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Sabbath: Judgment on Babylon — 31 Comments

  1. Terrorism has hit hard in the last 24 hours in the quiet city of Christchurch, New Zealand. It is particularly hard for me because I have strong family connections with this city. My mother lived there for the last 10 years of her life, and my sister and her husband still live there. I visit the city often enough to regard it as my second home - at least some of the time. The death of 49 people in a peaceful city like Christchurch comes as a numbing shock. (Christchurch was also hit only a few years ago by a significant earthquake which devastated the central business district and a large part of the eastern residential areas. Some 200 people lost their lives in that event. So in a sense, they have been hit by both a natural and man-made calamity and are surely asking the question, "Why us?".)

    I am not suggesting that terrorism is the new Babylon but it is an indication of how quickly peace and safety can be replaced by confusion and terror. If anything it is a foretaste of what is to come.

    Perhaps it is useful to have in the back of our minds when we study this weeks lesson that biblically there is a connection between Babel the tower, and Babylon the city. Babel is often associated with confusion. Interestingly, one of the meanings that have been attached to Babylon is "The Gate of God" (Etymologists suggest that this is a retrospective addition rather than something associated with the original name.) In my layman's mind, I find that the connection between "confusion" and "The Gate of God" to be somewhat fitting as we discuss the issue of Babylon in the last days.

    Today we face moral confusion. Here are some examples: Fundamentalist groups of several persuasions, wanting to enforce strict moral standards on others at any cost. The Roman Catholic Church, long regarded as the modern bastion of morality in the mind of the public have been shown to be morally corrupt and hypocritical. Secularists and much of the modern media are telling us that there is no need for a moral compass; if it feels right, do it.

    As we study the "Judgment of Babylon" this week, we could keep in mind that we are seeing a judgment of confusion and those who perpetrate it. For those that have an ear, there is an opportunity to find a moral compass and "The Gate of God" in the Gospel of Jesus.

    • Babylon here in Rev. 17 is dressed in high priest attire. Indeed, Babal is "Gate of God" and this woman is claiming to be God's true church. She mimics, as I said, the high priest. Two things are different: 1. there is no blue on her as there was on the high priest, a symbol of faithfulness, and an addition that was not on the high priest attire: pearls. But, Babylon is also a city (next chapter) and the New Jerusalem has gates of pearl. She claims to be the gate to God.

      Too, this woman appears in the wilderness, the last place we see the woman in Revelation 12. The same woman but in a different condition: apostacy. The narrative is describing what Paul spoke of in 2 Thess. 2:3 and the great falling away (apostacy). This is why John is so astonished.

      • The woman of Revelation 12 is God's church, the Old Testament Church, which gave us Jesus Christ, and then she was given wings to go to the wilderness, as the New Testament God's Church.

        How can she possibly be the harlot of Rev 17?? God's church is already represented by those standing on the sea of glass mingled with fire before the throne of God (Rev 15:1-4) before the plagues fall, and we understand that Revelation 17 is in the context of the sixth plague, describing what drying up of the Euphrates means, as Papacy losing its support, as the whole world will learn of her lies, and reject her.

        Neither the Bible nor Spirit of Prophecy talks of the remnant Church of God on earth apostatizing to the point of being Babylon, otherwise, why would the devil be wroth with her in the first place??? Rev 12:17.

        • Yes, truth works, too. But blue is associated with commandments and obedience. The tassels on the robes, for example. God walked above the 70 on the mount upon blue like the heavens.

          The law is truth, so it works as well.

        • It is the story of the great apostacy. She is lost sight of in the wilderness as pure and shows up in the wilderness later as apostate. The fact that a remnant is mentioned in 12 not only speaks of the last part, but remnant can suggest an apostacy has taken place. The woman in seventeen is mimicing high priest attire, again suggesting apostacy. John is astonished at the woman because she is quite different when he last saw her.

