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In the last chapter we covered a lot about the events leading up to the glorious return of Christ.  He will not return as a humble servant but as a majestic eternal king.  We have seen that Satan will be given increased power during the last 42 months as a time of testing the elect.  During this time the world will see more wickedness, more bloodshed, more moral depravity, and more deceptive signs and wonders.                                 

The world will be more technologically advanced, highly educated, but spiritually dark.  It will be as though the preaching of the true Gospel will have gone the way of the dinosaurs.  Churches that were once beacons of truth and hope will become dead relics of compromise.  The affluent will still be chasing the buck.  Weakminded young people will be drawn into false cults and average men will be driven by their dark fleshly desires.                                      

The 1982 film "The Road Warrior" depicted a future America mired in dystopia.  The leaders talked and talked while Western civilization crumbled.  An orderly society was replaced by armed motorcycle gangs who went after whoever and whatever they wanted.  Will our world experience this type of a chaotic mess?  Will decent people have to take refuge in burned-out buildings while armed "animals" prowl the streets?                               

This is a very ugly picure of what the future might hold in the event of a coming financial "earthquake" that could be brought on by a multi-trillion dollar national debt.                                     

The good news is that this present world isn't everything.  When it looks as though the devil and all his wickedness have won, the world will see a miracle.  The sixth seal of Revelation 6 will be broken and everyone throughout the world will see the unforgetable return of the glorious Christ.  What a wonderful day that will be!                                     

The Second Coming of Christ is mentioned two different times in Revelation - (6:12-17 and 19: 11-21).  The difference between the two accounts is perspective.  The view is different.  In chapter 6 the "camera" is focused on the world and the elements.  The sun and the moon will change.  There will be a catastrophic earthquake that will be felt throughout the world.  Every mountain and island will be moved out of its place.  Tidal waves will destroy coastal cities.  Skyscrappers and bridges will collapse and all the monuments that glorify men will be rocked off their foundations.  Ungodly people will react with scorn and terror when they see Jesus.                             

"...the great day of His wrath has come and who is  able to stand?"                       

In chapter 19 we get a different view of the same event.  Whereas in chapter 6 the camera is focused on the world; in chapter 19 the camera is focused on the glorious returning Christ.  John paints a very vivid word picture of our returning King:                                

"Then I saw heaven opened and behold a white horse.  And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True.    And in righteousness He judges and makes war.  His   eyes were like flaming fire and on His head were many  crowns...He was clothed in a robe dipped in blood and  His name is called The Word of God.  And the armies of heaven...followed Him...And He has on His robe and on  His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF  LORDS."                         

Yes we can read and write about the Second Coming but it will be truly amazing to see it happen.  That day will be as victorious as it will be  amazing and unforgetable.                                   

Satan and his demons will be defeated.  The unsaved people will be left on the Earth and be killed by the "sword" which will proceed from Jesus.  The sword is the eternal written Word of God.                     

God's Word declares that there will be plagues that will be unleashed on the Earth, one right after another.  These plagues will include hail mingled with fire and blood, darkness, and swarms of stinging locusts.  After at least five months of judgment, there will come universal death over all parts of the Earth for a 1000 years.                                     

"And all the birds were filled with their flesh."   (Rev. 19:21)                       

The saved will be in Heaven during this 1000 year period (Rev 20:4).  Satan and his demons will be bound by a "chain" of circumstance on a desolate Earth for the 1000 years.  They will have no one to tempt or torment.  All of the unsaved will be dead.  Their souls will sleep in Hades (the waiting place of the dead) during the 1000 years.                                                 

There will be two reasons for the Second Coming of Christ.  First Jesus is coming back for His bride - the church.  Like a loving groom He wants to take His bride out of this earthly mess and bring her home to Heaven.  He will take pleasure in showing each of us the eternal beauty and glory of God's kingdom.                               

The second reason is to pronounce judgment against Babylon.  There will come a time when Jesus judges each person individually; but the plagues mentioned in Revelation will be judgments against man's godless system - this world.                                  

Therefore we need to ask who or what is Babylon?  What does the Bible say about Babylon?  In Revelation 17:3 John sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, the same beast as described in Revelation 13:1 that had seven heads and ten horns.  Far from having gray hair and wrinkles, this woman undoubtedly appeared to be young and very beautiful with long flowing hair and plenty of curves.  She is dressed in purple (a sign of wealth) and she wears costly jewelry. In short she is every young man's fantasy.  She is called a harlot.  The Greek word for "harlot" is "porne".  We get the English word "pornography" from it.                                  

