Adrian Rogers - Goodbye to Babylon
Would you take God's Word and turn to Revelation chapter 18. It is about Babylon. But I want to remind you that Babylon in the Bible is back in the news. It is modern day Iraq. Now the Bible has a lot to say about Babylon. As a matter of fact, Babylon is mentioned more than any other city in the Bible except for Jerusalem. And so today we're going to study about Babylon because we're going to find out that Babylon, ancient Babylon will rise from the dust to meet her doom at the hand of the judgment of Almighty God.
Do you know when you read the newspaper sometimes it's hard to tell whether the news is good news or bad news? I heard of a woman who said to her friend, "I got married". She said, "Oh, that's good". She said, "But he's very mean to me". "Oh, that's bad". "But he's very rich". "Oh," she said, "that's good". Said, "He's very stingy". "Oh, that's bad". "But he did buy me a new house". "Oh, that's very good". "But it burned". "Oh," she said, "that's very bad". "But he was in it". You don't know sometimes when you read the news whether it's good news or bad news. And we look sometimes at the newspaper and we say, "Oh, what terrible news". But friend, when you put the newspaper in one hand and the Word of God in the other hand and you see that everything is fitting into the sockets of prophecy, what seems to be bad news may indeed be good news. And so we're going to study about Babylon today.
Now remember that Babylon was built by a man named Nimrod. The tower of Babel was there and Nimrod was the constructor there. Nimrod, back in the Bible you can find in Genesis chapter 10 and 11, is a type and a prophecy and Old Testament picture of the antichrist who's to come. His very name means rebel. And he built a citystate that was the capitol of the world. And that Babylon that came out of that is both the cradle and the grave, as we saw last week, of false religion. Now, we're going to see today what's going to happen to the Babylon to come, the Babylon that will rise from the dust. Ancient Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar was a foe to ancient Israel. Babylon, you see, has been around for a long time. It's great in antiquity; but it's also great in iniquity but it's also great in prophecy. And this Babylon will be the cradle and the grave of false religion.
That's what we're going to see today as we look. Ancient Babylon with her hanging gardens was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. And there's coming a time in the future when the entire world will wonder at this Babylon. Well, let's begin to read in Revelation chapter 18 verses 1 and 2, "And after these things I saw another angel come down from Heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried with a strong voice saying, 'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and become the habitation of devils, and the hold,'" that means the prison or cage, "'of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.'"
Now the question comes, is this Babylon here a literal city or is it symbolic? Now we told you last week as we talked about the destruction of ecclesiastical or religious Babylon, we told you that names sometimes are code words and they speak of more than places. For example, last week we reminded you that "Wall Street" is a code word. Now it's a literal street but it's a code word for the world's or the America's economy. Or "Madison Avenue," that may be a literal street but it's also a code word for what? For merchandising and marketing. Now when the Bible uses the world Babylon here, is the Bible speaking symbolically or is the Bible speaking literally or is the Bible speaking of another city that is not the city on the Euphrates? For example, sometimes, cities are renamed symbolically. Put in your margin or go back and look in Revelation chapter 11 and verse 8. And it says, "And their dead bodies," speaking of the two witnesses, "shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where our Lord was crucified".
Now that's very interesting. Where was Jesus crucified? In Jerusalem. But what does God call Jerusalem? Sodom. What else? Egypt. So you see how names are used symbolically. So the question comes when we're talking about Babylon, are we talking about the Babylon that was and the Babylon that will be rebuilt or are we just talking symbolically? Well, I've tried to deal with this in my own heart and mind. And, Bible scholars go either way. But I believe we're talking about literal Babylon. Now I believe in chapter 17 we're talking in a more symbolic sense. The great whore is called Babylon. But there it is called mystery Babylon. In Revelation 18 we find something called Babylon the great. And there's a contrast between these two Babylons. You see, in chapter 17 we have ecclesiastical Babylon. In chapter 18 we have commercial Babylon.
