Wicked Babylon's Fall from Its Lofty Throne (Isaiah Sermon 54 of 80)
November 16, 2014 | Andy Davis
Judgment, Justice of God
Andy Davis preaches a verse-by-verse expository sermon on Isaiah 47:1-15. The main subject of the sermon is God's power over the wicked and His desire to seek justice through judgment.
- SERMON TRANSCRIPT -
We're looking today at Isaiah 47, and as we do, we look at the account again of the fall of Babylon in prophetic perspective. And as we do, we need to look at all of these things with the eye of faith, faith is the eyesight of the soul by which we can see into invisible realms, realms that cannot be proven or described in any way by scientific endeavor. There's nothing about the spiritual realm that can be discerned in the laboratories at MIT or in the RTP here. But there is around us all the time a spiritual realm that exerts a tremendous force, a magnetic force on our souls all the time.
And we can only perceive it by faith, by the ministry of the Word of God, by the reading of the scripture we have our eyes open to see it and to know it, that we are under this gravitational pull all the time. We cannot see into the invisible realm apart by faith, but by faith we know that there is a God who sits on a throne of light who I just prayed to a moment ago, a God who dwells in unapproachable light. But beyond God and beyond the holy angels that I alluded to, and they cover their faces as they serve Him and cry, "Holy, holy, holy…"
Beyond these invisible spiritual beings, there are dark evil forces, there are fallen angels called demons or devils, who are organized into a system of evil, and who are... That system of evil is ruled by Satan called the devil or that ancient serpent. And together they make up this dark kingdom, which in some places in scripture is spoken of in these words, rulers, authorities, powers of this present darkness. In mysterious and immeasurable ways the devil and his angels run this world. They orchestrate this world system that surrounds us all the time. And they draw each person on earth into patterns of rebellion against Almighty God. Satan is called "the god of this age, the ruler of the power of the air." During the temptation of Jesus Christ, he took Him to a high mountain and showed Him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world and their glory.
And he said, "I will give you all their authority and splendor, for it has been given to me, and I can give it to anyone I want to. So if you worship me, it will all be yours." Jesus refused of course saying, "Away from me Satan, for it is written worship the Lord your God and serve Him only." But Satan makes lesser forms of that same offer to the great leaders of this present age, to the movers and shakers of our era. "Bow down to me, worship me and I will give you sections of this world to rule."
The world system is completely under Satan's invisible domination and it is a bitter enemy to Christ. Spoken of in 1 John 2:15-17, we are warned there, "Do not love the world or anything in the world, if anyone loves the world the love of the Father is not in him. For everything that is in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh and the boastful pride of life comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away but the one who does the will of God lives forever." We are warned there of the magnetic pull in the word lust, the magnetic pull toward evil.
I. The City of Babylon
Now in Scripture sometimes this organized system of a lure and enticement and power called the world in some of these scriptures that we've already looked at is called Babylon. Babylon. Mysterious name, because Babylon was a literal city that was built in space and time back in history alongside the mighty Euphrates River in what is today called Iraq. In Genesis 10, it was founded by a man named Nimrod who was a mighty hunter or warrior, who also founded and established Nineveh which became the capital city of the Assyrian Empire.
Babylon was built on great farm land and therefore it produced... This region produced for its people economic prosperity, they eventually became powerful traders that made lots and lots of money. In Genesis 11, the Tower of Babel was built there at Babylon, which was a symbol of human rebellion against Almighty God. They said, "Come let us build a tower that reaches from earth up to heaven so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be over the face of the whole the Earth." At the core of this effort was human pride, rebellion, arrogance, self-worship.
And God descended there and humbled them, by confusing the languages. Babylon eventually in time was conquered by the Assyrians who came down from Nineveh, down the Fertile Crescent and conquered Babylon and they became a subject city and a subject people under the mighty Assyrian empire. But they chafed against that yoke of the Assyrians and they were looking for allies and one of those allies was Hezekiah the godly king of Judah, you remember that story in Isaiah 39 which we already covered a number of months ago, but they sent emissaries to Hezekiah, the Babylonians did. And said in effect, "Come let's make a pact between us, we have a common enemy, the Assyrians, and let's be friends."