This woman symbolizes desire, the desire of the flesh.  She operates in tandem with the beast who we have already identified as Satan.  This is how Satan operates.  He works on and through our desires. He is good at giving people what they want rather than what they need.  He may give pleasure but in the end he always takes more than he gives.                                     

Note also in verse 7 that the beast carries the woman.  This means that Satan carries his temptation machine where ever he wants her to go.  Satan is in control of her.                                      

John tells us that this woman has a golden cup in her hands:                                     

"...a golden cup full of abominations and the    filthiness of her fornications." (17:4)                              

She has a bloodlust for God's people:                  

"...I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the    saints..." (17:6)                      

Clearly this woman is as evil as she is beautiful. Her title is: Mystery Babylon the Great the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the Earth.                               

The prostitute woman mentioned in Revelation 17 bears an uncanny resemblence to the seductress mentioned in Proverbs 7.  In this scene a simple young man void of moral scruples is enticed by a harlot.                               

"And I saw among the simple...A young man void of    understanding" (v.7)                                 

"And there a woman met him with the attire of a    harlot and a crafty heart." (v. 10)                               

Here is the important warning:                    "Do not let your heart turn aside to her ways.  Do    not stray into her paths; she has cast down many   wounded, and all who were slain by her were strong   men.  Her house is the way to hell..." (vs. 25, 26,   and 27)                                     

What do these verses tell us about sin and temptation?               

First the youth was approached by someone who was lovely to the eyes.  She had a knock-out appearence but she also had a vile and deceitful heart.                              

Second the woman offered pleasure without any kind of responsiblity.  God is not against us having pleasure.  He is against us putting pleasure on a pedestal and worshipping it as a god.  Godly times of pleasure with friends and family can be a great blessing.  But all of us are responsible to God to walk in newness of life.  Our emotions might say "yes" but God's Spirit within us might say "no".  We are emotional beings.  All of us were created that way.  But we usually get into trouble when we think ONLY with our emotions.                                

Third the passage says that all who were slain by her were strong men.  Here we learn that the woman doesn't use brute force to destroy men.  Rather she tries to destroy them by enticing the sinful desires within them.  She would have us lay aside commitment for "just a little" pleasure.  Snap!  There goes the trap.  The use of the words "strong men" indicates that physically and spiritually strong men who fall under her spell can be brought low by her.                      

Consider King Solomon, the man who wrote Proverbs 7.  He was a "strong man" because God granted him the gift of wisdom.  He was a great king but what happened?  Solomon later in life married a lot of pagan wives.  Over time they drew his godly heart away from a holy God.  By the time of his death the great kingdom of Israel was left weak and divided.                                   

This is how Satan operates. He knows how to tempt each one of us.  He knows which temptations will work against which individuals.  A pastor might not be tempted by alcohol but he may be tempted to sacrifice family time for too much time at the church office.  Satan has had centuries to study human behavior.  He knows how to bring good people down.                      

Finally what was the youth's future?  The words "her house is the way to hell" say it all.                   

Yes it is very possible that the words of Proverbs 7 crossed John's mind when he saw the great harlot.                 

When we get to the end of Revelation 17 we read in verse 18:                           

"And the woman who you saw is that great city who   rules over the kings of the earth."                  

Here John switches symbols.  Instead of using an attractive prostitute to represent Babylon he now uses the words, "that great city".  Are we talking about a literal city with streets, bridges, highrises, and a bustling population?  No.  That then raises the question again, who or what is Babylon?                    

The early Christians who  lived in the second and third centuries, after Revelation was written and circulated to the various churches in different cities, believed that the morally corrupt and spiritually decadent Roman Empire was Babylon with Rome as "that great city".  This is easy to see why.  Roman civilization was overrun by slavery, moral decay, and violent entertainment.  Plus the Roman government did what it could to stop the church from growing.  Anyone claiming that someone other than Caesar was Lord risked arrest.                         

Many Protestants who lived at the time of Martin Luther (1483-1546) believed that the Catholic Church was Babylon and that the Vatican was "that great city".  Yes individual Catholics have done an incredible amount of good.  However good works do not save souls and the papacy does have a very bloody history.                 


