[Darris] Bible prophecy shows a coming superpower called, Babylon the Great will rise to dominate global events before Jesus Christ returns. God says to His people, “Come out of her…don’t take part in her sins.”
Could your religion, your faith, withstand the great deception prophesied to come upon the world?
Today we’ll take a look at what the Bible calls, Babylon and understand how today’s headlines are building toward the reappearance of this ancient system in our modern world. Join us for today’s program, titled, “Kingdoms at War: Babylon Stands Against God.”
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[Darris] The Bible contains a fascinating and mysterious book of prophecy called Daniel. In this book, we see an outline of history that carries down to our time—today’s world. Through the story of the prophet Daniel, we also see how one person could keep faith toward God in the middle of an ungodly culture and society called, Babylon.
Our world today resembles this ancient culture of Babylon more than we realize. By looking at the story of Daniel, we can understand how we can maintain faith in God in the midst of a modern Babylon.
We are going through a series of Beyond Today programs called “Kingdoms at War.” We are looking at this story of Daniel and drawing parallels from its history and prophecy to understand our modern world, the political events within and how we can understand God’s hand in time and history, and even His hand in our personal lives. Today, more than ever we need the lessons of Daniel’s experience to understand today’s world and to live by God’s teaching and His Word.
Daniel’s story begins with the fall of Jerusalem and his deportation to Babylon. Babylon was the capital of the world’s most powerful nation. Along with the best minds and talents in Jerusalem, Daniel found himself thrust by God’s will and his own faith into a key position at the court of Nebuchadnezzar II, one of the most intriguing figures in history.
God had given Daniel insight into visions and dreams. He wisely used his gifts to glorify God while not giving in to the temptations of Babylonian culture. Let’s understand what the Bible tells us about this ancient city and the empire called Babylon. Let’s start at the beginning of the story, in Genesis.
It begins with a man called Nimrod. Nimrod is mentioned in Genesis 10. The Bible tells us only a small amount, only a few verses of information about this man. Now here’s a tip: When the Bible speaks of a person this way, we are being told more than meets the eye. Here is what the Bible says:
“Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.’ And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel…” (Genesis 10:8-10).
We are told he also built another great city of the ancient world called, Ninevah.
Nimrod’s kingdom was Babel. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. He was a man who rose above his peers and contemporaries and became, as it says, a mighty hunter before God. Now, this tells us about the type of ruler Nimord was—he was a tyrant. He was a hunter, the opposite of what God’s vision of a king should be. God’s ideal of a leader is that of a shepherd, not a hunter. A shepherd guides and shields those in his care. A shepherd is a kind, caring and attentive leader who lovingly looks over a flock to preserve and to keep them; not hunt them, and kill them and exploit them. Nimrod gives birth to a system that acts as a predator of people. Some claim that Nimrod was the world’s first dictator who built a system to defy the will of God.
Now the Bible should be carefully read, word for word, to gain the understanding that God is given in any case.
In this with Nimrod, he is described as a dictator, a despot who exploits people and uses them for his ends, his means without regard to their well-being.
Babylon or Babel, is both a city and a system that the Bible shows endures throughout human experience. It enslaves the bodies and the souls of men into a complex mesh of economics, politics and religion. Nimrod hunted men and he chained them to his wicked and greedy ambitions. In Nimrod we see the roots of what Babylon becomes. Babylon will rise again in the end time to dominate the world in one final attempt to build a “city” or a system that reaches to the heavens in defiance of the purpose of the God of creation.
Genesis tells us another story about the city that founded by Nimrod. In involves the famous Tower of Babel. Let’s read it.
“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar.
“And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’
“But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’
“So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:1-9).
Here we see the gathering of people together. One language, one speech. A civilization begins to develop in brick and stone. They say, “Let us build a city and a tower”…“whose top reaches to heaven.” That is a symbol of a human desire to exalt itself through culture above God.
