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BABYLON THE EMPIRE, THE CITY, THE SYMBOL
AND ITS PITY
The Negative Charter for Babylon
The Further-Off Credentials of the 'Lady' of Revelation 17
the Foul Breath of the Beast before the Blessed Relief,
and the Peak from All These Varied Foothills and Valleys
For such a topic as this, it is perhaps salutary to display a
beautiful picture of an intensely triumphant crop.
Babylon, the narrow and the broad, and grow in grace in the
Lord, grounded in faith, in the faith once for all delivered to the
saints, and rejoice that the Sun of Righteousness has arisen
from the dead, and will shine on our way as we rejoice in Him.
What a tempest is found in the field of Babylon in Jeremiah 50-51!
Since Babylon as seen in earlier Chapters of this volume is a symbol,
in its entire, iridescent,
evanescent, effervescent scene of dispersed doctrine,
fake religion, with combination pairs
of truth and folly,
sitting in departure airline lounges
for people in transit from truth to trouble, and
from spiritual trauma to new versions of the same,
which the endless seeming sects, false prophets,
ingenious merchandisers of the souls of men and
post-Christian capsules of rebellion on legs constitute,
and this is our current tourist-from-truth season:
it is well to consider these two Chapters of prophecy, from the Biblical perspective.
In short, pseudo-magnificent muddle, alike staggering and horrifying, like the eruption in Iceland recently, both appealing to the sense of wonder that it could so readily pollute so much and with such vehement force, and to the sense of horror, that man's little works can collapse at such mere natural nudges: this is here the order of the day in the spiritual field. It is not limited to impending natural disasters; for though these are worse as a material spectacle, they all but nothing in damning, indicting force compared with man's spiritual adventures. Now his world of myth-making muddle (cf. Secular Myth and Sacred Truth) is coming home, like the Icelandic clouds over Europe. Yet THIS cloud, it is not dispersing, but worsening.
This myth-smith work, going on in our midst, has been notable for 2000 years, torrid for 200 years; and it now does not so much merely rumble, as become ruinous before the very eyes. The spurious spiritual productions continue in their inane but baneful course. Madness and movements in spiritual misalignment (like repair shops to make your alignment WORSE at a fee), these are as much a feature of our times as World Cup sports, with their intoning patrons sounding at times just as if they were singing hymns, when stampedes and crowds do not suffer disaster from folding structures. Man is now not merely walking away from God, the God of creation and redemption, power and glory, peace and love, but he is running; indeed, like buffalo, he is stampeding, decrying every impediment.
Pausing a moment in his rush, indeed, now see him mounting the rostrum of religion, and saying of himself, HERE I AM!
That, quite literally, is what the final "man of sin" (II Thessalonians 2) is going to do.
But let us now return to that ever-applicable word of God, the Bible, and study with fresh interest, what is one of the major defining terms of just this sort of spiritual revolt and parade, rush and stampede, which was to and does inhabit the closing stages of our Age. That ? it is now.
In other words, the pagan naturalism and humanistic hulloas which so enchant so many (Romans 1:17ff., II Timothy 4 foretell such things), the slave-driving excesses of those who take the unwary as foxes the geese (II Peter 2 parades it in advance for our time), these join the specialist secession movement which has now been erupting for some time*1 . As to that, it has a substantial percentage of this globe in its thrall, or at least some part of its notional entourage (I Timothy 4), with its laws about not eating meat and not marrying moving like spiders in a pantry. The poison of the latter, prescribing for priests what God has never ordered for the same, as a generic rule and not a optional matter, is set to result in human pathology of one kind or another. It now appears in all but incredible measure, whether in Ireland or Germany or the USA (merely for example), that this is just what is happening. Man is made in one way, and some are called to this or that special discipline; but to impose on those who wish to serve God in a special way, a merely unbiblical idea, a humanly invented regimen, is the height of folly.
It gives an appearance of piety, but often involves the disappearance of morality.
Nor is this by any means all.
This vast body of authoritarianism is joined in the opposite secession movement, that moving from false authority to fictional liberty. This would have man live, in the opposite corner, in any old way at all; and its moral enterprise is seen in emergent sexuality, which make it a plaything or nightmare, a right to explore and exploit outside physical function and inter-personal family making, yes and the endearing expression of mutual love, which not least, provides a basis for breeding children.
On the one hand, authoritarian religion*1 using the name of Christ, and adding to it to which nothing may be added as we have seen, and on the other, libertine religion, made up in the mind of man, and making man the measure, though what is HIS measure for assessment is discretely hidden (II Corinthians 10:12-18)*2: these two, tweedle-dum and tweedle-dee, they fight it out at times. Then they get on with their respective disrespects to the One who made them and told them BOTH to the contrary. It is He who IS the I AM, the independent One who depends on nothing, being the actual ETERNAL ONE, from whom all comes, a simple matter of eternal existence so that all else might have subsistence.
It is His word which is truth, and He who HAS laws for His creation called man, and shows their truth (cf. SMR, TMR), when man but moves his mind to reason, and verifies itself and validates itself uniquely and in continuity amid all claimants to truth*3.
To the varied movements into false prophecy, you have now in the manner of some child saying, LOOK MUMMY! SEE ME ... others such as the Islamic militancy. It is nothing new, having almost taken over Europe in the past, but failed in the Battle of Tours as far back as 732 A.D.. Its militancy, now renewed after it near-annihilation as a world power after World War I, when the Ottoman Empire fell and the Middle East was open to the victors, is part of the seething torment (felt literally by some still in hospital) of our closing stages sale time, the sale of the human soul for the end of the Age SPECIAL! It too would stamp on biblical truth, outlawing the trinity, the redemption in Christ Jesus and using force for its 'faith', in myriads of occasions as shown in the Koran for a background, a work which is actually an irrelevance, as far as demonstrable truth is concerned*4.
It is the tourist-to-triteness epoch of our Age, instead of the Trinity part that has for so long been so recognised by so many. Moreover, even where the Trinity is recognised, you have those who adore One as bread, where not only is there the unspeakable size and torment of Romanism*1, *9, for centuries so well exposed by so many, a pre-holocaust foundation in the Inquisition, but there are claims for the direction of all the others, by an ecclesiastical figurehead who is NOT Christ. Even worse, this 'pope' even adds ultra-biblical additives to the mix. Further, even this is now increasingly surrounded*5 by a whole spread of adventuring acolytes, frenzied fiascos, baseless visions, anomalous spiritual enterprises, to the point that only because the Bible foretold all this, and that it was to be (as it is) a symptom of the diseased Age as it comes to its final fulfilment, is it not grievous almost beyond contemplation.
On these closing of the Age parameters and meters, see Answers to Questions Ch. 5 with SMR Ch. 8. It is all there to the point of unceasing instruction, as if the Lord were talking directly to us; yet it was written millenia ago, in His prognosis, description of what would develop, and WHY this would be so. It is very comprehensive, the word of God, given in the Bible. Its work is industrious, conscientious, concerned, compassionate, realistic and faces dilemmas with answers which overcome the impasses by showing the forgotten source of the answer. It even shows how this applies!
To Babylon, then, let us make our ideational journey, to Jeremiah 51-52 for a dissertation from the Lord. Let us attempt to follow it, and find how it relates to parallel passages, and so find this Grand Canyon exposed to view, this vast pit of folly, and find its strange fate mingled with a divine pity which it despises.
BABYLON LIMITED, A COMPANY LISTED IN JEREMIAH 50-51
FIRST ON OPEN DOOR TO HEALING
First, note that this is not a hate session. God WOULD HAVE HEALED BABYLON, just as He would have healed Jerusalem, at the time He was found weeping,
"O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her.
How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!"
Christ WOULD HAVE LIKED TO save her; but murderer that she was, He could not do so without sanctioning murder, sanctifying lies and being satisfied with fraud on the part of the chief priests and mass of the people, who had learned if not to like it, to prefer it to the massive change needed.
HE REFUSED to cancel liberty, and perform the work of a psycho-therapist of some insidious, invidious kind, and manipulate them. He would appeal, help, enable, but not supplant the will, expression of the image of God in man. He would not stoop to making man something else in order to 'save' him. The commas are to show that that would merely be a false, a spurious salvation. In Him, salvation is free, and man who is found, is as created (Colossians 3:10), in principle as in reality.
BECAUSE they refused the very present aid, THEREFORE they gained the necessities of the case. Because mercy was spurned, scorned, therefore He wept, for the result would be ruin, as He went on at once to add:
"See, your house is left to you desolate!" and so it was, as so clearly forecast in Matthew 24:1ff..
It was not a coincidental matter. In Luke 19:42ff., there was a TIME of His VISITATION, an orderly and adequate OPPORTUNITY for deliverance from ruin, and arrest of evil. But they did not KNOW! They were like those who twist and turn in their sleep, and do not know that the murderer is knocking on the bedstead, as he comes with Macbeth-like dagger in hand. They have a life of sleeping...
In Luke 19, then, we read this, of His further speech in concern and spiritual lament, TO Jerusalem, before they killed Him and thus inherited ruin within just one generation, one in which however the Christian Church was founded!
"If you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the thins that make for your peace! but now they are hidden from your eyes. For days will come on you when your enemies will...
level you... and they will not leave in you one stone upon another,
because you did not know the time of your visitation."
THIS is the love of the true, self-revealing God who has supervised the progress of salvation into this world, and paid the ultimate price for it (Galatians 6:14).
This love is broad, as wide as heavens and earth (Colossians 1:19ff.), and Christ's coming therefore was NOT in order to judge (John 3:17), but that men might have life. To be sure, rejection of this offer of mercy would be fatal, but this is nothing new. Loss of opportunity, when it is marvellous, necessary and amazing even the only way out of some situation, is by its very nature the maker of fatality! That is why it is so wonderful when it comes. This is in turn why it is so vast a chasm of loss, when it is not taken!
The love was even broad enough to reach to BABYLON!
This is seen in Jeremiah 51:9:
"We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed."
Just as Jerusalem fell, for want of a mercy rejected by herself, so Babylon fell for what was ultimately, the same reason. She refused her opportunity. When you consider the ministry of Daniel, impressing King Nebuchadnezzar mightily, when he foretold his coming fall to madness, based on a dream which the King referred to him, and that a mighty sovereign who after a divinely led fall to a bestial state, awakened to what he in fact was (as in Daniel 4), there is one result. It is this: they had opportunity.
The presence of God was not only
seen, it was expressly recognised by the King, scene central and cynosure for
the people (Daniel 4:34-37).
"And at the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured Him who lives for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation.
"All the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and He does according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth.
"None can stay His hand, or say to him, What are You doing ?
"At the same time my reason returned to me; and for the glory of my kingdom,
my honour and brightness returned to me.
"My counsellors and my lords sought me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added to me.
"Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven,
all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment:
and those that walk in pride he is able to abase."
When you consider that other dream, by which Daniel first came to the attention of the King, in which he was not even told what the dream was, and on pain of death, as was the case for all the 'wise men' of Babylon, had to state what it was and tell its meaning, the impact on Babylon is seen to have been even greater. Indeed, not only was this so, but these two vital pieces of information, the former hidden in the subjectivity of the mind of the King, and the other in the mind of God, had to come in time, before execution of those concerned. Deliver or death! was the challenge of the King to ALL the wise men of Babylon. Daniel, needed information kept only by God (outside the King whose dream it was); and He gave it. It came, and that in the nick of time, a matter of hours.
In this challenge, Daniel held on to God and gained what for man in his own strength is utterly impossible, BOTH the information about what the dream had been, and that concerning what it meant.
In this dramatic provision of these TWO correlative pieces of information to the fiery King, and in Daniel's protection through warning from one and help in personal matter from another, from two officials, all these things drafted in one marvellous triumph: you find the determination of God to meet the testimony of truth in all its needs, for Babylon just as He met the challenge to His servants. His power, His love for them, His concern that men know the truth which can set you free, all these were melded together in one marvel. Babylon was in court, was in observation mode, and was warned; and Nebuchnezzar's later time of madness, from which he also recovered by determinate, stated and divine decision well before Babylon fell, being warned by Daniel: all this was a series of sermons. These were not in stone, but in Babylon, and the medium was man.
Daniel held Babylon through its King, as a watchful, listening audience. In this respect, it was almost like a specialised, limited expression of what Christ would do in works and wonders, together with warning, for Jerusalem and the world in due course. He did the works they had not seen, and spoke the words they had not heard, and though this was a mere prelude to the coming of Christ, at least in measure the principle was the same as in John 15:22ff.. NOW they had no excuse for their sin, if and as they continued pagan without truth, multi-religionists without God. Babylon became a patron of much in religious synthesis and exposition, but one with learning difficulties in the domain of God!
The power of God Almighty in mercy and grace was on display. To be sure, it was apparently primarily to save Daniel and his friends, but to save them not least as testifiers, missionaries, those who tell the truth in ways that cannot rationally be doubted.
God would have healed Babylon, says Jeremiah from the Lord, in 51:9, then clinically he notes, "but she is not healed." This is not to say that this is the only opportunity that Babylon had; but it was certainly not the least!
In a similarly significant excursion, though one wrought in direct divine mandate for it, Jonah went to Nineveh with a warning, and doubtless in part because of the clear hand of God, even in his method of travel! they listened. For a time they were spared. Then carried away with themselves once more (as in Nahum, Isaiah 37ff.), they met their due end to glory and swagger, suffering ignominious defeat, just as the Moslem menace to Israel met an end to swagger, in 1948. Then, when the nations of this world left them for it, the UN with the rest, having no interest in stopping the invasion, God intervened according to clar promise (Zechariah 12:1ff.). Indeed, the UN and many others rather were significantly responsible for this outcome, by their insistence on giving more and more away, not to Israel, and no coherent property in city and country, to Israel. Amazingly and evocatively, THIS gross defilement of international integrity, even this, though accepted by Israel, was still rejected by the Arabs and Islamic persons. It was still refused by the Arabs in 1947!) How gloriously fulfilled, therefore, is Zechariah 12:1-9.
All these events, occasions, are indications and illustrations of divine concern and gracious involvement; and in the case of Babylon, this high-handed, big-headed rejection of divine mercy meant that like Nineveh, not only would the empire fail in its time, but its very centre, masterpiece of wonder and power, its capital in each case, would become wounds in the earth, with a quilt of dust, lying in ruin. As it was forecast, so it would be (Nahum, Isaiah 13:17ff., 10:12-19), has been and remains, the remains a reminder, a remaining reminder to mankind through two formerly vast and vainglorious cities.
