Revelation - Lesson 16

Fallen Babylon (Part 1)

A vision of fallen Babylon.

Lesson 16
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Fallen Babylon (Part 1)

  • There is a wide range of interpretation of the book of Revelation because of the nature of visions. When John writes Revelation, he uses a pool of images that are familiar to him and his readers and we need to take into account what the images meant to people at the time.
  • Apocalyptic literature is based on the idea that the natural order is set within a larger content of a spiritual reality and that the dynamics of the spiritual realm play themselves out in the physical realm.  Apocalypse is a message from God regarding what God is about and what he is going to do.

  • The occasion for writing Revelation was the vision John had and the situation of the seven churches. John is trying to describe a scene in which various scenes are being played out simultaneously. John emphasizes the importance of living out your theology, as opposed to only being doctrinally correct.

  • John had a vision of the Son of Man. He had a message for the church at Ephesus.

  • Messages for the churches at Ephesus, Smyrna and Pergamum.

  • Messages to the churches in Pergamum, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia.

  • A message to the church at Laodicea and a vision of Jesus as a Lamb who shares the throne with God.

  • A vision of God the creator and the redeemer Lamb.

  • A vision of the seven seals.

  • A vision of the seven trumpets.

  • This lesson dives into the idea of encountering God in the world, warns about the destructiveness of sin, and presents a powerful angelic figure symbolizing God and Jesus as triumphant over fallen Babylon, with a mysterious aspect of the vision.
  • A vision of the seven trumpets. Chronology of the origin and development of the teaching of the rapture and dispensationalism.

  • A vision of how the death of Jesus on the cross has made it possible for us to be in relationship to God.

  • The description of the nature of Satan's war against God's children and in contrast to a description of God's redeemed.

  • A vision of the seven bowls.

  • A vision of fallen Babylon.

  • In this lesson, you gain insights into the concept of Fallen Babylon and the transformative power of the cross. It emphasizes that accepting the cross liberates you from the world's illusions, allowing you to accept your own falsity as healed and yielding to the Holy Spirit's action. The lesson challenges the idea of choosing between the world and Christ, proposing that you can choose both simultaneously, seeking unity, wholeness, and love at the deepest level of your being.
  • Dr. Mulholland answering questions from the students.

  • A vision of the victory of the Lamb and discussion of the wrath of God.

  • A vision of the New Jerusalem.

  • Dr. Mulholland's lesson delves into God's love as the core of self-discovery. False self obstructs the truth. True self blooms in faith, openness, trust, and yielding to God, shifting focus from ego to divine presence. Embrace this shift, become citizens of a new Jerusalem in a fallen world.
  • A vision of the people of the New Jerusalem.

  • John wrote the book of Revelation as a call to radical discipleship as faithful citizens of God’s new Jerusalem in the midst of a fallen Babylon world. There is no video for this lecture.

Revelation is a vision of Jesus the Messiah. John focuses on the profound depths of what God has done, is doing, and will ultimately consummate in and through Jesus. A second central theme in Revelation is the role of the cross in what God has done and will accomplish. The contrast and interaction of the "New Jerusalem" and "fallen Babylon" is also a significant theme in Revelation. Videos for lectures 7, 8 and 9 are not avialable yet. Lecture 23 was recorded in audio only. 

We think that the title of the devotional book that Dr. Mulholland reads from at the beginning of some of the lectures might be Merton's Palace of Nowhere by James Finley. Unfortunately, Dr. Mulholland is deceased so we can't confirm this. 



Dr. Robert Mulholland


Fallen Babylon (Part 1)

Lesson Transcript


I mean. Exactly. I don't know. New Testament. And then I was pretty involved, you know. Building. And that advance was, you know, that was it. But the fact that you can read through your testimony is incredibly testament to the content at which classes have tried to take a class. I'm sorry if I made you feel whatever. I think I. Abel. Oh, he's been clean for days. Know? I know. I got to let the court of public at home when I went home. That's usually where it is. I mean, really, so far, you know, the health department. It's going to been here. You've been doing a Night of the Master. Yeah, but think that. I think that he's doing a lot better. He got really sick yesterday in the pool there at the beach with a broken neck. Yeah. Yeah. I mean, it was like it was to half an inch. You could just walk in. You're like. Yeah, but for a while there, he didn't even know about that. I mean, it's not all steroid after don't work. I mean, how do you figure back to the orthopedic healing practice? Yeah. What is this? They hit the ball wherever they want. All the hidden apps. Ironic. Now, careful. Oh, yeah. In dark, in the halls. What are some of the black boxes? Right now, you don't have to hear it, and it gives it. It's a very arrogant power of them to say, Hey, we can do that for you. Oh, really? Well, the doctors. Yes, that's it is part of it. You still have you're going to see something like this at the moment. Oh, good, Good. Yes. Yes. I will keep it that way. Well, there you are. I just got back with this class, which started out with, like, all the things that you said back then, you probably have a copy.


Yeah, It's like it's been through a lot better or whatever. That way I always got that sort of, you know, like, I mean, whatever, you know. Jim Interview How long did it take you to find the right? It totally depends. How do you get over that? Oh, I know that. You know, I've. What do you mean by that? Some of these people, I mean, asked right when you started it, you know, they. Brad, how are you? Are you all right or. Great. Her. Islam is actually very old. We see each year constantly at various anniversaries. As the members of the Assembly stand slowly falling while acknowledging the recognition. He years a monster. Bruton said during an impromptu impersonations some of the more colorful members of the community. And so on one occasion, I asked him about his old. Hoping for a little characterization. He said that the market forces are holding their. Or I myself would do well to realize. All forms. Dangerous potential. Spiritual life. He said it himself. You can't make anything out of the fact that I am Thomas Merton. And that. Emily added. And if you make anything out of the fact that you are in charge of the paper, which I recently received, which I considered to involve some kind of promotional status. If you're making anything out of the fact you are trying to ignore for that moment, you mean anything or anything? The lesson here for me was that one sure way that we, the South Africans, can never make anything out of any. Tragic irony of such an endeavor is that you're going to see one because someone can make something out of the fact that you. This made. I'm a humble person and have a humble.


