Wednesday, April 17, 2019

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE 203

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
(A study in Book of Revelation Part 203) by J. Preston Eby.

THE DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON (continued)
“And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Rev. 18:22-23).

Two thousand years ago the firstborn Son of God declared, “For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John” (Mat. 11:13). God spoke to an age through the law and the prophets who gave the word of God to Israel until John the Baptist came on the scene preaching repentance and the kingdom of God. This means that the prophets and the law revealed God’s will for that age and were in effect until John showed up in the wilderness and began his ministry. The Lord ended the previous age by removing His blessing, presence, and authority from that previous order, and then spoke a new order into existence purely by His word. And by a similar unrecognized word of authority, Father shall conclude this age of the perfection of the bride of the Lamb, and the formation of His body of sons, and inaugurate the new age of the manifestation of the sons of God on earth (Rom. 8:18-30). When the Lord changed the order two thousand years ago, did He send a mighty cataclysmic upheaval and judgment to instantly eliminate the Old Covenant priesthood, laws, rituals, sacrifices, feast days, synagogues, temple, and religious forms? Did He quickly move to completely wipe them out and abolish it all from the face of the earth? No — not at all! Remnants of the old Jewish order remain in the earth to this day as an abiding and unimpeachable testimony to the blindness and emptiness of unanointed, uninspired, unspiritual religion! God removed every vestige and particle of His presence, unction, power, activity, and glory from that passing order and there is no spiritual or religious death more stark, barren, grim, empty, and desolate in any religious system of earth today than in Judaism! Ichabod — the glory has departed!

When Father changes the order in this day, replacing the old church order with His manifest sons, kings and priests after the Order of Melchizedek, will He then immediately eliminate and obliterate off the face of the earth the old Catholic order, the Baptist order, the Methodist order, the Lutheran order, the Episcopalian order, the Presbyterian order, the Mennonite order, the Pentecostal order, the Charismatic order, the Word of Faith order, and all the other church orders of man? Not by any means! They will perish in due time, sinking into the sea of oblivion, but first He will simply remove what is left of His blessing, presence, anointing, working, and authority from that order! It will be just as the heavenly messenger announced to John: “Rejoice over her (Babylon), ye heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her…and the voice of harpers and musicians (spiritual praise and worship), and the voice of pipers (prophecy and prophets), and trumpeters (announcers of new truths and purposes in God), SHALL BE HEARD NO MORE AT ALL IN THEE; and no craftsman (spiritual ministry), of what ever craft (gifting, ministry) he be, SHALL BE FOUND ANY MORE IN THEE; and the sound of a millstone (grinding flour for bread — the living word of God) SHALL BE HEARD NO MORE AT ALL IN THEE; and the light of a candle (the little light left in Babylon) SHALL SHINE NO MORE AT ALL IN THEE; and the voice of the Bridegroom (Christ the Head) and of the bride (the true church, God’s remnant) SHALL BE HEARD NO MORE AT ALL IN THEE…” What a word that is!

It simply means that there is no longer any anointing, no spirit of wisdom and revelation from God, no life-flow, no living reality present in Babylon. Who can deny it? Jesus said, “No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine” (Jn. 15:4). It reminds me of the story I heard of a young woman who sat down to speak with the receptionist in the bank lobby, and with an innocent, eager smile she said, “I’d like to get some of those little papers with my name on them that I can use instead of money.” The receptionist eventually figured out that the “little papers” this customer wanted were checks. The customer had no concept of how a checking account worked: she didn’t realize a check was drawn on a bank account, against money that was in the account. She thought it was enough just to have “those little papers.” In Jesus’ parable about the vine and the branches there’s something just as absurd as this na├»ve request from a bank customer. Jesus pictures a vine on which each branch exists to produce fruit. But some branches decide they want to be independent of the vine. So they stop accepting the nourishment from the vine, and some of them even cut off their attachment with the vine completely and head out on their own. The absurdity is that we can’t head out on our own! Just as we need money in a bank account in order to write a valid check, so also we need the Christ-life raised up within us as a steady supply of resources in order to bear the fruit of divine life. We are branches — Christ is our vine! Only in the union of our soul with Christ in our spirit can we bear kingdom fruit!

