Lesson 12

Babylon and Armageddon

(Revelation 11, 14, 16, 18, Genesis 11, Judges 5)
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Introduction: Two of the best known names in Revelation are "Babylon the Great" and "Armageddon." Is Babylon the Great a power, a place, a state of mind, or what? What is so great about it? If Armageddon is a final battle, where does it take place? Who are the combatants? Who wins? Let's dive into our study of the Bible and see what we can learn!

  1. Babylon the Great


    1. Read Revelation 14:8. Is this a reference to the Babylon of Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar? (The context is the end of the world. This Babylon "the Great" must be the most recent version of Babylon.)


      1. What does the reference to "drink the maddening wine of her adulteries" suggest about this Super Babylon? (This reflects a theme of the Bible. When God's people turn to other Gods, He compares it to adultery. Thus, this is a power that turns humans away from the true God.)


      2. When it calls the wine "maddening," does it mean that God is getting mad? (No. Those rejecting God are not thinking clearly. They are crazy, intoxicated with the deception of Super Babylon.)


    2. Read Revelation 16:17. What is the time frame for this? (The seventh angel comes at the time when judgment is finished.)


    3. Read Revelation 16:18-21. We will look at this text in more detail later. What does this tell us about Babylon the Great? (It suggests that it has a location. The text is not completely clear, but it may be located in the "great city.")


    4. Read Revelation 11:7-8. What is the "great city?" (It must be Jerusalem, because it says "their Lord was crucified" there.)


      1. Why would Jerusalem also be called "Sodom and Egypt?" (This is further proof that something terribly wrong has happened to Jerusalem.)


    5. Read Revelation 11:8-15. What is the connection between the events described here and those described in Revelation 16:18-21? (We see a severe earthquake that adversely affects the "great city." We also see the seventh angel. This provides some evidence that at some point Babylon the Great will have a seat of power in Jerusalem.)


    6. Read Revelation 18:1-3. We see another announcement that Babylon the Great has fallen. What important information do we find here that helps us to identify Babylon the Great? (It is a place for demons and evil spirits.)


      1. Does that sound like Jerusalem? (Think about it. Jerusalem today is a divided city. What prevents it from being divided in the future? Could one of the current divisions be a home for those resisting Jesus? Recall that in Revelation 11:8 Jerusalem is called "Sodom and Egypt." This reflects a power opposed to God.)


      2. How would kings ( Revelation 18:3) commit adultery with Babylon? (This power causes political leaders to be unfaithful to God.)


      3. What do "merchants" and "excessive luxuries" have to do with this unfaithfulness? (In some way Babylon is connected to excessive belongings.)


      4. Read Proverbs 18:10-11. How can wealth and possessions become a substitute for dependence on God? (Trusting in money instead of God is being unfaithful. This is part of the message of Babylon the Great: put your trust in something other than God.)


  2. Babylon 1.0


    1. Read Genesis 10:32-11:2. What is the organizational advantage of the people? (They speak only one language.)


    2. Read Genesis 11:3-4. What is the motivation to build the tower and the city? (They wanted to make a name for themselves. They did not want to be scattered.)


      1. Why would they worry about being scattered? (Recall this is "soon" after the flood. The flood altered the course of human history and required the re-settlement of the world. The "tower that reaches to the heavens" gives us a clue that they wanted to build a "flood-proof" home. They would always be able to stay there, regardless of whether another flood came.)


      2. How were they able to build an extremely high tower? (The had a breakthrough in technology. They learned how to make durable bricks. They had a single language and common goals.)


    3. Are these God supporters? Is their goal to bring glory to God? (We see the beginning of Babylon the Great. They are rivals to God. They will resist Him with their tower. They will live where they want. They will bring glory to themselves, not God.)


    4. Read Genesis 11:5-7. Is God against human accomplishments? (Read Jeremiah 29:11. No, God wants to prosper us. However, He does not want to prosper our rebellion against Him.)


    5. Let's see if we can look at all of this prophetic symbolism and find a practical lesson. How would you identify Babylon the Great? (It opposes God. It tries to inspire trust in things other than God. It promotes unfaithfulness to God. It has a religious face, but a demonic heart. At some point it has a physical presence in the ancient city of Jerusalem. The entire history of "Babylon" is to promote trust in humans, and not our Lord.)


  3. Armageddon


    1. Read Revelation 16:12. The ancient city of Babylon had the Euphrates river run through it. What do you think this symbolism means? (We just learned that Babylon the Great is a power that turns people away from God. Part of its allure is its excessive luxuries. This text suggests that the angel is destroying the resources of Babylon the Great. It is cutting off its supplies, its source of life.)


      1. For what reason is support for Babylon being cut off? (To prepare the way for the kings from the East.)


    2. Look again at the last part of Revelation 16:12. Are these "kings from the East" a force for good or evil? (Since a reduction in the power of Babylon is a good thing for them, they seem to be a force for good.)


      1. Are there any major forces for good east of Jerusalem?


      2. Read Revelation 7:1-2. From what direction are the angels coming? (The East.)


      3. Read Isaiah 41:1-2. From where does this conqueror of kings come? (The East.)


      4. Read Isaiah 46:9-11. From what direction does God summon a "bird of prey," "a man to fulfill [God's] promise?" (The East.)


      5. What do these texts we just read suggest about the meaning of the "kings from the East?" ("East" might not be a reference to direction, but rather the place from which good things come. These kings are forces for God.)


    3. Read Revelation 16:13-14. Why would these frogs come out of mouths? (Recall that in Genesis 1, God spoke and He produced perfection. When these three forces for evil speak, they produce frogs. They produce evil spirits. These are some sort of powerful demons who can produce "miraculous signs." They rally the kings of the world against God and His kings from the East.)


    4. Read Revelation 16:15. How is that possible? We have these battle lines drawn up, and yet most are surprised that Jesus is about to come? (Think about this. The forces of evil must believe they will win, otherwise they would not be surprised. God's people must be so caught up in the current trouble that they lose sight of the bigger picture.)


    5. Read Revelation 16:16. Why are they gathered at Armageddon? ( Revelation 16:14 says they are gathered "for the battle.")


    6. Read Revelation 16:17-21. Does the battle take place? (Instead of a battle report, we read of a terrible earthquake and hail. God pours out His fury on Babylon the Great. It seems God supernaturally calls on nature to defeat evil.)


    7. Read Judges 5:19. Have you heard of "Megiddo" before? (The Hebrew word translated "Armageddon" means a place in Megiddo.)


    8. Read Judges 5:20-21. How is this war at Megiddo won? (Nature! Flooding causes the Kishon river to sweep away the bad guys. We have precedent, in this very same place, for God using the powers of nature to defeat evil!)


    9. Friend, the world is taking sides. In the United States, the divide seems larger and more determined than ever. While the division is not specifically between Christians and non-Christians, the divide is largely between those in rebellion against the Word of God and those who desire to follow God. Will you choose the right side? Why not make that decision right now?


  4. Next week: The Return of Our Lord Jesus.

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