A solution is for all together. Surrender ourselves to all our sinfulness, to God, even to score the scorekeeper. But only his child. Praise. We confess that we are all people that. Stop worrying about. Things that are impossible. Bold desire. That should be enough. Every. Gary Herbert. It. Okay, now we're on. And William Wendell don't have. Okay, well, now I don't have your picture. It's a problem. And Cindy. Right. Okay. And, uh, Jeffrey Waters. Jessica. Yeah. No hiding somewhere. I think I know Melanie will make sure I can't. David. Jeremy Spann, our Jeremy. And we'll see if this holds over the weekend. Just about got everybody. Okay, we are. We left off with a fifth angel. One of the interesting aspects going back for a moment to the to the first four of the balls, we saw that there's a tremendous parallelism between the first four balls, the first four trumpets. They each effect the same back. And we saw in the trumpets that the first four trumpets were John's vision of the fallen ness of creation. And it may be that what John is doing here, as he sort of reprises that in a way is showing the fall in this of fall of Babylon, you know, the the sort of the other side of the picture with the fifth Angel. This is this is the first and I think only mention of the beast kingdom in in John's vision. Sort of the alternate kingdom, and it's plunged into darkness, presuming that John the Apostle is the person writing this as well as the gospel. John plays a lot on On Darkness, the contrast between darkness and light in the very beginning of the gospel, you know, in him was life, and the life was the light of humanity.


And the light shines in the darkness. The darkness has not overcome it, so that the darkness is one of the ways of representing the rebellious order or form in Babylon. And people nod their tongues in agony. And if you remember the fifth trumpet. We saw there the torment of sin. And it didn't talk about gnawing their tongues, but it did mention, you know, how people were agonizing, how they thought death and death fled from them, fled from them. We fled. Fled from them. So, again, there may be sort of a crossover there. And then we've already talked about blaspheming the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores. By the way, the word for sores here is the same word as the sores in the first bowl. Remember, a foul and horrible sore came upon those who had the mark of the beast. It's the same word that John uses here. So perhaps sort of summarizing and of course, their pains in the in the fourth bowl when the sun is allowed to scorch them and they're in agony because of the pain of the scorching. It's almost as though the fifth one is sort of condensing the first four together and re-emphasizing them. And again, as we saw in the fourth one, they do not repent. And the fact that John repeats it here, I think is isn't is an emphasis that these these balls of wrath are not punitive. And is there intended to be redemptive? Then the six angel pours his bowl on the river Euphrates, Great river Euphrates. Now we're back to the parallelism army with the with the seven trumpets, because the sixth trumpet had to do with the river Euphrates, and its water was dried up in order to prepare the way for the kings from the east.


Now, a number of interesting images are going on here. If you remember when we talked about the Euphrates before the Euphrates was a very traumatic image for the Jewish people because Assyria had come from beyond the Euphrates in 722 and taken off the ten northern tribes, never to be heard from again. And of course, Babylon came from the Euphrates to take the southern two kingdoms into captivity. So. So the Euphrates is is a very powerful image for those in that Jewish pool of images. But then the idea of the water was dried up in order to prepare the way. This this goes back to the way in which Persia captured Babylon. Babylon was built where Babylon is, is basically where Baghdad is today. And the the river ran right through the middle of of Babylon. And, of course, it was a walled city. But where the river ran, the wall came right down to river level. So what the Persians did is that they built a dam in the Euphrates upstream. So the Euphrates was dried up, and then they simply marched their army right down the riverbed under the wall and into the city. So this is how Babylon was captured. So when John picks up the idea of the river being dried up, undoubtedly he is this place playing off of the memory of that event. And and, of course, it was the event where the historical Babylon fell. And so it carries some resonance, you see, for the possibility of the fall of Babylon. This fall in Babylon. He's talking about. Then John sees three foul spirits like frogs coming from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, and from the mouth of the false prophet. Now, here is where that second beast in chapter 13 gets identified as the false prophet.


Now, it's not clear at this point. But when we get over to Chapter 19, we'll see that the false prophet is the one that led people to stray by the signs, which it did in the presence of the first beast. And that takes us back to Chapter 13 and makes it pretty clear that point who this false prophet is. And I suspect once again, John is using good rhetorical techniques here. You know, he's introducing a false front. Wait a minute, John, Who's this false prophet? We haven't seen any false prophet. I mean, this is the first time this phrase appears. Who is this? And it keeps your attention. It keeps the here is attention. Because they know again, they know that somewhere down the road that's going to be explained to them. And then when it gets explained to them, you see in chapter 19, then they go back and they put the whole thing together. Chapter 13 here in chapter 16 and then again in chapter 19. So these are demonic spirits. So it's sort of an unholy trinity. You've got these three foul spirits coming from the mouth of the dragon, from the mouth of the beast, from the mouth of the false prophet. I remember the beast and false prophet are the incarnation of the dragon's rebellion. So it was in a very real sense, you've got an unholy trinity here that John is portraying. Then he tells us these are demonic spirits performing signs who go abroad to the kings of the whole world to assemble them for battle on the great day of God the Almighty. And by the way, if you if you want to check the Greek on this, too, the kings of the whole way, Khomeni, which is a term primarily for them from the Roman Empire.


The Roman Empire was the ecumenical. So it's another one of those sort of signals that we're dealing with the Roman Empire as the incarnation of Fall in Babylon for John and his readers. And they go, they assemble them. That is for the kings of the whole. Or he came in. They assemble him for battle on the great day of God, the Almighty. So here, you know there's a battle coming again. What battle? Well, we're going to see that a little bit later on. Now here in verse 15, you get your interlude. Remember there was an interlude between the. Sixth and the seventh trumpet. There was an interlude between the two Go back. There was an interlude between the sixth and the seventh SEALs. Chapter seven Big Interlude. There was an interlude between the sixth and the seventh Trumpet, Chapter ten and part of Chapter 11. Another big interlude here. The interlude is one verse. And notice how they put it in parentheses here. It really is sort of a parenthetical remark. See, Jesus is speaking, obviously. See, I am coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake and is clothe, not going about naked and exposed to shame. This is the third blessing. There are seven blessings in John's vision. The first one is one three. We saw the second one there in chapter 14 on on Tuesday. Here is the third one. Blessed. I'm coming like a thief. By the way, a very typical image here. Jesus uses that image himself. Paul, of course, uses that image. You know that they will come like a thief in the night. And we've already seen one of the letters. Remember, it was the letter to the Sardis about city that had fallen because it went to sleep thinking it was impregnable.


