His Voice Today

Babylon, Part 1

Three Angels Broadcasting Network

Program transcript

Participants: Steve Wohlberg


Series Code: HVT

Program Code: HVT000017A

00:09 Mystery Babylon... what's it all about?
00:11 You'll find out on His Voice Today.
00:13 Welcome to another His Voice Today
00:16 with Steve Wohlberg.
00:24 I heard a story once about two masked men
00:27 dressed in black with sub-machine guns,
00:29 they burst into a large church
00:30 in the middle of a church service
00:31 went up to the front and pointed their guns at the crowd
00:34 and of course, everybody was just terrified,
00:36 and these men then shouted out, and they said,
00:39 "Whoever is willing to die for Jesus Christ,
00:41 stay in your seats,
00:42 if you're not willing to die... then leave,"
00:45 there was a huge shuffle and most people left
00:48 and after they were gone, these men took off their masks
00:51 they sat down in the pews, they took out Bibles,
00:54 then they looked at the Pastor and they said,
00:56 "Pastor, we're ready to hear a good sermon now,
00:58 all the hypocrites are gone. "
00:59 Remember that story as we get into our topic,
01:04 the title is called, "Mystery Babylon... Part 1"
01:09 In the book of Revelation, chapter 14,
01:12 we have three power-packed messages
01:15 represented by three angels
01:17 giving messages to the whole world
01:19 before the coming of Jesus Christ.
01:20 In Revelation 14 verse 8,
01:23 we have the message of the 2nd angel
01:27 and it's about Babylon.
01:28 Verse 8 says,
01:44 So here we have a powerful text about Babylon,
01:48 now there are a lot of opinions and interpretations
01:51 about who is this Mystery Babylon
01:54 that has fallen and that has made the whole world
01:56 drunk with her wine.
01:58 Some people think that the literal city of ancient Babylon
02:01 will be rebuilt in the sands of Iraq,
02:04 other people think that it's America...
02:06 America is Babylon...
02:08 others think that it's the United Nations
02:11 some think it's a symbol of apostate Israel
02:15 I've heard that interpretation
02:16 there are others that strongly believe
02:18 that the Mystery Babylon described in Revelation
02:21 represents the Roman Catholic Church.
02:23 So there are a lot of opinions
02:26 and we're going to try to unravel this mystery
02:29 and find out by putting the clues together
02:32 as to who this Babylon really is,
02:34 now one of the big clues is found in Revelation chapter 17
02:38 that tells us that Mystery Babylon
02:41 represents a woman.
02:43 Babylon is a woman, Revelation 17 describes
02:47 all about this woman,
02:49 we have a lot of details about her,
02:51 and one of the things that we need to realize
02:55 is that a woman... specially in symbolic prophecy
02:59 in the New Testament, often represents
03:02 those who profess to be the people of God,
03:05 professed followers of Jesus
03:07 and it's significant in Revelation 14 and in Chapter 17
03:11 that this woman is represented as a fallen woman,
03:15 the Bible says again,
03:17 "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen,"
03:20 and the fact that she's a woman and that she's fallen
03:24 shows that at one point she was upright,
03:28 she was noble and virtuous but then she fell
03:33 and this is a clue that will help us
03:35 to put the pieces together ultimately as to who
03:38 this woman represents.
03:40 One of the most significant chapters
03:43 dealing with the fall is in 2nd Thessalonians chapter 2
03:47 so if you have a Bible,
03:49 I'd like you to open with me
03:51 and we'll take a look and I'm going to attempt
03:54 attempt to prove, as we go along from text to text
03:57 that the fall of Babylon is actually connected
04:01 to a falling away from Jesus Christ
04:04 inside of His church.
04:07 That's what I will show you from the Bible
04:10 so, Second Thessalonians chapter 2
04:13 is probably one of Paul's greatest apocalyptic chapters
04:17 dealing with the rise of Antichrist,
04:19 dealing with things that are going to happen
04:21 before the return of Jesus.
04:24 Second Thessalonians chapter 2 starting with verse one
04:28 Paul talks about the coming of Jesus
04:31 and our gathering together to Him.
04:34 Verse 1, Paul said, "Now, we beseech you Brethren,"
04:37 he's writing to the Thessalonians' Church
04:39 "... by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ
04:42 and by our gathering together to Him... "
04:44 and so Paul is urging the church to listen up,
04:48 he's got very important counsel,
04:49 he said, "Jesus is coming
04:51 and we are going to be gathered together
04:53 to be with Jesus forever. "
04:56 Now, if you go down to verse 3
04:59 Paul tells us about something very significant
05:02 that is going to happen inside the church
05:05 before Jesus returns to gather His people.
