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Downfall of Spiritual Babylon.
In the Old Testament we read that the Israelites were carried away captive into literal Babylon, and that within its gorgeous palaces and impregnable walls they served for seventy years. During the time of their captivity Jerusalem and the sanctuary lay waste--a heap of ruins. But through the prophets God foretold the awful judgments that he was about to pour out upon the city and land of their captivity. Jeremiah foretold that the broad walls of Babylon would fall, that the city would be burned with fire, that the land would be emptied, and that the entire place would be left in perpetual desolations (see Jer. 25: 7-13; 50th and 51st chapters). God delivered all his people out of all the land of the Chaldees (see Jer. 50:4, 5, 17-19; 51:2, 6-10, 45). He warned them to flee out and deliver their souls, for his wrath and vengeance would fall upon Babylon.
All this was typical. The literal city of Babylon was a type of the apostate church, a type of sectism as it exists in this dispensation. As we have seen in Rev. 17:1-18, the Roman Catholic sect is denominated “Mystery, Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth." She is also termed "the great whore.” She is a "mother.” She has a large family of daughters. They also are “harlots." These harlot daughters are none other than the sects which came out of her; and these have produced many children and grandchildren, yes, and great-grandchildren. All these harlot institutions-called churches-are of one blood and constitute one great family. All are traceable to Rome, their mother. With the most tender love to all honest souls still held captive in these cages of deception, we declare that, in the light of truth, Satan is the father of sectism, Rome its mother. It forms no part of the pure bride of Christ. As the mother's name is Babylon, we conclude that this is the family name. The multiplicity of human sects, from the mother down to the very latest daughter born into the family, are Mystery, Babylon, “that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 17:5, 18).
Just as literal Babylon held the Israelities captive until God proclaimed his desolating judgments upon her, and warned Israel 'to flee
out of her; so has this great spiritual Babylon held under its tyrannical rule and galling yokes the true people of God for centuries past. But a voice from heaven proclaims her fall. An angel having great power is heard crying "mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.... For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities” (Rev. 18:1-5).
It is very evident that the fall referred to is a moral one. In the younger days of many of the sects they were of better character than in after-years. When they came out of Rome, their mother, they started with reform; but soon they degenerated and became dead and formal. There were times in the past when certain sects of Babylon contained many true people of God. God worked through these people, great revivals were held, and thousands were saved. In those days some of the ministers were real humble, self-sacrificing men, and God wonderfully used them. But oh, how changed! If some such men as Luther, Wesley, Fletcher, Dow, Peter
Cartwright, John Knox, and others of like experience were to break into the dead, cold assemblies of modern sectism, they would be expelled as fanatics and fined for disturbing the peace of the worshipers. The whole city is morally fallen. It is cursed with a hireling ministry; an honor-seeking clergy; a proud, lazy, worthless, sensual lot of preachers who have a form of godliness, but deny God's mighty power to save and sanctify, keep and heal; a lot of truth-fighters, who despise God's pure saints and oppose Bible unity. True, there are exceptions, but these are few. And as are the leaders, so are the followers. The following additional evidence is from “The Revelation Explained,” by F. G. Smith:
"That this application of the term, ‘Babylon' is correct, and also that the fallen condition ascribed to her is in accordance with the facts, I will prove by the following testimonies of Protestants themselves. The first is from Vision of the Ages; or, Lectures on the Apocalypse, by B. W. Johnson, member of the Christian sect.
“ 'It is needful to inquire what the term "Babylon” means. It occurs several times in the New Testament. Here [in the Apocalypse] it is spoken of as “that great city,” and her fall is doomed "because she hath made all nations drunk with the wine of her fornication." In Rev. 17:5, a scarlet harlot is seen sitting upon the seven-headed and ten-horned monster, and upon her forehead is written, “Mystery, Babylon the Great." With this woman the kings of the earth are said to have committed fornication. In chapter 18 the fall of the great city, Babylon is detailed at length, and it is again said that all the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her. The harlot with Babylon stamped on her brow, and the great city of fornication styled Babylon, in chapters 14 and 18 are one and the same existence.
"There is an ancient city of Babylon often mentioned in the Old Testament, but ages before John wrote, it had ceased to be inhabited; the only dwellers among its lonely ruins were howling beasts and hissing serpents. It has never been rebuilt to this day and has passed away forever. John refers therefore not to old Babylon, but to some power yet unseen (when he was upon earth), that should be revealed in due time, and of which old Babylon was a symbol.