct and discipline her but He will also arise and defend her just as He did in 1948, 1967, and 1973 and thereafter.

His eye is also upon His Church as she is challenged to respond to all of these things. The truth is; evangelical Christianity that is true to God’s word, is also being isolated and denounced as radical everywhere. We too are becoming a lonely people and even more so if we defend Zion! Jesus said, “If they hated Me they will also hate you” (John 15:18). He also said, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20)

Malcolm Hedding