05:09 In verse 3, Paul warned,
05:15 referring to the day when Jesus will come
05:17 to gather his people,
05:18 "that day shall not come except there come a falling away"
05:25 and the next word there is "first"
05:28 except there come a falling away... first
05:31 now, this is very significant,
05:33 Paul is telling us that before Jesus comes
05:36 to gather His people, something is going to happen
05:38 there's going to be something first...
05:39 there's going to be, what he calls...
05:41 "a falling away"
05:42 now, you don't have to be a
05:44 Greek Scholar to understand the Bible,
05:45 but sometimes knowing a little bit of Greek
05:48 which underlies the English that we read in our Bibles
05:50 it's helpful and this word, "falling away"
05:54 these two words, "falling away"
05:56 actually comes from an original Greek word...
05:59 and the word is "Apostasia" Apostasia...
06:02 which literally means apostasy
06:04 which has to do with a departure...
06:07 and an apostasy... from Jesus
06:10 and that is going to be happening
06:13 inside of the Christian Church,
06:15 now this may be a shocking concept to you
06:18 probably... maybe you've never thought about this,
06:20 apostasy... within the professed church of Jesus Christ,
06:23 but this is actually a major New Testament theme
06:27 as we'll see...
06:28 we're going to look up a lot of different verses,
06:30 Paul talked about it, Peter talked about it,
06:32 Jesus talked about it in the book of Revelation
06:34 Jude talked about it,
06:36 and the New Testament is loaded with Scriptures
06:38 that warn God's people about apostasy
06:42 taking place inside the professed church of Jesus Christ
06:46 so let's look at some of these verses
06:48 let's go to the book of Acts,
06:50 Acts chapter 20...
06:51 during one of his missionary tours,
06:55 Paul did a lot of preaching,
06:57 God changed his life and he was out there,
06:59 preaching... raising up churches...
07:02 talking about Jesus, just about wherever he went
07:05 and in Acts chapter 20,
07:06 we find Paul meeting with a group of Elders
07:12 who came from the church of Ephesus
07:15 that had been established
07:16 and in Acts chapter 20, it says in verse 17
07:20 that... "From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus
07:22 and he called for the elders of the church"
07:25 now remember this... these are the Leaders of the church
07:28 they came from Miletus, they came to meet with Paul,
07:30 verse 18 says, "When they were come to him
07:33 he said to them," so here's the context,
07:36 Paul is talking to them... the Leaders of the church,
07:39 the Christian church in Ephesus
07:40 and in verse 28,
07:42 Paul said, "Take heed, therefore...
08:04 Verse 29... Paul said,
08:16 So, again, here Paul is talking to the Elders
08:20 of the church of Ephesus and he's warning them
08:23 that wolves are going to enter...
08:25 and that word is... "in" this is verse 29
08:34 On verse 30 Paul said,
08:44 In verse 31, he said,
08:55 People cry for a lot of reasons, babies cry,
08:58 My wife and I have two small children,
09:00 well, they're getting bigger now Abby is almost 5 and Seth is 8,
09:05 but when they were little...
09:06 even... just little babies, obviously they cried
09:09 and when people get hurt, they cry...
09:11 if you fall off a bike, people cry,
09:14 if you have a major problem with a loved one,
09:18 even something bigger than that... like a divorce...
09:22 you know, or, probably the worst thing
09:24 is to lose someone that you love"
09:26 someone that dies... you know, people cry...
09:28 and the tears flow for many, many reasons
09:31 in this world of sin,
09:32 but Paul is telling us, in Acts chapter 20 verse 31
09:37 that he cried and not just for one day
09:39 but he said, he cried for three years...
09:41 three years... and his tears were because of what he saw
09:45 was going to be happening inside of the church of Jesus.
09:50 He said, "For three years,
09:52 I ceased not to warn everyone night and day with tears. "
09:57 Paul had a major burden about this subject
09:59 because he saw that something was going to happen
10:02 inside the church of Jesus Christ.
10:05 There are many other verses that we can look at.
10:08 Let's just take a look at a few more,
10:10 1st Timothy chapter 4 verse 1, Paul wrote to young Timothy
10:15 he was a young pastor and Paul wrote that the Spirit
10:24 they'll be in the faith for a while
10:26 but then they will depart from it
10:29 and they will give heed to seducing spirits
10:31 and doctrines of devils.
10:33 So there's going to be a detour
10:36 that many, who start out following Jesus,
10:40 they are in the faith but then they depart from it
10:42 and they start listening to the doctrines of the devil
10:45 and to seducing spirits
10:47 and they are suddenly and slowly led away
10:49 from Jesus Christ,
10:51 from His love and from His gospel.