The Tower of Babel represents a cultural unity where people work and create together. A tower that “reached to the heavens” shows their effort to defy the plan and purpose of God.
Here again, the Bible is very brief but the words contain much information.
God could not allow this act of defiance. He confounds the language. He scatters the people. There is a level of pride—a tower whose top reaches to heaven. On the flat plains of Mesopotamia, it would easily dominate, the entire structure, the entire scene. Those people wanted to be noticed and to be a beacon for others.
What did God see in the hearts of these people creating this tower? It was an effort to defy God and to thwart His plan through a global effort to harness human wealth and skills.
Here in Babel is the seed of a system that spans the history of mankind into our day and beyond. Babylon, the city and the empire that will rise from here, is not a city based on God’s way of life. It will grow to become an empire that one day will break the walls of Jerusalem and burn the Temple built to honor and be a house for God.
It is important to remember Nimrod and Babel. He is not the last figure in the Bible we see who is like this. It will appear again in our day.
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Let’s fast forward to the time of Daniel and look at the character of this prophet. Daniel found himself among the Jewish captives transported to Babylon when Jerusalem fell to Nebuchadnezzar’s armies. Nebuchadnezzar was a tyrant, the spiritual heir of Nimrod. He commanded armies and the political, religious system that grew out of the spiritual culture Nimrod founded. Babylon was the larger more powerful version of Babel. Daniel would need strong faith and courage to stand against this culture.
Daniel found himself in the court of the King of Babylon and he was in line, kind of a “fast track,” to be trained as a civil servant in the government. He was intelligent and he scored well on all the placement tests the Babylonians administered to select their best and their brightest.
The king’s court was full of food, wine and delicacies; a place of physical pleasure. The Babylonians valued eating and drinking and didn’t have any restrictions on what they ate. For Daniel, this was not an option. He knew God had certain standards in what to eat. God’s law had determined how he, Daniel would live and there would be no compromise in his mind.
So, after hearing the requirements for his training in the ways of Babylon, “Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods” (Daniel 1:8).
Daniel set his heart and his mind not to compromise with teaching and laws he knew to be eternal and unchangeable for the sake of convenience or to just go along with the times. You see, for Daniel he could have reasoned, “my nation is gone, my way of worship no longer works (look at us, here in captivity!)…” He could have even reasoned, “my God no longer cares…maybe He no longer exists.”
But Daniel did not take this way out. He held firm to his faith. He held firm to the life he knew even down to the food he ate and God honored his faith. When Daniel heard the king had a dream no one could interpret, he asked for time and opportunity to interpret the meaning. With his friends, Daniel sought “mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret.”
This is quite a contrast in attitude to something like we saw back with that of Nimrod, the mighty hunter who stood before God and defied God’s sovereignty. Notice what Daniel says:
“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, For wisdom and might are His. And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises [up] kings; He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding. He reveals deep and secret things; He knows what is in the darkness, And light dwells with Him” (Daniel 2:20-22).
You want to be like this man Daniel! Here’s why.
Daniel was a righteous man who was caught up in a period of great world upheaval. Instead of being overcome by the rapid changes happening in his life, he leaned into the wind and doubled down on his faith and belief in the great God. Instead of giving in to the lights and the glamor of Babylon, he remembered the grace and the humility of Jerusalem—the city God chose. He chose to stand firm in the faith of his fathers and obey God rather than man.
Beyond that, he wanted to understand what this great empire and city called Babylon meant to the world. To use a term Christ uses, Daniel wanted to “discern (or to understand) his time.” He wanted to understand the current events and the trends of his day. He went to God in prayer, asking for wisdom and insight into these events. And God gave Daniel that understanding.
God can give you that same understanding. Our world today is filled with large events that are reshaping the world we once knew. You see an entire region like the Middle East aflame with wars and the potential for a nuclear arms race among nations like Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt. Europe is dealing with pressures from Russia and its own internal issues that will shape it into a power larger than it is today. America is going through cultural changes that leave many uncertain about its future.
