Recognizing Babylon

Spiritual Mysteries

The Bible is recognized as one of the most popular books of all time, and its message has ministered to millions around the world. Yet within the pages of this Divine Writ lie an abundance of mysteries that have not only baffled thousands of truth seeking students, but have resulted in many being deceived by misinterpretation. The Apostle Peter warned that, “no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation…but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost”. (2 Peter 1:20-21). It makes sense that the same Spirit of God required to produce scripture is also needed to decipher that which was written.

When asked by His disciples why He taught in parables, Jesus explained that it was not His Father’s intention to expose truth to everyone. It was “given” to some to understand the mysteries of the kingdom, but to others it was not. (Mt. 13:11).

As the Body of Christ, we should understand God’s word with greater clarity than the rest of religion. The illumination of our minds will unveil many scriptural mysteries and generate an awareness of evil as it exists in our day.

It would be awesome if God would manifest Himself in the open heavens so that all of mankind may see Him and be saved, or, by an instant miracle, eliminate sin and the Devil so that serving Him would become an endless bliss. But this is not so. The ways of God are not easily searched out and it takes a miraculous touch of grace to open our spiritual eyes.

Human intelligence is good, but is not adequate to unfold the mysteries of God’s word. Although the Pharisees and scribes were educated in the written word, they were spiritually blind. (Mt. 15:14). On the other hand, Jesus told His seemingly unlearned and ignorant disciples that their eyes and ears were blessed to be able to “see and hear”. (Mt. 13:16). The illumination of the disciples’ minds further enabled them to understand the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven.

In his letter to the Church at Corinth, the Apostle Paul points out that “if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not…”(2 Cor. 4:3-4). It is the Devil’s intention to hinder God’s people from understanding the life changing aspects of His word. He will try to veil the truth and cause us to believe lies.

As Paul illustrates in 2 Corinthians 11:14, Satan has assumed a religious role, and has, for many years, been working from the pulpit. All false doctrine originates from him, and the Body of Christ, must be able to recognize and avoid these “doctrines of devils”. (1 Tim. 4:1). Isaiah pronounces a “Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil: that put darkness for light and light for darkness…” (Isa. 5:20).

Israel a Type of The Church

As we draw closer to the end of the age, the work of God must be carefully analyzed to determine its purity and validity. Let us consider Israel as a type of the Church.

Prior to the exodus, the Israelites were living in Egypt for over 400 years. Many generations were born in Egypt and the pagan customs of the Egyptians had been adopted along the way. God’s people had lost their identity to the point that even Moses had no recollection of God’s name. (Ex. 3:13,14). The 40 years wilderness journey was God’s way of purging the Egyptian thought pattern out of His people. Rebellion in the hearts of the children of Israel turned an eleven day journey into 40 years of extreme purging.

The gradual drifting of Israel into a pagan mindset can also be applied to the Church. It has been almost two thousand years since the commencement of the Early Church. As history reveals, that powerful Early Church enjoyed its glory only for a few years before

collapsing into apostasy. Doctrines of devils promoted by workers of iniquity successfully undermined God’s work, and ultimately the field was sown down with tares. (Mt 13:24-30). While the Apostle Paul foresaw grievous wolves destroying the flock, the Apostle John declared that “many false prophets are gone out into the world”. (Acts 20:29, 1 Jn. 4:1).

The past years have seen God’s work bombarded in every area by the “powers of darkness”. The unity spoken of in Ephesians 4, and prayed for by Jesus in John 17 has been almost completely violated. Honesty would force us to admit that we, the Church, have been too long in spiritual Egypt. As the Old Testament exodus failed to eliminate the deep-seated Egyptian scars from the spirit of many Jews, our so-called disassociation from the world has still not eliminated our spiritual scars. Apostate dogma and traditions have been so deeply embedded in our spirits that we fail to see their harmful effects.

Can we proclaim the call for God’s people to come out of Babylon, as is recorded in Revelation 18:4, when we fail to recognize the boundaries of Babylon’s borders?

Can we, with all truthfulness, declare that we are not in any way drinking of the wine of her fornication? (Rev. 17:2).

As we endeavour to take a closer look at some of the cunning ways of “Mystery, Babylon the Great”, may God touch our eyes to examine ourselves. Declaring we are the Body of Christ will not validate our assertion if, in reality, we imbibe and practice the traits of the Beast.

Recognizing Babylon

In Matthew 23:15, Jesus criticized the evangelical outreach of the scribes and Pharisees as an effort in futility. He showed that their converts were not really saved, but were rather made into “two-fold” children of hell. The same may be said about many religious movements of our day. In His sermon on the mount, our Lord explained that “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Mt. 7:21).

