Explaining the mystery and meaning of Babylon in Revelation chapters 17 and 18. What is Babylon? When will Babylon appear? What will the mystery Babylon be like? In this bible study we examine the spirit of Babylon, the system of Babylon and the secret of Babylon. Practically we see the need for separation and Holiness from the corruption of the world's systems. Dr J Stewart Gillespie
Revelation chapter 17 and the prophetic future of Babylon, what it is and who it is controlled by and the challenges presented by Babylon today. From our systematic series of bible teaching messages in the book of Revelation.
As the king of counterfeit and the master mimic, Satan parallels and contorts the work and ministry of Jesus Christ, into his own fake imitation; a Satanic image to worship, the ultimate deflection away from genuine devotion and affection. The roots of this supreme distraction spread deep, drawing their caustic sap to the final shoots of one supreme manifestation in the AntiChrist. Amusement has fulfilled it's unthinking purpose for generations, lives have been successfully sapped of all success, years frittered unfruitful, time wasted and human lifespans discarded into the dustbins of purposeless unproductivity. A wasted and worthless life is a worthwhile goal for this antichrist infused world over which Satan as prince presides.
In the end, all of these roots will finally feed one shoot, the AntiChrist, the beast from the sea of Revelation chapter 13, Satan's man of Sin on earth. His worship will be volitional, devotion by deception! In the character catalogue of Revelation chapter 13 he attempts to emulate by inversion the character of Christ. The lamb becomes the beast (Revelation 13:1); his incarnation ascends from the depths in stark contrast to Jesus who descends from above, an anointing with the 7 fold Spirit of God in Isaiah 11:2 is parodied by 7 heads of blasphemy in the beast (13:1). The 3 and a half year ministry of Christ is mocked by a 3 and a half year reign of the beast (13:5) and the Sermon on the Mount is parodied by a mouth opening in blasphemy (13:6) rather than blessing (Matthew 5:2ff).
Here is Satan's Antichrist, here is the destiny to which the compass of this world is pointing, passive distraction and distracted devotion to a delusion, 180 degrees from Jesus Christ, our only source of hope and peace.
A message preached by Dr J Stewart Gillespie as part of a systematic series of bible studies in the book of Revelation, free to listen or view online.
From the lands of the Mediterranean Sea there will arise a Beast, the AntiChrist, the Man of Sin. Echoing features of empires past he will move quickly like the armies and empire of Alexander the Great, as pictured in the Leopard. His geographical domain is likely to be that of the Medo-Persian Empire of centuries ago, standing bear like, with his feet gripping the lands of Turkey, Iran and Iraq. This is Satan's one world dictator, a man with universal political (Revelation 13:2) and spiritual authority (Revelation 13:8) over the worlds. It is interesting to speculate how such a universal dictatorship could arise. The world of Revelation chapter 13, whilst echoed by events in the past century is very unlike the political landscape we see today. This is a world decimated by judgment, wars, disease and famine. between the judgments of the fourth scroll and 6th trumpet, one half of the world's population has been destroyed. Food production has been decimated by poisoned seas and rivers, nuclear explosions have polluted and destroyed productive agriculture and lands. This is a post-apocalyptic landscape, the leadership of which has been grasped, probably out of necessity to restore law and order and distribute evenly what resources there are. Here is Satan's finest hour, achieving his goal from the garden of Eden. This is his takeover of God's creation. Satan's Kingdom has come! Whilst this may be Satan's greatest moment, it is undoubtedly earth's most awful moment. A message preached as part of our series of systematic bible studies in the book of Revelation. Dr J Stewart Gillespie graceinchrist.org
Perhaps like myself you find the book of Revelation somewhat daunting with it's ultiplicity of interpretations which is somewhat off putting! Perhaps you can identify with the sentiment of one writer who quipped that there was only one person who understood Revelation and he is at home in the glory! It is a book of complex symbols and language. The subject matter; doesn’t really make for easy reading and is not overtly comforting, at least on the surface that is! This is perhaps typified by the transmission of the Greek title for Revelation “ἀποκάλυψις” into the English language, and is now used for catastrophe and disaster in epic proportions.
Revelation is indeed a book of catastrophe and disaster for the world:
Revelation is a boook containing the extremes of:
Personalities – Christ and the Devil
Places – Heaven and Hell
Problems – global and eternal destruction
7 seals 7 trumpets 3 woes 7 vials 4th Seal sees ¼ of the world’s population destroyed
6th trumpet witnesses 1/3 of the world’s population destroyed! By the time we reach chapter 12, at least ½ of the world’s population has been wiped out! It’s not a cheery read!
Don’t let that put you off!
Ignore the book of Revelation at your peril!
There is at least one great reason not to ignore this book:
Revelation at least in part deals with the extremes of disaster and catastrophe!
If you believe, as I do that God is:
Sovereign over the problems of life “all things work together for good”
Sufficient in His grace “my grace is sufficient for you”
Supreme in His power “all power is given unto me…”
Solution to all of our problems “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)
Then in these extreme experiences of:
We see God’s extreme solutions!
