YOUTH AND ADULT SEARCH THE SCRIPTURE FOR JULY 11, 2021 LESSON 1008 : TOPIC – LAMENTATION OVER END-TIME BABYLON
ADULT SEARCH THE SCRIPTURE
LAMENTATION OVER END-TIME BABYLON
TEXT: Revelation 18:1-24
Memory Verse: “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
This study is a continuation of the seventh vial in Revelation 16:17-21. The name ‘Babylon’ is from the word ‘Babel’, a city founded by Nimrod after the flood (Genesis 10:10). Babel is very much associated with its tower: a representation of man’s rebellion and sinful pride against God. The offshoot of Babel is Babylon which became prominent under King Nebuchadnezzar and the place where Judah spent seventy years in captivity. While ancient Babylon is now desolate and under ruins in fulfilment of prophecy, all things that it represented are still evident in our society today. The destruction of Babylon provides evidence that God rules the affairs of this world and is involved in every phase of human history. In eschatological studies, several events shall precede the second coming of Christ and this study is one of such chronological events. The end-time Babylon as we consider from our text is a metaphor for the evil systems of the world, her power and all other such representations. Its destruction and bewailing by the fraudulent beneficiaries from its evil activities are sure and certain. The ruin of ancient Babylon and the impending doom on the present world should remind believers that all things in this world are temporal. Whether man likes it or not, every opposition against the Lord must finally give way at the end. Ancient Babylon with all its glamour, pride, sophistication, power, and attainments was eventually conquered by King Darius (Daniel 5:18-31); in like manner, this present world will come under the rule of God and His Christ.
Question 1: What are the similarities between ancient Babylon and end-time Babylon?
IMMINENT DESTRUCTION OF EVIL AND CALL FOR SEPARATION (Revelation 18:1-8; 14:8; Isaiah 13:19-22; 2 Peter 3:10-12; Jeremiah 51:1-9; 50:8; Isaiah 52:11; 48:20; Ephesians 5:11; 2 Corinthians 6:14-18)
The word of God is sacrosanct: “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away” (Mark 13:31). It is already determined that this present world will come under divine judgment and this knowledge should spur us to live and please God at all times so that we will not be partakers. It is evident that every transgression of man shall be judged, notwithstanding the time of commission (Proverbs 11:21). Sinners and those who delight in sin shall face the same judgment (Romans 1:32). Once the cup of iniquity is full, the longsuffering of God will give way and His justice will take its place. As the world drifts to a close, a lot of telltale signs are there for us to see; many businesses and activities are conducted without the knowledge of God. The entire pursuit centres on power, possessions and money. There is greed all around us because people are not satisfied with what they have. They forget that “a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15). They take advantage of others to attain their desired positions in life. There are businessmen who engage in dubious practices to defraud others for self-enrichment. The rich and wealthy live in luxury and pleasure and conclude that they are secure and have no need of God in their lives. There are political leaders who engage in partisan behaviours at the expense of the lives of others. The lust for power has become their preoccupation not minding how they get it. “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Revelation 18:4,5). True believers would avoid affiliation with worldly religious bodies. Pursuers of glamour, glory and splendour will be disappointed when the wrath of God is poured upon the inhabitants of the earth. All those who have been deceived will wail uncontrollably. Those who spend their lives in pursuit of worldly materials will be left with nothing when Jesus returns to the earth at His second coming. In the midst of the pollutions in the world, believers are called to be separate and live to please the Lord (2 Corinthians 6:14-18; Genesis 19:12,13). We are in the world but are not of the world; we are called to set our affections on things above and not on things on the earth (Colossians 3:2) because of the rot in the system. There is the temptation to join the people of the world in their evil pursuits in the guise of competing and wanting to be like them. Careless saints will partake in the imminent punishment coming on the rebellious sinful world. Early disciples and apostles knew their calling and kept themselves pure and unspotted from the world. They maintained a distinct identity and the world knew them so (Acts 4:13; 17:6).
Question 2: Why are believers called out of end-time Babylon?
The devastation of the world will be sudden and frightening. “For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night” (1 Thessalonians 5:2). This must not come as a surprise to believers because Apostle Peter wrote that Jesus will come as a thief in the night; and that this present world will be set on fire and melt with fervent heat (2 Peter 3:12). If these truths stand, what manner of people are we then supposed to be? We ought to live righteously, waiting for the return of our Master who has gone to prepare a place for us.
INCREDULOUS LAMENTATION OF BENEFICIARIES OF THE WORLDLY SYSTEM (Revelation 18:9-19; Matthew 24:14-19; Ezekiel 27:27-32; 1 Peter 3:20)
“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Revelation 18:9,10). When this world’s corrupt system will come to a despicable end, the global financial crises of the past will be like a child’s play. Surely, there shall be lamentations when all things come to a devastating end. Those who will shout, ‘had I known’ are those who despised the warning from the Scriptures to live righteously in this present world and as many as have frustrated the grace of God upon their lives. When ancient Babylon was conquered, for the inhabitants, it was no longer a matter of ‘my possession’ but of ‘my life’. One can begin to see the imagery of people crying and wailing for their lives. All those who amassed excessive wealth without mercy to the poor, popularity and pleasure without pleasing the Lord, fame and fortune without faith and fervency in His service, and positions without praise of God, will wail uncontrollably when all things come to a close. “For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing…” (Revelation 18:17-19).
