Babylon the Great – What are we really talking about?
Of the imagery we find in scripture Babylon is another that gives people grief. If we try to define the Babylon we see in Revelation we have to ask, what is it and what are the implications for us?
This is my attempt at making a condensed overview of my blog on Babylon which is eight pages long. Personally, I think many of you want to know where information comes from instead merely getting slammed with a caption or a headline and then moving on to the next topic. That strikes more like someone’s opinion. I am full of opinions but I try to back them up with evidence, typically scriptural or historical.
A buddy had asked me to do a bible study with him on Revelation. I guess he thought we could do it in just a couple of weeks. Even my pastor had to take three or four to do his overview. Goodness gracious, I wrote eight pages trying to define the concept of Babylon and it was initiated by one verse. The Revelation speaks about Babylon extensively in chapters 17 and 18, but I can tell you that without some background information, for me, the water was still muddy and I was no further along in my understanding. I have always kinda thought that Babylon was something more than a chunk of desert, and it is. Having sorted through the possibilities I now I look forward to chapters 17 and 18.
Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”
(Revelation 14:8 ESV)
Clues from the passage itself?
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, ..”
We know that during the reign or Nebuchadnezzar Babylon was great.
Daniel 2:37-38 ESV You, O king, — are the head of gold.
Can we make a solid connection between a Babylon that was once great and the modern-day world? No, so any greatness carries a different connotation these days.
Babylon, having served its purpose, was to receive God’s wrath.
Jeremiah 51:29 ESV “The land trembles and writhes in pain, for the LORD’s purposes against Babylon stand, to make the land of Babylon a desolation, without inhabitant.
If God tells us that Babylon is fallen, a land of desolation without inhabitants, then we need to look elsewhere for a definition. This means Babylon is more symbolic and I believe the key phrase here is “her sexual immorality”.
“…she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”
Since things seemingly went well for Daniel, we assume that all went well for Israel as well. The problem is that Israel had the horrid tendency to take on other gods, and Babylon was deeply entrenched in them. If you think about the fact that they threw Daniel’s companions into the fire, then its easier to understand that evil lurked in the background.
Apparently we know far too little about Babylon because Revelation focuses rather intently on the words sexual immorality.
The prophet Jeremiah spoke a word against Babylon:
Jeremiah 50:1-2 ESV The word that the LORD spoke concerning Babylon, concerning the land of the Chaldeans, by Jeremiah the prophet: (2) “Declare among the nations and proclaim, set up a banner and proclaim, conceal it not, and say: ‘Babylon is taken, Bel is put to shame, Merodach is dismayed. Her images are put to shame, her idols are dismayed.’
From the IVPBBC “The name Bel Marduk then continues to be used by the Assyrians and the Neo-Babylonians, and his New Year’s festival is the celebration of the renewal of fertility and life. Even the Persian king Cyrus looked at his own accession to power and the capture of the city of Babylon as having been achieved through the assistance of Bel Marduk.”
Now again, the question is, how do I perceive and apply this?
Mark Hitchcock, in his book The Second Coming of Babylon, states rather simplistically, “The city and the tower (of Babylon -emphasis mine) represent the two aspects of Babylon that continue today: political power balanced against rebellion and apostasy.”
Mark Hitchcock continues, “The city they built represents the political unity of the city of Babylon. Babylon was a literal place, ruled over by a literal king who exercised political power over all the inhabitants of the world.”
I had to think about this for a moment.
Babylon, a lasting global political power?
I already pointed out that God decreed devastation upon Babylon. Common sense should tell you that Babylon’s ability to persist has to first be spiritual, Many years after its establishment by Nimrod, and after the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon is captured by Cyrus, but this line from the IVPBBC is very telling: “ Even the Persian king Cyrus looked at his own accession to power and the capture of the city of Babylon as having been achieved through the assistance of Bel Marduk”
We are introduced to the beginnings of Babylon in Genesis chapter 10, when we are told about the generations of Noah. The son of Ham was Cush, and Cush fathered Nimrod.
Let’s explore this for a minute.
Genesis 10:8 ESV Cush fathered Nimrod; he was the first on earth to be a mighty man.
“He was the first on earth to be a mighty man”??
The word mighty in the Hebrew is: gibbôr powerful; by implication warrior, tyrant. Another instance of the word gibbôr used to depict a mighty man comes before the flood, and describes the Nephilim upon the earth.
Genesis 6:4 ESV The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of man and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men who were of old, the men of renown.
Most do not believe Nimrod to have been a giant as much as he was of a reckless ferocity.
When it comes to reckless ferocity what names come to your mind? Og, the king of Bashan who may have been 13 feet tall; how about Genghis Khan, or Vlad the impaler.
So are we looking for something that has control much like Mark Hitchcock described, a strange mix of power, politics, rebellion against religion, and unity. Where do we find a mix like that? The NWO, Illuminati, the Bilderberg group, perhaps even the Masons. I am just saying. These groups seem to have the makings of a world dominance club, and there are fascinating things that back up these theories like Agenda 21.
Babylon was a literal place, ruled over by a literal king who exercised political power over all the inhabitants of the world.” Therefore this Babylon will exercise power over all the inhabitants of the world as well.
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Thank you for the acknowledgement.
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I like that you are exploring Babylon. Its rich symbolism throughout the Bible isn’t easy to pin down. This is one angle I’ve considered: http://thevoiceofone.org/2015/06/23/babylon-is-fallen/. BTW, our blog titles are related! God bless.
I am going to put up the long version. I suppose its the OCD in me, but I want to see the reasons why something works.
Me too 🙂