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…

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE 202

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
(A study in Book of Revelation Part 202) by J. Preston Eby.

THE DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON (continued)
“Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning. Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; because no man buyeth their merchandise any more…and every ship-master…and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning…and they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness (wealth, all the money involved)! for in one hour is she made desolate” (Rev. 18:8-11, 17-19).

The lamentation that begins here is the first of three listed in chapter eighteen. The first is a lamentation by the kings of the earth-realm, or the lords and rulers of the carnal church systems of man (verses 9-10). The second is by the merchants of the earth-realm, that is, all those who have “made merchandize” of the gospel and the Lord’s people in those carnal systems (verses 11-17). The third (verses 17-19) is by all the ship owners, all the sailors, all who make their living by the sea trade. Ships in Bible days were vessels of wood, signifying humanity, the carnal nature, the Adamic life. The ship owners and sailors were involved in merchandising, moving goods, transporting the delicacies of the Babylonian kingdom. In religious Babylon these are the deacon boards, committees — finance committees, building committees, etc., money raisers, program directors, music directors, campaign directors, concert organizers, advertisers, all the “movers” by which the desires and ambitions of the leaders of the church systems are planned, financed, produced, and fulfilled.

In John’s vision he saw that all of the people mentioned above who witnessed the fall of Babylon were terrified and filled with horror. They had trusted in it. Now it was suddenly being destroyed! It is significant to note that none made any attempt to come to the aid of the great city Babylon. Fear of its torment, fear that they too might suffer its fate, has already caused them to move far off where they are standing, observing the destruction of the city. The lament of the kings, the merchants, and the ship-masters and sailors is dramatic: “Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come!” The cry is one of displeasure, even horror. The Greek may be translated either “Woe!” or “Alas!” However, the cry is very emphatic and is like a hopeless wail. “Mighty” is the same word that is translated “strong” in verse eight wherein we read, “…for strong is the Lord who judgeth her.” It suggests that Babylon claimed for itself the very power of God! But Babylon was not strong “in the Lord, and in the power of His might,” and therefore could not stand before Him. It was all a flimsy facade and it fell quickly when the breath of the Almighty blew upon it — and great was the fall thereof!

It is for Babylon’s incredible wealth that the mourners mourn over her. The “merchandise” of Babylon is itemized as an inventory in verses twelve through thirteen. These passages clearly indicate that Babylon is no literal city — and literal wares could not be meant, since no single city in the world could be the sole emporium of the whole earth, as it is presented here. All this merchandise is not to be understood literally, but as representing the traffic in things both carnal and spiritual and showing the fabulous luxury of the church systems of man. That’s the merchandising spirit — you can make money in Babylon! Religious Babylon has become a merchandising business and has abounded in all that wealth. The world empire of Babylonish religion, after millenniums of accumulating untold billions — probably trillions — of dollars in real estate, bank accounts, and vast holdings of various kinds, is doubtless one of the richest institutions, if not actually the richest organization, on earth today. Self-seeking businesses of all kinds have found it financially rewarding to patronize the materialistic world empire of Babylonish religion. And day and night you can see them crying on TV, pleading for finances for this and that project, offering CD’s, DVD’s, and trinkets of all kinds. There is no shortage of men and women seeking gold and glory. The land is overflowing with them, those seeking their own gain and each staking his own claim.

Some years ago, CBS’s Sixty Minutes did a profile on mega-pastor Joel Osteen and his “prosperity theology.” His sermons focus on how faith in God and worship of God bring material blessing. That is a positive message, and I certainly prefer a positive gospel to a negative one! But it can easily spill over into ungodly superstition, and it explains the great conundrum of modern religion: that many people’s faith is not necessarily making them into better people, not establishing righteousness in their lives, not investing them with the mind of Christ or conforming them into the image of the Son. How could it, seeing that religion is no longer about righteousness, but rather about success, health, and wealth; no longer about God’s will and plan, but about us; no longer about compassion, love, and a laid-down life, but our own physical and material needs? To inversely paraphrase John F. Kennedy, what so many religious leaders today are essentially saying is, “Ask not what you can do for God; ask what God can do for you!” I too want to be blessed! I too am thankful to my heavenly Father when my needs are abundantly met! But in turning God into a furry rabbit’s foot to ward off evil spirits and help us win the lottery, what chance is there that we will ever find transcendence in life or anything uniquely divine, heavenly, and spiritual? More so, what chance is there that we will ever be liberated from the incarceration of the ego — the carnal mind? If the one thing that can free us from the prison of the Self — the Christ-life — is changed into yet another shackle of the self-life, then we are damned to self-absorption forever!