Hezekiah welcomed them warmly, they also probably puffed up his ego, his pride, because God had used him in an amazing way to lead a deliverance, supernatural deliverance from the Assyrians when 185,000 Assyrian troops were killed in one night by an angel of the Lord. And then he also was miraculously healed from a fatal illness and so he was puffed up with pride and God left him to test him to know what was in his heart. And what he did, was he took these Babylonian emissaries and he showed them all of his wealth and power and everything like they were just bosom buddies, showed them everything.
And Isaiah the prophet came and warned him in Isaiah 39, "what did those men say, and where did they come from?" Hezekiah told him, "From a distant land…they came to be from Babylon." So of course Isaiah asked him, "What did they see in your palace?" And Hezekiah had to confess, "They saw everything in my palace…There is nothing among my treasures that I did not show them." Isaiah then said to him, "Hear now the word of the Lord Almighty..." By the way whenever Isaiah says that to you and you're the king, be afraid. "Hear now the word of the Lord Almighty, the time will surely come when everything in your palace, and all that your fathers have stored up until this day, will be carried off to Babylon. Nothing will be left...And some of your own descendants, your own flesh and blood who will be born to you, will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon."
The clear prophecy of the exile the Babylon which happened century and a quarter later under King Nebuchadnezzar, the mighty king of the Babylonians 586BC. And God fulfilled it and they destroyed the city, they burned the temple to the ground, they slaughtered all but a small, very small remnant Jews. And they were exiled, that small remnant was exiled to Babylon and there they were in effect enslaved by the Babylonians for 70 years. While they were there, the Jews settled down and lived their lives, some of them prospered, life under the Babylonians was not miserable but there was some oppression and some wickedness that happened to them there.
But God predicted very plainly through the prophet Isaiah and through Jeremiah and other prophets that someday Babylon would be destroyed and a remnant of Jews would go back to the promised land and rebuild the city of Jerusalem. We already saw this in Isaiah 13:19-22, Isaiah the Prophet said there, "Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians' pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flocks there. But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell, and there the wild goats will leap about. Hyenas will howl in her strongholds, jackals in her luxurious palaces."
So total desolation, total destruction of Babylon already predicted, we've already seen it in Isaiah 13. The fall of Babylon to Cyrus the Great, and the Medes and the Persians is clearly told in Daniel 5, it happened just as God said it would. And Babylon was eventually over a number of decades leading to centuries completely destroyed, didn't happen right away but eventually ground down into the dust. But from that dust where jackals and hyenas were to live would rise and move to another place, what I would call the spirit of Babylon.
The Spirit of Babylon
The spirit of Babylon. And it moves and settles down like a malevolent force, a wicked force settles down and dominates whatever nation is the most powerful and the most economically prosperous, and influences its leaders and pulls it toward wickedness and toward rebellion. Why would I say that? Because we're not done with Babylon after Babylon falls, it keeps cropping up in the Bible. And so in 1 Peter 5:13, the Apostle Peter wrote some mysterious words to the Christians there scattered throughout the Mediterranean Sea. And he wrote these words 1 Peter 5:13, "She who is in Babylon chosen together with you, sends you her greetings, and so does my son Mark." Who is she who is in Babylon? Well most scholars believe that we're talking about the church, and the city in which Peter religious tradition has him was at, at the time when he wrote that letter, Rome. And he calls Rome, "Babylon", and he says, "She who is in Babylon, chosen together with you," namely the church in Babylon, says hello and greets you.
If that were all I had then I wouldn't be so sure about this idea of the spirit of Babylon, but we see again at the end of the Bible, in the Book of Revelation, Babylon comes up huge in that prophetic book. And so in Revelation 17 we have Babylon, the city of Babylon, pictured as a scarlet woman, a prostitute, a whore dressed in scarlet clothes. And she is drunk with the blood of the saints and she is a woman of luxury, a woman of pleasure and a woman of viciousness and interpreted at the end of that in Revelation 17:18, the woman you saw Babylon, is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.
At that time Rome, but it just continues and then in Revelation 18, we have again there, predicted the fall of Babylon, the very thing that's in front of us in Isaiah 47. There in Revelation 18:2-3, A mighty angel shouts, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she has become a home for demons, and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detectable bird, for all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries.'" That chapter depicts Babylon as powerful, but also alluring and enticing especially economically, how she was involved in trade with every commodity that could be traded with, Revelation 18:12-13.