Now I don't want to confuse you too much, but you remember what the Scripture says there in Revelation chapter 18 and verse 2, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen". There's a double fall. There is the fall of ecclesiastical Babylon. We saw that last week. Now we're going to see the fall of political and commercial Babylon. The one is more symbolic I believe. The other is more literal. You're going to find that in chapter 17, remember how the kings of the earth turned on the whore, ecclesiastical Babylon, and destroyed her and burned her and devoured her. The kings did that. They judged her. But we're going to see in Revelation chapter 18 that it is God who would judge these kings. Now we're going to find out that when these kings judged ecclesiastical Babylon, they rejoiced over her. But we're going to find out that in this chapter when Babylon is judged the kings weep and lament. Well, I don't want you to get too deep into that because you'll kind of bog down and check me out. Don't you check me out; I'm watching you.
All right, now listen, listen to me right now. We're going to find out at least four things about the Babylon to come when we say goodbye to Babylon. Number one, are you ready for it? Babylon is dominated by demons. Look if you will again in Revelation 18 verses 1 through 6, "And after these things," that is after the judgment of ecclesiastical Babylon, "I saw another angel come down from Heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, 'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen,'" now watch this, "'and become the habitation of devils.'"
Now every time when you read the word devils in the Bible, if it's plural, it means demons. There's one devil, many demons. And has become the habitation of demons. You may correctly read that. Your translation may say that. "A habitation of demons or devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird". Now he calls these demons birds, the devil's dirty birds. You say Babylon is for the birds. "And all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth hath committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. 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. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works,'" that is, she is destined for double trouble, "'in the cup which she hath filled, to her double.'"
Now, it seems that Babylon, as I have said, ancient Babylon is going to rise from the dust. Now, why would the antichrist, and by the way, it will be the seat and the throne of antichrist during the tribulation. Why would he go back to ancient Babylon? Well, as we saw in a message here awhile back, there's going to be, we believe, a war between East and West. The West will win. This will make antichrist virtually the world power and the world ruler. And there will be a vacuum there in the Middle East. He will move in to fill it. But I believe, also, there's a principle that the criminal returns to the scene of the crime. And from time immemorial Babylon has been the scene and the center of demonism.
Do you remember, in Daniel chapters 1 and 2, when Daniel was there in Babylon? He had been taken captive, young handsome Daniel. And he'd been in prison and they pulled Daniel out of prison to give the interpretation of a dream. You may or may not remember that story but the Bible says the king had already called on the magicians and the soothsayers and the astrologers. The magicians, soothsayers, astrologers; all of this is demonic. Babylon has always been a center of demonism. And so, I believe antichrist is going to just return to the scene of the crime. There will be a vacuum there in these days and he will come back to build a mighty city during The Great Tribulation. Revelation 18 verse 2 tells us that this city will be fully given over to demonism. And you're not going to understand The Great Tribulation unless you understand that during The Great Tribulation the world will be infested by and led by demonic spirits.
And today however our world is being haunted by the ghost of Babylon. Revelation 18 verse 3 speaks of the wine of her fornication. And it says there in verse 3, look at it, "For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication". This wine was bottled centuries, millenniums ago. The nations are still getting drunk on the wine of her fornication. Did you know that a billion people in the world today practice astrology? I said a billion people. Forty million Americans are drinking from that intoxicating cup and as I told you last week, if you are one of those, may God have mercy upon you. The Bible says don't do it in Revelation 18 verse 4, "Come out of her my children, do not be partaker of her sins".
Now Babylon, I said, is great in antiquity and great in iniquity. Stone by stone, brick by brick, century after century, millennium after millennium, Babylon has been building a system of iniquity in this world. God has not forgotten. Revelation 18 verse 6 says, for her iniquity she is going to receive double trouble. Now, what does this mean to us? Well, as we get closer to the second coming of Jesus Christ, the Rapture of the Church, the rule of the beast, we can expect to see a tidal wave of sin, debauchery and demonism. And I want to tell you beyond the shadow of any doubt or peradventure, it is in the world today. And so the very first thing I want you to see is Babylon is dominated by demons. Babylon is dominated by demons. We're talking about the Babylon to come but certainly the Babylonian system that's in the world today.
