BABYLON means in confusion: and this may well describe, not
only the city and its secret, but the present state of theology on the
subject. Luther's vigorous denunciation of the
church was spiced by his attempts to show that she is the scarlet woman
of the Apocalypse. Many of the Protestant sects have followed this
course and still teach that Catholicism is the embodiment of the mystery
of Babylon. During the rapid corruption of Protestantism those who have
risen in protest against it have not been slow to turn this weapon
against it, and the Protestant sects have been denominated the daughters
of Babylon. Some have gone still further and insist that all outside
their favorite communion are Babylon. Could all of these charges be
substantiated by Scripture, not one of the saints could free himself
from the guilt of association with Babylon, or would escape her dreadful
doom! Thus the whole teaching with regard to Babylon has become reduced
to an absurdity. It has become a mere lash of party leaders. It is the
sting of slanderous tongues, anxious to proclaim their own sanctity by
Were it our object, in this meditation, to fasten this byword,
Babylon, on some of our theological enemies, we could not
conscientiously ask anyone to waste his time in reading it. But we are
convinced, by much labor and study of the Scriptures that, not only is
the spirit which urges the use of this epithet by theological
belligerents contrary to the spirit of Christ, but the interpretations
are contrary to His Word.
Leaving out of consideration, for the time being, the mystery
connected with Babylon, it has become clear to us, past all
contradiction, that Babylon means Babylon - and not Rome or
Jerusalem or any other city. The burden of proof, of course, does not
lie with us. God says Babylon and we simply believe that He refers to
the city of Shinar which has always been known by this name. If He means
some other city it will be necessary to show this by the Scriptures and
some satisfactory reason must be given for calling another place by this
The mystery of Babylon is presented to us under the figure of an
unfaithful woman. It is conceded by all that she is in contrast with a
faithful one. The fact that Christendom believes the present church to
be the "bride of Christ" is the source of all the
misapplications of the mystery of Babylon. If the church is the true
wife, why Babylon is the false one, and is to be found today in the
false, apostate systems which abound. But if the present grace is not
presented under the figure of a bride or wife - which we hope to show in
due course - then we may not characterize the false as Babylon.
Our first task, then, will be to show who is the bride of the Lamb.
Yet, even before this, we must consider the teaching concerning the wife
of Yahweh. After we have seen how He wooed and won her, and how, in
spite of her unfaithfulness, He keeps Himself for her and promises to
renew His marriage vows, then we are prepared to see that, since the
wife can be none other than the nation of Israel, then the bride must be
out of that same nation. The bride is the elect company of faithful
As this will unlock to us the Song of Songs, we will briefly consider
its bearing on our theme.
We will also consider those passages which are usually supposed to
prove that the present church is the bride, and will endeavor to show
that we have a nearer and dearer place - the body of Christ.
In order to understand more clearly the contrast which is presented
in the book of the Revelation between faithful Jerusalem and false
Babylon, we will consider the "openings" of the Apocalypse.
Then, after a brief review of Babylon in the past, we will attempt to
show that, just as Jerusalem will be the home of faithful Israel, so
Babylon will be the refuge of unfaithful Israel in the future. There the
wealth and opulence of Hebrew merchant princes will
combine to build the most magnificent commercial capital of the earth.
By means of their wealth they will have a "kingdom over the kings
of the earth."
Yahweh has promised Israel a kingdom over the other nations, but we
may rest assured that He never intended that they should get it by such
means - and all apart from His Messiah and His grace. The kingdom of
Babylon is a false fulfillment of His promises to His faithful people.
The true fulfillment will be the marriage supper of the Lambkin, during
the thousand years.
Great Babylon, the most hateful of all the opposition to God's
Kingdom will, in due time, raise her proud head in defiance of Yahweh, but her short-lived grandeur
will find a sudden and desperate end, for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
May it be our privilege to enter into sympathy with Him, and our
portion to perceive His hand in the terrible times which impend. And may
it lead us to appreciate the grace which delivers us from it, seeing
that we are not appointed unto wrath. During the pangs of earth's
sorrows we will be enjoying salvation and eonian glory with our blessed