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Revelation, Part 7 Scene 6: Babylon. The series DateVerses (Revelation)Title 13 Jan, am1:1-20Introduction, Prologue, Scene 1 opens 13 Jan, pm2:1 – 3:22The.

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Presentation on theme: "Revelation, Part 7 Scene 6: Babylon. The series DateVerses (Revelation)Title 13 Jan, am1:1-20Introduction, Prologue, Scene 1 opens 13 Jan, pm2:1 – 3:22The."— Presentation transcript:

1 Revelation, Part 7 Scene 6: Babylon

2 The series DateVerses (Revelation)Title 13 Jan, am1:1-20Introduction, Prologue, Scene 1 opens 13 Jan, pm2:1 – 3:22The church in the world 17 March, pm4:1 – 8:1Suffering for the church 12 May, am8:2 – 11:18Warning for the world 7 July, am11:19 – 15:4The drama of history 7 July, pm15:5 – 16:21Punishment for the world 15 Sept, am17:1 – 19:10Babylon 17 Nov, am19:11 – 21:8The drama behind history 17 Nov, pm21:9 – 22:21Jerusalem the bride

3 Approach The book has something to say to us now As far as possible – keep it simple and grounded A view has to be taken on some of the issues raised, but the aim is to get to relevant, useful ‘nuggets’, not to generate controversy Necessarily high level – a lot to cover! Michael Wilcock, The Message of Revelation (BST series, IVP)

4 Summary of Scene 4 (Part 5) The beast from the sea – representing power and authority corrupted by the enemy The beast from the earth – persuading / deceiving people into worship of the first beast (its message) The Lamb and His followers – the kingdom of God Angels proclaiming grace, judgement and warning – the gospel message

5 Babylon Previews First preview: Scene 4, (14:8) - An angel declares Babylon has fallen Second preview: Scene 5, (16:19) – when the seventh bowl is poured out, Babylon feels the full wrath of God Before we learn much about Babylon, we know she is associated with the beasts and that she is doomed

6 Overview – Scene 6 Symbols and Mysteries Scene 6 opens, the 1 st Word (17:1-6) 2 nd Word – The Mystery of Babylon (17:7-18) 3 rd Word – The Fall of Babylon (18:1-3) 4 th Word – The Judgement of Babylon (18:4-20) 5 th Word – The Death of Babylon (18:21-24) 6 th Word – The Doom Song of Babylon (19:1-5) 7 th Word – The Successor of Babylon (19:6-8)

7 Overview – Scene 6 Postscript! (19:9-10) Summary

8 Symbols and Mysteries COFFEE = ? F E

9 Symbols and Mysteries In Revelation, “mystery” does NOT mean “a puzzle to be solved” Mystery: a (spiritual) truth which you either know or don’t, depending on whether it has been revealed to you Mysteries (truths) can be expressed in terms of ‘real’ things or as symbols

10 Symbols and Mysteries In Revelation, symbols are two ways of looking at the same thing The symbol conveys truth about its counterpart – it is not a code or cipher Spiritual truths are no less real than earthly things Example (1:20 “…the seven lampstands are the seven churches.”)

11 1. Babylon Displayed (17:1-6) Entitled ‘prostitute’ and adultery mentioned in connection with her - through her people have been enticed into worshipping the beast instead of God Sits on many waters: influential over many nations. Even kings are seduced. Supported by the beast (akin to the beasts of Scene 4)

12 1. Babylon Displayed (17:1-6) Attractive – splendidly dressed and arrayed with jewellery; but also repulsive We would be foolish to underestimate the seductive power of what the world offers – wealth, power, influence, pleasure. People great & small have been lured by their desire for them into placing their faith elsewhere than in God

13 2. The Mystery of Babylon (17:7-18) The woman & the beast are linked in a single mystery (truth) (v7). Some parallels with Scene 4. “Was…is not…will” (17:8) 7 Heads, 7 Hills, 7 Kings (17:9-11) 10 Horns, 10 Kings (17:12-14) The 10 turn on Babylon (17:15-18)

14 “Was…is not…will…” (v8) “was, is not, will come up…”. A pattern we have scene before: – Scene 1: In relation to Jesus – Scene 4 (13:3): the beast from the sea appears, is mortally wounded, but recovers