Here's the second thing I want you to see. Not only is Babylon dominated by demons, but Babylon is defiant in depravity, defiant in depravity. Babylon struts through the earth. We are talking now about the Babylon to come that will rise from the dust. Revelation chapter 18 verses 7 and 8, "How much she hath glorified herself," now, of course, that is the devil's great desire. It has always been, to exalt his throne about the stars of God, "And lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, 'I sit as a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.'" Now the devil will stick out his big chest, strut through the earth through his servant, the antichrist, look over his beautiful kingdom there in Babylon. But of course, look in Revelation 18 verse 8, "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". Why will he be so defiant in this day? Why will he have such arrogance in this day? Well, several reasons.
Number one, ecclesiastical Babylon has been destroyed. Now ecclesiastical Babylon had its own system. And the beast says, "So I don't like having to work with and kowtow to these religious people. And look at all of their wealth. We can get rid of them and we can confiscate that wealth," and so that's exactly what he does. He now becomes immensely wealthy. He is now a law unto himself. The Eastern powers have been subjugated to him. And he has enormous wealth. The acquisition of wealth is unbelievable. Every luxury known to man will pour into Babylon. Global corporations will make their headquarters there. It will be boom-time in Babylon and he will sit as a queen in this city. And he will seem absolutely invincible. And again, he will be defiant.
Now, coming events cast their shadows ahead of time. Have you ever noticed how arrogant Satan is becoming in these days? Have you noticed? If you haven't, you've been asleep. That sin that used to slink down back alleys struts down main streets. Have you noticed how Satan is getting bolder and bolder and bolder because he thinks he actually is going to overcome in this battle? Verse 8 of Revelation 18, however, reminds us that in spite of all of the defiance of the beast, he cannot hold back the judgment of Almighty God. Look again in Revelation 18 verse 8 and it's very clear, "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". Now put it down big, plain and straight. Satan sails a sinking ship. His doom is announced and will be carried out. Sin can't win and faith can't fail. Now if you're following Satan and if you're a lover of Babylon, you're following a lost cause.
Now here's the third thing I want you to see about Babylon. Not only is Babylon dominated by demons, not only is Babylon defiant in depravity, but Babylon is destined for destruction. Let's go back to Revelation 18 and look in verses 8 to 11, "Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who hath 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 fear of her torment, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come.' And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; and no man buyeth their merchandise anymore".
Now she's going to be destroyed, devastatingly destroyed, and it's going to come cataclysmically fast. And it's going to be complete in its destruction. What is this destruction that will come to Babylon? Verse 8 says it's going to come in one day. Verse 10 says it's going to come in one hour. It's not going to gradualism. And the destruction we're going to see in verses 9 and 10 is a fiery destruction. Look again in Revelation 18 verses 9 and 10, "And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they see," underscore this now, "the smoke of her burning, standing afar off," they're afraid to get near her, "for fear of her torment, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come.'"
Well, I believe it very well could be an atomic destruction. I believe that these people who stand afar off, can see that mushroom cloud that rises over Babylon. And they're afraid because of the radiation to get close. Now an angel illustrates this destruction again in this same chapter. If you were to fast-forward to Revelation 18 verse 21 and notice what it says, "And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone," not a great millstone but 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.'"
Now it's going to come suddenly and it's going to come violently. If you were to take a great monolith, a great stone and cast it into the ocean, you would see concentric shock waves going out and out and out. And it would be sweeping everything away in its pathway. That, I believe, is what we are seeing here is an atomic blast. And the people who see it are standing away in fear and in awe. Now whatever happens, we don't know for certain what's going to happen because we are dealing with symbolism and many things we don't know until they are literally fulfilled. But whatever happens, it will be absolutely devastating. It will happen in a moment, in an hour, in a day. And the sin that has been piling up for centuries will be judged. And the vengeance that has been accumulating through the centuries will come howling through streets of Babylon with her plagues.
Now, here's the fourth thing I want you to see as we say goodbye to Babylon. Babylon is depressing in desolation. Everybody's going to be depressed. The people of this world who don't know our Lord; they're going to be depressed. Now notice Revelation 18 beginning in verse 11 through verse 23, "And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots".