Within recent decades, several of the most famous international television pulpiteers have been exposed and their vast financial holdings have been publicized. They have millions of dollars invested in their personal homes and property both here and abroad, while they fly around the world in their private jets, at the same time begging and pleading for money from the widows, the poor, and struggling families. They live sumptuously the lifestyles of the rich and famous while those who support their grandiose programs are living as virtual paupers. Where are those who are true harvesters of souls rather than those who gather (harvest) money? Where are those who are building God’s kingdom rather than their own? Where are those who truly feed the sheep? Where are those who are not lifted up with pride? Where are those who are not puffed up with their own importance? Where are those who do not promote and exalt themselves? Where is the preacher who doesn’t seek to ingratiate himself to the one with expensive clothes, luxury automobiles, fine homes, and all the marks of success and wealth? Where is the weeping before the altar? Where are those who refrain from using the world’s methods to conduct God’s business? Where are those who do not charge for the gospel? Where are those who do not have a ministry for sale? Where are those who have not taken unto themselves the gold and the glory? Where are those who are not displaying their flesh in their man-made promotions?

Where are those of a broken and contrite spirit? Where are those with the meekness and purity of the Lamb? Where are those who have not brought the spirit of this world into their midst? Where are those who do not put their picture on every page of their magazine and their name on everything they do? Where is the simple message of the kingdom of God without the Hollywood extravaganza and showmanship? Where is the worship in the beauty of holiness, in spirit and in truth, rather than musical entertainment? Where are those who approach God with reverence and godly fear and do not treat the sacred things as though they were part of a carnival? Where are those who have laid hold of God? Where are the humble? Where are the pure in heart? Where are those that are conformed unto the image of the Son of God? Where are the prayer warriors and the intercessors? Where are those who proclaim the gospel of the kingdom of God without the slightest motive of financial reward for themselves? WHERE ARE GOD’S TRUE MEN AND WOMEN OF THE HOUR? Of this you may be certain — these will not be found within the halls of Babylon’s religion! They will only be found among God’s faithful remnant who have received the call to come out of Babylon and, forsaking all, have gone unto HIM, without the camp, bearing His reproach, separated unto HIM ALONE.

Yet — all that is but child’s play when compared with the “merchandising spirit” of Babylon’s “Christian holidays.” Hear it! “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise anymore” (Rev. 18:11). Let me quote that again. “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man celebrates Christmas and Easter anymore…” Oops…I made a mistake and quoted that wrong. “…no man buyeth their merchandise anymore.” Did you know that most of the merchants, stores, and malls in the United States of America depend upon Christmas alone for a full 50% of their annual gross sales? The fact is, without Christmas most of them would go bankrupt and the entire American economy would utterly collapse! Add to that the other religious holidays — Easter, St. Patrick’s Day, Thanksgiving, and a host of others. The fact is — the stores rearrange their merchandise and restock their shelves at various times throughout the year based primarily on religious holidays! No sooner are all the products from one holiday cleared from the shelves, than they are filled full with merchandise for the next holiday! Then add all the religious bookstores, religious cards, Christian concerts, religious broadcasting, music sales, religious trinkets, etc., and you are talking about far more than 50% of the economies of most so-called “Christian” nations! Tell me that the gospel isn’t big business — the collapse of which would cause the merchants of the earth literally to cry, and weep, and mourn!