That’s just the problem — Babylon is a dead stick — a branch separated from the vine! Ah, a dead branch still looks like a branch, retains the form and appearance of a branch, can still actually claim to be a branch, but there is no life and no fruit. It maintains a structure void of any life-flow, a structure of void and death. Babylon is the custodian of structures of spiritual desolation and death! What appears outwardly to be a branch of Christ is just the dry stick of empty forms, dead works, lifeless rituals, uninspired theology, and carnal organization and programs of man!

There is an ancient story of a sentry standing day after day at his post with no apparent reason for his being there. One day, a passerby asked him why he was standing in that particular place. “I don’t know,” the sentry replied, “I’m just following orders.” The passerby then went to the captain of the guard and asked him why the sentry was posted in that place. “I don’t know,” the captain replied, “We’re just following orders.” This prompted the captain of the guard to pose the question to higher authority. “Why do we post a sentry at that particular spot?” he asked the king. But the king didn’t know. So he summoned his wise men and asked them the question. The answer came back that one hundred years before, Catherine the Great had planted a rosebush and had ordered a sentry placed there to protect it. The rosebush had been dead for eighty years, but the sentry still stood guard! Can you not see the mystery?

Oh, yes, Babylon is standing guard over static creeds, ancient traditions, empty forms, sterile sacraments, spiritless worship, unfructuous works, uninspired preaching and teaching, and carnal, man-made organization of the church systems of man. When the church was birthed on the day of Pentecost men and women were gloriously filled with the Holy Ghost! The ascended and glorified Christ shed forth His gifts upon the church, and the manifestation of the Spirit was given to every man to profit withal. God gave some apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers. These were ministry-gifts raised up by the power of the indwelling Christ! They went forth everywhere, preaching the word, and God worked with them, confirming the word with signs following. Oh! There was a mighty river of life that flowed from the throne of God and it flowed and flowed and flowed, bringing LIFE everywhere it went! But over the centuries men trusted more and more in the flesh, and less and less in the Spirit. Gradually, theology took the place of the living word of God. Sacraments substituted for the supernatural power of God. Prayer books supplanted intercession and praying in the Spirit. Form, ritual, and tradition replaced the ministry of the Spirit. What is tradition? It is keeping on doing something by rote that God did by His Spirit in an earlier move! Little by little the life dissipated, the anointing lifted, the power subsided, and the glory departed. BUT THE SENTRY STILL STOOD GUARD! The rosebush was dead, the branch was withered, nothing left but an empty shell of form, but the bishops, pastors, ministers, ecclesiastics, teachers, deacons, and church officials of all kinds continued to stand in their places guarding the dead branch of Babylonish religion! And they stand, still! You can see this evil without me having to make any application. Just go to any church service almost anywhere! You will run headlong into this evil of form. We have our three songs, pastoral prayer, announcements, special music, testimonies and/or communion, receive the offering, have the sermon, sing another song, go out and shake the preacher’s hand. And all of this is watched over by the sentry who still stands where the rosebush stood in that long-ago…

Someone has said that reading through the book of Psalms is like driving on a divided highway through some lovely section of the countryside. We pass through new and beautiful scenery with a spectacular landscape on each side. One of the unique scenes of the book of Psalms is found in Psalm 137. It deals with a particular portion of the history of the Lord’s people belonging to the southern kingdom of Judah. It is an historical Psalm — which is very unusual. The history of the children of Israel as recorded in the Old Testament books does not cover the history of God’s people during the seventy years they were in captivity in Babylon. There is a record of them being carried away into Babylon, and then a record of them coming out of Babylon and returning to Zion, but there is no record of the seventy years of captivity. Ezekiel was in Babylon, but he was prophesying to the captives there, not writing a journal of their condition. Also, Daniel was in Babylon during that period, but he was in the court, dealing with governmental matters and prophesying to the Gentile rulers. He leaves us no record of the activities or state of the many thousands of captives there. The seventy years of Babylonian captivity are a period of almost absolute silence. It is a vacuum. It is a void so far as information about the people of Israel dwelling in Babylon. This fact gives great emphasis to Psalm 137 because it serves as a bridge over this vast chasm of silence. This Psalm enables us to look through the keyhole, as it were, and gives us a bird’s-eye view of the captivity of God’s people in Babylon. This is what we are permitted to do here. We don’t see very much, but we see enough and it speaks powerfully to us today about the spiritual captivity of the Lord’s people in Mystery Babylon the Great!

