Series: The Kingdom of God, Babylon
Sunday am 25 June 2017 – Kobus Swart
(Heb. 4:1-9, 12); 2 Cor. 5:18; John 1:11-12; Rev. 21:9-11; Rev. 17:1-6, 9, 18; Gen. 9:20-25; Gen. 10:8-10; Gen. 11:1-9; (1 Peter 2:4-5); (John 17:20-21); (Jer. 48:46); (Dan. 2); (Dan. 3:12); Ps. 137:1-9; Rev. 18:1-5, 9-10, 20-24; (2 Cor. 11:14); Rev. 19:7; (Rom. 8:19); (Eph. 4:13); Rev. 21:7; (Matt. 17:5)
In the Garden of Eden, there was no distance between God and man. It was only after the fall that men began to call on the name of the Lord because there was a distance. God’s original plan is still His ultimate intention. Thank God for the cross. The response to the finished works is on our shoulders. Now there is a long journey, and how long depends on us. Jesus is seated at the right hand of the Father, waiting – for us.
I want to show you a second captivity experience – it is called Babylon. It is a bigger trap than what we realise. A large percentage of God’s people are being held captive by it. It is predominantly a religious spirit, a religious system that tries to invade everything that Christians encounter to cause confusion.
The Church is usually pictured as a woman (Rev. 21:9-11). The new Jerusalem is another way of describing the bride of Christ. But before we look deeper, let us look at another kind of woman. She sits on many waters and has global reach. Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly ……….. Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while ….. The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 17:1-6, 9-10, 18). [Rome is built on seven mountains.]
In Genesis 9 we find the story of Ham who saw his father’s nakedness. When Noah awoke he knew what Ham had done and placed a curse on his son Canaan and his descendants (Gen. 9:20-25), which includes the Canaanites in the land of promise. Cush, one of the sons of Ham became the father of Nimrod. The name ‘Nimrod’ means ‘rebellion’. He became a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before (actually against) the Lord (Gen. 10:9). The beginning of his kingdom was Babylon (Gen. 10:8-10). He built many cities but Babylon became the biggest city in the ancient world. It was the first time they used bricks instead of stones (Gen. 11:1-3). We are called to be living stones, not bricks (1 Peter 2:4-5). Bricks are formed and shaped by force.
Here you see the systems of man, the motivation and vision to do it ‘for ourselves’. The unity among the people was of such nature that it attracted the attention of God; yet it was not true oneness (Gen. 11:4-9). If unity attracted the attention of God, can we imagine what true oneness will do to attract the attention of God! That is what Jesus prayed for (John 17:20-21). They had unity but on the wrong foundation and with the wrong motive. Then God came down and confused their language.
Many festivals that the western world celebrates today have their origin in Babylon. Christmas and Easter are examples. Where do the Christmas tree and Easter eggs come from? The 25th of December used to be a pagan feast day. Only in the fourth century, the Roman church gave it a name, Christ-mas. It was a feast to the sun god, Saturnalia. Christians finally bought into it and it became a Christian feast. Jesus was not born on the 25th of December but in the Feast of Tabernacles sometime in October. God came and tabernacled with man. If you have a party on the 25th of December, do it with the right focus and the right motive. Distance yourself from everything that came along with it, with the wrong roots.
There is something far more important that we must notice. Jeremiah prophesied, warning Israel of their captivity into Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon at the time. They were taken captive for seventy years, yet God had a plan. One of the most profound revelations of the kingdom of God came through Daniel’s interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream (Dan. 2:34, 45). That dream came in Babylon because Daniel refused to eat the food of the king or to go by his rules and regulations. He, Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego challenged the king (Dan. 3:12). Eventually, God released them and destroyed Babylon.
We need revelation of what this means: After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.” I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities…………. “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.” Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer. And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer; and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth” (Rev. 18:1-5, 9-10, 20-24). They were captives in Babylon and could not sing the songs of Zion (Ps. 137:1-9). God help us to discern the spirit of Babylon because it tries to invade wherever God moves. Satan comes as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). We need discernment because we have to be a free people; we want to sing the songs of Zion.
The bride has made herself ready by the provision that is in Christ (Rev. 19:7). He who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son (Rev. 21:7). This is where God’s ultimate purpose is. This is what creation is waiting for, to see the manifestation of the Son of God in the sons (Rom. 8:19). What God is after is the mature, corporate Son of God. This is what ministry is all about (Eph. 4:13). The five-fold ministry is not to build systems with towers; we are not called to have man-made unity structures and organisations and institutions. That is not the way unity comes.
We are on this journey. God’s original plan is still His ultimate intention: The Son in the sons. When Jesus came out of the waters of baptism after thirty years as the son of Joseph, the heavens opened and the Father said, “This is My Son, hear Him” (Matt. 17:5). God the Father cannot wait to open the heavens and show off His Son to the forces of darkness who paraded in the fields of religion. Father cannot wait; creation is in travail. God’s plan is on track. What God started He will complete. We must decide, “Am I part of the final manifestation of the Son in the sons?”