"And the angel cried mightily with a strong voice, saying Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every unclean and hateful bird…" (Rev. 18:2).
Martin Luther and other Reformation preachers taught that Babylon was the Catholic church, and the Pope, the beast. Many believers at that time were martyred for leaving the church — multitudes murdered by orders from the Pope. Anyone who knows church history can verify that the Catholic church in the past has been stained with the blood of many godly souls. But Protestants have also killed Catholics — as in Ireland today. They are killing each other like madmen
But the Babylon John is talking about is something beyond the Catholic church. The beast is something more powerful than the Pope. Babylon is still a great world power visible before our eyes today. Its power and influence have grown incredibly in the past decade — until today it boasts tremendous might. Babylon is not a physical city; it is a spiritual condition — even as Zion is not just a city in Israel, but also a representation of the true church of Jesus Christ. Babylon is the harlot church! It is a church within the church — a visible body existing with invisible body of Christ!
A professor Milligon, in 1885, wrote:
"Babylon is not the church of Rome, in particular. No doubt that church has deeply sinned…but it is not the spiritual harlot. Babylon is all professed Christians who love the world's favor, rather than its reproach. It is those who esteem the honor of the world, rather than its shame. It is those who love ease rather than sacrifice; grasping, covetous — but having no compassion on the poor.
Babylon is all who anywhere profess to be Christ's "Little Flock" but who are not, because they deny Him by their actions."
Babylon, as far as I am concerned, is any church — any ministry — any minister — any Christian, in league with the world! It is made up of certain pastors, evangelists, and multitudes of Christians — all who have been seduced by covetousness and worldly mindedness. It is religion that has been polluted in its ungodly methods — and a sanctuary corrupted by ungodly alliances.
Babylon is Falling!
John's prophecy is being fulfilled before our eyes — even now. God is soon going to bring down every unspiritual church, every unspiritual ministry, every backslidden minister, every lukewarm, worldly Christian!
John in his vision saw a harlot supported by a beast:
"And one of the angels talked with me, saying, Come hither; I will show you the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters (lands)…So he carried me away in the spirit in to the wilderness; and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet-colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns…And the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet colors, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication; And upon her forehead was a name written: Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth" (Rev. 17:1–5).
It really is not complicated. Forget about the seven heads and ten horns — those are only symbols that signify the worldwide influence of the harlot. What we have is a vivid picture of the apostate, sensual, rich church of today! A famous, influential harlot, in possession of great wealth and prestige — but polluted with nakedness, fornication, and filth! It is the very description of the Laodicean church mentioned in Revelation 3 — "…rich, increased with goods, in need of nothing — but unaware that she is naked, wretched, poor, and blind…"
Babylon is not the apostate church, just because I said so! The Old Testament prophets knew who this harlot was! They identified her as the backslidden people of God who had been corrupted by the heathen around them. Jeremiah said "Have you seen what backsliding Israel has done? She has played the harlot!…Israel has whore's forehead…and refuses to be ashamed" (Jeremiah 3:3). Ezekiel cried out, "How weak is thine heart, saith the Lord God, seeing thou doest all these things — the work of an impudent, whorish woman…" (Ezekiel 16:30). And Isaiah anguished, "How is the faithful city become a harlot! It was once full of judgment and righteousness — but now murderers…" (Isaiah 1:21). The same message is declared by the prophets Joel, Amos, Micah, and Nahum. They all cried out — "My people Israel has turned into a degenerate plant — an impudent harlot!"
God's once faithful, chosen people went whoring after heathen ways! They became fun–loving compromisers with sin. They defiled God's holy places by bringing into them strangers — unclean sinners! Ezekiel thundered this message:
"Say to the rebellious house of Israel…you have brought into my sanctuary strangers, uncircumcised of heart, and in flesh…to be in my sanctuary, to pollute it, even my house…you have not kept the charge of my holy things…you have hired keepers in my sanctuary for yourselves…Thus saith the Lord God — no stranger, no alien in heart…shall enter my sanctuary" (Ezek. 44:6–9).
