THE LAST DAYS OF BABYLON Part 1, THE END OF FAITH

Goodnews Christian Ministry

"Is it not the will of God the Almighty that the laboring of the peoples should end in fire, and the toiling of the nations come to nothing?." ---Habbakuk 2:13

CHAPTER 2

The Great Revolt

"It cannot happen until the Great Revolt has taken place and the Rebel, the Lost One, has appeared." 2 Thess.2:3

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The faith we see today on earth is the remnant of an engine that has powered the entire millenium. It is a faith that has fundamentally altered the course of history by bringing into the heart of mankind rules of compassion, mercy, gentleness and peace. Doing so it has changed the course of human destiny. But only for a time.

According to Paul, the world's faith is destined to end in a Great Revolt -- a revolt which will see Jesus and his message thrown out of both power and favor, allowing the violent and sinful principles of this world once more to move back in.

The millenium has a fixed time-frame, and at its end the Bible tells us that a mortally wounded Babylon must re-emerge from its grave and seduce all the nations, returning them to the darkness of Satan's delusion. (Rv.20:7-9).

It is this 'power of deception' that Paul said would descend on the earth in the last days because of the people's rebelliousness. It's divine purpose, he stated, is to lead astray all who are in love with wickedness. (2 Thes.2:12).

The events unfolding around us today give dynamic witness that Satan's final deceit is actually taking place now. (Rv.20:7). If the trend continues, scripture is clear: it will bring the terrible Rebel Himself -- the ultimate proof that the millenium has come and gone and that these really are the last days of temporal creation.

The revolt Paul predicted relates to the world's break with the teachings of Jesus Christ -- especially with the inner message of His teachings. It is this insurrection, long festering, that has so dramatically exploded to the surface in our own century, bringing down a power of Christ that has ruled the earth for almost 2000 years -- a gentle supremacy that Daniel calls "the power of the holy people". (Dn.12:7).

While many look at the world today and say that nothing has changed and that the religion of Christ goes on just as it always has in the past, they are seeing only the outer shell -- and not even much of that. In a flurry of compromises with paganism -- compromises which have stunned those who still remain faithful, the Christian reign in Babylon has begun to break apart.

Leading this dissolution, faith (the inner power of Christ's religion) has been the first to crumble. That is why, today, we can see a parallel to the kind of revolt Jesus found when He first arrived in Palestine. The Judea that Jesus appeared to was intensely religious, but there was little love associated with this zeal and that is why He told them that most of the people there were facing spiritual death.

To counter this revolt, Jesus preached a baptism of repentance. (Mt.4:17). He told the Jews that they could save themselves only by changing their ways -- by converting from sin into the righteous behavior of the Gospel. This was something they refused to do. They remained altogether religious, but they would not accept Christ or change their behavior.

Just as prophecy foretold, Jesus had come to a people in revolt. The intensity of that revolt was underscored a few years later when, in their rebellion against Rome, the divided Jewish forces spent almost as much time killing each other as they did Romans. Rejecting the way of peace, they were hurled into exile, still clinging to their rebellion.

The rest of the world reacted differently, however. While the Messiah was being rejected by His own people, just the opposite occurred when Jesus was preached to the world. There He was accepted. (1 Tim.3:16). Hearing His voice, much of Babylon changed its ways and started trying to keep the Gospel's commandments.

Fueling this conversion, the ruling authorities of the world began promoting Christ and Christian principles throughout their respective empires. As a result, pagan Babylon suddenly became a Christianized Babylon. Babylon became messianic, and for a long time it remained that way.

Governmental promotion of Christ persisted throughout much of the world from the time of the Roman empire all the way up to the twentieth century. Because of this promotion, the people of the world were encouraged to worship at the throne of God's Son; and as a result the planet swelled with acts of righteousness and compassion.

Not everyone accepted these changes, of course, but so many did that throughout the entire period there was an underlying aura of conversion and repentance, and the call to it was broadcast everywhere and accepted by so many that it seemed it would last forever. Now, of course, we can see that such optomism was wrong. Jesus was correct again, the reign of God on earth would be short.

Little noticed by the legions of faithful has been the world-wide Christian explosion that has flooded the planet with churches over the last two milleniums, championing Jesus Christ. Hateful infighting has blinded most Christians to the significance of this phenomenon; and it has helped to erode its progress and tear it apart as well. Especially in the latter part of this century.

