Monday, December 26, 2011

December 26- Mystery Babylon

December 26, 2011

Scripture Reading:
Zechariah 9:1-17; Revelation 17:1-18;
Psalm 145:1-21; Proverbs 30:32

A religion without mystery must be a religion without God.  
~Jeremy Taylor

Zechariah 9:1-17

Judgment on the Gentile Nations

As Zechariah continues to get messages from the Lord, he learns that before the first coming of the Messiah there will be a judgment on the Gentile nations through the conquering of major ancient cities.  We know from history that the cities listed in the first part of this chapter in Zechariah were indeed conquered by Alexander the Great.  

Josephus, the great Jewish historian, recounts that on Alexander’s fast and brutal campaign of terror, he arrived in Jerusalem and saw the high priest and a group of Jewish people dressed in white.  The high priest was wearing his priestly garb and rather than kill these people, Alexander knelt down in reverence. Tradition has it that the high priest showed Alexander the portion of the book of Daniel chapter 8 that prophesied Alexander’s many conquest and  described the Greek empire with accuracy.  Josephus also records that Alexander when asked why he did not kill the high priest said that he had a vision when wondering how to conquer the ancient world where a man dressed like this high priest came to him and told him to cross over the sea straight away to obtain dominion over Asia and that God would give me dominion over Persia.  Alexander confirmed that in this vision he was exhorted to conquer.  This is why he would not destroy this man or the city of Jerusalem.  Amazing.  God spoke to Alexander and God used him as an instrument of judgment upon the gentile nations. Even this cruel and brutal man was aware that God was directing his path.

The Coming King

The First Coming

Zechariah 9:9-10

This verse is familiar to many Christians because it is so often used as the sermon verse on Easter.  Indeed, this is a promise to Israel of the first coming of Christ to earth.  We call it the Triumphal Entry, although Jesus was really coming into Jerusalem to exit the world through his sacrificial death.  In our study of the New Testament we covered the fact that Jesus actually entered Jerusalem three times, once on Saturday the Sabbath, then on Sunday, and finally on Monday.  Each time he did an activity that cemented his roles of king, priest, and prophet to the nation of Israel.  The entry on the donkey was Jesus’ entrance as king.  We know that this entrance would usher in peace for the souls of mankind through his sacrificial death.  His death on the cross brings peace between God and man.  Christ first coming gave the world spiritual peace for those who seek him. Further reading in Zechariah chapter 9 gives us what Jesus will accomplish at his Second Coming.

The Second Coming

It is at Jesus’ Second Coming that physical peace for the world is achieved.  Zech 9:10 states,
"I will remove the battle chariots from Israel and the warhorses from Jerusalem, and I will destroy all the weapons used in battle.  Your king will bring peace to the nations. His realm will stretch from sea to sea and from the Euphrates River to the ends of the earth."
It is obvious that in our day this prophecy has yet to be fulfilled.  One day, when Christ has put down the rebellion of the Antichrist on earth, this prophecy will come to pass.  From the cradle of civilization, which is symbolized by the Euphrates River, to the ends of the earth, Jesus will rule as the final king on this planet.

Verses 14-17 describe Jesus as a warrior king who goes out as a whirlwind against the enemies of Israel.  Even the mention of a bowl of blood in verse 15 hearkens to the bowl judgments in Revelation 16.  In that day, which is always a reference to the Day of the Lord, the time period after the Church is raptured, the promise that God will rescue his people (true believers in Jesus from the nation of Israel) like a shepherd who rescues his sheep, will be fulfilled.  A promise of new grain and new wine (which is unfermented because there has been no time for fermentation, as it is “new”) round out the picture of abundance during Jesus’ millennial reign on earth. Remember that the nation of Israel is promised the earthly reign, including a restored Temple with Jesus acting as the Priest/King/Prophet.  He will be a civil ruler, religious ruler, and teacher.  What a promise to this group of people who will have suffered greatly throughout the history of the  earth.

Revelation 17:1-18

The Great Prostitute—Mystery Babylon

John is taken by one of the seven angels, who had poured out the bowls of God’s wrath during the latter half of the Great Tribulation, and given a vision that provides greater insight into what the earth will be like during the time of the Great Tribulation. More explanation is provided for what brings about God’s fierce and final judgement on earth.  In this vision, John is taken into the wilderness.  Remember, it is always in the wilderness that Satan shows up to rebel against God.  Here, John sees a woman sitting on a scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns with blasphemies written all over it.  Let’s talk about this.  The woman is the religious Babylon or the false church of the end times. She is riding on the beast, which we have already established as the Antichrist and his one world system. So we have a picture of a church on earth that is quite entangled with the political system of the Antichrist.  There is no separation of church and state.  They are in bed together.  The woman is riding this wild beast.  While Antichrist is an evil imitation of Jesus Christ, this woman on the beast is an evil imitation of the Bride of Christ/the true Church.

