And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying,
Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.
No two cities are mentioned more times in scripture than Jerusalem and Babylon. The first mention of the city that eventually became Jerusalem is in Genesis 14 when Abram met Melchizedek, King of ‘Salem’. The root word or meaning of Salem or ‘Shalem’ is to be at peace, to be complete and whole.
In complete contrast, Babylon or Babel means ‘confusion’, the city of rebellion whose inhabitants wanted to build a tower that represented the pride of mankind. Babylon was established by Nimrod, a man whose name literally means ‘rebellion or we will rebel’.
Thus the two cities are contrasted, Jerusalem whole and at peace, the other trying to find peace through man’s self-reliance and rejecting God as central. The two cities representing the invisible yet very real world faiths, one with God at its centre, one in man at its centre.
With man at the centre of his own world, Babylon can be established within a person, a family, community and country. However here in the text, Babylon the great is fallen. And Babylon can appear great, with advances in technology, medicine and science. Yet a human centred religion, honouring ourselves, is doomed to failure:
“the dwellers of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast”
the deception is powerful but false;
“because it (the beast) was, is not and is to come”
Which is in contrast with Jesus, the Great I AM, Ego Eimi; “who was and is and is to come”. In other words the source of all being, the uncreated One. Everything else comes from Him. The beast is a false impersonator, remarkably deceptive, enticing the world away from the True One.
Anything else that we put first, in front of Jesus, the great I AM, is false. The city of Babylon, invisible yet very real is rising in these last days and will be very deceptive. It requires us to carefully discern the truth from the enticing lie. Many things which are good servants are disastrous masters- money, power, sex. Put first, these destroy, put second they find their rightful place and we have wholesome integrity, a peace, “in Jerusalem”.
Finally, Babylon will be destroyed and the New Jerusalem revealed, where God will live with his people.
Help us Lord to live in hope in these days, to discern the truth from the lie, to stay close to you and no other.