In the tabernacle of the wilderness — and in the temple of Solomon — sinners were allowed only in the outer court, and never into the holy place. Only the sanctified were allowed to minister unto the Lord — only those who were separated and anointed. Now the church is the outer court — where all sinners are welcome and sought out! But when it comes to handling the holy things of God — only the pure in heart, only the consecrated of God is permitted!
When John saw a harlot supported by a beast, he was seeing into our day — acarnal church infiltrated by the world! The beast is the spirit of this world! It has been given its power by the old dragon, Satan! You and I know it's true. The world has crept into the church! It is seducing the children of God — trying to turn God's people to spiritual harlotry! Doing God's work with worldly methods! Using ungodly singers! Unconsecrated show people! It has become fashionable to copy the world — its music, its styles — even its choreography! All but a few religious record companies are now owned by major Jewish corporations. Some religious television programs are being directed and produced by men who have nothing at all to do with Christ! It's a fact!
Can you imagine an uncircumcised Philistine being called into the holy place by a priest of Israel, to choreograph the ministry before the ark of the covenant? That priest would have been slain by God — right on the spot!
Jeremiah was shocked that the people of his day were being willingly led away by such deception. He lamented, "…and my people love to have it so…" (Jeremiah 5:31). Today, multitudes of Christians love to be entertained by a half–baked gospel. The love to hear the half–hearted Jesus commercials of celebrities. Too many Christians love show business gospel!
God Has Decreed It's All Coming Down! Babylon Is Falling!
"O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasure — thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness…" (Jeremiah 51:13).
God has decreed "Enough! I'm going to put a sudden end to all spiritual foolishness!" What does it mean to us — right now, in our day? So much, in fact, that God says it will tingle the ears and astonish the whole world! We are going to witness the fall of some highly esteemed ministries! Multimillion dollar projects are going to come crashing down! It will be headline news! Some churches that have strapped themselves with monstrous debts will go bankrupt! Liberal denominations will suffer an even greater loss of revenue! God is going to shut down every TV program that used ungodly men and methods. There is coming a great purge! Only the spiritual ministries will remain! Those who hear the call of the Spirit and purge their ministry, God will bless and increase. Those in league with the world will only grow more unspiritual and worldly. The spiritual man of God will fill the breach!
God is getting ready to do a new thing! He is going to bring down the proud, the famous, the ambitious — and lift up the humble, unknown prophets to bring the church back to repentance and holiness!
Friends, the days of superstar evangelists are all over! No more one–man shows! No more stealing God's honor! No more glamour! No more showmanship! No more world–directed choreography in God's holy place! No more big–time religion! The Holy Ghost is going to shut down corporate religion! God has declared He will not finance the ego of any preacher of the Gospel!
The Holy Spirit is already wooing the children of the Lord away from bigness, brightness, and sensationalism. Even sinners are fed up with all the pitiful appeals for money! A revived, sanctified people are going to discern between the clean and unclean! Those in the middle of building their little empires will weep and despair — as God brings it all down! He is going to write "Icahabod" over their doors! His glory will depart from them! God is going to cause the hustle and bustle — the busy pace — to burn out and wear down all who have wasted so much time at building — instead of seeking the face of God!
Jeremiah foresaw God's judgment — "I am against you Babylon…I will lift up my hand against you and roll you down from your heights and leave you a burnt–out mountain…You shall be desolate…you shall be completely wiped out…" (Jeremiah 51:25,26 L.B.).
God Is Warning Every Sincere Child of God to Get Out of Babylon!
The Scripture commands — "Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquities; for this is the time of the Lord's vengeance; he will render unto her a recompense" (Jeremiah 51:6).
God Is Calling Pastors to Forsake the Ways of Babylon!
He is telling ministers to put away their drawing boards and get back to giving themselves to fasting, praying, and studying God's Word. Go ahead and build — expand and plan — but once the plans are decided on, let the elders build the church — set the pastor free to fast and pray! Because God is going to spew out of His mouth all gospel that is light and frivolous!
Jeremiah rebuked the priests of his day, saying: "You have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, Peace, Peace: when the is no peace…" (Jeremiah 6:14). Slightly means "light, silly, lacking in substance." God's purge will do away with all silly, surface gospel that has no substance! God is bringing back a two–edged sword! He is bringing back men who have heard His command and cry out, "Thus saith the Lord…" The days of winking at sin are over! God now demands holiness.