Also Babylon is portrayed as having mysterious and even a occultic powers over the hearts and minds of people. And so in Revelation 18:23 it says, "Your merchants were the world's great men and by your magic spell, they led the whole world astray, all nations were led astray." But her time of wealth and prosperity, a wicked prosperity come to an end and God specifically judges Babylon at the end of the world for one thing above all else, her treatment of God's people, the effect that Babylon had on God's people.
And as I said, there are two aspects to Babylon, there's the military/political side, which has to do with brute force. And then there's the economic side which has to do with luxury and prosperity and the enticements of the world. And in these two ways Babylon comes at the people of God all around the world, through persecution and martyrdom, and imprisonment, and the harder side of what the world does to God's people, shedding her blood. The blood of the saints versus the economic allure and the enticement of the world. So this is the true story of Babylon, the story of a corrupt world system that Satan runs alluring people by economic prosperity, dominating people by military might, slaughtering the people of God who will not bow the knee to her.
Now as we come to Isaiah 47, it's really a partner to Isaiah 46, 46 and 47 go together. Last week we saw how God predicted the fall of Bel and Nebo, the patron Gods of Babylon. And with the judgment of the gods of Babylon comes very naturally the next chapter, the fall of Babylon, and they go together.
Isaiah 47 portrays the city of Babylon as first a pampered princess with a wicked heart, sitting enthroned on a lofty perch in the world, comfortable, luxurious, arrogant, complacent. Living in the luxury that the conquests of her father have brought her, feeding on those conquests. She's a spoiled virgin daughter drinking in luxury on the backs of the people Babylon's armies have conquered. Later in the chapter, she's portrayed as a wicked king. Again, complacent, wicked, arrogant sitting on a throne secure in the protection of her husband's power boasting that that's going to go on forever, and nothing's going to change him.
Isaiah 47 says this pampered virgin daughter will be thrown down from her lofty throne, stripped of her luxury and made to do the work of common slaves. Isaiah 47 says this arrogant, wealthy, secure Queen will lose her husband and her children in a single day, she'll become a widow with no children and no future. Now, not only does Isaiah 47 predict the fall of Babylon in world history, to take on the menial roles of enslaved exiles, it explains why this happened, because of the harsh way she treated God's people.
Because of that, God is going to take vengeance on her and crush her for what she did to God's people. Now, the fall of Babylon, as I said, the big picture is far more significant than just a moment that happened a long, long time ago. And so what I want to do is I want to speak to you as the people of God, a word of warning about the spirit of Babylon the world, and a word of great encouragement that some day, that alluring force will be over forever and we'll be free. So I want to speak a word of warning, leading to a word of great encouragement and blessing.
II. Humiliated Babylon Commanded to Vacate Her Throne (vs. 1-4)
So let's look at it verse by verse now, beginning in the first section verses 1-4, humiliated Babylon is commanded to vacate her throne. There it says, "Go down and sit in the dust virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground without a throne, daughter of the Babylonians. No more will you be called tender or delicate. Take millstones and grind flour, take off your veil, lift up your skirts, bare your legs, and wade through the streams, your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered, I will take vengeance. I will spare no one."
So the virgin daughter of Babylon is the pampered, enthroned daughter of the King, so to speak. A virgin daughter image is used frequently in the Bible to refer to what's most delicate and precious in that culture, the young girls, who frequently are portrayed in various prophecies is taking tambourines or other pieces of musical instruments and going out and celebrating military victories. Like when the Philistines win or something, the daughters of the Philistines go out and celebrate. Same thing for the daughter of Zion, who does the same thing celebrating when the Jews win a victory, this kind of thing.
So here, the virgin daughter of Babylon, is pictured as pampered, enthroned, she's sitting on the top of the world. I remember I was at a vacation spot and there's this embroidered pillow in pink, it's a very girly pillow, and it says "Princess of Quite a Lot." Well Babylon was Princess of Quite a Lot. And she's arrogant and she's pampered and she's protected, but suddenly, suddenly that time comes to an end. It's done. And she loses her position of power and she's thrown down from her throne of luxury. And she's commanded to sit in the dust, that's humiliating. She's never going to be called tender or delicate again, she's going to develop calluses on her hands.