Now watch this, "and slaves, and souls of men. And the fruits that thy soul lusteth after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing. And saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to naught.' And every shipmaster, and all that, 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, 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 she is made desolate. Rejoice over her, thou Heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.' 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. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and of trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth, for by thy sorceries were all nations, deceived.'"
Now again I want to tell you that Babylon to come will be wealthy beyond words. Why? Because of a global economy. Because nobody can buy or sell without the mark of the beast. And, of course, therefore in every transaction the beast gets his cut. There is no way to tell you the wealth that will flow into the hands of antichrist. No wonder he says, "I sit as a queen". Every luxury known to man has been described here in this passage of Scripture. And the wealth of former ecclesiastical Babylon is all his. The wealth of world is his. Global corporations will make their headquarters there. He will control a world economy. And money, like a mighty Niagara, will flow into that city. But note, Bill Gates will seem like a pauper compared to antichrist. Literally, he will have it all.
But notice here that a part of the merchandise will be the souls of men. There'll be a great trade in iniquity and in sin. I tore this out of U.S. News and World Report. And it is talking to those of you who are a little bit worried about your investments, your mutual funds, and your stocks and bonds. Here is what this article said, this monthly business quarterly investing guide, the title "Stock up on Sin". "A portfolio that panders to humankind's moral weaknesses might redeem investor's fortunes. Unseemly perhaps, but the fact is that in a year of exploding corporate scandal and retribution it has been good to be bad. Not legally bad, just a little sinful. Profit, so fleeting on much of Wall Street, has come easily to firms catering to humanities weakness for fatty foods, strong drinks, wastrel ways, and carnal passions".
And it goes on to talk about cable companies. For example, it says investors will have to settle for buying shares of cable companies which make millions of dollars from pay-perview adult movies, and so forth. It talks about liquor, alcohol, tobacco, all of these things. And what it's saying is, "Hey, you want to get rich, invest in sin". That's what he's talking about here. Here is the antichrist. He has it all. But among those things that he is selling and trading: the souls of men. How the rulers of this world are going to weep, Revelation 18 verses 9 and 10. And all of their resources and all of their wealth will not be able to stay the judgment of Almighty God and they will stand in their executive suites and watch on television as the market craters and the center of the world's commerce goes into a panic and it'll make 1929, the Great Depression, seem like a Sunday School picnic. And the merchant ships and tankers entering the Persian Gulf will ride at anchor and they will watch in horror.
Look in Revelation 18 verses 17 and 18, "For in one hour so great riches is come to naught. 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 great city is like unto that great city.'" And then there's a bundle of no mores. Sounds almost like a funeral bell toiling. There'll be no more music, there'll be no more merchandising, there'll be no more manufacturing, there'll be no more marriage. I believe all of this is a trigger for Armageddon. And we're coming soon to the battle of Armageddon. Now, the message today. That's all I am going to say about this eighteenth chapter, but I want to make three applications. Are you ready for them? Say, "Yes".
Okay, now. Here it is. Here it is. What can we learn from this eighteenth chapter? I mean what can we carry today? Not just enough to look way out yonder and say what may or may not happen to Babylon. But I want to give you three principles and I pray that God will lay them on your heart. Number one concerning Babylon, "Come out of her". Read Revelation chapter 18 verse 4, "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.'" Now the spirit of Babylon is already in the world. And God says to his people, "'Come ye out from among them and be ye separate,' saith the Lord". But, we hear so much today about the separation of church and state. We need to preach more about the separation of church and world. "Come out of her My people". Because if you don't, even though you belong to God, if you flirt with Babylon, if you dance with the devil, you're headed for serious problems.
I was preaching about sin in a very pointed way in another church, a dear lady who loved me very much called me the next day. Her name was Bertha, I called her Bert, she said, "Preacher, were you preaching to me Sunday"? I said, "Bert, I was shooting down in a hole. If you were down in it, I can't help it". I'm telling you friend if you get in with Babylon, you are going to be burned by Babylon. And when the judgment falls, the judgment is going to fall also upon you, though you may be a child of God. If you don't want the judgments of Babylon, don't keep company with Babylon. Number one; come out of her. Number two. Don't envy her. Only a fool envies fools. Don't envy Babylon.
