Mo 6/10Tu 6/11We 6/12Th 6/13Fr 6/14Sa 6/15Su 6/16
Isa. 42
Rev. 12
Isa. 43
Rev. 13
Isa. 44
Rev. 14
Isa. 45
Rev. 15
Isa. 46
Rev. 16
Isa. 47
Rev. 17
Isa. 48
Rev. 18

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

This week we read in both Isaiah and Revelation of God’s judgment on Babylon. Isaiah prophesies of the historical city of Babylon and the empire associated with it, where God’s people were taken captive a century or so after Isaiah’s ministry. But that was a long time before the Apostle John’s prophetic visions, so it may seem strange that Babylon makes such a prominent appearance in Revelation as well.

It is important to understand that Babylon stands as a symbolic representation of much more than just the historical city called by that name. Commentator G. K. Beale puts it this way:

Babylon is the prevailing economic-religious system in alliance with the state and its related authorities, as it exists in various forms throughout the ages.1

This system shows up as far back as the Tower of “Babel” (which is actually just a slightly different way of rendering the word “Babylon”) and makes appearances all the way up through Revelation, where the name “Babylon” is figuratively applied to the ungodly Roman Empire, which ascribed to itself divine authority and played an oppressive role in the lives of God’s New Testament people similar to that played by the historical Babylon in the lives of God’s Old Testament people.

Revelation 18 directly quotes Isaiah 47 in describing Babylon’s exalting of herself and the judgment she has incurred from God:

I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow [Isa. 47:7, 8], and will never see mourning.’ For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.

Revelation 18:4–8

In both Isaiah and Revelation, Babylon is characterized by sexual immorality and by idolatry. These always go hand in hand, as Pastor Bayly taught us this past Sunday. Babylon is memorably referred to as a harlot in Revelation 17. This is not just because of the prevalence of literal sexual immorality within her, but because of Babylon’s commitment to worshiping false gods, even glorifying herself. Such idolatry is spiritual adultery, since it is unfaithfulness to the God who made us.

Revelation reminds us that every power or authority that exalts itself above God will be overcome and destroyed by God. That reminder of judgment should compel us to keep running away from the immorality and idolatry that surround us in a culture that looks more like Babylon every day.

The preaching we’ve been receiving from Ephesians 5 is amazingly relevant to this discussion. (It’s wonderful how God works, isn’t it?) Here’s part of the passage we’re in the middle of focusing on right now:

But immorality or any impurity or greed must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints; and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting, but rather giving of thanks. For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.

Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. Therefore do not be partakers with them; for you were formerly darkness, but now you are Light in the Lord; walk as children of Light (for the fruit of the Light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth), trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret.

Ephesians 5:3–12
  1. G. K. Beale, Revelation: A Shorter Commentary (Eerdmans, 2015), 354. ↩︎

VERSES TO MEDITATE ON

And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, “Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.”

And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.”

Revelation 14:6–8

HOW TO PRAY

  • Adoration – Praise God for His perfect hatred of idolatry and immorality.
  • Confession – Confess ways you have been enticed by the sensuality of this world.
  • Thanksgiving – Thank God for the amazing prophecies in Scripture that reveal and confirm His will.
  • Supplication – Ask God for strength to stand firm in the day of trial.

Click HERE to ask the pastors a question about anything in your Bible reading.

This post by Alex McNeilly

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. All rights reserved.

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