Because she's going to do menial labor, she's going to grind flour, she's going to go out to get water, she's going to have to lift up her skirts to wade through the streams and get water. She's enslaved. She's going to be humiliated, enslaved to hard labor. Stripped and humiliated all of the glorious clothing and nice ring and all of that's gone, instead her nakedness will be exposed to the nations. And God says very plainly, "I will take vengeance, I will spare no one." So he's very meticulous in his judgment here, Verse 3.
Now, verse 4 is a hinge between verses one to three, which speak about what's going to happen to the virgin daughter of Babylon, and verses 5 and 6 which describe why it's going to happen. So in the middle of that we have this beautiful statement, "Our redeemer," verse 4, "our redeemer, the Lord Almighty is His name, is the Holy One of Israel." So just... If you can just stop there and gaze at Verse 4, and say, "Hallelujah, I can't wait to be redeemed from Babylon." Amen? I can't wait to be set free, forever, from this alluring force.
And we have a redeemer and his name is Jesus Christ and He has the power to rescue us from Babylon, so we can shake the dust of this place of our feet and longer be defiled by it. And He bought the right to do that at the price of His own blood, by the shedding of His own blood He can rescue his people from Babylon, He is our Redeemer, praise God.
III. God Takes Vengeance on Babylon for Israel’s Sake (vs. 5-6)
So in verses 5 and 6, we have God taking vengeance on Babylon for Israel's sake. It says, "Sit in silence, go into darkness, daughter of the Babylonians, no more will you be called Queen of kingdoms. I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance, I gave them into your hand and you showed them no mercy. Even on the aged you laid a very heavy yoke."
So... Babylon's sentence of judgment here is an act of vengeance by a sovereign God. This is not a twist of fate. This is not the wheel of fortune turning against Babylon now, and now it's the turn for the Medes and the Persians. Not at all. It's a direct act of vengeance by Almighty God, the God of Israel, the God of the Jews. It's not an accident. And God's purpose concerning the whole Babylonian exile, He says, was to punish his people for their sins. They had sinned, they had violated the covenant, they had gone after other gods and so God used Babylon to punish them. For a very specific reason, for their rebellion and their idolatry, God brought Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians in. He was angry with His people. And they came in and it says, desecrated His inheritance. They came to the city of God, Jerusalem, called Zion so often in the Old Testament. And they destroyed it, they destroyed the wall and even more they went to the heart, the religious heart of the City, the temple, Solomon's temple. And they destroyed it completely, they took whatever is valuable and destroyed, burned the rest. In Psalm 74, the Psalmist pictures the Babylonians doing this very thing to the temple.
It says, "Your foes roared in the place where you met with us. They set up their standards as signs. They behaved like men wielding axes to cut through a thicket of trees. They smashed all the carved paneling with their axes, and hatchets. They burned your sanctuary to the ground, they defiled the dwelling place of your name." So they went through and just destroyed God's inheritance, desecrated it. Yes, but they went too far, went too far. Now, how did they go too far? They were doing the very thing that God sent them to do. Yes, but they made two great errors. First of all, they didn't do it for the glory of God and for the honor of His name. They were pagans, who Habakkuk says worshipped and sacrificed their own military prowess. So they had no zeal for the glory of God at all.
Secondly, they went too far in terms of oppression and harshness on the people of God. Look at verse six, "You showed them no mercy, even on the aged you laid a very heavy yoke." This, by the way, is the very thing that the Prophet Daniel confronted Nebuchadnezzar about. In Daniel Chapter 4, when Nebuchadnezzar had a terrifying dream, and he thought the dream was about him, and it was, and that God was going to judge him.
And so, Daniel, who I believe loved Nebuchadnezzar said, "Therefore, O King, be pleased to accept my advice, renounce your wickedness by doing what is just and right, and renounce your evil intent by being kind to the oppressed. It may be that then your prosperity will continue." So this is the very thing that Nebuchadnezzar and his Babylonian system was doing, they were crushing the people of God, grinding them to a powder.
IV. Babylon’s Arrogant Security Comes to a Shocking End (vs. 7-11)
In verses seven through 11, we see Babylon's arrogant security coming to a shocking end. "You said, 'I will continue forever-- the eternal queen!' But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen. "Now then, listen, you wanton creature, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.' Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells. You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, 'No one sees me.' Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, 'I am, and there is none besides me.' Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you."