You see these people wheeling and dealing, it seems like they have so much and you want some of it. Gene McCombs who is now in Heaven, who was a member of this church and a mighty preacher of the Word of God; he shared a story with me I think I shared with you in the past. But he got, was getting off an airplane one time, reached up to get his things up overhead, his hand fell on a stack of paper. He pulled it out, it was a stack of bills, hundred dollar bills. So he said, "What about that"? Big stack, with a rubber band around them. Put his hand up there again. Another stack of one hundred dollar bills. Twenty thousand dollars in cold cash. He looked at it. He'd never held that much money, he believed, in cold cash in his hands. He went to the pilot, waited until everybody got off the plane. Went to the pilot of the plane and said, "I found a substantial amount of money on this plane. What should I do"?
The pilot directed him to a certain office there in the airport. He went to the office and put the money on the desk of the man and said, "Here's the money". The man's filling out a report. He said, "What's going to happen to this money"? He said, "Well, if nobody comes to claim it, it'll be yours". About that time a man came into the office. That man was shabbily dressed, scroungylooking disheveled hair, just dressed in a very crude, rough clothing. Unkempt. He walked in and said, "I lost some money on that airplane. Has it been reported"? The man behind the desk said, "Well, tell me what you lost. Describe it exactly". He said, "Twenty thousand dollars. Two packets. So much in one packet, so much in another packet". Described it perfectly. The man said, "Yes, we have your money. Here it is".
That man picked up that money, never said thank you, never said boo, just turned around and walked out. Gene said I was at least expecting a thank you. Not a word. And he said, "I got in a cab to go to my meeting and the devil got in the cab with me". He said, "I was sitting in the back seat and the devil began whispering to me and say, 'Sir, you are a fool. You know that was drug money. You know that man was no good. That money could have been used for good for you for whatever. You're a fool that you just gave it back. He did not even say thank you". Gene said, "The devil was working on me".
And then I got to thinking about what I have in the Lord Jesus Christ, how He called me, how He saved me, how He bought me, how He keeps me, how He gives me joy day by day and there's laid up for me a crown of glory. And he said, "I began to talk back to the devil and I spoke out loud". And I said, "But look what I've got". The cab driver knew no one else was back there. It frightened him. He thought maybe Gene had a gun. And he said, "Look what I've got". And he said, "What's that buddy, what did you say"? And he said, "Never mind, I was just talking to the devil". He said the cab driver never took his eye off the rear view mirror from that time on. Friend, I want to tell you, you and I need to say to that dirty devil, "Look what I've got. Look what I've got". Come out of her, don't envy her, don't envy her.
And here's the last thing I want to say. Rejoice over her. Look in Revelation 18 verse 20 of this chapter. The Bible teaches that one day it's all coming to a climax. And the Bible says that we are to rejoice over her. Look in verse 20, "Rejoice over her, oh thou Heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her". Don't you ever let the devil get you to thinking negatively about God. Friend, we're on the winning side. And all God's people said? Question. Listen now, listen, don't even put up your books, just right here at me. Do you know that you know if you died today you would go to Heaven? Do you know today that if Jesus were to come you'd not be left behind? Would you bow your heads in prayer? Heads are bowed and eyes are closed. If you're not certain that you're saved, would you pray a prayer like this?
Dear God, I acknowledge that I'm a sinner. I acknowledge that my sin deserves judgment but I need mercy. I want to be saved. I want to be forgiven. I want to be clean. I want Your spirit in my life. Jesus You died to save me. You shed Your blood on the cross to pay for my sin. I believe it and I receive it. Come into my heart right now. Take possession and control over my life. I yield myself to You. I trust You as my personal Lord and Savior. I do it right now. And I am serious about it Lord Jesus. I am weak but I am serious. I will live for You by Your Grace and for Your glory, if You will only sustain me and help me and I know You will. Thank You Lord Jesus for coming into my heart. And Lord to show I mean business; I will make it public. I will not be ashamed of You. In Your name I pray. Amen.