Who can deny that Christmas is indeed a commercial season, sponsored and kept alive by the heaviest retail advertising campaigns of the year. You see a masqueraded “Santa Claus” in the stores. Ads keep us deluded and deceived about the “beautiful Christmas spirit.” The newspapers, magazines, catalogs, television networks, and radio stations who sell these ads, print flowery editorials and publish advertising slogans exalting and eulogizing the pagan season and its “SPIRIT.” A gullible people has become so inoculated, many take offense when told the TRUTH! Think about it. The “Christmas spirit” is actually created each year, not by some unique moving of the Spirit of Christ, not even to honor Christ, but to SELL MERCHANDISE! Like all of Satan’s delusions, it appears as an “angel of light.” Materialism and commercialism so dominate this “season to be jolly” that there can surely be no soul so blind as not to see it. Although it is the season of giving — and everyone is propagandized to feel evil if they are not involved in the giving — the overtones, from the candy store on the corner to the department store that has everything and the mail-order catalog business and the internet, obviously put the stress on getting them more business during this time of the year than any other comparable season. In fact, many commercial ventures rely on this season of the year for their survival. Whenever a question is asked after the 25th of December is past, it is generally, “What did you GET for Christmas?” Each vies with the other, determined to express the idea that he got more. But God is revealing to His elect sons in this hour the difference between the precious and the vile — the difference between that which is born of God and that which is born of the harlot Babylon. God by His Spirit is bringing forth a people OUT OF EVERY VESTIGE OF BABYLON!

Historical records in encyclopedias, which are available in any city library, and are noted for their authenticity and reliability, give us these facts that Christmas is of heathen origin. It is traced back to sun worshippers and observed among the pagan nations. All these pagan festivals originated in heathendom. The word “Christmas” means “Mass of Christ,” or, as it later became shortened, “Christ-Mass,” and finally just “Christmas.” It came to us as a Roman Catholic Mass. But where did they get it? Certainly not from Christ or the Bible, for neither Christ or the Bible make any mention of it or even suggest that we should in any way celebrate the birthday of Jesus. Since it has come to us through the Roman Church, and has no authority but that of the Roman Catholic Church, let us examine the Catholic Encyclopedia, published by that denomination. Under the caption “Christmas” you will find: “Christmas was not among the earliest festivals of the Church…the first evidence of the feast is from Egypt.” “Pagan customs centering around the January calendar gravitated to Christmas.”

The Encyclopedia Americana, 1969 edition, says: “CHRISTMAS. The name derives from the Old English Chrites Maesse, or Christ’s Mass, and the present spelling probably came into use about the sixteenth century. All Christian churches except the Armenian church observe the birth of Christ on December 25. This date was not set in the West until about the middle of the fourth century and in the East until about a century later. The reason for establishing December 25 as Christmas is somewhat obscure, but it is usually held that the day was chosen to correspond to pagan festivals that took place around the time of the winter solstice, when the days began to lengthen, to celebrate the ‘rebirth of the sun.’ Northern European tribes celebrated their chief festival of Yule at the winter solstice to celebrate the rebirth of the sun (god) as a giver of light and warmth. The Roman Saturnalia (a festival dedicated to Saturn, the god of agriculture, and to the renewed power of the sun) also took place at this time, and some Christian customs are thought to be rooted in this ancient pagan celebration. It is held by some scholars that the birth of Christ as ‘Light of the World’ was made analogous to the rebirth of the sun in order to make Christianity more meaningful to pagan converts. Many early Christians decried the gaiety and festive spirit introduced into the Christmas celebration as a pagan survival, particularly of the Roman Saturnalia.” In our little booklet Five Reasons Why the Sons of God Should Not Celebrate Christmas (available free upon request) we cite many more historical proofs of the pagan origin of Christmas.

“But,” you say, “isn’t exchanging gifts scriptural?” The answer is NO! From the Bibliotheca Sacra, Volume 12, pages 153-155, we quote: “The interchanging of presents among friends is a like characteristic of Christmas and the Saturnalia, and must have been adopted by Christians from the pagans, as the admonition of Tertullian plainly shows.” The fact is, this custom fastened upon the people of exchanging gifts with friends and neighbors and relatives at the Christmas season has not a single trace of Christianity in it! This does not celebrate Christ’s birthday or honor it or Him. The partiality which is even exercised in the giving of gifts is another sign of failing to harmonize with scriptural principles. We do not object to the spirit of giving gifts, God forbid! But why wait until the traditional month of December when often times other seasons of the year would be more practical. A dear relative who insisted on continuing to send gifts to our house each Christmas long after we had ceased to reciprocate, when the subject came up one day, said, “Can’t I continue to give to you just because I love you?” “Certainly,” I replied, “but why do you love me only on December 25?” Furthermore, generally the method of giving fails to reveal the true spirit of charity. The major method of giving is to give to those from whom we expect to receive again in return. Even if we only suspect that a person may give something to us we then feel obligated to get something for him or her! That is not the true spirit of “giving”! It is certainly apart from the Spirit of God and all who give in that way already have their reward!