But the point also remains: GOD WOULD HAVE HEALED BABYLON.
As with Jerusalem (on a long-term charter as in Luke 21:24, following Genesis 17:7ff.), she was destroyed; but in the case of Babylon, stranded she fell. She remains, her glory in the dust.
Thus it was by no means some decretum horribile, as Calvin calls God's predestination in its negative feature, but it remains a desecratum horribile, so to demean the scope and breadth of divine love in repeated contradiction of its repeated affirmation.
Babylon, like Israel before its horror fall, God would have healed. As to Israel in the North, you find in Hosea 7:1ff. a similar statement. God would have healed Israel, but instead of repentance, there was only more provocation, instead of purging, only more pollution.
This is the nature and nurture of His love, just as judgment is the relinquishing of the positive content of this love, so that justice must without mercy, by human responsibility alone, one made not the less clearer but all the clearer by divine action, measure out condemnation (John 3:19, 3:36). In between ? when Christ was on earth, you could see it as in a TV , but more closely and intimately: Christ wept, and He said just WHY He wept ...
If YOU HAD KNOWN, EVEN YOU ... in the day of your visitation, but now ... your house is left to you desolate.
In foreknowledge the same heart of God was there, and the essence of the matter past the foulings of pollution from sin, was known to God, whose chaste self-control is beautiful to behold, and a thing of wonder to belittle the folly of all tyrants. In Him, it is truth, in the bowels of mercy and the wonder of peace, which operates, not the fitful fancies as of deluded man. Judgment is according to truth (Romans 2), and in truth, He would that men would turn to Him: TURN, TURN He cries as in Ezekiel 33:1, for as He states so awesomely clearly, "I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked." Therefore, "Turn!" Indeed, "as I live" He declares, this is what He would like, having nothing to charm or disarm Him in death for the wicked. He is the Life source, and eternal life in His gift, He did all to provide, and this freely (Romans 3:23ff.).
But with Babylon, NO, they reply, we are what we are and so will be continue. That is an option; but it does not last too long ...
THEN A PIT FOR JUDGMENT
THE SELF-STRANGULATION OF MURDERERS
Babylon did not receive healing, and so ...we read the result in Jeremiah 51:33-36:
"For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel:
'The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor; it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.
'Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured Me, he hath crushed Me,
he has made Me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed Me up like a dragon,
he hath filled his belly with My delicates, he has cast me out.
'The violence done to Me and to my flesh be upon Babylon,
the inhabitant of Zion will say;
and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, Jerusalem will say.'
"Therefore thus says the LORD:
'Behold, I will plead your cause, and take vengeance for you;
and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry, and Babylon will become heaps,
a dwelling place for jackals, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.
They will roar together like lions: they will yell as lions’ whelps.
In their heat, I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, says the LORD.
I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with the goats.
'How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised!
how has Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!
The sea has come up upon Babylon:
she is covered with the multitude of its waves.
Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness,
a land wherein no man dwells, neither doth any son of man pass by.
And I will punish Bel in Babylon,
and I will bring forth out of his mouth that which he hath swallowed up:
and the nations shall not flow together any more to him:
yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.
'My people, go ye out of the midst of her,
and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.' "
Here you see various elements.
Firstly, the destruction of Babylon
Secondly, she has lost forever her
place of pre-eminence
Thirdly, there is a specific
ingredient in the fury of the Lord against her,
Consider for example Isaiah 47:6-12:
"I was wrath with My people,
I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into your hand:
you showed them no mercy; upon the ancient very heavily
you have laid your yoke."
This is as in Lamentations!
"And you said, 'I shall be a lady for ever:
so that you did not lay these things to your heart,
nor remember the latter end of it.
"Therefore hear now this,
you who are given to pleasures,
who dwell carelessly,
who say in your heart,
'I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow,
neither shall I know the loss of children.'
"But these two things shall come to you in a moment in one day,
the loss of children, and widowhood:
they will come upon you in their perfection
for the multitude of your sorceries, and
for the great abundance of your enchantments.
"For you have trusted in thy wickedness:
you have said, 'No one sees me.'
Your wisdom and your knowledge, it has perverted you;
and you hast said in your heart, 'I am, and none else beside me.'
"Therefore shall evil come upon you;
you will not know from where it arises: and trouble will fall upon you;
you shalt not be able to put it off:
and desolation shall come upon you suddenly, which you will not know."
So Babylon, lordly in bringing on punishment to Israel, being merciless, grand in self-conception and carried away with evil power and intent, is NOT immune.
You drive on the wrong side of the road ? DO you expect things to be well controlled ? It is your decision and the results are as numerous as are the settling places of chaff when it is blown away, each piece of it finding its new site (Psalm 1:5-6 shows this).
To be sure, the desolation of Jerusalem could not have been wrought without the Lord's permission, but permission is not a grant of authority. If, carried away with yourself in correction, you wield merciless power, you then become yourself, for immediate destiny, open to your own folly, like the settling places of chaff when it is blown away, each piece of it finding its new site (Psalm 1:5-6 shows this).
If your evil is used by the God of all, to deal with someone, what do you expect ? That their crimes and your use to settle with them, makes of you a successful serf to sin ? In this case, let the agent watch what he does; for SINCE in this case, the target is REFUSING the healing of God, therefore as out of control and in the power of its own flesh it moves, then an agent may indeed be suffered to deal with it. But woe betide that agent if in rebuking sin, it sins; and if in bringing evil on those deserving it, it imagines itself immune! ( cf. Jeremiah 51:29, Isaiah 47:4-11). The Babylons of this earth have retribution in store, except they repent. Babylon ? Mystery Babylon ? there has been no effectual repentance there.
Fourthly, as she destroyed without
inhibition, so she
will be destroyed without qualification (Jeremiah 50:11-13, 51:34-35).
Finally, SINCE she is about to be
destroyed, and her whole recalcitrant way of life is her own option,
That message is as real today, and in view of the term 'mystery Babylon', true not only of Romanism, but of the whole alternative Christianity which adds to, subtracts from or transmutes into other systems, elements of Christianity*5.
It was given, this GET OUT! order, to Lot as we have noted, to get out from Sodom. He waited and lost a wife and much in his children. That is part of the high cost of deferring commands instead of showing deference to God concerning them! Perhaps if he had left far earlier, the whole blight might have been avoided.
Here, in this instance, the GET OUT! order is given here to Israel of old, relative to continuing to STAY when not compelled to do so, in Babylon. There she had been exiled; now as soon as freedom enables, she MUST GET OUT! In spiritual terms, many may be taken into exile, by various forces or personal errors, and so landed in Mystery Babylon, that complex of corruption. To them the same cry comes (Revelation 18:4), for not only is her destruction coming, but her corruptive, corrosive power on the soul is so massive, so erratic, that staying in her is like remaining at Chernobyl, immediately after the disaster; for THIS spiritual Chernobyl, it grows only worse!
Staying whether in Romanism, therefore, or in the broader MYSTERY BABYLON setting, more extensive but similarly corrupt in this way or that in wandering, waifs from wisdom, has its same command, tranlated in Romans 16:17, impelling in I Corinthians 5-6, impactive in I Timothy 6, inducing in II Thessalonians 2-3, incisive in II Corinthians 6:14, applied in II Chronicles 19:1-2, illustrated in II Kings 3:13-15, and direct in Revelation 18:4.
Thus while detachment is in "Babylon" terms, primarily from Romanism, with its billions of adherents of one kind or another, yet it is no less directed to those in the extension of the disease and pathology, who are immersed, contained, controlled or in fellowship with any part of the similar aura of detachment. Whenever there is changeableness concerning the word of God in any body or organisation, since the word of God itself does not change, they being changed, have forsaken Him who calls. If therefore, there is movement from what is written and commanded by God, by addition or subtraction, transmutation or new information presumptuously added, as in the case of the old prophet, who lied about the angel! (cf. Ch. 4 above), then betrayal is afoot, and continuance in that context is mere blindness, bravado or rebellion.
Before we proceed to other elements of Babylon and her lessons and plight, notice one thing of great significance. Recall what God said as seen above, concerning Babylon's assault on Israel:
"Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon has devoured Me, he hath crushed Me,
he has made Me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed Me up like a dragon,
he hath filled his belly with My delicates, he has cast me out.
The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, the inhabitant of Zion will say ..."
GOD is speaking AS IF so near is the empathy with Israel, so deep His concern ... remember Isaiah 63:9, "In all their affliction, He was afflicted ... in His love and in His pity He redeemed them, and He bore them and carried them all the days of old...," that it is as if performed upon Himself.
There you see it, His life is burdened with their care, but for all that, since as Isaiah 63 goes on to say, "But they rebelled and grieved His Holy Spirit," there is more to come.
Hence they in disgrace, met further challenges! Our point here is this: the empathy is SO intense that God can speak as if what is being done to His people is being done to Himself! On the Cross, for those who receive Him (Romans 8:23), this actually happened. It expresses the love which had such empathy to the uttermost point, that in practical terms He both showed it and met the need, when as a sacrifice He bore what divides, and removing subtraction because of sins, provided for addition by means of atonement! Figures have no feeling; but people have no lack of them, and those who find Him, rejoice!
It is not so easy to get to hell; oh to be sure, the way is broad and it is easy in the sense that you can just fall into it. Yet in the love of God how many are the warnings. If, in the way OUT of the path of righteousness, how great is the appeal, yet into the freedom of entry into the kingdom of heaven, how entrancing is this call! For all that, flesh, this world and the devil present a counterpoise, so that man with many tribulations enters the kingdom (Acts 14:22). Yet enter he does (John 10:9), and the tremors that may follow as he is tested and poised, have function for love to secure a testimony to the truth, for these do not prevent the power of God from operating. On the contrary, in their overcoming there is much growth.
As with Israel, then, addressed through Jeremiah, those in Babylon, amid this revelation of its fate, received their call: It was not this, Take it easy! you'll be all right, just hold on. No, it was this: COME OUT OF HER!
Tableau: You have your hands in a vat, cleaning it, and scalding water is about to be poured into it from above, from an operator with everything in place for action, and he advises you of the need to leave the vat. Do you then sit down and reflect, consult your Union boss, read the print of your contract ... or, just think of it, DO what you are told. Get out! You are in where you ought to be out, so get out now.
Lot left it late enough to lose his wife and find folly from his daughters. Waiting can cost That fault in turn, it led to two evil acts on the part of his daughters (who could have sought out the camp of Abraham), which created Moab and Ammon, which became two major enemies of Israel, causing vast evils to it! If you want to disobey, don't forget your expense account, then.
Hear it again with more surrounding content, in Jeremiah 51:6-8 (bold added):
"Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul:
don't be cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance.
He will render her a recompense.
"Babylon has been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand,
that made all the earth drunken.
The nations have drunk of her wine;
therefore the nations are mad.
Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed:
howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed."
There are consequences of the various madnesses of man (cf. Hosea 9:7). Do not linger where there is, as it were, a radioactive spiritual site! It burns, insidiously, invisibly...
Note this, that it is just after this announcement that we learn this concerning Babylon. This is spiritual cancer and despite whatever hope, the conclusion comes the same:
"But she is not healed!"
This is a matter we have already investigated! This gives a setting for the set-to, and an added ground for those who stay still in such churches, sects, movements as described above, to set out from those premises and find peace in the place where God's word still stays fresh in the heart, as it is, no lord over it, no apostle of the 21st century or pope or other 'authority', no secretions poured into it, no additions, nothing removed in some kind of spiritual Bowdlerising/. God where it is standing in the presence of the Lord, alone! Elsewhere, do not stay. Whether to Noah or to Abraham, to Lot or to exiles when free to return from Babylon, the word is the same. Leave, mark, go, withdraw, flee!
"Do not My words do good to the one who walks uprightly!" (Micah 2:7). He is not restricted! Let however HIS word be enough, lest like a false witness at an accident, who garbles truth with fiction, you get mere confusion.
Worse than confusion is possible, indeed, for remember that here, Babylon is not only an actual city with an actual destruction looming, but also a conceptual base for 'mystery Babylon' in a species of parallel with Romanism, swallowing up purity in pollution. Consider, then, this from 51:57:
"And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains,
and her rulers, and her mighty men:
and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake,
says the King, whose name is the LORD of hosts."
There is to be sure a certain spirit of drunkenness which can contour amiss the very mind of man, can distort his psyche, make reeling images out of plain reality and lead to his destruction. It is like a ship which may be manned by many and have excellent strength; but with the helmsman maddened, it hits rocks all the harder.
Again, note the certainty of the judgment to be executed on Babylon (Jeremiah 51:53):
"Though Babylon were to mount up to heaven,
and though she were to fortify
the height of her strength,
Yet from Me plunderers would come to her, says the Lord."
BABYLON NOW MOVES TO REVELATION
ONLY AS A SYMBOL, YET A FURIOUS ONE
Now, having seen the base and basis for Babylon as Rome (Rev. 17:9), and the meaning of Mystery Babylon in our survey from Ch. 5 to the present, let us glance rapidly once more to the application of Rome. It meant that the First Kingdom or Empire, noted by Daniel in 2 and 7, had certain characteristics which were strikingly enough provided in the Word of God, to become meaningful when applied to the developments in the Fourth Empire, that of Rome, the last of Daniel's depiction before Christ's own kingdom (Daniel 2, 7:25). In other words, the dish of Babylon, the first one, had in its left overs, in its nature, what infiltrated and spread like a bacterial infection, in the last one, that of Rome.
These have now been considered. That is going back.
On the other side, going forward in time: Revelation, where this key-word, this designation, name is applied, as in Rev. 17, provides more information on the differentials concerning the end itself. The type is in the name; the particulars are in the later survey. What does Revelation contribute on this theme ?*6
We find that there is a female
character, reminding one of Rome's Venus, or Juno, and she is licentious,
depicted as a harlot (17:1ff.). She is in her mystery format, guilty of the
blood, the holocausts, great and small, of history; her scheming is back
of murders innumerable. Her fornications are with the kings of the earth - she
has had power sharing arrangements, as a religious vagrant, established in
state, regaling herself in spurious glory. Gold and scarlet are its
JUDGMENT, JUDICIOUS, AND
GRANT OF THE GRACE OF GOD
The mystery Babylon comes now to its final flower, a Venus trap indeed! Yet it too falls, and in Revelation 19, the entire company which kept Romanism's death mask in its final contours for so long, and then liberated, fouled the air more directly with its stench, like a Tasmanian devil, as a type, finds its end from the Word of God who, coming with His saints, terminates the test. Insatiable, ravenous, there go the powers of evil, blasphemy, murder and desolation, of humanism with its mystic light kept alive by spurious flares, which die. Met by Christ, both beast and false prophet find judgment.
