We continue to explore the imagery of Revelation 17 and 18. We look at the story of the antichrist and the fall of Babylon. When we know the truth we can resist temptation and remain faithful to God. We join Tim in chapter 17, verse 15 where the multitudes on earth are described as a vast water on which the antichrist sits.
17:15, Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. There’s the explanation of the waters. All this is happening world wide. It’s all coming up out of the peoples. The Roman empire was something that was out of the earth. It was of the peoples of the earth. It included all the people in the civilized area around the Mediterranean. Something like that’s going to happen again.
Verse 16. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast—These are the ten kings yet to come.‑‑‑‑These will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
We’ve seen that this harlot, this world economic system, got a particular benefit from the kings, from the antichrist. And that is no one can buy and sell without taking the mark of the beast.
In economic terms, what do you call that? A monopoly. When only the authorized people can sell, and only the authorized people can buy—and we’re going to see as we go on here is that the people involved in this, the merchants, get fabulously rich off this system. And, apparently, there’s a trade involved. And that trade is you lock out the Christians. You lock out the believers, and you can have the monopoly.
And that’s an integral part of the martyrdom of the believers. They’re identified. The world economic system says, “Oh. We can get that rich? Sure. We’ll sacrifice those people.”
What we’re going to see is this harlot is drunk with the blood of the martyrs because it has compromised.
But, apparently, what happens is the kings, these ten kings, not all the kings—a lot of the kings are going to be really unhappy about this. But these ten kings say, “That’s not good enough. We want absolute control.” So they just wipe out the commercial system and take full control themselves.
It’s easy for me to see how that could be if you had a collusion like that between government and commercial. There’s always a temptation for the government to say I’d rather have power than prosperity for my citizens. It happens every day. That, apparently, is what takes place, or something like that.
So they kill Babylon.
Verse 17. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purposes—And one of his purposes is to kill Babylon.—to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth. There’s the verse that says Babylon is actually more powerful than the kings. This economic system is actually over the kings of the earth, which may explain why those ten kings say, “Nothing can be above us, can be above the beast.” And they just kill it—even though that means that commercial activity ceases.
Babylon is fallen
Verse 18, After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. This is a really bright, shining angel. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!”
Well, it’s interesting this statement that the angel gives has actually been said before. Look over at Isaiah 21:9, and we’re going to see this statement has already been voiced.
And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!”
Then he answered and said,
“Babylon is fallen, is fallen!
And all the carved images of her gods
He has broken to the ground.”
Oh, my threshing and the grain of my floor!
That which I have heard from the Lord of Hosts,
The God of Israel,
I have declared to you.
The basic prophecy here is the fall of Babylon being proclaimed.
So the first Babylon, this empire that had absolute dominance—the head of gold in Daniel 2, the king that had total authority over all things. It fell once as a political kingdom.
Well, now we get exactly the same phrase: Babylon is fallen, is fallen! There’s repetition. I mean, it’s fallen! And the first Babylon, when it fell, it was gone. The Persians went in, took over the city, and it was gone. Babylon was no more.
I think what we’re being told here is it’s an absolute destruction.
The other place that’s worth looking at is Revelation 14:8. We’ve already seen this presaged once. And again, Revelation is not necessarily sequential. We get these interludes that explain these overviews; and in Revelations 14:8, this is in the passage about the 144,000 being sealed and chosen, and it says, And another angel followed, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Has made all nations drink.
What we’re going to see here is this economic system deceives and coerces people into their own destruction.
Have you seen a little of that happen through our economic system? Inducing people to do things to their own destruction, buy things they can’t afford, consume things that destroy their health, chase after promises that are empty? We could see how this could happen—certainly, from our own perspective.
Back to 18:2. —and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!
I’m not sure what to do with that. If you read Lord of the Rings, the bad birds are really bad. So you get a little image there. The ravens are always the guys who come and work for the sorcerers and that sort of thing.