Some teachers in our time believe that Babylon is the United States.  America has a godly heritage but in recent years our country is moving in a moral drift.  Three of our biggest vices are materialism, moral decay, and militant secularism; although these vices are not unique to America.                       

Materialism and moral decay are self explanitory but is militant secularism really a growing problem?  Please consider this incident.  A US Marine officer was faced with disciplinary action simply because she posted a Bible verse (Isaiah 54:17) on a wall near her desk. When something like this happens, especially to those who are called TO DEFEND our freedoms, then we know that our religious liberties are not as safe as they need to be.  Bear in mind that liberals and militant secularists  define freedom of religion as freedom from religion.  They do not necessarily advocate for our right of religious expression.                      

All of the three answers are only partially correct.  The spirit of Babylon existed in ancient Rome and it exists in modern America.  It exists at the Vatican and it exists in every false gospel anywhere in the world. It exists in the Far East, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, and the Americas.  In short what Revelation 17:5 calls "Mystery Babylon the Great" is THE ENTIRE DOMINION OF SATAN HERE ON EARTH.  It is a dominion that spans the entire globe and has been present in all past eras of time.  It is basically what we would call "the world".                

"Love not the world nor the things in the world."   (I John 4:15)                       

When we say "world" we don't mean its people.  We are to have compassion for lost sinners.  Isn't every person important to God?  What we do mean is the world system that excludes God.  Humanity is divided into two camps.  There are those who are saved and those who are unsaved.  A person is either totally saved or totally unsaved.  Listen to the words of John:                     

"In this the children of God and the children of the  devil are manifest. Whoever does not practice right-  eousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love   his brother." (I John 3:10)                     

To be righteous means to be right with God.  When we are right with God  we practice righteousness and love the brethren.  Theologian Clarence Jordan once wrote:                

"The measure of a Christian is not in the height of   his grasp (of Bible knowledge) but in the depth of his  love."                        

We are called to be righteous not unrighteous or self-righteous.                         

What does God say in His Word concerning His desire for unsaved people?:                      

"The longsuffering toward us, not willing   that any should perish but that all should come to  repentance." (2 Peter 3:9)                    

Did you catch that?!  God doesn't desire the lake of fire for anyone.  He is patient with us.  He does not want anyone to perish in the lake of fire but to have as many as will heed the call, count the cost, and come to the foot of the cross, and exchange their sin debt for the free gift of salvation.                     

Think of the two kingdoms as two modern nations.  Every saved person is a citizen of God's kingdom. Conversely every unsaved person, whether he wants to admit it or not, is a citizen of Babylon.                  

Babylon (the world system) is under judgment today.  How do we know this?  The declaration of the angel in Revelation 18:2 is:                       

"...'Babylon the great is fallen is fallen'..."                

Note the verb tense;  not "will fall" but "is fallen". This means that anyone who identifies wholeheartedly with this world's system is headed for spiritual disaster.  The world will face the full wrath of God someday soon.               

The best part is that God hasn't given up on unsaved people yet.  What does He say to those who are still a part of Babylon?  He has one command that was written by two different  human authors, Paul and John:                

"Come out from among them and be separate, says the  Lord.  Do not touch what is unclean.  And I will    receive you.  I will be a Father to you. And you will  be My sons and daughters..." (2 Cor. 6:17 and 18)                

Here God is speaking thru Paul and offering the olive branch of His Gospel to whomever will believe.  Yes God knows the names of every person who will come to Jesus.  Yet God is willing to set aside His fondest wish of universal salvation by giving us the gift of free will.  The whole world is invited to Heaven  (See Mat.  11:28) but to get there each person must come by way of the cross.  We either can choose to stay on Satan's doomed "death train" or we can allow God's Spirit to lead us to eternal life.                         

The apostle John wrote the same command in Revelation 18:4:                         

"Come out of her My people lest you share in her sins  and lest you receive of her plagues."                  

What plagues?  The Bible tells us that there will be seven trumpet judgments and seven bowl judgments that will afflict Babylon's citizens after Jesus returns to take His bride home to Heaven.  Those left on the Earth will have to face the misery and horror of those 14 plagues.                          

The good news is that today is still the day of salvation!  May every unsaved person heed the words in Revelation 18:4:                       

"Come out of her My people"

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