In Revelation 20, the devil himself, backer of the entirety of defamatory misuse of the name of Christ, receives his own exposure and judgment, so that he is now unable to deceive the nations into those inane wars which have ruined so much for so long, wars directed against deity in the last resort, who in the last phases of the Age, thus completes the test, the exposure and the tour de force of truth. It has had its chance; it has had its romance; and now truth rules till its impact is known and experienced in an earth which, after this relief and rest, in final judgment is removed (Revelation 21:1).
Judgment is the end of untruth, and shame of those who hate mercy, while the Lord endures with His people, known from the first, kept to the last! Ah! to be with the Lord, the Creator, the Lamb, the Redeemer, with all the saints from first to last, all washed in the blood of the Lamb, resurrected to glory.
Pageantry past, reality is utterly present, and God's people with behold His face. There is the finale of the joy unspeakable and full of glory (I Peter 1:5-8), found when the invisible reaches culmination when those resurrected see God face to face (Revelation 22:4ff.).
So Revelation 13 introduces the roaring of the last of the 4 beasts, imperial powers in this world, in its last perfervid passions, and shows us the Second Beast, the religious fawner, betrayer, support apparatus for the devil's messiah, the little horn of Daniel 7:8,20, with its swelling, pompous words, domain of the "man of sin" of II Thessalonians 2. Then Revelation 16 shows us the 'false prophet' from whom go out possessive spirits, encompassing special deceits, three like an evil false trinity*7 for the evil false messiah who masquerades for this world, of this world, dynamised from darkness, instrument of the devil.
In Revelation 17 we find a host for the long term, Babylon, eponym for Rome, a bawdy woman, type of spiritual betrayal, and identified now as not only Rome, the death mask for this spiritual evil of synthesis and blasphemy and long has it been placed, misusing the very name of God for ulterior purposes; for now it is seen in its setting, Mystery Babylon.
This goes back back even further, an embracive term from Babylon, the seat of a virulent, ancient empire, on which Jeremiah dwelt at the mouth of the Lord, in Jeremiah 50-51.
In its heyday of spurious, furious pollutions and desecrations (such as destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem), Babylon is a TYPE, of which Rome is the long-flourishing exhibit, and in this is the blood of the saints. Now we discover that Rome, as centre of such blasphemy and bloodshed, carrying it on and now seen as a woman on the beast, a spiritual harlot, comes to a rapid end, after so long a time in her dubious but duplicitous power. Sitting on the beast she is depicted; and so no doubt, with some attempt to wield the reins, as Romanism has so often done.
Sometimes it hsa been more openly as in the Holy Roman Empire, and in papal armies, sometimes more quietly as in World Wars I and II *8. but now she faces her own fiery end. This, as in Revelation 18, it is by consuming fire, a very brief matter, in the long train of things, and it is symbolised as a matter of one hour (Revelation 18:17). There she goes in flames, of whom it is said, "by your sorcery all the nations were deceived." Many are the merchants who deplore her loss (Revelation 18:16ff.), and here Rome's colours are even cited. But to what do 'sorceries' refer ?
A more modern term for the core of the Roman mass, was 'hocus pocus' which was used of the Latin for "this is the body". If in the Mass*9, this had been true, then Christ in the Last Supper to which it refers, would have committed suicide. Actually, He was murdered on the Cross, which is the point (Galatians 6:14), not symbols. Between symbols and substance, depiction for remembrance as He said, and agony, there is all the difference in the world; moreover with HIM, He does it of Himself, whereas in a 'mass', it is someone else who offers Him! (John 10, Hebrews 9:26-28, 10:10-14).
He did it by Himself, He did it once, He bought thereby eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12), and the Last Supper is in remembrance of Him, not codified for priests to offer the High Priest in some abortive fancy, clashing horrendously with the biblical depiction (Hebrews 7:23ff.). You cannot have it both ways. IF it were His body in the bread at the Last Supper, then breaking it meant death. It was however, as HE declared it, a matter for remembrance, not authorised for worship, as in the 'mass', a flagrant imposition on the obvious. It is HE, and not 'it', the symbol, who alone is to be worshipped, and He is One, one God who became one man like His brethren in all things, except for sin which was absent, and His everlasting heavenly source, present about Him, from which He came. Rome is then rebuked for blood and sorceries, Inquisition, Mass and her playing games with kings, to order to urge to war, to deal with this or that situation or people. This is the biblical portrait.
Finished in Revelation 18 is this latest phase of Mystery Babylon; and carrying the history of the seductions in type. In her execution, Rome burns, and with even more awesome fire, the Lord returns, to deal with the beast, the last empire itself, now freed from traditional, long-term, multi-formatted seductions, and elemental in its corruption and wickedness. This with the false prophet, elements of the First and Second versions of the Fourth Beast, the political and the religious phases, for religion is this time taken VERY seriously after the folly of Communism, jointly meet the Maker of man. No more is it vainglorious Man, but simply mankind, the earthly armies overthrown with divine power.
There is no Last Post for their passing, any of them, and after the Lord has shown His glory on this earth, established in mercy and truth for a period*10, He dismisses it, no place being found for it, but a place for each of His people (II Corinthians 5, John 14:1ff.), with a new heavens and new earth flowing from the creative hand of the everlasting God, Creator and Redeemer, in whom His people have rest in the presence of His glory.
Babylon! Mystery Babylon! Let it babble on, but as for the saints of the Lord, entered in trust, in faith as citizens of the kingdom of heaven (Philippians 3:20), these are set for the resurrection (Philippians 3:21), where He "will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself". Here is the coming zestful joy, the summit of babes coming fresh into this world, as in former times, now seen in children of God receiving their inheritance.
Possess then your possessions, and neither be wimp to the wisdom of this world, deceived by the sorceries of Mystery Babylon in its ramifying sects and seductions even of formerly sound churches. Instead stay on your God, and if straying, eturn to the Lord and to His word as it is, not as flagrant breaches pretend.
What does Christ say ? It is this. Possess your souls in patience (Luke 21:9); for He comes soon enough, of whom Peter said that we must realise a day is as a thousand years in this field, and finding His flares now active, signals of His impending return, rejoice for it is now near! (cf. SMR Ch. 8, Answers to Questions Ch. 5). Even Jerusalem is now back with Israel, and the brink of the ultimate is where mankind now stands (Luke 21:24ff.). When this world is over, then in Revelation 21-22, we find not the brink, but the endless glory of the Lord, the surround of eternal life, where the immensity of Christian life on this earth, faced with many a foe, is transformed into the intensity of the glory of God, whose flock is His own and whose people are with Him, as is fitting for faith, now become sight.
*1 See for example: SMR pp. 911ff., 1032-188H.
In this area of subterfuge, subversion of the human spirit, a vainglorious self-affirming one of the inveterate invalidities in which man dabbles, there is a section in SMR Ch. 4, entitled Great Burials (of the truth). From this, a relevant, small section is excerpted below. The excerpt comprises for Great Burials (available in above hyperlink), endnotes *2 and *5. To these are briefly added several latter works, for reference, dealing with developments and updating of the discoveries and confirmation of the principles already adduced.
*2 Excursion into :
CULTURE, SUPRA-CULTURE AND SUPERNATURAL:
A Grave-Diggers' Fiasco
Among the blind grave-diggers is "culture". Indeed this agent can act with more initiative than that, even to the point of preparing for burial! In this role, it might be called -
Culture has sometimes been given a sort of religious signification, as if the mere mention of this vocable, the mere writing of this word-symbol in some way rubbed out almighty God. Actually, in some of the many books written, the term 'culture' is merely a satisfying symbol of satanic spiritual power, allowing all manner of enormities to masquerade as the truth.
As shown in this trilogy, God is, is the omnipotent, is sovereign, is not in the least interested in learning His ways from His creatures - "Who, being His counsellor has taught Him!" says His word, at Isaiah 40:11-14. On the typical, topical social studies culture, however, the opposite is affirmed in this relationship. There MAN is (planning) to continue, and has no interest whatsoever in learning his ways from any creator or other being, real, imagined, hypothetical, sincere or hypocritical.
On the latter approach, commonly called humanism (q.v. - "measuring themselves by themselves, they are not wise" - II Corinthians 10:12, as Paul puts it), the deliriously satanic pomposity of it all has God (in all His ways) relegated to a human side-show, an epiphenomenon of man, if you will (ridiculous as such a concept4, upon analysis certainly is found to be). The 'argument' for such a position, in essence, in outline, is this; MAN has manners, clothes, religions and all that; God is part of the religion side of things. It is something man wears... and makes. More sophisticated versions may make it a libido expression over time, and so forth; but the case is essentially still the same. Divine existence is contingent on man, this devout scenario affirms.
It is quite common for such an approach to be logically without any stated ground. It is all assumption. Perhaps one good reason for such an approach is one Hitler seemed to know almost instinctively:
a) if it is too amazing, just thrust it out upon the people fearlessly; and
b) always be sure to weave and to interweave it everywhere you can. Another reason for it is this: it presupposes what is demonstrably wrong, so is best not made to rest upon reason, which, as shown earlier, disengages from and disowns the humanist preconception and misconception altogether.
What is Culture ?
What then is culture ? It does have a place. It can be defined in such a way as not to be a sort of bibulous, and implicitly, anti-Biblical oration. (See Logical Positivism.) Culture, in a descriptive and non-prescriptive format, is this: What people tend to do and say and think, and how they tend to behave and speak and express themselves, in a given place, nation, race or station. Since people vary enormously, even within the same race, in their morals, manners, loves and distresses, religion, acts and attitudes, culture needs to be defined with modest realism rather than philosophic and arrant presumption.
In any given people, it becomes this: that combination of concepts, manners, modes, customs, beliefs and exercises of diverse human powers, which while it may have political outcomes from time to time, in this or that overall direction, is yet heterogeneous, with spiritual and mental cleavages that may be total, irreconcilable and only sometimes clearly perceived.
Where is Unity ?
On humanist basis, 'culture' is often subjected to a philosophic preconception of some underlying essential unity; and in terms of military dangers or defence, it may be given thrust into some such unity. Unity however is neither assured nor necessarily desirable, for a given set of sub-groups in a society, for their ideologies, values or pursuits. Some may be right; some wrong; some distorted, some possessed of a distorting dynamic, some careering to ruin, some in stages somewhat past even that!
Abraham perceived the culture of Sodom, but shared neither its performance nor its destiny. To Jesus in Jewry, the same applies in the first century A.D.. Many transcend their cultural trends mentally; and in many, through supra-cultural origins in Jesus Christ, comes the power and the perception by which they transcend them spiritually.
The very concept of culture-as-unity pre-supposes man as the ultimate, and disposes matters of great diversity or even irreconcilable contrariety as one, in the blind interests of philosophy, and in particular, of her spawn: religious pretension masquerading as scholarship. God of course is in fact as supra-cultural as the heavens are above the earth - "My thoughts are not as your thoughts!" He says - Isaiah 55:8-11. Those who are His have an environment and heredity of the Creator's direction, association and disposition (Ephesians 1) - one which is far removed from what the creature may derive from within its own ways, which are frequently in active divorce, derogation or distancing from God.
Not only is this so, but through the everlasting grace of God, His people have His own diction, His words. As a master violinist can use the simple strings that others ply with comparative 'pain', so God is abundantly able to teach what He wills through language: amplifying, refining and indeed creating a whole series of mutually related definitions, conditions, super-imposed 'harmonies' of intelligibility, until an environment of connotative, comprehensible diction is present. So He speaks, and so the word of God to mankind is declared. That, as demonstrated earlier, is the Bible.
Thus the Bible is a supra-cultural implement sui generis. Over millenia by many agents, it was provided with so intense a relay system of meanings and message, that it resembles in ways both astonishing and refined, the work of one author through different offices. This it does not only in its matter, but in the connotative complex which is so individual to God.
Naturally this is, while a prodigy, also an exercise in proportion. Man himself is partly programmed, partly free product of God; and his proclivities of speech and comprehension have been, at the first, moulded by God. Any difficulty (apart from deterioration through man's misuse of man) lies therefore not in the very concept of divine communication to the creature called man; but in the divesting of digressions from truth, the removal of rubbish from the presuppositions, assumptions and avenues of thought. Like a giant dredging operation, it can be done. The harbour is for ships and the ships lie well in harbour; it is just a matter of cleaning it up.
Resolution of Unity
What then is the actual unity ? Fumbled for in cultures, lusted for in States, sought in the irrationalities of existential confusion, it is in fact that of design derived from deity, one which in its full complement has will. And will ? This can mock sin, deride the deity who made it, guffaw at the design under which it operates without licence, only to inherit thought which distorts and folly which fractures.
Structurally, then, the unity so missought and mistaught, is one of design; but it is also (potentially) that of the love of the Redeemer, who restores the heart. Nor is He dumb, though few there be who listen; and many deaf become cynics in the traumatic sadness of the actual fact, that without the Redeemer, unity in this race is no more. It is as well for this race that God has in the person of the Redeemer, Jesus Christ, provided a salvage operation called salvation. Its relevance is as broad as the race, and as narrow, in the end, as those who receive Him in reality and in truth (John 1:12-14, 3:16-21).
The Majesty of Communication
When, accordingly, the majestic communication of the everlasting God comes into harbour, there is just that combination of wonders that attest it: its coherence of contour, its clarity and challenge in concert, and the wonder of its performance. Never does that communication clash in form or force, from one century to another, over the 1500 years of its composition, or the 2000 years since its completion, as events unfold to confirm it, apply it and to verify its witness. The system of thought, the system of speech, the profundity of understanding; it is communicable to man as God desires. Its draught is deep; its structure is clear.
The ship of divine communication comes to the harbour - to use our image, as God dredged it in the first place. It comes as a cosmos of its own - sent from afar, now near at hand. Its motion is beautiful. It is of magnificent strength and everlasting stability.
Thus neither is there any question of incomprehensibility - except through the ever-attendant churning of sin; nor, on the other hand, is there anything of a captive communication, fashioned by human culture into impurity or ineffectiveness. It is all within the scope of the mankind God made. The adjustments needed to walk, work and wonder within this sublime, divine communication relate in that other wonder - called 'man': to his degree of freedom.
