Babylon the Great
“And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me (the John class, representing the Lord’s people still in the flesh here at the end of the gospel age, i.e., during its Harvest), saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sits upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.” Rev 17:1, 2
“As originally planted by Jesus and his apostles, the church was a `chaste virgin espoused to one husband, even Christ.’ For some time she maintained her purity and suffered persecution of the world, but gradually became enamored of the world and the prospects it offered, and finally united with it, constituting the system of Papacy. This system church, living in union with the world constitutes `the abomination’—`the harlot,’ and the name Babylon, meaning confusion, is applicable because the world is called a beast and the church a woman. This then was the union of the woman and beast which is expressly forbidden in type. (Lev 18:23) `It is confusion.’ We feel sure that we have the name Babylon properly applied since in Rev 17, we see the church seated on the beast—i.e., supported by and controlling the world. `And in her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” (Rev. 17:5) R45:2
The great whore that sits upon many waters
“In the symbolic language of the Scriptures the word `water’ has two distinct interpretations: (1) Water is a symbol for Truth; (2) Water also symbolizes revenues from outside peoples and kingdoms. In harmony with this latter thought we read that the woman with the golden cup sits upon many waters; `and the waters which thou saw are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.’ (Rev 17:1-15) This `woman’ does not reign over one nation or people alone; her rule is catholic, or general; for all nations were made more or less `drunk with her false doctrines.’ The water of the River Euphrates, flowing through Babylon, might, therefore, be understood to symbolize the peoples and nations supporting Mystic Babylon by contributions, offerings.
If the waters of that river signify material and/or financial support then the drying up of those waters implies a cessation of such support.” (Sermon Book 409, 410)
This is an evident fact; most churches these days have seen declines in attendance. The Catholic Church for example has had to close several of its dioceses over the last several years due to the lack of attendance and support. Protestants fair no better that is with the exceptions of those churches which are willing to sacrifice their spiritual integrity (?) and incorporate more worldly functions and activities into their services in order to entice membership. Many such churches have a wide range of ministries designed to entertain and tickle the fancy of those attending. Unfortunately these days those who attend are not interested in truth, (in sound doctrine) no, all they want to hear is that they are saved, saved from the judgment to come, they and their loved ones. Such only want to have their ears tickled, to hear good news, and so they surround themselves with those with itching ears, those who will tell them just what they want to hear, specifically that all is fine with regards to their salvation and that they need not worry.(2 Tim 4:3, 4)
“Faithful servants will not seek to please the ear with soft words, nor to lull the drowsy, but will proclaim the unvarnished truth, exposing hypocrisy and deception, errors.” R563:3
“The people in general have lost their taste and appreciation for the water of life, the truth; and false teachers warn them against it, as poison. The wine of false doctrines now being manufactured at all the various theological seminaries is the wine of evolution and higher criticism, which satisfies not the thirst, but only increases the confusion of mind, and makes null every attempt to appreciate and comprehend the divine plan, as set forth in God’s Word. Even Babylon’s notables are dissatisfied, famished. (Amos 8:11)” R2904:6
“Concerning this symbolic wine and intoxication, the Lord declares that Babylon has `made all the nations [inhabitants of the earth] drunken’ with the wine of her incontinency and unfaithfulness to Him. (Rev 17:2; 18:3) The stimulating power is not of the spirit of a sound mind, but the delusion of a false doctrine: as the Prophet declares, they are `drunken,’ but not with wine. (Isa. 29:9-13)” (R2904:6)
“She neglected the heavenly Bridegroom, and mingled in her `cup’ a stupefying potion that has intoxicated the world; even the Lord’s saints were bewildered. (Rev 17:1-6)” R5478:1
“Babylon has had indeed the golden cup of the Lord’s Word in her hands and has affected to give from it to the people the spirit of the Lord, but instead she has filled the cup and presents as the teaching of God’s Word intoxicating errors which have misled the so-called Christian world. Thus the Adversary has used the nominal Church of God as his tool to deceive all that dwell upon the face of the whole earth—to misrepresent the divine character and plan.” R3104:3
“So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Rev 17:3-5
The John Class is “carried away in the spirit into the wilderness” to see this “vision”; for none, really, save the truly consecrated children of God can have it. Neither Catholics, nor Protestants are able to see it, because of their identification with it.