The Psalm begins with these melancholy words, “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion” (Ps. 137:1). By the rivers of Babylon! “By the rivers of Babylon” was a place where they were captive, where they had lost their freedom, their joy, and their power, where they performed slave labor, a place where they suffered — “by the rivers of Babylon.” They had no business being there! God had placed them in His most favored land with profound and abundant blessings beyond description, kissed by His presence and glory manifested in their midst, with deliverance from all their enemies. God had promised to cover them with His mantle as long as they were true to Him and stood as His witnesses in the midst of the earth. But they were not true to Him, they ceased to walk in His Spirit, they forsook His ways, they broke His commandments, they followed after other lovers, fornicating with the gods of the heathen, and worshipping idols. And now, as the judgment upon their many sins, they are here — “by the rivers of Babylon.”

The rivers of Babylon are, of course, the canals. It is now quite certain historically that these captives are in fact the very people who dug those canals leading off the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers! Babylon was in modern day Iraq, a hot, dry, dusty plain. Those canals threaded through that desolate terrain to irrigate the land, turning it into a green, flourishing section. These are the people who from sunup to sundown wearily dug through that dry desert land. “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down.” What a somber, heart-rending scene that is! What a picture of deep dejection! What a portrait of heartbreaking despair! What a representation of desperation! “There we sat down.” What else could they do? Ah, another thing. “Yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.”

This is no Psalm of praise. This is a Psalm of deep indigo, as blue as you can possibly get. What a contrast between Jerusalem and Babylon! Jerusalem yonder in the everlasting hills, Jerusalem the city of God, Jerusalem beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth! Babylon, down on a blazing hot plain. What a contrast! And they are homesick, acutely aware of their great and terrible loss, wretchedness and torment flaming in their souls. They are there because their city has been destroyed. They are there because their sins weakened the strong walls of their defense — the righteousness and power of God — and the Babylonians, a people stronger than they in their defenseless state, had invaded their city, carried them away captive, herded them like animals, and put them in slave labor camps “by the rivers of Babylon.” Now they are homesick. “We wept, when we remembered Zion.”

The sad narration continues. “We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs of Zion” (Ps. 137:2-3). The citizens of Babylon had heard about the singing of Israel. It was world famous, and not without cause. When the news spread about the Jewish captives being brought into the canal country of Babylon, that they were being located there in slave labor camps, this became both a curiosity and an excitement on the part of the Babylonians, because the people wanted to hear them sing. You see, Israel was world famous for its music! In Jerusalem there was a temple to the one true and living God. When visitors came to Jerusalem from the many nations of the world, they found a people who were not worshipping images and idols of many gods, but a people serving a living God who spoke audibly and manifested His visible glory in their midst; and by the spirit of praise and worship the people were singing praises unto Him. They had never seen or heard anything like it!

It was more than hymns written by men and intoned by trained choirs — it was indeed singing in the spirit and by the spirit — it was prophetic singing, indeed, the very song of the Lord! This joyful and heavenly sound was first heard in Israel at the time of the dedication of Solomon’s temple. When all the work that Solomon did in building the house of the Lord was finished, he then summoned the elders of Israel and all the heads of the tribes to Jerusalem to bring up the ark of the covenant of the Lord out of the city of David where it had been kept. The priests and the Levites brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord to its place in the temple, in the Holy of holies, under the wings of the cherubim. When the ark was positioned in its place and the priests had come out of the
Most Holy Place, then the elders, the priests, the Levites, and thousands of the people of Israel were assembled at the glorious temple. The Levites stood arrayed in fine linen, having cymbals, harps, and lyres — and an hundred and twenty priests took up their trumpets. Then we read, “And when the trumpeters and singers were joined in unison, making one sound (tone, harmony) to be heard in praising and thanking the Lord, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and other instruments for song and praised the Lord, saying, For He is good, for His mercy and loving-kindness endure forever, then THE HOUSE OF THE LORD WAS FILLED WITH A CLOUD, SO THAT THE PRIESTS COULD NOT MINISTER BECAUSE OF THE CLOUD, FOR THE GLORY OF THE LORD FILLED THE HOUSE OF GOD” (II Chron. 5:13-14).