10:53 Paul warned about the same thing in 2nd Timothy chapter 4,
10:57 he talked about the day when Jesus would come
11:00 to judge the quick and the dead, the living and the dead,
11:03 verse 2, here, Paul urged Timothy to preach the Word
11:07 this was his counsel to all ministers and pastors
11:11 and church leaders to preach the Word of God
11:13 not the traditions of men and then in verse 3, he said,
11:39 itchy ears... it's like a disease,
11:42 "itching ear disease,"
11:43 it's not a real disease of the ear
11:45 but it's a spiritual disease
11:47 that leads people to have an itch
11:49 for something new, something different,
11:51 that really is a sound, according to the Bible,
11:54 and Paul knew that this was going to happen
11:57 even right inside the church of Jesus Christ
12:00 and so he warned young Timothy, he warns Pastors,
12:03 and Church Leaders, Bible Workers,
12:06 Bible Instructors, to follow the Word of God
12:08 to preach the Word, to stick with Scripture
12:11 and not to be turned away,
12:13 just like in 2nd Thessalonians 2 verse 3,
12:16 Paul talked about a "falling away"
12:18 in Acts chapter 20,
12:20 he talked about the wolves that would come
12:22 and that would turn away the disciples...
12:24 so they go after them... instead of after Jesus
12:26 and here he talks about how people will turn away their ears
12:30 from the truth and they will be turned to fables
12:34 so all of these verses, basically, say the same thing,
12:37 and there are others, just to prove my point
12:41 let's look at a few more, 2nd Peter chapter 2 verse 1
12:45 and now it's not Paul but now it's Peter
12:47 and in verse 1 Peter said,
13:04 Verse 2 says that,
13:09 so, many... Peter said, would be led astray
13:12 by false teachers that come right among you,
13:15 among the professed believers of Jesus Christ.
13:18 Jude warned about the same thing.
13:22 Jude is the last book of the New Testament
13:24 right before Revelation, which is really the last book
13:27 but it's the book before the last book,
13:28 and Jude... only has one chapter and in verse 3, Jude wrote,
13:49 Verse 4:
14:06 So, here Jude is doing the same thing,
14:09 he said that there were certain deceivers
14:11 who were coming right in among the early believers
14:15 and Jude urged them and warned them,
14:18 he said, "Hold on to the original faith
14:20 that was once and for all given to the saints"
14:24 don't let these seducers lead you away from Jesus.
14:27 Now, let's go to the book of Revelation.
14:31 The last book of the Bible
14:32 and we're going to discover some amazing things.
14:35 In Revelation Chapter 1, we find John having a vision
14:42 on the Island of Patmos, most scholars believe
14:45 that the book of Revelation was written,
14:47 somewhere around 96 A.D.
14:50 and John was the last living follower of Jesus Christ
14:54 all the others had died,
14:55 the Roman Empire tried to kill John
14:58 because he was such a faithful preacher,
15:00 there's a tradition that the Emperor of Rome
15:04 threw him into a vat of boiling oil,
15:07 but he just popped up,
15:08 just like Daniel in the lions' den,
15:11 the lions' mouths were shut and he wasn't hurt
15:14 and the same thing with John,
15:15 God protected him and so the the Romans couldn't kill him
15:18 so they banished him to an island...
15:20 called the island of Patmos... and it was on that island,
15:23 as old man... that John received the book of Revelation
15:27 in chapter 1 verse 12 John's vision begins
15:32 and he turns around and he sees seven golden candlesticks
15:38 and verse 13 says,
15:43 and this was Jesus Himself
15:45 and Jesus was walking in the midst of these candlesticks
15:48 and this is when John saw Him
15:51 and then Jesus began to speak to John
15:54 and to explain the mystery of the seven candlesticks
15:57 and the seven stars that were in His hand
15:59 and then he starts to explain what this is all about.
16:01 In verse 20 of Revelation chapter 1,
16:06 Jesus explains that the seven candlesticks
16:09 which you saw are the seven churches
16:13 these are seven churches,
16:15 there's Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos,
16:17 and it goes on explaining what these seven churches are.
16:22 The first church of the seven was a church called Ephesus
16:26 and in chapter 2, Jesus begins to give a message
16:31 that He tells John to write down to this Ephesian church now,
16:36 take a look at this, this is very important.