The Nature of the False Church

The true Church of Jesus Christ is no longer on the earth.  The Church is raptured before the beginning of the Great Tribulation.  Remember, Jesus promised the church of Philadelphia in the letters to the seven churches in chapter 3 of the book of Revelation that he would deliver them from the coming judgment on earth.  True to His promises, the true Church is gone.  So what is this fake/apostate church like?

First, the church is described as a woman.  You may have noticed that throughout Scripture religion is often reflected by female images.  Israel is the wife of God, the Church is the Bride of Christ, and false religion is a prostitute/adulterous/whore.  Goddess worship is as old as the promise in the Garden of Eden that a woman would bare a child to solve the problems of sin on earth.  Women are the instruments of fertility and the continuation of life on earth.  The womb produces fruit.  The image of fertility is tied to the image of religion as spiritual children of God come forth from religion.  In this image, the final apostate church on earth is the Mother of all Prostitutes and Obscenities and is tied to Babylon.  We must go back to the book of Genesis and remember that the first official worldwide religious rebellion against God was led by Nimrod, a descendant of Noah’s son, Ham, who built the Tower of Babel in the Plain of Shinar.  The Tower was a tribute to man as a way to elevate man to God’s stature.  God stopped this first rebellion by scattering the people of the earth through creating different languages.  Babel eventually became Babylon.  It is this Babylon and the beliefs tied to this ancient story that we see flourishing in the final false religion on earth.  Everything old is new again.  

This is a church that does not need the One True God.  It is a church that is the Mother of all pagan religions on earth.  Participants in this final false church on earth will be from every belief system on the planet.  They are the children of this whore. They will be united by their greed, self-reliance, pride, and immorality.  In this description we learn that this false church is drunk with the blood of true believers in Christ.  During the Great Tribulation, this religious organization will kill many Tribulation saints.  This whore church will be the main instrument for martyring true believers in Christ.  John is stunned by this image. His beloved Roman church that has become so influential for Christ in John's day is going to be the vehicle for deceiving the world with a false belief system. How do we determine that it is the Roman church? Keep reading to find out. 

The angel asked why John is stunned as the angel ties this image back to the prior images John has seen.  The seven headed, ten horned beast is the Antichrist.  This is the one who appeared to be dead and then came back to life.  People whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life take this fake miracle as a sign to worship this beast/world political leader.  He eventually becomes the focus of religious worship on the earth, but before he takes the reigns politically, there is the false church that becomes a threat to him.

Perhaps the Roman Catholic Church that is left on the earth once the true believers from that church are raptured will be the vehicle to unite the world religions under one worldwide ecumenical system.  They certainly have the church government, infrastructure, and organizational system to accomplish this.  One cannot be dogmatic on this.  It is just a thought.

We again have the confirmation that the political Antichrist will have an alliance with ten kings/rulers of the European nations and then three of them will be killed. The seven remaining kings (eight, if you include Antichrist) agree to give him power as a dictator.  It may be that this is because of the judgments and trials that have been upon the earth from the trumpet judgments of God.  Also, demonic influences cause these rulers to acquiesce. Leaders from across the globe will be demonically influenced (the three frogs from the mouth of Satan, Antichrist, and the false prophet) to march across the land and wage war in the Holy Land in the final battle from the Campaign of Armageddon.

Now we learn that the beast/Antichrist eventually rips apart and brutally puts down the false church.  Being a man of deception, this world dictator turns against this institution that promoted his rise to power.  This Great Whore, who convinced the whole world to follow someone other than the One True God, now runs into trouble with the new world dictator.  The false prophet (the beast who comes out of the land), who is associated with the Antichrist/beast (the beast who rises out of the sea), turns on the great Harlot/ Mystery Babylon and strips her naked, eats her flesh, and burns her remains.  This is a picture of the Antichrist and his false prophet taking all of the wealth that this false church has amassed. It is also a picture of the Antichrist destroying the possibility that the people on earth can worship anything but him.

What is your reaction to this final false church on earth?  Do you see that worshiping anyone other than God through Jesus Christ is considered adultery and fornication to God?  The Great Whore is any religion that does not worship God alone.  This false belief system will be judged during the Great Tribulation just as Jesus predicted in his letters to the seven churches.  The apostate church is spewed out of Christ's mouth as depicted by the Laodicean church in the seven letters to the churches in Revelation.  Mystery Babylon, the pride of man and the indifference to God that was represented at the Tower of Babel, will finally be destroyed for good.

 Psalm 145:1-21

Read this aloud today and ponder God’s majesty.

Proverbs 30:32

Being proud is nothing to brag about. 

What are you noticing?


Jubilee Gal
Kathy Fullerton

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