Ah, my beloved, I have witnessed and been a glad participator in scenes like the one described above, and I am sure that many who read these lines have been there. Having been raised as a child in the Pentecostal Church, singing the old “I’ll Fly Away” songs of Pentecost, which was all we knew — what indescribable glory, what awe, what reverence, what heavenly wonder and rapture flooded my soul when the glory of God came into my house as God sent down the torrents of His presence and power into my soul when He first moved many years ago to do a new thing in the earth. I shall never be able to forget the glory as heaven came down, as the musicians, the ministers, and all the congregation were instantly imbued with the celestial music of heavenly choirs, all joining their voices in unison, making one sound, one tone, one harmonic, rhythmic, divine flow of prophetic singing — no song that we had ever heard or learned, but HIS SONG, THE SONG OF THE LORD! George Hawtin once described the wonder of it when he wrote of his own experience when the glory came into their class room while he and his students waited on God that glorious 15th of February, 1948. He wrote, “How we sang the songs of deliverance! How the praises of God echoed down the corridors of the soul and re-echoed among the battlements of heaven! Music of heavenly choirs of earth went sweeping up the sky sweeps while angels stood at heaven’s gates and swept their harps of gold. Day after day, month after month the celestial wonder continued, heaven came down our souls to greet and glory crowned the mercy seat.”

When this glory came to Israel the news of it spread throughout the world. People came for thousands of miles to witness the wonder and to drink at the ever-flowing fountain of life and glory. The Queen of Sheba came from the ends of the earth when she heard of it. She thought the report couldn’t be true. It wasn’t just the wealth of Solomon’s kingdom that drew her — it was the glory! During Israel’s feast seasons the people from throughout the land would gather in Jerusalem and they would sing the songs of the Lord, many of which, in time, became the Psalms. David arranged a choir and an orchestra with hundreds of musicians. It is estimated that there were times when one hundred thousand people gathered in and around that temple, singing the praises of God! To hear and behold such a divine and transcendental expression was a sensational experience. But now that glorious temple was burned, Jerusalem lay in rubble, and the people were doing slave labor in Babylon. Before the captivity many travelers had come to Babylon saying something like this: “I was in Jerusalem during a feast these people had. They were from all over the world. They gathered around their temple over one hundred thousand strong. When that sacrifice was burned, and the smoke ascended, the spirit of their God came upon them and out from the throats of those people rose a psalm that lifted me off the ground into the heavens! I have never heard anything like it!”

When the people of Israel assembled according to the command of the Lord and sang the high praises of God, the world heard about it. God intended the world to hear about it! Now that they were captives in Babylon, the Babylonians said, “We’re going out there to hear some of that heavenly music!” But when they got out there, the Babylonians saw the harps hanging on the willow trees. They saw these people sitting in deep dejection — instead of singing they were weeping. They have no heart for singing. They have quit singing now. They will not have a choir there. There won’t be any worship service there. They are wailing instead of singing. They have put their harps upon the willows; they won’t be needing them any more. And with a sneer they said to them, “Sing us a song of Zion. We’ve been hearing about you. We thought you people could sing with the harmony of the gods! Come on, let’s hear it!” Listen to the response of the captives — “How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?” (Ps. 137:4). With a sob in their soul, they said, “We’ve lost our song. You command us to sing a song of Zion. Our Zion is back yonder in the ashes and rubble and ruin. We can’t sing the songs of Zion by the rivers of Babylon. We can’t sing anywhere but back there. OUR GOD IS IN ZION. But we are not in Zion! How can we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land — where Yahweh does not dwell!”

Oh, yes, my beloved, Babylon is a strange land! I am at home in Zion. The Lord dwelleth in Zion, it is His resting place, and upon Zion the glory rests. I can tell you today that Babylon is a strange land. Its culture is not the culture of the kingdom of God! Its music is not the song of the Lord! Its language is not the language of the Spirit! Its creeds and commandments are not the living word and truth of God! Its vestments are not the robe of righteousness nor the garment of salvation! Its blood-line is not the life of God! Its organizations and institutions are not the divine order of God! Its methods are not the ways of the Lord! Its food is not the bread that cometh down from heaven! So long have I dwelt in Zion that when I walk into one of the meetings of the Babylonian church system, my first thought is, “My God, can it be possible that people are still preaching, performing, and worshipping like this?” I have crossed a national boundary. I have entered another “country.” I am in a strange land! Babylon is a strange land of captivity where the flow of God’s spirit and God’s life is bound in the chains of tradition, ritual, program, and carnality. The captives in Babylon were perfectly right in refusing to sing! To begin with, they couldn’t sing. Neither did God ask them to sing where they were. They were to sing the songs of Zion in Zion. Personally, I do not enjoy the music of Babylon. I cannot bring myself to listen to “Christian” radio stations, nor do I watch “Christian” television. I can no longer sing the songs of Babylon, nor can I sing the song of the Lord in a strange land!

