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Babylon Is Fallen!

22 Dec
Babylon is Fallen - 1

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Yet another angel mentioned in the Apocalypse told John: “Babylon is fallen! is fallen! that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8). Babylon was the spiritual name for an existing city in the first century AD, and all of John’ readers would have known who he meant. According to Revelation 17:5 she is called mystery Babylon the Great! There she is called a harlot (G4204 – Revelation 17:1) and the mother of harlots (verse-5), and she was responsible for all the blood of the saints and disciples of Jesus (Revelation 17:6). Jesus said Jerusalem was responsible and would be judged for all the righteous blood that was shed from the time of Able to the first century AD, and he included those disciples of his that he would send to her with the Gospel (Matthew 23:34-35; cf. 23:37-38).

I don’t think Revelation 14:8 represents the actual moment that the Lord judged Babylon (Jerusalem), because the very next angel warns those who “worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand” that they that they would partake of the wrath of God (Revelation 14:9-10). So, if the warning was still valid after the second angel said Babylon was fallen, then the actual judgment against Babylon (Jerusalem) had not yet occurred at the time of the third angel’s warning. These still had time to repent. Rather, the Scriptures seem to indicate that she received her judgment when the seventh and final bowl, which contained God’s wrath, was poured out (cf. Revelation 16:1, 17-21).

What I believe Revelation 14:8 represents is the time Jerusalem was surrounded by the Roman army led by the general Cestius in 66 AD, immediately following the Feast of Tabernacles that year. According to Josephus, the rebels had lost heart and thought their hopes for independence would soon come to an end. In fact, the supporters of Rome in the city were pleased, in that, they believed the war would soon be over. Instead, and for no good reason, Cestius retreated and left the city.[1] This was a signal to Jesus’ disciples that judgment would soon follow, and they were to flee the city (Luke 21:20-21; cf. Matthew 24:15-27; Mark 13:14-23). If anyone else would have repented of their deeds, they would have left with them.[2] The judgment the Lord predicted for Jerusalem (Matthew 23:37-38; 24:2) was as good as done (Romans 4:17).

John seems to tell us that the reason Babylon (Jerusalem) fell was because she made all nations drink of wine of the wrath of her fornication (Revelation 14:8; cf. 17:2, 4; 18:3). But, what does it mean: “…the wrath of her fornication”? Wine will cause one to become drunk, whereby both one’s behavior and his walk will be changed. So, Babylon (Jerusalem) had caused the behavior of the nations to change, whereby they walked as she walked, according to the wrath of her fornication (G4202 – porneia).

Literally, the Greek word has to do with sexual immorality, however, in the Apocalypse it seems to take on the image of idolatry, i.e. going after or lusting after that which takes one away from God. In previous studies[3] I concluded that the Temple had become an idol in the minds of the Jews, especially the Jewish leadership. This was especially so, because Jesus and, later, his disciples proclaimed that Temple would be destroyed. The Jewish leaders had not only crucified Jesus, but they also organized three great persecutions against believers because of the Gospel message. These persecutions reached out into foreign lands, causing the nations “to drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” and helped continue the persecution of Jesus’ disciples. In fact, writing of the persecution begun by Nero in the city of Rome, in order to cover his own suspected guilt of setting Rome on fire, Tacitus writes:

  1. Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judaea, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man’s cruelty, that they were being destroyed. (Annals 15:44emphasis mine).

Thus, we see how the nations participated in the wrath begun by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem (Revelation 17:2, 4; 18:3). The persecutions, begun there, spilled over into foreign lands, until there was no place for a believer to run or flee to safety, and because this was so (Revelation 14:8), the Lord judged her and vindicated and avenged his saints (Revelation 19:2).

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[1] Josephus: Wars of the Jews, 2.19.4 to 7.

[2] Josephus: Wars of the Jews, 2.20.1.

[3] See my earlier studies: The Works of their Hands and Murders, Sorcery, Fornication and Theft)

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2019 in Apocalypse, Book of Revelation

 

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