This is conclusive proof that the fall and destruction of Babylon are not the same, and that Babylon itself is not a literal city; for its destruction causes results that the destruction of no city on the globe could cause. It is evident from what has been said, that the destruction of Babylon takes place in immediate connection with the second advent. As an instance, we will cite the Fugitive Slave Law, which during its existence had the sanction of many of the leading doctors of divinity.
Pride, love of the world, and departure from God too plainly identify the Babylon of the Apocalypse with St. Only two divisions of Babylon had fallen before this time. The Bible presents a testimony of the most solemn character concerning Babylon. This testimony comes from God, and is not dependent upon the will of man, and therefore no person should be offended when it is presented. If that which is said of Babylon is true of a particular denomination, then that people should receive the light with gratitude, and bring forth the fruits of repentance. But if any church is found to whom this testimony is not applicable, let them be grateful that they do not belong to this great city, and let them not complain that this most solemn message is preached for the benefit of the vast numbers for whom it is appropriate.
The servants of God are called to announce the principles of truth with faithfulness, and each one must apply them in his own case according to truth in the fear of God. Now, lest any should deny that the Greek and the Protestant churches are included in Babylon, we invite attention to the following facts: It is evident, from the terms of this prophecy, that Babylon is composed of people who profess to be Christians.
It is also evident that a great part of the true people of God are found in Babylon, even in the last days. But Babylon is a harlot because of her unlawful union with the kings of the earth; and as the result of this union she has corrupted the truth of God. Now we will prove that the Greek Church is one of the three grand divisions of Babylon. The Catholic Church became a harlot at an epoch at least as early as the time of Constantine. History records the acts of no other civil ruler who has wrought so great changes in the church as did Constantine. He gave a new form of government to the church, having for his model the government of the empire.
He created offices in the church unknown to the New Testament, and he corrupted the doctrines and practices of the church. This great church continued to corrupt itself more and more from century to century. Its history is full of examples of unlawful union with the kings of the earth. But in the eleventh century, as the result of the long quarrel between the bishop of Rome and the bishop of Constantinople concerning the supremacy, the Catholic Church was divided into two churches, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Greek Catholic Church.
After this separation, the Greek Catholic Church continued to be what the general Catholic Church had been before the division. The separation did not cause the Greek Church to renounce a single error of the great Catholic Church, nor to cease her unlawful connection with the kings of the earth. If the Catholic Church was Babylon before it was thus divided, then the Greek Church was, before that separation from Rome, a very considerable part of the great city of Babylon.
Pouring Out the Seven Last Plagues Begins
The principal difference between the Roman Church and the Greek Church since the separation is, that the Greek Church has simply retained the errors held by all in common before the separation, without making much addition to those errors, and without taking a very active part in persecuting others; while the Roman Church has added several other errors to her system of doctrine, particularly such as have respect to the power of the pope, and she has been very active in persecuting those who have not submitted to her authority.
The Greek Church is less guilty than the church of Rome; but to deny that she forms an important division of Babylon, would be to deny that Babylon existed before the great schism of the eleventh century. Five hundred years after the separation of the Greek and Roman churches bring us to the Reformation of the sixteenth century, which separated several great nations from the communion of the church of Rome. This is the second grand separation from Rome. Since that time, the religious world has existed in three grand divisions, the Greek Catholics, the Roman Catholics, and the Protestants.
The separation of the Greeks from Rome was not characterized by a reformation; it is therefore certain that the Greeks continued to be a part of Babylon. But the separation of the Protestants from Rome was characterized by the renunciation of several great errors. It is therefore worthy of our attention to determine carefully whether the Protestants made such a reform as would cause them to cease to be a part of Babylon.
They rejected the authority of the pope and of the church of Rome; they appealed to the Bible as the supreme rule of faith; they exposed many errors and sins of the church of Rome; and they taught justification by faith. But to leave Babylon it is not enough to separate from the communion of those who sustain her errors.
