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What is Babylon?

Query for the Month


January 2005

Next up-date: February 1st 2005 (God willing).

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Jeremiah 51:

1 Thus says the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against Me, a destroying wind; 2 and will send to Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about. 3 Against him that bends [the bow] let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifts himself up in his brigandine [coat of armour]: and spare you not her young men; destroy you utterly all her host. 4 Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets.

5 For Israel has not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel [Babylon is worse!].

6 Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD'S vengeance; He will render to her a recompense.

Revelation 18:

1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils [rebel angels], and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For all nations [the whole world] have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies."

4 And I heard another Voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities."


 What is this Babylon which is warned against in both the Old and the New Testament? How can we "Come out of her"?


What is Babylon?

First of all it was a literal city/kingdom and religion on earth in the area now known as Iraq. Then, like the United States of today, its influence and customs were eventually spread everywhere. It was NOT an apostate Christian church – it has always been the way it is – a political/religious system operating against God’s way.

The name means "confusion". Why does it cause confusion? Because as a religious system it claims to follow the God of heaven, but then does its own thing. It worships the SUN in place of the SON, with its "birthday" on December 25 as opposed to His in October. Its principal god is addressed as "Lord" and credited with being resurrected each year at harvest time (March/April), which is why fertility rites became such an important part of its rituals. "Ishtar", one of the names of the female god of the time, has become our "Easter".

Today there are two earthly religious systems which profess to be Christian, but the false one follows the Lord while true believers follow the LORD. What’s the difference between them? The LORD who is the Son of God loves to forgive and save, and so do His followers – the Lord who is the enemy of God loves to hate and destroy and so do his followers. (It really is that simple!! The rest is window dressing.)

There can be no more conclusive evidence that we possess the spirit of Satan than the disposition to hurt and destroy those who do not appreciate our work, or who act contrary to our ideas. This is what Jesus showed to two of His followers. "And when His disciples James and John saw this [His rejection by the Samaritans], they said, ‘LORD, will You that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elijah did?’ But He turned, and rebuked them, and said, ‘You know not what manner of spirit you are of. For the Son of man is not come to destroy men's lives, but to save them.’ And they went to another village." Luke 9:54-56.

How did it start?

The original instigator (under Satan) was Cain when he moved out from home and with his supporters built a city in the East in opposition to God’s advice to spread out around the earth. Genesis 4:16-17. He started a fledgling system which soon blossomed into full-scale opposition which led to the Flood catastrophe in which God lost nearly all His earthly children.

After the Flood it is recorded, "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before [against] the LORD: wherefore it is said [in a proverb], ‘Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD.’ And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar [Mesopotamia]. Out of that land [he] went forth [to] Asshur [Assyria], and built Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah, and Resen between Nineveh and Calah: the same is a great city." Genesis 10:8-12. Nimrod was beginning a religious empire which used political force for its own ends. (The use of state force in religion is a major characteristic of Babylonians.)

Its centre was based in "Babel" the original city of Babylon, and the tower its supporters built is a clear indicator of its intentions. "And they said, Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach to heaven [so we can get back at God over the Flood]; and let us make us a name [and a political city], lest we be scattered abroad." Genesis 11:4.

After Nimrod’s death the religious side was then more thoroughly set up by Satan through his new agent on earth, Nimrod’s widow, which is why its chief god and symbol today is a whore. It is a bossy organisation nominally run by the god Baal (but actually controlled by his mother/wife, the "queen of heaven", Jeremiah 7:17-18), and therefore it suits those who love to control others. It has all the doctrines of Christianity (plus a lot of others), but they are all slightly "bent" as counterfeits often are.

Since then many nations have come into existence and featured various versions of the system starring differently named god and goddesses, but Babylon has always been the main opposer of the truth by being an imitation of Christianity.

