oh, Babylon

Last week CNN ran a travel story titled “The Call of Babylon.” Here’s what it had to say:

This ancient city on the banks of the Euphrates River is more than four thousand years old and was once the home of Nebuchadnezzar, who built the Hanging Gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.
“Babylon is definitely impressive,” Dauge told CNN. “It’s known throughout the world. Even the casual tourist has some collective memory of a place like Babylon, when you talk about people like Nebuchadnezzar.”
Located 88 kilometers (55 miles) south of Baghdad, Babylon was extensively reconstructed by Saddam Hussein, meaning little of the original city is visible.

Let’s hang for a minute on that last phrase: “little of the original city is visible.” What about INVISIBLE?

You know how some places are so powerful they seem to have a life of their own? Like New York, for example. Or Vegas. Or Paris. Babylon was like that — it was so great, and so impressive a city that although the ancient Babylonian empire fell in 539 BC, its spirit continues to affect us today and will do so for some time.

We know this because Revelation 17 and 18 call it “Babylon the Great,” saying that Babylon is like a harlot that seduces all the nations, as well as the kings of the earth, merchants of the earth, and the peoples and multitudes. Before we get stuck on this point — whether Revelation is literal or figurative, whether any of this even applies to us today — let’s just for the sake of argument say that the actual physical city of Babylon, covered in dust and (apparently) by Saddam Hussein’s reconstruction site, is not our problem.

It’s the Spirit of Babylon that we need to be worried about.

So what, exactly, makes the Babylonian spirit so incredibly powerful so as to survive the ages and win a spot in the great war described in Revelation?

Allow me to speculate for a minute before I get to my point. Keep in mind that Babylon was originally established by Noah’s great-grandson Nimrod (Genesis 10) between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers. Coincidentally, this is also the suspected site of the Garden of Eden although no one has seen it since God kicked out Adam and Eve. But because people lived hundreds of years in those days, Noah’s family may have heard rumors of its possible location. Could this be why one of the earliest records use the word “Babilli” which means: gateway to the gods? Maybe Nimrod had heard the stories, and when he set up his territories he said “yep, over there. That’s where we think it might be. I will call it Babilli, because that is the gateway.”

So stick with me here…

What did the serpent say to Eve in the garden, about eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (Gen. 3:4-5)?
1. You surely shall not die!
2. You will be like God.

What does the spirit of Babylon say, according to Isaiah 47?
1. I shall be a queen forever.
2. I am, and there is no one besides me. (God identifies Himself with this exact phrase, calling Himself the “I AM” and in Isaiah 45:5 we read “I am the LORD, and there is no other. There is no other God besides me.”)

Could it be that the Babylonian spirit is SO POWERFUL because it was the original worldview that brought down humanity, in the Garden?

What a diabolically amazing feat, to separate the crowning glory of creation from the Creator. It would likely become one of Satan’s prized ideas.  One of his favorite spirits.

“Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city!”

8 thoughts on “oh, Babylon

  1. I would rather not label myself. 🙂

    Yes in some ways, no in others. I try to see the words of the Bible through spiritual eyes, since it is a book about the spiritual realm. Not an easy task, as I’m tethered to this earth for now.

    I do not believe that we will literally see with our natural eyes many of the events listed in Revelation (creatures with thousands of eyes, four horseman, the great harlot of Babylon, etc). But I do believe these things will happen literally *in the spiritual realm*.

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  2. Hi Anna,
    An interesting approach to assist in finding Mystery Babylon is to follow the biblical thread of demonic influence.
    Bel, Baal, Belial from the OT all have a connection to Babel and Babylon. When you study these gods/demons and note their influence on a culture then you can see those same cultural influences in existence today.
    One such article along these lines can be found here :
    http://pctii.org/arc/taylor/taylor2XXVI.html
    But that’s pretty much what you are saying anyway. Worldviews are definitely formed from the wisdom that comes by the “prince of the power of the air”
    Blessings,
    Tim

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    1. Thanks Tim — that’s an interesting article, tracing idol worship back to Nimrod. It’s strange to think about the beginning of these ancient spiritual problems/oppression/influence that we have playing out all over our world now.

      We did a Bible Study on Daniel a while back, and the first chapter is such a good example of how to be separate from our Babylonian culture. Daniel turned down the royal food and wine as part of his training in Babylon (he chose “not to defile himself” with it), and instead depended on God, who gave him “knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning. And Daniel could understand dreams and visions of all kinds.” Daniel’s example of how to be relevant and yet separate inspires me. Praise God that He fills us with a Kingdom worldview!

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    1. Some do say that, but I have trouble with defining Babylon as a physical place (except in the context of Ancient Babylon or modern-day tourism to Iraq). Certainly the US has a strong Babylonian influence – the Spirit of Babylon is definitely at work here and pervasive in its reach. But to say that one country is Babylon lets the rest of the world off the hook, and doesn’t seem to be biblical. Plus we see in Revelation that Babylon deceived ALL the nations — the US is young (only 234 years old) and probably declining in power.

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