Cover to Cover
After John saw the vision of the harlot, Rome, riding on the beasts, Antichrist, John saw another vision. In this vision, a mighty angel came down to him, and he shouts, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen!” We see the city falls quickly, within an hour (vv 10,17,19).
WHO IS BABYLON?
From Revelation 17:4-5, we see that the harlot woman, Rome, is also called Babylon. We also see the abominations mentioned are idol worship and its defilements. The Greek word for abominations in verse 5 is bdelygma, and it means “a foul or detestable thing” and it was often used “of idols and things pertaining to idolatry.” What do you think of when you think of religion in Rome? Most think of the Vatican, the hub of the Catholic church, a city of its own. Some see Babylon literally as the Catholic church, and others see Babylon as figurative of false religions. The Catholic church has definitely made idols out of their priests and of Mary, as well as many other false doctrines.
Before going any father, I want to say that I have many Catholic friends that have made Jesus the Lord of their lives and live moral lives. I don’t judge their salvation if they made that choice as an adult; however, the Catholic church teaches that a person is born again when they are baptized as a baby, separates Catholicism from Christianity. Christianity’s doctrine of salvation is based on the belief that Jesus died for sin and rose for the dead, and asks for forgiveness, turning away from sin. In addition, the Christian decides to make Jesus the Lord of their life, surrendering to His authority. That’s a big eternal difference.
· The Catholic church teaches that Mary, the mother of Jesus, is divine, which goes against the Bible.
· The Catholic church teaches people go to purgatory, a holding place, which is against the Scriptures. They used to teach that people on the earth could pray and give offerings to release their loved one out of purgatory to go to heaven.
· The Catholic church also idolizes certain dead saints.
· The Catholic church also teaches that you can sin as long as you confess it to a priest; therefore, many Catholics live carnal lifestyles.
· The Catholics even set themselves apart, saying they are the only true church; and if someone were to leave the Catholic church, they are said to be leaving the one and only church.
The Catholic Church has been around almost as long as Christianity itself, and therefore, I see Catholicism as representative of other false religions, “a mother of harlots.” The Catholic church is wealthy and powerful, and its leaders and buildings are very ornate (17:4).
Babylon is destroyed by the political power that once supported her. That political power is the beast the harlot rides on, the Antichrist. We also know the Antichrist is of Roman descent Daniel 9:26). The many waters she sits upon speaks of the 1.2 billion members of the Roman Catholic church that are around the world (17:15).
John hears another voice calling from heaven, “Come out of here, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest your receive of her plagues.” God calls the Jews to separate from false religions and wicked political nations. God wants the Jews to accept Jesus as their Savior of their heart, not just their nation.
VISION 5: The lampstand and olive trees
Zechariah has 8 visions recorded in this book. We read his fifth vision in chapter 4, the vision of the lampstand and olive trees. This prophecy is referred to by John when speaking of the two witnesses in Revelation 11:4. It has more than one layer, because this passage also has meaning for Zerubbabel that the Lord empowers Israel by His Spirit.
In the middle of this prophecy of the two witnesses, we see a popular verse that is often quoted by Christians today. It’s a principle from God’s Word, so it applies to us as well, and it is, “’Not by might, not by power, but by my Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts (4:6).” This is one reason why reading through the Bible is important. We see some of our popular verses in context, and right before this famously quoted verse is “This is the word of the Lord to Zerubbabel.”
To Zerubbabel, God was shouting grace, grace to the building of the second temple. To Zerubbabel, God said the accomplishment of building this temple would be His doing.
Now looking at end time prophecy in considering of a third temple, established with Christ’s Second Coming, there is a shared meaning. In the end times, through these two prophets, God will accomplish His purpose with His hand. It will not be by the might of men, not the power of men, but by the Spirit of God. These two are anointed, and the lampstand is illustrative of their anointing of the Spirit of God. They help prepare the coming of the Lord.
In 4:10 we see these seven spirits mentioned, “the eyes of the Lord,” who scan the earth and report back to Him. We also read in Revelation about seven spirits that belong to Jesus, perhaps these are they.
VISION 6: The Flying Scroll
In chapter 5:1-4 we read the vision of the flying scroll. This is a message that dishonestly is cursed.
VISION 7: Woman in the Basket
In chapter 5:5-11, we read about the vision of the woman in the basket. This is a message that wickedness will be removed. A woman tries to escape a large basket, but she is forced back into it. The basket is then removed.
VISION 8: Four chariots
In chapter 6:1-8 we read about the vision of the four chariots. This is a message that of heavenly spirits that execute judgment on the whole earth. The number four is often used to include all, as in the four corners or the four winds of the earth.
In verse 9 is a command to crown Joshua as a branch, or in a place of government, a government that is part of something larger, a nation made up of several branches, or past governments. Remember the Jews are very generationally minded. Together, the past and the present make up what the nation is today and what it will be tomorrow.
In verse 11, this man will be crowned with an elaborate crown. In the Hebrew, that words is plural. The man will wear many crowns. In that day, priests were not kings, so this Joshua was a foreshadow of Christ, who would rule as both king and priest. The many crowns could be reflected in Revelation 19:12 where it says, “on his head were many crowns.”