Consider this: Billions of dollars are spent for gifts every year because of one false doctrine. That false teaching is this: “The wise men gave gifts to Jesus, therefore we should give gifts.” But do we give our gifts to Jesus? To His work? Even to the poor and needy? No. NO. NO! We give gifts worth billions of dollars to each other. The truth is just this: The wise men gave their gifts directly to Jesus, not to one another. And their gifts were not birthday gifts! The Bible evidence shows that it was two years after His birth when the wise men visited the young child (not a baby) in a house (not a stable) in Nazareth (not in Bethlehem). When a visitor came into the presence of a king he was supposed to bring a gift. That was a common custom in the far East. The wise men did not give any birthday gifts to Jesus at all! They inquired for the KING OF THE JEWS and they gave Him royal gifts because He always was, is, and forever will be a KING!

Some credit the activities of Christmas to a nebulous “spirit” which they call the “Christmas spirit,” and many praise the workings of such a “spirit.” But, do people suddenly change their beliefs and character? Do they suddenly all act like Christians and then cease to act as such after December 25? But that isn’t right either, is it? The so-called “spirit” of Christmas has absolutely no power to transform men! For most of their actions under the influence of this “spirit” have nothing what ever to do with Christ! In fact, the “Christmas spirit” seems to cause almost all to behave in a manner that is totally out of harmony with the spirit of Jesus! Stores raise many prices (except in bad economic times), often pushing cheap and flimsy merchandise for “gifts,” men exchange bottles or cases of whiskey, employers give “Christmas parties” with free liquor, often with consequences of drunkenness, and sometimes with more tragic consequences of auto accidents, or illicit sex liaisons. Tens of thousands of families, caught up in the “Christmas spirit,” overspend, go into debt, max out their credit cards, and lay an additional burden upon themselves for months afterward. Is this “spirit” that inspires them the Holy Spirit? Of course not!

Then what is this festival which is called CHRISTMAS? The answer, which should be suspected by all true Christians as they watch both the secular and the religious world “celebrate,” is that this festival called “Christmas” is NOT a Christian holiday at all, but is exactly what it appears to be, a pagan debauchery whose origins are not, and cannot be, in the Holy One of Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus, in His sermon on the mount, taught that “a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit” (Mat. 7:17-18). The aged apostle John wrote with the pen of inspiration and wisdom, “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God” (I Jn. 4:1). This simply means that the Lord’s people are not to be influenced or moved by everything that seems to have a “spirit” behind it. As the “spirit of Christmas” comes wafting out of the necks of millions of bottles, as millions of people tiredly shuffle through the required routine, spending money they often can’t afford, braving the jostling crowds looking for various gifts, attending neighborhood parties, eating and drinking in excess, sneaking kisses under the mistletoe, the nation inexorably heads toward that all-too-brief evening called “Christmas eve,” followed by the nostalgia of “Christmas day” with cuddly scenes of little children in their pajamas gleefully giggling over what they find under their pagan “Christmas tree.” It’s a time of nostalgia; of childhood memories, of family gatherings, massive air travel, Christmas dinners, and football games — an orgy of spending, gift-giving, burning the midnight oil, eating too much and drinking too much, resulting in headaches and stomach disorders and other ailments that go along with drunkenness and gluttony, followed by the inevitable letdown. All this is outright heathendom and an insult to the Master, for it is done in His name, yet it has absolutely no connection with the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ!