That however is an entirely separate wonder (see Appendix B, pp. 1113ff., infra on WILL), and it has its own divine mode of dealing and disposition, so that neither is force offered to the will of any creature, in the scope of salvation, nor is inability through sin a detainment centre for the will of God.
The form and the function of the mankind God made, do not in the slightest degree remove man's responsibility or God's ability to confront the race, or any individual within it. On the contrary, these create it! In our days of little human wonders, as mankind increases in knowledge just as Daniel predicted, there is this enduring divine wonder: God has bundled up the history of man before it happened, and discovered it to the race by means of the text of the Bible, informing it what He has in mind.
In that sense only, the twentieth century is the century of vision; what the many rejected may nevertheless... be inspected. God has done, as He will do: just what He said - and He has done it multi-dimensionally. In this, history has now turned preacher! Indeed, every high thing (of sickening, or wanton pretension), God will abase, be it culture, philosophy, pagan politics or the delusion of autonomy.
He says so (I Corinthians 1:27-28). He does so.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING, in a bubble with CAUSELESS EXERCISES
Paul Davies has made some remarkable howlers in 24 HOURS (8/92), duly blending with 'time': spontaneous generation, limits for God and misconceptions imposed as a priori compulsions.
Thus we read: "This 'quantum cosmology' provides a loophole for the universe to, so to speak, spring into existence from nothing." Quite an accomplishment! Again, "The fact that the universe can create itself..." and "The argument ... that ... something or somebody ... must have set the universe going initially - has now been well and truly discredited." These manufactured pearls need just a little look. They should be considered in their mutual relations.
There are indeed a few problems here. First: nothing is not actually the same as something with a quantum in order to fluctuate: in that a quantum is after all, something. Again, a fluctuation is actually something which varies in certain ways. It must be there - and not nothing - in order to vary. Nor is their inter-relation nothing, since it depicts what is - not what is not.
Hence a 'quantum fluctuation' cannot on 3 grounds be nothing: that is a simple contradiction in terms, and a repetitious one: not permissible, for a physicist, or for that matter, anyone else interested in establishing anything. (Cf. pp. 18 ff., 332E ff.; 200, 252H ff., 264 ff., 284 ff., 379; with 112-113, 213, 229, 286 supra; and 1017 infra.) It is useless to try to 're-define' nothing (q.v., as in the case of some who fail, trying to succeed by 're-defining' success). Such is mere semantics, verbal manipulation, use of terms in a confused and propagandist way, self-contradiction leaving no one in any need of further contradiction. As has been noted elsewhere in this work - if one contradicts oneself: enough! There is no need for anyone else to do so, logically... Such cryptic cosmologies come from and amount to - nothing. For what does not ... see Chapter 1 supra.
Then there is the misconception on time, in which a straw man is removed quite irrelevantly from the creation situation. That of course makes no logical difference, as such is not a component except in the imagination of the attacker. The concept then that the 'supernatural' cannot invent a system with a time element, component or aspect of its matrix - define it how you will: this is merely a vapid reverbalisation. It simply restates the assumption that the God who created our kind of time, serial time in material aspects (though our minds can surpass it in some retrospective and prospective ways, and our spirits may meet with God) is not there. Read then: because God is not there, therefore God is not there. This however could as well have been omitted without any noticeable difference. It is simply an identity statement establishing nothing but a desire to say twice the same thing with not once a reason for either. Repetition however, while it may be good propaganda, does not constitute a logical sequence.
If you grant the first, you grant the second, but both stand on nothing. Actually, as to the anti-model assumption, the notion which twists and distorts Biblical Christianity (and as shown earlier, the logically demanded position that God created space-time and matter as well) into a merely immanentalist substitute: it is merely of psychological interest. Davies' voiced concern that God could not start time in time - by which he acts as if to demolish creation - is one of the most jejune and simplistic upheavals of misconception one could wish.
In fact, it is precisely impossible, if one is dealing with the Creator, consistently to hypothesise that GOD would have, far less would be required to have, the same sort of time or system as we do. This, our whole limited kind of time system, did indeed start, as Davies appears appropriately to discern; not however by paradox of inchoate phrases and nugatory nothings, but by the very particular and adequate power of God, for whom such a chronological stage is simply a species of construction, an instituted aspect of His chosen creation, limited and delimited at His pleasure.
Indeed, an author is not incorporated into his novel's time-schedule, and if it could enforce itself on him, he would not be its author. The positions are not merely different, but mutually exclusive! That is some error, to demand of a model what it prohibits, and then to dismiss it because one's demands are not met!
Even Augustine dealt with this point: that time was itself instituted at creation, God creating not in time but with time. (Cf. pp. S31-33, 422P supra.)
Just as we cannot think in non-characterisable terms, or account without using causality, so any endeavour, as here, to wed irrationality and reason is doomed. It violates the ground rules it uses, breaks the universe of its own discourse, and gives causal grounds, causally conceived, for non-causality. Actually, it is not even possible to think of a categorically non-causal area, for this would demand disappearance of rational characterisability, hence of specifiability, hence either of expression, designation or description itself. (Cf. pp. 284ff. supra.) Nor is it possible to account for causality dis-causatively, since the very effort to find the ground of it is an exercise in causality; and endeavour to get categorically beyond it, assumes its operation wherever it goes. (Cf. pp. 113ff., 158-159, 284-287, 422Aff, and see Index: Kant, Causality.)
Christianity, in the Bible, very simply indicates that GOD created our type of causal nexus with an eternal operative, creative power, neither serially limited nor subjectible to processive, progressive stipulations as condition or essential mode. It is time to cease trying to fit the author into his book. It is true that it proceeded from him, but they are in totally different dimensions.
In terms of this intense and uniquely valid harmony, it is indeed time to realise, as Paul for example, makes clear in Romans 8:38-39, that time itself is a creation of God; and that creation is His institution of what was not there. Being created, it proceeds in its mode, God acting in His own illimitable freedom, and also within His creation, doing so at His will, discretion, and according to His purpose. God who is the beginning and the end of all creation, is no captive or component of what He makes. It is indeed impossible to weave in and out of the reality of the logically demonstrable God who is, bringing in alien and incompatible thought at whim, and to devise anything but a morass. From that self-contradictory bog, the beautiful and serene logic of the Biblical faith is wholly divorced.
Not from empty words, ignorant imaginings, delusive conceits, barren beliefs has that trilogy of mind, matter, spirit, called man come. The inaugurator of this magnificent system, this all but incredible creation (man is hard to believe, a prodigy, but we must believe, for we see), the One who has wrought its vitalisation, its capacities has Himself created these things by a mind of exceeding majesty. To this Being belongs a power so subtle yet massive, a wisdom so profound: He is indeed a Spirit so infinite in understanding that from Him has man not only come, but been planted together with the universe - like a gigantic toy, a gift of youth, an encyclopedia unwritten for man to probe - tossed in.
That this GOD from whom all has come, through whom and to whom are all things - as Paul puts it so magnificently in Romans 11:25-36 - has written... not only in the wonder of architectural code in our body cells, how we are to be produced, generation by generation: but through scribes, prophets, whom He has led, declaring why, and for whom, and with what understanding of mind, life and will of our Creator, man is made: this is the archway to the divine splendour. It is an archway indeed through which everyone of this race must pass for such a destiny. That He has visited us - as shown in His book - condescending without panache, to our form, surpassing our ideals, deputing His beauty, and calling us to it via the Cross of our ugliness, in Calvary: this is the copestone of that arch. As to that, He did it in time, and not at all for nothing.
The excellent harmony of all things seen from the word of God continually ridicules the evasions of jagged unbelief, its much ado about nothing, irrational, restless. Neither sin nor creation is nothing; nor indeed, is nothing to be its reward.
Based on magic or nothing, man makes himself an ass. Based on what CANNOT logically come from nothing, and thus has always to be there, and adequate for what follows that is based on decryptable orders and commands, as in DNA, man shows himself a creation. As a creation, he does well to find and ponder the discovery that matters most: that the Bible alone is the unique verifiable, validatable testimony from God for man, with authority of written speech, and in it, that Jesus Christ is the necessary Saviour. Ignoring the demonstrable (cf. SMR, TMR), man shows that this mode is unworkable, making of this world a giant laboratory to show what is NOT so, with endless funds and fiascos of excursions, as into space, where not a word is said, while thousands of words are said cogently in the Bible, and effectually in the DNA. God exposes this trap concisely in Romans 1:17ff..
As to thought, symbols, DNA, language, words and the cosmoi of their operation and meaning,
see for example:
Christ Incomparable .. Ch. 5, *3, and Causes, which deal not least and causality, its nature, necessities and consequences;
Jesus Christ: Defaced, Unfazed: Barrister of Bliss Ch. 4 considering symbols and code.
In the areas of causation and intellection, reason and reality, it is well to consult the coverages in:
Deity and Design ... Ch. 2,
Evidence and Reality Ch. 6,
News 94 with
The Wit and Wisdom of the Word of God... Ch. 2.
See for instance, Deity and Design ... and LIGHT DWELLS WITH THE LORD'S CHRIST, Who Answers Riddles and Where He Is, Darkness Departs.
On Islam, see the following, for example.
More Marvels ... Ch. 4, esp. *4,
SMR pp. 829ff. , 1080
Dancers, Prancers, Lancers and Answers Ch. 3, *1A misconceptions about the Cross, variable and mutually conflicting, on the part of the Koran
Lord of Life Ch. 3 (and force), 1081ff. (and faith), Outrageous Outages ... Ch. 5;
His Wounds Opened Eternity Ch. 4; 3
Stepping Out for Christ Ch. 9,
Tender Times for Timely Truth Ch. 8 (in perspective), see also *1,
DVA 6, Highway to Hell
Divine Agenda Chs. 6, 3 (an overview of religious truancies, including Marx, Darwin and Koran);
Highway to Hell (Koran citations in both, with ideational parallels in perspective, in the former; and in the latter, futile depravities in endless ideologies such as Sudan has shown so significantly, Islam ablaze without glory),
cf. Overflight in Christ Ch. 1 (and the Koran's musings);
1493 (esp. Britain and sharia);
News 138, Beauty for Ashes Chs. 4, 7
BARBLISS 5, Acme ... Ch. 9 ,
Great Execrations ... Ch. 3,
SMR p. 1O88D - three major religions in some ways in concert, astray.
News 138, Beauty for Ashes Chs. 4, 7, SMR pp. 1074ff., esp. 1079, 1081ff.
(These latter show this religion, with the other three major conspiracies towards the ultimate - why conspiracies ? It is because men conspire, or breathe plans together for a control, rule or oversight not ordained by God: these are breaths of man, and the breath that matters is that of God, in and by which all scripture is inspired by Him (II Timothy 3:16, Isaiah 8:20), in the Book of the Lord (Isaiah 34:16), the Bible, and sustained and implemented by Him (Matthew 26:54ff.). Other ideas for rule are always unruly, since they always tend to use power for what neither reason nor truth compels.).
See also SMR pp. 822ff., 986ff., 1O88D.
See Errors and Sects, for example, with SMR Ch. 8 as marked. See also SMR pp. 867ff..
See The Pitter-Patter of Prophetic Feet Ch. 1 for a considerable coverage of Mystery Babylon and arresting verses in Revelation 17. For convenience of reference in one site, it is given below.
SOBER REVELLING IN THE REVELATION OF JOHN
(Advertiser, p. 26, July 23, 2001)
In Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4, we considered some of the thrilling majesties of the word of God in Revelation 13-14. Now we have more scope to ponder more data and detail in that writing from God as, like an aeroplane in an atmosphere of sunny brilliance, we survey a landscape not of space, but of time, former time.
That is, it is was long ago that the picture was given; but it is NOW that it is exhibited. No more in mere portraiture, as on the wall of some Celestial Art Gallery (the word of God, which exhibits truth), now it is to be seen on the rural landscape itself. It is happening.
No more do the figures merely feature a tableau, a vignette; we see them actually move. This is not unnerving, since God is like that. He tells the end from the beginning (Isaiah 46:10). One has just to learn that this is the way that it is, part of the wonder of life. It is NOT any part of the wonder of mere biological life, physiological life, life in flesh; it is part of the wonder of life which is seated in the class-room of God, willing to be educated by Him, who has spoken, and now conveys His message in the laboratory of history, with as much detail as you care to find!
Let us then return to Revelation 13, having studied it somewhat in the Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4, and bearing in mind what we learned in that chapter, via the hyperlink above.
We shall be looking at verses 5, 6 and 7 in the overall context which was developed in Ch. 4 and is now to be background as more of the island of Patmos vision is scrutinised.
REVELATION 13, Verse 5: the SCOPE of Babylon
‘Babylon’, as shown before and seen in SMR pp. 946ff., is of course Rome.
As also shown in Ch. 4 as above, and in SMR pp. 729 as well as in Biblical Blessings Ch.2, it is far more than that. It is however decidedly Rome which has this geographical indication. It is assuredly Rome which is depicted on its 7 hills. Yet it is a MYSTERY. This aspect too, we have seen, announces itself concerning the ACTUAL Babylon, the city condemned in Jeremiah 50-51as in Isaiah 14, in the gravest terms; for its obscene spiritual lust and self-confidence, its religious arrogance and intrusion, profusion and contusion was in its own day*1, already proverbial.
We recall of course Nebuchadnezzar and his golden statue commanded to be worshipped (Daniel 3); Belshazzar and his wanton use of the captured Jewish temple gold and silver utensils, for a pagan banquet, and the famed writing on the wall, by the hand that traced the destiny of doom apportioned to his reign, which came with undisturbed speed, and unexpected ease (Daniel 5).
We remember the daring of making a mere man an object of worship, and their result! (Daniel 4); with the fostered follies of subjecting the very symbols of truth, torn from the Temple, to other uses, and to making the very things that stood for the mercies and ways of God, the dumb monuments to sacrilegious harassment, even to the point of defiling such symbols as if they were merely for the abuse of common minds in deplorable idolatry, the gods of nature (Daniel 5:4). In this way, the King and his guests on that occasion were very like those bodies, still somehow called churches, which openly worship 'nature' , personifying it and giving it wit and foresight quite often, as if any God that was there, was lurking in the shadows, perhaps only to pleased to be acknowledged at all.
Nor is this all. The same, as we shall shortly see, DV, is true of the way in which MORALS, the nature of morals, is made a community derivative, just as life is made a nature derivative, in stark contradiction of all reason, in allied desecration of truth. This too is being found in ‘church’ bodies.
