“BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”

Call me odd, but the past few times I’ve tripped through the book of Revelation I’ve started from the last chapter and read it backwards.  Chapters 22, 21, 20…a literal interpretation of these chapters is, I think, the best one and easily understood.  When I get to the next few chapters, things aren’t so clear to me.  A “great harlot” is mentioned in the preceeding three chapters (19,18,17).

I’ve been curious about the identity of this “Babylon.”

“Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls;

“For in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!”  (Rev. 18:16-17)

The title of this post (Rev. 17:5) is written on the forehead of a woman sitting on a scarlet beast.  She is clothed in purple and scarlet and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls.

The Bible calls this writing “a mystery.”

Will this “Babylon” be an actual city as Dr. Henry Morris (well-known author of The Genesis Record) speculated in The Revelation Record? (The most literal interpretation of Revelation I’ve read.)

Or will this “Babylon” be something else?

It is amazing to me that the mainstream media has spent so much time on the sex-abuse scandal at Penn State.  Yet, the godless mainstream is silent when 10-year-old boys parade rainbow flags down the streets of American cities wearing nothing but their underwear.  I believe the term connected with these events is “gay pride.” The participants seem to get younger every year.

How could incidents like the one at Penn State not be happening?

A 13-year-old boy raped an 8-year-old the other day.  I know because a reliable source told me.  It happened in the town in which I live. My source also told me that the boy had no remorse.  I couldn’t help but think of the verse in 1 Timothy (4:1-2) that notes that in the “latter times” consciences will be “seared as with a branding iron.”

After listening to Pastor Hoggard’s thoughts in The Sacred Feminine, I may be closer to my answer about the identity of the “Mother of Harlots.”

I had read Christian sources that tell the two stories that Pastor Hoggard shares towards the end of his report.

How much longer will it be before God says “ENOUGH?”

“God’s timepiece” (Israel) is under great stress; the world is broke and looking for a savior.

People are turning to the wrong spirits for help.

It is happening in “Christian” churches of every denomination.

It is obviously difficult for Pastor Hoggard to speak of such things.

It is difficult to hear of such things.

As I refuse to deny the blessed hope that I have in Jesus Christ my Lord, I cannot bury my head in the sand and deny the earth is wearing out like a garment.

I don’t know when Jesus will return and I don’t know how it will all play out.

I do know that there will be a new heaven and a new earth someday.

There will be no more tears.

There will be no more death.

There will no longer be mourning,

or crying,

or pain.

He who sits on the throne will make all things new.

cr

THE SACRED FEMININE

A recent article by Kevin Johnson entitled Revelation: The Time is at hand -XXXV gives a few opinions on this subject.  I hope Mr. Johnson is correct that the “rapture” takes place before the great tribulation.  I know the rapture and the great tribulation will happen because of Matt. 24 and 1 Thess. 4:16.  While hoping for a “rapture” before the great tribulation, I don’t have a definite opinion on the “when” of the event.

Here’s Mr. Johnson’s view of Revelation 18: Revelation The Time is at hand XXXVI (Published 12/6/11) He lines up with Dr. Morris when he writes:

“Babylon will not only be restored as a city, but will become the commercial center of the world, and then will be destroyed at the end of the Great Tribulation.”

He later states:

“This ‘spirit’ of Babylon has the world firmly in its grip today.”

Mr. Johnson goes on to say:

“Keep in mind there are two Babylons of Revelation. There is the religious or ecclesiastical global “super church” comprised of all of the world’s religions, including apostate Christianity, then there is the commercial Babylon.”

Will Mr. Johnson and Dr. Morris be right about a literal Babylon?

cr

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29 Responses to “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH”

  1. ThirstyJon says:

    So, wouldn’t a “literal” interpretation of “Babylon” be – well… Babylon? As in… the city in Iraq??

    • Chris says:

      So glad you stopped by ThirstyJon.

      Yes, a strict literal view would be a city in Iraq. Dr. Morris links Rev. 17:2 to Rev. 14:8 and Jeremiah 51:7. In The Revelation Record (1983), he says the Bible “clearly refers to literal Babylon.” (Pg. 325)

      At the same time Dr. Morris notes: “Yet this city is also associated with a great ‘Mystery,’ a mystery which relates to the baleful influence of that city over all the nations of the earth.” (Pg. 324)

      I don’t think the Babylon spoken of in Revelation is the U.S. as some have speculated. I may be wrong.

      I also don’t think it has to be a literal city in Iraq. Again, I may be wrong.

      One last quote from Dr. Morris:

      “Babylon is the mother of all the harlots and abominations of the earth. From her have come ancient paganism, Chinese Confucianism, Asian Buddhism, Indian Hinduism, Shamanism, Taoism, Shintoism, animism, astrology, witchcraft, spiritism, Sikhism, and all the world’s vast complex of ‘gods many and lords many.’

      I don’t know how correct Dr. Morris is in this statement, but I do think that the Babylon referred to in Revelation is tied to an evil, spiritual system that will have a short but devastating impact in the days before the millenium.