For a while (about 300 years) Satan operated through the nation of Assyria, whose national religion was war, but in Jeremiah’s time the people of the city of Babylon had re-conquered them under Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar’s father. The rest of the then known world later came under Nebuchadnezzar’s sway. "The king spoke, and said, ‘Is not this GREAT Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?’" Daniel 4:30.

In a Biblical picture the woman that represents Babylon sits on a beast and directs it.

"And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me [John], saying to me, ‘Come here; I will show to you the judgment of the great whore [church] that sits upon many waters [people]. With whom the kings of the earth [political groups] have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine [false doctrines] of her fornication. [They can’t think straight in her religion.] So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour [also], and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." Revelation 17:1-5.

How can we distinguish it from the true church?

It actively preaches against major Bible truths such as the state of the dead and the 7th day Sabbath. Jesus said the dead are "asleep" awaiting a resurrection (John 11:11-14), but Babylon says that they are in heaven with God, or in purgatory, or even hell!

Then, even though Adam "became" a living soul (Genesis 2:7) only when God breathed His Spirit into him (just like the way light comes on when electric power and a bulb are connected), Babylon openly claims that man was made with an immortal soul.

Yet the Scriptures actually exhort us to seek such a condition because we don’t have it! It is written: "[God] will render to every man according to his deeds: to them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory and honour and immortality, [He will give] eternal life: but to them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, [He will give] indignation and wrath." Romans 2:6-8. It is written that only God "has immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach to; whom no man has seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen." 1 Timothy 6:16. All the tales and experiences of "life after death" are an invention and manipulation of Satan.

Babylon also claims to have the right to change God’s law and has attempted to move the day of worship from the last day of the week to the opposite end, the first day of the week, the Sun’s day! "And he [Babylon] shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out [persecute] the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time [he’ll fool the majority for a time]. But the judgment shall sit [after that], and they [the saints of God] shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it [with the truth] to the end [over a period of time]. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him." Daniel 7:25-27.

There is a literal Babylon and a spiritual one.

It was the literal city of Babylon that Jeremiah faced, although all of his messages from God have two meanings to them so that they can be used regarding either, the main one being that we should "Come out" of both of them. It is we who face the spiritual one today, meaning a world-wide organisation and not just a local city. To "come out" is to understand who and what she stands for, and recognise that that is in total opposition to God’s way.

This mental appreciation will lead to a physical separation. "And what agreement [harmony] has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God; as God has said, ‘I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.’ ‘Wherefore come out from among them, and be you separate,’ says the LORD, ‘and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters,’ says the LORD Almighty." 2 Corinthians 6:16-18.

Then we shall pray that God will be able to reveal to us in just what areas we are still doing as she does, so that we may use His power and stop doing it!

And not only that, but we are told that she has produced wicked "daughters", so in our time there are many apparently different religious groups all exhibiting the same family characteristics. "And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH." Revelation 17:5. (The emphasis was added by the translators of the King James Version of the Bible published in 1611.)

Babylon is allied to spiritualism – and often uses mumbo jumbo in its rituals and prayers as that system does, to "blind the mind with science".

"And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon [Paganism, Revelation 12:9], and out of the mouth of the beast [the Babylonian system as a world government, Revelation 13:3-9], and out of the mouth of the false prophet [one of her daughters]. For they [the frog-like spirits] are the spirits of devils [rebel angels], working miracles [Revelation 13:14-15], which go forth 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. Here we are shown a three-fold union in the last days which will be used by Satan to dazzle the eyes of the people of the world, and lead them into a showdown with the ways of God, for these three "systems" are working to control the minds and bodies of all those who do not belong to their hierarchies.

The system known as Babylon loves power and/or money.

"And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give you rest from your sorrow, and from your fear, and from the hard bondage wherein you were made to serve, that you shall take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, ‘How has the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased! The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers’." Isaiah 14:3-5. The marginal reference of verse five has this translation, "the exactress [collector] of gold", in place of "the golden city."