      • Not arguing with you here, but somewhere I got the impression that the color blue is representative of truth. I know we have an image of Charlton Heston coming down from Sinai with a couple of huge chunks of granite under his arms, but as I read Scripture, it seems that what Moses carried were a couple of smallish pieces (6x6 inches or so) of saphire (blue) with the handwriting of God (the word of truth — cf. Jn. 17:17) written on both sides.

        The contrast made between the high priest in God's sanctuary is that he carries Truth with him wherever he goes, whereas the woman adorned with scarlet and crimson has no blue — there is no truth in that image.

        • Leslie, I believe that the perception of the Ten Commandments being written on pieces of sapphire came from a sermon preached by one of our well-known Adventist preachers and then preached again by another, younger well-known Adventist preacher. (The latter replied to my note of protest, "Well, so-and-so preached it!") This was the result of creative speculation leading to the claim that the Ten Commandments were engraved on chunks of sapphire from the foundation of the throne of God. (The only "evidence" offered was Ex 24:10, Eze 1:26 and Eze 10:1) (I suspect the sermon has been re-preached many times, because it's quite exciting to pass on such "inside knowledge." I still find it hard to believe that one of my favorite preachers was beguiled into preaching that sermon, based on someone else's sensational "discovery.")

          On the other hand, it does appear that the color blue was used to signify purity and dedication to Yahweh. (See Numbers 15:38)

          • Inge, I've not been privy to the Adventist sermons and resulting protest on this particular. Various Talmudic scholars over the centuries have postulated the stone's composition.

            "The stone owes its name to the Sanskrit çanipriya. That the people of biblical times probably did not understand the word to be the very hard modern sapphire, but lapis lazuli, the rich, azure gem so common to the ancient world, seems probable on the basis of a comparison between the Ugaritic parallels ṭhr (gem)/ iqnim (lapis lazuli) and the Biblical pair ‏טָהוֹר‎, ‏טֹהַר‎/ ‏סַפִּיר." (TWOT)

            The NIV (and others) actually translate Ex. 24:10 as lapis lazuli, although, that wasn't really my point—but "truth" and the lack thereof in the woman riding the beast.

          • Ah, yes, there is the Jewish tradition regarding the "blue stone" on which the Ten Commandments were inscribed. My apologies for jumping to the conclusion that your understanding was based on a particular sermon repeated by popular preachers. And, yes, as I acknowledged earlier, the color blue is definitely associated with truth and faithfulness in the Bible.

          • Blue - I understand Num 15:38-40 to say the blue in the tassels would remind them of the commandments, to do the commandments and not follow harlotry

    • Sorry for your loss Maurice. Things like this instill in us how important it is for us to know and search out Scriptures.The end is here! We are in the final days! Watch and be ready!

    • Perhaps it is useful to have in the back of our minds when we study this weeks lesson that biblically there is a connection between Babel the tower, and Babylon the city.

      In my opinion, this is a VITALLY significant point you are raising Maurice. Biblical interpretation of details is contingent upon unavoidably influenced by perception of the context.

      As we have seen in our lessons this quarter, the Babylon of Revelation seeks to exalt itself against God. Self-exaltation is its agenda and consequently its inherent nature and character.

      If we go back to Babylon in the time of Daniel, we see that self-exaltation was characteristic of it's kings (Dan 5:18-23). As reflected by it being the head of gold, self-exaltation was Babylon's agenda and its nature and character.

      Then if we go back to the tower of Babel in Gen 11, we see that self-exaltation was its agenda (Gen 11:4) and consequently its inherent nature and character.

      Then if we go back to the origin of sin, we see that Lucifer's rejection of self-renouncing love via his embracing of self-exaltation was the origin of sin (Isa 14:13,14). The linking of Satan with Babylonian rulers in this passage is intentional.

      Thus I would propose that this is the big picture of a nature and character (and agenda) of self-exaltation that is in contrast and opposition to self-renouncing love that needs to be kept in mind when attempting accurate interpretation of biblical references to 'Babylon' and anything associated with 'Babylon'. Hence, at its largest level, Babylon includes any and all whose heart has become set into (hardened) self-exaltation and its associated self-seeking, self-indulgence, self-gratification, etc etc etc....