When the voice of harpers and musicians (spiritual praise and worship), and of pipers (prophecy and prophets), and trumpeters (anouncers of new truths and purposes in God), shall be heard no more at all in Babylon, her day of judgment shall have arrived. For a season they will continue on with their meetings, fellowships, activities, programs, ceremonies, rituals, crusades, and religious works. For a season, until the time appointed of the Father, all will continue to function but without Father’s authority or the precious anointing and working of His Spirit. Thank God! There is a remnant, a chosen company, a firstfruit, a people with a purpose, called to be sons of God, who have now been awakened to this new day and are entering into its purposes by the leading of the Spirit of God. These have already received and obeyed the call to come out of the Babylon system, because a new and greater manifestation of the kingdom of God is at hand. We are standing in an hour that parallels the day when John the Baptist appeared by the Jordan, and a voice from heaven is now heard, proclaiming, “These are my beloved sons in whom I am well pleased.” God is about to manifest these sons to the world and creation! What a day this is!

This call to come out of Babylon, this call to be separated unto the Lord and unto Him alone, that God may be a Father to us and that we may be His sons, has come from the SPIRIT HIMSELF, confirmed by many thousands of saints in all parts of the earth, in practically every nation under heaven! It is not a matter of doctrine, not a matter of the interpretation of scripture, to endeavor to prove from holy writ that this is the time for God’s sons to be manifested and for the kingdom of God to come in great power and glory. Just as it was with Jesus when the Spirit led Him to the Jordan to be baptized by John, to be announced in His sonship by the voice from heaven, then to be led into the wilderness to be tested in His sonship by the adversary, and then returning in the power of the Spirit into Galilee where His sonship ministry began and there went out a fame of Him throughout all the region round about — just as it was with Jesus it is a matter of HEARING FROM GOD! Let it be thoroughly known — those who reject this vision reject the voice of the Lord from the heavens!

Now God has called us to “come out of her,” to depart from all our religious backgrounds, to repent of our doctrines, creeds, and beliefs; to repent of our denominationalism and our non-denominational denominationalism; to repent of our carnal religious methods, our dead works, and all the baggage we have brought with us into this kingdom walk, from the systems of man. Only as we repent, and follow the Lamb up Zion’s mount, becoming invested with a new mind, a new spirit, a new vision, a new purpose, and a new reality, can we enter into this new and higher and more glorious dimension of the kingdom of God revealed through sons.

As the sons of God come forth out of their wilderness of separation and testing in the power of the Spirit, as there goes out a fame of them throughout all the nations, as the glory of the Lord arises and covers the earth as the waters cover the sea, the whole system of Babylon will collapse and go up in flames! Do you think for one moment, dear one, that if God does not completely remove His blessing from Babylon, the people of God will ever leave her? No way! But every blessing and moving of God within her will die. In that blessed day God will have His man, His manchild, His corporate man, His new creation man, His one new perfect man, His man in the image of God, His many-membered son, His man in the measure of the stature of the FULLNESS OF CHRIST, full of faith and the Holy Ghost, full of incorruptible life, full of heavenly light, full of infinite love, and full of divine, omnipotent power — and upon HIM shall the glory be seen! Aren’t you glad!

“Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee. For, behold, darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be SEEN UPON THEE. And the nations shall come to THY LIGHT, and kings to the brightness of THY RISING” (Isa. 60:1-3).

…FOR BY THY SORCERIES…
“And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived” (Rev. 18:23).

