Mystery, Babylon the Great (Part 1)By Pastor Boffey on Sunday, November 8, 2009.
Mystery Babylon (Part 1) Mystery, Babylon the Great I. The N.T. warns in various places that apostasy would come. A. Paul was concerned about believers being corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 2CO 11:3. B. Paul warned about believers forsaking sound doctrine for fables. 2TI 4:3-4. C. Paul warned about believers in the latter times departing from the faith. 1TI 4:1. D. Peter warned about false teachers arising who would draw away many. 2PE 2:1-2. E. Paul warned about a falling away (Gr. apostasia) that would precede the coming of Christ. 2TH 2:1-3. F. Paul warned about an increase of deceivers and deceived. 2TI 3:13. G. John warned that many antichrists had already abandoned the faith and many false prophets had already gone out into the world. 1JO 2:18-19; 4:1. H. The mystery of iniquity was already working in apostolic days. 2TH 2:7. I. Jesus implied that faith would be scarcely found at His return. LUK 18:8. II. There is one element which Scripture shows to be a major player in apostasy. John was shown a grandly adorned whore on a scarlet beast. REV 17:1-4. A. The woman had on her forehead a name written, “...MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (REV 17:5). 1. Her name is on her forehead---boldly, brazenly. c/w JER 3:3. 2. She is plainly identified so that there is no reasonable excuse for not perceiving her for what she is. B. Mystery: “A religious truth known only from divine revelation; usually (cf. sense 5), a doctrine of the faith involving difficulties which human reason is incapable of solving. 5. a. A hidden or secret thing; a matter unexplained or inexplicable; something beyond human knowledge or comprehension; a riddle or enigma.” 1. That her name is MYSTERY implies a religious character. 2. That her name is MYSTERY indicates that she deems herself a channel of divine revelation. 3. That her name is MYSTERY indicates that she is a vessel of riddles and enigmas. C. The woman “...is that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (REV 17:18), which in John's time was Rome. 1. Babylon of old had long ago fallen and would not recover. ISA 13:19-20. 2. This woman/city is spiritually called Babylon because she bears the characteristics of Babylon. c/w REV 11:8. a. Babylon sat upon many waters --- she was a multi-national power. JER 51:13 c/w REV 17:1, 15. b. Babylon considered herself “...The lady of kingdoms” (ISA 47:5) --- there was none like her. c/w REV 18:7. c. Babylon oppressed the saints of God. ISA 47:6 c/w REV 17:6. d. Babylon considered herself indestructible. ISA 47:7-8 c/w REV 18:7. e. Babylon was noted for her idols and images. JER 50:2. f. Babylon was noted for her sorceries, enchantments, etc. ISA 47:12-13 c/w REV 18:23. g. Babylon was noted for her intercourse with the merchants of the world. ISA 47:15 c/w REV 18:3. h. Babylon was noted for her instrumental music in worship. DAN 3:5 c/w REV 18:22. i. Babylon mingled the elements of the true God's religion with pagan superstitions. DAN 5:1-4. j. God had His people in Babylon who were commanded to come out of her. JER 51:45 c/w REV 18:4. k. Babylon's destruction was sudden, quick, violent and permanent. ISA 47:9 c/w REV 18:8, 21. III. The woman is a whore who rides to power on a “scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy...” (REV 17:3). A. What is envisioned is a system represented by the combination of the whore and the beast. They have a common color scheme: scarlet (REV 17:3-4), the color of blood and of sin. ISA 1:18. 1. Partaking of false religion is described as whoredom and abomination. EXO 34:14-17; 1KI 11:5; ISA 57:3-8. 2. The beast represents ruthless civil power which blasphemes God in its control over men. REV 13:1-7. 3. The woman has committed fornication with the kings of the earth (REV 17:2) and is seen as reigning over them. REV 17:18. 4. Here then is a system of apostate religion attaining great power by its intercourse with civil power and which has an appeal to the non-elect, the carnal-minded, the materialistic. REV 13:8; 17:8; 18:3, 9-19. 5. But this strange marriage does not last forever: the beast has a mind of its own and eventually turns on the woman. REV 17:8. B. The woman is noted for her opulent outward appearance. REV 17:4. C. She is “THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (REV 17:5); she births false religious systems and practices. D. She is particularly held accountable for the shed blood of the true saints. REV 17:6; 18:24. E. She is “...that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (REV 17:18). 1. At the time of John's writing, Rome was that great imperial city. 2. Rome is known as the city that sits on seven hills or mountains. c/w REV 17:9. 3. Pagan Rome crucified Christ and persecuted the apostles and the early church. 4. Papal Rome which was the wedding of ecclesiastical and civil power took up where Pagan Rome left off.