With this post we continue our study of the fall of Babylon as detailed in Revelation 17-18.
Revelation 17:5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”
I pointed out that this woman called “Babylon the Great” is identified as the “mother” of harlots, all those prostituting the false religions of this world in rejection of worshipping the Almighty God, the One true God. I think it is important to note that it is as the originating source of these false religions, she is also credited with originating the “abominations of the earth.”
The Greek for abominations directly identifies idolatry. The idolatry promoted by these false religions encouraged its participants to worship false gods using practices that directly violated the morals established by God Almighty. The worship of these false gods justified prostitution and drunkenness. The murder of children was justified in the form of qualifying as sacrifices pleasing to these false gods.
Paul specifically addressed God’s response to these practices in his letter to the Romans.
Romans 1:20–32 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet. And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenantbreakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”
The comparison to the attitude predominant in much of the world is too obvious to ignore. I can’t help but focus on the moral culture of my own country, America, especially in light of the biblical principles upon which our nation was established. I was born in 1951 and grew up in a time in which those principles were still embraced by the nation as a whole. I memorized Psalm 23, 24, 100 and the Christmas story from Luke 2 as part of school assignments. The Bible was removed from the schools in 1963 and the moral decline of our nation has tracked steadily downward with ever increasing speed since then. As I read the passage in Romans above, I see God denouncing through Paul those things that are justified as acceptable today. In his letter to Timothy, Paul identifies such morals as characteristics of the end times that would precede the return of Jesus as King.
2 Timothy 3:1–5 “This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”
John goes on to declare that the woman in the guise of these false gods was responsible for killing those who identified themselves as followers of God Almighty and His Son Jesus.
Revelation 17:6 “And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”
The word drunk implies drenched or satiated. This woman was responsible for killing so many that she was drenched in their blood. John could only look at her with “great admiration” or wonder. I would compare it to the way we are drawn to watch televised reports of “terrible” accidents or situations (e.g., 9-11-01) and try to process what we are seeing.
(to be continued…)