Question 3: What does the lamentation in our study remind us of as Christians with respect to worldly pursuits?
Any time the curtain of life is drawn, we shall hear lamentations and cries of woe from the evil beneficiaries. Backsliders who revel in their sinful state with other sinners should always remember that every individual will face judgment alone, not in company of others. Those who labour only for earthly rewards will lose everything at the end. Believers should therefore engage in enduring works that will survive the final test of fire. It should be noted that the things of this world are temporal, transient and trivial; they should be held with loose hands. Only those who do the will of God shall abide forever. Those who will witness the last three and half years of the great tribulation would wish they were never born into this world (Revelation 6:16). Believers must always be conscious that they are citizens of the celestial city. This knowledge should equip them with godly character and conduct to live as pilgrims while passing through this world. This world’s glamour, fame, wealth and position will soon fade into insignificance. We are to live our lives with eternity in view.
Question 4: How should a believer live in the light of the imminent destruction coming on this world?
INEVITABLE DEFEAT OF CHRIST’S ADVERSARIES (Revelation 18:20-24; 19:2; Psalms 2:4; 37:13; 52:6; Jeremiah 51:47-49,63,64; Isaiah 14:22; 21:9; Nahum 3:4-6; Revelation 16:6; 17:6)
“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all” (Revelation 18:21). The defeat of the enemy is sure and certain. Jesus Christ declared on the cross at Calvary, “It is finished” (John 19:30). End-time Babylon will surely fall and all things therein shall be completely destroyed. Heaven will celebrate the fall of Babylon because its atrocities against God and His people has come to an end. This is the fate that awaits the adversaries of the Lord. “…Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground” (Isaiah 21:9). The Scripture affirms that vengeance is of the Lord. The rod of the persecutors and those who trouble believers shall soon be cut off. In some countries today, believers are sorely persecuted for their faith and not for any wrongdoing. We are admonished to continue to endure and suffer for righteousness’ sake. Saints will rejoice and be glad at the end when we shall see the destruction of end-time Babylon. No one must regret following the Lord because the day of laughter is coming. The adversaries of the Lord shall not have any hiding place. The great men, rich and wealthy folks, political leaders, opinion leaders, nobles, princes and kings who have despised the gospel of salvation and those who postponed theirs, hoping to get saved by and by, shall find out that it is too late. At their disgustful end, heaven will laugh at them and saints will rejoice for persevering to the end. Some have compromised their faith and lost their convictions because of their longing for luxury, wealth and comfort of this present life. The nobles and princes of the society no longer cared about integrity, righteousness and character. It will do us good to always remember that those who dine with the world will be destroyed with it. The same way God defeated the imaginations of the people at Babel by confounding them, so also He will overthrow the imaginations of end-time Babylon. Christians are enjoined to bear all persecutions joyfully for Christ’s sake, for the sting of their tormentors shall soon cease. Jesus has gone to prepare a place for us and the victorious saints are sure to receive eternal crown from Him at His coming. Therefore, let us watch, pray, labour and strive lawfully to enter eternal rest with God so as not to be crushed with the end-time Babylon.
Question 5: What eternal assurance do believers have seeing the dominance of evil in this Satan-controlled world?
YOUTH SEARCH THE SCRIPTURE
LAMENTATION OVER END-TIME BABYLON
Memory Verse: “And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate” (Revelation 18:19).
TEXT: Revelation 18:1-24
Our last lesson examined mystery Babylon while focus, this time, is on materialistic Babylon, They are different from each other. Mystery Babylon will be destroyed by the “ten kings” (Revelation 17: 16) whereas the destruction of materialistic Babylon will be lamented by the “kings of the earth” (Revelation 18:9, 10). Chapter 17 focuses on a WOMAN, but chapter 18 emphasises a CITY. The Ancient Babylon (the city) has already been destroyed and it is never to be rebuilt and inhabited (Jeremiah 50:1-3,39-46; 51:26,37,44,57,64; Isaiah 13:17-22). The future city in Revelation chapter eighteen is called Babylon — the final commercial centre of the world, the Antichrist’s capital. It is referred to as Babylon just as Jerusalem is called Sodom in Revelation 1 1:8. The Babylon of the future will be an enormous city, a populous den of iniquity. Its destruction will be at the time of the seventh vial of judgment, near the end of the great tribulation (Revelation 16: 17-19; 18:5). Future Babylon, the great capital city of the world in the end- time, will be destroyed by God Himself. “And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine ofthe fierceness of his wrath” (Revelation 16: 17, 19)God will pour out the cup of His wrath upon Babylon. There will be great mourning by the political leaders and governments of the world when the capital city of the Antichrist is destroyed. NationsNations whose power depend entirely upon him and his capital will mourn greatly. Their economies will be greatly affected. The whole world will undergo disaster after disaster at this time and many of the great cities of the world will be destroyed and reduced to ashes (Revelation 16:17-21). They will fall and be destroyed with Babylon. There will be great mourning and lamentation.
DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON THE GREAT (Revelation 18:1-8; 14:8; 16:19; Isaiah 13:19-22; 21:9; Jeremiah Genesis 19:12-17; Numbers 16:21-35)
“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory” (Revelation 18:1). Another powerful angel, mightier than ordinary angels, is sent from heaven to announce the fall of materialistic Babylon. His appearance and glory lightens the earth with great and visible. radiance. AnnouncingAnnouncing with a strong, mighty voice, he declares the verdict of the Almighty God: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen”. The announcement is emphatic and irreversible. “And is become the habitation of devils and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (Revelation 18:2). Evil spirits, demons and all kinds of unclean spirits will resort and abide there after its fall. The future capital of the Antichrist will be reduced to a state of utter desolation.
Question 1: What is the reason for the destruction of future Babylon?
The reason for the ruin of the future Babylon is clearly stated: “For all nations 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” (verse 3). She had beguiled and corrupted the nations of the earth, leading them into pollution and sin, and away from God into perdition.
Question 2: Will God allow His people to suffer with the wicked?
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4). This message comes from God to His own people — to the remnant on earth who have not taken the mark of the Beast, those who have not drank of the wine of the fornication of Babylon or those who have not been corrupted by it. Association or nearness to Babylon always corrupts and contaminates. The universal message from God is that those who would remain holy and pure must separate themselves from all associations of evil. The judgment of God that will come upon the guilty city will make no discrimination among those who will be found there. The only way to escape judgment is to come out. “And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Corinthians 6: 18). Materialistic Babylon will be punished severely. “Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double”. Sin always attracts divine judgment and wrath. TheThe greater the sin, the greater the judgment. “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities”. The sins of the people of the period of the great tribulation will be so flagrant and known to all on the earth and in heaven. “Torment and sorrow” will Come upon the proud, Pleasure-seeking sinners. “She hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously… for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow”. Her judgment will come suddenly. “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (verse 8).
DESOLATION OF MATERIALISTIC BABYLON (Revelation 18:9-19; Ezekiel 26:17-21; 27:30-36; Amos 5:16- 20; Jeremiah 51:8-13; Ezekiel Isaiah 47:9-15; Lamentation 4:6; Jeremiah 51:37-44)
“And the kings of the earth… shall bewail her, and lament for her. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her. The merchants… shall stand afar off… weeping and wailing. And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing… for in one hour is she made desolate” (Revelation 18:9,11, 15, 19). The sudden fall and destruction of Babylon will cause great mourning, weeping, wailing and lamentation. Kings and merchants of the earth who have had Babylon as their source of power, wealth, pleasure and luxury will be sorrowful “when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment…”(Revelation 18:9, 10) not daring to approach, to rescue her or to render relief, they can only lament, saying, “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come” (Revelation 18: 10). The materialistic Babylon in focus is likened to today’s world of economy, fashion, technology and businesses that have made man to love money more than God.
Question 3: In the light of this study, how should we handle material things of this world?
“If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3: 1 ,2). We are to set our affections and desires on the things of God. Earthly materials will be burnt off. “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness” (2 Peter 3:10,11)
DISAPPEARANCE OF MURDEROUS BABYLON (Revelation 18:21-24,20; Jeremiah 51:63,64; Exodus 15:5,6; Nehemiah 9:11; Revelation 16:19,20; Ezekiel 27:21; Isaiah 24:1-10; Jeremiah 16:10-12)
“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, thus with violence shall that great city Babylon thrown down, and shall be found no more at all” (verse 21). The destruction of Babylon will be violent. It is illustrated by the mighty angel throwing a huge stone into the sea. Picture the thrust of his throw, the violent impact of the stone as it hits the water, the immediate disappearance of the stone as it sinks into the sea, never again to be seen and the violent waves that begin to rush out from the spot in every direction.
Question 4: What will happen in heaven when Babylon is destroyed?
“And in her was found the blood of the prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Revelation 18:24). Mystery Babylon and materialistic Babylon are murderously united. The apostate church of the last days, Supporting the Antichrist and his political system, with Babylon as its capital will persecute and kill many prophets and saints who believe and follow the Lamb during the great tribulation. WhenWhen the full and final judgment of wicked, depraved, murderous Babylon eventually comes, heaven will rejoice. The earth will mourn and lament. King&, merchantmen, seamen, rich men, pleasure seekers and those who are in alliance with the Antichrist will mourn and lament. But it is not so with heaven or with the righteous. When the great oppressor of the righteouei, the great corrupter of the world is destroyed, there will be Joy in heavens “RoJoicc over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostios and prophets; for God hath avenged you on (Revelation 18:20).