For almost 2000 years, the world's most powerful leaders actively supported the Gospel's preaching -- actually demanded its preaching. This intense proselytizing changed the nature of human civilization -- bringing a great part of it into line with Christian principles and causing much of the civilized world to convert to Christ.

Government promotion of Christ ushered in a new era on earth -- an era of Christian rule. It created a moment in history in which the proclamation of Christ's message to the world became an international political priority -- a priority of such intensity that world history became structured by it.

During these years, the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus was not just tolerated, it was mandated by almost every political leader in the western world. In fulfillment of the scriptures, the pagan world fell at the feet of Jesus and worshipped him. So much so that many fundamentalists today are embarrassed by the excesses of that worship.
What we find now, however, is just the opposite. As more and more people in the world join the pagan rebellion, there has been a major shift toward downgrading Christian tenets in favor of upgrading the philosophies of those who oppose God. This has not been a small movement.

Our secular courts, for instance, have ruled against public postings even of the Ten Commandments. The world has grown so far away from the principles of the Bible in recent years that this holy book is now considered antique. To many, its words sound like a foreign language from another age. The fact that so many Christians have joined hands with this rebellion is a graphic illustration of the extent of paganism's return.

This is the Revolt. The trashing of the Gospel.

Scripture teaches that the only way to hold back the wrath of the last days is to stick close to the 'Testimony' of God. (Num.1:53). According to the Bible, any nation or person abandoning the Gospel (the Tabernacle of God's Word) after having once vowed to keep it, will be struck by increasing misfortune and (if this travail initiates no repentance) finally end up by being destroyed completely.

Disregarding this admonition, the nations of Babylon have spurned the teachings of Christ and have begun to champion the superficial gods of commerce and pleasure in His place. This has turned the conversion of the past centuries around -- precipitating a vast mutiny which has become increasingly visible all around us.

Nowhere are these changes more noticeable than at the seat of government where the people normally look for leadership and guidance. There, pushed by a growing groundswell of secular influences, all the values of the Christian past are being swept aside and replaced by pagan substitutes.

Whether it be an attempt to take God out of the schools, out of the government, or even to remove Him from a country entirely, the power driving all these moves is the same. The push to atheism that enveloped the once Christian nations of Russia and eastern Europe in the earlier part of this century were a part of this same process. There the populations were plunged into spiritual darkness by communistic secular governments bitterly antagonistic to God.

Today, eastern forces have virtually eradicated Christianity from the fertile crescent, further extending a growing anti-christian cloak throughout the Middle East. The forces against God have become so influential that in the United States, even prayer is considered hostile to the political process.

While it seems to have exploded to the surface in just the last few years, the world revolt against Christ is part of a continuum which began a long time ago. This movement, in fact, has deep roots in the Renaissance. This was an intellectual movement that developed in Italy in the early 14th century and quickly spread from there all through Europe.

The word itself means 'rebirth'. It stands for a re-awakening within western civilization to the cultural models of antiquity. Those models were pagan. As the movement spread, it quickly evolved into secular Enlightenment. In retrospect, this return has proved to be the 'mortal wound' starting to heal -- dilineating the initial phases of the rebirth on earth of pagan Babylon.

It is not presented this way in the literature because the historians are, themselves, a part of this rebirth. Seeking to free mankind from the repressive moral restrictions imposed by the Church, these historians have painted a picture of an illiterate world wrapped in the shroud of an era which they call the 'dark ages' suddenly peeking out to see the modern light of intellectual humanism.

These images have nothing to do with a discovery of Jesus Christ. They all relate to a world in the throse of re-awakening to the fact that there might be something else beyond Christ. The so-called 'dark ages' -- the previous thousand years -- marked a time of great Christian evangelism and conversion throughout the world. So they were not dark according to God. They simply lacked the intellectual and materialistic trappings of secularism and worldliness.

The spin, however, has reversed the images. That is why we now glorify the Renaissance and speak derisively about the spiritual dominion that preceded it -- an era, though dark to the world, which produced spiritual giants like Francis of Assisi and St. Patrick of Ireland. Jesus said that what is exalted by men is an abomination in the sight of God. His words speak to us of an upside down world in which all our mortal equations are just the reverse of heaven's.

