Through the Bible with Les Feldick
LESSON 1 * PART 2 * BOOK 13
BABYLON – “THE WORLD SYSTEM”
Revelation 18 & 20
Let’s continue on with Revelation Chapter 18. Before we do, I would like to encourage you to get your Bibles and open the Word. Any of you, regardless of your background, can understand the Scriptures. We only hope to teach The Book where people can read the Scriptures and understand and enjoy them. It’s a thrilling Book. Now, back to the Book of Revelation. God says the reason He is going to come down on this (Babylon) whole world system with His wrath and judgment is because of the following:
“For her sins (her rebellion, her disobedience) 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: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.”
“How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously [do you see the language? Isn’t this exactly what the world system is trying to do? All of your commercials (I don’t care what they are), what is their main thrust? Hey, whatever is out there, they want you to want it, whether we can afford it or not. And those who can profit from it, can go out, and as the Scriptures say, they can indeed live deliciously], so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, `I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.'” That’s what they think!
“Therefore (God says) 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.”
Let’s go back again and look at how the Old Testament prophesied some of these very things. This isn’t just New Testament; this is Old Testament also. And, again, I like to recognize that there are a lot of Jewish people watching our program. I always like to take that into consideration, and use the Old Testament as much as possible, to show these all dovetail together. So, if you will turn to the Book of Jeremiah, Chapter 51. Again, remember the term `Babylon’ (as we are speaking of in Revelation and back in the Old Testament) has to be taken from the text. Early in the Chapters of 50 and 51, it is indeed talking about Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon just before it fell. But like so many Old Testament prophecies, you have both the near-term and the long-term in view. So, as Jeremiah writes Chapter 50 that was the near-term. It’s the judgment of God that’s going to fall on Babylon as it was in Jeremiah’s day. But now, as you come on down to Jeremiah Chapter 51 verse 7, the prophecy takes the long-term view, and we are looking at the Babylon that Revelation refers to, the whole world system. And that’s the best way I can put it.
“Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made (what’s the next three words? Not just the Middle East but all the earth) all the earth drunken (notice the next two words): the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.” Now the word `mad’ here doesn’t mean angry, but they have been mentally affected.
“Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed (now that is what Revelation describes): howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.” But of course she can’t be.
On our way back to Revelation, stop at Daniel Chapter 2 because all these Old Testament prophecies were looking forward to these same things that the Book of Revelation is explaining. That is why we can teach it with authority. All of the scriptures agree on these events. Now, here in Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar of the ancient empire of Babylon had a dream, and Daniel interprets it:
“Thou, O king, sawest, and behold a great image. This great image, whose brightness was excellent, stood before thee: and the form thereof was terrible (or terrifying). This image’s head was of fine gold, his breast and his arms of silver, his belly and his thighs of brass, His legs of iron, his feet part of iron and part of clay.”
Remember I explained before that those were all metals. The head of gold was the Babylon, the silver was the Medes and Persians, the brass was Greece, and the legs of Iron were the Roman empire. There is that whole system of Gentile empires all depicted in that great image that Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream.
“Thou sawest till (until a point in time. And then a stone) that a stone was cut out without hands (remember a stone or rock in Scripture is Christ. At least all the way back to Exodus, if not sooner, as when Moses struck the rock and water came forth. In the New Testament it tells us Who that Rock was. It was Christ. Here It’s Christ at His Second Coming), which smote the image upon his feet that were of iron and clay (in other words this amalgamation of the nations of the world, but especially the nations of the western world), and brake them to pieces.”
I hope you are getting the picture in your mind. Just picture a huge Boulder coming down without the help of mankind, and It’s coming down toward this great image that Nebuchadnezzar saw and It strikes it on its feet. Just bowls it over:
“Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors (I know some don’t know what this language is, but I think most of the people who listen to me understand that chaff is the light stuff that accompanies the grain. Threshing, and the wind, just simply blows it away. Now that’s the picture that the Bible paints here of these nations and kingdoms of the world at the time of Christ’s Second Coming. His coming will crush them like the Boulder bowling over this great image, and they will simply disappear from view like the chaff of the summer threshingfloor); and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them (these great global corporations are going to disappear from view. The great empires and governments, the White Houses of the world will be no more): and the stone (Christ) that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.” And here again is the prophetic statement about His coming Kingdom. Now back to Revelation Chapter 18. We will look at verse 8 once more.