And so Jesus says, I'm coming like a thief. Blessed is the one who stays awake. Now, this is a different kind of imagery, although he has used it again with Sardis. Because he tells them to wake up, too, and to come back to life from their deadness. They have a name of being alive, but they're dead. And he tells them to wake up. If not, I will come like a thief. No. You know where I'm coming. So the writers of Sardis, certainly the readers of Sardis, certainly are going to be recalling what Jesus word was to them. And of course, staying awake in the context of of what we saw in Sardis is not succumbing to the. Temptation to fall in Babylon. Not falling asleep in falling in Babylon, so to speak. To be awake is to be alert. To be. To be who you are as citizens of New Jerusalem. And it's closed. And of course, we've seen, John, using the clothing image all the way through to be clothed in the white robes by inference. Here is you see the outer manifestation of the inward reality of of your life in Christ and and not going about naked and exposed to shame. And remember what Jesus said to the church. Glad to see you. Who thought they had it all together? We're rich. We prosper. Really? Nothing. You know, you're a wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked. That is. They. They do not have. Garments. And Jesus urges them to buy from them white garments to cover the shame of their nakedness. So John is picking up the same idea again. So the implication is that the citizens of Babylon, you see, are unclosed. That is, they they they do not have their their proper clothing, which is the white robe.


So just that little, little, little remark in between men. And John says and they now. But you have to jump back now to verse 14 to pick up the that. These are the kings of the earth are the kings of the minute. They assemble them there. Their troops at the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon. And of course, here we have this wonderful word that all sorts of things have been done with the battle of Armageddon. Now, why did John say the place that in Hebrew is called Armageddon? And if you have English translation, does that say Armageddon? Anyone have that in front of them? Yeah. You see in Greek when you have. A word like this where you have a vowel with the letter r ro. There are two ways to pronounce. There is what's called a smooth breathing Armageddon and a rough breathing Armageddon. Now, here they have chosen the rough breathing, and the the editors of the Greek text put the rough reading in this this little backwards. A comma is a sign for rough breathing. So this would be pronounced in and embrace the p c, u h before there the epsilon here. Okay, so not why does he say in Hebrew? Well, he's indicating we're dealing with a Hebrew word here. And yeah, the letters, you know, a r, maged0nr. It is a Hebrew word. The question is which Hebrew word are we talking about? Is it Armageddon or is it Armageddon? Because they are two different things. Now, Armageddon is the city and Megiddo on the planet, on the edge of the plain of Israeli on right, Right near Mount Carmel. Now her Armageddon would be Mount Megiddo. The Hebrew word for mountain is Ha. Armageddon would be the city of Megiddo.


The Hebrew word for city is here. So it seems as though John is playing upon language again. We've seen him do this before. You remember the Angel of the Abyss in chapter nine in Hebrew was was about Owen and a Greek Apollo on. So here again, you see John is playing linguistically and I think indicating both of these. I mean, he's leaving both possibilities open and I think he's playing up on both possibilities. Because another aspect of the Hebrew culture, not necessarily the language, but of the Hebrew culture, was the use of puns, of playing upon the multiple meanings of terms or phrases. And part of that is because the nature of the Hebrew language itself. You know, if you if you've taken your Hebrew, if you're taking Greek and then taken Hebrew and you're taking both, you know that Hebrew is not as highly inflected in language as Greek. You don't have as many paradigms to learn in Hebrew as you do in Greek, nor any any given Greek verb can have 200 different forms. That's a highly inflected language. You don't get that in Hebrew. But what's that mean? How does Hebrew say the same thing Greek does with its high, highly inflected language? It means that the terms have multiple levels of meaning. And so it comes out of the very language itself is this, you know, playing upon the poly valence of terms and multiple levels of meaning. And this is what John is doing here. You see Paul from time to time doing the same thing in primary Philippians and in Philippians chapter. Two. At one point, Paul says, some translations say hold fast the word of life and other translations say hold forth the word of life. Contradictory pictures.


Hold fast. Hold forth. And of course, your immediate suspicion is what's the textual variant here? You know, one group of manuscripts says Hold fast, another group says, hold forth. You're going to look at the manuscript and you discover every manuscript we have. A Philippians has the same work. You go and look at the meaning of that term, and you discover that within the larger sphere of meaning, you find both hold fast and hold forth. You see, Paul is playing up on both of those. Because how can you hold forth the word of life unless you hold it fast? And you can't really hold fast to the word of life without holding it for you, because the word of life is you are shaped by that word. It's going to manifest itself in the way you live your life, if not, if not also in your proclamation of that reality. Things he is doing that he's playing upon multiple levels of meaning. And I think John is doing the exact same thing here. Now, Armageddon is sort of a puzzle because there is no Mount Megiddo. But there is a mountain near Megiddo, which is Mount Carmel. And what happened on Mount Carmel? They are right. Elijah's contest with the prophets about. And his victory over the profit to bail. Now the city of Megiddo. Also carries a significant freight in the Hebrew memory because Megiddo, the city of Megiddo, is right on the edge of the plane of Israeli and which is sort of a it was a primary route. If you're going to come from Egypt and going to the north, Palestine is very mountainous. I mean, you got a whole mountain chain right down the spine of Palestine, but the Valley of Israel is is your way through.


