All of us are probably familiar with the fact that the scriptures speak of the "fall" of Babylon the Great. Did we ever stop to think however of the obvious fact that for something to be able to fall it must first be in a standing position? Were you aware that the scriptures speak also (even directly) of this same entity existing in a standing position as opposed to merely a fallen one? This of course would beg the question which I have used as the title of this thread. I will be covering this information in relative depth under this topic as its importance cannot be overstated, and particularly in view of the fact that I personally have never even heard of this information being covered before, let alone having actually witnessed it. Obviously there is still an ongoing debate over exactly what Babylon the Great actually is. I would propose that if we can scripturally establish exactly what comprises this entity in a standing position, it would correspondingly make it much easier to determine what it becomes when it falls. As always however this would require us to simply allow God's written word to speak for itself while completely tuning out all the chatter involved with the teachings of mere men.Then Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, was dismayed for a while, and his thoughts alarmed him. The king answered and said, “Belteshazzar, let not the dream or the interpretation alarm you.” Belteshazzar answered and said, “My lord, may the dream be for those who hate you and its interpretation for your enemies! The tree you saw, which grew and became strong, so that its top reached to heaven, and it was visible to the end of the whole earth, whose leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which beasts of the field found shade, and in whose branches the birds of the heavens lived— it is you, O king, who have grown and become strong. Your greatness has grown and reaches to heaven, and your dominion to the ends of the earth. And because the king saw a watcher, a holy one, coming down from heaven and saying, ‘Chop down the tree and destroy it, but leave the stump of its roots in the earth, bound with a band of iron and bronze, in the tender grass of the field, and let him be wet with the dew of heaven, and let his portion be with the beasts of the field, till seven periods of time pass over him,’ this is the interpretation, O king: It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like an ox, and you shall be wet with the dew of heaven, and seven periods of time shall pass over you, till you know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will. And as it was commanded to leave the stump of the roots of the tree, your kingdom shall be confirmed for you from the time that you know that Heaven rules. Therefore, O king, let my counsel be acceptable to you: break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar.
(Dan 4:19-28 ESV)
Just reading this prophecy, clearing your mind of any preconceived ideas and sticking with what is clearly stated, what conclusions can be drawn?What is "Babylon the Great" when "standing" and "fallen"?
Many of us might be at least somewhat familiar with various descriptions found in the scriptures of what comprises Babylon the Great in a fallen condition. If you happen to be a former or even currently active JW however, you are likely fixated exclusively on the ones found in Revelation 18:2 where we learn that this fall has resulted in her becoming "a dwelling place of demons and a lurking place of every unclean and hated bird." Interestingly the fall of this entity recorded in Chapter 14 (yes there is more than one fall of "Babylon the Great") immediately follows with an indication that this event has created the very same wild beast that will soon now begin to "mislead those who dwell on the earth" and "tell them to make an image to the wild beast…" (Re 13:14) But did we ever stop to consider that this would indicate that PRIOR to this fall, Babylon the Great did NOT fit this description?
It is most certainly quite important to take note of the fact that not one but TWO of these "falls" are covered prophetically in the things listed to accompany the "seventh trumpet" alone, or final foretold battle cry for the spiritual nation during what the prophet Daniel refers to as the "seven times." (Re 11:15 14:8 18:2) (Da 4:23) It is also important to note that these "falls" do not represent the destruction of this entity, even if they do indeed lead to it. Quite to the contrary, the scriptures clearly bear out that for a time these "falls" actually create a NEW entity which once again is also in fact mentioned directly after the fall covered in Chapter 14 of Revelation. This is namely the "wild beast and its image." (Re 14:8, 9)
This "image" we soon discover is later described symbolically in Chapter 17 as a seven headed wild beast with ten horns along with a kind of "harlot" sitting on top. (Re 17:3, 5) If these "falls" DID in fact constitute the destruction of this entity, there would of course be no need for God's people to now "get out" of it and be on their guard against now "worshipping" it. (Re 14:9, 10 18:4) No, rather this fallen condition is mentioned among other things as resulting in this entity now becoming demon infested! (Re 18:2) This alone would certainly account for the divine warning against now worshipping this new creation as well as "getting out of her." I will insist nevertheless that regardless of whether Babylon the Great exists in a fallen or standing condition, it was NEVER to be an object of worship for God's true people. Moreover I will continue producing scriptural evidence that Babylon the Great actually was destined to both stand and fall basically a total of "seven times" corresponding to the foretold number of times that God's appointed shepherding class would "act wickedly against the covenant" and even "leave the holy covenant" which always established them as a nation to begin with. (Da 11:30-32) But aside from all this, did it ever occur to you that among other things this would mean that PRIOR to this "fall," Babylon the Great would NOT have been demon infested?
