Sunday, May 5, 2013

The Fall of Babylon

   Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.
   “The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore. 
  “The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.
   “And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.” 18:21-24

Like a Millstone in the Water

   The angel gives John an object lesson. A millstone thrown into the sea, sinking like a piece of concrete, exemplifies how Babylon also will sink.  During the Battle of Armageddon, proud, selfish, morally degraded Babylon will be thrown down.  The queen of selfishness said, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ 18:7. During, and after the Battle of Armageddon, life as society knows it now, will be no more.

1. There will be no more parties with music. 18:22

2. No handyman will ply his trade. 18:22

3. No labourer will find a job. 18:22

4. There will be no more oil with which be brighten the night. 18:23

5. Mirth and happiness are forever left behind. 18:23

   Babylon's fall will come because it was through the use of drugs and deceitfulness that businesses became wealthy, and also because in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.

   According to Foster***, the Babylon of chapter 17, is the system of wickedness found in false religions that is symbolized by the great whore, whereas the Babylon of chapter 18, is the great the land of Shiner; a geographical Babylon.  According to him Babylon, the capital city of the Antichrist, will be rebuilt.  This interpretation seems illogical when one notices the similarities and impossible situations between the Babylon of chapter 17 and the Babylon of chapter 18.

Let's compare:

   I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. 17:6 
in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth. 18:24   It goes without saying that not all martyrs for Christ have died in the city of Babylon in the land of Shiner.  Therefore the Babylon in chapter 18 cannot be a physical city.

   with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, 17:2
the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her. 18:3  Again, not all the kings of the earth have had affairs with the physical Babylon.

   It seems as if the two separate descriptions of Babylon refer to the same entity; a system of wanton, reckless, selfish pleasure.  Some suggest that two different authors penned these words.  As was stated in my introduction to this blog, possibly the two manuscripts were later amalgamated.

   That The Apocalypse needs to be rearranged, in order to be logical, is again proven by 18:21, which is written in the future tense, saying that Babylon will be thrown down.  However, in 14:8 and in 18:2 (which appear sooner in the Bible) we are told that Babylon has already been cast down.  We will look at these two verses later.

The Modern Curse

   For by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.  The Greek word for sorcery is pharmakia, obviously the word from which we get the word, pharmacy, and according to Vine+++, the primary meaning of pharmacy is medicine, drugs, spells.  Deception is Babylon's trademark, and now she does it with drugs.

   Signing contracts over drinks is common; alcohol loosens the mind and the mouth.  It is deceptive to try to hide the true meaning of the words of a contract from the signer.   The situation will be worse just before the end of time.  Contracts will be signed “over drugs” rather than "over a drink".  Drugs are much more potent and speedy than drink.  

   About the word, sorcery, Foster*** said, It refers to the administering of drugs. It is presently becoming a worldwide scourge. The use of drugs will become the chief means of deceiving the nations during the heydey of Babylon. Those who call...for the legalizing of drugs give us a portent of that day.

   What is really scary and depressing to me is that Canada is now, at the National level, working on legislation which will legalize the recreational use of drugs by summer of 2018.  Babylon is surely holding sway over the "kings" of the earth.

   The smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever. 14:11. In speaking of eternal punishment, Leon Morris wrote, We must not press statements about "fire", "death" and the like. But neither must we yield to a sentimental demand that they be watered down.  

   At the risk of sounding like a Bible-rejecting modernist, here is a point worth making.  If the city, Babylon, was not literal, but rather a representation of the sinfulness of humanity, we must also admit that the fire and smoke are not literal?  Dare we also admit that forever and ever are not literal?

For more on this whole topic see:

   While we are on this topic anyway, Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Romans 12:20.  It is obvious that Paul was speaking symbolically.   Can we not use the same symbolism for the word, fire, when referring to, the lake of fire?  

   Perhaps that phrase was never intended to be taken literally, just as Paul's statement cannot mean what he wrote.  Changing it from literal to symbolic, of course, does not necessarily mitigate the punishment.  

   For those who argue that no human deserves that kind of punishment, it might be pointed out that all of humanity deserves that type of punishment, and that it is only because to the love and grace of Jehovah that many will be spared that punishment.

   It has also been said that some Jewish writers were not above using "scare tactics" to cause people to choose the "straight and narrow".  Preachers of a generation ago also did that a lot.  