So if you're going to if you're going to go through and not stay on the coast, but go through and want to get over into, you know, Syria, what is today, Iraq, Iran. You go across this valley also in its history. Palestine has always been it's almost like the think of an hourglass coming together in the middle of the sand comes through. Palestine is the crimp in the in the hourglass. And it was constantly between whoever was in control of Egypt and whatever control of the of the dynasty to the north. And so you have armies constantly marching back and forth from one end to the other, either from the north, trying to conquer Egypt, from Egypt, trying to conquer the north. And Palestine just sort of sits there in the middle. And where many of the decisive battles were fought was on the plane of Israeli air. That's where the north and the south would come together and meet. And of course, in a number of those instances, the Jewish people themselves were very much involved. On some occasions, they won great victories there, and on other occasions there were great defeats. So these are the kinds of dynamics you see that would come into the mind of Jon's readers in their Hebrew pool of images when he talks about the place that in Hebrew is called. And then you have the letters. And is it Carmageddon? Is it Armageddon? Yeah, it's both. So so what it images for the Jewish people, whether you're talking about the mount. Kamal. That was a decisive. Event the decisive conflict in Jewish history and the city of Megiddo, many decisive conflicts in Jewish history. So so what John is pointing to here, using both of those images together is this is going to be a very decisive conflict.


Okay. He's not explicitly saying he's not literally saying that this is going to take place on the plane of an Israeli shot at the city of Megiddo. He's using imagery that points to events of crucial significance. In in the Jewish history. And this is going to be an event of crucial significance. And that's all he tells us. Yeah, well, again, he's planting the seed, sort of keeping in the back of your mind. A few chapters down the road. We're going to see the fulfillment of this. When the seventh Angel poured his ball into the air. A loud voice came out of the temple from the throne saying, It is done. And then came flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder. A violent earthquake such as had not occurred since people were upon the earth so violent with that earthquake. This was the mother of all earthquakes. And remember, the earthquake image is such a powerful image for Jon's readers. They live in an earthquake zone. You know, I mean, what's happened in Italy in the last couple of days, this was much more common in those cities that John was writing to than than in Italy. I mean, you would expect it in Italy. You know, you got Mount Vesuvius there. You got Mount Etna, wherever you have volcanic activity. You also have earthquake activity. So it's not to be unexpected. Italy would experience earthquakes as well. So the image of the earthquake, again, is a powerful, powerful image, as well as putting together with the lightnings, the rumblings, the pieces of thunder. All of these are signs of the often. Remember, if you go back to Sinai, the story of Sinai where God, you know, comes down on Sinai and to the meets the people of Israel, there's an earthquake here as well as as well as all the rest of these signs.


So so this is a sign of the affinity. But then John adds another another image to this. He says. The great city. Was split into three parts. In the cities of the nations fell. Now. Here, John. Maybe. Giving his readers. A real UP-TO-DATE image to work with. Now, we've already seen that. It's pretty clear that for John and for his readers, the Roman Empire is falling. And Babylon. Rome and all her might, all of her power, all of her invincibility. You see, we saw in chapter 30 who is like the beast and who can fight against it. You know, Rome is just too powerful. No way Rome is ever going to fall. Well, when Nero committed suicide in 68 A.D.. Rome fell into civil war. Three different factions were vying for control of the empire. Three different groups and a large portion of Rome was burned in the fighting that went on between these three factions. And that may be exactly what John is pointing to here. We've already seen that 666, you know, refers to Nero and he maybe he may be dealing here with with. Today's news sort to speak. And would make perfectly good sense, you see, because. He's writing to people who would see Rome and Roman power as invincible. And here you see. Look how fragile it is. And of course, when this happened, what happened with all the client kingdoms around the empire? We think of the Rome, Rome as a monolithic empire. But but really, it was cobbled together with a whole bunch of client kingdoms. The Jews had been a client kingdom until. Until Herod's death. Well, actually, until our class was deposed in six A.D.. You see, it had been a client kingdom with Herod as the king and then his sons as his successors.


So what happens when when the center lets loose to all of these kingdoms? Who's. Very well-being depends upon the stability of the empire there. They're going to be shaken. You know what's going on, what's going to happen here and what's going to happen to us. And so the cities of the nations fell. I think this is what John is pointing to. God remembered. Great. Babylon gave her the wine cup of the fury of his wrath. I think what John is is saying to his people. Look. You know, you think Babylon is so powerful, who is like the beast, who can work, who can fight against it? Look how fragile it is. You know, and we're going to see when we go to chapter 18 in one hour. You know, this happens. Lot. Just like the illustration that I shared with you about when I was teaching in Serbia and Estonia, you know, where in their view, absolutely impervious, you know, all powerful. But in a moment, it was gone. Because the facade you see of of might and power really was an empty shell. There was no substance behind it. And John has been trying to say this to his readers, you see, and to say it to us who live in our own incarnation of Babylon. You know, it's a facade. And there's no substance at the center. There's no center that holds here. And then notice what John does in verse 20. And every island fled away and no mountains were to be found. Remember back in the sixth seal. Mountains and islands were all moved around. If you picking up that same imagery again. And if you remember when we started back then, Rome is a maritime empire. That is the Mediterranean is its, you know, interstate highway, so to speak.


And one of the ways that you know where you are when you're at sea is by the mountains and the islands. You can you can position yourself. You know, if this mountain is here and this island is here, then you know exactly where you are. You just take your chart and you draw a straight line according to the to the sun where you are. And when this one crosses this one, that's where you are. The mountain islands are moved. Total disorientation. And then to emphasize that orient disorientation in chapter and verse 21, John says, and huge hailstones each weighing about £100 drop from heaven on people until they blaspheme God. For the plagues plague of the hail, so fearful was that plague. Now, of course, obviously we're not talking about literal hail, £100 each one, £100. A talent is what it is. The Greek is telling us it's not quite £100 and closer to 75, 75, £80. But this this was in the language of the day, what we would call a ton. You know, I mean, basically, when we talk about great numbers, great weights, we use a ton. You know, tons of this or tons of that. Less than that will use pounds or ounces a ton. Is that sort of our big weight? Talent was their big weight. Josephus Ryan shared with me a passage from Josephus, the Jewish Words, where he talks about and during the siege of Jerusalem, the Romans had developed sort of these super catapults that were capable of of throwing a stone that way to talent, you know. So 75, £80 stone, that's pretty good. Pretty good missile and it could throw them how how far Ryan remember how far to enter quite a distance or an amazing distance.


These catapults good could send these stones. And it's really an interesting story because the stones were white at first and of course, they were very visible. You know, you could see the stone coming. And so the guards on the walls, when they saw the stone coming, you know, they would give the warning and everybody would get out of the path of the stone. It would just, you know, maybe destroy a house or something. So the Romans, after a while caught on to that. So they started painting the black eye so they couldn't be seen so well. And then they were more effective. But here you got £100 hailstone like I saw in the weather this morning. There's violent storms, you know, coming across as they do at this time of year. And they were talking about the possibly of hail hailstones as large as baseballs. You know, if you get hit with a baseball. Size hailstone. You get hit in the right place, you're dead. Now a baseball sized hailstone might weigh two or £3. So if if £100 hailstones are falling on people, they're not going to be blaspheming anybody. They're going to be squashed flat. Okay. So obviously, John is using an image here. And again, it's an image of radical disruption. I mean, even even a hailstorm with, you know, golf ball sized hail is quite disruptive. Say nothing of baseball size, nothing of talent. You know, hundred pound hailstone. And so it just adds to the to the disorientation, the image of disorientation. A fall in Babylon mountains, the islands, then these huge hailstones. Now I want to back up a moment and pick up one piece. In verse 17, when the seventh angel pours his bowl into the air, a loud voice came from the temple from the throne.


Notice how John specifies the throne, of course, is where God in the Lamar. So this. This is the voice of God. The voice of the lamb. It is done. The Greek word given in literally means it has come to be. It is done isn't quite a good translation because you'd expect the verb or there, but you minimize the verb to be or to become so on end is that is the perfect form of that. It is. It is. It has come to be. Now what? What does this mean? What's John talking about here? My suspicion is, is that what we're dealing here, dealing with here is the same thing that we were dealing with in the interlude between the sixth and the seventh trumpet, where the seventh trumpet was the praise of heaven, that God had taken his mighty power, begun to reign in the kingdom of this world, become the kingdom of our God and of His Messiah. And we saw that that is linked to the cross. The cross is the consummation of the old covenant. Moses and Elijah, the two witnesses, the law and the prophets that God has consummated. And remember, that's the point at which the phrase, the one who is who was and is to come. Becomes the one who is and who was. Because the cross is the is to come. And so I think that here again we have we're seeing the parallelism between the seven trumpets and the seven bowls so that the it is done at this point you see is pointing back to where it was done. You see God's judgment in the cross on the whole structure of fallen Babylon. Remember, we saw that in that moment or in that hour it says a 10th of the city fell and names of humans, 7000 died.


I remember the tent being the time of a 10th of the city's fallen. Whole cities fallen. And you know, names of human 7000 names has to do nature. You know, multiply seven by a thousand. Emphasize that human nature, you see, has been judged. It is it is done or it has been accomplished. And so I think that's what's happening here. And here the whole focus is on following Babylon back there, The last three, the fifth, sixth and seventh trumpets dealt with those who did not have the seal on their forehead. Remember, first four dealt with fallen creation. So there is there is no development here. But again, you know, John is is portraying this profound reality in sort of a different set of images. Okay. Any and any questions on the seven bowls? Another thing I mentioned this Tuesday, if you remember back in. Chapter. Five where we saw God. The LAMB, God the Redeemer. It mentioned that the 24 elders had golden bowls. Uh, which were the prayers of the saints? Golden bowls full of incense. But then when you go back and unpack the grammar, the prayers of the saints are the bowls. And here you got seven golden bowls, the exact same terminology that John uses back in chapter five. We see her again in seven bowls. So just as the question about the seven angels, you know, are they related in some way to the angels in seven churches, You know, the messengers in seven churches? Are the bowls here then related to the to the bowls that the 24 elders have? Now, of course, you don't get a numerical comparison there, but you do get the same terminology, golden bowls, and they're in the hands of the redeemed. We saw that in the Seventh SEAL.


The sacrificial prayers of the Saints release, the presence of God in the fallen, Babylon and Babylon, the shaking as the lightning and the voices and the thunders and the earthquake. Here we see it again at this point. So you see John. John is weaving together. All these different dynamics that are that are not only indicating that in the cross, which is your primary thread, that in the cross God has done it, you know that the old covenant has been consummated, that the kingdom has been restored, not the way they expected, but the kingdom has been restored. And. And then God has judge from Babylon. It does have a mortal wound. Chapter 13. Although it seems to be going on and or were healed. So you see how John is just weaving all these dynamics together to try to to convince his readers to be faithful citizens of New Jerusalem, because Fall in Babylon has been taken care of, even though you may be a martyr at its hands. You're on the winning side. It's already done. It's been accomplished. So when when when it says here, you know, it has been accomplished, I think this is what John is dealing with. Any questions on the on the bowls. Okay, good. We got a little bit ahead here, then. Now we were out of that. If you remember our map, you know, we had the we had the seven churches. Heavenly vision, Chapter four and five. Seven SEALs. The seven Trumpets. A heavenly Vision. 11. 19 to 15. Five. The seven bowls. Now we're coming to the to the last three of these elements. The Harlot from Babylon. A Heavenly Vision. 1911 to 21 eight. And the Bride. New Jerusalem. So you're dealing with the same structure that we've been dealing with all the way along.


Now, one of the interesting things here is the correlation. The way we saw them, by the way, remember in in 11, 19 into 12, we saw this tastic structure. The temple in heaven open a great sign. And then there was a third piece I picked up the other day. What was it? But then anyway, it closes with that third piece, the sign and the Temple Open. So John gives us the literary signals that this is a literary unit. You know, as I am portraying my vision to you, this all hangs together because you've got this casting structure, you know, beginning in the end. Now, he does the same thing here in a different sort of way. And. Here. Here are the introductions. Now, those of you who don't know Greek don't make any difference. Just look at the colors. What we've got here, this 17 One, two, three is the introduction to the vision of the harlot falling in Babylon 29, 21, nine and ten is the introduction to the bride New Jerusalem. And if you look, notice, notice the yellow. And even if you don't know Greek, you can see the same words. And he came one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls, and he spoke with me saying, come, I will show you in 21 nine, you get. And he came one of the seven angels having the seven bowls. And then you get then here, John ad that we're filled with the seven last plays you see now he doesn't have to do that in 71 because we've just come out of the seven last plays. So it's very, very clear. He adds it in to 21 nine to remind his readers who these seven angels are here to specify who they are.