God Is Going to Put "The Blush" Back Into the Gospel
"Were they ashamed when they sinned? No — they were not ashamed, neither could they blush…" (Jeremiah 6:15).
Blushing is "red cheeks caused by a sense of shame and guilt for wrongdoing." God is going to give His church true shepherds who will show His people their sins. He will bring back godly sorrow and shame for sin and compromise. No more putting patches over sin! No more comforting the wicked in their iniquity!
God is going to humble every minister who has false values — who "chases after the wind". Jeremiah said, "…The pastors have transgressed…walking after things that do not matter…" (Jeremiah 2:8). He wept over a ministry that had become carnal, sensuous, earthy: "For the pastors are become carnal and sensuous…and have not sought the Lord…therefore, they shall not prosper, and all their flocks shall be scattered…" (Jeremiah 10:21).
Don't get me wrong — I am not down on the ministry. And I judge my own heart as well! But there are so many in the pulpit today who no longer seek the face of God. They have become carnal and sensuous — given over to professionalism! They have become dead and worldly.
God is getting ready to change all that! He said, "I will set up shepherds over them that shall feed the flock…they shall not lack anymore…" (Jeremiah 23:4). These true shepherds will no longer heal the people's hurts with cute little prayers of release! No more "just trust God and all will be peaceful and well." No more innocuous clichés! NO! They are going to heal the hurts by getting to the root of them — SIN in the heart! They will lay the axe to the root, and bring healing through total repentance and forsaking sin and the world.
God Is Calling His Congregation Out of Babylon.
"For the Lord of hosts says, Babylon is like the wheat upon the threshing floor; in just a little while the flailing will begin…" (Jeremiah 51:33 L.B.).
"Remove out of the midst of Babylon and go forth out of that land…" (Jeremiah 50:8).
Babylon was the world power that kept God's people Israel in captivity. It is a type of the modern–day slavery to the spirit of this age. Over and over again the Scripture says, "And Babylon came up and carried away the people of God, in chains…" Paul reminds us, "These things serve as an example and shadow of spiritual things…" (Hebrews 8:5). Babylon is still the spirit of this world — It is the mystery of iniquity, the mother of all spiritual adultery.
While the Israelities were held captive in Babylon, Isaiah sent them this warning — "You are not taking the things of God to heart…you are living in pleasure — living carelessly…" (Isaiah 47:4–8).
In other words, you are not paying attention to the things of God! You are wrapped up in fun and pleasure! You are not paying heed to the times, and you ignore prayer and God's Word.
Look around! Christ is about to come — and where are the saints of God? Caught up in whirlwind of socials, recreation, movies, TV! These are sinful only because they rob us of all our time! The prayer closets are empty! The tears are gone — the zeal for Gods house is vanishing! This is the work of Babylon — seducing God's people away from the altars — to play with their toys. Getting God's people preoccupied with ease, prosperity, and pleasure. God is calling all of us to leave this carnal, sensuous, careless way of living — and get back to seeking the Lord with all our heart.
Jeremiah could see that Babylon had robbed God's people of their faith and confidence in the Lord. He wrote, "My people have been lost sheep…they have forgotten their resting place [refuge]…" (Jer, 50:6). They quit their singing and rejoicing in heart — because they thought God had forsaken them:
"By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, Yes, we wept…we hanged our harps upon the willows…for they that carried us away required of us a song…How shall we sing in this strange land?" (Psalm 137:1–4).
Babylon had taken away their hearts! They lost their mirth and joy! They said, "We'll never sing again!". Everything seemed so hopeless. Days dragged by. "Zion," they mourned, "hath been forsaken by God." They looked at their hopeless condition and complained, "Our God heareth not — we are abandoned as orphans."
Oh, saints of God! Forsake the gloom of Babylon! God has not forsaken you! He is grieved by those who accuse Him of abandoning them! Don't stop singing! Your greatest revelation of God can come during captivity! It was by the River Chebar, with all the harps hanging on the willows and God's people in a state of confusion and fear, that God opened the windows of heaven with a new vision. Ezekiel recorded it in the following way: "…the fifth of the month…as I was among the captives…by the River of Chebar, that the heavens were opened…and I saw visions of God…" (Ezekiel 1:1).
