STUDY: PART 54
Chapters 17 and 18 will reveal the two Babylons that will be in effect during the Tribulation. One is religious Babylon (the apostate church), the other political, financial, and commercial Babylon. Again we find a controversy between expositors about the two Babylons. Will there be two cities in two different areas of the world? Or will it really be just one geographical location from which the beast and antichrist rule? Augustine wrote, “Babylon is a former Rome, and Rome is a later Babylon.”
I am of the opinion that this detail doesn’t matter to the church right now. When the final bowl is poured out, the judgment of God will fall on both divisions of Babylon. Through John’s vision we can glean some idea of what will happen to them. Although Bible commentators disagree on the details of the facts we will read and study, it’s ok. This should not affect our understanding of Revelation as a whole. As the Body of Christ which will be raptured long before all this trouble starts, we can not know all the details. Only those who enter the Tribulation will understand the full scale of the details as they live through each one.
Let me make one thing absolutely clear. The church that will raptured is not a denomination or a particular church group, nor will it be individual churches. The rapture will be for the collective body Jesus, the completeness of Jesus the Christ, the fullness of the church. It will be each individual as they have made profession for Jesus as Savior, who worship Him alone, and have come up higher in the standards God has laid out for us in His Word. We who have trusted in the Lord with all our hearts (Proverbs 3:5, 6) will meet Him in the air and be carried out of this world before the Tribulation begins. This does not mean to say we won’t see any of the troubles that will come. I believe that we will see many things (and already are seeing many of them now) before Jesus returns; but we will not be here for the beginning of the Tribulation or any time during the Tribulation. We will return with Jesus at His second coming to reign through the Millennium with Him.
V. 1, 2 – “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” The King James Version interprets the Greek word as vials, but I think vials takes away the enormity of what really will be poured out. A vial is what scientists use in their experiments and usually holds things in small amounts. The bowl is a more apt description of the volume of God’s vengeance poured out on Babylon and the world in general.
An angel of the last series of seven comes and carries John away to the wilderness. When the children of Israel, John the Baptist, and Jesus were in the wilderness, it meant the desert. There is no reason to interpret this wilderness any other way. The angel took John to a safe place from which to observe the destruction of Babylon. Remember that John has just witnessed the Battle of Armageddon.
In Isaiah 1:21 we see that Israel played the harlot, and, in Jeremiah 2:20, Judah did the same. Both countries worshipped idols, practiced false religions, and blasphemed the name of the Lord by burning incense to other gods. Babylon is worse yet. V. 1 says she sits on “many waters.” That is nations and peoples which we will see in V. 15. We can see the beginnings of birth pangs with the promotion of homosexuality, child pornography and pedophilia, rape, incest, bestiality and murder.
Sodom flaunted her homosexual perversion to the degree of wanting to rape the angels who were sent by God to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah when the angels were guests in Lot’s home. “And he (Lot) pressed upon them (the two angels) greatly; and they turned in unto him, and entered into his house; and he made them a feast, and did bake unleavened bread, and they did eat. But before they lay down, the men of the city, even the men of Sodom, compassed the house round, both old and young, all the people from every quarter: And they called unto Lot, and said unto him, Where are the men which came in to thee this night? bring them out unto us, that we may know them (Genesis 19:3-5). “Know” in this case is to use them in a sexual way. Bad enough? It will become much worse during the Tribulation.
Babylon is wicked, evil and full of fornication of every kind, spiritual, physical, and commercial. She has drawn in the leaders of nations and the peoples of the world who would receive the mark of the beast by bringing peace and great prosperity during the first 3 ½ years. She will keep them by feeding their perversions. John will now see what God has planned for Babylon. Understand that Babylon, according to most commentators, is Rome. Rome sits on seven hills, a good identifying mark. It’s widely believed that all religions will become one in Rome.
V. 2 especially, demonstrates how close we are to the return of the Savior. It says that the kings of the earth committed fornication with the harlot. If you look into current history you will find many kings (leaders of nations) who have made homosexuality acceptable. Several countries now have “gay” marriage rights. For example Belgium, Canada, the Netherlands, South Africa, and Spain allow this. In our own country, Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New York, Vermont, and Washington—as well as the District of Columbiaallow it. Civil unions are recognized in many countries, and in our country in many states: California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maine, New Jersey, Vermont; and the United States capitol, Washington, DC.
