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ESCAPING THE THEOLOGY OF BABYLON
ESCAPING THE THEOLOGY OF BABYLON
Escaping The Theology Of Babylon
by Carter Conlon (Times Square Church, New York City)
Throughout the Old and New Testament, there are many references to Babylon, a city that was located in the vicinity of modern-day Iraq. Babylon was not just a physical place but was also symbolic of a spiritual place and condition: a condition of fallen man, fallen societies, and also of some who claim to know God and speak for God. Babylon also speaks of a fallen system, of man trying to find eternity without God or his Word. This system has its own religion and theology and will not bend its knee to the lordship of Christ.
Paul typifies this Babylonian society in the second chapter of Timothy as a self-indulgent people who are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God. They have a form of godliness, but there is no actuality of the life of Christ in them. God, however, wants to portray to the world a beautiful bride of truly surrendered believers, ones who will exemplify the very image of Christ.
We are clearly warned in scripture that the devil has come with a mighty flood in these last days. He is trying to duplicate the Gospel of Jesus Christ and in so doing, mar the way of salvation and the abundance of truth God has for those who believe in him. There will be confusion, and if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived.
GOD SAVES THE BEST FOR LAST
When Jesus was at the wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, he turned water into wine; when the invited governor tasted it, he said to the bridegroom, "You have saved the best wine for last." Wine gladdens the heart, and in scripture, the Holy Spirit is typified like unto wine that gladdens the heart of the believer. The church led by the Spirit, therefore, is to be a sweet savor going through the earth gladdening the hearts of those who are bruised, wounded, blind, and all who are without hope and help. The church is to walk through the earth as Christ walked: reaching out beyond themselves, understanding there is an agenda of God far above and beyond the agenda that comes from the hearts of fallen man.
SPIRITUAL BABYLON OFFERS ONLY POLLUTED WINE
Revelation 18:23: Öhe cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
This Spiritual Babylon offers the world a polluted wine. It offers false hope and comfort to those who embrace it. The theology of Babylon feeds into the lusts of those who travel the earth seeking personal gain. They are not interested in seeking to live for God but, rather, how they can have better access to fame and power in this society and world. They are not interested in either the cross or any talk about the blood; they donít sing about sacrifice, or discuss personal commitment about going to the mission field. This Babylonian theology seeks only for self: "I am just here to find out how I can use Christ to increase my own personal worth and gain." They are merchants, and Spiritual Babylon has a theology that allows them to satiate their lusts, all in the name of God.
GOD IS RAISING UP A DESTROYING WIND
Jeremiah 51:1: Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind.
"Wind" in the Hebrew of the Old Testament is ruach; it literally means "the breath of God." This breath is a word God is raising up to bring the Babylonian theology to ruin. God is coming against this system that has robbed the poor without mercy. It continues to rob people who come into the house of God seeking the true knowledge of who Jesus Christ is. God has declared that he is raising up a word, and like a destroying wind will combat this present evil.
FANNERS IN THE HAND OF GOD
Jeremiah 51:1-2: ÖI will raise upÖ a destroying wind; And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.
Matthew 3:11-12: Öhe shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
This destroying wind of the Word will come to challenge this worldly system with its religion, and God says, "I will send fanners against you." The word for fanners in Hebrew is zoar, and it is a word used to describe someone other than what you are. In the book of Proverbs the word is used to describe "the other woman." Taken in the Proverbs context, God is saying that he is going to raise up in the midst of this Babylonian theology another woman, one who is different from this false theology. She will be a woman of virtue and righteousness, of goodness and mercy. This false theology that has robbed the poor has claimed to be his bride, but the Lord has a controversy with this, as this false bride has never made a true vow to him. She doesnít know who he is, and doesnít care for his children. So in contrast, God is setting before them the other woman, a woman of true compassion and of true love.
This woman of true virtue typifies the remnant church, the legitimate bride of Christ. These are people who are betrothed to him; they have willingly come to an altar of sacrifice, his Spirit is upon them, and they love him with all of their heart. It is like a man at a wedding ceremony with his bride, but the whole thing is a fraud. Suddenly, another bride comes in, more radiant than the one standing there, and she says to the woman, "I know you. You donít love him. His objectives are not your objectives; you care nothing for his house, nor for his children; you do not pursue the things he is pursuing Ė you are a fraud." This is the true bride with discernment, and she will have a voice that will rise up and challenge this end-time theology that is taking the testimony of Christ out of his house.
The fan in his hand mentioned in Matthew is this true bride doing Godís will and purpose, in which God chooses to manifest his presence. It is his very presence that will challenge the lack of passion and power in all that is false.
DANIEL, A MAN WHO STOOD AGAINST BABYLON
Daniel 5:1-4: Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, might drink therein. Then they brought the golden vessels that were taken out of the temple of the house of God which was at Jerusalem; and the king, and his princes, his wives, and his concubines, drank in them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.
Daniel 5:22, 23-24, 26: And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this; But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified: Then was the part of the hand sent from him; and this writing was writtenÖ This is the interpretation of the thing: MENE; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it.
Here in Daniel we see an example of this destroying wind. When the Babylonians captured Jerusalem, they took all the holy things out of the house of God back to Babylon, and began to party with those holy vessels. Today, there is a lot of theology doing exactly the same thing in the house of God. You see so-called spiritual leaders, both men and women, taking the holy things of God, and praising the gods of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone. I see those fanners mentioned in Jeremiah as those who stand for true righteousness in the midst of a false theology. Daniel is one of those fanners; he is as a fan in the hand of God, who stands in a time of judgment.
