Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Come out of Babylon!

O! My dear brothers and sisters, won’t you heed this warning from heaven:

NIV Revelation 18:4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: "'Come out of her, my people,' so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;

Come out of Babylon before it is too late!

Babylon looks so beautiful, so attractive, on the surface.  She is dressed in alluring clothes and holds a golden cup.  But look inside the cup and you will find “abominable things and filth”. (Revelation 17:4)

But so many people are drinking from her cup (Revelation 18:3).  Her wine makes people drunk.  If we drink it we start to quickly lose our spiritual discernment.  Evil starts to look good.  Darkness starts to replace light.  Her magic spell quickly ensnares (Revelation 18:23).  And before we know it we could be wallowing in her sins which are piled up to heaven (Revelation 18:5).

Underneath her glittering attire and offer of riches (and indeed, in this world, she does offer luxuries and riches, but they are so short lived and lead to destruction), underneath we find evil.  The type of evil that hates all that is good.  Evil that is in league with the ancient dragon, the Devil, and his two terrible beasts of evil government and false religion (Revelation 17:3).  The type of evil which hates God’s faithful people and kills us when it can.

Babylon is a prostitute (Revelation 17:5).  She takes beautiful things and riches and the talents and time of people which are all meant to be used for God’s glory and she steals them and she twists them into evil that sickens and kills.

Babylon, like the antichrist, has come in many forms (1 John 2:18).  A final form may yet be coming. But don’t be deceived, Babylon is already here and you are living right in the middle of it.

In the days of the early church when John’s vision was first shared with seven local churches in Asia Minor, Babylon took the form of a system of emperor worship and the worship of false gods and goddesses and idols. All were expected to participate in the idolatry if they wanted to also share in Rome’s opulent wealth and power.  And for those who declined?  Prisons, swords, lions, and stakes with fire.

During our lives we have seen systems where people joined the communist party, or the Islamic faith, or some other evil system, or else they were shut out.  And Christians who refuse to bow to Babylon and her dragon and her beasts?  At the very least they are shut out from opportunities and power and privilege.  But Babylon never stops there, she is drunk with the blood of God’s people (Revelation 17:6).

But what forms does Babylon take in America in the early 21st century?  While  violence against Christians is still rare here (and I pray that it may continue to be restrained, by God’s grace), the alluring, gospel denying, God’s truth hating, intoxicating, prostituting forces of Babylon are here.  If you’ve already begun to drink from her cup and be enthralled by her magic spell, it may be hard to even see her.  O! May God open our eyes before it is too late.

Here are some of the forms Babylon takes:

Materialism.  Living for money.  And comfort.  And security based on bank accounts.  More and bigger everything.

Sexual immorality.  Of all kinds.  Do whatever you want with whomever you want.  An ocean of pornographic filth.  The prostitute is barely disguised anymore, and still so many follow ensnared by her alluring magic which gives moments of pleasure, but it all leads to darkness and death. And who do the leaders of the sex industry hate most? Anyone who calls what they are selling “sin”.

Substance abuse.  Celebrating?  Drink.  Stressed?  Take pills.  Sad?  Use drugs.

But perhaps the most pervasive form of Babylon’s magic spell in our culture is the entertainment industry.  For while we are “relaxing” and enjoying our favorite show or team or commentator, all the time interwoven are messages, some subtle, some shockingly brazen, calling us to materialism, sexual immorality, and substance abuse.  It’s everywhere, the drinking, the sex, and the materialism.  And have you noticed that most of Hollywood doesn’t especially like Christians?  Drunk with our blood?  Not yet.  But like the vampires in her shows, she longs for it.
Babylon does terrible things to those who drink from her cup and commit adultery with her.  But what she does to her followers is not the most important reason to flee from her.  The main point of Revelation 17 and 18 is what God is going to do to Babylon and to those who share in her sins.  His judgment will be just, swift, and terrible.

Brother and sisters, listen to, understand, and heed the urgent call from heaven:

Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues

“Come out of her my people . . .”

Hebrews 13:16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others . . .

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