      And I think that this spiritual move is already well-developed worldwide. The Contemplative Spirituality spoken of in the video is only one of many practices preparing people for the coming “savior.”

      God’s blessings…

  2. ThirstyJon says:

    I’ve noticed in general that those holding some eschatological points of view say that their viewpoint is more “literal” than others, and then they proceed to make a symbolic interpretation.

    If Revelation is “literal” than we should be looking for a giant multi-headed beast to come out of the ocean, we should expect Jesus to show up literally on a horse with a sword sticking out of his mouth, etc.

    🙂

    Revelation is written in very, very symbolic language in general. When an author so clearly writes in symbolic language it is ok to have a symbolic interpretation. When the author writes in literal language we cannot choose to interpret it symbolically because we just want to do so!

    I once sat in on a popular ministry that emphasizing the “end times.” I read their faith statement and they actually said that the “pre-millenial” viewpoint that they held was the most “literal” interpretation of Revelation, etc. Very strange.

    • Chris says:

      So glad that you’ve returned, ThirstyJon.

      Your first point is a good one. In the case of The Revelation Record, I think you would find it to be a most literal viewpoint.

      I think your second paragraph states the “problem” of the great book well. Where do the literal words stop and where does the symbolic language in Revelation begin? This is the challenge.

      I like the balance in your third paragraph.

      Because I respect Dr. Morris highly, I’ve considered his viewpoint. Who am I to disagree with the great engineer and scientist?

      In the case of “Babylon” and the way things are presently lining up, I would have to respectfully differ with Dr. Morris that the Babylon spoken of in the verses mentioned is a city in Iraq.

      I’ll admit to being influenced by the latest “last days” buzz. I feel like I’m back in the 70’s when The Late Great Planet Earth made such a splash.

      I do think there is ample reason for the current buzz, however.

      How about you, ThirstyJon? What is your interpretation of “The Mother of Harlots?”

      God’s blessings…

      • ThirstyJon says:

        Well that’s a juicy question! 🙂

        It seems to me to be a question directly related to the dating of the book of Revelation. If you accept the 90-95 A.D. dating it would seem that the harlot is Rome. If you accept a 69 or 70 A.D. dating it would seem more that the harlot is Jerusalem. In the context of early Christianity it would seem that viewing Jerusalem as the harlot is the way to go.

        I wrote in 2002 that the book was probably written at the later date. Now I lean more towards the earlier date. The interpretation that makes the most sense is that the book was written in 69 or 70 A.D. and refers mostly to the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem in 70 A.D. and the permanent end to the Old Testament sacrificial system.

        Then again, there are minds far more trained than mine that would take opposing positions. 🙂

        I am generally of a post-millennial or “optimistic” a-millennial viewpoint on matters of eschatology.

        I like to tell my students about how Dietrich Bonhoeffer lived in a horrific time where current events could easily be interpreted to be leading up to the “end of the world.” (World War II) During this time of suffering Bonhoeffer wrote that until he saw Jesus coming on the clouds he would work for a better tomorrow! This is how I would encourage Christians to live today. Don’t be preoccupied with supposed signs of the “end-times” but rather work to see the Kingdom of God established and increased in the earth as has been repeatedly prophesied as inevitable throughout the Bible.

        🙂

        • Chris says:

          Welcome back ThirstyJon.

          When it comes to the book of Revelation, we certainly view things differently. The most important thing is that we are brothers in Christ. I can tell after perusing your web site. I like the focus you have on the source of true freedom. I hope you don’t mind that I put you on my blogroll.

          I disagree that the dating of Revelation has anything to do with the identification of the harlot. The opening of chapter 4 begins with John being taken to heaven:

          “Come up here and I will show you what must take place after these things.” (v. 1)

          It seems to me that what John wrote about were future, end-times events. Like you I am aware that there are minds with much more knowledge than I who believe differently.

          The point in your last paragraph is well-taken. At the same time, it is the world’s preoccupation with end-times subjects that opens a door to share the Gospel. I am in a position where I spend a good deal of time with individuals (almost in a counseling role) who have claimed to be Christians or otherwise. With few exceptions, this subject is on their minds. With the younger group, the December 2012 date is a big deal. The older folks see what’s happening and believe we are nearing difficult days. At the end of a session the other day, when nothing of the subject had been discussed, I asked an older, Christian lady if she thought that Jesus was returning soon. She answered with a resounding “yes.”

          I appreciate your frankness and the link you have shared. I will try and take a look at it today.

          God’s blessings…

          • ThirstyJon says:

            Hello again Chris!

            Thanks for your reply.

            I am not sure how to respond to what you have said about the dating of the book not mattering. Understanding the context is one of the key and most basic elements of interpreting any scripture. I noticed that you said “It seems to me that what John wrote about were future, end-times events.” Are you sure you want to base your interpretation based on “it seems” which is basically an impression?

            In case there is confusion about what I meant by “dating” I am referring to WHEN the book was written. I am pretty sure that if you go to any Bible College or read any book on scripture interpretation there will be an almost universal support in all of Christendom for considering the context (include To Whom a book is written and WHEN) when finding an interpretation!

            I am guessing that somehow there is a misunderstanding of what I mean by “dating” here. I doubt that you actually mean that when the book was written doesn’t effect it’s interpretation!

            Your thoughts?

            On another topic: I’m not sure that what-people-want-to-talk-about (i.e. “people are interested in the end of the world”) has any bearing on what is or is not true. One of the great things about the Bible is that it starts out with a clear defining of “what is the basic nature of reality” which could also be stated as “what is truth.” Genesis begins by describing a world that is real and comes from a source external to our perception (“In the beginning, GOD created!”). In other words, what is true is REALLY true whether or not you or I or anybody else believes it or wants to know about it or not!

            I bring this up because “this is what people want to know about” may have some relevance to evangelism strategy, but it has no relevance to “what is truth” and can be a very slippery slope into making truth fuzzy for the purpose of “reaching” people. The problem is, if you reach people with “what they are looking for” instead of with what actually IS you end up with people converted to a false view of God!

            Having said that, I have actually observed that many of the people that I talk to and interact with are not very interested in the end-of-the-world Christianity that has been so popular in the United States. Human beings seem to intuitively know that there is a right way to live and a right way to order life and society. They don’t know what it is and come up with some pretty scary counterfeits, but even atheists try to claim an “ethic” in life!

            The end-of-the-world obsessed brand of Christianity has happened to result in a Christianity that doesn’t offer enough principle to guide us in how to live our lives and order our societies. As the saying goes “you don’t polish the brass on a sinking ship!”

            Of course, if an apocalyptic focused Christianity is what God intended than it doesn’t really matter. We must believe, live, and preach the truth whether or not it is what people want or not!

            Fortunately, the end-of-the-world obsessed version of Christianity is not really what the Bible presents. The Bible presents a comprehensive view of how to live all of life (including everything from eternal salvation to marriage to economics and to civil government)!

            God created people to live all-of-life. This fact, ironically, seems to make it so that a comprehensive all-of-life “Gospel of the Kingdom of God” seems to have a much more powerful converting effect than a “get ready for the end of the world” focus. It produces better results in the long term development of Christian Society as well.

            Blessings!

          • ThirstyJon says:

            By the way, when people are interested in the end-of-the-world, the message that Jesus will return one day to a triumphant church that has greatly transformed all of society into something better is quite a compelling draw on the heart! Of course, it is only any good if it is TRUE.

            This message gives people hope that they can have salvation in eternity and they can transform the world now and for their children and grand children!

            • Chris says:

              Dear ThirstyJon,

              I clearly understood you to be giving an opinion as to the possible dates for the writing of Revelation.

              I am also aware of the importance of context.

              You wrote:

              “I doubt that you actually mean that when the book was written doesn’t affect its interpretation!”

              Imagine for a moment, ThirstyJon, that you were in the spirit on the Lord’s day and you heard behind you a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet saying, “Write in a book what you see and send it to the seven churches.” You are given the seven churches to which you are to write. You turn to see the voice speaking to you. What you see next is hard to believe but you will never forget it. You obey and write what you have been told to write.
              After these things you see a door open in heaven and the voice that you had heard said, “Come up here and I will show you what must take place after these things.” You wind up in heaven before another sight that is beyond anything you could ever imagine.

              At this point, I don’t think the setting you were previously in (maybe sitting on a rock) would be of great consideration. I don’t think that the experience described by the “Son of Thunder” was affected by when he had this revelation, with the exception of his lack of knowledge of items that might be easily identified by those living in the future.

              This is why I wrote: “I disagree that the dating of Revelation has anything to do with the identification of the harlot.”
              (By the way, you never gave me an answer to the reason behind my post. Who is the harlot?)

              I think that context is important. Revelation completes the written Word. God gave it to us through a Galilean fisherman living in the first century, a man who had spent time with Jesus.

              As far as evangelism strategy, I will use any topic in order to share God’s amazing grace. A great topic to begin the discussion is that Jesus is coming again. It is one of many topics. I usually use a topic I think applies to the person I’m talking with.

              You wrote:

              “I have actually observed that many of the people that I talk to and interact with are not very interested in the end-of-the-world Christianity that has been so popular in the United States.”

              I think there is some truth to this because of the way “Christians” in the United States act and believe. According to polling of American “Christians,” up to 70% of them think that they will be going to heaven because of their good works.

              The “church” in America is in trouble. It seems to me that, hope as I may, the “church” in America is past the point on the slippery slope of no return. I use the word “seems” because this is my current thinking. Call it an impression or belief. I would change my mind if I observed things differently. A few events could quickly give us a world much worse the world of Dietrich Bonheoffer.

              I read most of the link you shared with me.

              Here are the last two paragraphs:

              “Which commandments are we to teach the nations to observe? We postmillennialists believe that these commandments are found in the whole Bible. These commandments deal with individuals, families, churches, businesses, schools, arts, sciences, civil governments, and all of society.

              “Not only do we believe that the Great Commission includes preaching the Gospel of salvation to all creation, but we also include the idea that this Gospel of the kingdom will take root and thrive in the whole world. There will be a resulting kingdom influence in all human institutions. There will be great victory for Christ and the church before He comes again.”

              I know of no place in the Bible that speaks of a church kingdom age of “great victory for Christ and the church before He comes again.”
              When Jesus speaks of signs of his coming, he speaks of great tribulation (Matt. 24). Paul’s second letter to Timothy says:
              “But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful…” and the list goes on.

              I wish I could use the term “Christian Society” as you have.

              I don’t see one anywhere.

              Do you agree with the link that you posted? Will there be a kingdom influence in all human institutions and a great victory for Christ before he comes again?

              God’s blessings…

          • ThirstyJon says:

            I hope you can forgive me if I have to be to the point for the sake of time. I don’t intend to be a “hostile” commenter. 🙂

            You said: “At this point, I don’t think the setting you were previously in (maybe sitting on a rock) would be of great consideration. I don’t think that the experience described by the “Son of Thunder” was affected by when he had this revelation, with the exception of his lack of knowledge of items that might be easily identified by those living in the future.”

            Your interpretation here begins with the assumption that Revelation is about “those living in the future.” By “future” here you appear to mean “distant future.”

            I suggest beginning the interpretation by understanding what it would have meant to the original reader. Especially because the book clearly states that it is written “to show his servants the things that must SOON take place.” (The all caps on “soon” is, of course, mine). So the message from God is for his servants about something that is about to happen. (Revelation 1:1a – http://bit.ly/Rev1_1)

            If the book was written after 70ad it is unlikely that “babylon” is Jerusalem. If it was written before 70ad it is likely that it does refer to Jerusalem. On Revelation the dating is hugely important. I can’t back down from that because in order to understand what God meant by “soon” we need to have an idea when the book was written.

            Most of the Christians I know nowadays are so pre-programmed to the dispensational version of a “pre-millennial” interpretation that they are almost completely blind to some very good alternative interpretations.

            You said: “By the way, you never gave me an answer to the reason behind my post. Who is the harlot?”

            Actually, I answered that question very directly above. I lean towards an interpretation that “Babylon the harlot” is referring to Jerusalem and that the events predicted in Revelation were generally fulfilled in 70ad with the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. I have considered and remain open to other interpretations, but that is the one that I am currently leaning towards.

            You wrote: “I think there is some of this because of the way ‘Christians’ in the United States act and believe. According to polling of American ‘Christians,’ up to 70% of them think that they will be going to heaven because of their good works.” in response to my comment: “I have actually observed that many of the people that I talk to and interact with are not very interested in the end-of-the-world Christianity that has been so popular in the United States.”

            I do not see the connection you are trying to make here. What does the idea of “good works oriented” Christians have to do with anything? Most of the Christians I speak with in America are obsessed with the idea that “it’s all going down hill and that’s the way it should be because this is the ‘end times.'” This is, of course a FAR cry from the call to “make disciples of all nations” in the book of Matthew (and other places!)

            You said: “The ‘church’ in America is in trouble. It seems to me that, hope as I may, the ‘church’ in America is past the point on the slippery slope of no return. I use the word ‘seems’ because this is my current thinking. Call it an impression or belief. I would change my mind if I observed things differently. A few events could give us back the world of Dietrich Bonheoffer in a hurry.”

            Christians (apparently yourself included) are deciding what God has for our future based on an impression of how things are right now. The early church was in far more tribulation than we are. So was Bonhoeffer. So are the Christians in China or the Sudan. You’d have to be almost blind to be waiting for a tribulation to come. It has happened, it is happening, and it will happen more. It has been going on for 2,000+ years. The idea that we are NOT in any tribulation is a purely American and Western Christian focused fantasy. We must be very important if the “end of the world” relates primarily to what is happening to us (in the West.)

            I want to be like Bonhoeffer. When it looks like the end of the world I want to still believe God’s promises of a Gospel that will Fill the Earth. It is in the dark times that the very victorious message of Jesus should shine the brightest. I am looking for a Christianity (which I see in the Bible) that sees that ‘city on a hill” in the midst of great trials.

            You said: “I know of no place in the Bible that speaks of a church kingdom age of ‘great victory for Christ and the church before He comes again.’ When Jesus speaks of signs of his coming, he speaks of great tribulation (Matt. 24). Paul’s second letter to Timothy says: ‘But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. For men will be lovers of self, lovers of money, boastful…’ and the list goes on.
            Men have been lovers of self lovers of money, boastful and etc. etc. etc. since the fall in the garden. I wonder what “last days” Paul is referring to in Timothy? I suspect he was probably referring to the days leading up to the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem in 70ad but even if he wasn’t, he is describing a general state of mankind throughout history.

            Jesus said that ALL AUTHORITY on heaven and earth were given to him – THEREFORE go and make disciples of all nations – TEACHING them to obey ALL that He has commanded. So the One True God in the form of a Man has declared that “the Kingdom off God is at hand” and then conquered death and then announced that ALL authority was in His hands and that we were to teach the world to obey His way of life as He had commanded? Which part of that is not about a “great victory for Christ and the church” that would happen progressively as we are preaching it? (or as you quoted “before He comes again?”)

            The book of Daniel addresses this Kingdom and the nature of its spread here: Daniel 2:31-45 (http://bit.ly/VictoriousKingdomDaniel)

            Head of Gold – Babylon
            Chest and Arms of Silver – Persia
            Middle and Thighs of Bronze – Greece
            Legs of Iron – Rome
            Feet of Clay and Iron – Perhaps about a Divided Rome

            The main point – in the “days of those kings” the Kingdom of God comes and breaks them to pieces but itself becomes a mountain that fills the whole earth.

            The book of Revelation has a MAJOR theme of a victorious church. Read it again!

            I wonder, why would God tell us to Disciple All Nations as a result of Jesus’s authority unless he intended us to do so? The whole momentum of Acts would indicate that God DOES intend for us to succeed. “All Nations Discipled” is certainly a good description of a “victorious church.”

            If you don’t see a victorious church discipling the nations in the Bible, what Bible are you reading?

            As far as whether or not I agree with the article – there is too much content in the article to answer that with a yes or a no, but I would say that I agree with the general gist of the article.

            I look forward to the day where Christians are no longer looking forward to failure and defeat in an “end of the world” scenario and instead embrace the Great Commission in all of its implications!

            • Chris says:

              Hi ThirstyJon,

              I’m now certain that we have major differences in the way we view The Revelation of John.

              You have written that I appear to mean “distant future” when using the word “future.” If one considers two or three thousand years “distant future” than your assumption would be true.

              For an eternal entity like God, a day is like a thousand years and a thousand years are like a day. A million years are nothing in God’s eyes.

              For the past few thousand years, Christians have been saying that Jesus is coming soon. I wish to add my voice to the chorus.

              I understand the reasoning behind your current position that the Babylon of Revelation is Jerusalem. At the same time the Babylon in Revelation sounds nothing like the Jerusalem of 70 A.D. to me.

              You wrote:

              “Most of the Christians I know nowadays are so pre-programmed to the dispensational version of a “pre-millennial” interpretation that they are almost completely blind to some very good alternative interpretations.

              Up until several years ago I had not heard of the dispensational view. Although I enjoy listening to Gary Stearman (clearly dispensational), I don’t know the opinion well enough to say that I agree or disagree with it. I am also not dogmatic on a pre-, mid-, or post-tribulation.

              I am certain that a rapturous type event will take place. Jesus said, “There shall be two men in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left.” And then there’s 1 Thess. 4:16.

              And I am certainly hopeful of a pre-tribulation rapture. Knowing that the hardships of the great tribulation would have killed everyone unless God had intervened (Matt. 24:21,22), I would not wish anyone to go through the tribulation that Jesus is speaking of in Matthew.

              I can see why you don’t understand my point about “good-works oriented” Christians, unless by “good-works oriented” you mean “saved by their good works,” which is what I meant. If you understood me to mean “saved by their good works,” your next statement is confusing to me:

              “Most of the Christians I speak with in America are obsessed with the idea that “it’s all going downhill and that’s the way it should be because this is the ‘end times.’”

              One would expect miss-led, “Saved by works” “Christians” if things are as bad as Jesus says it will be (just like the days of Noah” Matt. 24:37).

              You seem to find the truth of the Great Commission to be at odds with the fact that there will be a Great Tribulation. I don’t see a conflict.

              You wrote:

              “Christians (apparently yourself included) are deciding what God has for our future based on an impression of how things are right now.”

              I would not try to decide for God. I am only doing what you are doing, reading my Bible and observing what is happening in the world and making an assessment.

              Have I named a date for Christ’s return? No. Am I certain of a pre-trib rapture? No, although I’m hopeful.

              I do know one thing. Jesus is coming soon. It might be a thousand years from now.

              It might be tonight.

              Why do I think it might be tonight?

              Individuals know less about their Bibles than ever before (post reformation). Individuals are more tolerant of idolatry, adultery, theft, homosexuality, and drunkenness. (Check out the results in 1 Cor. 6:10)

              The family unit is falling apart.

              Churches are falling for corrupted doctrine as never before.

              Businesses are failing, our schools are teaching our children about the famous homosexuals in history and that we came from the morganucodon, the arts are obscene, you can’t be a scientist at a public university unless you are a Darwinian Evolutionist, and civil governments are broken.

              Do any of these lessen the Great Commission? No.

              You wrote:

              “If you don’t see a victorious church discipling the nations in the Bible, what Bible are you reading?”

              Shall I quote 2 Timothy 3 again? I sounds like “in the last days” men will not be concerned much about the Great Commission.

              Does that make it any less important? Of course not.

              I would have asked you the same “What Bible are you reading?” except that I agree with something that you wrote:

              “The book of Revelation has a MAJOR theme of a victorious church. Read it again!”

              The last two chapters of the book we see so differently bring us to the same conclusion.

              You wrote:

              “I look forward to the day where Christians are no longer looking forward to failure and defeat in an “end of the world” scenario and instead embrace the Great Commission in all of its implications!”

              Can someone looking forward to failure and defeat be a Christian? I don’t know. I’m certainly not.

              I’m looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth.

              Finally,

              The question I asked at the end of my last comment shouldn’t be that difficult for you. You don’t have to read the entire article that you sent me to have an opinion on the final two paragraphs.

              Here they are again:

              “Which commandments are we to teach the nations to observe? We postmillennialists believe that these commandments are found in the whole Bible. These commandments deal with individuals, families, churches, businesses, schools, arts, sciences, civil governments, and all of society.

              “Not only do we believe that the Great Commission includes preaching the Gospel of salvation to all creation, but we also include the idea that this Gospel of the kingdom will take root and thrive in the whole world. There will be a resulting kingdom influence in all human institutions. There will be great victory for Christ and the church before He comes again.”

              Will there be a kingdom influence in all human institutions and a great victory for Christ before He comes again? Will the church take dominion of the earth before Jesus returns?

              God’s blessings…

          • ThirstyJon says:

            Hello again Chris. Did you get my email? I am trying to figure out how I know you and I am trying to remember why I chose to follow this blog.

            You said in your last comment that you aren’t sure if you are pre, mid, or post trib in your perspective.

            Are you aware that all of those are subcategories of the dispensational pre-millennial position? There are OTHER pre-millennial positions and there are also other positions all together (for example post-millennial and a-millennial).

            I feel like I am beating my head against the wall with someone who isn’t even really familiar with the alternative positions to his own. Feel free to tell me otherwise. I am not trying to be antagonistic here.

            But tell me – are you familiar with Christian Eschatological views outside of the whole “pre, mid, and post trib” matrix?

            • Chris says:

              Hi ThirstyJon,

              I only check my email every week or two. I’ll check for yours tonight.

              You feel like you are beating your head against the wall, but you will not answer my simple question.

              An answer to that simple question would tell me a lot about what you believe, which is all I am trying to find out.

              You seem to have strong beliefs but are somewhat guarded about sharing them with others.

              God’s blessings…

          • ThirstyJon says:

            I would have to grill the author of the article about what he meant by those things in order to answer your question. The way I would answer it right now is “I wouldn’t choose to say it like that.”

            For example, what does he mean by emphasizing “human” institutions?

            I believe that God gave us the Commission to “Make Disciples of All Nations” and this clearly includes “teaching all that [Jesus] ha[s] commanded.”

            This has already happened: “There will be a resulting kingdom influence in all human institutions. There will be great victory for Christ and the church before He comes again.” Past tense. The Gospel has already influenced everything. Like the yeast that leavens the whole batch of dough – so is the Kingdom of God. I don’t know how far God will bring this influence before Jesus returns, but it is clearly commanded to pursue it. So I, for one, intend to pursue it until I the day I die or Jesus shows up in person.

            If I seem like I am being “guarded” it is because as we have interacted it does not appear that you have any background in understanding this discussion outside of the popular dispensational pre-millennial context.

            Which is why I asked my question, which you have not answered.

            Your answer which would help me understand where you are coming from: “But tell me – are you familiar with Christian Eschatological views outside of the whole “pre, mid, and post trib” matrix?”

            • Chris says:

              Hi ThirstyJon,

              I finally think we are getting somewhere. I agree with your third and fourth paragraphs.

              I have taken classes on Revelation and some of the views outside of the pre,mid,post views have been mentioned.

              I will admit to not knowing enough of any of them to comment.

              Please share with me one or two of the most probable views outside the matrix.

              God’s blessings…

          • ThirstyJon says:

            Sorry I’ve switched into super-busy mode. I haven’t even properly read your response yet, but it is in my email inbox and hopefully I will eventually get to it. Happy Thanksgiving and Christmas! 🙂

            • Chris says:

              No problem, Thirsty Jon.

              I hope you will be able to get to it too, but if not I will certainly not take it personally. Priorities take me away from this blog thing much of the time although I enjoy doing it. Lately, I’m averaging about 1 post a month so I completely understand.

              Thank you for the warm wishes. I hope you too have a wonderful holiday season.

              God’s blessings…

          • ThirstyJon says:

            Well, I tried to scan through all of our previous conversation but didn’t have the patience to re-read it all. Especially with the narrow column when several “threads” into the conversation.

            I believe that there are three general categories of eschatological teaching in Christian History.

            1) Pre-Millenialism: Most of the Christians I have known in America believe some form of this teaching. It consists of the belief that there is a literal 1,000 year physical reign of Christ on this physical earth that is yet to come. There are a number of versions of this belief. The most popular seems to be the “dispensational” version of this teaching. Think Left Behind and all that. Pre-Trib and Mid-Trib and some forms of Post-Trib are all in this category.

            2) A-Millenialism: There is no literal 1000 year physical reign but the time descriptions in Revelation are symbolic numbers that generally refer to the reign of the church on earth as well as it’s persecutions and sufferings until Jesus finally returns one day.

            3) Post-Millenialism: I’m not sure why the word “post,” but this view generally consists of the belief that the church will slowly-but-surely increase Christ’s reign on earth until one day Christ will return. It is the most “optimistic” view.

            These are my summaries from my head in the middle of the night. I did not review my Bible school notes or research them online. I have probably over simplified and not done justice to each one.

            I recently read somewhere that there used to be a view called “optimistic a-millenialism” that eventually became described as “post-millenialism.”

            I haven’t accepted a label on myself as of yet, because whenever I have accepted a label, someone then tells me “oh, then you believe a, b, and c!” I find that the label then appears to be incorrect.

            I find that the strange and complex systems that some pre-millenials come up with are unbelievable. They usually require me to believe something about God that is inconsistent with the rest of the Bible. (Such as the idea that in the Old Testament people were eternally saved by obeying the Law while in the New Testament we are saved by faith in Christ – dispensationalistic type stuff).

            One great (although dry to me) starter book on this topic is called “Victorious Eschatology.” It is written by a post-millenial guy and a different version of a pre-millenial guy (not a “dispensational” one). They emphasize the importance of seeing that God wants us to conquer, overcome and establish His Kingdom. It is worth reading.

            🙂

            • Chris says:

              Hi Thirsty Jon,

              Well, I think you did an outstanding job for not having to refer to any notes and for writing this in the middle of the night. Thank you very much for your contribution.

              I completely understand your unwillingness to accept a label. We are all on the learning curve. I try to avoid labels myself, although I’m sure after my next few sentences, it will have one in many minds.

              I am not an expert on dispensationalism, but I tend to agree with them that the last three chapters of Revelation is literal. It’s the previous 2 chapters (17 and 18) that this post is about. If dispensationalism must include the reason you’ve mentioned you can’t go in that direction, then I also cannot be one. All men have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

              I currently believe in a literal thousand year reign of Christ. I guess that would put me in the Pre-Min camp according to your definitions. As far as pre or mid-trib, I don’t have a certain view. I admit to leaning to the pre-trib side, but I haven’t been completely convinced. I must admit to praying for the pre-trib rapture. I enjoy listening to Gary Stearman’s podcasts. He is clearly a pre-trib guy and very smart.

              I think the key is to be ready, whatever way God decides to work His will. That should be our goal: One day at a time, in a relationship with Him.

              Thanks again and God’s blessings,

              Chris

  3. califgracer says:

    Hi Chris,

    A very interesting and timely topic. Do you think that the end times events are very near? I teach a weekly Bible class to an adult class of about 40-50 people. A few years ago I taught on some selected passages from Revelation. I also taught a complete summer course on the entire book of Daniel. The following is a small excerpt from my Rev. study:
    · Who is the woman (called: the great prostitute, she who rides on the beast, “Mystery Babylon,” or “Babylon the Great,” Hal Lindsey calls her “Scarlet O’Harlot)? A vast religious system which reaches its tentacles into most of the world. It may include the new age movement, mind sciences, RCC, liberal so-called Christianity. The Bahai Faith is a recent example of this movement. You might say that is is made up of all of the churches who don’t need new pastors after the rapture. It is not merely the Roman Catholic Church, although many commentators have tried to assert this because of internal signs in chapter 17. Gorbachev has been leading an ecumenical movement worldwide from headquarters at the Presidio in San Francisco. Walvoord says this: “Babylon in Scripture is the name for a great system of religious error. Babylon is actually a counterfeit or pseudo religion which plagued Israel in the OT as well as the church in the NT, and which subsequent to apostolic days, has had a tremendous influence in moving the church from biblical simplicity to apostate confusion. In keeping with the satanic principle of offering a poor substitute for God’s perfect plan, Babylon is the source of counterfeit religion sometimes in the form of pseudo Christianity, sometimes in the form of pagan religion. Its most confusing form, however, is found in Romanism.”
    · What are the many waters? See v. 15 “peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages” the words, “prostitute,” “adultery,” and “adulteries” come from the Greek porneias—from which we get the word “pornography.” What kind of adultery is being talked about in verses 1-2? Spiritual adultery—idolatry—people going after other gods. Frequently used of Israel in the OT (Hosea, for one).
    · Who is the scarlet beast? Walvoord says that this is the Revived Roman Empire of Rev. 13:1 [same description—seven heads, ten horns, but prior to the point where the beast assumes all power and demands that its ruler is worshipped as God]

    Just a few thoughts. I know that there are many viewpoints. I guess that I largely follow Walvoord on Daniel and Revelation.

    Warm regards,
    Bruce

    • Chris says:

      Hi Bruce,

      Yes, I do think the end times events are very near. Of course, I would never put a certain, specific date on them. I do attempt to “be on the alert for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.” I’ll admit that I have incorrectly speculated on events that I thought were related to the subject. I thought that Israel was going to bomb Iran a year and ½ or so ago. Every day that passes means that I’m that much more mistaken. I’m more careful about making such speculations.

      A couple of days ago I received an email from a Christian missionary in Jerusalem. Here’s part of what she wrote:

      “U.N. Security Council Did Not Condemn Attacks on Israel – The attacks by Palestinian Gazans this month killed a 56-year-old Israeli man and wounded 16 others in Southern Israel. Ambassador Prosor said ‘The damage caused by these attacks is permanent, and the attacks continue. One million Israelis could not go to work last week to ensure their safety… 200,000 children could not attend school.’ When will the world condemn these attacks on Israel, why is the U.N. silent?”

      Those who listen to the mainstream media alone may fit the description that Jesus gives of those who were alive during the days of Noah. The mainstream media itself certainly fits this description. The Israel/Iran story has gotten very little mainstream press lately.

      Just after the “days of Noah” narrative, Jesus says that two men will be in the field; one will be taken, and one will be left. Because of this statement and 1 Thess. 4:16, I believe there will be what Christians call a “rapture.” I’m not dogmatic on the “when” of the rapture, although I hope it happens before the great tribulation begins.

      It is interesting that you mention Mr. Gorbachev.

      In an interview published today, he said:

      “Russia is in the middle of its way to sustainable and effective democracy,” he said. “Churchill was right by saying that democracy is not the best form of government, but the rest of them are even worse.”

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/feedarticle/9960251

      The quote makes one feel warm and fuzzy unless one is also aware of all of Mr. Gorbachev’s “new world order” quotes.

      Thank you for sharing Mr. Walvoord’s thoughts with me. I’ve heard of this position before and it sounds as good as any other although I’m sure I’m unaware of many positions.

      I guess that was the reason for this post.

      God’s blessings…

  4. SLIMJIM says:

    Hey brother,
    I know you wrote this a long time ago, but it was sad to read of the sinful tragedies around us. It’s like we are living in darker and darker times.
    Having said that, I do want to comment quickly about Babylon; I do think there might be one instead of two Babylon; and that it will be a literal Babylon united with Rome. The reason I see Babylon (in Iraq) will be an end time player is because I do not believe the prophecies against it has been totally fulfilled; perhaps you might find this helpful: http://veritasdomain.wordpress.com/2011/01/29/has-the-totality-of-jeremiah-50-51-been-fulfilled-concerning-babylon/

    • Chris says:

      Hi SLIMJIM,

      I found the article you referred to me to be very interesting. Thank you very much.

      The timing of your comment is interesting, since a friend of mine was quoting Jimmy DeYoung last week about this exact subject. My friend told me that Mr. DeYoung had published materials regarding the spending of U.S. funds on rebuilding projects in Iraq. After checking internet sources, I was able to find out that our government has spent over 700 million dollars on recent building projects. I do not know how much money was spent during the war, rebuilding areas that could be considered Babylon.

      I know that 700 million dollars is a good sum of money, but it is hardly enough to build the place described in Revelation.

      The information you’ve shared with me is very interesting, particularly the archeological data presented in the material. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Babylon spoken of in Revelation is a literal city. In fact, I cannot rule it out.

      Thank you for sharing your knowledge. I remember being taught that Babylon was burned and left desolate. The information you have shared seems well documented and contrary to what I have heard. I will be checking into this subject soon. I will share what I discover in a seperate comment on this post.

      Thanks again and God’s blessings…

      • SLIMJIM says:

        Hey brother Chris,
        Let me know if you find anything that I need to know about brother! Thanks!

        • Chris says:

          Dear brother Slimjim,

          I spent the last hour or so looking at the last entries on Google about the Babylonian issue. Thus, I have not done extensive research but I will keep on watching as Jesus asked us.

          I found out that there are “facts” that both sides of the argument use to bolster their claims. One example is an article that discusses Saddam spending a billion dollars to rebuild Babylon. Most of what I saw had to do with saving the ancient ruins from an archeological perspective. Another article discussed large purchases of American tanks and Fighter Jets by the Iraqis.

          My opinion at present? I don’t know if “The Mother of Harlots” will be an actual city or not. Most of the time I believe we are living in the “birth pains” before the time of Jesus’ second coming. At the same time, If there is to be a literal Babylon like the one described in Revelation, I think it will take quite some time to rebuild. This would mean, in my mind, that the times described in Revelation are years away. How long would it take to build a city like that? I don’t know but it seems to me that it would be a while.

          At this point, I don’t see enough evidence of an actual city going up. This, of course, doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. My personal wish is that Jesus would come back because I sense this world is “wearing out like a garment.” It is hard to watch how far away man has walked from the love of God.

          My personal desires have nothing to do with God’s timetable. I will keep on reading articles like those that you sent me so that I can have a more informed opinion. Thanks again and I wish I could be more definitive. There just doesn’t seem to be enough evidence at present to make me lean much in either direction.

          Watching with you…

          • SLIMJIM says:

            Thanks for sharing brother your discernment, and evaluation! More than any time table or end time scheme, we all want Jesus!

            • Chris says:

              Hi Slimjim,

              Sorry I’m getting to your comment days afterward. I don’t check the blog as often as I use to. I appreciate your encouragement. There is so much happening in the Middle East at present, including several “War Games” by many different countries. One can’t help but look to the words of the prophets of God who speak of the things that will happen in the last days. It is amazing to watch things lining up. I am watching with you, as Jesus asked us to do.

              God’s blessings,

  5. ThirstyJon says:

    Wow. I forgot this conversation was even here until I got a notice in my inbox that someone had left a new comment. 🙂

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