Quick question: Apart from Jerusalem, what city gets the most mentions in the Bible? If you answered “Babylon,” you’re right. It’s second only to the Holy City. But this one is the unholy city, and we’re about to bid it goodbye—forever.
We know ancient Babylon by its current name, Baghdad. It was one of the earliest regions to be re-inhabited after the Flood. Why is Babylon so troublesome? Through millennia of Earth’s history, Babylon has been a center of wickedness.
Babylon was founded on rebellion against God. It was founded by Nimrod, a man whose very name means “rebel.” Nimrod built the Tower of Babel with a large flat area at the top for pagan worship—the first time paganism appears.
Babylon’s significance stretches from Genesis to Revelation. Nimrod is a representation of the Antichrist in Revelation, modern-day Israel’s deadliest foe. After Babylon was conquered by Persia, it disappeared for centuries, but suddenly reemerges in Revelation, again warring against God’s purposes and people.
Ancient Babylon will meet her doom at the hand of God. Believers still alive during the Tribulation will rejoice to bid Babylon goodbye for the final time in Revelation 18.
Four things we learn when we say goodbye to Babylon:
One, Babylon is dominated by demons.
The world during the Tribulation will be infested and led by demonic spirits. “…a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit…” (18:2).
Antichrist wants to recreate ancient Babylon because it has always been the center of demonism.
Stone by stone, century after century, Babylon built a system of iniquity. God hasn’t forgotten. For that, she receives double trouble. “…repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her” (18:6).
Two, Babylon is defiant in depravity.
As we get closer to the Rapture of the Church and rule of Antichrist, we can expect a tidal wave of debauchery and demonism. Satan will strut around the Earth through his servant, Antichrist (18:7-8). Satan is already strutting now. The sin that used to slink down back alleys now parades down Main Street.
Antichrist’s world economy creates a boomtown in Babylon. Global corporations will make their headquarters there. No one will be able to buy or sell without the mark of the beast (Antichrist). Defiant Antichrist will seem absolutely invincible.
Three, Babylon is destined for destruction.
In spite of his defiance, Antichrist cannot hold back the judgment of Almighty God.
Therefore, her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her. (Revelation 18:8)
Babylon will be destroyed within one hour (v. 8-10). It very well could be atomic destruction. We don’t know for certain.
Four, Babylon is depressing in desolation.
When this occurs, this world will be thrown into chaos and despair (v. 11-23). A bundle of “no mores” sound like a funeral bell tolling: no more music, no more merchandising, no more manufacturing, no more marriage (v. 11-14, 22-23), all a trigger for Armageddon.
What is our take-away from Babylon and Revelation 18?
“Come out of her” (18:4). Even though you belong to God, if you flirt with Babylon, if you dance with the devil, you’re headed for serious problems.
Don’t envy her. Only a fool envies fools. Don’t envy Babylon.
Rejoice over her. One day it’s all coming to a climax:
“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!” (Revelation 18:20)
Read more about biding goodbye to Babylon.
The Crown (1777)
Before Jesus was crucified, a crown of thorns was placed on his head. Though done by the hands of wicked men, this crown part of the magnificent plan of a sovereign God, who would use it as a message for all humanity. Matthew 27 sets the scene for the sacred mystery of that crown. In one sense, this was an act of mockery. Yet, there was a mystery here, known only by God: thorns symbolizes the curse that is upon humanity because of sin.
When God created man and put him in the Garden of Eden, there were no thorns. It wasn’t until after sin infiltrated the garden that God cursed it with thorns. When He was crucified, Jesus wore this crown of thorns because He bore the curse. The crown also speaks of suffering, pain and brutality inflicted on Jesus during His crucifixion.
Why were the Roman soldiers beating and mocking Him? Because of their rebellion; they were ridiculing His right to rule. Adrian Rogers says, “The root of all sin is refusing to bow the knee to your rightful king.”
We must also recognize the saving ministry of that crown. Through these thorns, God was teaching a lesson that Jesus, who knew no sin became sin for us. (2 Corinthians 5:21) Because of His holiness, God never has, never can and never will let one sin go unpunished. There’s only one question...who will bear that punishment: us or Jesus? Adrian Rogers says, “Sin will be pardoned in Christ or punished in hell, but sin will never be overlooked.”
Finally, we must remember: crowns have always been a symbol of authority. When Jesus wore this crown of thorns, He was the sovereign majesty, not a helpless victim. Even when it seemed out of His control, He was in perfect control.
Jesus, in His glory, wears a crown. A crown of peace, righteousness and glory. But on our behalf, He wore one of thorns, bearing our curse, our sin, our shame to save us from ourselves once and for all.
Thank God for the crown.
Apply it to your life
All sin is due to be punished. Who will bear the punishment… you or Jesus?
Today, ask God for His forgiveness of your sins. Thank Jesus today for wearing the crown of thorns. Bow the knee to the rightful King.All Sermons by Adrian Rogers