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15) From: Biblical Blessings Ch. 2
12, 13-14, 17-19
AND THE TRUE,
THE TRUTH, THE TRAVESTY AND THE LIE
The little horn, mark 1 and mark II, these are two pivotal placements on the "beast" of worldly and unspiritual dominion in the world (cf. Revelation 13:4).
The former disadorns the Jewish era, the latter is reserved for our own. There are many other examples to which we will shortly look: but these two are as it were, sprinters for the final lap of the evil championships in each epoch.
As to the
Mark II Version, he will work in conjunction with a second beast, in Revelation
referred to in terms of a being which had two horns like a lamb, and which
"spoke like a dragon". 'Wolves in sheep's clothing' here
cut a new caper, this time under the guise of 'lamb-like with dragon's
voice': the same duplicity appears in either type! Thus the false ecumenical
substitute for Biblical Christianity will work in conjunction with the
devious political dominion (paralleled in Daniel 8), and the former will
do service to the latter, religion being subservient to the dominion and
helping it (Revelation 13:12-14).
The Era of Little Horn Mark II
The deception indeed is so intense that its presence is singularised by the "false prophet" (Revelation 16:13). This, in association with the beast and the "dragon" (the devil) forms a trio versus the trinity, an evil triplet which lacks the unison, except in deceit to replace truth, but does not lack the judgment of the Trinity upon it in its time, for everlasting contempt (Revelation 20:10). Before that withering day, however, spirits of demons come from the mouth of the devil and the beast; and of course from the mouth of the false prophet, that dragonish and dragooning fraud that is no lamb at all! Many follow, deluded by deception, but not with innocence (Revelation 12:11, 13:5-14:1, 16:13-15, 7:14, II Thessalonians 2:10-12).
But while we are dealing with these epochal movements in Little Horn I and II, for the two eras, and the Beast with his implements and team at the end, let us not forget that these enormities have long been at work, that they are in fact called "the mystery of iniquity" (II Thessalonians 2:7), restrained by the power of the Holy Spirit and His presence in the hearts of those who are the Lord's till they are raptured, summoned by direct divine dynamic to heaven, when the time comes (Matthew 24:29-44, I Thessalonians 4:13-18, I Corinthians 15:50-58). Incidentally, NOTICE how the apostle in that last verse exhorts us to CONTINUE in the work of the Lord without ceasing, while this vast plan assembles its components and comes to its conclusion!
It is now
time to review some of the workings of THIS SAME SPIRIT and this SAME EVIL
in other moments of its grandeur, when God rebuked it, over vast historical
periods. Be sure these examples are multiplied in our own Gentile epoch.
The Wild Shooting Branches of the Evil over Time
pretensions of the adversary, the Satan, whose arrogance has been at work
since Eden, and will be till Armageddon and indeed to the epoch of final
Judgment itself (Revelation 20:7-15), is often clothed in personalities
who find his way attractive.
This is that spirit, and its base or source is a spirit of vast guile, great deceit, whose very wonders, to deceptively impress, are "lying wonders" (II Thessalonians 2:9, cf Revelation 16:14).
Essentially, the leaders and standard bearers of this evil in world history tend to assail the power and the name, the place and the prerogatives of God as if He were merely one step further up in their siege of morality, truth and justice. To them, NOTHING must stand in the way, no god, not God, nothing! This they may do directly in confrontation, or indirectly in derogation, contempt or disregard. Their base is air and froth, their end wrath, except they repent, their standard-bearer one who corrupted himself by reason of his brightness, as worthy of trust as the raging serpent.
As to the direct confrontationists, Sennacherib was one such, with his intended victim, Jerusalem. This is shown in vast impact in Isaiah 36-37, where his taunts are exposed, and his end predicted and then brought to pass. Again, a City State can become a vehicle for the same style of thing, as seen in Ezekiel 26-28 - Tyre, the commercial hub for many nations; or a grandiose and exalted Empire like Egypt can exemplify it, as depicted in Ezekiel 31 (esp.v.10); or again, Babylon illustrates it in her high-minded self-magnification and reckless religious folly (Isaiah 14:3ff.).
Even the detail is fascinating in the figures divinely used to expose such things. Thus Tyre, the commercial seat of vast trade, being self-exalted, is likened to a ship with rowers going in her grandeur into the seas, all the merchandise and means of propulsion shown... until her wreckage in the waters. Egypt is a vast cedar offering protection to those who humble themselves into her spreading branches, but she is to be cut down, with her branches strewn over the valleys over which she ruled. Why ? "To the end that none of all the trees by the waters may exalt themselves for their height..." (Ezekiel 31:14).
Or again, Egypt
is in her fishery strength, and her ways in the waters (Nile, her delta,
the Mediterranean) is compared to a vast fish at work in the seas, only
to be hooked ("I will put hooks in your jaws"
- Ezekiel 29:4), along with the many little fish to be found in her massive
scales. Israel became like a vine spreading her roots towards the River
(of Egypt), lingering there where she did not belong, seeking diplomatically
to bolster her position against Assyria, instead of relying on God (cf.
The Contrast of Wonder and Wickedness
This having been said, it is of great interest to observe that the very language which is used in Micah 5:1-3, to introduce the Messiah, eternal in His life (see I John 1:1-4, where He is shown as the eternal life of the Father who proceeds forth - cf. John 5:19-23, 8:21-42,58) closely resembles that used in Nahum to depict the arrival of a Satan-tough (1:11). Nahum declares of Assyria, in a book exhibiting its just judgment: "From you comes forth one who plots evil against the Lord, a wicked counsellor." In the adjoining book of Micah we read: "But you, Bethlehem , Ephratah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me, the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are of old, from everlasting." (Cf. Proverbs 8:12-36.)