16:39 In verse 1, "To the church of Ephesus write:"
16:42 and then Jesus begins to give counsel,
17:02 so here Jesus is talking to the first church,
17:05 the Ephesus Church and He said that
17:07 they were doing a lot of good things
17:09 and that there were people that had come in among them
17:11 that claimed to be apostles of Jesus but they weren't,
17:14 they were false apostles
17:15 and they were able to detect some of these apostles
17:18 and found them liars.
17:20 Verse 3 says, "You have borne, you have had patience,
17:22 and for my name's sake
17:23 you have laboured and you have not fainted... "
17:25 They were doing good for a while... but then in verse 4,
17:29 Jesus becomes very pointed and he said,
17:32 he said, "Nevertheless I have somewhat against you
17:37 because you have left... you have left your first love. "
17:42 Left your first love...
17:44 just like Judas who was a follower of Jesus,
17:49 but then he apostatized, he departed from Christ
17:53 and he ultimately betrayed Him with a kiss
17:55 and Jesus said that many inside the church of Ephesus
17:59 were losing their first love for Him
18:01 and then in verse 5,
18:03 He said, "Remember therefore from where you have fallen;"
18:07 notice that word "fallen"
18:08 "and repent and do the first works;
18:10 or else I will come to you quickly
18:12 and I will remove your candlestick
18:15 out of its place- unless you repent. "
18:17 So here's a problem that's going on in the early church
18:21 of Ephesus... the believers, originally, they loved Jesus,
18:25 they loved Him with all their hearts,
18:27 they followed Him, they tested the false apostles,
18:29 they found them liars, they did a lot of good things,
18:32 they helped spread the gospel but a problem started developing
18:36 and little by little, step by step... slowly...
18:39 they started losing their love for Jesus...
18:43 it's a little bit like a marriage,
18:45 now people get married and they're excited,
18:47 they say, "I do," they commit their own lives,
18:49 they have their honeymoon and everybody is so happy,
18:51 and they hope that they'll live happily forever after,
18:53 but as time goes on, character defects come out
18:59 and maybe they have kids
19:01 and the kids become a real trial
19:03 and who knows what happens, all kinds of things happen
19:05 it may be another person, another man or another woman
19:08 who works his way into their lives
19:12 or the lives of one of them,
19:13 and step by step the husband or the wife loses
19:18 his first love for his spouse, she loses her love for him,
19:23 he loses his love for her, and they fall,
19:27 they fall away from their vows
19:29 and this is what Jesus was warning about
19:33 and it was happening right there
19:36 among the professed followers of Jesus Christ
19:39 that's very clear, again, I'll read it,
19:42 "Nevertheless, I have somewhat against you,
19:44 because you have left your first love,
19:47 remember therefore,
19:49 from where you have fallen
19:51 and repent and do the first works.
19:55 It reminds me of heart disease,
20:00 heart disease is one of the biggest killers,
20:03 in fact, it's the number one killer,
20:05 in developed societies,
20:06 what's happened...
20:08 I think a lot of it has to do with
20:09 just all the garbage that people are eating, the junk food,
20:11 too much fat, too much cholesterol,
20:13 and these fat cholesterol eventually start to clog
20:18 the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart
20:23 and as the walls thicken, cardiovascular disease increases
20:29 and blood circulation is lessened
20:33 the amount of oxygen getting to all the cells of the body
20:36 is cut down and little by little
20:40 the person develops a very dangerous condition
20:43 which could lead to a fatal heart attack.
20:46 And in the light of what we've read in the book of Acts,
20:52 First Timothy, second Timothy, First Peter 2:1,
20:56 Jude verses 3 and 4, and the book of Revelation,
21:00 Jesus' message to the church of Ephesus,
21:03 it's pretty clear that Jesus and the New Testament were warning
21:08 that as the train of the church was going down the track
21:14 of church history, that very, very serious problems
21:19 were developing... not outside of Christianity,
21:21 not out there,
21:22 but inside of the church of Jesus Christ,
21:25 it's like heart disease, a heart condition was developing
21:28 a couple of arteries were getting clogged,
21:31 and the believers were losing their first love
21:33 and they were falling away,
21:34 falling away from the Lord, let me clarify,
21:37 that the New Testament is also clear
21:39 that the true Christ of Jesus Christ
21:41 is going to weather the storm,
21:43 that no matter what happens inside the church,
21:45 God is always going to have a people
21:46 that the gates of hell cannot prevail against that church.
21:51 But in the light of prophecy,
21:53 in the light of all these verses,
21:54 it's pretty clear that something was going to happen
21:58 very insidious and very dangerous
22:00 inside the Christian church and this was described as a fall,
22:05 Jesus said to the church in Ephesus...