(Cf. Little Things Ch. 5, Things Old and New Ch. 9,
Divine Agenda Ch. 7,
Ancient Words : Modern Deeds Ch.13,
Tender Times for Timely Truths Ch. 11,
Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 13,
Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming ... Chs. 4 and 5,
Repent or Perish Chs. 2 and7.)
Not to repeat these things but now to notice the prophetic intimacies in their midst, like orchids amid a bower of oaks by a living stream, is our current intention. The point is simply this, as we move at this time, that the CURRENT situation on morals and gods, is very like that in the days of Nebuchadnezzar, that first of the list of successive empires prophetically noted in advance by Daniel in Chs. 2, 7 and 8 (cf. Biblical Blessings Chs. 2, 6, SMR pp. 886ff., Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 87, *1). Further, that which was predicted is now actual, and what is more, what is to follow rushes like hungry dogs, at the heels.
This Empire of Babylon, the literal one, the one which has even contributed its name to the phenomenon for which it held such fame, is then in these cardinal respects just like our own day, but in one element there is more to come, before the mirror is complete. There is an obvious contemporary effort to make just ONE name to overcome the ignominy that resulted from the wounded character of the Roman Empire (noted in Revelation 13:3). This is in the direction that mirrors and extends the impact of the information given in Daniel 2, concerning this last of the 4 empire 'beasts'. There in Revelation we find that the fatal wound is healed when the end comes.
Indeed, the healing of 13:3 becomes a ground for the idolatrous rejoicing of the people in the beast, found in 13:4-5.To this hideous feature we shall return; but the UN, European Union, Unification of Religions program, Earth Charter, World Council of Churches, International Court of Justice in The Hague, and the like are all looking as President Bush I (George) declared, for a New World Order.
In THAT day of Babylon itself, of old, the ONENESS to be found lay in this, that the EMPIRE ruled. It spat or spoke and it was to be done.
What however was the case with the fourth Empire of Daniel's lists in Chs. 2 and 7, the last Empire in the select list watching the highway to the End ? What of that which was to rule when the first three were no more : the Babylonian, Persian-Median and the Greek (with Alexander the Great from Macedonia) with its evil flower in Antiochus Epiphanes ? What was to ensure when that lavish outpouring from hell had done its task, found its rebuke and the world rolled on a while ?
It is Daniel 8 which gives the specialisation on Antiochus Epiphanes (cf. Ancient Words : Modern Deeds Ch. 10), in that quadrant formed in Syria, of the broken Grecian Empire, resulting from the division of Alexander's Empire. It is however a new thing which comes last (cf. Daniel 7:7-8), of calamitous strength, ferocity and trampling power; and that historically is the ROMAN EMPIRE, which conforms to all the predictions of Daniel perfectly, just as does the death date of the Messiah (SMR pp. 886ff., 943, Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 87, End-note 1), and indeed every datum whatsoever.
Amidst the fulfilments, there was to be a PROBLEM, to use the US usage, not with the prophecy, but for the Empire itself. This too is predicted. What was that problem ? It was a certain weakness, a fragility, a degree of brokenness (expanded in the Septuagint rendering) , an imperial datum found in Daniel 2:42, which gives the same scenario in a vertical format, not there in successive 'beasts', but instead in the changing nature of the head to toe specifications for a statue. In that case, going down is the mode of going on in history! Yes, as the point is expressed in Revelation 13:3, it is a mortal wound which it would long wear: from Daniel, it becomes a very phase of its nature.
What is the fulfilment of this, and what is this fourth imperial characteristic found to be, now that history has happened ?
It is this. When Rome fell in 410 A.D., having already sought to adopt Christianity in the days of Emperor Constantine in the preceding century, something from which the next Emperor, Julian the Apostate had himself turned, it was still the site of a religion: both that of Rome and of Christ. The former, Rome’s old pagan religion, had a high priest and a sacrifice, and in time, the official deviance about the Roman version of Christianity, which meant having one bishop above all the rest, as Gregory I rightly termed antichristian (cf. SMR p. 914), this was brought into that official perversion of truth, that was to become Roman Catholicism, rightly Roman, but wrongly Catholic.
Catholic was PRECISELY was it was not, by virtue of its name and its pretension. For Rome’s version of Christianity, the mass sacrifice in time became what the papal (or high priestly) idea also exhibited, mere conformity to paganism, irreformable distortion of Christianity which has of both, ONLY one, and that one, ONLY divine with NO admixture of anything of sin, anything of the fleshly contrivances of man, being deity, God manifest. As a sacrifice, it is ONLY past, done ONLY ONCE and done by none but Him whose status is that of the Eternal God, without beginning or end, incarnate in the flesh, who does it of Himself, and at the hands of no man (Hebrews 1-10, John 10 cf. SMR pp. 1042-1088H).
This new POWER of militancy in religion, anomalously calling itself Christian, was for all that inadequate. It lapsed and lagged. The Empire of the West, fell in 410 A.D.. That of the East did likewise in 1453. Meanwhile, in the 8th. Century A.D., the Franks took up the new unity under Peppin and Charlemagne as the first millenium grew older; but this was not ROME, where the bishop of ROME lived and had his arrogant being. There was a mortal wound in the imperial structure, accordingly.
Even though it was soon to declare UNAM SANCTAM (q.v.), asserting his right to rule all churches AND princes, the papacy was still not self-sufficient, even as a wholly worldly enterprise, LIKE BABYLON, using religion with great freedom, and combining many things profane with those better. It had to DEPEND on an EMPEROR, not of Rome, now, since that was "wounded" (Revelation 13), and the city had successfully been invaded by Goths, Visigoths and Vandals.
The TENSION between pope and emperor was one of the gravely comic phenomena of the Middle Ages, sometimes called the investiture contest. YOU do not get crowned without ME, says the Pope. YOU do not get obedience from your people if I tell them you are a heretic, storms the Pope. This uneasy tension ruined the devilish advocacy of ONE WORLD without God, run by men in the NAME of religion. Not merely was there tweedledum, there was also tweedledee. It was a bifurcation, unstable and insecure. It did much evil, but under various forms of duress and uncertainty.
It is this which is to be "healed", this deadly wound to the very imperial character of empire, aspiring to rule the world (as with Rome EXPLICITLY and CLEARLY and without apology), as is predicted to occur in Revelation 13:3. It took over one and one half millenia for this healing, and it is what is coming quickly now (cf. SMR pp. 720ff..) The irony for Rome itself, of course, is that the healing is also to be a ruin; for depicted in Revelation 17 as the harlot on the back of the beast, vaingloriously adorned in her ceremonies and ‘beauty’, is the fact that the beast with its various kings will grow weary of the harlot, indeed actually ‘hate’ her, and spoil and burn her. The fire appears in Revelation 18 with the appropriate emotions for such an end to such a being as the harlot had become.
The Babylon phenomenon however continues, ex-harlot, with ‘pure’ beast (cf. Revelation 17:11). The BEAST HIMSELF is the last integumental, basic exposition. It is no longer that king, this or that neck, head: now the beast does it in person. This of course is wholly agreeable with the ‘man of sin’ in II Thessalonians 2, with the ‘little horn’ of Daniel 7:8 and the antichrist of I John 2:18.
In other words, the harlot phenomenon, this ‘lady’ of uncertain morals whose pleasure has been to wallow in the blood, indeed drink it, of the slain saints, she is an additive of some force and long continuance; but she goes before Babylon, Mystery Babylon is quite done. The kings have "one hour" with the beast, before the beast’s own time comes. There is a fling before the finish. The harlot was serviceable for the kings (in that, figuratively, they had "committed fornication" with her, thus combining their various passions for power and rule in different dimensions, the secular, the spiritual). This she is no more. The beast will ‘go it alone’.
The end of the PROBLEM for the fourth kingdom is thus the introduction to the end of the 4th kingdom itself! Its clay and iron did not mix (Daniel 2:43).
Thus the SCOPE OF BABYLON is first to be found by considering what Babylon was. It is then seen in what the other empires sought to do, each having various aspirations of a religious kind (Alexander the Great evidently having much spiritual entrancement in Egypt in a religious and formal setting), down to Rome. Rome ravaged Jerusalem under Pompey, again under Titus when Vespasian was Emperor. Later it entirely ruined and made a wrack of the city of Jerusalem, and the slaughter was in the tens of thousands. It used divisions in the carnal and corrupt priesthood of Jerusalem, just as Antiochus Epiphanes had sought to divide the people in his day, and rule in their midst. Communism often uses the same idea.
Since this Roman Empire is the last stated, we see its continuance through Rome to State Established Christianity in the 4th century A.D., to Emperor related Domineering Religion in the Middle Ages, and then to Napoleon and his Concordat with Rome, Hitler and his (cf. SMR p. 906), the European Union and its increasing power, one not yet in any subjection to Rome, except for the Concordats which for so long ruled France and Spain, and for a time Germany.
There is an uneasiness. The Pope is not yet as he was even in the Middle Ages, sitting with some state on the back of the Empire. In fact, however, Europe following the 1957 Treaty of Rome (SMR pp. 732B, 930, Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4), is growing in its flavour and fulness. First an economic venture, as many foresaw, it has increasingly become an historic alliance, a judicial centre, a parliamentary ruler and now an arbiter of many things, not least in the Middle East. It is being established as we have seen, in political, military and financial aspects with the number ten appearing repeatedly in these dimensions, one after the other, as if to nudge us awake, as the pitter-patter of little feet brings the viewers to the scene.
This is as it was to be (Revelation 13: 1, Daniel 7:7-8,20). This is as it is.
What then is included in Mystery Babylon ? First and foremost it is Rome itself, on its seven hills. Let us however, add the extract below to SMR p. 729, as we consider its full, overall, spiritual, persistent SCOPE over time, even though it is in Rome it ends and has had it these millenia as to TYPE and SUMMIT. Thus, in Biblical Blessings Ch. 2, pp. 24ff., the matter is covered and is here extracted:
EXCERPT FROM BIBLICAL BLESSINGS Ch. 2
SINCE Babylon is a "MYSTERY" (Revelation 17:5), this means it has a rich symbolic and actual depth in its connotation. In fact, as you see in Jeremiah 51, esp. 33ff., and Isaiah Chs.13-14, 47, there is a horror of a spiritual harlot about her, a wicked and cruel minx: indeed, a hollow self-hallowed lust and arrogance garlands this empire and its pretensions, with all its idols and its complacency. From this it gains its symbolic significance. Further, this above all: Babylon had arisen to slaughter and seize Judah, demolish the temple, disperse its people for 70 years; until Cyrus would release them; and it showed much cruelty in the process. Was this not deserved by Judah ? Certainly. Does this however make Babylon, the "judge", immune from judgment for the manner of her own actions ? Far from it.
Listen to Jeremiah 51:49: "As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon the slain of all the earth shall fall."
"My people, " says the Lord (Jeremiah 51:45-46), "go out of the midst of her, and let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the Lord, and lest your heart faint, and you fear for the rumour that will be heard in the land." Is it not so similar to the language of John in Revelation 18:4, concerning the false pseudo-Christian mix, at the end of the Age!
Thus, to return to base in Jewish history: Babylon so self-assured, is to become a base for a multitudinous slaughter; the very complexity and cosmopolitan character of this city of seizures, this place of many nations, will become the epitaph of a vast slaughter of many, when she falls (Isaiah 47:5-11). Let us hear the word of the Lord:
"Sit silent, and get into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for you shall no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.
" I was wrath with my people, I have polluted my inheritance, and given them into your hand: you showed them no mercy; upon the ancient have you very heavily laid your yoke.
"And you said: 'I shall be a lady for ever': so that you did not lay these things to your heart, neither did you remember the latter end of it. Therefore hear now this, you who are given to pleasures, who dwell carelessly, who say in your heart, 'I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children'.
"But these two things shall come to you in a moment in one day, the loss of children and widowhood: they will come on you in their perfection for the multitude of your sorceries, and for the great abundance of your enchantments.
"For you have trusted in your wickedness: you have said, 'None sees me'. Your wisdom and your knowledge, it has perverted you; and have said in your heart, 'I am, and none else beside me'. Therefore shall evil come to you; you will not know from where it rises... and desolation shall come on you suddenly, which you will not know."
It proceeds to speak of
"your sorceries, in which you have laboured from your youth":
which will prove no help; and of her being
"wearied in the multitude of your counsels",
"Let now your astrologers, the stargazer, the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you..."
(cf. Jeremiah 10:11 - "The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth shall perish from the earth and from under these heavens.")
Yes, from earliest days in her career has Babylon been like this, imaging and imagining and restless religiously.
The incredible and appalling horror is Babylon's daring to so act against the people of the Lord. As she was universal in religious expression and stately worldliness, so a world of destruction would centre in her when her time came. Judgments by her and upon her mount to a carnage unspeakable, one in which the main sacrilege is spiritual, the slaughter of the children of God.
BABYLON "the mystery", as specified in Revelation 17, obviously must include, incorporate and specially feature the SPIRITUAL realities which GOD is decrying, and these are they. They may be of a TYPICAL character, so that there are developments and accretions: surely that is the whole point. It is a spirit of action, a manner of life and a way of dealing BOTH with the people of God and with the things of GOD which matter here. Of the former, it is bitter persecution and destruction. Of the latter, it is wild casualness, a sort of pseudo-spiritual spree without concern. Organise it and you have 'Babylon', equipped with a past and ... a present., a hub and an evil inspiration.
And does not Babylon, in spirit as in name remind one of the folly of Babel *1 from the first: of the whole spirit of pretension and self-motivated power, awry, out of alliance with God, and in derogation of His dominion! Indeed, this takes us back to Cain with his frowning fury about the rebuke from the Lord, and his failure to see the right way, while persecuting to the death his brother who did!
ALL murder is from evil, and its source in the end is always spiritual; and its essence is defiling life with the power of man in despising of the power of God. Some may be less conscious of this; some more; but the spirit back of it is this.
With this, however we must add the point that the phrase "all who were slain in the earth" is used in context, and doubtless it is in the sense of its climate and context: How does this list in Revelation start ? It is like this: "In her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints." It would seem most likely that the slot, venue, approach of the chapter is such that, as with the list itself, it is in the specifically RELIGIOUS aspect that we are dealing; the prophets and saints are the heading and the "all" are the rest of THEIR KIND, the religious kind who are in view. The fact that this is nearly a quotation from the historical Babylon case in Jeremiah 51:49 greatly emphasises this point. If "worms" are our topic, "all the slain" is not likely to include magpies. A seductive, squalid spirit demeaning to God is in view. The religiously slain are found in this corner of the cemetery, or, to change the figure: in this massif of deadly interment, soaring like a black rock into tempestuous skies.
