Lesson Fourteen • The Fall of Babylon
Dr. Randy T. Johnson
Babylon is an important city in history and the future and is located in present-day Iraq. It is known for wickedness and false religions. Basically, it is known for being in opposition to God. Babylon is referenced in the first and last books of the Bible. Babylon and Babel come from the same Hebrew word which means “confusion.” Babel existed first and became known as Babylon. Genesis chapter 11 details the sin of Babel.
1. What is the sin at the Tower of Babel?
There can be several answers to that question. The people were told to fill the land (Genesis 9:7), yet they decided to all stay in one place and build the tower. Another thought is that possibly the people built the largest tower possible to avoid being destroyed by another flood. However, in Genesis 9:11-17, God promised to never destroy the Earth with a flood again. Finally, it could be the all too common problem of pride in wanting to be like God (Genesis 11:4). From the very beginning, Babel (Babylon) became known as a city or nation against God.
The word Babylon is found 272 times in the Bible. Only seven of those are found in the book of Revelation.
2. Do you remember any stories (or a book of the Bible) involving Babylon?
3. Bonus question: Who founded Babel which later became Babylon (Genesis 10:8-10)?
Although Babylon had quite the history, Revelation chapter 17 describes Babylon in detail and her fall in the End Times.
Revelation 17:1-6 says, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.’ And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.’ And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly.”
This chapter warns immediately that the topic is the “judgment” of Babylon. James Hamilton points out, “Now Babylon is going to be personified so that we, John’s audience, will be able to feel what we should about who the world is and how it has acted.”
4. What derogatory title is given of Babylon?
5. How is this title a common description of unfaithfulness to God (the book of Hosea)? By the way, the Greek word for prostitution is “porneia.”
6. What did Babylon’s appetite consist of?
Revelation 17:7-14 continues, “But the angel said to me, ‘Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.’”
7. What does it mean that the Beast will “rise from the bottomless pit”?
8. What is the “Book of Life”? Whose names are in it?
9. What are the two sides of the battle listed here? Who wins?
10. What titles are used for Jesus here? What titles are used for those with Him?
The Beast comes from the home of Satan and rules by the power of Satan. The lost (unsaved) will follow the Beast. This will include many leaders and nations. It appears Rome will be involved. The enemy appears enormous, but then One appears. Always remember, “The Lamb will conquer them.”
Revelation 17:15-18 adds, “And the angel said to me, ‘The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.’”
11. What will happen to the woman (Babylon, “the prostitute”)?
This passage presents some beautiful truths:
• “God has put it into their hearts” – God is involved in the world.
• “His purpose” – God has a plan.
• “Until the words of God are fulfilled” – God’s Word will be fulfilled.
• God wins!
As I study this passage, I am reminded of Matthew 6:24, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” The world has a lot of fool’s gold that will not satisfy. Only the Lord brings victory!