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
Origin of Babylon
Question: What is the origin of the term “Babylon”?
And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. And the beginning of his kingdom was Bab-ilu (Babel), and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar. Genesis 10:8, 10.
By the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these were the nations divided in the earth after the flood. And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. Genesis 10:32; 11:1.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:9.
Question: What was the original meaning of Babel to the natural man?
Answer: The original word which Babel came to replace was Bab-ilu, which in the Semitic language means the “gate of God,” the way to heaven.
The term Babylon is derived from Babel, and signifies confusion. It is employed in Scripture to designate the various forms of false or apostate religion.
Revelation 14:8 shows that the term is applied to some system or body. It is unlawful to unite with the kings of the earth, for fornication is unlawful union.
Therefore it cannot refer to a literal city. For a literal city may properly be connected with the kings of the earth.
In Revelation 17, Babylon is represented as a woman, a figure which is used in the Bible as the symbol of a church, a virtuous woman representing a pure church, a vile woman an apostate church.
In Revelation 12 the true church of God is symbolized by a pure woman who is persecuted.
By comparing that with Revelation 17, it will be clearly seen that Babylon represents an apostate church. She claims to be true. Thus through union with the governments of the earth they persecute the true church.
Object and motive in building the tower
Question: What was the object and the motive of the people in building the tower of Bab-ilu.
And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. Genesis 11:4.
Notice that this work was not done for God’s glory, but by and for self. Let us build us a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name. It was self-salvation all through.
Question: What did the Lord pronounce this scheme of self-salvation to be?
Go to, let us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city.
Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth: and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth. Genesis 11:7- 9.
Thus it is with every device of mankind to save himself or herself. It is by climbing into heaven on their own power or righteousness. The scheme may be beautiful and people may call it the “gate of God”. But God calls it what it truly is – confusion.
The spirit of Babylon
Question: What spirit has been characteristic of Babylon both literal and symbolical through the world’s history?
The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty? Daniel 4:30.
Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children.
For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. Isaiah 47:8, 10.
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication. Revelation 17:4.
How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Revelation 18:7.
Where that spirit came from?
Question: In whom does this spirit of self-exaltation find its source?
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God:
I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Isaiah 14:12-14.
Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy brightness. Ezekiel 28:17.
Question: What is the true spirit of Christianity in contrast with this?
Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. Matthew 16:24.
The early apostasy
Question: How was this spirit of self manifest in the early apostasy?
The bishops of the Christian church multiplied rites and ceremonies and holy days. They said by this that God’s Word and wisdom were not sufficient.
It required their wisdom and their words to make God’s plan effectually the “gate of God;” but, as of old, God pronounced it Babylon – confusion.
Question: What was the next inevitable step for Babylon to take?
Observance of Sunday, the day dedicated by the heathen to the sun. “That very day was the Sunday of their heathen neighbours and respective countrymen, and patriotism gladly united with expediency in making it at once their Lord’s day and their sabbath.”
North British Review, vol. 18, p.409. See “The Lord’s Day the Test of the Ages,” pp. 90-95.
Question: What did the apostate church secure from the state?
The very first Sunday law of which we have record was made on March 7, 321 A.D. by Constantine:
“On the venerable day of the sun let all magistrates and people residing in the cities, rest, and let all workshops be closed.
In the country, however, persons engaged in agriculture may freely and lawfully continue their labor, because it often happens that another day is not so suitable for grain sowing,
or for vine planting, lest by neglecting the proper moment for such operations, the bounty of heaven be lost.”
Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia of Religious Knowledge, Art. Sunday Legislation.
Question: What important decision the Council of Nice has made?
That Easter should always and everywhere be observed on Sunday.
The Council of Nice was called by the Emperor Constantine. In addition, Neander (vol. 2, p. 133) says that the decrees” were published under the imperial authority, and thus obtained a political importance.”
Question: Who was bishop of Rome during this part of Constantine’s reign?