How do we understand this in light of Bible prophecy and teaching? We do what Daniel did. We go to God in prayer and we study the Bible to understand what’s happening in this world. Daniel would pray three times a day and ask God for understanding about the events in his day. God gave Daniel an understanding about world history down into our time and to the coming of Jesus Christ.
This is important to you today in making sense of our own world and the events that we read about every day. Why does it matter? Because the Babylon we see from the time of Daniel is prophesied to have another life, a more modern form that will emerge from the midst of today’s world.
Let’s talk about the “Babylon of the Future.”
Babylon was an ancient city whose roots go back to the Tower of Babel and a man called, Nimrod in the early chapters of Genesis. It was also a large empire that ruled vast sections of what is today the Middle East.
God gave to Daniel the understanding and interpretation of a dream by King Nebuchadnezzar. The gold head of the image in that dream was Babylon. The head directs the body and all its parts that flowed from it. Babylon is an age-long system continuing to impact today’s world. The Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible says this about Babylon: “An age long reality…the product of one mind…the antithesis of the virgin bride of Christ and the kingdom of God.”
Babylon gives its name to a system that stretches into the time of the end. It is a system that seeks to connect the world together for larger spiritual purposes than we realize. Kingdoms are at war today flowing out of the story of Babylon we see in the Book of Daniel. We can pick up the story in the book of Revelation 17 where we see a set of events that lie ahead of us in history and form the concluding chapter of this great story of Babylon the Great.
In Revelation 17, we see a time in the future where the world is at a critical moment of greed, war and human incompetence. The global systems of commerce and government are on the verge of catastrophe. Currency and economic structures could collapse if something is not done. Existing governments through treaties and summits of world leaders appear helpless to stabilize the fragile global system.
At the moment when armies are poised to gather and people can do nothing but blaspheme God, we see that something emerges that holds the promise to preserve and to protect the global world order.
An angel summons John to see a woman riding a beast (Revelation 17:3). A woman here symbolizes a church, a religious system that has influence over political governments throughout history. The Beast here is a political system.
What are we seeing? Briefly, we are looking at a biblical description of a combination of church and state that existed from ancient times. This multi-headed “Beast” ridden by this woman represents a historic relationship between a religious and political system anchored in Rome but extended by successive governments in Europe through the centuries to today. Here John is seeing this system in its final appearance and it is more than a regional power, it’s a global power that will astound the world.
This is a sobering scene. It opens many deep soul-searching questions for a modern mind to consider. It might seem like this scene is impossible to see as we look at the way our present world is structured. In Europe, religion is not the great power depicted here. Yet religion is not dead in Europe and certainly not in other parts of the world such as the Middle East with the rise of militant Islam and its impact around the world. The current political disarray among the world’s leading nations—like Europe, America, Russia, China and the Middle East—raises legitimate questions about how religion and politics could come together to form a global power like this described in Revelation.
Daniel’s example of faith in Babylon of old is a lesson for us as we face the coming Babylon the Great—which too will stand against God.
Look to God for understanding like Daniel did. We want to help you do that. We want you to order our free Bible study aid called, The Final Superpower. This valuable, free, full-color, 30-page booklet will help you understand history and what God promises for the future.
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Babylon is destined to rise once again! This system we have traced from the flat plains of ancient Mesopotamia is shown in the Bible to appear once again at the end of the age as a political, religious, economic system called, Babylon the Great. It will involve an alliance of church and state not seen for hundreds of years. It will astound the world with its ability to restore order to a world on the verge of catastrophe. Any who oppose this system will be ground to dust.
Revelation 18 describes a global period even greater than what we see right now. Our present interconnected world continues to grow and as it does, the wealth of nations and peoples rises to unprecedented levels. Fear also mounts that the distribution of resources is leaving many parts of the world behind as wealth is concentrated among a relative few.