Bible scholars say that Christ spoke more about eternal punishment than any other New Testament personality did.  However, I find it impossible to believe that He would have used "scare tactics" to present a teaching that is not true.
*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster
+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine,

Friday, May 3, 2013

Babylon; The Fornicator

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,

And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast
The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.
Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 
“And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.” 17:1+3-4+15+18

The Great Harlot

One of the angels has occasion to say to John, Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters.  We might remind ourselves here that the great whore is Babylon and the waters she is sitting on are peoples and nations.  The fornication that the kings and commoners, (for where there are kings there are also commoners), are guilty of is not only physical sexual, abhorrent behaviour, but on a much deeper level, spiritual fornication; modern Babylon's whole philosophy is "if it feels good - do it".  This woman holds sway over the kings of the earth. She is the queen (ruler) above all the kings because they indulge in her wanton pleasures. 18:9.

I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast.  This first beast (the Antichrist - a man) is described for us also in 13:1-2, except that his colour is not given there. It seems the beast is scarlet to indicate his oneness with the red dragon from whom he gets his power. 12:3+13:2.

The woman, Babylon, is dressed in purple, the colour of royalty, but she is also wearing scarlet,17:4, which shows her kinship with the beast.  Furthermore, she is bedecked with gold, jewellery and pearls like a spoiled woman of the world; this picture includes the modern Churches, of most any denomination, of the twentieth and twenty-first century!

   In her hand was a cup, a cup full of idolatry, obscenity, pagan idolatry with doctrines of, and professed adherence to the Christian faith. 17:4 Vine+++. The modern infatuation with materialism, in the church, fulfils this description. Subtly, she is saying, forsake all you hold important, don't be so straight-laced in your doctrines, blend into society at large, for the sake of unity.  That is what the woman teaches and Christ hates.  Christ’s Church must take a stand against "watered down" theology, even though it means persecution or martyrdom, and for many, it will.

   The woman also has a name on her forehead; this means in her mind. Compare this with the notes on 7:3.
She has learned all this wickedness, and in her mind is written:
a) “Mystery – This is the spirit (attitude) of disobedience to God.
b) Babylon the Great – This is pride at its apex.  Reminiscent of the words of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon; Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honour of my majesty? Dan. 4:30.
c)  Mother of harlots - (claimed, by some, to be the Roman Catholic church), instigator of all physical, moral and spiritual fornication and her offspring, the Protestant churches.
d) Abominations of the earth - idolatry from every pagan religion, past or present, adopted by Christianity, she is taking credit for them all." The Signs, Oct. 1998^^

   A study of history makes it clear that not all these evil traits can be limited to only the Roman Catholic Church, as many Bible teachers have done.  Other churches are just as guilty of at least some of the sins mentioned.  She, Babylon, is the zenith of evil.  She is drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. 17:6

   no religion in the world...has on its conscience so many millions of people who thought differently, believed differently – Christianity is the most murderous religion there has ever been. Babylon - anti-Christian EmpireThe Signs, Oct. 1998, P.26^^.

   I can't help but wonder if the author made that statement just to be dramatic or if he had any statistics.  It seems that a study of religious history would show that Christianity has not, and is not, killing any more people than some other world religions have and are.  

   It also needs to be pointed out that there is a big contingent of "Babylonians" who parade around as Christians.  If it appears as if Christians are doing the killing, it must be adamantly insisted that it is not the Christians but it is those wolves in sheep's clothing among the Christians who are hiding inside the walls of churches that are doing the killing.

  In 17:1 the writer saw the great whore sitting upon many waters; since then he has seen her sit on the beast and on the seven mountains.   The picture portrayed is that the wicked woman, Babylon, feels at home everywhere; everywhere, that is, except with the called, the chosen and faithful,17:14 and that is why she, Babylon, the affluent, materialistic society and this includes the modern, casual, materialistic church, must get the saints out of her way by waging war on them.
+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine,
^^ Signs of the Times Magazines: What the Revelation says about.  David C. James

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The Woman On The Scarlet Beast

There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.
And the beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.17:10-11 

The Rise and Fall of nations

Many Bible commentators agree that these two verses are the two hardest in The Apocalypse to explain.  That becomes evident when one sees the many different explanations given.