I have been endeavoring to demonstrate scripturally for a few years now that Babylon the Great is not only one in the same as the "antichrist," man of lawlessness," "son of destruction" etc., but is comprised of a three part entity identified in Revelation 16:13 as "the dragon, the wild beast, and the false prophet." However I have never yet pointed out that this is actually the case only when this entity exists in a fallen condition. When those identified here in Daniel as "leaving the holy covenant" accept the "consideration" of the "king of the north" just as illustrated/demonstrated with the way the ancient Judean kings accepted a spiritually adulterous alliance with the kingdom of Babylon, a substitution now occurs right amidst God's own house or earthly "sanctuary." (Da 11:32) (2 Ki 23:31-37 24:1) History bears out that his exchange results in God's nation being reduced to a mere puppet kingdom at best if it remains in existence AT ALL! Perhaps the most important thing we need to understand however is that this new vasselship becomes such not simply in a literal sense, but even a SPIRITUAL one! The prophet Daniel points out that what is identified here as the "constant feature" is now substituted with "the disgusting thing that causes desolation." Through reference scriptures we find that these apostasies and the resulting ominous entity that emerges from it is also identified with terms such as the "son of destruction," or the "man of lawlessness." (2 Th 2:1-5)
The Apostle John chooses the term "antichrist" for this entity which I recognize as the most fitting actually since right in line with Daniel 11:31, it literally means- replacement or substitute Christ. This in turn should help us to basically recognize that this "constant feature" mentioned here in Daniel that experiences this substitution is actually the CHRIST! (1 Joh 2:18) Bear in mind that the word Christ literally means-anointed one. In other words when this apostasy occurs and this exchange takes place in God's "sanctuary" or house, the spirit anointed shepherding class no longer exists AT ALL as any part of this picture whatsoever. Just as pointed out in accounts like Revelation 18:2, it is now replaced with a demonic entity referred to here in Daniel as "the disgusting thing that causes desolation." (Da 11:31)
These factors in turn might help us to better understand that this Christ or spirit anointed entity is now represented symbolically as "flying" or "fleeing to the wilderness." (Mt 24:15, 16) (Re 12:6, 14) Only in this manner can this "woman" now be as it says here in Revelation—"away from the face of the serpent." We want to keep in mind that these words in Revelation 12 were not only prophetic, but written AFTER the resurrection of Jesus himself. So particularly in this case we want to think of the Christ in terms of simply spirit anointed ones. When we consider these "wings of the great eagle" that are now given to this "woman," we should note first of all that these very same wings were described not only as a feature of the first "wild beast" mentioned in Daniel chapter seven, (namely Babylon), but that they were REMOVED at the time of the "standing up" of this entity as well as the giving it the "heart of a man" as opposed to that of a beast. (Da 7:4) This might begin making even more sense when we are reminded of the fact that eagles were listed among the "unclean" animals under Mosaic Law. (Le 11:13) In fact the eagle specifically is identified here in Leviticus as a "loathsome" or even a "disgusting" bird. This terminology should remind us of the words found in Revelation 18:2 when it speaks of Babylon the Great also becoming the "lurking place of every unclean and hated bird." Are we beginning to see a stronger connection to Babylon the Great and God's own people?