15 “Was…is not…will…” In Scene 4, the beast from the sea represented corrupted power & authority Powers / authorities rise and fall, but the ideas / philosophies / ideologies that underpin them live on to reappear in another time and place The pattern mimics the truth in order to lead people astray – (13:3, 17:8)

16 “Was…is not…will…” In spite of the mimicry, the Lord & Satan ultimately go to different ends: Jesus lived, died, rose again – and now lives for evermore The beast was, is not, will rise again from the pit – to go to his destruction

17 7 Heads, 7 Hills, 7 Kings Traditionally associated with Rome and a succession of Emperors – but there is a bigger picture The heads, hills and kings, and the number of them (7) all have symbolic meanings Head – strength (in the leadership, authority sense) Hill – strength (in the sense of solidity, durability) King – power, authority, rule Seven – essential nature

18 7 Heads, 7 Hills, 7 Kings (vv10,11) – traditionally ascribed to a series of Emperors (but commentators disagree on which ones) Could refer to successive empires – Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medio-Persia, Greece and Rome… or we could think in a wider sense

19 7 Heads, 7 Hills, 7 Kings Christians of any era have been able to: – Look back over a succession of worldly powers – Recognize the current ‘power’ in their own time – Anticipate a new power on the rise The beast is another of the same kind, embodying them all If the 7 kings are powers, the beast is Power

20 10 Horns, 10 Kings Horn: another symbol of strength They are in the future The come and go on a different time scale (hours)- while the beast endures They support the beast They make war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will overcome them

21 The 10 Turn on Babylon Note v15 – the waters denote the extent of her influence The 10 kings turn on Babylon Echoes of the sixth bowl of Scene 5, Armageddon. Satan’s corrupt society descends into massive conflict – but there this aligns with God’s will to bring judgement Different elements of godless society turn on each other

22 The 10 Turn on Babylon The comes a point when the authority / power no longer has a use for the means by which people are lured into following it. The mask is discarded and it resorts to brute power. Words of Jesus, Mark 3:23-26 – “If Satan opposes himself and is divided, he cannot stand; his end has come.” The end is near for the beast.

23 Babylon & the Beast – Taking Stock What does this picture represent to us? What the world values / offers – wealth, influence, status, immorality, gratification Also about how the world functions to support that (v18) – even governments / authorities are dominated by this system (how easy would it be for them to change it?)

24 3. The Fall of Babylon (18:1-3) The angel broadcasts the fall of Babylon, but also reminds us: – She was evil and unholy – Her influence was extensive – She seduced even the powerful – She supported a system that enabled some to get rich through buying and selling what she had to offer

25 4. The Judgement of Babylon (18:4-20) God’s people are called to be separate from her, to stay away (v4) The magnitude of her sin is great. In spite of her confidence, she will face judgement (vv5- 8) The kings weep because they shared her luxury. Through her they influenced others, and mourn the loss of Babylon “city of power” (vv9, 10)

26 4. The Judgement of Babylon (18:4-20) The merchants weep because the foundation of their business has collapsed. (Note how the list in vv 12, 13 ends). (vv11-17) The sailors – those who earned their living working within the system – mourn the loss of their means of income. (vv17b-19) But God’s people are called to rejoice (v20)

27 5. The Death of Babylon (18:21-24) That which seemed some powerful and solid comes to a sudden and catastrophic end It is as if Babylon had never been Within her there is no more art, craft, industry, light, life or business – and no more oppression of God’s people

28 6. The Doom Song of Babylon (19:1-5) After the silence that engulfs Babylon at the moment of her destruction, a great shout of praise goes up in heaven (Note references to the Scene 2 – the throne, the 24 elders, the 4 living creatures)

29 6. The Doom Song of Babylon (19:1-5) All that the enemy seeks to bring about All that the world thinks is so valuable, powerful and enduring All this is nothing compared to the might and splendour of our God Ultimately his righteousness and judgement will prevail

30 7. Babylon’s Successor (19:6-8) A trailer for Scene 8 (Coming Soon…) Babylon is contrasted with the Bride – godless society contrasted with the church

31 8. PS The angel who called John to see this scene concludes with a statement of its divine origins John mistakenly worships the angel, but is corrected Both John and the angel are God’s servants; both should worship God

32 Conclusions Satan twists something intended for our good into something bad Where is our treasure (Matt 6:21)? What do we value? What do we desire? What will we do to get it? Are lured into worshipping that which is not God? Are we distinctive?

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