Here are some of them:
  1. The seven kings refer to the seven hills of Rome.
  2. Seven is a non-specific number meaning only that Jehovah's perfect plan is in place.
  3. The Five that have fallen were five predominant rulers of Rome.
  4. The following theory is partly copied and partly my own (as far as I know); in this lineup of kings, there are eight kingdoms: 
  1. Ninivah,
  2. Babylon, 
  3. Persia, 
  4. Greece, 
  5. Egypt - five have fallen
  6. The kingdom of Rome followed by the Roman Catholic church - one is
  7. The last world religion, based on selfishness - the other has not yet come. And when he (the kingdom) comes, he must continue a short time.  This world church is The Woman On The Scarlet Beast.  She takes her orders from the scarlet beast (the antiChrist).
  8. The Antichrist - The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
The new world religion will be the seventh.  Selfishness will be its most appealing feature, however, its reign will be short, because, Jehovah, in His mercy, will also become involved in the Battle of Armageddon and because of His quick, decisive victory the war will be shortened.  Christ said unless those days (I believe to be The Battle of Armageddon) were cut short, no flesh would be saved; but for the elect's (Christ's redeemed) sake, those days will be cut short.  Mat. 24:22

As we see from the following quote the Roman Catholic church is pushing for a one religion world.  This whole idea is totally against Christ's teachings and the New Testament writings.  Repeatedly Christians are told to remove themselves from "the world", not to become part of it.

In addressing a prayer gathering of Christians, Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and others, Pope John Paul II told participants that their efforts were “unleashing profound spiritual energies in the world and bringing about a new climate of peace.”  The Pope pledged that “the Catholic Church intends to ‘share in and promote’ such ecumenical and inter-religious cooperation.”

The Catholic Review commented on this and said, “The unity of religion promoted by the Holy Father Pope John Paul II and approved by His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not a goal to be achieved immediately, but a day may come when the love and compassion which both Buddha and Christ preached so eloquently will unite the world in a common effort to save humanity from senseless destruction, and leading to toward the light in which we all believe.” Guzik

The final end of the beast (Antichrist), will be the lake of fire; the eighth, ... is of (the same wicked spirit as) the seven, and (he) is going to perdition.  It is worth noting that the first seven come to an end and the eighth does not, he is going to perdition.

the beast that was, and is not.  Was the Antichrist active just before and while Christ was on the earth?  That a personal Antichrist will stand at the head of the Antichristian kingdom, is likely from the analogy of Antiochus Epiphanes, the Old Testament Antichrist. JFB

Ten European Kingdoms

The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 
These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.
And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfille

The ten horns which you saw (in the video of future events) are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, (because, in John's day, their time in history had not yet arrived) but they receive authority for one hour (a little while) as kings with the beast, the last dictator.

These ten kings will arise while materialism is still ruling and they will receive their authority, for a little while, from the Antichrist.  In 17:16-17, the kings will decide that riches for the individual does not suit their plans (these will hate the harlot).  

Things will be different; all the wealth of the commoner will be directed to “the war machine (The Battle of Armageddon)”.  Selfish materialism will be finished, and that ruler, materialism, also will fall.  When those ten kings, (ten dictators around the Mediterranean Sea?), have ruled for one hour, (a little while), they also will fall and the Antichrist will be the sole dictator in Europe and the Near East, perhaps the whole world, except for Israel.

They will make her (the selfish society) desolate (she will have no reason left to live), and naked (the shamefulness of her selfishness will become evident), eat her flesh and burn her with fire (totally destroy her).  

For God has put it into their hearts to fulfil His purpose.  Evangelists have often warned unrepentant sinners against turning their backs on the grace of Jehovah.  Some people believe that they will repent on their deathbed; first, they want to live a selfish life of pleasure.  But they have no assurance that on their deathbed the spirit of Jehovah will call them to repent; then it will be forever too late.  If sinners do not repent of their sinfulness when they are called to, a time could come when, in the words of Saint Paul, God also gave them up. Rom. 1:24.
This is a situation, perhaps, not unlike that of Pharaoh in Egypt at the time of Moses.  He hardened his heart and God also gave him up.  I see a similar situation with these ten kings; at some point, they had a chance to repent and turn to Jehovah.  According to Paul, that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.  If people do not "cash in" on the light that has been given them, their hearts will harden and when that has happened Jehovah will use them in negative ways to fulfil His plans; God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose.

So these ten kings (dictators) who are of one mind (in agreement), give their kingdom to the beast, (the Antichrist).  One person will be the Antichrist and he will become the ruler of the near East, of course, not including Israel; and that is exactly why, from the human point of view, the Battle of Armageddon will happen.