Summary: Bablyon, who is the prostitute on the dragon, meets her end.
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The Overthrow Of Evil In This Broken World.
In a moment we are going to read 2 chapters from Revelation. Before we do so I want to explain the historical significance of a word.
Historically the city of Babylon started in about 2000bc as a very small town. Within 200 years it became one of the largest cities in the world. By 600bc it was the capital of the most powerful empire at the time – and they loved to fight.
In 586bc the fight came to Israel. The Babylonians destroyed the temple and brought many of the people of Israel into exile.
They were ripped from their homes.
They were ripped from their families.
They were ripped from their jobs.
Forced to walk over 1000km. They entered a place which was not home.
They could work and live there.
They could marry and have families.
But constantly they were surrounded by idolatry, greed, paganism, temptation, injustice. Babylon was spiritually crushing.
Psalm 137:1-4 gives us a little idea of what it was like for the people at the time.
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion.
There our tormentors demanded, “Sing us one of the songs of Zion!”
How can we sing the songs of the Lord while in a foreign land?
That’s Babylon – historically. In 500bc history took a new course when Babylon started to go into decline. When John sees the Revelation Babylon has been in desolation and obscurity for over 250 years.
Now keep all that in mind as we read.
What are these two chapters all about? Destruction and judgement?
Specifically the destruction and judgement of Babylon.
Not Babylon the actual city. But Babylon who has been seeking to spiritually crush all Christians.
So here is what we know about Babylon.
Babylon is closely connected to the Beast
She sits on the beast who has 7 heads and 10 horns. We have meat this beats before in Revelation 13. We saw then that this beast represents oppressive kingdoms, political powers and social structures.
As the world goes through its history there will always be kingdoms and countries that believe they are in control. The Roman Empire was one. The English Empire was another. The USSR had a go. So did Germany. Today the mantel goes to the USA and to China. History is full of countries determined to flex their might over and against others. These are the seven heads.
When telling us about the destiny of these empires the angel says in Revelation 17:10 Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come. What we are being told here is that the power of empires will come to an end.
Where is the Babylonian Empire now?
Or the Roman Empire?
Or the English Empire?
In times to come people might even look back and say, “Where is the USA?”
No earthly empires will last. Only the kingdom of God will last. But the beast with seven heads and 10 horns puts up a fight – he wants to put up a huge fight. So he asks Babylon for help.
When you understand who Babylon is … well there is no nice way of saying this … Babylon is a prostitute.
Now understand that this description has very little to do with sexuality. The reason she is called a prostitute is because she is very good and luring people and tempting them. That why the beast wants to work so closely with her. Because she is very good at what she does.
Some of the people she tempted and lured are kings.
In chapter 18:9 we read about them.
“When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her.
Why did she focus on the kings, or the leaders of nations? Because if you can distract the leader of a nation, then you can distract the whole nation. Can’t you.
You see it today in North Korea. The whole nation worship and adores Kim Jong-il. They call him the “supreme leader”. He governs their destiny as a country that follows communism. They clap when he shakes his fist against every other country. There are not many people in North Korea who want to be part of the Christian church. He is a leader who has committed adultery with Babylon.
That is easy to see. But what about our own leaders. I’ve never met Julia Gillard. In her time as a politician she has done some good things. She has also done things I wouldn’t agree with. When she became prime minister she made it very clear that she was an atheist. She isn’t alone. In fact the percentage of people who are Christian politicians has significantly decreased over the last 30 years. And so has the number of people in Australia who call themselves Christians. You don’t have to be a dictator to commit adultery with Babylon.