SDA Sabbath School Lessons
Tuesday August 13, 1996

HOW TO IDENTIFY MODERN "BABYLON"-Part 1 (Rev. 18:2, 3,5-7,24).

In rejecting many of the teachings of the medieval established church, the sixteenth-century Reformers accepted the Bible only as the rule of their faith and practice. The church, they said, is not superior to the Bible. Tradition is not authoritative in matters of doctrine. Salvation is by grace alone, not by grace plus works. Good works and obedience to God's law are the result of His saving grace in the life. Confession of sin should be made to God, not to people. The doctrine of transubstantiation is unbiblical. Penance, purgatory, the worship of Mary and the saints, and the infallibility of the pope are unscriptural teachings.

The two main teachings of the medieval church that the Reformers and their followers did not reject are the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness.

Since modern "Babylon" began with the false teachings that came into the early Christian church and into the medieval church, why do we believe that Revelation 14:8 applies especially to our day? Wasn't Babylon spiritually fallen in the Middle Ages? Rev. 17:5, 15-18.

Revelation 17 does not apply only to the medieval period. Babylon has daughters. She is the "mother of harlots and of earth's abominations" (Rev. 17:5, RSV). The daughters of the medieval established church are those modern churches that identify themselves with aspects of its teaching. Near the end of time, the powers represented by the beast and its ten horns will hate Babylon and destroy her (Rev. 17:16, RSV). Babylon "is the great city which has dominion over the kings of the earth" (verse 18, RSV). Babylon is destroyed at the end of time along with her supporters (Rev. 18:21; Rev. 19:20).

Any church is part of modern Babylon when it allies itself with churches teaching nonbiblical doctrines.

What are some of the unbiblical teachings of modern Babylon? What positive truths does this religious union oppose? Dan. 7:25; Rev. 13:16, 17 (compare 7:3); 1 Tim. 6:16; Mal. 4:1-3; Rom. 3:21.

By contrast with Babylon, Christ offers the true Sabbath (Matt. 24:20), the sleep of death followed by the resurrection (1 Cor. 15:51-54), the final destruction of the wicked (Rev. 20:9), and salvation by faith/grace alone (Gal. 2:20).