Revelation’s appeal is an urgent call to commitment, summarized in the symbolism of the two women in Revelation. Although at times it will appear that God’s people will be defeated in this cosmic controversy between truth and error, God promises that His church will triumph in the end.
Compare Matthew 16:18 and Revelation 17:14. What promise did Jesus give His disciples regarding His church?
Christ is the solid foundation His church is built upon. His church is based on the teachings of His Word and guided by His Spirit. On the contrary, Babylon, as we have seen, is rooted in human-made teachings and traditions. Any religious leader who substitutes human opinions or traditions in the place of, or above, the revealed will of God in the Scriptures is simply fostering Babylonian confusion.
In the days of ancient Babylon, church and state were one and the same thing. When King Nebuchadnezzar sat in his temple on his royal throne, he supposedly spoke for the gods. On one occasion, as an act of defiance of the true God, the Babylonian king passed a universal decree enforcing worship and commanded all his subjects to bow to his decree, a powerful symbol of what God’s faithful people, who refuse to worship the false image, will face in the last days. (See Daniel 3:1-30.)
In the last days of earth’s history, a church-state system will arise, spiritual Babylon, with a spiritual leader claiming to speak as God. His word will be declared to be the very word of God and his commands the commands of God. Throughout the centuries the Roman pontiffs have declared that they stand in the place of God on earth. In his encyclical letter of June 20, 1894, Pope Leo XIII stated, “We hold upon this earth the place of Almighty God.” The Ferraris Ecclesiastical Dictionary adds, “The Pope is of so great dignity and so exalted that he is not a mere man, but as it were God and the vicar of God.” The apostle Paul adds these words exposing this power: “ … who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God” (2 Thessalonians 2:4, NKJV).
|Because we have already seen that God has faithful people in “Babylon,” why must we be careful in how we talk about it, and why must we be careful not to judge people as individuals, as opposed to the system itself?|