It is significant to note that in all the previous 65 books of the Bible the words “sorcerer,” “sorcery,” and “sorceries” are translated from words denoting magic, witchcraft, or wizardry which were arts as ancient and established in human civilization as have been the true workings of God. As far back as the time of Moses and the kingdom of Egypt we see the experts in the magic arts were able to keep up with the supernatural workings of the Lord before the Pharaoh — rather convincingly up to a point. Of course, as with all counterfeits, they inevitably are exposed sooner or later. Though some are outright frauds, fakes, and phonies, with others their power is often very real — divination through the assistance of evil spirits, black magic, enchantment, witchcraft.

Only in the book of Revelation does the reference to magic arts or sorcery take on an entirely new meaning! The word used throughout the book of Revelation is an altogether different Greek word than is used anywhere else in scripture. In Revelation 21:8 it is pharmakeus and in Revelation 22:15 it becomes pharmakos. Then in Revelation 9:21 and here in our text the word is pharmakeia. Obviously the prefix “pharma” reveals that the meaning of the word has something to do with drugs, as in the words “pharmaceutical,” “pharmacy,” and “pharmacist.” No other place in scripture, but in the book of Revelation, is the idea of “sorcery” associated with drugs! The three Greek words listed above are simply different forms of the same word denoting drugs and druggists. It identifies deadly poisons and those who either make or sell those deadly poisons. That is just what the words mean, nothing else. In the Greek language a Pharmacist is, therefore, a Sorcerer, a maker or a dealer, a vendor or a user of deadly poisons sometimes administered as medicines. Legal or illegal, in many cases they destroy the brain and other vital organs and systems, madden the user, and weaken and ruin the spirits, souls, and bodies of the countless millions who use them. If you doubt that practically all drugs are dangerous, deadly poisons that are, even at best, destructive to human life, just listen to the plethora of warnings and side effects at the end of most pharmaceutical ads on television! Oftentimes more seconds are spent on the warnings and side effects of the drug than on the actual promotional and beneficent content of the ad! That is the actual meaning of the words “Sorcerers” and “sorceries” in the book of Revelation. As a matter of scholarship it cannot be contested.

The purpose of this message is not to attack drugs, medicines, or pharmacists. Let us keep our minds in the Spirit! Again I remind every reader of these lines that the Revelation is a spiritual book, and its realities are spiritual realities! No one knew better than the beloved John what, in its spiritual meaning, “drugs” signifies! The message is clear — it signifies the doctrines and teachings of religious Babylon which dull the spiritual senses of the Lord’s people and are destructive to true spiritual life, giving them a false hope, a mis-directed goal, and causing them to live by religious superstitions, myths, traditions, legends, and folklore. Doctrines about the power of the devil, financial prosperity, the rapture, so-called end-time events, the antichrist, the great tribulation, a mansion over the hilltop, along with holidays, rituals, ceremonies, sacraments, and a hundred more delusions drug God’s people into a spiritually hallucinogenic state. They live in a false, starry-eyed fairy-world of soulical imaginations which they suppose to be spiritual realities! Pleasure! Fun! Thrills! Excitement! are the result of a cunning spirit that saturates the church systems as they run after the “high” of soulical programs, concerts, fleshly manifestations, emotionally stirring singing, entertaining preaching — the same as any drug user in the world. God says that all nations are deceived by the “sorceries” or the “spiritual drugging” of Mystery Babylon!

The people are drugged to sleep by the word of Babylon simply because the true word and the true ministries of God ARE FOUND AND HEARD NO MORE AT ALL IN HER! They have nothing of life to offer, no reality to meet your deepest need, so they give you a drugged word to induce either a deep spiritual stupor or a fleshly, emotional high which keeps you ignorant of the real, eternal values. You are so drugged out of your mind that you’re not aware of the lack, of what’s missing. It’s a numbing effect, you’re in a hypnotic trance, an illusory world of imagination, unreality, and make-believe, as they “soothsay” you, casting over you their spell, bringing you under their control so that you listen to their voice and blindly obey.

There are not many people who are sufficiently awake to believe it, but at this very moment hundreds of millions of church goers of every sect and creed are walking and talking and acting under the delusions of Babylon’s drugs. They are filled with false doctrines, false hopes, false expectations, false understandings, false interpretations, false forms of worship, and though they profess to be Christians, they would not know the real Christ if they met Him on the street. They are so “high” on their mixed potion that they giddily imagine that they are going to be caught up in the sky where they will sit on a cloud with Jesus eating pork chops, or some such foolishness, at the marriage supper of the Lamb, while the inhabitants of earth suffer the excruciating pangs of “great tribulation” under the rule of a superman dictator called “the Antichrist.”

