“Babylon is fallen—that great city is fallen! She has become a home for demons. She is a hideout for every foul spirit, a hideout for every foul vulture and every foul and dreadful animal” (Revelation 18:3, NLT).
Who is Babylon?
This cryptic statement is mysterious. Who is Babylon, and how did it fall? The word “Babylon” comes from the name of the ancient city, Bab-ilu (Babel). Babel and its famous tower, were built by some of Noah’s descendants who doubted God’s promise to never again destroy the earth by flood. To be safe they set out to build the world’s first skyscraper.
“Come, let us build for ourselves a city, and a tower whose top will reach into heaven, and let us make for ourselves a name, otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (Genesis 11:4).
When God saw their lack of faith, and saw that their imaginations were bent only toward evil, He confused their language so they no longer spoke one tongue. Frustrated and thwarted, they scattered across the face of the earth.
Babylon, which means “gate of the gods,” was a city that many believe was established by Nimrod, the son of Cush. In time, Babylon became a symbol of everything that was opposed to God.
In 1997 the rock group, the Rolling Stones, embarked on a world tour dubbed, “Bridges to Babylon.” One writer said this title suggested “the transportation of the audience to a mythical place synonymous with both luxury and vice; the precise conditions that produce an atmosphere of decadence.”
Revelation depicts spiritual Babylon as a fallen city; a symbol of modern spiritual entities who profess a connection with God, but who actually live by their own rules.
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality” (Revelation 14:8).
Now a billion dollar industry, pop-religion uses savvy marketing to sell its wares (books, videos, seminars, music and more). Mega-churches have learned how to grow their numbers and strengthen their loyal followers. Many churches produce high-powered programs that feature astounding theatrics, state-of-the-art music, and smooth preaching. These are not all bad. Some of the methods and techniques are effective in getting people’s attention. But unfortunately with many churches, their teachings are so generic they fail to connect people with God. It appeals to the masses because it offers a watered-down version of truth that requires very little commitment.
God’s response to this is:
“Come out of her [fallen Christianity], my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:2-3).
What are the earmarks of fallen religious entities? Here are a few:
1. A redefinition of biblical truth (alternative facts)
2. Superficial faith
3. Using religion as a means for financial gain
4. Mixing politics with faith
6. Using spiritual authority as a means to gain control of others
7. An unwillingness to obey God
8. Setting oneself up in the place of God
9. A lack of concern for the environment
10. The sacrifice of morals for religious and political power
In another sense, the Babylon motif is also descriptive of a failed version of consumerism that promotes the pursuit of ever-expanding consumption as the key to happiness and prosperity. However, it doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to know that eventually the bubble bursts, things wear out, debts pile up, and environmental issues reach a breaking point. Many of the critical decisions that we face today are related to the insatiable appetite we have developed. Our lifestyles require huge amounts of resources (particularly energy and water) that are rapidly being depleted.
Ultimately, all of our problems stem from an alienation from God and His plan for our lives. The only way out is to hear and follow what He says.
Rich DuBose writes from Northern California.
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