When we consider things like the fact that the Christ is replaced with the "disgusting thing that causes desolation" when these apostasies of the shepherding class occur, do we imagine that this symbolic spiritual language was just a coincidence? (Da 11:32) Compare (Da 4:33 9:27) (Mt 24:15, 16) (Re 12:14 18:2) Yes we need to recognize the fact that throughout this entire foretold "seven times" period, not only is there a direct connection between Babylon the Great and God's own "woman," but that on each occasion that she falls into spiritual adultery she will BEAR the guilt or responsibility of this apostasy (as if wearing the wings of an "unclean and hated bird" ) EVEN if she now proves herself a "faithful and discreet virgin" and successfully makes it through her newly assigned spiritual cleansing or "baptism of holy spirit and fire." (Re 18:2) (Mt 3:11)
In other words just as demonstrated by their exemplar, even the newly selected spirit anointed ones ("virgins") (Mt 25:1, 2) who are now deemed as having successfully carried out their assigned ministry to the "lost sheep of the house of Israel" ("Christ's brothers/domestics") in this spiritual "wilderness," must continue to accept the full responsibility of this broken marriage covenant and now sacrifice their fleshly bodies as atonement for this great apostasy. (Mt 10: 5, 6 24:45 25:40) Only then can the marriage covenant once again be renewed and the spiritual nation be given back its theocratic power and authority. (He 9: 16-18 22) As long as we are still dealing with this foretold "seven times" period, it is at this exact moment that the "wild beast" is once again "stood up upon its feet" and given the "heart of a man." (Da 7:4) In other words while God's people might for the time being remain in their figurative "Babylonian captivity" in a LITERAL sense, they are once again not in this bondage in a SPIRITUAL one, until the time they once again fall into spiritual "harlotry."
Have we ever stopped to consider however that this sudden change in demonic status might also have a dramatic effect on the foreign nations that played host to God's people over the millenniums? In other words, other than the obvious fact that these nations would now be in line for essentially the same punishment or even "desolations" coming to God's rebellious people, might this indicate that up until this moment they were actually free from demonic infestation as well? (Da 9:26) Could this perhaps begin to provide a clue as to what exactly comprises Babylon the Great not only in a "standing" position, but even as it describes here in Chapter 7 of Daniel as being "given the heart of a man" as opposed to that of a "beast." (Da 7:4)
Yes the scriptures DO in fact speak even directly of this "standing" of what I will insist is not simply Babylon, but even "Babylon the Great!" (Da 4:30 7:4) So what exactly then would constitute Babylon the Great in a "standing" position, and for that matter even with possessing "the heart of a man," as well as even having these "loathsome" or "unclean" "WINGS PLUCKED OUT"? I realize this is likely a completely new concept to most if not all the people reading this commentary, and that it even might seem rather outrageous. However I can assure you I am only just getting started with the scriptural evidence that begins to point us in this direction. Please consider the following questions:
Isn't it interesting that this foretold march of "wild beasts" in the Bible not only begins with a mention of this term "seven times," but also with the term "Babylon the Great"? Is there a connection here that we perhaps have overlooked until now? (Da 4:23, 30)
Why is it exactly that the very first of these beasts is strongly associated with the concept of "standing up," while the final seventh is so strongly connected with the thought of FALLING DOWN! (Re 14:8 18:2)
Would it make any sense at all for us to imagine for example the Medo-Persian king Cyrus (the founder of the second of these foretold seven kingdoms involved with God's people) being surrounded by demons while simultaneously being identified by God as his "anointed one"? (Isa 45:1) Or could we perhaps imagine that king Ahasuerus of Persia was constantly plagued with demonic presence after getting married to Esther, appointing her as queen and her Jewish uncle Mordecai as second in command over the entire kingdom?
To be continued: