And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
Please read Daniel 5
In the 14th Chapter of Revelation, three angles broadcast three seemingly different messages. This middle or second message makes an announcement to the whole world about Babylon falling. What is Babylon? What does it mean that it is fallen?
Revelation 18 repeats the message of the second angel, but with a “loud voice” and added detail. In verse 4, the urgent worldwide plea is given to all who will listen…” come out of her my people”
Who are “God’s people” and how did they get there anyway? What happens if God’s people don’t come out? The answer is clear:
“lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.”
These are difficult passages to understand unless we allow the book of Daniel to unlock Revelation. Does Daniel describe the fall of Babylon and the reasons why it fell? Indeed it does! The literal city of Babylon fell in one night as predicted by Daniel through dreams (visions) given to Him from God. It is both historically and spiritually applicable to Revelation’s three angels and the times in which we live.
The fall of ancient Babylon happened suddenly because of the sins of King Belshazzar and an apostate people. The sins of Babylon will be repeated 2500 years later and with similar rapidity. The same conditions of that literal city will be found in spiritual Babylon in the time just before the return of Jesus. The two are connected. A prayerful study of the former is vital to unlocking the mystery of the times in which we live and positive identification of the latter so that we can “come out” of her. How can we come out of something if we don’t know what it is?
Babylon is described in Daniel, as we have seen in the previous two studies, as the head of Gold (Chapter 2), and a lion with two wings (Chapter 7). The characteristics of these two symbols are relevant to that historical ancient city of great hanging gardens and beauty.
Daniel Chapter 5
A Blasphemous Party!
Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. 2 While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. 3 Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. 4 They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.
Daniel 5: 1-4
When Jerusalem was captured, the magnificent temple of Solomon was destroyed by Babylon. They confiscated the sacred vessels used in the sanctuary services. God instituted the sacrificial services and gave Moses the pattern for the sanctuary after He freed His people from the slavery of Egypt. The services and the design of the temple and all the utensils were directed by God Himself through Moses.
But, when the people settled in the promised land, Solomon built the great temple. All of the vessels were set aside for holy use, but at this party, they were used in a drunken orgy and filled with alcoholic wine as a tribute and praise to their idols created by their own hands!
King Belshazzar was the grandson of King Nebuchadnezzar’s and had heard the stories of his visions (Chapter 2) and his acknowledgment of the true God after a 7-year mental breakdown (Chapter 4):
That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws.
And at the end of the time I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my understanding returned to me; and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever:
Daniel 4: 33-34
King Belshazzar (Co-leader with his father Nabonidus), was defiant of the true God and performed a ritual that has always brought the wrath of God. The doomed king mixed those things God had made holy with a pagan ritual of idol worship.
A careful student of the books of Moses and the prophets demonstrates clearly this fact: The fall of God’s people, almost always, was due to their turning away from the plain words and commands of God to the pagan practices of idol worship. It is a mystery how God’s people could see the miracles He provided them as they left Egypt and still turn to other gods.
Scripture bears out the influence of unbelievers (aka peer pressure). The people of God wanted to be like the heathen people they interacted with every day. This is one of the reasons, God desired them to be separate and uninfluenced by falsehood and pagan worship practices. But, the people wanted a king like everyone else. This was the beginning of their downfall as they desired to trust human leaders rather than their Creator. It was peer-pressure that watered down the plain words of God.
Is it any different today? God’s people don’t want to be separate or different; they want to be accepted and like everyone else. But God commanded His people:
Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial?
2 Corinthians 6:14-15
So, it is no wonder that coming out of Babylon is a bold act of being different or non-compliant with the practices that are not in accordance with the God’s will:
“…Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.
God’s patience with Babylon ran out on this night as the drunken King flaunted himself before the God of Creation. Here is our first hint of what causes spiritual Babylon of Revelation to fall. It is disrespect and blasphemy of God’s plain words and commands and indifference to what God has proclaimed as holy. It is the mixing of pagan practices with the things God has set aside for holy use.
“Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication….
And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.
Revelation 17:2, 5
Babylon, also described as a fornicating woman with “the kings of the earth” sitting on many waters. The woman is a fallen church that has influence over kings and the whole earth. The waters upon which she sits is many people. The Bible interprets itself:
“The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.
As with literal Babylon, the spiritual Babylon of Revelation is a fornicator. Fornication can be described as two things or parties that come together that do not belong together or is unholy and sinful in God’s sight.
God Stops The Party
In the same hour the fingers of a man’s hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote. Then the king’s countenance changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his hips were loosened and his knees knocked against each other.
Daniel 5: 5-6
The laughter of the king and his boldness suddenly changed. The blood from his face drained into the droopy expression of fear for he saw a hand without a body writing on the wall! He was in such fear that his knees actually shook and knocked together. He could not stand up! Is this not the way the wicked will feel when the hour of their judgment comes?
The mystery of the writing consumes the king and he calls for his “wise men.”
The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. The king spoke, saying to the wise men of Babylon, “Whoever reads this writing, and tells me its interpretation, shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around his neck, and he shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
The king makes the mistakes of his grandfather; he calls for the “fakers” (those who deceive the king into thinking they have spiritual connections and are wise.)
The fakers come into his presence….
…but they could not read the writing, or make known to the king its interpretation. Then King Belshazzar was greatly troubled, his countenance was changed, and his lords were astonished.
Long before this time, God had made it clear that we should seek God and His word alone for spiritual questions and inquiries and not card readers, astrologers, palm readers, and people who conduct seances. To do so, puts that person in a dangerous situation and opens them up to darkness and deception. It is a pagan practice:
And when they say to you, “Seek those who are mediums and wizards, who whisper and mutter,” should not a people seek their God? Should they seek the dead on behalf of the living? To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.
Isaiah 8: 19-20
Just as the king reached out to the wrong sources and remained in astonishment and fear so are those who would seek anyone other than God and His word. A person’s words can be easily determined to be false or true when compared to God’s law and the testimony of those who wrote His book we call the Bible.
It is plain that the great touch stone for truth and revelation is the Bible alone. To believe otherwise is to fall into the darkness and untruth of the fakers…” there is no light in them.” In these last days upon earth, the true followers of God and Jesus Christ are those who stay close to Jesus and His word:
Here is the patience of the saints; here are those who keep the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.
Acknowledgement of God Before His Destruction
The king is so troubled that he forgets about Daniel. The queen reminds him of this great man of God,
The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came to the banquet hall. The queen spoke, saying, “O king, live forever! Do not let your thoughts trouble you, nor let your countenance change. There is a man in your kingdom in whom is the Spirit of the Holy God….Then Daniel was brought in before the king.
Daniel 5: 10, 13
Daniel has proven to be an instrument in the hands of an omnipotent God. Daniel knows that history is directed by the hand of God to counteract the work of the enemy. He…
…removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.
God is in control and knows the end from the beginning
Declaring the end from the beginning, And from ancient times things that are not yet done, Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand, And I will do all My pleasure,’
But, God reveals his secrets to his prophets before he acts.
Surely the Lord God does nothing, Unless He reveals His secret to His servants the prophets.
Did you catch that? God does nothing until He reveals it ahead of time through the prophets! What assurance we have! We can know the end from the beginning by listening to his prophets! The Lord had not done anything to Babylon until Daniel revealed to him the mystery!
But before Daniel reveals the meaning of the handwriting on the wall, he gives the frightened king a min-sermon where he boldly reminds the king of the story of King Nebuchadnezzar in verses 17- 21. Here are the highlights:
1.) God gave King Nebuchadnezzar his kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. The king had power and was feared. Although the king was not a godly man at the beginning and was an unbeliever and a pagan, God used Him for the glory and honor of God and His people. Let this speak to us, that God’s ways are not ours, nor our thoughts His thoughts. Even the bad kings/rulers are used for God’s purposes.
2.) But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. Daniel 5: 20. The king had the same problem as Lucifer when he fell from heaven. His heart was “lifted up.” Ezekiel 28:2. Pride goes before a fall.
3.) The king went insane when his pride got the best of him, but God used the 7 years of insanity to bring him to a point where he, “he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses. Daniel 5:21. God will often allow those who would be saved to experience difficulty and strife to lead them in the path of righteousness and faith.
For whom the Lord loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives.”
The point of this sermon is found in these words:
“But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this.
Daniel does not refer to Belshazzar as king anymore because he knows he is a mere man about to meet his end. His own actions and rebellion brought the wrath of God upon himself even though he knew the stories and godly life of his grandfather. How many of us have led a reckless life knowing the truth about God given us by a saintly mother, father, grandmother, grandfather?