Just watch television commercials if you want to measure the level of immorality in this country. Or listen to the music bombarding our young people. Look up the statistics for drug addicts, drunks, prostitutes, etc… in this country, it’s staggering. Another thing we can use as a measuring rod is how quickly false religions are growing all over the world. Muslimism is the fastest growing, but there is Hinduism, Bhuddism, New Age, and countless others out there that cause terrible harm to those caught up. Sadly, too many “real Christian churches” are catering to the feel-good mentallity. They don’t preach about sin because people’s feeling get hurt when they are convicted and they leave the church. Do not expect that from me. I don’t care about your feelings, I care about your eternal souls. “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (II Corinthians 6:17, 18).
For a little prophetic sarcasm about Babylon’s destruction, we can read Jeremiah 51:6-8, “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.” Healing and restoration have always been in God’s plan. Prophets were used to raise the dead in the Old Testament. By prayer women were healed of bareness, Miriam was healed of leprosy, and Israel was healed of the snake bites by looking at the golden snake. Jeremiah’s words can be counted as sarcastic because God never intended for us to suffer sickness, disease, and lack. But Babylon has done enough damage, she will not be healed, no one will ever “dwell” in her again.
STUDY: PART 55
V. 3, 4 – Now John is carried off in the spirit by the angel. To me this implies his body never, at any time during his vision, left Patmos where he was visiting to preach and give testimony of Jesus. Look at how he describes Babylon which he was seeing. “…I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication.” What a horrible vision! The woman is sitting (dependent on) the scarlet colored beast which is the antichrist. The beast is full of names that blaspheme God. In other words, all the rulers who worship the antichrist and the beast will speak blasphemous names against God and will most likely take a blasphemous name for themselves to show their separation from God.
J. Vernon McGee says, “Purple was the predominant color of Roman imperialism. Every senator and consul wore a purple stripe as a badge of his position, and the emperor’s robes were purple. Scarlet is the color adopted by Catholicism.” He goes on to say that “gilded with gold” was an outward demonstration of beauty, but that inside she is as the Pharisees, full of dead men’s bones.
Now look at how the anti-church of the antichrist mocks God again. She has a golden cup that’s full of abominations. Gold was God’s preferred element for the dishes and cups of the temple.
Let’s look at two Scriptures now that show the intensity of the evil in this cup.
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye make clean the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full of extortion and excess” (Matthew 23:25). The outside looks beautiful, the inside it rotten to the core!
“Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD's hand that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad” (Jeremiah 51:7). Babylon’s cup is full of hypocrisy, filth, extortion, and the wine of evil that tastes so good to the tongue, but carries its victims to hell.
Baptist Bible teacher, Rodney Fry, says this, “The seven heads are the seven nations that will voluntarily surrender to the control of the antichrist. He will have conquered three nations. The three conquered nations and the seven nations who voluntarily subject to his control give the antichrist the power of ten horns or nations. That is, the ten horns refer to ten powerful nations that will be under his control.” These ten nations will support the antichrist and do his bidding. Anything that is counter to the Word of God will be legal and all that is according to the Word of God will be illegal.
The purple and scarlet robes and the gold, precious stones, and pearls all demonstrate to wealth of Babylon. A nationally syndicated Catholic priest in the United States, ten years ago, said of the Vatican, “'The Catholic church,' he said, 'must be the biggest corporation in the United States. We have a branch office in every neighborhood. Our assets and real estate holdings must exceed those of Standard Oil, A.T.&T., and U.S. Steel combined. And our roster of dues-paying members must be second only to the tax rolls of the United States Government.'
"The Catholic church, once all her assets have been put together, is the most formidable stockbroker in the world. The Vatican, independently of each successive pope, has been increasingly orientated towards the U.S. The Wall Street Journal said that the Vatican's financial deals in the U.S. alone were so big that very often it sold or bought gold in lots of a million or more dollars at one time.” And that’s just in this country! They also deal in Britain, France, England, Switzerland, and other countries around the world.”
*Most Christians are familiar with Chick Publications and know their reputation is spotless. That’s where I uncovered the above information. To really be shocked at what the wealth of the Catholic Church is, read his article at the link below.