Daniel was a student of the Word and knew the time had come for Godís justice to be revealed. He stood up and said to Belshazzar: "You are weighed in the balances and found wantingÖ Thy kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." Belshazzar was so blind at this point that even after Daniel told him "Itís over" Belshazzar commanded them to put a gold chain on Daniel. He then made a proclamation promoting him to third ruler.
How incredulous it must have been to Daniel; he has just pronounced judgment, and Belshazzar is promoting him in a kingdom that was not going to last; in fact, Belshazzar was slain that very night. But this is exactly the same blindness that has blinded the eyes of those caught up in this false theology today.
There is no deeper darkness and blindness than that which is on those who have taken the things of God and have not handled them honestly. Jesus himself said, "If the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness." If you have taken the holy things and not used them for the purposes of God; if you have taken his Word and pulled out little bits and pieces to suit your own lusts, doing it all in his name, how dark and how deep that blindness is. Many are not aware they are going to hell; in fact, they are seemingly preaching what they consider to be the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But one day they will stand before him, and he will look at them and say, "I donít know you, you are a worker of lawlessness and a worker of iniquity."
GODíS GRACIOUS INVITATION
Jeremiah 51:6, 8-10, 14: Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lordís vengeanceÖ Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.
The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our GodÖ and they shall lift up a shout against thee.
This is the invitation Jeremiah gave to Godís people: "Letís get up and leave Babylon and its iniquity and go home, home to Godís righteousness."
The same invitation is given to us by the Holy Spirit, "Letís go back to Calvary. Letís get up and go back to apostolic teaching and the foundational truths of Jesus Christ. Letís go back to lives of self-sacrifice for the kingdom of God. Letís get up and go back to the work of God, and be the people that God has called us to be. Letís get out of all this false theology because the judgment of God is coming upon it."
A SHOUT FROM GOD WILL BE HEARD
Now we know literally that the Persian army who invaded the Babylonians arrived as quickly as a "shout." There is going to come from God "a shout" against all of this self-seeking that has found a place in the house of God. This false theology from Spiritual Babylon has spread all over the world; it seemingly has a power no one has been able to conquer. It has completely polluted the knowledge of God among the people who follow after it. But suddenly God will come with a shout into their midst.
But what could the context of this shout be in our generation and in the church of Jesus Christ? This shout is of men and women, Godís "fanners," who stand in this hour and proclaim the Word even in the midst of Godís judgment. They may not come from great halls of learning, but they have been in the prayer closet, and have touched heaven. They have been at the feet of Jesus, and have been in this book, the Bible. They know what God is saying and they are going to rise with his shout in their mouth.
THE SHOUT OF THE POOR WILL BE HEARD
Psalm 12:5: For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now will I arise, saith the Lord; I will set him in safety from him that puffeth at him.
There is another shout that I need to bring to your attention. It is a shout I have heard in faraway places like Africa and I have heard this same shout in other countries around the world while doing crusades. This same shout can be heard on the streets of New York City. It is the shout of the poor and the cry of the fatherless and widows who are in need and without hope; and it is the cry of the man or woman who has been marginalized by a false doctrine being preached today. These preachers of a false Gospel whose focus is money, target the middle to upper class, those who are easily solicited, while ignoring the real needs of the poor. Because these preachers are busy building monuments to their own egos, they care nothing about the true work of almighty God.
However, there is a spiritual awakening taking place among the poor of our time. God is the one who promises to come with a vengeance when the poor cry out to him. He will come and remove the veil from these men and women who have been marginalized by a gospel of foolishness, covetousness, success, health, and wealth, and will show them who he is; the great I AM Ė the one who will fight for them and care for all their needs.
In this awakening God is giving discernment to the poor and the widows that have been robbed by false preachers, discernment which that will cause them to ask questions. "What spirit speaks from you that all you seem to do is go after my money? You do not care about my children or my family. You make nothing but empty promises: ĎSend a thousand dollars to me and your drug-infested sons and daughters will come to Godí Ė as if God has to be bought!"
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because He has anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor, He has sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, the recovering of the sight to the blind, and to set at liberty them that are bruised, and to preach the acceptable year of the Lord, or to tell them that now is the time you can come to God for these things. Isaiah 61:1-2)
The poor will rise up and know Calvary is not about self-indulgence. Calvary is about giving themselves to the work of God and to Jesus Christ who undeniably, and without argument, defines the true work of God.
ESCAPING THE THEOLOGY OF BABYLON
Psalm 41:1-2: Blessed is he that considereth the poor: the Lord will deliver him in time of trouble. The Lord will preserve him, and keep him alive; and he shall be blessed upon the earth: and thou wilt not deliver him unto the will of his enemies.
Proverbs 19:17: He that hath pity upon the poor lendeth unto the Lord; and that which he hath given will he pay him again.
If you were to ask me today, "How do I escape the theology of Babylon?" the answer would be, "Just do what God has enabled you to do." If you would start reaching out and giving to the poor, do whatever God leads you to do. It might be a helping hand, or a right word given to someone "in season." It can even be as simple as a shoulder to lean on. It does not always have to be about money, unless you are able to alleviate some peopleís pain by financial aid.
Modern religion is so threatened by this approach to the poor. It hates the simplicity of Jesus pouring out his life through people to those who are oppressed. However, reaching out to the poor is the way you enter into the work of God, and in so doing, the scriptures will come alive to you.
You will begin to see the Word of God differently, not just picking it apart for individual promises for the day. You will begin to understand something of Godís heart. You will see his heart, not just for you only but for all those in need around you. You will also begin to see the Word in its context and its depths, revealing the mind and purposes of God. The Lord Jesus will lead you into the life that only he can give you, and as you follow him, you begin to live for the will of God.