So it links us back again, you see, to the seven bowls in chapter 16. And then and he spoke with me saying, Come, I will show you. Same exact phrase. Now, of course, what John is shown are two different things here. The the judgment of the great harlot in the red, if you see that here is the bride, the wife of the lamb. So he sees two contrasting things. You know, a harlot and a bride are polar opposites. Then you have some specific descriptions over here about the harlot who is seeded upon many waters with whom the kings of the earth have have committed fornication. And the those who dwell upon the earth have been filled with the whine of her wrath. So this is an additional description of the harlot that sticks in here. Ben And he he took me. To a into the desert in the spirit. And I saw here and he took me in the spirit upon a great high mountain, and he showed me. So you can see the exact same phrases in the yellow. Link these together. I'm John. If John is indicating to us that these two introductions are coordinated. Now when you come to the. Conclusion. The conclusion of the Charlotte is 21 nine through nine and ten. I mean 19 nine and I'm sorry, 19 nine and ten. And the conclusion of the bride is 22, six through nine. And again, notice the yellow pieces. They're identical. And you get some differences. In 1996 and he said to me in 2206, and he said to me, You have a difference between the present tense reggae and the RS tense F air. They both mean say. One is, he says to me, the other is. He said to me.


I don't there's any significance in the shift of tenses here or not. And then these are these words are faithful and true over there. These words are true. These are true words of God. So you get a little bit of difference there. And then. And the Lord, the God of the spirits of the prophets. You have ID is not over here. Sent his angel to show to his servants the things necessary to take place in Park. That sound familiar? As from one one. If you read what John is doing over here now, he's got it here. God sent it to his servants. I showed to his firm the things necessary to take place and take. And then in verse one again, one one, and he signed, having sent through his angel. And you see here you have his angel. Send in the red to show his servants the things mentioned in a player. So what John is doing here is he is linking together first of all, he is making together the conclusion of the harlot and the conclusion of the bride linguistically. But at the same time he is introducing you, going all the way back to the beginning, to his introductory comments in chapter one to prepare for the final conclusion of the vision. In a sense, what's happening? He started at this point in the diorama. You know, he's been working his way all the way around telling us all these different aspects. And as he comes back here, you see, he ties it all back together by picking up the same phrases he begins with to show. Now we're back where we began. You see, we have. We have finished the circle. Then in seven you get some more introduction. And behold, I come quickly from Act 311.


I'm coming quickly. Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy of this book in one three. Blessed is the one who reads and those who hear the words the property of this and keep the things written in it. It's a very variation on the form that John is using here. And then John introduces himself again in the conclusion 22. John From here, I'm John, the one who heard and saw these things. And when I heard and saw, I fell who worship before the feet of the angel who were showing them to me and I fell at the feet of him to worship him. A little bit Different phraseology, but the same dynamic you see the same action is going on. And then the angel says to John over here, and he says to me, Don't do that. I'm a fellow servant of you and of your brethren who have the witness of Jesus here. And he said to me, Don't do that. I'm a fellow servant of you and of your brothers. The prophets see a different bit, different dynamic than worship God, worship God. Now, one of the interesting things here. Not only does this clearly indicate dramatic, I mean, you know, linguistically, the structure of the text that these two parts of the vision, the vision of the harlot, the vision of the bride, are joined together. We can document conclusions. But notice at the end of the vision of the harlot, when John falls down at the feet of the angel to worship him, the angels of, Hey, man, don't do that. I'm a fellow servant of yours. Worship God. You get over here at the end of the vision of the bride. And you have instant replay. John falls down at the feet of the angel to worship him and he says, Hey, man, don't do that.


Worship God. Now up to this point. Up to 22 nine. John has been perfectly obedient. He is a model of obedience. Whatever the heavenly voice says or whatever, the person who was with him, the angel with him, says. John does. Remember in chapter ten, you heard the Seven Thunders. And he starts to write down and the boys from Amazon seal it up. You bay we don't we don't know what the seven hundreds we're all about. Why? What is it, 1213 verses from the end? Does he blow his perfect record of obedience by explicitly disobeying a command that he received back there at the end of the vision of the harlot? It's interesting. Look at commentaries on this. All sorts of fancy exegetical footwork, you know, try to explain this, this obedience. And it's a puzzle. And puzzled me for a long time. And I was puzzling on it one day, many years ago. And I had those at that time on the back of my desk. I had a, you know, a bunch of reference books. One of them was Wesley's Notes on the New Testament. And so I thought to myself, I wonder what Father John had to say about this. So I pulled it out and I opened up to the 22 nine. And here's what Wesley said. John was not being disobedient. Wesley puts his finger right on the issue, because that's what it appears, that John is disobeying an order that he has received from a heavenly being. Wesley said John is not being disobedient. This is the same event the light went on. You see, I had been presuming that this these last three elements, the harlot, the heavenly vision and the bride sequential. We read sequentially, language works sequentially.


And so you read the vision of the Harlot. And when you get that done, you put that on the shelf, we're done with that. Then you read The Heavenly Vision 19 and 20. When that's done, you put that on the shelf. We're done with that. Then you come to the bride. And if you think that we're dealing with something that's sequential, then yeah, John is disobedient. But what if John is signaling to us the unity of nature of this vision? The only way you can tell it is in pieces. You see. And when you tell it, when you say, well, this and this, and then it sounds sequential. See John. John is is trying to indicate to us that he's in a cyclorama, he's in it. He is experiencing all of this as a unity of reality. But he's got to break it out in pieces. Let me let me illustrate it for you. My my own conversion experience. I won't go into all the details, but it was it was I was an atheist. There was no God in my world. There wasn't me. But that was it. And but I through a whole series of circumstances. I now know it was God brought me to the awareness of this huge dark hole, black hole in the core of my being. There was no center. And that there was nothing that gave my life meaning value, a purpose, identity. And so I engaged in a horrible struggle. I mean, for two or three weeks, you know, just agonizing and reading everything I could, reading other religions and philosophies and everything I could, trying to find something to fill this black hole. And not not Christianity. I'd had a bad experience with the church when I was about 13.