If God is able to deal with the extremes, He is surely sufficient for our problems and our needs too!
In Revelation chapter 12 people experience:
Personal Failure – The Flesh
Satanic Fury – The Devil
Persecutory Flood – The World
God has His provision and His solution in the extremes of these conditions and experiences!
Fury of the Devil
Flood from the World
Failure of the Flesh
All 3 are inter-related!
It is the fury of Satan which directly causes the flood of persecution from the world (vs12-15).
It is the failure of the flesh that hinders victory over Satan and gives the accuser fuel for his fire (v10-11).
Power to overcome the accuser (v11) holds the key to their personal victory!
The flood of persecution is the product of Satanic fury!
Israel couldn’t see that of course in Revelation chapter 12, but nonetheless the spiritual battle was happening above them, over them and they were caught in the crossfire between heaven and hell. There will be many spiritual battles of which we are unaware but feel the shockwaves in our lives and souls.
Cosider the fury of Satan revealed here in Revelation chapter 12:
Know your adversary
Don’t imitate his character
Note the description of his character:
Destroyer (v4) cf. John 10
Satan characterised as deceiver.
Deception often linked with intelligence! It is so here of course.
Intelligence is often required to pass off a good deception!
Spoof emails and phone calls, fake social media accounts, malicious phone calls etc!
Normally intelligence employs deception for the goal of personal gain. They want what you have! For Satan though the scenario is different!
Satan is under no delusion that he could stand ultimately to gain from these deceptions (12:12), he knows that his time is short. Ultimate gain is not on the horizon for him!
What could possibly motivate him?
The very essence of Satanic character: malicious envy!
Satan isn’t deceiving to personally profit from it but rather that you might lose, that you might be destroyed. This is malicious, destructive, satanic, envy!
Cf John 10:10
Sufficient for Satan to drag you down, bring you down, get you down and keep you down! He will strive to ruin you at every turn!
Flood of persecution in the world
Satan having fallen from heaven (12:9), turns upon the people of God.
Satan falls from heaven to earth and to hell.
It is interesting that as Satan falls further and further, the glory of Christ fills the void, as the morning star and as King of Kings and Lord of Lords on the earth.
When the world and the Devil send the flood God always has His refuge for His people
“And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2
Jacob and his sons in famine there was provision in Egypt Moses on the run as a fugitive there was refuge in the backside of the desert. Israel caught between the armies of Pharoah and the Red Sea, there was a path through to the promised land Samaria in the famine and siege of 2 Kings chp 7 – respite and refuge comes through the actions of 4 lepers at the gate of the city. David there was the cave of Adullam Jonah there was the provision of the whale Elijah a morsel of meal in the widow of Zarephath’s house Elisha a place in the home of the Shunammite
Israel a way through the red sea and ultimately into the promised land Elijah a way up Jonah a way down and out of the depths Daniel a way out of the lion’s den Thief on the cross a way into heaven Noah a way over the flood
God is always able to provide a refuge in the storm, always able, since His refuge is a person!
“And a man shall be as a hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.” Isaiah 32:2
If a man is a hiding place, then that hiding place, isn’t restricted to a place, but is always available as a person!
Sometimes the means of that provision comes from the most unexpected of sources!
The unlikely gentile widow The unexpected provision from Joseph, a son sold as a slave The terrifying whale An unassuming little maid of Naaman An improbable coin in a fishes mouth
Failure of the flesh
The failure of the flesh give substance to the accuser, adds fuel to the fire and keeps the believer down, hinders their recovery.
There is overcoming victory (v11) by
Blood of the lamb
Provision for forgiveness and recovery
Word of Testimony
Power of a changed life
Proof of nothing being more important than the Lord
There are not that many passages of the scriptures that deal with the Satanic personality, although in many places we perceive his influence.
Revelation chapter 12 gives us a glimpse into the:
In chapter 12 we learn to recognise Satan as God reckons with Satan.
We gain a glimpse into the ultimate destiny of Satan elsewhere in the scriptures although we do have to join the dots and put the pieces together.
The man of the Gadarenes – those who follow Satan and who are obedient to him, must yet bow to a supreme authority, that of Christ! That does not bode well for Satan! Their end is in the Abyss The testing of Christ in the wilderness – we often perhaps reflect on the character and nature of that temptation, the opportunism of Satan after 40 days of fasting, Satan’s misuse of the word of God and the means of defeating Satan with the sword of the Spirit and the Word of God! One simple of aspect of the testing of Christ in the wilderness that we ought not to miss of course “Satan hath desired to have you that he may sift you as wheat” (Luke 22:31) We note the attack on Peter, but perhaps we ought also to note the ultimate victory of the Spirit of God in the life of Peter, as Peter knows recovery and restoration and becomes stronger for the experience!
Satanic activity is sovereignly controlled and attenuated
We need perhaps to put these pieces together to see the whole story.
Here in verse 1 we have a symbol of Satanic destiny
Sometimes looking back we see a significance that perhaps we don’t see at the time.
“moon under her feet”
The glory of Israel is in the sun (v1), the brightest and most glorious natural object which is known to us.
