Read Revelation 17:4-6. What do these verses teach us about the nature of this evil system?
As we have seen, Revelation 17:1-18 describes an apostate religious system that introduces into Christianity many of the teachings of Old Testament Babylon.
“In order to search for an understanding of the nature of Babylon, we need to go back to its first reference in the biblical record, in Genesis. It all began on the plain of the land of Shinar, a region in the southern part of Mesopotamia, today south Iraq, called Babylonia. It is there that the Tower of Babel was built, a symbol of human self-sufficiency, self-preservation, and independence from God ([Gen.] 11:1-4).” — Ángel Manuel Rodríguez, “The Closing of the Cosmic Conflict: Role of the Three Angels’ Messages,” unpublished paper, p. 43.
The Tower of Babel, the site of ancient Babylon, was built in direct defiance to the Word of God. The Babel builders built this monument for their own glory, and God confused their languages. The Genesis account puts it this way, “Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth” (Genesis 11:9, NKJV).
So evil is this system that it is depicted as having been “drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6, NKJV) — horrific images of just how corrupt Babylon is (see also Isaiah 49:26).
In essence, spiritual Babylon represents a religion based on human teachings, established on human ideas, and supported by human traditions. It is a form of human-made religion built by, perhaps, brilliant human religious leaders, but it stands in opposition to the power of the gospel and the church that Jesus built, a church built on love, not violence.
The book of Revelation describes these two systems of religion. The first reveals total trust in Jesus and dependence on His Word. The second reveals trust in human authority and dependence of human religious teachers. One is a Christ-centered faith with total dependence on Christ’s grace, sacrifice, and atonement for salvation. The other is a humanistic approach to faith that replaces the total dependence on Christ for salvation with a dependence on the traditions of the church.
|How can we protect ourselves from the subtle influences of Babylon, such as the tendency, easy as it is, to depend upon ourselves and not wholly upon God?|