In contrast to this trend to be epitomised when the "man of sin" or antichrist shall show himself that he is God (II Thessalonians 2:4-8), despite the INFINITE error in such wallowing delusion, there is a tenderness of reality and a genuineness of service in the Lord and His Messiah. This in turn is beautifully figured in the message of the tender twig taken from the tip of the Jewish cedar (Ezekiel 17:22-24, cf. Isaiah 53:2, where this focus of good is identified as the Messiah cf. SMR Ch.9), whom the LORD shall plant "upon a high mountain and an eminent one". Let us hear the conclusion of this matter:
"On the high mountain of Israel will I plant it, and it will put forth branches and bear fruit, and become a splendid cedar, so that all the birds of every plumage will dwell under it. In the shade of its branches will they dwell." (Keil's rendering, in Keil and Delitzsch's Commentary on the Old Testament; cf. Matthew 13:31-32, Daniel 2:34-35,44-45, 7:8-14, Psalm 62:1-3, Psalm 72:1-17, Isaiah 49:6). This is the universally available, all-sufficient Saviour. The earlier "twig" in this passage was a king (v.4-5). THIS illustrious twig now focussed, however, is the king of kings! It is of Him that we read in Isaiah 53, that He is like a root, or shoot out of a dry ground. Not the circumstances but the source: this is the base of His beauty and power, for from God He comes, and this One, it is even He whose goings forth have been from eternity (Micah 5:1-3). And then, when it is done and this twig is exhibited as the truth ?
"And all the trees of the field shall know that I, the Lord, have brought down the high tree and exalted the low tree, dried up the green tree and made the dry tree flourish: I, the LORD, have spoken and have done it." There you get that wonderful and beautiful simplicity, in which God who makes the future, speaks of what He has JUST PREDICTED, as if already done: "I the Lord have done it!"
Thus we should dwell on the contrast, the utter contradiction, exhibited in the flesh for the Lord Jesus Christ, the Twig who is Truth, when He endured the"such contradiction of sinners against Himself" (Hebrews 12:3), a contradiction as vain as contradicting the air while you breath, or the earth while you stand!
Christ and antichrist ... the former, the indescribably delicious delight whose reality is truth; the latter, the upmarket self-advertising fraud: the former, the humble One exalted to His due, while the latter is the self-exalted duly humbled to his judgment. So it is that the progress occurs, till at the end, when, the essential principalities exposed, the realities are made manifest in history as they have long been in spirit.
As to that,
it is a happy day, for may not even now ANYONE call upon the name of the
Lord, and does it not say, "Whosoever shall
call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved"
- Acts 2:21.
(See also LOVE THAT PASSES KNOWLEDGE, Ch.4 in The Kingdom of Heaven...)
THEN shall "the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Let him who has ears, hear" - Matthew 13:43.
It is now time to look at, but never time to taste, a slice of the End-Cake, that frothy concoction of despotic deceit and anomalous allure that poisons the earth as it approaches the end of the Age. We have considered the Little horns with their pompous magnification into embodiments of antichrist; now we look at the kingdom which they inhabit in terms of its relation to "Babylon" and some related developments in the kingdom of darkness over time, as it surges to its end in everlasting contempt.
For more detail in other aspects of this kingdom, see the shadow of a mighty rock, pp.
732B-C (New World Order);
*17, pp. 727-731 - Some Biopsies on the tertiary plague,
750A-B, on u.n. declaration;
750B-E, "demonic head";
818-819, 836, on the UN and Israel
906-931 on 'Fourth Empire Follies",
946-949 on "Where is Rome?",
955-959 on "The idea continues..." etc.
1072-1080 n "Weaving of the ways for the antichrist",
Appendix 1 in The Other News, "The Mystery
Slice of the End-Cake, with a Glance Askance at the
Anatomy of Evil:
'Babylon', Its Mystery and its Misery at the End
On this fascinating but dire topic, see further SMR pp. 948, 1060;, 1031C and also 683ff., 696, 703ff., 721-726, 729-732C, 743-744, 750Bff., 867, with Questions and Answers, pp. 39ff. and Scoop of the Universe pp. 236ff.. On Separation, in addition to notes just given in the text, see Ch.7 of The Kingdom of Heaven..., Separation In and For Christ.
Now we come to Revelation 18:24. In what sense is there to be found in Babylon, the 'mystery', "the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth." Doubtless in a sense similar to that of Jeremiah 51:49, where the literal Babylon is in direct view... What is to be learned here?
In addition, then, to the above SMR references, which also relate more or less directly to separation, but specifically to Babylon, to Rome and to the meaning of this terminology in the book of Revelation, let us address ourselves to one point. HOW may the blood of all who were slain on the earth (Revelation 18:24) be said to be found in her ? When you have read SMR 948 and 1060, with 1031C, you may find the following also helpful.
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:
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", challenging her, "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 cemetry, or, to change the figure:
in this massif of deadly interment, soaring like a black rock into tempestuous
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.
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.
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).
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
*1 Nimrod (Genesis10:10) is linked to Babel in the plain of Shinar, and it is precisely here that the tower of Babel arises, the term "Babel" and "Babylon" being the same in Hebrew.
*2 See Barbs, Arrows and Balms 5.