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The Hebrew people were exiled to Babylon. Isaiah prophesied both the exile and the return from exile of God’s people.
Babylon is also mentioned in the Book of Revelation. The nation is a symbol of a way of living that everyone should avoid.
Babylon Behavior in Revelation
Before we turn to Isaiah’s message about Babylon, let’s outline Babylonian behavior in Revelation.
(1) Revelation 14.8 – The second angel proclaimed, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
Babylon is a powerful influence that makes people drink of “her fornication.” “Fornication” is more a reference to materialism, commerce, and the worship of money than it is of sexual sin.
Consider how prominent the place money and possessions play in our lives and you will get an understanding of how all people must “drink” of her fornication.
Jesus described wealth and materialism as a competing god to the One True God. He counseled his followers to give their allegiance to God and him alone.
He said, “No one can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth” (Matthew 6.24).
(2) Revelation 17.5 – Babylon is identified as, “Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth’s abominations.”
Prostitution in the Bible is often a term that describes turning away from a relationship with God to serve idols.
Babylon is a symbol of a system that lays claim to authority and power that belongs to God alone.
(3) Revelation 18.2 – The true nature of Babylonian behavior is revealed by God’s judgment of Babylon.
It has become a dwelling place of demons,
a haunt of every foul spirit,
a haunt of every foul bird,
a haunt of every foul and hateful beast.
Rudy Ross describes Babylonian behavior as an “upside-down kingdom.” Babylon promises power and security, but the truth is that it is empowered by demonic forces.
Babylon in Isaiah
God used the Babylonian nation to discipline Israel. The underlying spirit of the Babylonians was revealed in the way they treated the conquered nation.
(1) Isaiah 47.6 – Babylonian behavior takes advantage of the vulnerable. Babylon took what God gave them and abused the weak and vulnerable.
I was angry with my people,
I profaned my heritage;
I gave them into your hand,
you showed them no mercy;
on the aged you made your yoke
When people receive God’s gifts and abilities and use them to oppress the vulnerable for an extension of their privilege, Babylonian behavior is present.
(2) Isaiah 47.8 – The pride of Babylonian behavior is evident in the phrase, “I am, and there is no one besides me.”
Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
who sit securely,
who say in your heart,
“I am, and there is no one besides me;
I shall not sit as a widow
or know the loss of children . . .”
Humans can say of God, “He is,” but we can never say “I am.” This extreme example of pride is characteristic of Satan’s behavior (Isaiah 14.12-14).
Another characteristic of this behavior is the belief that there will be no accountability for actions.
(3) Isaiah 47.10 – The “no accountability” belief is the first declaration of this verse and it is followed by extreme pride.
You felt secure in your wickedness;
you said, “No one sees me.”
Your wisdom and your knowledge
led you astray,
and you said in your heart,
“I am, and there is no one besides me.”
Isaiah enhances the picture of Babylonian behavior that is presented in Revelation. The picture includes:
— Powerful individuals and nations that oppress the vulnerable to increase their wealth, power, and pleasure.
— Prideful individuals and nations that believe they are more important than God and that there will be no accountability for their actions.
— Babylonian behavior seeks to be a substitute for God and his direction.
— Babylonian behavior infects culture and makes oppression and pride an acceptable norm.
Who is Babylon Today?
It is difficult to escape the influence of Babylonian behavior. Our world’s system has been infected by the attitudes and actions outlined above.
It is helpful for us to ask ourselves how we are like the “bad guys” in this article. Once we see ourselves, let’s turn to the Lord and ask his help to escape the influence of Babylonian behavior.
About This Blog
Rudy Ross and I produce a daily video of these blog articles on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel. Rudy is Jewish, a Christian, and an excellent Bible student. The videos present insights from a dialogue with the two of us.
I am indebted to Dr. John Oswalt, who has written an excellent two-volume commentary on Isaiah for insights into the Book of Isaiah.
Please email your prayer requests to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood Baptist Church prayer team will pray for you.