Maybe what this is talking about is we have all these martyrs that have taken place, and the believers—the salt is gone. Because usually it’s the few honest people that keep everything going. It’s the few people that are willing to serve that keep everything going. That’s what preserves the whole society. And with all those gone, all that’s left is demonic influence where everybody’s in it for themselves.
And if you’ve ever read C. S. Lewis’s the classic The Great Divorce, he depicts the Gray City, he calls it, the lake of fire, as a place where everybody can have anything they want at any time. And what happens is everybody tries to get everything for themselves, and no one will cooperate. And everybody is bugged by everybody else. So they just keep moving farther and farther apart from one another.
And in a society like that where everything is just about me and there’s no cooperation of any kind, you can see the economic system collapsing. It’s every man for himself. And all you have left is demonic activity and selfishness. I can certainly see something like that. Perhaps that’s what it’s talking about.
Verse 3. Why? For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication—this unholy interaction with perversion with all things having to do with self worship. With all things having to do with having my appetites satisfied whenever I want them satisfied, like the Roman emperors were.
That brings wrath on us. That brings slavery. Addiction. It brings violence and division. But The nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her—So the kings have said, we want part of that money, and that will keep us going, so we’ll have an alliance.
But no more. —and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury. And this is why I think this is the world economic system we’re talking about. It’s the thing that creates prosperity. And the system’s so powerful the kings end up having to serve it because they have to keep it going because that’s what gives them their abilities. That’s what gives them their lifestyle.
But no more. Ten of the kings decide that’s not going to be the case, and they kill it.
Don’t let her manipulate you
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.”
I think this admonition is to us, because we’re talking about this world economic system, this political system. And its goal is to entrap us. Its goal is to control us. Its goal is to deceive us.
These days the technology to manipulate people has grown very significantly. You get ads on the internet targeted just at you. If you’ve ever taken a “What kind of princess are you?” survey or anything like that, that’s gone into a database. And they know what your personality is.
If you are a kind of personality that highly values security, you’re going to get ads that say, “If you don’t get this, somebody’s going to break into your house.” And if you are an adventurous type person, you’re going to get an ad that says, “Get this, and you’ll get excitement.”
They understand that people buy things with their right brain and then rationalize it with their left brain; and they’re learning how to manipulate people. If you talk to some of these people—which I have—it’s kind of scary because they don’t talk like you actually have a will or a conscience that can override your right brain. They talk about it like they can just control you. And for good reason, because they get results from what they do.
Just think about advertising for a minute. Just think about Coca Cola. What does Coca Cola promise? Bring the world together! I started thinking about this this morning, and guess what song got stuck in my head? “I like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony.” Everybody’s singing along with me, right? Because you remember that! Yeah, we just drink a Coke and bring the world together. It’s the promise.
Now, is that promise really embraced by people? Well, yes it is. Do you remember New Coke? I think most of you are old enough to remember New Coke. Here’s what happened: Coke was losing market share to Pepsi. They did taste tests. And they learned for a fact that in blind taste tests, just like Pepsi said on their commercials, everybody liked Pepsi better because it was sweeter. Coke’s kind of bitter.
And so they decided we’re going to lose all our market share because our Coke doesn’t taste as good. So they introduced New Coke. And they knew that it tasted better according to blind taste tests. And the world erupted. People revolted!
And they ran in and studied it very quickly. And what they discovered was people didn’t buy Coke because it tasted good. People bought Coke because they had shared Coke with their dad. They had gone fishing and had a Coke. It was a life experience. It was the world coming together for them! And there were people saying their life had ended.
Now Coke did a quick switch and said, oh, really what we meant was we’re going to have two kinds now. And they kind of pulled a rabbit out of a hat, and it turned out OK for them. But for a minute there, it was a disaster because people get experiences from consuming products.
Now they sell happiness. And just think about all the things that get sold. Think about the Happy Meal. What’s the promise? If you buy this meal, you’ll be happy! For how long? Until the toy breaks. Which is how long? Ten seconds maybe? So you get ten seconds of happiness.
