The cry of the fall of Babylon echoes its counterpart in the Old Testament. Nebuchadnezzar must have thought that his kingdom of gold was indestructible and would last forever. How wrong he was and how wrong is every tyrannical power on earth that thinks likewise. In the last chapter we saw that the ‘horns’ (kings/temporal powers) would turn on her, which they did at the French revolution and other events in Europe. There may yet be some further fulfilment to come in this manner. We also saw that The Lamb and his faithful armies would be the ones to bring her final downfall.
This woman is decked in gold and silver and precious stones, clothed in scarlet and purple, the religious finery of her pagan roots, she lives in luxury as she fornicates with the kings of the world. However, already she has met defeat, more than once, and she is soon doomed to utter destruction and yet she declares, “I am a Queen”. Despite the past losses of power, control and lands (the papacy once ruled the lands of the whole of Europe) she was restored a small piece of land (1929), where she built a palace (the Vatican). She continues to perceive herself as the queen of heaven, and continues to accept the fawning worship of those she still has under her spell but it will not last much longer.
With the onset of the Reformation (1517) ‘Mystery Babylon’ started to lose some of her religious mystery and power. A great spiritual awakening tore through Europe like holy fire and no longer did it appear, to those with eyes to see, that Rome held the keys to heaven. 1789 marked the beginning of the French Revolution and a new kind of ‘enlightenment’. Not the clear sighted enlightenment of those who forsook Rome for the truth but an out and out rebellion of the remainder. These ones did not flee to the arms of the Saviour but many, across the Romish lands, rejected the claims of Rome upon their lives and turned against ‘Babylon’ with great violence. However, despite her losses of religious and political control she still managed to keep her stiff neck high and proud and some while later received a great benefit in 1929 at the hand of Benito Mussolini, who granted the pope land and compensation…
“The Lateran Treaty recognised Vatican City as an independent state under the sovereignty of the Holy See. The Italian government, at the time led by Benito Mussolini as prime minister, also agreed to give the Roman Catholic Church financial compensation for the loss of the Papal States.”
And so we read…
“For she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.”
The Vatican state has formed both a prison (albeit a luxurious kind!) and an independent kingdom, ruled by a king, an absolute monarch, who, of course, is the pope himself. Quite apart from this generous gift of Mussolini the Catholic Church probably already was the richest organisation on earth. It’s hard to know its actual value today. Some say that as much as one third of the real estate in Europe is owned by the papacy and its financial interests know no bounds. And so, following her religious and political falls it seems quite clear that this final fall is centred heavily around her wealth and riches.
We are told in verse 8 that her ‘plagues’ will come upon her in a single day. In verses 10, 17 and 19 we are told that her ensuing calamities will come upon her in just one hour. So, should we understand a ‘day’ here to be the same length as a day in earlier timescales we’ve seen in Revelation? Seeing that this ‘day’ is in isolation I think it could be thought of quite fairly as being figurative of something non-specific – like the ‘day of The Lord’ – just meaning a period of time. However, if we do apply the year/day scale then there it is – when the final end comes it could be spread across a single year. Again, if we are to understand the ‘hour’ as being of the kind of ‘hour’ as in previous usage, then that could represents one month (see ch. 9, the 5th trumpet). The ‘hour’ is mentioned three times. Are they all referring to the same one ‘hour’ or, do we have here a final year of judgement that contains three really significantly bad months?
As you can see. I have only questions. The answers will come when they come!
Perhaps the single most vital point that we all need to notice is that there is a direct appeal to God’s people here.
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
Remember, Babylon is not just solely and simply the Catholic system. It encompasses other religious, political and economic spheres. To come out of Babylon means much more than to simply quit an organisation. It means to be in no way complicit with the spirit of Babylon. The ‘mark’ of the beast is completely impossible to hide from the one with whom we have to do. Don’t wait. Repent. Come out!