      Like Russian Dolls, there are layers within layers but all share the same nature and character. It is not a problem to focus on a specific layer/doll, provided the awareness is maintained that there are other layers too. I would propose that typical Adventist interpretation of Babylon has missed this acknowledgement.

    • I see the rise of the progressive left in the USA with its environmental worship giving this movement its club to rally secular society to war against Christianity. What better means to bully your fellow man into submission then by telling him/her that they need to conform or their actions will bring an end to the world as we know it. Killing Christians that believe the world and its environment are in God’s hands, will become common place and will be justified by saving their “all mighty Mother Earth”.

  2. God speaks of the system as a city. First, I want you to notice the depravity of the city (Rev. 18:1-8). This depravity includes the sin of godlessness. This system is actually infested with demon worship. The system of Antichrist, the system of Babylon is a system of Satanism. It is a system of the occult, witchcraft and astrology. The Bible is predicting that in the last days we’re going to see demons have a free rein upon this earth like they’ve never had before. The bottomless pit, the abode of spirits who have been incarcerated there will be released during the Tribulation....
    Who would stand in the Judgement day?

    • In Rev 18:23 it says that all the nations were deceived by her sorcery. The Greek word for sorcery is pharmakia, where we get our word pharmacy. It is describing the use of drugs to cast spells on the inhabitants of the earth. Use of magic so it is describing an occult like nature.

    • "The bottomless pit, the abode of spirits who have been incarcerated there will be released during the Tribulation...."

      Do you have a reference for that?

      • Leslie we will be studying that in the future before this quarter is over, if you are talking about the same bottomless pit. Revelation is clear that the devil and his angels are chained to this earth in as it were a bottomless pit, some call it an abyss. Revelation 20:1-3. I am sure you have read about the recent submarine that tragically, most likely lost power, and sank to the bottom of the Pacific Ocean, off the coast of South America. To the brave sailors and there families that was a bottomless pit(abyss).

        • AweI see you are talking about Revelation 17:8. Read the context to understand. Some call it exogenous reading.

          • John, I'm afraid I'm not following you—exogenous reading? In that verse I'm specifically interested in the phrase "the beast that was, and is not, and yet is." In the context, who/what is that beast? It seems that the next couple of verses are there to give us clues, in context.

        • My interest was not really in the ἄβυσσος, but more, "the Tribulation" when those spirits are released. Do you have a reference for that period of time? The ἄβυσσος is simply a trackless waste as described in Rev. 9:1,2, and what the LXX translates in Gen. 1:2 for the condition of the earth before "there was light." I was really more interested in the time frame for "the Tribulation."

  3. The harlot has many daughters.

    Who are they?

    These are churches that protested against the mother church during the protestant reformation but later started to mimic what their mother was doing.

    Is your church trying to copy what is happening in the world?

    Satan doesn't care which pocket of his clothes you are in as far as you are in his pockets.

    Babylon is a family name with father, mother and daughters.

    Your creator is your husband. When you leave the one who created you and join another husband who didn't create you, what are you doing? What can we call you?

    Let's go back to our husband.

    • but how? how to go back to the husband. in concrete. keeping all the commandments? if you love me, you keep my commandments? what practical steps to do? it sounds all well theorectically and airy fairy but not practical at all.

  4. There is a clearer picture on this study. The attitude of most people even an Adventist christian were often mislead of how idolatry works as disobedience to God’s 1st commandment. Others think that they do not commit idolatry because they do not worship statues, yet they are more particular of themselves, exalting it to others instead of glorifying the Lord. Proud of having intelligence, possessions, status that others do not have without even thinking that all that we have is a gift from God; that we need to humble…. because in the totality of mankind, we’re nothing but dust...

    Happy sabath...