1. Babylon then refers not only to Roman Catholic Rome, but by the metaphor or metonymy of the 'mystery Babylon', to the whole counter-godly, counter-covenantal spirit typified by Babylon's inclusiveness and worldliness, along with it. The thrust and force of the 'mystery' Babylon term is this (cf. SMR 1031C). Here is its origin, its zenith, focus and heart of shame, its growth and its vainglory all magnificently put together.
2. Let us now apply this to Revelation 18:24 in more detail.
Thus three items are important here. First is the generic sense in which murder expresses an arrogating of God's prerogatives over what is His. Second is the point that it is an anti-God pretension, reaching crisis and international proportions at epochs of history with which Babel-Babylon are richly related. Third is the consideration that it is the specifically religious area which is the placement of the verse, and even of the list which is completed in this way. It would therefore seem that this has several values for us.
First then, it helps us to reflect on the source of all murder, a religious exaltation against the Lord in terms of muddled and conscience and muddied spirit. The second aspect is this: that the ultimate spirit back of murder is anti-God; for it is pretension as if it were our own, of what are His proprieties and properties. The third is this: the list in view is in a religious chapter dealing with religious deviationism, the list itself, moreover, being placed in a religious setting, a series of "prophet" and "saint" (4), while even more emphatically, it is derived historically from an even more explicit list of religious dimensions primarily, in Jeremiah (5). Thus, with these five constraints, it would seem rather obvious that in the end, the point is this.
ALL slain in the earth, following along the lines of prophet and saint, all whose lives are lost for religious reasons, be they called what you will, be their specialty what it may be - king, priest, young person in the Old Testament or servant in the New, whatever - these are the casualties of a spirit of antichrist. This, whether at times more extensive or more temporary in its self-exhibition, kills what stands in its libidinous and unrighteous way. Any generic spread over the field of murder, has this basis, first before all.
- That spirit in turn is epitomised, historically illustrated and consummated in a Babylonesque spirit, manner and spiritual deportment. Its antecedents are to the first.
THAT crass spirit, again in turn, is concentrated as history draws near to its epoch of divine, universal judgment: in Rome the city of seven hills, as shown in Revelation 17-18. IN this setting, and emphasising the spiritual basis, with express regard to express religious persecution however, there are in view the religious slain, the front line of all slain, where the spirit back of it is made most manifest.
3. Attacking God, it attacks His servants. Derogating God, it dismisses His servants. Its source, in the field of religion, known or not to the perpetrator, is this: that same barren envy, or self-glorification, or erection of false religious precepts or thoughts - and what more fertile in this, than atheists by mere assumption and presumption! For that deluded approach is a barren self-contradiction, affecting to know all, from no base: symbols and myths, rife but unrecognised, can thus be there the more lordly yet; while its creed is implicitly a religious one, by the omniscient grounds of its exclusion of what it would simply supplant with imperious disdain - a wallowing waywardness.
Found epitomised in Babylon, it was earlier illustrated at Babel, as again in countless examples through Old Testament history in the field of idolatry, and of folly incalculable against the Lord, leading to liberties all but illimitable, against man.
And what more? Why this: this same serpentine track of disaster and disregard, such as found in Hitler's Europe, in Cambodia and Vietnam and Mao's China as in Congo and Yugoslavia, Lenin and Stalin's Russia has much diversity; but it is sourced in an enduring and ancient regime founded in Babylon and formalised throughout much of our Age, in ROME. There it has its canons, its principles, its claims FORMULATED EXPLICITLY both as to the arrogance of the popes and the death to be served on those who disagree with this spiritually insane incapacity to see the difference between the Christ who said, "Call no man master, for one is your master, even Christ," on the one hand, and on the other... themselves, neither creator nor sinless!
The spiritual man, said Hosea (9:7) , of such things, is mad! The very prophets of this delusion are unbalanced, putting God in the outward tray, and delusive divinities made of imagery and misplaced mental enterprise on the inward. It is a madness of spirit which has led man to beleaguer and to hate and send to hell or to the gas chamber his fellow man in countless millions, while characteristically PREENING himself on his wonderful (in the end, religious) ideology, his control or insight or pragmatic brilliance or whatever.
4. ROME has it all: it sums it up. It reaches this acme, the perfection of folly in this, that all this is DONE IN THE NAME OF THE ONE
A) WHO SAID, "MY KINGDOM IS NOT OF THIS WORLD. IF MY KINGDOM WERE OF THIS WORLD, MY SERVANTS WOULD FIGHT SO THAT I SHOULD NOT BE DELIVERED INTO THE HANDS OF THE JEWS; BUT NOW MY KINGDOM IS NOT FROM HERE" - John 18:36, and
B) WHO laid down His life to save others.
Is greater usurpation possible, greater plagiarism, and since the name is that of God on earth as man, greater presumption and apostasy ? IF this is the fruit, then Babylon is the root.
If Babylon is its base, Rome is its face for contemporary consideration, as the End typhoon proceeds to its day. What then of ROME?, and its famous religion ?
They who slaughtered the elect with torture and fire, and
who have never yet formally condemned the popes
who were most notable in the hundreds of years of such
as in the Yugoslavian religious slaughters,
famous events of World War II:
these are thus inheritors of the follies of their fathers,
in the way Christ spoke of the Jews of His generation,
in the coruscating flashes of Matthew 23:34-35.
Thus ROME realises Babylon*2 as nothing else does. In this, other attempts in the pathology of Babylon, are but juniors. HERE lies its bloom of all boldness.
Nevertheless, while Rome is the site of the condemnations of Revelation 17-18, the "MYSTERY" dictates to us that we realise it is merely an embodiment extraordinaire of the spirit of Babylon, of the history of Babylon, which is itself a spirit which has appeared since the world began, at Cain, at Babel; and it will itself be surpassed when the harlot, overthrown by the Beast, who lets her ride him till her job is done, has the quintessential beast get on with the job to Armaggedon following his little rule, the "one hour with the beast" that is to be accorded to the kings who rule at the end (Revelation 17:12-14).
WHAT THEN IS THE ESSENCE OF "BABYLON" -
OLD, AND WITH NEW FACE ?
The essence of 'Babylon'?
It is a turpid spirit of torpitude, its engines of assertive action
in marked contrast to the deadness of its life ...
the morbid decay of its ideology,
the forsaken character of its misplaced worship ...
and the virulence of its perspective.
Alike to be contrasted is the dehumanising degradation
of its disastrous drift
into the multitude of substitutes for God,
putting its little goddies to bed:
and the rigours with which it puts its victims to a violent ... rest.
In its downfall, God will not rest, having given it its head, and to its power all opportunity for a demonstration of wisdom or grace or goodness. Of these it has none, and of destiny with God, it has none. Its emptiness will be evacuated in the heaven that God fills. Its downfall on earth will be accomplished in marked drama. Its final quintessence will be as warranted beyond question, in a terminus of that worst of all contempts, the divinely and ultimately deserved one. Here are two grounds: it fell and it refused to rise, even to the mercy and at the mercy of God; and indeed, it defiled that mercy and misused that goodness for its own evil ends to the uttermost.
So dies, so lies Babylon. As Cyrus delivered as the Lord directed, the Jews from such a place, so Christ delivers the Christians, not in part, but in all, spiritually and eternally from the lie that city typifies, and Rome concentrates to its supreme pitch, before the end leaves all temporising apart, and the devil's messiah comes undressed and public at last.
Blessed indeed are those who flee out of her, out of Rome her paragon, out of the World Council of Churches her handmaid, out of similar pretensions and follies. Blessed are those who obey the word, COME OUT OF HER! as Revelation 18:4 instructs, and have rest in the purity of Jesus Christ: not wrestling with the casuistries of the lady to whom the nations stream, the ideologies run and in whom the blasphemies arise, like a covering that can be continued only till the time is ripe.
(Cf. Genesis 15:16. "The cup of the Amorites is not yet full", the Lord disclosed. This meant in practice that the time by which God would bring them to judgment, having allowed in mercy all opportunities, would wait until grace was satisfied and the lessons displayed. Nothing is judged before the time; but when the time comes, nothing escapes, except in the mercy of Christ received without admixture.)
There are however many misleading trails by the way, which entice and can confuse, which do not luxuriate in anything like the pagan glamour with which we have just been concerned. Liberty is not merely from proud and potent oppressors; it is even from what perhaps with good-intentions weaves a web which traps pilgrims and delays or even frustrates their flight to the land which is very far off. The next clue to blessing is an avoidance of philosophy when it comes from this or that quarter, direction or sea of surging assurance; in the interests of the pure milk and meat of the word of God - without assistance.
END OF EXCERPT
This ROME, yes and MYSTERY OF BABYLON epitomised and culminated in Rome, before its downfall (for the woman is detested in the end by the very political and military powers which so often and so grossly desired her in the more than one millenium of her rampage with royalty - Revelation 17:13-16): this, like a leech, is full of blood. Yes, she is drunk with it, we read in Revelation 17:6. Even in her consummation in Roman Catholicism itself, she is sponsor of a veritable river, flowing not from the Cross but from the penal power executed ON Christ, in the persons of His slain disciples - to name no more, on the people of Christ who Himself forbore the devil's offer of the glory of the kingdoms of this world, on his terms: that same persecutory insistence on this world's ways, and those of the prince of it (John 14:30), against those of the kingdom of heaven.
Consider merely St Bartholomew's Day, that splendid scene of royal treachery on the very eve of a (scripturally forbidden ) Roman Catholic-Protestant marriage. As Professor Boettner relays (p. 428, Roman Catholicism), 50,000 is an averaging estimate of the slaughter in France of "Huguenots" or French Protestants in that riotous regaling in murder as a matter of scale, like vertically downward skyscrapers, hell-scratchers. Te Deums of praise were ordered by Pope Gregory XIII in the light of this splendid 'victory'. Cardinal Ursini was sent to convey felicitations to the Queen Mother of that notorious name, Catherine de Medici. A Medallion was struck for the wonder of it all, making it the more famous, which depraved in morals, hit the base of all depravity.
Hundreds of thousands fled from the tender nurture of Romanist France of that day.
SO did the Papal representative on earth, of Jesus Christ, to use his self-naming, care for the sheep, yes the lambs, yes despise the kingdoms of this world, yes fulfil in its own inverted way, the word, "My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then would My servants fight ... But now My Kingdom is not from here" - John 18:36.
Each death has a multiplier.
Thus, it leads to death in flight, in impoverishment in the Inquisition's method of grabbing the wealth of those it condemned, to deprivation or death
- by disease of dependents of the martyrs, in consequence,
- by starvation,
- by social ostracism,
- by lack of work,
- by denial of work,
- by lack of care for the sick, stricken rather than succoured, in successive pursuits and evil imaginings;
- in consequential or provoked wars (as indicated in Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4 and SMR pp. 916ff., 950ff., 968ff.),
- in incitation to war, as in medieval assaults and radical slaughter in the South of France,
- to need for war as in the overcoming of Hitler, installed by Rome and fostered for so long by it, congratulated in the time of his power and not at all condemned,
- in seditions and embassages, leading to complexities and confusions, fears and apprehensions, combinations to resist, and
- in spurious sparrings as dangers came, with papal diplomacies appealing now to this, now to that nation or power, for this or that purpose.
As recently as World War II (Boettner op.cit. p. 436), it is estimated that 70,000 to 80,000 JEWS were killed or forced to flee (add multiplier effect especially in Hitler's Europe) when the awful day of the man to become (after being condemned internationally as a war criminal) Cardinal Stepinac, as part of the authoritative structure of murder in the State of Yugoslavia, came to its dire dawning; while it is estimated that 100,000 Orthodox Serbians were killed, including children; and chilling is the indication of Romanist involvement at the priestly level, in such works of research as Monica Farrell's Ravening Wolves (cf. the Roman newspaper of that day, SMR p. 952, where bullets were to be clearly 'understood' sermons).
Stepinac in a pastoral letter declared, Boettner advises, that "244,000 Serbs had accepted (forced) conversion to Roman Catholicism" , making the non-acting pope well informed. Each of these 'conversions' allied to the multiplied murders, was an invasion, a degradation, an assault on the soul, a murder of the spirit, a humiliation for the family, acting in a situation where Christ has indicated that to be angry with your brother without a cause is near to damnation. What then is damning him, as far as force permits, then, and mutilating his family, conscience, body, wealth, position, posts and the like ?
The number eaten up in these ways in many inquisition infected nations is in the millions beyond thought!
As Boettner also notes, the Inquisition did its terrible mutilating and destroying task with dreadful efficiency in Italy (where at the time of his writing there was estimated to be about a 1 to 161 ratio of Protestant to Romanist, and where State law required that what was deemed 'insulting' to the papacy, could lead to prison terms, even then!). So was the case likewise in that defamation of Christianity which occurred in the mutilation of Spain, under such as Torquemada, ever honoured in the annals of infamy, in a country with an estimated 30,000 not Romanist at his day, giving Spanish Protestants what is estimated at around 0.035% of the population in the1960s.
The evil grasping which sought to defame and arrest Luther in Germany, was a world seeking power which working in its endless seeming contrivings and intrigues, induced resistance as in the 30 years war which ravaged Germany (1616-1648), at length embroiling Europe even to Scandinavia. State and Romanist religion alike worked their terrible deeds of slaughter or 'conversion' in the Old World, or the New, as amidst Incas and Aztecs; and where did not her tentacles stretch, drawing blood ? What does it say of the harlot of the 7 hills, to use Biblical terminology ? This: "I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marvelled with great amazement" - Rev. 17:6.
The reformation in England is alight with the stories of her terrors, and her claim to world rule induces and produces, like magnetic fields from an approaching magnetic pole, resistance and opposites so that its destablilising and resistance production continually leads to devastation and consternation; and indeed, as in the papally blessed Crusades, this insistent, persistent rummaging and rampaging for territory, when that of Christ was a Cross, not a slaughter, makes of this Biblically designated "harlot" , the queen of Mystery Babylon, not only in numbers of victims, but in the manner of it, indeed "drunk with the blood of the saints". Moreover, even more than that, she has "committed fornication with the kings of the earth" so that her exploits for gain, glory and power have reached to the farthest recesses of infamy, not sparing the saints, not caring to limit her atrocities but extending the outreach of her false morals, casuistries and concordats to the limits of darkness.