It is necessary to renounce these errors by receiving the truth of God, and it is necessary, also, to renounce the sins of Babylon by true repentance. If the Protestants returned to the purity and simplicity of the New Testament, then they ceased to be a part of Babylon; but if they retained a considerable number of the essential errors and sins of Babylon, and contented themselves to preserve their part of the old city, after a partial purification, instead of building anew after the divine model, then they have never ceased to be a part of Babylon.
The churches of the New Testament were composed of those only who repented of their sins, believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and were buried with him in baptism. But the churches which compose the Romish apostasy are organized on a plan essentially different from that of the apostles.
By means of infant baptism, the entire population is brought into the church; the church and the world are no longer distinct, and the church becomes an assembly of unconverted men. This confusion of the world and the church is one of the essential errors which made a Babylon of the Catholic church. Now it is a painful fact that the reformers did not see it necessary to commence at the foundation, and form churches of converted persons only; on the contrary, they positively refused to do this, but their first churches were simply Romish churches which had accepted the doctrines of the Reformation, but which were composed of persons admitted by infant baptism, the larger part of whom were unacquainted with Christian experience; and the churches afterward raised up by them were of a similar character, because formed on the same model.
Now we offer a second decisive proof that the Reformation was not sufficiently complete to deliver the Protestants from Babylon. The unlawful union of Church and State is the natural consequence of the prevalence of infant baptism; for that human ordinance made the terms church and world two names for one thing. This shows how appropriate is the term Babylon as the name for this city of confusion. But Babylon is called a prostitute because of her unlawful union with the kings of the earth. This criminal union is seen when by their royal authority they exercise their influence informing the doctrines of the church, in giving form to the service and worship of God, and in creating offices in the church, and filling them with their favorites; and when the church not only accepts all this, but even sanctions the criminal practices of kings, so that she may profit by their revenues, and that she may use this power to persecute those who do not accept her dogmas.
Did they imitate the apostles in organizing churches without the participation of the civil power? In all these countries the civil power has exercised a strong influence in the formation of the confessions of faith, and in deciding what should be the character and manner of the worship, in creating church offices and in selecting the persons to fill those offices, and even in determining who should be the ministers of the word of God.
These things are carried so far in England that the king or queen is recognized as the head of the church. This unlawful union of Church and State made Babylon a prostitute, and the reformers did not dissolve this union, but perpetuated it. The ordinances of the church have been corrupted in Babylon. To leave Babylon it is necessary to turn from these corruptions, and to receive the pure ordinances of the New Testament church.
Did the reformers see the necessity of doing this? They were satisfied with the baptism they had received in their infancy from the Catholic priests, and they perpetuated this corruption of the ordinance of baptism in the Protestant churches. They served in the work of the Christian ministry by virtue of their ordination as Catholic priests, and they never considered it important to be set apart to the holy ministry by converted men.
They were satisfied with that which they had received from Rome. Even the bishops and archbishops of the ancient Catholic Church of England have been perpetuated in the Church of England and in the Episcopal Church of America, and these churches pretend to be the Catholic Church, or rather, grand divisions of that church, because they can trace their bishops back to the apostles through the long line of popes.
These things show that the Reformation formed the third grand division of Babylon, instead of establishing a church upon the model of the ancient apostolic church. This third division is much less soiled with error than are the other two divisions, but it is not clean in the sight of God. Since the Reformation, other Protestant churches have arisen, having less of papal errors than the first reformed churches. But a serious error which is at the foundation of the great Babylonian apostasy is found in nearly all the Protestant churches.
The action of the church of Rome with respect to the first of these commandments was considered by the reformers a just ground for separation from that church, and yet nearly all the Protestant churches have perpetuated the action of that great apostasy with respect to the fourth commandment.