22:08 He said, "Remember, from where you have fallen
22:10 and repent and come back"
22:12 as you keep reading the book of Revelation,
22:15 you go on from chapter 2 to 3
22:19 and you keep reading step by step,
22:22 eventually, you get to chapter 14
22:24 and to chapter 17
22:30 and these chapters describe the rise of a mysterious woman
22:37 called Babylon
22:39 and Revelation 17 says her name is, "Mystery,"
22:43 17:5... "Mystery Babylon the great
22:47 the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. "
22:52 Revelation 14 verse 8, we have a message from an angel
22:57 and he says that Babylon is fallen,
23:00 there's that word "fallen," the same word that we saw
23:03 in 2nd Thessalonians 2, "there would be a falling away"
23:06 same word we see in Revelation
23:09 chapter 2... where the church... people within the church,
23:12 have fallen away from their first love
23:14 and need to repent and come back,
23:15 and now we have "Babylon is fallen, is fallen,
23:19 that great city, because she... "
23:22 this woman, this professed...
23:24 claiming to be a follower of God,
23:26 this professed follower of Jesus,
23:29 "she has made all the nations
23:32 drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication. "
23:39 You know, we're going to continue this subject
23:41 in Part 2 and as we do,
23:44 I'm going to get into more details from Revelation 17,
23:48 there's actually at least a dozen clues in Revelation 17
23:52 and we're going to put together point by point
23:53 to actually identify this woman,
23:56 you'll need to hold on to your seats
23:58 but you'll have to come back or tune us in
24:00 when we get to our Part 2 of this Program
24:03 because we're not ready to do it now
24:04 we're just laying the foundation
24:06 but the foundation is pretty clear,
24:09 the foundation of Babylon, Mystery Babylon,
24:12 that a falling... that she's a fallen woman
24:16 and that this is a fall away from grace,
24:19 a fall away from God which we find over and over
24:23 and over and over and over again,
24:26 warned about... in the New Testament.
24:28 Paul warned about it, Peter warned about it,
24:31 Jude warned about it
24:33 and Jesus warned about it in the book of Revelation
24:36 and I will prove to you in Part 2
24:39 as we identify this mystery woman
24:41 that this is definitely a fallen woman
24:44 that is connected to a departure from Jesus Christ
24:49 inside the professed church of our Lord and our Savior
24:54 so you don't want to miss that meeting
24:56 but as we wind this up... to wind this up,
24:58 we all need to search our own hearts
25:02 and ask ourselves, "Lord, is it me?"
25:05 We need to search our hearts daily
25:08 and make that... that we don't fall away
25:10 Paul warned that there would be an apostasy
25:12 in the church before Jesus comes...
25:14 before Jesus comes to gather His people
25:16 and those that are going to be gathered
25:18 are going to be those that don't fall away,
25:20 those that are faithful, those that stick to the Bible
25:23 that stick to Jesus, that stick to the gospel,
25:25 that stick to the truth, that don't have itching ears
25:28 and that don't let themselves be turned away
25:31 from the truth to fables.
25:32 I heard a story once about a father who had a little boy
25:36 and he told this little boy to climb the ladder
25:38 and the little boy did, the little boy was about five...
25:41 and as the boy climbed the ladder,
25:42 that dad said to him... he said, "Now jump, jump, I'll catch you"
25:46 and so the little boy trusting his dad... he jumped,
25:49 and then the father backed up
25:50 and let the boy hit the cement hard
25:53 and the kid started crying and the father picked him up
25:56 and the boy was crying
25:57 and he looked at the boy and he said,
25:59 "Son, let that be a lesson to you...
26:00 never trust anyone... never trust anyone. "
26:04 What a horrible dad, and the good news is that
26:08 our heavenly Father is not like that
26:09 that even if we do fall,
26:11 and even if we do hit the cement,
26:12 and even if we have problems and sins that...
26:15 Jesus will pick us up and he'll catch us,
26:18 He'll hold on to us, he'll get us back on track,
26:22 in Jude... in one of the last verses in the book of Jude,
26:24 says that God can keep us from falling
26:27 and get us ready for His coming.
26:29 Revelation chapter 8, or, chapter 14 verse 8,
26:33 warns about Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen
26:36 that great city, because she made all nations
26:39 drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
26:42 By God's grace, let's make sure that we don't fall,
26:45 let's be faithful to Jesus Christ.
26:48 You have just heard His voice today.
26:51 Will Christians soon disappear,
26:53 raptured before seven years of tribulation
26:55 when the Antichrist makes war against the Jews?
26:57 Jesus Christ gave the special warning about the last days.
27:01 "Take heed that no one deceives you!" Matthew 24:4.
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Revised 2016-03-02