  5. Let’s dispense with intellectualism and surmising. Here’s what the fathers and mothers of our church believed. Taken from the 1914 Edition of Bible Readings For the Home Circle:

    13. In this same prophecy, how is the Church of Rome, the Papacy, designated as the antitype of ancient Babylon? "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." [Rev. 17] Verse 5.

    14. What specific statement emphasizes this identification? "With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." Verse 2. See verse 4. NOTES.-The Church of Rome is called Babylon, and its religion is a revival of the religion of ancient Babylon. She claims a priesthood with exceptional powers and privileges, just as did ancient Babylon. Through the dogma of the immaculate conception of the Virgin Mary, she denies that God in Christ dwelt in the same flesh as fallen man has, just as ancient Babylon did. See Dan. 2:11. She claims universal spiritual jurisdiction and demands submission under pains and penalties, just as ancient Babylon did. See Daniel 3. She repudiates the fundamental gospel truth of justification by faith, and boasts of works, just as ancient Babylon did. See Dan. 4:30. A careful comparison of the ritual of ancient and modern Babylon shows that the latter is copied from the former; and it is easy to trace the connection historically through the paganism of political Rome. On the overthrow of Babylon by the Persians who nourished a traditional hatred for its idolatry, the Chaldean priesthood fled to Pergamos, in Asia Minor, and made it the headquarters of their religion. . . . The last pontiff king of Pergamos was Attalus III, who at his death bequeathed his dominions and authority to the Roman people, 133 B.C., and from that time the two lines of Pontifex Maximus were merged in the Roman one.-"The False Christ," J. Garnier, London, George Allen, 1900, Vol. II pages 94, 95. Thus did the religion of ancient Babylon become the religion of modern Babylon.

    Bible Readings For the Home Circle (1914: p. 256)

    • Elke. I am, I am sure these are many of the questions the jailer asked Paul, before baptism, just not recorded. Acts 16:29-34. I do believe that Paul and Silas spent many hours before and after baptism with the jailer and his family. It makes sense that the magistrates did not come to the jailer for 36 - 48 hours, maybe even longer knowing how slow government can be, time enough for Paul and Silas to give a fairly complete Gospel presentation, and tell the story of redemption, and they believed, and were baptized. I believe there was enough information and testimony to the jailer and family to be able to have an evidence based trust in God, have faith in Jesus Christ, and be baptized. What a marviolous testimony, that true story is to us. A testimony that God saves, and wants that all should be saved.
      Sonny thanks for your evidence we need that. Bible Readings For the Home is why I was born into an Adventist Family. A door to door seller of Adventist books sold Bible Readings For the Home to my grandmother. She put it on a shelf collecting dust. Then one day my aunt came home from teaching public school in another state. She told of all the kids in school that winter got sick except the Seventh-day-Adventist kids. And announced she had been convinced she should become a Seventh-day-Adventist. My grandmother went to the shelf and pulled down the Bible Readings For the Home and to make a long story short all ten brothers and sisters and grandmother read it, believed and then were baptized. My story sounds a little fairy, but just the same it is true Elke, and for our benefit, and I believe it is practical.

  6. If you've never taken the time to read George McCready Price's book, The Time of the End, now would be an excellent opportunity. His explanation of Revelation 17:8-10 (chapter 7 in his book) cannot be matched by any other author. He remains consistent with the prophecies of Daniel — a breath of fresh air in this world where general confusion reigns.

    You can read the book online at The Time of the End.

    The book is also available on the same site in ePub format for the small screen readers.

  7. Thanks Leslie, The introduction looks like he is a credible writer. I skipped down to chapter 11, The Monster From the Abyss. I have started reading. The French Revolution does seem to fit into: Revelation 17:8. Hmmmmmmm. Thanks. But the abyss may fit better into the time of close of probation. Reading on.

  8. To me, Revelation 16:15 is more proof that probation has not closed yet for anyone. Here Jesus says that he comes as a thief and to watch, keep garments, and to not walk naked, and to not walk in shame. Why this counsel from Jesus if all the faithful are sealed and there is not more opportunity for anyone to repent anymore? And then in Revelation 18:4, 5 the voice comes from Heaven from God to COME OUT OF BABYLON. This voice comes from God during the Seventh Plague. Why come out of Babylon now if there is no more opportunity for repentance or no more mercy from God to anyone anymore?