I knew there was nothing in Christianity that I was interested in at all, where I was looking everywhere to try to find something to fill this black hole. And. Couldn't find anything. And I just you know, I was in the depths of despair and contemplating suicide. And one afternoon I was sitting alone at home. I don't know where my mother and brothers and sisters or my dad were. I guess my mother taking my brother and sister off shopping. I was the oldest. And I was sitting in the chair just trying to work up enough courage to go upstairs and put a bullet through my head. And I saw on the edge of the couch, I was sitting in a chair here. The couch was about where Jeremiah is and in front of Christian. That's on the edge of a little book about like that. And so I went over to pick it up, and it was the pastor of the church giving all high school graduates this little book as a graduation gift. And when I received it when I was home, I never finished high school. I had a lung infection. I froze my lungs. And this in the States gave me that year and then developed a horrible iron lung infection. And I was recovering. And when the mail came, I saw this package for me and didn't pay attention, but it was from ripped it up. When I saw what it was, I just walking across the room and apparently hit the wall, bounced down into the couch and by this time had worked its way out to the to the edge of the of the cushions. It was Ralph Walling, Christmas Pocketbook of Faith. Cushman was a methodist bishop. And I found out I found out only a few years ago that he was a Vermonter and I was born and raised in Vermont.


This was in Vermont. And as I saw, I just I said, well, you know, I know there's nothing this Christianity stuff. And I might as well look through this one as I look through it. I just sort of had the intuitive sense that maybe I had missed something. About Christianity. You know, I mean, the Christianity in New England, Methodism in New England was about as dead as anywhere in the world. You know, maybe maybe there's more to this than I realized. So I noticed there was a little section called Faith in the Evening. So I decided, you know, I mean, you know, suicide's rather irreversible act. And so I thought to myself, well, I can delay a day, you know, and if there is a God, you know, we'll we'll see what this is all about. So when I went to bed that night, I took this notebook and it began with a prayer and began with a poem. Christmas with quite a poet. And the poem went something like this. Just as flood tides fill every nook and cranny of the bay. So the love and peace of God can fill my heart. Well, that got my attention, because I'm looking for something to fill this black hole. So I read on. Well the next thing was was an examine you know where where you go back and you look over your day a series of questions. Well the first question was, have I done And I just sort of look back over my whole life. The first question was, have I done anything today to hurt others? Why was an arrow through the heart? Because my life was nothing but a pain to others. I was playing God. Others were simply pawns in my game.


And if you moved according to my agenda, we get along fine. If you didn't. I just discarded you. I mean, for my family all the way down the line. Every one of those questions. I can't remember the others now, but every one of those questions was like that. Every one of them was just a shot of the heart. It was as though Cushman had been following me around all my life, taking notes, you know? Well, when I finished the series of questions, then there was a there was a prayer confession. Well, I had not prayed since. No, I lay me down to sleep, you know. And so I thought I had kneel down to pray. So I got out of bed and knelt down beside my bed and just started reading this prayer as I started reading that prayer. All of a sudden I knew there was a God because. That presence was in that room. I didn't hear anything. I didn't see anything. The smell, anything. No bells or whistles. But I just knew. I knew that God was in that room more than I know that you are in this room. It was more real than that. Now, at the same time, I knew that this presence at that time, I really had no clue as to what this presence was. But I knew intuitively that this presence was the answer to the emptiness. And I also knew that if this president wants to be the answer, I had to allow that presence into my life. And so not with my lips, but somewhere deep within. I said yes. And when I when I said that word of release from within, it was this it was as if that presence just moved in inside of me.


I don't know if I even finished the prayer. I went, got up and got in bed and slept better than I'd slept for years. When I woke up the next morning, the first waking thought was, I have to have a Bible. I got dressed, went down, jumped on my bicycle six miles out of town. When I passed the refrigerator without emptying, my mother knew something was up. Where are you going? I'm going to town. What do you need? Your dad's coming home for lunch. You'll bring me. I've got to have it right now. Finally, I have to have a Bible. She almost fainted before. If they had really been worried about me, and especially my mother. My grandfather was with a methodist minister, so they, you know, they were really concerned about my spiritual welfare. But I tell you that you see in pieces. But it was an all at once event. You know, the awareness of God's presence, the awareness that God was the answer to this emptiness, the necessity of saying yes. Of God entering into my life. It was all at once. It all happened in the same instant. But I can only tell it to you piece by piece. This is what John is doing here. We see another signal of this when we get toward the wall in here. He says, I fell at his feet to worship him. We're going to see him when we come to the conclusion that this angel is showing this stuff to John. Turns into Jesus. He morphs into Jesus. And then Jesus says, I exist at my angel to you. Now, when John first sees Jesus back in chapter one, the beginning of this whole visionary experience, what does John do? Falls at his feet as though dead.


So John's first act John's last act is the same. We're coming back around to the beginning of see. So these are very closely tied together. The the you know, they're they're you might say they're two sides of the same reality. The vision of harlot and the vision of the bride, you see, are just two interposed realities, intersected realities, you might say. And of course, that's that's what John pretty much has been showing his readers all the way up to this point, that you are faithful to your call to be faithful citizen of Jerusalem in the midst of a fallen Babylon world. And we're going to see in a little bit that we are the bride of the lamb, but we live in the harlots world. And so John John just keeps building up these images to show us that the Christian life is not just accepting Jesus of your Savior. You go to heaven when you die. But is being faithful citizens of New Jerusalem in the midst of a fall in Babylon world? Okay, let's. How are we doing here? We can. We can start with this harlot, then one of the seven angels who had the seven balls came and said to me, Come, I'll show you the judgment of the great whore, the great harlot. We seated on many waters with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with a wine of whose fornication the inhabitants of the earth have become drunk. Now, remember again, fornication here is not. Physical sexuality. That certainly is part of it. But that is just a minor outer manifestation of the inward reality of spiritual adultery, of spiritual fornication, of turning away from our bond with God and bonding ourselves to things that are not God.


That's the essence of what we're dealing with here. And the inhabitants of the earth. Again, remember, there's John's phrase for that, for the citizens of Babylon and kings of the Earth, of course, are the rulers. The power power structure of form in Babylon. So he carried me away, John says. He carried me away in the spirit and some other connections here, by the way. Remember, in the beginning, John says, I was in the spirit on the Lord's Day. I heard behind me a voice like a trumpet. And here again, he carried me away in the spirit as as we come toward the end of Jon's description, we're coming back into the same kind of phrases. I was in the spirit. And it's interesting. And one I think it's one nine. I was in the spirit. He picked it up again in for one. Now we get it in 17 and we're going to get it again in the introduction to the bride as we come toward the end. And then at the very last thing, the spirit and the bride say, Come. I mean, you see, he's coming full circle. So he carried me away in the spirit, into a wilderness, into a desert, an air of loss. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names. It had seven heads and ten horns. Does that sound familiar? The dragon had seven heads and ten horns. The beast that came from the sea had seven heads and ten horns. Now, here is the harlot sitting on a beast who has seven heads and ten horns. The wilderness, by the way, John is carried into the wilderness to see the harlot. He's put put on a great high mountain to see the bride.


And of course, the wilderness one one of the images of wilderness remembering the Jewish pull of images. It is the place of the demonic. Now, mysteriously, it's also the place of encounter with God. But here I think John is playing up on the demonic aspect of the wilderness, the great high mountain, of course, in a Jewish pool of images when God restores the kingdom. Zion is going to be the highest of all the mountains of the earth, you know, and everything will come flowing to Zion. So John is playing with these kind of images. Now, the woman was clothed 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 fornication. Now, see, her clothing tells us a lot. Purple and scarlet. These are the two colors of the upper most caste in the Roman world. Purple. That's the color of the of the imperial family in the senatorial families. Scarlet is the is the color for the equestrian order. The next level down in the caste system. These two together are the ruling power structure of the Roman Empire. So. So here you have a woman clothed with purple and scarlet. You see, here's the power structure of Rome and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls. You see the accouterments of only the wealthy. And a golden cop again, you see. So in a sense, you've got the political and economic dynamics and we're going to see those appear again. We're go over to Chapter seven, hour 18. Next week, we're going to see the merchants of the earth and the kings of the earth. And quite, quite a bit of development around those as John portrays those dynamics.


So here John is using this to to to see the harlot as the political and the economic power structure of fallen Babylon of of the Roman world. And on her forehead was written a name, a mystery. Babylon the great, the mother of whores or harlots and of earth abominations. Now, interesting, interesting thing here. Remember the forehead, the rolling forehead. This is sort of a variation of the mark of the beast. And of course, the redeemed have God's name in the lamb's name on their forehead. On her forehead was written a name, a mystery. Babylon, The great. Mother of harlots and of Earth's abominations. Not what's interesting here. When John says that that she is the mother of harlots. You're seeing ongoing manifestations. That, John, at one level is indicating that the harlot that he sees is the reality behind every historical incarnation. Also, he's seeing that the harlot, Rome, that is Rome is the present incarnation of the harlot. We'll be succeeded by a daughter and my other daughters down the line. And of course, we have the advantage of 2000 years of history. You see that exactly what John was seeing is what is taking place has and is taking place. And of course, in her hand, she's got this cup full of abominations, which is that whole. Well, it's the whole worldview and lifestyle of those two beasts in chapter 13, you know, the worldview that rejects God totally, the lifestyle that manifests itself as a result of that worldview. These these are what are in that cup that all the kings of the Earth and all those who develop on the Earth have drunk. They're drunk with the wine of the wrath of her fornication. The wrath there you see, is the consequence, as we saw, of putting your life out of harmony with God, which results in the destructive dynamics.


Of. Being apart from the source of life and of wholeness. Then he said, and I saw the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the witnesses to Jesus. So see here, here you're getting the conflict between fallen Babylon and New Jerusalem. This is what is behind the experience, the tribulation that John and his readers are experiencing and the martyrdom that that they are experiencing. And then John says, When I saw her, I was greatly amazed. And this is sort of, I think, John's version of what we saw in chapter 13. The people were saying, who is like the beast and who can fight against it? John is greatly amazed. But then the angel the angel says to John, Why are you so amazed? I'll tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. So now we're going to get an explanation. The beast that you saw was and is not and is about to ascend from the bottomless pit and to go to destruction. Okay, That's helpful. And the inhabitants of the Earth, whose names have not been written in the Book of the Life from the Foundation of the World. According to the Book of the Life of the land that was slain, you know, for the foundation of the world. So John is abbreviated here. He's already established the image. Repeating it here will be amazed. Those who drop on the earth will be amazed when they see the beast because it was and is not and is to come. Okay. Any questions on that? What on earth is he talking about? Well, again. John, in good rhetorical fashion is introducing a theme that is going to be fine.


Its resolution a few chapters down the road now, just so that we don't lose sight of this in chapter 20. John is going to see the binding of Satan. And his cat being cast into the abyss. And the abyss is sealed over him. And then Satan is released. To gather all the hordes of fallen Babylon to attack the camp of the Saints. So in chapter 20. Satan The Beast was. Then bound and thrown into the abyss is not. Is to come up from the bottomless pit. Satan is released. And in chapter 20, we'll see the purpose of his release, basically, so that he's thrown into the lake of fire. Goes into destruction. So you see it, you read it here and you say, Oh, well, what's going on? You get over chapter 20. Ha ha ha. That was. That's what was going on back there. This is a preview of what John is going to. Portray for us when we get over to chapter 20. And of course, those who got up on the earth, you see, they're amazed at the beast. Because it was is not and is to come. Well, that's a good place to stop. Have a blessed Easter. We will see you on the other side of the resurrection.