When I read fairy tales like that I recall what one brother wrote some time ago. He was ministering in a meeting in California and one morning they had a session in which he answered questions from the congregation on the subject of Bible prophecy. He said, “We had one man there who gave me literature, which evidently he wrote, saying that John F. Kennedy is the Antichrist, and even though John F. Kennedy was supposed to be dead, he is alive; and he said that he had been to the island of Scorpus in the Grecian sea, and he had seen John F. Kennedy still alive, and that he is the Antichrist. And as we began to talk there, I just let him talk a bit. He said, ‘In the tribulation period, the Antichrist will take his image and put it in the Temple.’ I said, ‘That’s interesting. Where do you find that?’ He said, ‘It’s over here in the book of Revelation.’ Now these folks were sitting around listening, and I just decided to push it as far as I could, and I said again, ‘Where do you find this?’ He said, ‘It’s right here in the book of Revelation.’ So I said, ‘Well, you find it. We’ll go ahead and talk. You find it, and let me know where it is.’ So he began to go through the book of Revelation, on and on. After a while I looked over and said, ‘Did you find that yet?’ And he didn’t say anything; he just kept on looking and looking. I said, ‘All I want to know is where it says an image will be set up in the Temple in Jerusalem during the Tribulation period.’ He never found it. But you know, he was not a man who would humble himself and say, ‘I’m wrong.’ This is bad about anybody. I want to tell you, friends, in my life I have always been willing to say, ‘I’m wrong,’ and I have had to say it a lot of times about prophecy as I have learned some new things that God has shown me. But the book of Revelation doesn’t say that any Antichrist, or Beast, or anybody, will put an image inside of a Temple in Jerusalem!” — end quote. Such fairy tales are preached from the pulpits of thousands of churches with great earnestness and conviction, with sober faces and an air of great Bible knowledge, and yet how pitiful is such an understanding! You really do have to be “high” on something to create such inaccurate, distorted and convoluted theories of supposed truth!

Ah, Babylon, and the multitudes who are deceived by your sorceries, your psychotic hallucinations are so intense that you actually believe that the vast majority of earth’s billions of human souls will be lost to the all-loving and omnipotent God — finally, irrevocably, and eternally — and not only will they be separated from God and heaven forever and ever, but they will be given over to the most sadistic, inhuman, ungodly tortures that could be devised by the vilest fiends — a thousand times worse than anything inflicted on man by Adolph Hitler or any other tyrant of human history. To add to the stupidity of these drug-induced, mind-altering distortions of reality, you conceive that these billions of men and women for whom Christ died go to a red-hot, sizzling, burning hell the moment they die, where they will twist and scream and blaspheme in agony and torment throughout an endless eternity, without compassion, mercy, or reprieve. Who can deny the great truth the Holy Spirit has so clearly revealed to all who have eyes to see and ears to hear: “For by thy sorceries (doctrines which dull the senses and drug God’s people into a hallucinogenic state) were all nations deceived!” Oh, yes! The so-called “fundamentalist” and “orthodox” churches are constantly warning and harping about the “cults.” But I have no hesitation in saying that denominational Christianity is itself the leading cult of our day as it spews forth an unceasing stream of the most absurd and hideous and offensive distortions of God’s nature, character, plan, and purpose — proclaiming as God’s truth the most heretical and spurious teachings extant!

The same beloved John who heard the heavenly voice on Patmos proclaiming the great truth of which I now write also left us this solemn warning, “Little children, keep yourselves from IDOLS (that is, false gods, or false ideas and representations of the true God)” (I Jn. 5:21). Does the church worship idols — false representations of God? I fear we do! We say God is all-wise, all-knowing, and all-powerful, and then turn around and deny it. We say that God “so loved the world” and that Jesus is “the Saviour of the world” and then turn around and say that only a few will be saved while God sends the vast majority to suffer the excruciating pains of eternal fire and brimstone — without His feeling or showing any concern for their suffering, and without mercy! We say that God is all-powerful, and then turn around and say that God has “provided” salvation for all men, that God is “trying” to save the world, that God is “pleading” with men to repent, but the devil who blinds and possesses men’s souls is so much more powerful than God that he will carry captive with him into eternal damnation countless billions of men for whom Christ died! I don’t know what kind of Kool-Aid the people who preach such things are drinking, but methinks there is no doubt that it has been spiked with some of Babylon’s hallucinogenic drugs!