God’s people are protected from the delusions of Babylon by the truth, so it is important that we know and practise the truth as it is revealed in the Bible. "As He spoke these words, many believed on Him. Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on Him, ‘If you continue in My word, then are you My disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free’." John 8:30-32.

To add to the confusion Satan has placed some of his followers in the true church, and there are true believers in the false ones! In the true church there are "wheat and tares" as Jesus told us (Matthew 13:24-25) and in the false systems are the "lost sheep." It is one of our jobs as Christians to help the "sheep" come out of Babylon – the "tares" in God’s church we can leave to the reapers. Matthew 13:28-30.

Then, to top it all off, some Christians have committed grievous sins at times, and some non-Christians exhibit very good moral behaviour. (See the story of Abraham and Abimelech in Genesis chapter 20, and David and Uriah in 2 Samuel 11 as examples.) But it is not the occasional lapse or good deed that shows the character (God can clean up our messes) – it is the "tree" itself which determines the fruit. (Note that Abraham prayed for the good man, and David and Bathsheba’s son was a wise man!)

Jesus said, "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves," then He tells us how to deal with them. "You shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit [for long], neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that brings not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them [just wait for the harvest]. Not every one that says to Me, ‘LORD, LORD’ [they mean Lord, Lord, or Boss, Boss], shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven." Matthew 7:15-21.

It is the confusion between the two systems that has led so many "sheep" over the millennia to turn away from both organised religions. However, where there is an honest desire to know the truth then the Spirit of God makes sure that each and every person has many opportunities to see it in the word of God. Consider the Syrophenician woman from the city of Tyre – she knew enough to hang on in the face of apparent rejection and claim her right as a "dog". Mark 7:24-30. The decision to accept or reject must be made by the individual by following a "boss" or a "Father."

Meanwhile, Satan leans on the enquirer and threatens to use force against them, while the Son of God woos and draws with great sympathy.

As a final thought on this subject I quote from "The Two Babylons" by Alexander Hislop, pages 282-284, written mid nineteenth century.


[He writes:] I have now finished the task I proposed to myself. Even yet the evidence is not nearly exhausted; but, upon the evidence which has been adduced [presented], I appeal to the reader if I have not proved every point which I engaged to demonstrate.

Is there one, who has candidly considered the proof that has been led, that now doubts that Rome is the Apocalyptic Babylon [the Babylon of Revelation]? Is there one who will venture to deny that, from the foundation to the topmost stone, it is essentially a system of Paganism? What, then, is to be the practical conclusion from all this?

1.) Let every Christian henceforth and for ever treat it as an outcast from the pale of Christianity. Instead of speaking of it as a Christian Church, let it be recognised and regarded as the Mystery of Iniquity, yea, as the very Synagogue of Satan.

With such overwhelming evidence of its real character, it would be folly – it would be worse – it would be treachery to the cause of Christ – to stand merely on the defensive, to parley with its priests about the lawfulness of Protestant orders, the validity of Protestant sacraments, or the possibility of salvation apart from its communion.

If Rome is now to be admitted to form a portion of the Church of Christ, where is the system of Paganism that has ever existed, or that now exists, that could not put in an equal claim? On what grounds could the worshippers of the original Madonna and child in the days of old be excluded "from the commonwealth of Israel," or shown to be "strangers to the covenants of promise"? [Today we often hear from those who should know better, that "We are all worshipping the same God, only in our different ways."]

On what grounds could the worshippers of Vishnu at this day be put beyond the bounds of such wide catholicity? The ancient/ Babylonians held, the modern Hindoos still hold, clear and distinct traditions of the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Atonement. Yet, who will venture to say that such nominal recognition of the cardinal articles of Divine revelation could relieve the character of either the one system or the other from the brand of the most deadly and God-dishonouring heathenism?

And so also in regard to Rome. True, it nominally admits Christian terms and Christian names; but all that is apparently Christian in its system is more than neutralised by the malignant Paganism that it embodies. Grant that the bread the Papacy presents to its votaries can be proved to have been originally made of the finest of the wheat; but what then, if every particle of that bread is combined with prussic acid or strychnine? Can the excellence of the bread overcome the virus of the poison? Can there by anything but death, spiritual and eternal death, to those who continue to feed upon the poisoned food that it offers?

