Saturday, December 3, 2011

Babylon: The Spiritual and Economic Harlot, Part 1

Babylon: The Spiritual and Economic Harlot, Part 2 here
Babylon: The Spiritual and Economic Harlot, Part 3 here

The most intriguing name in the bible may well be Babylon. (AKA Babel). It is mentioned over 300 times, more than any other name except Jerusalem. Babylon figures prominently in Genesis and in Revelation, illustrating to us the bookend of the false system that has bracketed mankind from the beginning to the end. It was with us after the flood (Genesis 10) and it never left the earth, but it will be addressed in the future. Just because the Lord has not yet judged Babylon the harlot religious system does not mean that He won't.

Babylon is a false religious system, or spiritual harlotry. Revelation 17 is all about the evil thing that spiritual adultery leads to, and shows us the final judgment of it. Revelation 18 shows us the false political/economic entity Babylon will become and also shows us its final judgment. There is a third meaning of Babylon in Revelation, and that is the name of an actual city. From Revelation's intertwining of spiritual adultery and economic adultery we can surmise that where one exists, the other follows. They are closely related.

SPIRITUAL HARLOTRY
Babylon's full name is found in Revelation 17:5: "Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and Abominations of the Earth". Pretty strong! So what exactly does spiritual harlotry look like?

Hosea was a prophet of God whom God commanded to marry a prostitute. (Hosea 1). As Pastor Weaver exposits, "At the beginning of Hosea’s ministry, the northern kingdom was seemingly prosperous under the stable reign of Jeroboam II. But though things appeared to be calm on the surface, underneath the torrents of the kingdom’s destruction were swirling. The nation had forsaken Yahweh. Though they retained allegiance to Yahweh with their lips, their hearts were far from Him. They had began to mingle elements of the Canaanites’ fertility religion with Yahweh worship by engaging in sexual rites and drunken orgies which were thought to secure the giving of rain and the fertility of the land for their crops."

The first indicator of spiritual harlotry is unseen. It is a heart condition that God sees. Everything looks all right on the surface because people speak and act in ways that seem consistent with God. But everything is not all right. The second indicator of spiritual harlotry is when religious people incrementally meld pagan rituals and ideas and doctrines with the Truth as revealed from God. Today this can be seen when churches bring the world into the pulpit, such as promoting the latest popular book, following a worldly fad, or singing secular songs.

This is a process Paul described as gangrene. (2 Timothy 2:17). If not stopped immediately, the false practices and doctrines continue to infect the body.

Pastor Weaver continues,
"The book of Hosea is not primarily about Hosea and his marriage, it is ultimately about God and His relationship to His covenant people, Israel. Hosea was commanded to marry a prostitute because that is the kind of wife which Israel had become to Yahweh. By combining elements of Baal worship with the elements of Yahweh worship commanded in the Law, Israel was engaging in spiritual adultery – a religious syncretism which by combining true Yahweh worship with idolatry resulted in a perversion which God Himself viewed as spiritual adultery."

Though the excerpt above characterizes idolatry as spiritual adultery, I prefer to use the term used in Revelation, prostitute, whore or harlot. While adultery to me is a setting aside of morals, prostitution has the additional component of money changing hands. We will see from scriptures below that money is always a large component to spiritual falsity.

The Tribulation's Spiritual Babylon is the end result of man's failure and inability to eradicate false religion from the flesh and the mind. Finally, they all just quit trying. The Holy Spirit's ministry of restraining of sin and illuminating the Truth has slowed this gangrenous creep for the last 2000 years, but when the Restrainer is removed, (2 Thessalonians 2:6), Babylon as spiritual harlot will explode all over the earth. Almost everyone will be infected by it. The final result will be that the world worships satan. The exhortations to the Tribulation believers in Matthew 24:13 and Mark 13:12 show us how hard it will be to remain faithful in a fallen and perverted world.

ECONOMIC HARLOTRY
So Revelation 17 dealt with the harlot Babylon in religion and Revelation 18 deals with harlot Babylon as false economic system. To me, this illustrates how the two are closely related. Once the mind begins to allow the world in, then money follows. By reverse logic, the old adage to "follow the money" shows that when we follow money to the root, the person will be evil at root also. 1 Timothy 6:10 states that "For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." That verse shows us that the love of money and false religious systems are intertwined.

Look at the cross references to the 1 Timothy 6 verse warning us about the evils of replacing God with the idol of money: Joshua 7:21, Psalm 62:10, Proverbs 15:27, Ecclesiastes 2:19, Matthew 6:19, Matthew 13:22, Mark 4:19, Colossians 3:5, 1 Timothy 3:3, 1 Timothy 6:9, 2 Timothy 3:2, James 5:19. NOT following the money is a huge theme in the bible, and the final end of such waywardness is shown to us in Revelation 18 when the Economic Babylon is destroyed.

Titus 1:11 warns us against false teachers who always do what they do for "filthy lucre's sake". Peter repeats this warning in 1 Peter 5:2: "Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind;" (KJV). So it is no wonder that Babylon the Spiritual Whore is joined to Babylon the Economic Whore.

Babylon was the first organized false religion, and she has many daughters. However, there is one daughter who can actually be stated to still be the mother. That is the Catholic Church. This will be explored in part 2 of "Babylon the spiritual and economic harlot", and part 3 will look at the city of Babylon.
Babylon: The Spiritual and Economic Harlot, Part 2 here
Babylon: The Spiritual and Economic Harlot, Part 3 here

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