Also, folk who claim that they are true to the Bible say that God the Creator and God the Redeemer are the very same God, but they deny it in their attitude toward the question of the salvation of all men. As Dr. Hurley has written, “They have an infinite Creator, but a very little Redeemer. Their Christ is a comparatively helpless and puny Saviour who is going to lose most of those for whom He died. He can pay the price for the sins of the whole world, but the stubborn will of man makes it all ineffective. Man’s will is mightier than God’s will! Thus, God is infinite to create, powerless to redeem! But either God is all-powerful, or He is not. Either God’s will is sovereign, or it is not. Either God is all-wise, or He is not. Either God is all-loving, or He is not. Either God’s grace is infinite, or it is not. Isn’t it time for the church of Christ to decide one way or the other, and then make her theology fit her expressed faith?” — end quote.

THE BLOOD OF PROPHETS AND SAINTS
“And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” (Rev. 18:24).

In today’s terminology the statement in the passage above could be framed thus, “In her was found the very life-blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth” Spiritually, what Babylon requires of every man and woman she controls is every ounce of life-force you have! She will demand your time, she will pilfer your money, she will exploit your talent, she will harness your anointing, she will capitalize on your giftings, she will control your ministry, she will dominate every step of your walk in God. She will use the life-flow of the prophets, and of the saints, and of all whom she “slays,” that is, takes their life, to enrich, enhance, and embellish her stature before men!

George Hawtin expressed this same significant truth when he wrote, “For over twenty years I have earnestly sought to show God’s people that the modern church system, whether Protestant or Catholic, which daily becomes more closely allied with the world, the flesh and the devil, is MYSTERY BABYLON. She is drunken with the blood of the saints. She saps and sucks their life away! While she grows richer in silver and gold, plush seats and lavish buildings, she robs the saints of their progress in God. She denies and contradicts all true revelation and so shuts out the transforming light of God’s glory. Her preachers preach and prophesy, but tell their people nothing they have not heard a thousand times as they rehash the philosophies of bygone years. They have taken away the key of knowledge. They enter not in and those who would enter they hinder. It is the bright shining of the face of Christ that brings the knowledge of the glory of God. I write these things because I know it is not possible for any Christian to proceed to the realm of the more excellent glory while he remains associated with the harlots of Babylon. ‘Give not your strength to women,’ was the exhortation of the wise man of Israel. It should not be difficult in the least to grasp the spiritual application of that statement, because the women here referred to are the ecclesiastical harlots of our generation, the entire church system, mystery Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.”

The harlot thrives on power. The more people she gets under her power, the more people she hooks on her drugs, the more people she hypnotizes with her enchantments, the stronger she gets. Her sole motive is to survive. She is like the imaginary blood-sucking vampire that continues to devour the life-blood of the saints in order to survive and thrive. She must continue to exert her authority over people, over precious saints, even over prophets and other gifted ones, exploiting their gifts so that people can flow in, yield up their time, talents, money, yea, their very lives. Thus she gets people all involved, wrapped up, committed, and enslaved in her program.

There is also, of course, a more literal sense in which “the blood of all that were slain upon the earth” is found in this evil harlot, for she has truly martyred millions of believers through long centuries who spurned her affections and rejected her pernicious doctrines and ways. Even to this day in some countries she martyrs them still, some by death and others by excommunication and disgrace. I am not wrong, but speak forth words of truth and soberness, when I tell you that the church system of the twenty-first century, even as in times past, is part of the world system and is one of the kingdoms of this world. She is part of the great image that shall shortly be smitten by the omnipotent force of the little stone (manifest sons of God) cut from the mountain (of God’s great kingdom and authority) without hands. Thus with violence shall Babylon be thrown down to come to its end. Never will it exist again. But the little stone — O glorious stone of God’s omnipotent power and righteous government! — shall become a great mountain and fill the whole earth.

“And the kingdom, the dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom and all dominions shall serve and obey them. This was the end of the matter” (Dan. 7:27-28, Goodspeed).

To be continued…