They violate the fourth commandment, and teach men so; or rather, they make void the commandment of God to keep the tradition of the elders. They set aside the Sabbath of the Lord that they may keep the festival day of the sun; and in thus violating the fourth commandment, they actually violate the entire law of God. No church has a right to consider itself apostolic while it violates the commandments of God. So long as a church does this, the stain of apostasy is upon her, and in this respect she is Babylonian rather than apostolic. Though the account of the judgment upon Babylon in Revelation 18 speaks of Babylon as if she were one city, yet we learn from Revelation that Babylon will be divided into three parts before she receives her punishment.
This seems to indicate that these three parts are not alike guilty, and that God makes this division that he may punish each part according to the light which it has had, and the crimes which it has committed. It is therefore not unreasonable to conclude that Babylon is now composed of three grand sections, which are culpable in different degrees, and that God will judge each according to its deserts.
The Roman Catholic Church, having its seat at Rome, and having once had the jurisdiction of the entire ten kingdoms, and now of the greater part of them, is without doubt the central section of this great city; but we have convincing proof that there are also two other sections of Babylon, and that God will punish each as it deserves. And yet, most Premillennial Bible teachers and commentators on Revelation say that they're different.
I'm even out of sorts with my father [Lehman Strauss] on this! You know, that really hurts! I don't like to stand out from the crowd and be different. That makes me nervous. But here I stand. I cannot believe otherwise--at least today. Maybe you can convince me to the contrary. We are going to proceed today on the basis that the subject is still the fall of the apostate world church of the last days. It is another angel who makes the prophetic announcement to John that Babylon is fallen--a powerful angel who illuminates the earth with his glory.
He cries with a strong voice, saying literally, "It is fallen, it is fallen, Babylon the Great.
- From Leather to Lace.
- Anatomy of Failure: Philosophy and Political Action.
- God's Kingdom rules!?
- Com’era bello il mio Pci (Italian Edition);
The angel is speaking prophetically of a future event, but reports it as if it had already happened. The utter devastation of the great world church is that definite. Now, notice what happens to it as a result of its fall. Its remnants and ruins become the habitation of demons, and the hold or cage of every foul spirit and every unclean and hateful bird verse 2.
Birds are often used in Scripture to represent evil spirits. For instance, in our Lord's parable of the sower and the soils, the birds that snatched away the good seed of God's Word are descriptive of "the wicked one" according to Christ's own interpretation Matthew In the parable of the mustard seed a few verses later Matthew , we learn of the mammoth and rapid growth of Christendom in this age, but the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches of it. Here is the beginning of this Satanic trend, evil spirits, fallen angels, coming to lodge in the branches of progressing Christendom.
And now that it is fallen in the last days, every foul spirit, all kinds of demons and fallen angels are caged in its ruins. The true church of Jesus Christ is declared to be the habitation of God through the Spirit in Ephesians But the false church of the last days is the habitation of demons. How important it is for us to stand true to the Word of God, and avoid identifying ourselves with those who deny it. The indictment against the great world church, which we saw in chapter 17, is repeated here in verse 3, but a new concept is added.
The nations have drunk the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her. The kings of the earth and their subjects are guilty of embracing her false gods; they've worshipped her idols. And then we are introduced for the first time to the commercial activities of this great world church. Rather than prove that this is a different Babylon than chapter 17, this merely reinforces the vileness and apostasy of the great world church.
It will become such a political and commercial force, that the economy of the world will be largely influenced by it. In other words, instead of occupying itself with spiritual things, the great world church has occupied itself with commercial things. This is already happening before our very eyes. Organized religion is big business.
- Fallen Is Babylon (Plague Worlds #1).
- Bicycling for Fun and Fitness!
- Krishna and the Ducks.
Merchants of the earth have already grown rich through the abundance of her delicacies. If all organized religion were to be destroyed today, the economy of the world would be visibly shaken. No one really knows the actual extent of the vast wealth of the Roman Catholic church.