They sell escape. Just think about beverages, only beverages. There’s beverages that make you athletic. There are beverages that give you women. There are beverages that make you a man, give you manhood. There are beverages that make you attractive to men. There are beverages that make you independent. There are beverages that cause you to escape into a great adventure. And why do they keep pouring millions of dollars into these ads? Why don’t they just save the money and cut their price? Because they work!
And are they true? What do they actually do, most of these beverages? They mostly make you fat. They mostly give you diabetes. That’s mainly what they actually do. But that’s not what they sell. Just take that and expand that. Now the ability to expand that has gone to microtargeting. And they can micro target deception to you.
So come out of this. And how do you come out of it? One of the best ways that occurred to me that you can come out of this and not be deceived by the world economic system or the world political system (which is using the same techniques, by the way). You know one of the best things you can do? Study the Bible. Because you know what the Bible develops? Your left brain! You have to think about it.
You have to think, now, what is this really saying? What does this mean to me? What kind of decision am I going to make? You know now what you’re doing is making decisions based on values. The world economic system depends on you reacting with your right brain and just saying, “Oh! That feels good! I’m going to do it. Now how am I going to explain it?” That’s what I use my left brain for. How am I going to explain it?
This is well researched! They went and asked a guy in one of the books I read about this. They asked a guy, “Why did you buy this T.V. at the department store?” “Great price.” And then later on they asked him, you know, “So is this the cheapest one you could find?” “Oh, no, their prices aren’t nearly as low as Best Buy.” “Well then why did you say—”
What they actually found is when they go to the department store, they make him feel important, and he likes the experience. But he couldn’t articulate that. He just did it. And then when you ask him, “Why did you buy that?” “Great price!” Rationalization. That’s how we operate.
Well, when we study the Bible, which is written in words, and it’s presented in logic, and it requires mental energy to try to understand, we’re developing the ability to come out of this, to not be deceived.
Does that mean don’t participate in it? No. We’re supposed to be in the world. It means that we’re not controlled by it. We don’t have to be a lackey in this system. We can be apart from it.
When you buy something, ask yourself, what is this really going to do for me? Really. Actually. Not what do they tell me it’s going to do. That would be one way you could come out of this.
I’m going to go ahead and stop here, I didn’t make it all the way through 18. But 19 sort of keeps going with the same thing because heaven exults over Babylon falling. This whole thing about this economic system that has become abusive is something that is greatly celebrated. The problem is people are deceived. And they’re not pursuing what’s in their best interest. They’re pursuing wrath. The fact that someone with the power to bless people is using it, instead, to bring them wrath is something that God does not like.
We saw this previously in the flood. When Noah was saved with his family to start the race over again, He destroyed everything else, and the reason it’s given in Genesis is because the earth had filled with violence. In my analysis, God destroyed the earth at that time according to 1 Peter, I think it is, and the earth at that time was a fairly easy place to live. People lived for hundreds of years, and the earth was amazingly productive. And, apparently, when people have lots of time on their hands what they do is fight.
If you look at, say, the uber rich people that get TV shows, what do they do? They fight, and compete, and destroy themselves. So what God did is he took the world and said, “I’m going to make it really hard to live here now so you’ve got to spend all your energy staying alive. And that way you won’t hurt other people.” And it worked. You know, there’s still violence on the earth, but nothing like it was.
Well, apparently, the earth’s going to come together to the point where that is going to be recreated, that ability to do massive violence. And we’ll see, soon here, the culmination of all of human history with Jesus wiping that out and starting over with something that will work for a thousand years and then be rejected again, which is one of the craziest things in all of the scripture. It appears that we can’t learn even after a thousand years of success because of the power of deception.
We have the opportunity to come out, to not be a part of this, because we don’t have to be deceived. We have the truth. But the truth takes effort. I commend you for coming to a class that requires effort. I exhort you to not just stick with this but to dig in for yourselves because in doing that, you’re developing the ability to not be manipulated by a system that wants wrath for you at their profit and your expense.