Summary: Message 27 in our exposition of Revelation where we explore the fall of Babylon.
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
“Fall of Babylon” Revelation 17-18
I. PROLOGUE 1:1-20 (Things you have seen)
II. Messages to the Seven churches 2-3 (Things with are)
III. Last Days 4-22 (Things which are about to take place)
A. Heavenly worship around the throne 4-5
B. The Seven seals 6:1-8:1
C. The Seven Trumpets 8-11
D. Interlude 12-14
E. Seven Bowl Judgments 15-16
F. Rise and Fall of Babylon 17:1-19:6
Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, "Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality." 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5 and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, "BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." 6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. Revelation 17:1-6
She is pictured as a harlot sitting on many waters and riding on top of the beast with seven heads and ten horns. She is called a mystery. Her name is Babylon the Great, Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth.
Today we will try to interpret this symbol suggest possible applications. Many try hard to speculate the contemporary identity of this Babylon. I want to first try to focus on the information provided in the Bible. An examination of her character and influence will aid our understanding of her identity. Application of those characteristics to contemporary or future entities can be interesting but ultimately purely speculative. We can know for sure that this powerful entity will be in play at the end times and suffers its ultimate demise. Although in a Satan orchestrated prominent role in end time world politics and although she demonstrates some connection with the unholy trinity, for some reason, by the end the Antichrist and his coalition of end time “kings” will brutally desecrate and destroy her. 17:16-18
1. History of Babylon
Babylon is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 10:6-12. It was a city established by Nimrod, the grandson of Ham. The beginning of his kingdom was Babel in the land of Shinar, modern day Iraq. Their stated goal was to defy God’s divine directive to spread out and fill up the earth and instead join together to build a notorious city including a grand tower in order to make a name for themselves. This was a culture based on god defying self-promotion and materialism.
Babylon emerged from anonymity shortly after 2000 b.c., a period roughly contemporary with the Hebrew patriarchs (Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph). At that time an independent kingdom was established in the city under a dynasty of Semitic westerners, or Amorites. Hammurabi (1792-1750 b.c.), the sixth king of this First Dynasty of Babylon, built a sizable empire through treaties, vassalage, and conquest. From his time forward, Babylon was considered to be the political seat of southern Mesopotamia, the region called Babylonia.
Recently translated manuscripts dating as far back as 3,000 BC provide some fascinating insight into the worldview driving ancient Babylon and will flourish in future Babylon.
They worshiped the goddess Ishtar. She was called the Mother of temple prostitutes. The king was required to sleep with her yearly to retain power in the kingdom. She was said to dress in scarlet and purple and wear priceless jewels and carry a golden cup or torch. She was considered the warrior goddess fighting for personal freedom. She was the mother of immigrants. She promoted occult practices. She was said to have introduced homosexuality to the human race as well as promoting sexual perversions of all kinds. Her motto? “If it feels good, do it!”
Ancient Babylon reached its greatest glory during King Nebuchadnezzar (604-562 BC). The city was divided into two equal parts by the River Euphrates. It had 25 avenues, 150 feet wide, which ran across the city from north to south. The same number crossed them at right angles from east to west, making a total of 676 great squares, each nearly 3/4 of a mile on each side. The entire city of Babylon was an immense square totaling 15 miles on each side.