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Summary: Babylon

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WHAT GOES UP, MUST COME DOWN/WHO’S AFRAID OF BIG, BAD BABYLON? (REVELATION 18:1-10)

Alan Parson, a recording engineer who had collaborated with the Beatles, Pink Floyd and the Hollies, wrote a song titled “What Goes Up,” with these incredible lyrics:

What goes up must come down.

What must rise must fall...

And what goes on in your life, is writing on the wall!

If all things must fall, why build a miracle at all?

If all things must pass, even a miracle won't last.

What goes up must come down.

What must stand alone?

And what goes on in your mind is turning into stone!

If all things must fall, why build a miracle at all?

If all things must pass, even a pyramid won't last...

How can you be so sure?

How do you know what the end will endure?

How can you be so sure that the wonders you've made in your life

Will be seen by the millions who'll follow to visit the site of your dream?

What goes up must come down...

What goes 'round must come 'round...

What's been lost must be found...

Whether viewed as a revived city, a religious system or a regional power, Babylon is a cruel, consolidated and carnal regime that will imperil and indulge God's people in idolatry, harlotry and zealotry against God’s people. It can be in the form of a place, person or a power, but definitey not a policy, paradigm or philosophy.

What will take place at the end times? What are the signs? Do you feel helpless or hopeful? What must we do to avoid the free fall and its full force?

News To the Impostor: Feel the Fall

1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2 With a mighty voice he shouted: “ ‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal. 3 For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” (Rev 18:1-3)

Sin is sweet in the beginning, but bitter in the end. The Talmud

A creature revolting against a creator is revolting against the source of his own powers-including even his power to revolt...It is like the scent of a flower trying to destroy the flower. C. S. Lewis

A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word “darkness” on the walls of his cell. C.S. Lewis

Rebellion against God is an unwinnable, unworkable and unwise war.

D. A. Carson argues that rebellion may continue eternally in Hell, and if so, then Hell is eternal precisely because the sinful rebellion is eternal. Hell would then be a place where “sinners go on sinning and receiving the recompense of their sin, refusing, always refusing, to bend the knee.” Hell would be ever-ongoing punishment for ever-ongoing sins.

This is the sixth time John “saw an angel” or “saw angels” (Rev 5:2, 7:1, 7:2, 8:2, 10:1, 14:6, 18:1, 19:17, 20:1). Unlike other angels this one had “great power (ezousia),” a phrase known only to the book of Revelation, with the first “great power” exercised by the beast over the “world” (Rev 13:2) and this last time by an angel coming from heaven to earth, lighting up the same “world” with his splendor/glory (v 1). The adjective “great” (megas) occurs an astonishing, astounding and alarming 82 times in Revelation, more than the 30 times in the next highest book of Acts. Illuminate (v 1) is also translated as give light (Luke 11:36), enlighten (Eph 1:18) and see (Eph 3:9). One can imagine the brightness, the briliance and beauty of the glory. In Revelation while the beast was given “great power,” it had no glory; all 16 instances of glory (v 1) in Revelation belonged to God almighty and God alone.

Most of the instances of crying in Revelation is “cry with a loud voice” (Rev 6:10, 7:2, 7:10, 10:3, 14:15, 19:17), except the voice climaxes in Revelation 18 with “cry mightily with a strong voice” (v 2). There is no greater and more “cry” in the Bible than the fall of Babylon, occuring four times in the episode (Rev 18:2, 18, 19, 19:17). “Fallen, fallen” means completely and comprehensively routed, ruined, and ripped, a phrase stated earlier in chapter 14 (Rev 14:8). Not only is there no glory or godliness in Babylon, there is also no goodness in her nor is there grace for her. There is only grief and gore. The city of Babylon is always associated with the adjectvie “great” in Revelation (Rev 14:8, 16:19, 17:5, 18:2), but the greater they are, the harder and harsher they fall. Babylon is not merely a place of evil, but evils (plural), unclean and hateful. Unclean is to be dirty in form, and hateful is to be detestable in feeling. Hate is a strong word intended in the Bible for godless deeds (Rev 2:6, of the Nicolaitans) and iniquity (Heb 1:9). Babylon will be at an unbearable, unlivable and unmerciful place, a place of wickedness, wretchedness and woe, where people are insufferable, irredeemable and inconsolable.

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