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Summary: In prophecies about the falls of and Jerusalem and (figuratively) Babylon, actually separated by centuries, the writers said that the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard any longer in each city. What did these prophecies mean?

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THE VOICE OF THE BRIDEGROOM

I. Introduction

Turn to Revelation, chapter 18.

A great deal of Revelation is about the work of salvation accomplished by Jesus Christ, and its far-reaching, even its eternal effects. Written in prophetic symbolism, some of its details are difficult if not impossible to chart against time, streams of events, or figures in world history. But viewed as a fusion of causes and effects, we can easily understand its essentials, just as its earliest readers could.

The forces for good (those on the Lord’s side):

• The one on the throne

• 24 elders

• 4 living creatures

• The Lamb

• Angelic beings

• Martyrs

• The two witnesses

• The woman clothed with the sun, who was with child

• The heavenly Jerusalem

Arrayed against these are the forces of evil - Satan’s power structure:

• The great red dragon

• The beast from the sea

• The beast from the earth

• The image of the first beast

• Fallen angelic beings

• The harlot who sat on the beast, drunk with the blood of the martyrs, and on whose forehead was written her name--Babylon

These are symbols, on the one hand, the God of heaven and earth, his Son, the Holy Spirit, the Lord’s church, and all those who serve him, some to the extent of laying down their lives. On the other hand, there are symbols for Satan, anti-God governments, the apostate church or false religion in general, false prophecy, and the world’s enticements to licentious, decadent living.

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Babylon was one of the earliest cities in the world. It lay in the plain of Shinar, in what is now Iraq. The city was built by Nimrod the hunter, Noah's great grandson through Ham. At the beginning of the city’s history, an attempt was made to build a mighty tower there; but the effort was thwarted by God, who confused the languages. Because of its deplorable, sinful history, Babylon is used as a symbol of vices, sensual pleasures, and defiance of God.

Such was the case when John, exiled on the isle of Patmos, saw Babylon's destruction. Literally, it had lain in ruins for centuries then, and has never been rebuilt. In John's vision, Babylon was a figure of wickedness and rebellion. In its destruction, John saw a horrible and desolate scene. Among other descriptions, John wrote:

Rev. 18:21-23 - …the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer.

The day Babylon fell, Belshazzar, the Babylonian king, saw a man's hand writing a message on the wall of the king's palace, telling him Babylonian kingdom would be seized by the Medes and Persians. It occurred that very day, and the king was slain. Some years later, but still 500 years before John recorded the Revelation, Babylon’s fortifications were destroyed by Persian king Xerxes I, husband of Esther, for whom the Old Testament book is named.

II. The voice of the Bridegroom and the Bride

A few decades before Babylon’s fall, Jerusalem had fallen to Babylon. Jeremiah pleaded for repentance of Judah in the final years before Jerusalem's fall signaled the end of the kingdom of Judah. Four times he warned "the voice of the bridegroom and the bride will not be heard any longer," referring to Jerusalem's fall, should the people remain impenitent. (Jer. 7:34, 16:9, 25:8-10, 33:10-11)


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