So before the king meets his doom, he is given the opportunity to know the truth. And because of this truth, he will finally, but too late, acknowledge the God of heaven. It is even so at the time of the end when every knee will bow and acknowledge Jesus and God before their destruction:
For it is written:
“As I live, says the Lord,
Every knee shall bow to Me,
And every tongue shall confess to God.”
Daniel Interprets the Handwriting
Daniel begins to describe the events of the evening and reads the words to the king:
“And this is the inscription that was written:
MENE,[ MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN.
The frightened King wonders what these words mean. Daniel immediately reveals the meaning:
This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.”
Just as predicted in Daniel 2 through the frightening image given to Belshazzar’s defiant grandfather, the kingdom of Babylon fell and was given that night over to the dual kingdom of the Medes and the Persians. Babylon had fallen in a single night!
That night as confirmed by history was October 2, 538 BC; not with a long war, but suddenly. So it will be with the Babylon of Revelation. Its demise will be quick and sudden. The reason for its fall will be the same as literal Babylon i.e. it heart being lifted up in defiance of the God’s word and the “fornication” of the sacred with the pagan worship practices that take away the glory intended only for God.
And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified.
Babylon’s demise predicted by Isaiah
The fall of Babylon was prophetical in more places of scripture than just Daniel alone. Isaiah gives us more information that is also relevant to the fall of the Babylon of Revelation. Isaiah described and named the person who would bring Babylon down over 150 years before it happened.
Even while the feast was going on, the fall of Babylon had begun. The Babylonians had felt safe in their city. The River Euphrates, which ran through the city, provided a constant source of water. The walls were impregnable. There was plenty of food stored up for a long siege. The Babylonians knew that the army of the Medes and Persians was on the outside, but they felt secure. However, Cyrus, the commander of the Medes and Persians, performed an ingenious engineering feat. He had his soldiers divert the River Euphrates. Then he marched his army through the river bed underneath the wall of the city and through the inside gates which had been left open by the drunken Babylonians. Thus the words of Isaiah written over 150 years ahead of time came to fulfillment:
“Thus says the Lord to His anointed, To Cyrus, whose right hand I have held— To subdue nations before him And loose the armor of kings, To open before him the double doors, So that the gates will not be shut:
If the gates had not been left open, the army of Cyrus would have been annihilated by the Babylonians from atop the inner walls that lined the river. In the same way, the great river Euphrates will be dried up to let in the conquering army.
the sixth angel who had the trumpet, “Release the four angels who are bound at the great river Euphrates.”…Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.
Revelation 9:14, 16:12
The Babylon of Revelation:
In the last days, spiritual Babylon will commit acts similar to literal Babylon. The cup of God’s indignation will fill up and Babylon will fall. But, the Babylon of the last days is much more powerful and universal in its deceptive powers. Babylon is opposed to God in word and action. It attempts to deceive as many people as possible. Its influence can be felt world wide. It does this by appearing to be on God’s side. We have been warned by Jesus and Paul that this deception is so great that only complete faith in God and His word will counter act its bewitching powers:
For false christs and false prophets will rise and show signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.
For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.
2 Corinthians 11: 13-14
The deception of Babylon cannot be overcome by sight but must come in obedience to God by leaving Babylon and trusting in Him and His word alone. God does not attempt to reform Babylon but rather asks His people to come out of her.
Today, she sits on many waters. We have learned from Revelation 17:15 that her influence is worldwide. It is over peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.
God refers to her as the mother of harlots. She passes on her sins to her children who become harlots themselves drunken by the wine of apostasy and apathy:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.
It is not for Babylon that God sends his appeal. It is for those who are His people and naively have been pulled into her by her influence and mixture of truth and lies.
One day, God will remember the sins of ancient Babylon and the sins of spiritual Babylon who has made the earth drunk with her apostasy.
“Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication….And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.
As we study the next chapter of Daniel (Chapter 6), the lessons from false worship are center stage. Throughout God’s word, it is the subject of false worship versus true worship. True worship is vital! It cannot be on our own terms and feelings. Babylon would make use feel this way, but Jesus is very clear:
But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.
Our world is in a fallen state. It is filled with apathy and apostasy.
Will you pray this prayer with me?
“Lord, if I am in Babylon, please take my hand and lead me out. Amen.”