So we see Babylon's arrogant security here. The image shifts from the pampered virgin daughter image to that of a spoiled, arrogant, complacent queen, queen of the Babylonians. She boasted that she's going to continue forever, the eternal queen. How easy it is for us dear friends, to forget that we are dust, and to dust we will most certainly return. That someday we will die. It is appointed to each one of us to die once and after that to face judgment, Hebrews 9:27. And so this statement, I will continue forever. It's always going to go on, just like this. The prosperity and the ease and the luxury that we know would just keep going on and on and on forever. And we forget that some day we're going to die and it's all going back to dust.
And she makes two particularly offensive boasts. First, "No one sees me." You see that? Look at Verse 10, "You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, 'No one sees me.'" She's doing dark, secret wicked things, things at night, things in the hidden, things in her cellar, things in her bedchamber. We'll talk more in a moment about her occultic practices, she does occultic things. And because it seems that no human eye can see her, she thinks she's totally secure, and nobody knows what she's doing. But she forgets that there is a God who sees in darkness, even the darkness is as light to Him. And he said in Jeremiah 23:24, "Can anyone hide in secret places so that I cannot see him? Declares the Lord. Do I not fill heaven and earth? Declares the Lord."
Secondly, she boasts in effect that she is a goddess, that she's God. Look at Verse 8, "I am, and there is none beside me." This is God's special message to the human race. He said, when Moses said, "What is your name? What should we say is your name?" He said, "I am. I am that I am… this is my name…" He is the eternally self-existent God. Everything else, including you, derives its existence from God. You exist because God made you. And so, here's Babylon saying, "I am and there is none beside me." If you look back one chapter, look at Isaiah 46:9, there Almighty God says these words, "I am God and there is no other. I am God and there is none like me." Do you see how similar those two are? So here, Babylon is claiming to be God.
Which is amazing! That fanatical commitment we all have to ourself can get to megalomaniac levels in some hearts. Weird levels where you actually think this could really be true. I am and there is no other existence apart from me. I remember when I was a young kid, I had a morning paper route and it was very quiet and lonely, it was a terrible job, I hated that job, especially when it got to be winter and snowed up in Massachusetts and I was doing the Boston Sunday Globe, and I could carry 6 of them at a time, and I had 58 to deliver.
It was like working in the salt mines, I never worked in the salt mines, but it's what I imagine working in the salt mines would be like. But it was early, early morning and it was dark and I started flirting with some weird philosophies, like no one else in the world had existence except that I thought about them. As a matter of fact nothing behind me existed until I turn quickly to look and that would suddenly exist. I told these theories to my mother and she didn't think much of them, she wanted me to know that she had existence before I was born and wanted me to know about that.
But this is the kind of weirdness that that commitment to self can have like you're a god or goddess and everything exists around you. Babylon had reached that level. And sudden devastation is going to come. Widowhood and loss of children. She thinks she'll never be a widow or suffer the loss of children, but both of these would overtake her in a single moment. She feels secure behind her lofty walls of Babylon, she feels secure behind the might and power the Babylonian army. She's got a husband who's a warrior, metaphorically, and he wins every battle so she's secure. But widowhood will suddenly come on her. That's... Babylon is going to lose militarily. They're going to be defeated by the Medo-Persian army, and they're dead.
Her young men will die. And then lots of children will never come on me. The children referred to the Babylonian population. And they're secure and safe behind the army and behind the walls, no they're not, you're going to lose your children too. So Babylon will be slaughtered and whatever remnant is left will flee for their lives as refugees.
V. Babylon’s Occultic Powers Fail to Save Her (vs. 12-15)
And Verse 12 through 15, Babylon's occultic powers failed to save her. Babylon is dabbling in the occult as they always did, verse 9, these terrors "will come upon you in full measure in spite of your many sorceries and potent spells."
These are the dark things she's doing when she thinks no one is watching. The Babylonians also called the Chaldeans are well known for their incantations and black arts and divination and all that, star gazing and predictions based on dreams. They studied omens, they uttered dark spells. And God mocks that false confidence. He says, " Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you. "Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have labored at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror." And Babylon's occultic powers in the end have no weight, no mass to them. The Bible portrays the glory of God, the Hebrew word for glory, 'kavod', means massiveness, He's weighty and what God does is massive.
