Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 1 * BOOK 13
BABYLON – “THE WORLD SYSTEM”
Revelation 18 & 20
Now let’s get back into the Book and turn to Revelation Chapter 18. This is a Chapter we have skipped over previously because I was trying to chronologically bring out all the events that are taking place during this final seven years. Remember in our last lesson we were at the battle of Armageddon, where all the armies of the world had gathered into the land of Israel. Satan actually feels that he can, once and for all, get rid of the Jewish problem. I think that is the main reason he calls all the armies to the Middle East, not realizing of course that it’s going to turn into that final battle between himself and the Almighty God. And as we saw in our last lesson, God destroys all these armies there in the land of Israel with a tremendous hail storm of hundred pound hail stones.
The analogy in Scripture of course, is like bringing the grapes into a wine vat. Some of the scriptures we looked at in Isaiah and Revelation show that His garments were sprinkled with red, and He gave the analogy that a person who walks in the winevat gets splattered with the grape juice. Also He brings all the nations’ armies to the Middle East, packs them in primarily into the valley of Megiddo, and it will be liken then to a winevat. Now, as we come into Chapter 18, this Chapter gives us the full view of how the whole world system will finally come to its end.
“And after these things (all the cataclysmic events that have been taking place, to include of course, the demise of the Anti-christ and all the armies of the world) I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.”
“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, `Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.'”
Many folks try to make you think that this Babylon spoken of here in Revelation, is the ancient city of Babylon that has been rebuilt and will become a tremendous trade center. I beg to differ with them on the basis of Scripture. Let’s turn back to Isaiah Chapter 13. This Babylon in Revelation is not speaking of any one city in particular. But, as we have been witnessing in the last 20 years or so, the world is getting smaller and smaller. With all of our vast communications systems, and the speed of transportation, anything that takes place is all of a sudden a world-wide news event. So it is with commerce and politics. We are talking about one world government lately and the great new age. Well, this is all because it’s coming down to the place where, indeed, the whole thing can come to its end in just one very short period of time. So, when you see that word `Babylon’ in Revelation, always think of the whole global picture, whether it be religion, politics, or the economy. Those three areas of activity comprise, you might say, the whole social fabric of the world tonight; it is all intertwined, and that’s the world system. Since the world is getting so small and it’s getting there so fast, the Bible can rightfully call that whole system now one word. Babylon! Now the other word for Babylon, or what we normally think of as Babel, is `confusion.’ And as the world gets smaller and smaller. and all three of these are so closely related and involved together, what is rising proportionally? Confusion.
Jesus said in Luke 21:25, “…and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity;…” And is that what we are coming to? They are just filled with perplexity. They don’t know where to go next. Within our own nation we have perplexity. But nothing compared to the perplexity of the whole world!
Now if you have Isaiah Chapter 13, here is the basis for my saying that the city of Babylon is not going to be rebuilt and become a center of commerce.
“And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” Now, this Babylon is talking about the ancientcity, the capital of Nebuchadnezzar’s empire.
“It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.”
It is so clear that the ancient city of Babylon, with all of it’s beautiful hanging gardens and what have you, once it was destroyed, (you might say God had put such a curse on it) it would never be rebuilt. And God’s Word stands. It’s so interesting how many things are said in Scripture that, regardless what man may try to do, can’t be done. And one of them is the Golden Gate. We call it the Eastern Gate. If you ever see a picture of the eastern wall of Jerusalem, always be mindful that right in the center of that wall is the eastern gate. And it is always shut, and Scripture says, “that when God mandated it to be shut it would never again be opened until Christ returns.” It’s amazing that when you go back through history how many emperors and kings have said they were going to go to Jerusalem and open that eastern gate. But no one has ever succeeded. They either died or were defeated by some military power. And the reason the eastern gate is closed this very day is because Scripture says it would be. And so it is with Babylon; the Scripture says it will never be rebuilt!
Go back to Revelation Chapter 18. So this Babylon in Revelation is the whole global system. It’s all the great commercial and cultural centers of the world that are included in that one word.