Fallen Is Babylon (Plague Worlds #1)
Its business enterprises and investments reach into almost every facet of life. Its real estate holdings can hardly be matched by any other single organization. Put with that the assets of the major Protestant denominations, and you have unparalleled economic power. That is not why God instituted the church. He brought it into the world to rescue the lost from eternal condemnation, and to bring them into the fellowship of the body of Christ, where they can grow strong in God's grace and knowledge. So what it has become must be an abomination to Him. And some day He is going to destroy it.
Suddenly John hears another voice, this one from heaven. It is probably the voice of God Himself, and it is directed to His people. While the primary application of the plea is probably directed to Tribulation saints, I cannot help but believe this is God's Word to His people today who have come to discern the true character of the apostate world church which is forming already in our day. In many of the world's religions today, I'm convinced that there are true believers in Jesus Christ. The leadership and hierarchy of those groups has denied the doctrines of Scripture--the inspiration of Scripture, the deity of Jesus Christ, His substitutionary death on Calvary's cross in our place for our sins, His bodily resurrection from the grave, salvation by God's grace received purely by faith.
Warring against the Saints of God
There are great religious systems today that deny those doctrines, and yet there are in those organizations or denominations, people who genuinely know Jesus Christ. They've come to know Him in a personal, saving relationship by faith in His shed blood. They love Him. They walk with Him. They want to serve Him. They have agony in their soul over the direction that their organizations are taking.
They're trying to stem the tide and stop a headlong plunge to disaster. They pray for their organizations. They want to work within the framework of an apostate religious organization and seek to change it. God bless them. My heart goes out to them. They are brothers and sisters in the body of Christ.
But you know what God says to them? Right here in verse 4 He says it: "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. Now I don't talk about this very often. Frankly, I would far rather the growth of Emmanuel Faith Community Church come from the salvation of lost people who have been totally unchurched. We ought to be witnessing and bringing the lost to know the Savior--every one of us affiliated with this local church. But I would have to say to people who are affiliated with organizations that deny the great doctrines of Biblical Scripture: "Come out, come out of her, my people.
I believe that God reveals this to people at different stages of their spiritual growth. We do not go out of our way to get people out of other churches. I hope nobody in this church does. But there are teachers who deny these doctrinal truths and they're doing more harm than good, and God wants His people to come out. Apostate religious organizations cannot be reformed. God has predicated the direction they shall take. To remain associated with them is first of all, to be responsible for their unbiblical principles and practices, to be guilty of their sins.
And secondly, if we remain associated with them long enough, we will share in their punishment. Technically, the consequence could only be true of Tribulation saints. Only they could be present on earth when the destruction of the apostate world church occurs. Moroni foresaw pervasive pride, attention to fashion, envy, strife, malice, persecution, iniquity, and polluted churches, which are actual religious institutions and the philosophies of men, all of which are worshipped and followed devoutly. Sadly, Moroni reported, these conditions would exist among the Saints, whose fascination with Babylon would defile the holy church of God:.
O ye pollutions, ye hypocrites, ye teachers, who sell yourselves for that which will canker, why have ye polluted the holy church of God? Why are ye ashamed to take upon you the name of Christ? But wo unto such, for they are in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity. As we recall, the word church, in Babylonian terms, means both a religious institution and a worshipped philosophy of man, anything that we worship other than God, whose leaders and teachers are those to whom we give our allegiance in place of God.
This is false doctrine. Why have ye transfigured [reinvented] the holy word of God, that ye might bring damnation upon your souls? Babylon is like a cancer: her presence is destructive to the system. She is an unwelcomed intruder that must be excised completely, or she will overwhelm and kill her host. Babylon can be neither converted nor saved.
abepivurev.tk: The Babylonian Exile of Israel by Robert I Bradshaw
Total annihilation is the only answer. Other prophets have weighed in on Babylon and its future. For example, Nephi foresaw the absolute demise of latter-day Babylon a. Babylon and Zion do not mix.