Did you know that the term Babylon appears more times in the Bible than any other city with the exception of Jerusalem? It is found over 260 times in the Scripture. Babylon was the captor of God’s people the Jews. Babylon was the house of the first great Gentile king, Nebuchadnezzar. Babylon was the place where for 70 years, the Jews languished in captivity. You remember Psalm 137 where they talked about weeping by the rivers of Babylon. The spirit of Babylon is represented in the sense that it speaks of man’s attempt to function in the world apart from God.
When they built the Tower of Babel back in the book of Genesis, it was a statement. The statement they were making was, we don’t need God to reach down to us. We can reach up to Him. We are going to build a tower, we’re going to relate to God. We’re going to do it in our own strength, in our own wisdom. We can make it without God. The Babylonian system is still with us, isn’t it? Everywhere we look that spirit is evident.
When we first see Babylon in the Old Testament prophets, it’s in the Book of Daniel. The concept in the city of Babylon was, during the time of Nebuchadnezzar and his grandson Belshazzar, that this was the greatest city that there ever was. It was a city that was dripping with pride and arrogance. In fact, in the 4th chapter in the book of Daniel, the king of Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar, is out taking an evening stroll in his palace, and he looks around at what has happened, and he says, and this is a quote from the book of Daniel,"...Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of my kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?"
That is the epitome of the Babylonian doctrine. “I did it myself.” We call it, today, Humanism. Humanism is simply a new version of the old Babylonian doctrine that says you don’t need God, you can do it yourself. Now you remember what happened to Nebuchadnezzar, don’t you? God taught him a lesson he never forgot. He made him crawl around on his hands and knees for seven years, acting like an animal, eating grass with the dew on his body until finally he stood up and said, you know, the God in heaven does reign, and I’m not the most important person after all.
There are people who say it is going to be re-built in the end times, on the Persian Gulf, at the mouth of the Gulf, a city called Babylon. And it’s going to be raised up out of the ground, and it’s going to become the center of everything that happens. We do know it’s in the right place, don’t we? It’s in the center of all that’s going on right now. Some people believe that it is going to be literally rebuilt and I don’t have a problem with that. I think that’s quite possibly the meaning of this chapter.
There are others who teach that this is reference to Babylon and rather than a literal city, a reference to a system of life and culture whose basic essential principle is alienation from God. If that’s true, then the system’s already in place, isn’t it? It’s already developing, it’s growing. There is not anything I know of that’s more on the move in our world today. You can throw the New Age movement into it, you can throw all the humanistic stuff. It is all saying the same thing: “Hey, you can do it by yourself. You can be anything you want to be.” That’s Babylonian doctrine.
Now if you take the system, it could be a great world city in America. It could be a great world city in England. It could be some great world city in Europe. This Babylon represents the social, cultural, political and commercial life of the end times, and this entire system is summarized in one great world city called Babylon.
So when we read the Revelation 18, we’re talking about possibly a city, but reality is, we’re talking about the destruction of humanism. The destruction of the Babylonian doctrine.
Babylon is fallen and become the "habitation of devils," "the hold of every foul spirit," and, "a cage of every unclean and hateful bird." That tells you where humanism and Babylonianism, and “I-can-do-it-myself-ism” is headed. It’s headed toward self-deification and ultimate demon possession. In other words, the city had not only filled itself up with demon possession and occultism, but it had also taken on the prophets and the saints, and it had been the cause of martyrdom among many of God’s people.
And out of the city of Babylon, or coming from the system of Babylon, the influence will just cover the earth so that all nations will be drunk with the wine of their fornication. Literally what it’s talking about is that instead of the nations having a relationship with God, they have committed fornication with that which is anti-God and they have come into an evil relationship with humanistic Babylonian teaching. Babylon is going to be judged because of her influence.
In our day and age, like Babylon, man has taken God’s glory to himself and committed infidelity. And that’s another reason Babylon will be judged.
And Babylon is destroyed also because of her inhumanity. In the final Babylonian system of commerce that will characterize the world of the Tribulation period, man will be nothing more than a commodity. He will be viewed as something to own, and something to sell. The world system championed by the Beast will de-humanize mankind as any system will do without God.