“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication (her gross immorality) and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
I was thinking about this verse this week. I make no apology that I’m a full-time rancher, and I have spent a lot of time out in those hot hay fields the last few days. It’s been hot here in Oklahoma. But I couldn’t help, as I was driving along on that tractor thinking about this verse and the word `delicacies.’ I think of the life style of the rich and famous when I think on this verse. And that won’t be just in isolated areas, but world-wide. Even the communists in Russia have sumptuous places where they can live head and shoulders above the common man. And so it is all around the globe tonight, the rich and the famous with all of their high income. And some of these incomes are two and three million dollars a year. Personally, I can’t envision any one man being worth that much every 12 months. But you see, this is exactly what the world is coming to. Oh, some of them are not that way, there are exceptions, but the vast majority of the wealthy fit that verse we just read exactly. Solomon would have called it, “vanity, vanity, all is vanity.” But more and more this is what the world is coming to.
A few believers are also wealthy, but, for the most part, most of us in the Christian community are of very limited means. Now verse 4:
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying (now watch this closely), `Come out of her (that is out of this world system),…'”
This doesn’t just mean in the final hours of the Tribulation. This is speaking to you and I who are living before the Tribulation has begun. And here is the admonition to believers who may have some kind of a desire to be part of that lifestyle of the rich and famous. I wouldn’t want any part of that kind of lifestyle. I’ve often said I would like to have enough that if I need a new car, I could go and pay for it with a check, and I would. But to have that kind of lifestyle and wealth I don’t want it. Now let’s read verse 4 again:
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, `Come out of her, my people (see God doesn’t expect the unsaved world to drop that life style, but He expects His own to shun it), that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
God is very patient tonight. When you look around you today, I don’t care if you live in the sheltered mid-west, or on the coast; regardless where we are, we have these things right before our eyes. But the Lord’s admonition is, “Come out of her, my people, that you don’t partake of her sins.” As you look at some of the things that are going on in our own country and around the world, don’t you wonder how long God is going to put up with it? Sure you do. But it’s His Grace and Mercy that is still flowing from Him. Do you remember that just before the flood came, the ark was ready, and everything was in it. What did God do for seven days? He left the door open and the gang plank down, so anyone of that Noahic generation could have come into the ark of safety. And that was His Grace. But not one took advantage of it. It’s the same way today. One of these days, and I think we are getting so close, God’s Grace is going to come to an end. He will drop the curtain, and in will come His awful wrath and vexation.
Let’s go to II Corinthians Chapter 6 and this whole concept of separating ourselves from this ungodly wicked world. We’ve all heard it said that we are in the world, but we are not of it. We’re here and Jesus, through the Apostle Paul, said that there was no way you could avoid dealing with even the grossest of immoral people because that’s what the world is. So we must realize that they are all around us. We’re not isolated, but we are not to be of it.
II Corinthians 6:17
“Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,”
It isn’t that He’s putting a condition on our salvation, but as a believer now, it’s still left up to us. I always maintain that under Grace, God never says, “That you will or else.” It’s always, “I beseech you brethren.” “Yield not,” Paul says. But here again the invitation is for us to come out from among that ungodly set of circumstances and be separated. Look at I Corinthians Chapter 6. I’m afraid this is being lost sight of, even in our more fundamental Bible teaching and preaching churches. We’ve gotten to the place where the world can’t tell a Christian when they see one. Christians can’t tell a Christian when they see one. And it is simply because we have lost this whole concept of separation. We are to be different. And that doesn’t mean we have to be oddballs or put our nose in the air and have no dealings with the world; but we are not to be of the world! Paul again is writing to the Gentile believers at Corinth:
I Corinthians 6:19
“What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?”
We as believers have to realize that we have been bought with a price. We are something special in God’s eyes and His program. And He can’t use us if we are amalgamated with the world.
I Corinthians 6:20
“For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God (how? With your body) in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” Let’s come back to I Corinthians Chapter 3, and we have that same thought:
I Corinthians 3:16,17
“Know ye not that ye are the temple (the dwelling place) of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man (a believer) defile the temple (his own body) of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”
And that is the kind of temple you and I are. Whatever you do to the body, you’re doing to the temple of God.