    • Pete, I suppose the question is v15 a break in the vision John is watching or something that will happen in the future.
      Consider watching a movie and it stops and the announcer says this a hurricane warning and it goes back to the movie.
      Remember the vision is to show what will take place and to warn God's people. Jesus could be interrupting the vision to tell us who are watching how to avoid being deceived.

    • "Probation has not closed for anyone". When we breathe our last is when our probation is over - finish - klaar (as we say in our neck of the world). We worry ourselves over a future "end of probation" forgetting that on my way to town I may just meet my "end of probation". That is why we need to be right with the Lord every day instead of doing things "my way" until the end of probation comes! I may just have been laid to rest before that!

    It is of utmost importance that we understand Revelation 17 in a time context. Most commentators ignore the angel's context of time for this prophecy. In vision the angel showed John the woman riding the scarlet colour beast in the 'wilderness'(Rev. 17:3). The last time we saw wilderness image was when the pure woman fled into the wilderness because of the persecution of the dragon (Rev.12:6,14). The church was in hiding and obscurity in the 'wilderness'for 1260 days/years. Revelation 13 showed the sea-beast going into captivity after it received a deadly wound to one of its head (Rev. 13:10). Bible students prophecy realized that this occurred sometime in 1798 when the papacy lost its supremacy.
    The beast in Revelation 17 is now in the 'wilderness' of obscurity. Therefore the context of time is sometime in 1798 and after.
    With the time frame established we can now look at the what are the seven heads. Wisdom is required to understand this (Rev.17:9). The seven heads on which the woman sits are seven mountains. Mountain means kingdoms (Jer.51:25; Ezk. 35:2,3). We must look to find these kingdoms within the context of apocalyptic prophecies (Daniel and Revelation). Between Daniel and Revelation there are seven kingdoms which were highlighted:
    1. Lion--Babylon (Daniel 7:4)
    2. Bear--Medo-Persia (Daniel 7:5)
    3. Leopard--Greece (Daniel 7:6)
    4. Dragon looking beast--pagan Rome (Daniel 7:7)
    5. Little horn--papal Rome (Daniel 7:8)
    6. Bottomless beast--Atheistic France (Rev. 11:7)
    7. Lamb-like beast--United States of America (Rev.13:11)
    If we stick to the beasts or kingdoms of the apocalyptic prophecies we will not have to speculate on other kingdoms such as Egypt and Assyria.
    Five of these kingdoms are fallen (Rev. 17:10). Given the time context (Rev. 17:3; A.D 1798)these are Babylon (605 to 539 B.C.), Medo-Persia (539 to 331 B.C.), Greece (331 to 168 B.C.), Pagan Rome (168 to 476 B.C.) Papal Rome (538 to 1798 A.D.).

    "One is" (Rev. 17:10)must be the beast from the bottom less pit (Rev. 11:7) which is atheistic France which made war on the Bible given the context of time (A.D. 1798) when John saw the beast in the wilderness. France was then a super power

    The "other is not yet come" (Rev. 17:10). At the time when the papacy was in obscurity (1798) the lamb-like beast, USA was not yet a super power. But when it comes to power it will be for a short time.
    The scarlet colour beast is the eight head (the political part of the papacy), when it comes back from its demise and deadly wound (Rev. 13:3). But this scarlet beast is of the seven (papacy that was fallen since A.D.1798). The scarlet beast "was" in past between A.D. 538 to A.D. 1798. The beast "is not". Lost its political power since 1798. This same beast will ascend out the bottomless after its fall. It will come back to power because its deadly will be healed.

    I am not being dogmatic, but this seems to be an explanation for serious consideration that I believe will prevent us from going down the road of speculation in identifying the the seven heads as the seven hills upon which Rome is built (as true as that may be) and seven different popes since 1798.


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