This prophetic scripture is just one among a whole volume of others that are intended to give caution to the Body of Christ. Having over-confidence in our heritage and knowledge can produce a complacency that affects our ability to recognize evil. How can we call people out of a beastly system if we ourselves are still held captive?

May God touch our minds and give us the wisdom to be able to recognize the cunning intrusions of Babylon into our lives and the ability to extricate ourselves from its deadly clutches. If Babylon was a building, it would be easy to step out of it, but unfortunately, this is not the case.  As I see it, Babylon is the world, and is sometimes symbolically described as Sodom or Egypt. ‘She’ comprises of the religious, political, and commercial systems of the world.

Chapter 17 of Revelation symbolically shows Mystery, Babylon the Great as a woman, having a golden cup of wine in her hand and riding on a scarlet-coloured beast.

The woman is false religion, and the cup of wine in her hand is the intoxicating influence she has on the world. The beast is civil government that carries the woman. The combined influence of woman and beast set in motion the world’s commercial system. This amalgamation of religion, government and commerce describes the very ‘world’ scripture warns against.

Careful note should be taken at this time that reference to the world is not merely limited to liquor stores, movie theatres, pubs, casinos, or other similar places of entertainment. There is a lot more to the world.

A scrupulous study of scripture would show that the world includes most of what society has to offer today, including apostate religion.

When the Lord touched our minds and we became a part of the true Church, it was our first step out of the world and into the Body of Christ. An experience at the altar of salvation brings forgiveness of our past sins, but in no way eliminates the ‘marks of the beast’ from our thought pattern. We may have physically separated

ourselves from ‘spiritual Egypt’, but it will probably take the rest of our lives to purge us from the deep seated spirit of that system. We must go through our spiritual wilderness to effectively cleanse our spirits.

This process of sanctification is what serving God is all about. God takes a vile and wretched sinner, forgives him of his sins and starts a process of cleansing “till we all come into the unity of the faith…unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ”. (Eph. 4:13). Again in Ephesians 5:26 and 27, Paul states that Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it, “that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

Religious Deception

The Lord’s Prayer in John 17:14 — 15 is not asking the Father to physically relocate the disciples out of the world, but to keep them from its evil. In this specific case, the ‘evil’ Jesus referred to was more closely associated with apostate religion. He had already warned His disciples to “… beware of the leaven (doctrine) of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees”. (Matt. 16:6 – 12). This doctrine was not only limited to theoretic misconceptions, but included demonically-inspired methods and dogma that were incorporated into the work of God. It was no wonder that the Lord blatantly declared to the scribes and Pharisees that, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do.” (John 8:44) It was evident that Satan had great influence on religion.

The Lord’s prayer for sanctification in John 17 was meant to also include the Body of Christ today. No matter how tempting the methods and practices of Babylon are, we must not adapt to this spirit of deception. We cannot allow perverted ambition and lust for human recognition to cloud our judgment. The spirit, message and methodology of Babylon cannot build the Body of Christ as it will undermine its very purpose. As a result, a spirit of compromise will infiltrate the Church. Truth and holiness will be relegated to the background in favour of fellowship, growth and popularity.

Left in Egypt

Unlike the nation of Israel, the Church is not physically taken out of Egypt and set on a wilderness journey. Instead, it is left in the midst of spiritual Egypt and Sodom, but is still expected to achieve its sanctification and cleansing. (Eph. 5:26-27). Therefore, it is imperative that we become sensitive to every influence that Babylon has around us whether it be religious, political or commercial. Let us not overlook the scriptural fact that “the wine of her fornication” influences almost every aspect of society. Our inability to differentiate between light and darkness, good and evil, or sweet and bitter will result in our destruction. (Isa. 5:20).

May God touch our minds and allow truth to set us free. Truth is fact or reality- not only the reality of God and godliness, but the reality of evil as it cunningly conceals itself, yet infiltrates every avenue of life.

Isaiah declares a “woe” to God’s rebellious children that take counsel from ungodly sources and strengthen themselves with that which Egypt offers. (Isa. 30:1-3). The same applies in our day. We should not undermine our confidence and trust in God by relying on the security, pleasure, or religious admonitions that Babylon offers.

As we conclude this article, let us not be dismayed by the seemingly impossible challenge we face. The Apostle Paul, understanding the reality of this crisis asked, “O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me…?” He then proceeds to declare with confidence the solution: “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord…” (Rom. 7:24-25).

We are to be grateful that God, by His grace, has provided in Christ all that is required to enhance “life and godliness” and save us from the spirit of this age. (2 Pet. 1:3).  Coming out of Babylon must be seen as a continuous process.