This is here 'finest hour'. Yet reaching back into all the hinterland of "Mystery Babylon " and all its allies and typifications, its exemplifications and ramifications - for it is ultimately a spirit, just as it is in this world, a thing centred thing in Rome but with a long imperial projection before it - there is all the preliminary blood. Drunk ? Yes, she does not know when to stop drinking. It is a strange liquor, though, the blood of the saints (just as it is a costly indulgence - Revelation 6:9ff.).
Elements needing meditation
So the world lurches to -
- RELIGION and STATE (Rome intractably, with parallels for a time in Great Britain, though here with much liberty) in infamous combination;
- STATE MINUS RELIGION as in Communism, though as noted so often before, this is really a religion in itself, masquerading as a non-religion, and forcing itself on the people very much in the papal style, but more anonymously (cf. Beauty of Holiness Ch. 4);
- STATE PLUS RELIGIONS as in the Russell Report (Lead us Not into Educational Temptation), and Auguste Comte, in South Australia's disastrous religious pre-occupation at State level (That Magnificent Rock, Ch. 8), in Babylon and in Rome of old: except that in Emperor Worship, it came, as did Japan as World War II approached, to be pre-occupied with just one religion, its own glory.
This is one of the most direct of all forms of Babylon's virus. Every time someone wants this world to be ruled in a good, or a Christian or a sensible way, the takers from Rome, Communism, Statism, Eclecticism, seem poised to intrude, perhaps with compromise in order to GET POWER. The world shudders in memory (to the extent the current pre-occupation with RECENT THOUGHT permits historical surveys of what has been done in times long past, in religion, education and politics, taken rationally as a study); and in its unsettlement, it looks for what Henri Spaak of Common Market fame, called a leader, be he god or devil (cf. SMR p. 683).
At least they know what they are looking for, or some do; and it is assuredly to be found - a very orchid of evil. It is being looked for by many secularists, men of this world; but it is predicted by that ultimately spiritual declaration of power, the word of God. One man ? Just a man, but not a just man, this time. They murdered the Just One (Acts 3:14), but they will acclaim the unjust, "the man of sin" of II Thess. 2.
Yes, there is the rub, and the friction is coming constantly, swiftly and fatally to the resolution of the devil. The world conceives increasingly that it MUST have an apparently NON-enforced, but actually enforceable religious base, to give direction, correction, cohesion and unity. It must get it by guile, as is being done in Victoria (whether or not the politicians themselves realise the name of the very game they are playing! for the devil is very subtle and can appeal, like an angel of light, to ostensibly good motives for evil - II Cor. 11, amongst those not wary). The UN is truly magnificent at this level, for it would be hard to improve on its delusive plausibility (cf. The Other News Appendix 1).
Rome of course will go as predicted in Revelation 17, and predicted as to METHOD of going, first in Rev. 17:16 and then in DETAIL in Rev. 18. It is fire, sudden and total.
In terms of the developing spirit of the Age, she is too 'difficult' to 'sell' now, with her birth control in flagrant violation of what secularists want in population control, and her non-woman priesthood and non-marriage status of priests, clearly a total flop in synthesis. The world wants sex freely and woman anywhere, irrespective of any specialisation. The LAST thing it wants is dictation that men must be kept from it, whatever it is, and women must be lesser in authority in the church, than men; yes in any religion. Rome is predicted to fall, catastrophically, suddenly and astonishingly.
Let us however revert to one of her troubles, her masculine-feminine program. In fact, the Bible has a highly delightful answer (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri 10, 11), but Rome does not follow this; while what Rome does follow is not only not commonsensical, it is increasingly being exposed as a monstrous imposition, unnecessary and not working in its setting, as far as the requirements of the male priesthood are concerned. Popularist desires for feminist advance, men having warred too much and children having been shown anything but angels when glorified as gods: this is merely one thing that will not stay with Rome.
As to Rome, moreover, her appalling record in the allied matter of life and death is also eloquent right into this century. WHY USE HER AT ALL ? comes the thought of the 'beast'! She is to be dumped. The ideological mood and movement of our century is pointing that way; the Scripture two millenia ago, predicted it likewise.
So it was written; so it goes; and soon will be gone.
Mystery Babylon USES religions, but in the end, WILL NOT be dictated to by any; though it uses many. That is its name. That is the prediction; this is the lunge of this Age likewise. It is coming. Rome has long dabbled with many religions, making 'peace' with Buddhist or Orthodox in high profile gestures, with the Dalai Llama and so on (cf. A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 16) and works now more and more openly in the World Council of Churches, recently taking a full part in a significant meeting.
As Rome has played, in Biblical terms, the harlot, so others have the self-same idea. They will go even further, if it be possible, until the man of sin as in II Thess. declares not the RELIGIONS OF MAN, or the major religions of man, or the distillate (in flat self-contradiction) of the religions of man, or the rights of a committee determining from time to time what are the acceptable religions of man, or what is the formal and official version, even, of the RELIGION OF MAN, but HIMSELF to be GOD! There now, there is a unity, its main defect being that it is divorced from unity with the TRUTH. However, since that was long ago abandoned by this world, it has appeal. It will be a climax PAST BABYLON; for Babylon has a mistress, the harlot, and she being dumped: so what then do we find ?
It is this. The kings having been completed in their sevenfold integumental, integral relationship to the beast (Revelation 17:9-11), the BEAST ITSELF BECOMES the FINAL ONE, the eighth.
It is no longer needing a king; it takes Daniel 7's little horn, which simply displaces 3 of the ten 'horns' or direct and contemporaneous kings (perhaps Benelux), and as it were, coming from nowhere, gets everywhere as far as this world is concerned. Thus bypassing rivalries (rather like Jiang Zemin, perhaps, apparently chosen partly because he was not in either major party in the ideology of the Tiananmen debacle), he sits as God in his own eyes, and acts like except in wisdom: that is, he is a hideous caricature and a very icon of blasphemy. He does what he can, verbally in pompous words (Daniel 7:25, Revelation 17:17, 13:5).
In this he is helped by the contemporary equivalent of Hitler's propaganda Ph.D., Dr Goebbels, the second or religious beast (as in Rev. 13:11ff.). He puts on a show, before he must go. Many have done the same. This is the international finale of the day of his power. It is a matter of 'one hour with the beast' (Revelation 17:11). It is all controlled in the end. It manifests the purposes of God, exposes the hearts of evil, illustrates the puny insignificance of the heights of human power, and lends its testimony to eternity.
The reason for the movement from Rome, to the beast,
the more and more apparent end of the matter,
the present trends towards concentration of power in ONE (as in Putin,
in that amazing movement from Yeltsin's successful concentration of
power in the Presidency to Putin's reception of the same! in a condition
now stressing past glory in Russia, flags of Communist and the prior
past the committee harassments and
the inability to agree arising from the fact that truth being displaced,
there IS no agreement:
these things stir.
The word of God is written. They entirely agree.
ONE is to rule, and for a time, will do so.
The Seven Necks or Heads
At this point, we need to be exceedingly clear that while the beast, the 4th of the series of Daniel, in its FINAL FORM (Revelation 17:12), has ten HORNS or eminences, yet it has SEVEN HEADS and presumably seven NECKS. This refers clearly to its essential nature. The ten refer to a simultaneous grouping (again, Revelation 17:12). One, the seven, being of the very build and structure of the beast, aids identification over history; the other, being a mere extrusion, a matter of horns on the head, indicates a stage towards its end.
Let us then consider the indicative seven in more detail, relative to this imposing beast.
WHO could have occupied, or WHAT, this sevenfold role ?
We could say: the 5 Romans Emperors, or their prototype Caesar and they: Caesar, Augustus, Tiberias, Caligula and Claudius (those "past" - Rev. 17:10), with Nero, under whose rule we find in Schaff, History of the Christian Church, Vol. 1, John may have been exiled in Patmos, where he was given to write the book of Revelation, being the one that "now is". But who, then, would be the seventh ? One could say: Nero is the TYPE of the persecution, in essence symbolising it, thus encompassing such emperors as Diocletian and Domitian, and CONSTANTINE is the type of State establishment of the Church (being a non-Christian encompassing of Christian things, clearly forbidden in Matthew 23:8ff.). That is in significant measure what he did, so of this he would be the exponent among Emperors, and one in this company, unique.
This is simple, but seems insufficient in this, that the first five are simple persons, and the last two symbolic types.
Let us then explore a further avenue of understanding, concerning the identity of the seven heads. The eighth to come and the involvement with the beast itself, removes the thought that the identification of the beast would be given in terms which do not identify! There is no special seven completion or consummation or something of this metaphorical kind.
However, if we use the method which those who correspond often tend to do, when they speak in terms UNDERSTOOD BECAUSE OF THE SHARED BACKGROUND of both, then the SCRIPTURE being our background, what would follow ?
Then the Empires sketched in Daniel 7 and 8, being those of BABYLON, PERSIA-MEDIA, GREECE, and ROME come to mind. However, in the Bible, since we are away from the HORNS and into the realm of more essential things, NECKS, we could look for those mainly focussed in spiritual confrontation mode, the Bible's treatment of empires, WITHIN the list given in Daniel 7.
- This, starting with Babylon, given first place in Daniel’s repeated listing, would have to include not only
- (1) Nebuchadnezzar, so famed in his ultra-autonomous assault on religion and his golden statue to be worshipped at State direction, but also
- (2) Belshazzar equally famous in Daniel. His notoriety was for his sacrilegious misuse of the divinely ordained materials in gold taken from the Jewish temple, and consigned to an early fate (Daniel 5), he is ever remembered for the writing by spiritual hand on the wall, of his sentence, his kingdom’s fall, his short-weight in the balance.
We continue with Persia which provides confrontation mode in
- (3) Darius - Daniel 6, tricked into placing Daniel in dark death’s domain in the lions’ den, which like Christ’s tomb, was evacuated in power. Here was the law-girded Empire, with constitutional controls as subversive of right as other modes.
Greece leads (Daniel 8:5-8) to the furious and winged haste , to the triumphalist conquest of of world-beater
- (4) Alexander the Great , followed by the early division of Alexander's Empire with one section a site for
- (5) Antiochus Epiphanes. It is precisely his procedures which occupy a significant part of of Daniel 8.
Antiochus ? His fame was the rape of the temple, the idolatrous addition, his crafty division of the people, intense pre-occupation with the Jews, his subtlety as a religiously affected, power loving grabber who stopped at nothing, and stooped to virtually anything.
That gives us 5 heads, all GONE (as in Revelation 17:10). Augustus (63 B.C. - A.D. 14) would become the leader into dizzy heights of the imperial, utilising the name of his grand-uncle, Caesar, his industrious cultivation of power with protocol becoming the thrust that led to its use without it!
By the time of NERO, this move had reached its full result in imperial persecution of Christians in particular, as a specialty; and it this part of the imperial juggernaut which would of course be suggested as the one which "NOW IS" (Revelation 17:10).
This was the IMPERIAL-PERSECUTION phase.
Since we have been dealing in types of empires, focussed in personal ways, we proceed from
- (6) Augustus, with Nero and all his TYPE , quite consistently, with the persecuting emperors, slayers of Christians like fly swatting housewives, to the next TYPE,
- (7) Constantine.
He appears in terms of his STATE ENDORSED RELIGION idea, one which was short lived, as Julian the Apostate, named because he left Constantine's State religious apparatus and in fact criticised Christianity in barbed writings, was the next Emperor. Thus the one to come, the sixth, in Revelation 17:10, was indeed "for a short time".
So have we considered the necks, or heads which would seem to require these: not mere individuals, but kinds of kings or kingdom powers, imperial assailants and glorifying units, the very essence of the beast. These cover the four kingdoms given, with their extensions on Biblical emphasis grounds, with systematic significance reasons, and so bring to the eighth.
The eighth ? Yes it is THEN that there comes the BEAST ITSELF. This appears in Revelation 17:11, and that has been that long period of utterly beastly rule in the Holy Roman Empire and all the other aspects of concordats and oppressions, European in centre, which has set the tone for Babylon for so long, and is to be the last word until the beast goes yet further in self-identification by removing the harlot, identified as Romanism's very individual contribution (Rev. 17:16), setting about her entire humiliation in burning. Her States, papal states, are gone. Her shadow is cast yet on the city.
Her memory is to be extinguished as seen in Revelation 18.
THAT of course would end the this-worldly prestige of the wealth and wonders of the often stolen and immense riches of Roman Catholicism. So it is written.
But with what sadness of imperial heart, what dislocation of ecclesiastical dominion, the emperors and popes of hundreds of years have suffered loss in their this-world drive. As two, they are divided. How to become... one again, as at the first, before Rome fell in 410 A.D.! This was the question: to be or not to be IMPERIAL and RELIGIOUS, compelling and complete in conquest of this world! We find in Revelation 13 the attainment of this long thwarted dream. The wound, the "deadly wound" to pride and pomp is losing its debilitating force.
The desire of ages of evil comes to its evil flower. It would all, the dross and the devilry, be united in one, a far better imitation, in appalling blasphemy, of God.
It is then (Rev. 13:3) that the deadly wound is at last healed. NO MORE is there a jostling and uneasy truce or combination, here with this battle here with that insult, between the political and the religious parts of ROME'S day. Now what was broken in 410 A.D. with Rome's fall, is at last joined together again. The fourth beast finds its unity - if not its integrity! - at last.
Now, it has ONE rule for religion and State at last, and in full, and with this in its pocket, it proceeds to rule the pockets of the puny persons who are its subjects (Revelation 13:16ff.) with its economic, digital, data bank methods of pervasive knowledge and control. There is no escape in any normative sense. What you buy, sell is GOVERNED. How they watch!
This is why computer knowledge is so crucial to this development, and its relationship to 666 has been considered in SMR pp. 967-968. The knowledge market is flexing its mental muscles, product of that general human thrust noted as to come, in Daniel 12:4, together with the agitated travel wave associated predictively, and actually, with it.
As noted, however , there is not merely a CENTRE in ROME for this development. There is decidedly a SPIRIT of BABYLON which, while eventually to coalesce first with Rome then the beast and at certain times, with both, exhibits the trend of things which MAKE people willing, on the one hand, and SHOW their WILLINGNESS on the other. Willing for what ? For what is to come: one which is not God, posing as if he were. That is what.