“Therefore shall her plagues come in (how fast) one day (I’m a literalist; I don’t think this is a long time; this is instantaneous), death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”
Let’s go back for a moment to Luke 21. I mentioned it in the last lesson, and we’ll see how even the words of Jesus Himself, during His earthly ministry spoke of these things. When I speak of Jesus’ earthly ministry, we need to remember that when we come to the letters of the Apostle Paul, they are the words of Christ as well. And here is where a lot of people get hung up. When I emphasize Paul and the Pauline doctrines, they will say, “Now wait a minute Les, I go by what Jesus said.” Well where do you think Paul got his words? He got his words from Jesus, but under a different set of circumstances. Jesus spoke in the flesh while He was here on the earth, while He was still dealing with Israel under the Law. But you see, Paul gives us the revelation of Jesus Christ Who has now finished the work of the Cross; He has defeated death and sin and Satan. He is now ascended and from His glorified position in glory, Jesus speaks to us through the Apostle Paul. So this is what I mean when I say this is what Jesus said in His earthly ministry:
“And there shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity; the sea and the waves roaring;” You just picture all of this. Don’t read this as just a bunch of words. This is descriptive. The whole planet is gong to be caught up in this traumatic event.
“Men’s hearts failing them for fear, and for looking after those things which are coming on the earth: for the powers of heaven shall be shaken. And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.”
So this is all associated with Christ’s Second Coming. Now go to Matthew Chapter 24. Let’s look at verse 37. This is Jesus speaking while here on earth:
“But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” To put that in plain English let’s say, “As was at the time of Noah, so it’s going to be at the time of His return.”
“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark,”
Remember I told you in the last lesson that God showed His Grace by leaving the ark’s door open for seven days. But no one went in for safety and salvation. It will be the same way at the coming of Christ; life is going to be so full of activity. There is nothing wrong with eating and drinking proper things. There is nothing wrong with marriage. But it just simply depicts that the world is going to be so caught up in all their activities. When you talk to pastors and church people, they are so distraught because they can’t get people involved anymore. Even young people. Why? They are too busy. I even run into it in my nightly classes. People will tell me, “I would like to come, but I’m too busy.” Kids are kept busy with their activities, playing ball, and so forth, and have no time for anything else. And that is the way it was back at the time of Noah.
“And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.”
That wasn’t just a heavy rain; it was instantaneous destruction. Look at it in Genesis Chapters 6 and 7. Every time I hear of murders (sometimes two or three a day even in a city as small as Tulsa. And it’s about the same way in Ft. Smith, Arkansas as they report a murder almost every day) I remember what Jesus said: “As it was in the days of Noah.” It’s an indication of the time of His return.
“And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Now verse 11:
“The earth also was corrupt before God, and the earth was filled with violence.”
Now what’s violence? Murder! The killing of one another. When they talk about sex and violence on television, what are we talking about? This constant showing of the killing and murdering of fellow human beings. This is the way it was just before the flood.
“And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, `The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth.'”
How did He destroy them? Go to Chapter 7. Here’s where I maintain it wasn’t the flood that came from the 40 days of rain. That was merely part of it. The real cataclysmic event you will find in verse 11. And in Revelation these judgments will almost be as instantaneous as this was here. They didn’t gradually drown as the rain and flood water came up. They were gone in a matter of hours.
“In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were (in that one day) all the fountains of the great deep broken up (so where did the cataclysmic events begin? In the earth! Tremendous volcanoes and earthquakes, cataclysmic and instantaneous destruction), and the windows of heaven were opened.” So, as it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be at the end-times. Let’s re-read verse 9:
“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,”
This `her` used here in the female gender is the amalgamation of nations, with its religions, politics and governments, and economies. They are meshed together to make this global Babylon.
“Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, `Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.'”
The businessmen and merchants are flying from one end of the world to the other to make their deals. I can just about imagine that every airliner is full lately into Soviet Russia because they think they can go in there and make a pocketfull. I read an article recently that one of the sleeping giants for world goods and services is Africa. There is great potential there for profit and business. So they are just rushing all over the world trying to capitalize on every situation where dollars can be made on these prospects, and all of a sudden it’s all gone. Now verse 11:
“And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:” It’s all done.
When it mentions this city here in Revelation 18, just think of all the commercial centers all over the world: Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong, Tehran, Rome, London, Paris, New York, and Chicago (even Jerusalem is getting to be the center of a lot of activity). All of these great centers of commerce, business, and trade you can just about lump into one city. They are all intertwined with computer networks. Transactions can take place between Tokyo and Chicago in a matter of minutes.
“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,”
Now notice these are all commodities that are still in demand even today. The world hasn’t changed. These are the things that people still long for. Then some of the the delicacies of good food are listed in the next verse:
“And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat (remember what I said about living it up and living deliciously, but it’s all going to end), and beasts, and sheep, and horses,…”
Have you ever talked to someone in the horse business? They’re fanatics, and that’s all they talk about. You get into the wealthy horse owners and it’s nothing for them to pay a million dollars for one. But, like everything else, it also will end.