Yes, here is the question, and let it be fairly faced. Can there be salvation in a communion in which it is declared to be a fundamental principle, that the Madonna is "our greatest hope; yea, the SOLE GROUND OF OUR HOPE"? *

* The language of the late Pope Gregory, substantially endorsed by the present Pontiff.

The time is come when charity to the perishing souls of men, hoodwinked by a Pagan priesthood, abusing the name of Christ, requires that the truth in this matter should be clearly, loudly, unflinchingly proclaimed.

The beast and the image of the beast alike stand revealed in the face of all Christendom; and now the tremendous threatening of the Divine Word in regard to their worship fully applies (Revelation 14:9,10):

"And the third angel followed them, saying, 'If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, poured without mixture into the cup of His indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb’."

These words are words of awful import; and woe to the man who is found finally under the guilt which they imply. These words, as has already been admitted by Elliott, contain a "chronological prophecy," a prophecy not referring to the Dark Ages, but to a period not far distant from the consummation, when the Gospel should be widely diffused, and when bright light should be cast on the character and doom of the apostate Church of Rome (vv 6-8). They come, in the Divine chronology of events, immediately after an angel has proclaimed, "BABYLON IS FALLEN, IS FALLEN."

We have, as it were, with our own ears heard this predicted "Fall of Babylon" announced from the high places of Rome itself, when the seven hills of the "Eternal City" reverberated with the guns that proclaimed, not merely to the citizens of the Roman republic, but to the wide world, that "PAPACY HAD FALLEN, de facto and de jure [in fact and in law], from the temporal throne of the Roman State." * [This was when Italy separated from the Vatican around 1870.]

* The Apocalypse announces two falls of Babylon. The fall referred to above is evidently only the first. The prophecy clearly implies, that after the first fall it rises to a greater height than before [its deadly wound is healed, Revelation 13:3]; and therefore the necessity of the warning.

Now, it is in the order of the prophecy, after this fall of Babylon, that this fearful threatening comes. Can there, then, be a doubt that this threatening specially and peculiarly applies to this very time? . . .

2.) But if the guilt and danger of those who adhere to the Roman Church, believing it to be the only Church where salvation can be found, be so great, what must be the guilt of those who, with a Protestant profession, nevertheless uphold the doomed Babylon?

The constitution of this land [Great Britain] requires our Queen to swear, before the crown can be put upon her head, before she can take her seat on the throne, that "she believes" that the essential doctrines of Rome are "idolatrous."

All the Churches of Britain, endowed and unendowed [government supported or not], alike with one voice declare the very same. They all proclaim that the system of Rome is a system of blasphemous idolatry. . . . And yet the members of these Churches can endow and uphold, with Protestant money, the schools, the colleges, the chaplains of that idolatrous system. If the guilt of Romanists, then, be great, the guilt of Protestants who uphold such a system must be tenfold greater.


God says: "Come out of her, My people!"


"Babylon" represents all the bossy religious systems pretending to be Christian, but who actually do everything that is Pagan. God calls on His people to leave such systems and join His true church.

Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library.  No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
Next query. To be discussed from February 1st 2005.

Revelation 3:

14 And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things says the Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the beginning [Beginner] of the creation of God; 15 "I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. 16 So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue you out of My mouth.

17 "Because you say, ‘I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing;’ and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked, 18 I counsel you to buy of Me gold tried in the fire, that you may be rich; and white raiment, that you may be clothed, and that the shame of your nakedness do not appear; and anoint your eyes with eyesalve, that you may see.

19 "As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten: be zealous therefore, and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me.

21 "To him that overcomes [himself] will I grant to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father in His throne. 22 He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches."

  What really is the Laodicean CONDITION?

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