Connected with this rise in wealth is increased tension among nations. The spectre of Islamic terrorism spreads to Western nations. In time, there will be one incident so significant it unleashes a reaction that brings nations together in one system that will promise to preserve world order. There will be a crisis so great that it shakes the world with fear. Out of this moment someone steps forward with a solution to the world crisis. A powerful political religious system emerges. It will deceive the entire world.
Here’s how Revelation describes this time.
“And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:13-14).
The dragon here is a symbol of Satan, the great deceiver of mankind. God rips the curtain aside and He shows who is the real power behind the turmoil of the nations—both today and at this moment, of final peril. As we are showing in this important series, the kingdoms or nations of the world are at war because of the powerful spiritual forces which war against God and His purposes on this earth. Here Satan uses men, clothed with civil and religious power, to incite war against God.
This final Babylon the Great is larger than anything ever imagined by those who held its power in the ancient world. But the intention is still the same—to stand against God and to end His purpose for human life.
All this is interesting, all this is historical and all this is certainly biblical. What does it mean? Why should you be concerned? What about its impact on your life?
It should motivate us to holy conduct. To fill up our lives with God so we are not deceived. Here is what Christ says to any of us who would care to hear and let His words make a difference in our life.
“Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).
Jesus Christ tells us to consider our spiritual condition, our spiritual life. That is what He means here by the term “garments.” It’s your spiritual condition before God. If it’s not rooted in strong biblical teaching and faith and good moral conduct then you stand in danger of being caught in the web of this end-time deception.
Do you think you have the ability to stand against the deception of this final hour? Don’t be too sure. You may consider yourself to be a good person, right with God and a follower of Jesus Christ. But many sincere religious people today lack the kind of conviction and courage based on sound biblical teaching that will withstand this deception.
Your religious belief is likely not strong enough to keep you from the deception of this hour. Your religion could be a part of this end-time system. You need to understand this. The deception of the last days will be so powerful that Christ said, even His closest disciples and followers could be enticed into its clutches.
You could become a part of this system without knowing it.
The political power will turn on the religious. Secularism will prevail, for a moment. Babylon must survive. It is Satan’s final attempt to destroy the human creation and end God’s eternal purpose to expand His family through mankind. Yet God will allow this deception to go only so far.
God says to any who will hear and understand, “Come out of her my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
Will you hear and come out? Will you be like a Daniel in the midst of a modern Babylon and determine to obey your God regardless of the cost?
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Babylon the great as described in Revelation is an attractive culture. Babylon the great is developing today before our eyes and we are living in the midst of that emerging system. You and I live in a modern Babylon that continues the age-long work of Satan the devil—the powerful spirit being working behind the scenes to destroy the plan of God.
We live in the most prosperous time in all human history. Our global economy has produced technological marvels beyond our wildest imaginations. But don’t let yourself be lulled into accepting the moral, cultural and spiritual values of this coming Babylon described in Revelation.
Today we are being conditioned towards tolerance and acceptance of lifestyles and morality that directly contradict biblical teaching. Don’t compromise with what God commands of us.
Like Daniel, who resisted the temptations of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, we must remain faithful to God. God says to His people, come out of her my people lest you share in her sins and lest you receive of her plagues.
Will you make the choice to come out of Babylon and live a godly life in today’s world? You may have been watching the Beyond Today program for many weeks now. What are you doing with the understanding that you have? Are you looking for a church that follows the core of biblical teaching? Isn’t it time to be sure that what you believe and practice is based on the Word of God?
Make the commitment to worship God according to biblical truth rather than human tradition. Take time to study the Bible and get to know the true God. Honor Him the way He wants to be honored, not through the traditions created by men.
Right now, go to your phone or your computer—call us, or go online and find the number of the nearest United Church of God minister. Call us with the questions that you might have. We are here to help you take the next step. You need to obey God and to become His disciple. We look forward to hearing from you soon.
That’s our program today. Thanks for watching. And remember to join us in praying “Thy Kingdom come.” For Beyond Today , I’m Darris McNeely.
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