Todays readings.. 1 Samuel 10, Isaiah 54, Revelation 17&18


Babylon was the greatest city in the earth at the time of Nebuchadnezzar.  We read of its greatness in Daniel. But when John received the visions that are in Revelation, the original city had long been in ruins.  It had been destroyed “to rise no more” as Jeremiah prophesied (Ch. 51, note the last verse)  In recent years the late Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, visited the ruins and in 1982 his workers began building a 600 room palace for him there!  It all came to nothing.

   The description of ‘Babylon the Great’ in Revelation is a challenge to understand!  Nebuchadnezzar was told he was the “head of gold” of the image he saw in his dream, and he was a failure.  The ‘Babylon’ in Revelation is a counterpart – a dominant head that that proves to be a spiritual failure.  Today we read of “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations’ [17 v.5], a “woman drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” [v.6]

   So we identify Babylon as the power that made martyrs out of those who truly followed Jesus, they  believed and practiced what he taught – and taught the same.  History shows that down the centuries, for well over 1,000 years, the Roman Catholic Church has made martyrs of true believers, especially those who proclaimed her teaching wrong.

   In her power she dominated many nations and some kings came to be crowned by the Pope!   It is remarkable that today most nations have a diplomatic relationship with the Vatican.  She has a unique standing among the nations, members of the British royal family and even the Russian leader have visited the Pope.   

   We read today of her riding on a beast (v.3) “arrayed in purple and scarlet” [v.4] but she comes to a dramatic and sudden end “in one hour” [18 v.10].  It says, “her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine and she will be burned with fire for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her” [v.8]

   Have her actions been purely spiritual?  No, she has exercise much influence in all ways of life. It is fascinating that when she is destroyed the “merchants … shipmasters” etc. “wept and mourned.” [v.15,17] . 

Some see that because the European Union was established by the “Treaty of Rome” that there is a connection here. Is there a form of judgement God will bring upon it?  But the subject is too vast for us to comment further. But we note how John also says, “I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues for … God has remembered her iniquities  … “ [v.4,5]

The Almighty has unlimited ability to remember!  May He remember the reality of our faith

Let us remember what we read in 1 John 5 v.4 earlier this month. “…everyone who has been born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.” How close are we now to the end of “the last hour” – from God’s perspective?  Let us be “be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect” was the warning of our Lord. [Luke 12 v.40]