What does this mean to those who will see the Tribulation? It tells them that the newly rebuilt Roman Empire has the funds to buy and sell countries at will. Nations that resist him, like those three hold-outs nations, will be conquered. This will demonstrate to the other nations the political and military will, strength, and power of the antichrist. They will surrender knowing there is no way they can overcome the antichrist. There are several Scriptures that speak against hoarding great wealth. Matthew 19:21; Luke 9:23; 14:33; 18:29, 30 are some for you to study.
V. 5, 6 Religious Babylon will be the mother of many false religions. In her men will realize their dream for a one-world religion. I often say we are going to see more than we anticipate of the preparation for the coming of the beast and antichrist than we are told. This is one thing that has me convinced of it. False religions are not a thing of the future; they are with us right now. There is Muslimism, Buddhism, Hinduism, new age, and certain denominations, to touch the tip of this iceberg, that are teaching apostasy (renunciation of faith in a Triune God). These sects already practice false religions which exclude Jesus and the Holy Ghost. These religions, the many harlots, corrupt the practice of faith before God. The propaganda of these religions calls for replacing God by another figure, usually an unregenerate man full of sin (Mohammed: Jim Jones: David Karesh). This does away with the promise in Romans 10:13, “For whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved,” and Ephesians 2:8, 9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”
“Blood of the saints” refers to the blood of the prophets and those of the Old Testament who believed in God. “Blood of the martyrs of Jesus” refers to the New Testament saints and prophets. This includes all who were killed before and during the Tribulation since the birth of Jesus for His name’s sake, including the martyred Apostles.
During the Tribulation, the antichrist and the beast will promote the worst holocaust ever perpetrated against mankind. Jews and all who will worship not the antichrist and his state will be hunted down and killed, or starved to death.
Jesus warned of this coming persecution. “But beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles” (Matthew 10:17, 18); “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake”(Matthew 24:9); “But before all these, they shall lay their hands on you, and persecute you, delivering you up to the synagogues, and into prisons, being brought before kings and rulers for my name's sake (Luke 21:12).
The apostate church of the Tribulation will be made up of all religions of this earth. Remember, the false church of the Tribulation will be a single religion under the command of the beast and antichrist. Every church in this world will leave behind some of its members when the rapture comes because they will not have believed on the Lord. These are the ones who will make up the leadership of the religion that will expand in the first 3 1/3 years of the Tribulation. As I said last week, the title of your denomination does not guarantee you a place on the glory train. Only true salvation in Jesus the Christ, Son of the Living God can assure anyone of that.
STUDY: PART 56
V. 7 – “Wherefore didst thou marvel” (Wonder, be impressed, be in awe of)? John looked on in amazement at what he saw. The angel is basically saying that John should not be so impressed. He was going to show John what this saying was then John would see it wasn’t very difficult to understand.
In verse 6 we saw that the woman had become drunk on the blood of the saints which she had caused to be shed of those who would not bow down and take the number of the beast. Recently we saw the destruction of a small beast, Saddam Hussein, when he was hanged. Hussein was a blood thirsty killer. The more he killed, the more mentally ill he became until he thought he was untouchable. He’s now dead and buried. He has faced the Lord already. No man can say what happened for sure, but we certainly can speculate as he tormented and tortured so many people, including Christians. He would have had to do some very deep repenting to get into heaven. The harlot will also be mentally ill, her mind deranged from drinking from fountain of the blood of the martyrs. I believe this is the same mental spirit that drives serial killers.
This woman, the harlot of all harlots, the mother of false religions during the Tribulation is revealed here. The people of that time will worship the false god of the day claiming it to be God. The writers of our Constitution knew the danger of combining religion and government. That’s why they said that state cannot dictate religion; however, during the Tribulation people will place government leaders and heads of state and the rituals of the day above the true and only God. This harlot will have turned their hearts toward the beast and antichrist. Those who follow the harlot will kill millions upon millions of people who do not follow the harlot and worship the beast. This religion is an hypocrisy (Greek: Acting a part), a false religion. When the harlot and the antichrist are in position, they will work together, until…
V. 8-11 – Commentators agree in the fact that the “beast” in verse 8 is the Roman Empire. It once was a very impressive power, is now not much to look at, but will be raised up out of the abyss, or be reestablished by satan, and take position again. This resurrection has been attempted before by such men as Charlemagne, Napoleon, Hitler, and Mussolini. Even the United Nations has tried to bring it back. It won’t happen till the antichrist and the beast come into power. Babylon, the Harlot will then come into power for a short time.