Of this broader exemplification of the spirit of Babylon, an excellent example occurs, not only in the fate of the British, in the cases of European Union dictates of an immoral kind (as in Wake Up World! Your Creator is Coming Ch. 3), but in Australia, in a most recent case coming from the Uniting Church. In casuistry Rome has been famous for long, the mental reservation procedure, the ability to break promises because heretics have no rights and such things, have led the way in immoral contrivings, twistings and untruths.
This thing has had a centre, but the centre has a periphery.
The latest scenario ? The Uniting Church's Victorian president has captured large headlines with his sexual scene advice, confirmed in some ways by theologian Andrew Dutty, whose reported view appears to be that there are some improvements in societal change in this realm, former shames at juvenile exploits in the field, as in unplanned pregnancy, no longer being so operative. But the President ? He advises that nowadays the COMMUNITY no longer considers the matter to be compelling, that there is really NO WAY in which pre-marital sex is going to stop. It is not a matter THEREFORE any more of excluding it, of treating it as sinful! (Advertiser, Saturday July 21, 2001). No more will they be called to account in church affairs, for such things.
This well exhibits the trend for the Community to become a sort of secular papacy, its ways and views, as perfectly explicit in the South Australian Bill to control the internet, allied to the Commonwealth initiative in this matter, and the Victorian one to make the feeling of being vilified a criterion for legal penalty, irrespective of motive: all noted in Pall of Smoke and Diamond of Joy Chs. 1 , 3 and 10 , Galloping Events 7, End-note 2, Ancient Words : Modern Deeds Ch. 15. In the former case, the MORAL evaluation of a film or electronic exhibit would be determined by a body whose MANDATE was WHAT the community was deemed to feel, or find or have as values, FROM TIME TO TIME!
Thus there is even in this, our own country, a wildly unrestrained seeming movement into that liberty, so well-known in the 'liberations' of Communism, which acts to annihilate if it were possible, spiritual freedom. Not by any means to ostensible atheism, as there however, but in realms of religious submission to the lordship of the 'community', that invention of imagination without fealty to fact, where man replaces God by his own decrees where it so pleases him, is this trend to prophetic prediction now occurring.
This atrocity of folly, that is to say, making what ought to be a function of what is, or what the word of God has stated in the Bible, dispensable at the word of man, is now finding its way into the Uniting Church in the way expressed by this Victorian President. What is this if not measuring themselves by themselves, and thus not being wise, to use the words of the apostle Paul (II Corinthians 10:12). This then is its Biblical depiction; this is the Biblically predicted direction; and this is our clinical observation of the fulfilment.
Our present concern however is simply the trend. This is the direction of flow of the social lava, erupting ever more fiercely, like Mt Etna (Advertiser, p. 26, July 23), already pushing a "huge wave of magma ... 1 km down the mountainside ... just a few kilometres from the town ... home to 5000 people." Alas the moral departure from the OUGHT because that is the WAY you are made and the WILL of your Creator, to the MAY because this is the will of the creation, is like that. It is heated magma already down the mountainside of society, and threatening not 5000 but 6 billion souls in its declivities, falling down and what is fallen.
This also is covered in prophecy in II Timothy 3, where Paul declares of the "last days" that there will "perilous times", when not only will people be "blasphemers, disobedient to parents", but "unholy, without self-control... lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God"; and here is the time when even professional religionists will mislead others "loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts". So it was to be. So it is. The spirit of Babylon is at home, but it is also abroad, ready for the ready take-over by the 'beast' when Rome is done, and fired. Other fires will remain, that burn forever (Mark 9, Revelation 14:11). What is wrong IS a torment, when repression and suppression, and social expression at last recede, and then reality obtrudes!
Self-control ? "That idea that people should only experience a full sexual relationship when married has gone with the dinosaurs," said the Uniting Church President in Victoria. The interesting point is that there is no mention of a rescue operation, but a statistical adjustment of morals to social statistics. "About 90 per cent of the couples whose marriage ceremonies he had performed were already living together or sexually active ..." he is reported to have indicated.
What then ? For the Lord your God is NOT one Lord, but a distillate of public action, and a monument to social statistics ? (Cf. Lead Us Not into Educational Temptation!) When Israel did this, the word of the prophet Jeremiah is strong, adjoining such liberties with others:
- "Will you steal, murder, commit adultery, swear falsely, burn incense to Baal, and walk after other gods whom you do not know, and then come and stand before Me in this house which is called by My name, and say, 'We are delivered to do all these abominations!' " (7:9-10).
Each one of these divine indictments is a choice piece of reprobation; and here they are joined. God is unimpressed with the use of His name for the will of man. He did not make man to use His design for his own purposes, any more than an aircraft company makes aeroplanes for use as slow moving taxis on the ground, at their option, if they could have it!
Self-assertion is becoming the new sanctity, and social self-assertion one of its distant outreaches. Still not learning that the sovereignty of man over the things of God is mere theft of truth and acquisition without right or wisdom, of what is neither understood nor permits facility to understand in the wilful absence of absolute truth: this is a devastation and a demeaning disaster to man. In these and allied ways, the race continues its decline to the basement of that bottomless pit which discovers for itself ever new depths, agonies and anguish. Still it continues. It is exactly as in Revelation 9:20! Come what will, will will come, and the will of man is anchored to the wind.
The war on the Lamb, on the one hand, and the lamb-like look of the second beast of Rev. 13:11ff. continue towards their predicted climax. Babylon is a centre; the surrounds are becoming far more like her. The spirits from the false prophet are abounding as predicted (Revelation 16:12-16), and going throughout the whole earth as biblically required. They hop like frogs.
Is it not like cane toads, this expression of the frog ?
This is the prognosis; but then, you do not have to have the disease.
So does the word of God find exact fulfilment on the left, the right, in the heights of pretension and in the depths of the mires of depravity, in things sovereign, in things social, in matters ecclesiastical and in affairs secular, in historic trends, and in accelerated action towards the climax to be short when it comes (Revelation 17:12) and sharp (Revelation 18:10, 19:18).
It is not a time to stand on your dignity when Etna erupts. It is time to COME OUT of her, that volcano of corruptive eruption. So here, in Revelation 18:4, we hear "a voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.' " It applies to Romanism itself, but not less to her spawn, parallels, partners in such bodies as the World Council of Churches, indeed to whatever shares the spirit of apostasy and the religious affairs of works, works of the mind, the heart, the hand, to devise other salvations, other gospels, other morals, other gods, be they human (as is the final case noted in II Thessalonians) with pretended powers, or spiritually conceived, like gods on earth, replete with the capacity to die!
The words of Ezekiel 28:9 continue to ring like the vast dome of a high bell:
"WIll you say before Him who slays you,
'I am a god' ?
But you shall be a man and not a god,
In the hand of him who slays you..."
Not only has Rome become the centre, this last millenium of all attributed to her in Revelation 13 and 17, but the world has followed in such ways as in II Timothy 3 and II Peter 2.
History has hallowed the name of God,
- if not in human morals and inventions of the heart, as in the various comically reductionist naturalisms*2 of Darwin, Freud and Marx, together with there intoxicated seeming philosophical mutations, and the mutilated Christianity of papacy and liberal Protestant,
- then in their fulfilment, like willing servants, of all that has been specified in trend and in detail, for this race.
How vile is human racism, how racist this race, that it should allow itself so to defile itself as to seek to become what it is not, and to play the role it has not received: not in the humility of becoming as a little child before the loving heart of God, but as a delinquent with dignity, often religiously robed, as if the role of the second beast were irresistibly attractive, and his victims intoxicated with play acting, role playing, rogue gallery producing, art forms of folly!
Yet it remains true to the end that repentance is the direction (Luke 13:1-3), salvation is the offer (Revelation 22:17, II Corinthians 6:1ff.), deliverance is the opportunity (Matthew 11:28-30), and Jesus Christ, not mutilated all over again in pretence and misuse of His name now, as of His body then, but alive from the dead and evermore, as that Shepherd whom nothing daunts, as that Friend whom nothing diverts. It is He who remains the Rock which never moves (Revelation 1:18, Isaiah 28:16, 32:1-4, Psalm 2, Matthew 7:24ff.).
Stand then on Him, for basis, for belief, for benediction, not on the marshy quicksands of rebellion. Is a disease more attractive when its prognosis is known, and is death with contempt ? Or is an artificial rose to be delighted in, though its smell is at best, only that of paper ?
For allied reading: See Beauty of Holiness Chs. 4 and 8, Ancient Words : Modern Deeds Ch. 14.
*1 Thus in Isaiah 47 you find this unmasking of the mighty city, the vast empire, that paragon and wonder of the earth, in very different terms to its pride (inverted commas added as needed for spacing):
"I was angry with My people;
I have profaned My inheritance,
And given them into your hand.
You showed them no mercy;
On the elderly you laid your yoke very heavily.
"And you said, ‘I shall be a lady forever,’
So that you did not take these things to heart,
Nor remember the latter end of them.
“Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures,
Who dwell securely,
Who say in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one else besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow,
Nor shall I know the loss of children’;
9 But these two things shall come to you
In a moment, in one day:
The loss of children, and widowhood.
"They shall come upon you in their fullness
Because of the multitude of your sorceries,
For the great abundance of your enchantments.
“For you have trusted in your wickedness;
You have said, ‘No one sees me’;
Your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you;
And you have said in your heart,
‘I am, and there is no one else besides me.’
"Therefore evil shall come upon you;
You shall not know from where it arises.
And trouble shall fall upon you;
You will not be able to put it off.
And desolation shall come upon you suddenly,
Which you shall not know.
“Stand now with your enchantments
And the multitude of your sorceries,
In which you have labored from your youth—
Perhaps you will be able to profit,
Perhaps you will prevail.
"You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels;
Let now the astrologers, the stargazers,
And the monthly prognosticators
Stand up and save you
From what shall come upon you.
"Behold, they shall be as stubble,
The fire shall burn them;
They shall not deliver themselves
From the power of the flame;
It shall not be a coal to be warmed by,
Nor a fire to sit before!
"Thus shall they be to you
With whom you have laboured,
Your merchants from your youth;
They shall wander each one to his quarter.
No one shall save you.
THERE you see some of the essential features of Babylon: adding to the disciplines of the Lord in her own frightful and grisly pride, trust in herself, self-affirmation, multitudes of foolish vanities in the name of religion, oppression, heartlessness, empty-headed self-assurance, virtual self-deification, recklessness even to the point of virtual magics and elevations of heart.
Such a TYPE has been chosen by God for His symbol of the Babylon of Revelation 17. The elevations in Romanism in particular, as exposed for example in SMR pp. 1032-1088H, are not of another kind. When you break a speed-limit, the issue is not what you do when you do not break it. It is this: Did you break it ? Much is broken, and much is stored up.
Not in pagan sacrifices, but in ONE ONCE MADE by ONE ONLY, namely Jesus Christ, deliverance by ONE ONLY name, His (Acts 4:11-12), definitive, distinctive, deity itself, is sin to be covered. Trading in sin-extinction is forbidden (I Peter 1:18ff.). It is also blasphemous.
Redemption does not come about by
self-affirmation of man, or
woman ('redemptrix'!), or
but through the wonderful coping stone of the arch:
it is He,
the foundation of the temple is He,
the only high priest is He,
the only One who rose,
it is He.
As to the rest, we are but brothers, who are His (Matthew 23:8ff.), and our only resource is His word for written doctrine (Proverbs 30:6, SMR Appendix D). It is enough, that HE said 'It is finished' (John 19:30); it is enough that John said of the THINGS given, it is finished (Revelation 22:18-19, as Moses did of the words of the Old Covenant, Deut. 4 and 12, and Paul of the Gospel, in Galatians 1). This is one case where the Symphony of Salvation being finished (Hebrews 9-10), adding another movement is like adding an atomic bomb to an afternoon tea party: exciting and imposing ? Yes. Helpful ? Not in the least.
So the cross hairs of identification move inexorably onto Rome, and with Rome in its Babylon dress, onto its allies, partners and propulsions, until its day comes. It is the END that is Biblically projected, just before the powers that be have their ONE HOUR WITH THE BEAST (Rev. 17:12), which leads to the antichrist and its doom (19:20, II Thess. 2:8, I Thess. 1). Babylon with its harlot: It is geographically where Rome is. Its history is as Rome's has been. Its canons and its ways are as Rome's has been. Its wealth, scarlet and purple are her cardinal colours, gold cups her special treasure, and blood has been her signal trade: and the time specified for this depiction, it is NOW, and not somewhere else; at the culmination of history before Christ's return (Rev. 19), as the end approaches as in Answers to Questions Ch. 5.
Therefore, her fate is sure, as in Revelation 18, and the room to manoeuvre to avoid the combination of WHERE and WHAT and WHEN and TO WHOM these things are to be and to be done: it is zero. For years America prepared its bomb; did this make its time unreal when it came ? Quite the contrary, it ensured the reality when it did come.
It is not merely poor exegesis to wriggle about this cardinal scriptural identification of Rome in this terminal phase of the woman on the beast who has lived gloriously with the kings of the earth in multiplied concordats, combinations and accords: it is folly, and to some who engage in it, deadly. The idol is going; but it is idol nonetheless. Her evils are about to be consummated in other hands; but they are dire nonetheless. Be alert and come out of her, her associates and her ways,
- "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins...", and then look at it dimensionally:
- "For her sins have reached to heaven and God has remembered her iniquities." The longsuffering of God reaches the day of judgment soon enough, after all, when it comes.
With its customary deadly accuracy, the Bible has depicted these things, true to life, and for life, from millenia beforehand. NOW it is time to ACT, for it is in love that the Prince of Life (Acts 3) has provided these things for instruction, repentance and restoration.
See Spiritual Refreshings for the Digital Millenium Ch. 9, End-note 1, Benevolent Brightness or Brothy Bane 80, That Magnificent Rock Ch. 7, pp. 153ff..
*7 See The Three Fogs and the three spirits like Three Frogs of Revelation 16:13, in TMR Ch. 8 as marked.
On World War I and II, see SMR pp. 920ff., 968ff..
On the mass of Romanism, see SMR 1032-1088H, and in particular, 1086ff..
See for example,
Sparkling Life ... 10;
The Biblical Workman Ch. 1 , esp. Excursion
at End-note 3;
Christ, the Wisdom and the Power of God Ch. 1, *4,
The Biblical Workman, Appendix on Faith, pp. 165-172;
SMR pp. 506ff.; TMR 4.
Indexes provide much more.