Monday, 28 June 2021
And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.” Revelation 18:24
Chapter 18 closes out with more reasons why Babylon will face destruction. In verses 18:2 & 3, we read these reasons for her destruction –
She has become:
a dwelling place of demons
a prison for every foul spirit
a cage for every unclean and hated bird
all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication
the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her
the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury
That list is now rounded out beginning with, “And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints.” A logical question to ask would be, “Is this referring only to the time during the tribulation, or is it referring to a succession of bloody events throughout history.” The answer is probably the latter.
The tribulation period is simply a reason for judgment on the world that was already deserved. As for Babylon the great, if indeed it is Rome (as is suggested here), this is not only a certain truth, it is one that has permeated her history.
Prophets, meaning those who speak forth the word of God, and saints, meaning those who have believed the gospel of Jesus Christ, have been slaughtered by Rome since the beginning of the church. She has been drunk with the blood of these faithful while she has sat in splendid luxury.
Along with these, the verse finishes with, “and of all who were slain on the earth.” As often occurs in the Bible, not every “every” means “every,” and not each instant of “all” means “all.” The words are used in the superlative sense to show that the very nature of the thing being described demonstrates great abundance.
In this case, the amount of blood that has been shed by Babylon the great has been so copious that it is as if everyone ever slain is included in her murders. The same thought is given by Jesus when He spoke to the leaders of Israel –
“Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, wise men, and scribes: some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues and persecute from city to city, 35 that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 Assuredly, I say to you, all these things will come upon this generation.” Matthew 23:34-36
Abel came long before the establishment of Israel, but the conduct of the leaders of Israel was such that the guilt of the blood of Abel could be said to have been heaped upon them. Such is the case with Rome. The list of her martyrs was great, and it will only become greater during the tribulation period. Therefore, the guilt is so great that all who were ever slain appear to lay in her streets.
Life application: The name Babylon comes from the word Babel which means “confusion.” Therefore, the idea is that the death of these righteous people comes from the confusion of what is right and proper. The confused thinking of the world finds its home in Babylon.
Babylon the great is a system of unrighteousness, false religion, unclear thinking, and confusion about God. It inevitably leads to the martyrdom of those who hold fast to God’s word and the truth that there is one way to God and only one.
And more, that path is found in the grace of God and not in works by man – as if man can earn his way back to God. Babylon the great rejected this path long ago, and when it joins together in the end times with all of the other world religions, there will be only a state of complete apostasy from the truth in that body. Those who hold to the message of God in Christ will face martyrdom for their faith.
God has provided the way, He has done the work, and the offer of peace is made. It is a simple offer of grace that is to be received by faith. Come to the cross of Christ. Come to JESUS.
O God, we have rejected Your truth since the very beginning. Our first father, Adam, rejected it and we came under the penalty of sin and death. Cain rejected it, and killed his brother. Throughout the ages, we have turned our backs to You. And yet You sent us Jesus to lead us back to You and to forgive us. Thank You, O God, Amen.