The moon is under her feet; the moon once worshipped by Israel, the moon that rules the night is under her feet! Israel has dominion and victory over the one who rules the night. Victory is guaranteed! The end is declared from the beginning!
Notice the principle of spiritual gravity which we find here in Revelation chapter 12, seen so clearly in the rise and fall of Satan, but which we can also perceive in the rest of the word of God.
You can pretty accurately predict the destiny of a personality from the impact they make on the lives of others. You can predict an individuals destiny from the direction they give to others,
If you want to know where they are going, look at where they are taking others!
Where they are sending others is where they are heading themselves.
Pharaoh – cast the children into the river Nile (Ex 1:22), into a watery grave is where Pharaoh and his armies ended up! (Exodus 14:28) Ahab and Jezebel – lead the nation into Baal worship and the pursuit of the demonic, unfaithful to their God. Ultimately Jezebels subjects proved equally as unfaithful to her and that was her undoing. The authority of God and His commandments which she undermined and destroyed, was the foundation of all human authority and order, as is the case today. Belshazzer led his people into blaspheming the items of the temple; he and many of his subjects died under Divine judgment. Elimelech led his family to Moab and he died there.
Consider also on the positive side:
It was the apostle Paul who lifted so many up, and led so many to Christ. Is it not so appropriate that he himself was taken up into the 3rd heaven! What about the apostle John? It is John who is the disciple of love, life and light. It is John in his gospel who leads us to the Deity and glory of the Lord Jesus. How apt it is that it is John who gives us the book of Revelation, leading us into heaven itself! Here is the principle of spiritual gravity!
We can predict a personal destiny from the direction they point other.
It is difficult to take others or direct others in a direction we are not travelling in ourselves.
We can predict a persons destiny form the direction they give to others. Here we have this principle worked out in the spiritual realm. It is Satan with his malevolent influence who draws down a third of the stars from heaven to earth. You could predict his end I am sure from this! After the angelic host are cast down (12:4) Satan follows the same trajectory, downward to the earth (12:9)!
Notice also in Revelation chapter 12 the principle of spiritual gravity:
It was no coincidence that as Moses descended Mount Sinai with the two tables of law written by the finger of God, that Satan had made a pre-emptive strike and that waiting there for Moses was a pre-constructed golden calf!
It was no coincidence that placed next to the throne of Egypt were two Satanically inspired magicians; Jannes and Jambres, ready to sway the mind of Pharaoh as the voice of God echoed throughout the land in plague and pestilence.
It was no coincidence that Tobiah and Sanballat were on hand to discourage and to attempt to destroy the walls of Jerusalem as Nehemiah fulfilled his commission to rebuild for God!
Here too in Revelation chapter 12 we perceive exactly the same process at work. As the time approaches for Israel to bring forth Messiah; "when the fullness of the time was come..." in Revelation 12:2; God was ready. At that moment so too was Satan ready; ready with an attempt at annihilation, with the slaughter of the innocents, ready with persecution, temptation in the wilderness, rejection from the synagogue, isolation from society, false accusations, and ultimate execution at Calvary!
If we share the life of that same Saviour we too can anticipate to share the unwanted attention of Satan! Be ready! Be prepared, but not only for attack, but ultimately for victory through Christ!
From our systematic bible study series in the book of Revelation
Chimeric demons, poisoned locusts, tortured humanity and the living dead of earth lurk behind the malevolent purposes of the morning star; Lucifer (Isaiah 14) whose fall from the heavens is recorded in Revelation chapter 9. Satan, ever true to his purposes fails to declare his hand. Like his smoke screen, Satanic purpose lacks transparency. He has and ever will fail to declare his malevolent intent. The light, obscured, the breath of life sustaining air repressive and suffocating with the infernal fumes of hell as the diabolical locusts arise from the abyss, the bottomless depths of a hell of disembodied demons. Eden saw Satan act by deception. He failed to promise Adam death, disaster, destruction and murder at his own door, he offered promotion to the deity of the Creator for the creature. Judas' deal with the Devil, did not have as part of it's terms and conditions, death by hanging and eternal perdition. Satan had promised a tidy profit of treasure for just a little treachery.
From the abyss the locusts arise, demonic in origin and destructive in nature. These beings appear as the antithesis of the living creatures; the cherubim of Ezekiel chapter 1. These servants of Satan are but perverted and corrupted forms of the pure and holy, the cherubic servants of God. Portrayed is a scene terrifying and catastrophic, but the same Lord who had stood witness to the fall of Satan from heaven in Luke 10:18 is the same Lord who promises power over the scorpion and protection from that same fallen angel. In this chapter it is significant that it is only those with the seal of God who are preserved from judgment and loss. The protecting and preserving grace of Christ extends to and beyond the very gates of hell itself for His people. Greater indeed is He that is in you than is in the world, even in the world of Revelation chapter 9.
A message preached at the Bridgend Gospel Hall, New Cumnock by Dr J Stewart Gillespie as part of our systematic teaching series in the book of Revelation, audio and video recordings at graceinchrist.org.