“Go into perdition” refers to the final destruction of the Roman Empire by the second coming of Christ to earth. The people of the earth will consider the Roman Empire a marvelous thing. But the children of God in that day will know better, therefore will be slain for the cause of the cross. Remember, the Roman Empire was never completely destroyed.
Let’s read I John 2:20, 27, “But ye have an unction (anointing which sets them apart to God) from the Holy One (Holy Spirit), and ye know all things. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” They will not be spiritually stupid, they will not be deceived.
“And there are seven kings.” Who are the seven kings? Most agree that they are Julius Caeser, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero, all of whom met bad deaths by assassination or suicide.
“The one who is” was the assassinated Domitian who lived and ruled in John’s day.
“The other is not yet come” refers to the antichrist. These seven are thought to be the seven types of government the Roman Empire went through. McGee says, “These are listed as kings, consuls, dictators, decemvirs (one of 10 officials: a member of an official body that consists of ten people) and military tribunes. ‘The one is’ refers to the sixth or imperial form of government set up by Julius Caeser and under which John was banished by Domitian. The seventh and last, though it has not yet appeared, will be satanic in form.”
V. 12- 14 – The ten horns (Daniel 7:20: And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows.) are ten political figures who will, either willingly or by force, join with the antichrist and the beast. They will allow them to use them in every manner. Three of the world’s powers will be overcome and taken over by the antichrist, and the other seven will just give themselves to him. He’ll have a good story to tell and many will fall for it, but not those who are in Christ during that time. The two witnesses, the 144,000, and all those saved out of Babylon will not be deceived by his charisma. Remember, the antichrist and the beast will be filled with the spirit of satan for evil as Christians are filled with the Spirit of God for good. His main drive will be power!
The beast that “was, is not, and yet is” is the antichrist. He will go into perdition which means into total destruction. That is not to say physical destruction, as no one is ever totally destroyed. Rather, it means to lose one’s wellbeing, to be condemned, and to live a wasted life of want and pain forever! It means living in hell!
“These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen and faithful.” Look at what Revelation 16:14 says, “For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” The harlot, antichrist, and beast are little aware that they are playing according to God’s script. He has lined them up to draw them to this final battle between Good and evil. All of us who come back with Him will see the defeat of evil.
V. 15-18 – “The waters” are all the people, nations, tongues, and tribes of this world that the harlot ruled over. Let’s read Isaiah 8:7, “Now therefore, behold, the Lord bringeth up upon them the waters of the river, strong and many, even the king of Assyria, and all his glory: and he shall come up over all his channels, and go over all his banks…” As Assyria washed over the nations taking control of them, so will the antichrist wash over every ethnological community and every nation of the world.
“And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” To this point, the government and the religious power of the Tribulation have worked together. This is the point in the Tribulation when the antichrist will break his treaty or covenant with Israel. It’s also the time he will break off his relationship with the apostate church. At this point he wants complete rule over everything and everyone. He will cannibalize the harlot. “…desolate, naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.” Can there be a better description of total destruction? I doubt it.
But why is the antichrist doing all this? “For God!” Thinking he’s doing himself a favor by destroying her, the antichrist will finally realize he walked right into God’s plan. “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” When Babylon is destroyed, people will need something to worship and they will turn their focus to the state which will provide all their needs. You think the welfare state is bad? It’s nothing compared to what it will be like in the Tribulation.
Personally I don’t understand how a world can be drunk on drugs or booze, sin and debauchery, and still be able to earn a living. It’s my opinion that the massive amounts of money that will be needed to fund this project is already being accumulated in Italy and has been for centuries. If you took time to read the article I gave the link to last time, you have some imagining of how much money is already in the warehouses of the world (banks) ready to be used.
Do I think there will be a Pope during the Tribulation; no. Do I think there will be priests and nuns; no. Do I think there will be Baptist and Methodist, Church of Christ or Episcopal; no. There will be a one-world rule in government and religion.
The woman John saw was the harlot, but she is no more.
Please remember all of you that the antichrist could come at any time. Will he come before we leave the earth? I don’t know if he will or not. I do know this; he will be charismatic, (in his personality, not in his religion) and will deceive even the elect if possible. If you see a beautiful man with a beautiful message of peace bringing the nations of the Middle East together, but the message leads away from the cross, shut yourself up to him. Do not believe and be deceived.