Sylvester, from January 31, 314, to December 31, 335.
Question: What did he decree by “apostolic authority” shortly after the Council of Nice?
That Sunday should be called the Lord’s day. See ” History of the Sabbath,” p. 351.
Question: What was decreed by the Council of Laodicea, A. D. 364?
That if Christians should rest on the Sabbath, “let them be accursed from Christ.” See ” Prynne’s Dissertation on the Lord’s Day,” pp. 34-44.
Question: What followed these decrees?
A more rigid law followed in 386. The church teachers in 401 petitioned the emperor that “public shows might be transferred from the Christian Sunday to some other day of the week, that the faithful might not be disturbed,” and that the people might be restrained from attending the theaters, which were “vastly more frequented than the church.”
In fact, the same reasons for a Sunday law were given then as are used now. These shows were first prohibited by law in 485. (See “Rights of the People,” pp. 215-237.)
Thus the church appealed to and received aid from the state, which she never would have needed, says Neander, if it had not been for “that secular spirit which in this period seized upon the church.” Babylon was in unlawful union with the kings of the earth.
Question: What grew out of this?
The full development of:
- “the falling away“
- “man of sin”
- “mystery of iniquity”
as foretold in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, 4, 7.
The second angel cried – Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city. Revelation 14:8. That message was first proclaimed by the servants of God in the summer of 1844.
As a result, many left the fallen churches. In connection with this message the midnight cry (See Matthew 25:1-13) was given: Behold, the Bridegroom cometh; go ye out to meet Him.
Then it had a more direct application to the churches of the United States. The warning of the Judgment had been most widely proclaimed and most generally rejected. But the message of the second angel did not reach its complete fulfillment in 1844.
The churches then experienced a moral fall in consequence of their refusal of the light of the Advent message. But that fall was not complete.
As they have continued to reject the special truths for this time, they have fallen lower and lower. Not yet, however, it can be said that “Babylon is fallen, . . . because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
She has not yet made all nations do this. The work of apostasy has not yet reached its culmination.
Fulfillment of Revelation 14:8 is yet future
The Bible declares that before the coming of the Lord, Satan will work with all power and signs and lying wonders, and with all deceivableness of unrighteousness;
and they that received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved, will be left to receive strong delusion, that they should believe a lie. 2 Thessalonians 2:9-11.
This condition has to be reached. Moreover, the union of the church with the world will be throughout Christendom. Then the fall of Babylon will be complete. The change is a progressive one.
The perfect fulfillment of Revelation 14:8 is yet future.
Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are in their communion.
There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time.
The time will come when those who love God supremely can no longer remain in connection with such who are lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. 2 Timothy 3:5.
Babylon is fallen… will be repeated
Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. Revelation 18:2.
This scripture points forward to a time when the message of the second angel of Revelation 14 will be repeated. In addition, Revelation 18:3 mentions the corruptions which have been entering the various organizations that constitute Babylon since 1844.
It describes terrible condition of the religious world.
For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
With every rejection of truth, the minds of the people will become darker.
Here is the blessed hope – the heart of long-suffering love yet pleads:
Wherefore he saith, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light. See then that ye walk circumspectly…redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Ephesians 5:14-16.
Why Wait Longer?
Your Creator And Redeemer Longs For You – Take Him At His Word
Learn to trust in God’s love and His power to save and restore His moral image in you. The Spirit of God is pleading with you to seek for those things that alone can give you peace and rest – the grace of Christ and the joy of holiness. Give to Christ your guilt and fear today. He can satisfy the craving of your heart. Believe the Son of God. He will receive you. He welcomes you.
His hand is stretched out still. Why wait longer?
- 1896 – Lessons on the Great Three-fold Message of Revelation 14
- CET 52; GC88 380, 390, 603 – The Ellen G. White Estate
- King James Bible Version (KJV)
- Image courtesy – Pixabay