As the light of antiquity began to spread again in the world, the nudity of the Greek and Roman past began to reappear in the statues and paintings of the Middle Ages. Shakespeare and Chaucer appeared. And there came upon society a fascination for rationalism, pleasure, license, money, fine clothes and all the other trappings that follow garish and godless living. It was Babylon reborn. For this reason, it marked a time of great warfare within the Christian community.

Battling the humanistic influences of this era, the Church had to battle itself, because the spirits of self-indulgence and secular intellect that were unleashed by this rebirth found their way deep into the hearts of many church leaders. Trying to countering this materialistic and secular invasion into its realm, the Church became hard-framed and authoritarian.

People like Martin Luther arose. They brought a new age of prophecy to the Christian world and infused it with a powerful return to faith. Impacting Protestants and Catholics alike, their moral influence revitalized the Church. And the battle lines these important Christians formed were so strong they have remained in place ever since.

Countered by a resurgence of faith in the world, and buoyed by the discovery of an America far distant from Europe's spiritual battlefields, the forces of Satan were slowed down. As a result, the spiritual war spawned by this era progressed, but at a much reduced pace, in slowly eroding combat down through the ensuing centuries -- to our own age.

And it is here, in just the last few years that the tide of battle has dramatically and suddenly shifted in favor of Satan and his warriors. And in this latest assault, the lines of Christian defense, receding since the days of the Renaissance, are now showing every sign that they are about to give way entirely. The rule of God in the world has seemingly come to an end.

The history of this movement shows that what the world has termed 'Enlightenment' has proved to be rebellion in disguise, and it has dramatically clouded the Son and brought us the night sky of Satan. Unless there is a universal return to faith, and soon, the 'dark ages' of immorality that were brought to life in the European cultural revolution seven centuries ago will soon touch the nadir that scripture has foreseen for them.

Immersed in immorality, and driven by escalating greed, humanity has renewed its love affair with this world and all the vices that it vowed so many centuries ago to reject.

Because this secular world is the 'Babylon' of scripture (1 John 2:15-17), a return to it is the courting of certain death. Because the Bible is clear. The return of paganism is the last reprise. This revolt, Paul warned, signals the final curtain. (2 Thess.2:3)

No one can study the history of the planet over the last 2000 years and not see the immense impact Jesus had on the affairs and conduct of the people and governments of the past. Until our century, throughout much of the civilized world -- especially the western world -- the life of the populace was dedicated to Christ. The paintings, the music, the politics, the morals, even the governments and their rulers reflected this dedication.

In fact, the Gospel of Christ had a profound impact on the formation of the United States just 200 years ago. But all that has now changed. While our coins still say "In God we trust" on them, what we have witnessed in the last 40-50 years is an overwhelming erosion of this faith. The numbers themselves have not changed significantly, but the faith behind these numbers has shifted dramatically.

Except for an isolated few, most children growing up today, even most Christian children, receive little education about God -- either at home or in school. The zeal that marked past worship is now evaporating. It is the disappearance of this enthusiasm which proves the inner death of faith. While it is still possible to point at large exceptions to this trend, measured against the 1.8 billion who are said to fill the world's Christian ranks, even these exceptions become miniscule.

With Christian's and their standards increasingly subject to attack by pagans now displeased with them, the whole moral code of society is in the process of change. This is not a phenomenon unique to American culture, the entire planet has been swept up in it. Mutinying against the Gospel's message and morality, the world has embarked on Satan's course -- a godless dash for money and personal pleasure.

The abandonment of moral responsibility associated with this new course is reflected not just in our thinking, but also in our political processes. Abortion is in, the right of the unborn child is out. Big business is in, the economics of generosity out. Secular education is in, Christian teaching is out. Homosexuality and lesbianism are in, family values are out. It goes on like this right down the line -- a pagan conversion that has left fewer and fewer behind to, as Ezekiel stated it, "deplore and disapprove of all the filth practiced in the city". (Ez.9:4).

Paul predicted that all this would happen -- that the last days would be ushered in by a Great Revolt against Jesus Christ -- essentially, the same kind of rebellion that now envelops us. What we are witnessing today is the sudden escalation of the world's rejection of the path of Christ by the very people and governments who were once the greatest champions of His cause.

And it is this change of heart that characterizes the world's new course as a rebellion. It is a revolt that has seen Christianized Babylon revert, in fits and spurts, back to its pagan roots. The staggering successes of this insurrection -- especially over the last 50 years -- gives certain warning that the messianic history of Babylon has touched the moment of its end.

