The Fall of Babylon

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In one of the most dramatic stories in the Bible, King Belshazzar of Babylon was hosting a party in his palace when—in the midst of the festivities—a mysterious hand appeared and wrote several words on a wall in the room where the party was taking place. Unable to interpret the writing on the wall, the king summoned the prophet Daniel, who told the king the meaning of the mysterious message. Daniel said, “God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it . . . you have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting.” (Daniel 5:26, 27) Then Daniel stated ominously, “Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” (Daniel 5:28) The Bible says, “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.” (Daniel 5:30, 31) That evening, the mightiest kingdom in the world was overthrown. Babylon had fallen. The Bible tells us that Babylon is going to fall again. How are we to understand the future fall of Babylon? And in what way does this affect people of faith?
How powerful a kingdom was ancient Babylon?

The king spoke, saying, “Is not this _____________ Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?”
Hint

Ancient Babylon was a leading world power. The Babylonians ruled a significant section of the planet, and the city of Babylon was a center of wealth and influence. Babylon was also a religious center without rival in the world. The religion of Babylon was characterized by idolatry, ancestor worship and sun worship.
Where did Old Testament Babylon originate?

Its name is called Babel, because there the Lord ___________________ the language of all the earth.
Hint

The name “Babylon” appears to be derived from the word “Babel,” meaning “confusion,” an apt description of the confused pagan teachings of Babylon.
Hint

Due to its great wickedness, God promised that ancient Babylon would one day be destroyed.
What effect did ancient Babylon have on other nations?

Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth _____________. The nations drank her wine; therefore the nations are deranged.
Hint

Babylon confused—or made drunk—the nations of the earth with its wickedness and false teachings.
What effect did Babylon’s apostasy ultimately have upon itself?

Babylon has suddenly ______________ and been destroyed. Wail for her!
Hint

In persistently refusing the blessing of God and choosing not to yield to Him, Babylon fell and was destroyed. A once mighty nation was reduced to ruin.
Hint

While the armies of Medo-Persia were gathering outside the gates of the city, the king of Babylon hosted a lavish party, during which he drank wine from the holy worship vessels stolen from the temple of God in Jerusalem.
The pagan king de ed the God of heaven by desecrating holy items intended by God for use in true worship. Belshazzar used God’s holy worship items for the unholy worship of false gods. (Daniel 5:4)
Hint

Belshazzar went too far when he took the holy things of God and used them for unholy purposes. In total rebellion to God, he perished as Babylon fell.
Hint

God has made clear that ancient Babylon will never be revived. Therefore, the Babylon of the book of Revelation will not be a revived literal Babylon. The Babylon of the book of Revelation is spiritual Babylon.
Hint

In the book of Revelation, spiritual Babylon is represented in two ways: as a city—demonstrating a parallel with ancient Babylon, and as a woman— representing that she is a church.

Jeremiah 6:2 and 2 Corinthians 11:2 use the symbol of a woman to represent the church. In the book of Revelation, the Bible uses the term “Babylon” to represent a spiritual entity.

“Babylon” in the book of Revelation is referred to as:


    • A woman (a church). (Revelation 17:1)





    • Sitting on a beast (a nation or kingdom), depicting a union of church and state. (Revelation 17:3)





    • Having colors of purple and red (scarlet). (Revelation 17:4)





    • Having persecuted God’s people. (Revelation 17:6)





    • Being located in a city on seven mountains. (Revelation 17:9)



Each of these identifying marks point to the church of Rome as being the Babylon of the book of Revelation. In 1 Peter 5:13, Peter referred to those “in Babylon.” As Peter was clearly not referring to people in the literal city of Babylon, it is believed by many that Peter was referring to believers in the city of Rome.
Hint

Just as the woman—the “mother”—of Revelation 17 represents a church, her daughters—also women—likewise represent churches. The mother church, Babylon, is the church that like ancient Babylon has confused the world with her teachings.
The daughter churches are those that follow the key teachings of the mother church. They teach her errors as truth, even though those errors have no biblical basis and rest only upon human authority. The churches teaching the errors of the mother church are also a part of what the Bible calls “Babylon.”
How has modern Babylon affected the world?

All the nations have _____________ of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.
Hint

Just as wine is intoxicating (confusing), the teachings of Babylon have intoxicated and confused the earth. Because of Babylon’s influence, many people in the world today reject some of the plainest teachings in the Bible and accept in their place the confusing wine of Babylon.
What did ancient Babylon believe about death?

He brought me to the door of the north gate of the Lord’s house; and to my dismay, women were sitting there weeping for _________________.
Hint

The Babylonians believed that people survived bodily death and went on existing in another form. This was not only the precursor to modern spiritualism, but also formed the basis of what many Christians believe today.
Tammuz was a god worshiped by the Babylonians. They believed that Tammuz—a god of food and vegetation—died each year, and they mourned his passing. The Babylonians believed in the immortality of the soul.
Hint

The Bible teaches that death is an unconscious sleep between life in this world and the resurrection when Jesus returns. The teaching that people have a soul that survives bodily death did not originate in the Bible. Instead, it entered Christianity from paganism, where the idea was made popular by the Babylonians, who worshipped the dead.
The teaching of the immortality of the soul—that people continue to live on or be conscious after death—is part of the wine (or false teaching) of Babylon. It has been made popular in modern Christianity due to the influence of spiritual Babylon.
Hint

Sun worship was practiced in ancient Babylon. Not only did it corrupt the way God’s people worshipped in Bible times, but it has also become a key component
of Christian worship today.
Sunday—the day of the sun—has replaced the Bible Sabbath day as the day of worship for many Christians. While many are unaware of the origin of their worship, they break this commandment of God and practice unbiblical worship.
Hint

God gave the human family the seventh-day Sabbath as a memorial of His power to create and re-create. The Sabbath was kept not only by the patriarchs and prophets, but by Jesus, the disciples, and the early Christian church of the New Testament.
As Jesus said, “The Sabbath was made for man.” (Mark 2:27) The Sabbath day was given as a gift to the human family, designed to be observed by those whose love for God has motivated them to obey Him.
Sunday worship—which originated in paganism and became established in Christianity—is part of the wine of Babylon. It has been made popular in modern Christianity because of the influence of spiritual Babylon.
What was God’s message to His faithful people living in ancient Babylon?

___________ from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut o in her iniquity, for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; He shall recompense her.
Hint

Recognizing the impending fall of Babylon, God called His people to ee fallen Babylon and come to a place of safety.
Hint

Knowing He has faithful, committed people who are part of the system the Bible calls “Babylon,” God calls those believers to come out of Babylon and to be a part of His end-time church. [For more on God’s end-time church, see It Is Written Bible Study Guide #21, “In Search of the Church.”]
God understands that remaining in a system that teaches error in the place of truth is spiritually dangerous. Recognizing that coming out of
a church can sometimes seem difficult, Jesus offers the same advice today that He offered Peter when Peter asked Jesus about the responsibilities of another individual. Jesus said,
“What is that to you? You follow Me.” (John 21:22)
Rather than concerning ourselves with what others think or what others might say, Jesus urges us to keep our hearts connected with His heart and to faithfully follow His leading.
Hint

When Jesus returns, He will return for “a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.” (Ephesians 5:27)
His church will be made up of faithful people following Christ in harmony with the Bible. They will have made the decision to be separate from false teachings and traditions that have no place in the Bible.
They will say with David, “I delight to do Your will, O my God, and Your law is within my heart.” (Psalm 40:8)