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210. Babylon in the Last Days

This edition looks at Babylon in the Last Days.

SINCE YOU ASKED
With this and the subsequent article, I am revisiting the #1 topic of interest to my readers. This one centers on Zechariah 5:5-11 in which the prophet is given a vision of a woman, representing wickedness, being thrown into a large basket. Dig out your Bible and look it up. We’ll refer to it again in the next article. A lead weight was placed on the opening. Carried by two winged women, she was banished to the land of Shinar, where a temple would be built for her. So, what do we know about Shinar? For starters, this is where Nimrod, the father of all false religions, settled and built the infamous tower of Babel. The area would become knows as Babylonia, the very place to which the exiles from Jerusalem would be deported, along with the treasures from the Temple. Keep in mind that Zechariah was prophesying only twenty years after the mighty Babylonian Empire had fallen. He and Haggai were calling for the people to take advantage of the opportunities at hand and complete the rebuilding of the Temple that Nebuchadnezzar had destroyed. It is in this context that we find the well-known but misapplied verse Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit says the Lord of Hosts (Zechariah 4:6b). The point was that, despite all the opposition, the Temple would be finished by the power of the Holy Spirit.
 
On the heels of this, we now find God talking about building a temple for the woman called wickedness. Why would He do this? The end of verse 11 gives us a clue: …she will be set there on her own pedestal.  A pedestal is for displaying something. Clearly, God doesn’t want to glorify her. More likely, he wants to put her on display so all the world can see her destruction. So, where will this happen? In the land of Shinar (Babylon).
 

AS I SEE IT
So, exactly when and where will this take place? It can’t be referring to Babylon’s fall as an empire. That had already happened in 539 B.C. It must refer to something in the future. It sounds like the judgment of the Great Harlot described in Revelation 17. This, however, is where things get confusing, as we try to pin down just what is being referred to as “Mystery Babylon.” Some believe it’s physical Babylon, as the Zechariah passage seems to indicate at first glance. Others believe it’s Rome based on the description of her seven hills. Others are convinced it’s America. While all offer good arguments, history and the Bible offer powerful counter-arguments. As with all prophecy, however, there’s going to be some mystery. Some things are clear. Others are not. We probably don’t have all the information we’ll need just yet.
 
What we can know for certain is that wickedness will be judged and it won’t be pretty. In God’s grace, He has given us all the opportunity to escape the coming wrath now, before it’s too late. Jesus Christ has taken the wrath we deserve on the cross. He has removed our sin by His perfect once-for-all sacrifice. He has purchased eternal life for us through His death. His resurrection proved that God accepted His sacrifice on our behalf, making Him the “firstfruits” of many who will also be resurrected. I urge you to accept His free gift of eternal life. Tomorrow may never come. In my next article, we’ll look at some reasons why America might be “Mystery Babylon.”

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