There can be little question that these changes constitute the rebellion that Paul predicted because we can look back over all the years since Christ was first preached on earth and not find anything like them in the Christian past.

The movies and songs being produced today have almost no Christ message in them, and more often than not, they offer blatant endorsements of Satan instead. Teachers are encouraged to talk about Jefferson and Marx and their principles in school classes, but are forbidden to talk about Jesus and His.

With God removed from the public eye, the idea of sin itself has been brought into serious question and more and more people every day reject the concept completely.

The images that society flashes to our children are filled with sexual debauchery and murder -- pornographic material as evil as the mind can make it has been made theirs for the asking.

Immorality that the world of today accepts as 'normal' or 'enlightened' behavior would bring gasps of disbelief to the Christian world of a few years ago. People today exchange partners like changing clothes, discarding children and families to grab onto the 'good life', and they do not even see these actions in terms of sin.

While there are still strong pockets of Christian faith in some areas, these are becoming more and more isolated and increasingly subject to ridicule.

Most people have little sense of history and so they have almost no concept for how vast the religious changes are which have occurred in western society during this century. Although these changes in focus may seem 'normal' to those who are living through them, anyone with even a casual knowledge of the Christian past can see how profoundly the nature of the world has been changed by them.

They have healed the mortal wound and rebirthed Babylon.

While there are many who insist that these changes are not so bad, all the signals say just the opposite -- the signs of scripture show us a God about to turn out the lights. The world could not have taken the giant steps toward Armageddon that we have seen in this century unless all the elements of Paul's predicted revolt were not already well underway.

In the middle of this century when the time for open assault had arrived, a woman appeared in court. Wrapped in the momentum of the age, she cried out against Christ and the government of the United States took her side. In that instant, the collapse became official.

That decision, we have since discovered, pitting as it did democracy against Christ, produced a dramatic lurch by the world away from the millenium of Christian rule and toward a renewed destiny with the godlessness of the past. Ratified by all other nations rebuilding their governments in the name of democracy, that edict proved a kind of final straw, because it shattered the shield of grace which has long protected the Christian world from disaster.

We can see that fractured shield reflected in the terrible events which immediately followed the Supreme Court's rejection of God in the public agenda. Just five months after those judges issued their decision, John Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas. And a few months after that, the United States met its own kind of Dallas in the Gulf of Tonkin.

The world had taken the reigns. The blind were leading blind. Kennedy, for example, had made, not just Americans, but the whole western world believe in themselves -- that they could do anything -- be anything. But he did not champion God. We have since discovered that his personal life was a moral abyss. His lead pointed nowhere.

If there is any common thread tying these events together (in addition to their singular moment in time), it is imbedded in the concept that God is our protection and that by abandoning Him, we have precipitated the terrible consequences of scripture's wrath. What we can be and what we are going to be, are infinitely tied to our personal relationship with the ethics of God.

Empowered by governments that have grown increasingly pagan, and financed by executives and administrators who have discovered big money in glorifying Christian disobedience, doctrines promoting faithless behavior now permeate all parts of our society. Immoral propaganda is incessantly preached by singers and novelists, and glorified non-stop by television and movies.

The Revolt Paul predicted has grown so powerful that it now pervades every issue in today's society. In fact, secular influence has become such a strong force in our lives, we are often unaware of its power to coerce our thinking about God.

In this country, for instance, we strongly advocate the principle of separation of church and state. But what does this mean? Jesus is church and Babylon is state. So what we are actually advocating is the separation of Babylon from Christ.

The Great Revolt in the last days is exactly the same kind of separation. Jeremiah proved this when he said, "We tried to cure Babylon, but she has got no better. Leave her alone and let each of us go to his own country." (Jer.51:9). The separation of Babylon from Christ, then, is the death of Babylon. This separation is the Revolt made official.

Anyone who doubts what has happened has only to try to speak about Jesus or God in any public schoolroom in this country. In a Stayskal political cartoon, a child in a public school classroom began to give his report, "My paper is about God...", which caused the teacher to rear back in shock, until he finished, "...zilla." The teacher breathed a huge sigh of relief.

This happened in a cartoon, but it accurately reflects a condition that now exists in almost every city in our country. And since this is the current state of affairs in the United States -- a country founded with Christ and Christian ethics in mind -- what about the rest of Babylon?



The Last Days of Babylon


Table of Contents Go To Chapter 3

 


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