This is what God is going to do for multitudes of his children — and turn their captivity into joy — open the windows of heaven with a glorious new vision of God's glory!
God Is Bringing Down Babylon — So He Can Raise Up Zion!
"Thou shalt arise, and have mercy upon Zion; for the time to favor her, yea, the set time is come!" (Psalm 102:13)
Zion is the true church — holy, spotless, unblameable, unreproveable in His sight! God sovereignly set a time when He would restore Zion. That time has come!
"…The Lord shall build up Zion, he shall appear in his glory…" (Psalm 102:16)
God is tearing down — only so He can build up! On the ashes of burned–out egos — the ashes of false dreams and bankrupt ministries — He will raise up a glorious new work of the Spirit! He will tear down the old to build up the new. God is going to reveal His glory — and the people of God are going to receive a new vision of His holiness and purity!
A revival of righteousness is coming! "After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down — and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up…"
The prophet Joel saw this day of restoration coming! He said: "Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly…" (Joel 2:15).
I can tell you that all over the world now, men and women of God have heard that trumpet sound. They are sanctifying themselves before God — and they are weeping between the porch and the altar. They know God is about to purge His church — bring down all that is false and fleshly — and do a great new work. And they don't want to be left out!
God is going to bring Zion back to the altar!
David implied there was so little activity around God's altar that the birds made their nest there — unperturbed: "The swallow hath found a nest for herself…even thine altar…" (Psalm 84:3).
Joel cried out, "Howl, ye ministers of the altar…" (Joel 1:13). Between the porch where the congregation sits — and the altar — there is supposed to be a weeping man of God! He is to "weep between the porch and the altar…" He is to weep over the barrenness of the altar — because God has withheld His blessing (Joel 1:13).
What an awesome, glorious prophecy John saw about the altar! He predicts fire will fall upon it and shake the earth!
"And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer…incense as offered with the prayers of the saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne…and the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints…ascended up before God…and the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar…and cast it into the earth: and there were thunders, lightnings, and earthquakes…" (Revelation 8:1–5).
God is right now taking the measure of His holy altar! He knows who weeps there! He knows who longs for God's presence there!
"And there was given me a measuring rod…and the angel said…Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship there…" (Rev. 11:1).
I am not talking about the wooden rail at the front of the church! That is not the altar — not at all! The altar is any secret closet — any place you fall before the Lord and worship and pray! Many Christians never leave church unless they kneel before some wooden, railed, padded knee bench! They go home saying, "I've been to the altar." For many, it is just a dead ritual!
God is giving a fresh revelation of what and where the altar is. It is in your heart! It is an altar not made with hands! It is a spiritual place — aplace known only to God and you, where the heart truly worships and glorifies the Lord! The Holy Spirit is erecting a mighty altar in the hearts of hungry saints — worldwide. Rebuild your altar! Get back to that daily, secret communion! The Spirit is wooing all God's children back to His altar!
Finally, God is going to take away all the "dainties" — and replace them with true riches of holy righteousness. "And the good things that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which are dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more…" (Rev. 18:14).
What a "dainty" gospel we've been hearing lately! A gospel of goodies! Dainty means "elegant things". John proclaims Babylon is falling — and all its dainties with it! "For in one hour all these riches will come to nought…" (Rev. 18:17).
The holy apostles and ministers are told to rejoice that an end is come to the lusting after the things of this world — "Rejoice, holy apostles and preachers…she who lived "deliciously" [luxuriously] — shall be thrown down in one hour…" (Rev. 18:7,20).
God is not leading His church into poverty! He is going to reveal the true riches of His Gospel — and vomit out of his mouth this pagan concept of materialism!
Old Brother "Praying Payson" said it best — "It is my prayer, that if God has any worldly blessing in store for me, He would be pleased to give me His grace instead, or change them all into spiritual blessings."
Babylon is Falling!
"Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues…" (Rev. 18:4).