“This fact is recognized by the Revelator, who shows that all who would get a true view of Babylon must, in spirit, take their position with the true people of God `in the wilderness’—in the condition of separation from the world and the worldly church, from worldly ideas and mere forms of godliness, and in the condition of entire consecration and faithfulness to and dependence upon God alone. `So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness; and I saw a woman… Babylon.’ “D27
“The vesture and decorations of this woman are in striking harmony with the application made of this symbol; for purple and scarlet are the chief colors in the robes of popes and cardinals; and among the myriads of precious stones which adorn her service, according to an eyewitness, silver (a symbol of truth) is scarcely known, and gold itself looks but poorly. And from the golden cup in her hand—symbol of purity of doctrine and profession, which should have contained only that which is unadulterated, pure, or, explaining the figure, only that which is in full accordance with truth—there came forth only abominations, and wine of her fornication, fit symbol for her abominable doctrines, and still more abominable practices.” (Uriah Smith—Thoughts on Daniel and Revelation, p. 658)
“The Revelator intimated that it would not be difficult to discover this great mystical city, because her name is in her forehead, that is, she is prominently marked, so that we cannot fail to see her unless we shut our eyes and refuse to look—`And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the great, the Mother of Harlots and abominations of the earth.’” (D23)
The Harlot’s Name!
“The Revelation of our Lord to the Apostle John is a book of signs, in which the things stated symbolize the things meant. To illustrate: In this book a woman is used to represent a church—a pure woman, a pure church—a false woman, an apostate church. In Rev 17:1-6 a picture is given of a false woman, disloyal to her engagement, and therefore no longer worthy to be the bride of Messiah. This unfaithful woman is branded `Babylon.’ We read that she sat upon a beast, a symbolic statement of her control of the power of Rome.
“In her hand this woman held a golden cup full of abominations, and thus symbolically she is represented as making all nations drunk with the wine of false doctrine. The cup suggests that the unfaithful church, symbolized by this woman, had once been the receptacle of divine truth—`Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hands.’ (Jer 51:7) In Rev 17:5 she is called `The Mother of Harlots’—a term suggesting a mother church, and daughter churches which are said to closely resemble the mother. As the mother was called `Babylon,’ the daughters—so like their mother—bear also the family name.” (R5092:1)
“The term Babylon seems to signify a concentration of the various errors in apostate church systems, personified in Revelation as mother and daughters. `Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots’ is the name given by the Lord to the original system, thus intimating that the whole brood is illegitimate in every sense of the word.” (R5478:1)
Babylon the Great!
“The depravity attributed to `Babylon the Great,’ the peculiarly solemn adjuration to God’s people to come out of her, and the utter and awful destruction denounced against her, all combine to attach great practical importance to the inquiry, What system is intended by this symbol?
“A perusal of the 17th and 18th Chapters of Revelation shows that `Babylon the Great’ represents a system which should last long, exert a subtle and extensive influence, and be guilty of exceeding iniquity and cruelty. This system must still be in existence seeing its destruction takes place simultaneously with `the marriage of the Lamb,’ an event which we know to be still future; and seeing also that up to the moment of its destruction or very nearly so, children of God will be found more or less connected with it, so that a need will exist for the urgent call `Come out of her, my people.’ This system is prefigured as a cruelly persecuting one, as one that would `shed the blood of saints and martyrs of Jesus,’ one on whom the Lord God would `avenge the blood of his servants’.” (R471:3)
Some Additional Thoughts on Babylon
“The history of the building of the city and its tower (Gen 11:1-11) called Babel (Akkad, Bibulu, `Gate of God’) is explained by popular etymology based on a similar Hebrew root Babal which means `to mix, confuse.’ Babel, therefore, became a synonym for the confusion caused by the language barriers which God imposed because of the human pride displayed in the building.” (The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 1, p. 438)
According to Young’s Analytical Concordance to the Bible, Babylon is the Greek mode of spelling what in the Hebrew is uniformly Babel.
“The name Babylon originally signified God’s gateway; but afterward, in derision, it came to mean mixture or confusion. In the Book of Revelation this name is applied specifically to the church nominal, which, from being the gateway to glory, became a gateway to error and confusion, a miserable mixture composed chiefly of tares, hypocrites, a confused mass of worldly profession in which the Lord’s jewels are buried, and their true beauty and luster hidden.” (C153)
“It is clear, therefore, that while many faithful souls, ignorant of the real state of the case, have reverently and devoutly worshipped God within these— Babylon systems (both Catholic and Protestant), nevertheless, this does not alter the fact that they are, one and all, `harlot systems. Confusion reigns in them all; and the name Babylon aptly fits the entire family—mother, daughters and accomplices, i.e. the nations styled Christendom. (Rev 18:7; 17:2-6, 18)” D35
“Come out of her, my people”
“Of this faithful Church the Lord declares, `My sheep know My Voice and they follow Me.’ We hear His voice assuring us that it is His will that we who belong to His chaste, espoused virgin class should all be one—should no longer be separated into sects and parties by creedal fences. The Lord declares that He gave Babylon time for repentance and she repented not. He declares that His sentence against the Babylonian system has already gone forth—that, from the Divine standpoint, already `Babylon is fallen is fallen!’ from Divine favor (Rev 18:2).
What would be the wish of our Beloved, to whom we are betrothed? What is His message to us? It is written. `Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues’—the troubles coming upon her. (Rev. 18:4; John 10:27)” SM125