But there occultic powers are like stubble, like dry grass in a bonfire. They have no mass to them, they're... You can't warm yourself by the fire, because there's nothing to them and when God's wrath comes, when God's rage comes, all of their pathetic powers will be burned up in an instant, that's what He's saying. And so therefore Babylon cannot save herself. Alright, so that's Isaiah 47.
What does that have to do with us today? Well, I've already told you from the beginning, I basically front-loaded the sermon and put applications right at the start. Understand this world by faith, see it by faith, don't see it as it merely appears, look around you and see what's happening by faith with eyes of faith, see it properly.
Understand the infinite power of God both to destroy and to save. As with every text in the Bible, the primary issue always is individual salvation through faith in Christ, all roads lead to that. You folks live in a world dominated by the spirit of Babylon. Judgment Day is coming. Your idolatries and your sins and the things you do in secret in all of the ways you have capitulated to the world system, all of those things, if you're not a Christian, have been storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God's wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. Flee to Christ. Christ, verse 4, is the redeemer, the Holy One of Israel is his name, the God of the universe, sent His son into the world, who lived a sinless life, never yielded to Satan's temptations, did not bow down and worship him, had nothing to do with the spirit of Babylon, in fact will be its destroyer, and has come to save you.
So flee to Him, trust in Him. Believe in Him for the forgiveness of your sins, and don't be complacent, don't be like the virgin daughter of Babylon, or the Queen of Babylon, thinking the way things are for me, is the way it's always going to be. I'm always going to be healthy, I'm always going to be successful, I'm always going to live in a country that is militarily powerful, and economically prosperous. Do you live right now in a country that's militarily powerful, and economically prosperous? Do you know that the United States spends what is it, $16.8 billion dollars a year on military, which equals the next nine nations put together? I think it's easy to say the United States is the most powerful military force on earth.
What about the economy? Do you know that the economy of the United States is something like $17 trillion. 17 trillion. By the way, I got the figure on military wrong. We spend three quarters of a trillion dollars on military, every year. 17 trillion, gross domestic product. A little more than double China's, which is number two. So that means you live in the nation that is the most powerful economic and military nation on earth. Any chance that Satan is interested in America and exerting in a magnetic pull in the spirit of Babylon on this nation. Don't be complacent, don't think things will always be the way they are now. Don't put your trust in military prowess. Don't be like the virgin daughter of Babylon or the queen thinking things like that will never come. Find your refuge in God and in God alone, and what Christ did on the cross. Don't be complacent.
And don't think that just because things are good now or whatever, they'll always be that way for you personally or for us nationally. Humble yourselves therefore under God's mighty hand that He may lift you up in due time. Ask God daily to deliver you from the world's allures. It's enticing, it's pulling on you, ask God to protect you and protect your heart. Very practically, give money away to the poor and needy, and to the spread of the Gospel. Give money away. Money is huge on the whole spirit of Babylon. Be generous with your money toward the poor and needy, be generous with your money toward the spread of the Gospel. Use your money wisely. Sever the tie the world Babylon has on you by doing that. I want to say a brief word about the magic and the occult of Babylon. Do you see an allure toward magic and occult in our culture?
I'm amazed, there's a movie out about the Ouija board now. Who's paying to go see that, my goodness, the Ouija board. There's an interest in that kind of thing, witchcraft and gods, pagan gods and demons and zombies and all that. And understand that these occultic things are evil and the God will judge all who practice them and that when the gospel came to Ephesus, there were some people so convicted by their involvement in the occult that they brought these magic scrolls and burned them, and their value was 50,000 silver pieces. They were converted away from that. Beware of these occultic things. And understand God's zeal to take vengeance on behalf of his suffering people, the Church around the world. The world is either going to show you luxury and enticement or the mailed fist of crushing persecution. Both are parts of Babylon, military power, economic power... So right now, there are brothers and sisters who are incarcerated for their faith, or being beheaded for their faith. Who are suffering, the persecuted Church is suffering and the blood is being shed. God sees it, He will take vengeance, He will spare no one. So let us be aware of the persecuted Church, let's pray for them, get ready for it, perhaps to come in our lifetime and plead with God.
And finally, if I can just leave you with a word of encouragement. "Some day this will all be done, amen?" Isn't that awesome? Someday we're going to come out forever from Babylon and it will have no magnetic pull on us at all. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under our feet, amen? And it's going to be done. So be warned yes, but be greatly encouraged. Close with me in prayer.