Some contend that the Christmas spirit and the giving of gifts is a good thing. Instead it is a CRUEL PAGAN CUSTOM. Should you still think Christmas is a holy time, consider this: Christmas is a time of high carnality and low spirituality. We know that the unregenerate do not worship or serve Jesus. But they SURELY DO ENJOY CHRISTMAS! Why? Because of the decorations, the lights, feasts, gifts, parties, etc., all of which appeal to the natural man. THIS IS THE CHRISTMAS SPIRIT in which the whole world is caught up! Is it the Lord’s Spirit? Verily No! No one can dispute that — yet those who pay no attention to Christ, or His Spirit, or His Word all the rest of the year, those who fit the description of “the world,” enter into the activities and rituals of “Christmas” with a frenzy that borders on a passion! How can this be? How can the unbelievers be so stirred by this “spirit” at this one time of the year to venerate a day proclaimed as the “very birthday” of Jesus Christ, when they ignore Him or blaspheme His holy name the rest of the year! Oh, my beloved, that alone should tell you something! It is high time for all who treasure the beautiful hope of sonship to God to forsake the polluted house of the Harlot!

If with one sweep of the hand all the so-called holy days, all the commercialism of Christian products and services could be erased out of our land, the economy of the entire nation — and perhaps the world — WOULD COLLAPSE! Think about it! Can we not understand by this the heart-wrenching scene in John’s remarkable vision: “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all kinds of scented wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves…the merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing…for in one hour so great riches is come to nought” (Rev. 18:11-17). Check that list carefully, my friend, and consider just how many of the items enumerated there have been purchased by the untold billions of dollars from the merchants of the earth just at Christmas time!

 That is the great word-picture of the merchandising empire of religious Babylon! The luxuriance of the language must not blind our eyes to the fact that though it involves the kings of the earth, the merchants of the earth, and the ship-masters and sailors, it is really just one great lamentation, and one too of unequalled pathos; for the saddest sight imaginable is not the judgment of a World but the crashing to destruction of a professing Christian Church — the vision of a church first faithless, then fallen, and finally destroyed, consumed by the fire of God’s judgment! So great a space is devoted in the Revelation to the lamentations over her — one entire chapter — because so momentous, surprising, complete, and far-reaching is her destruction! The age and the land in which we live are full of the merchandising of Mystery Babylon. On every side we see the church and the world on the best of terms, and in such close alliance the one with the other that in reality they can only fall together! Thus, while Babylon burns, the world stands by and wrings its hands, casts dust on its head, and in stark fear weeps and mourns!

There is, of course, a spiritual dimension to the wealth and merchandising of Babylon. Our friend, Connie Asbill, expressed it so well when she wrote: “Like Israel who was rich in covenants and promises, this woman (Babylon) is rich with the word that has been brought to her, not only by the scriptures, but by those men who have been raised up out of the midst of her to speak truth under the anointings of God. In Revelation 17:4 she is seen ‘arrayed in purple and scarlet color, decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand…’ Babylon is, indeed, a RICH WOMAN! That she is rich by the hand of God, and is not merely pretending to be rich, is seen in Hosea 2:8 where the Lord Himself affirms that He is the source of her wealth. Babylon is not, however, aware in the depths of her being that He is her supply, and therein lies her ultimate undoing, for the Lord said, ‘She did not know that I gave her corn, and wine, and oil, and multiplied her silver and gold…therefore will I return and take away my corn in the time thereof and my wine in the season thereof and will take away my wool and my flax given to cover her nakedness, and now will I discover her lewdness in the sight of her lovers and none shall deliver her out of my hand.’

“Babylon is a rich woman — but it is with these very riches from the hand of God that she has prepared her own idols, having held the truth in unrighteousness and changed these riches and truths of God into a lie. That is what the Lord says in this passage: ‘She did not know that I gave her corn and wine and oil…which THEY PREPARED FOR BAAL.’ Deceived by the very riches that were given to bring her to God, Babylon exalts herself because of that which she possesses, saying within herself, ‘I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow’ (Rev. 18:7). All that the church possesses was given to her out of the anointing of God, imparted to her through anointed men, and these men of bygone generations she admires. Nothing has changed, however, since the days of Jesus when He said to the religious leaders, ‘You garnish the sepulchers of the dead prophets — but kill the living ones.’ The anointed word has been set in concrete in the church system, and like the rephaim — the physicians of no value who embalmed Israel — so has the church system so embalmed the Christ — fixed Him in a static position so that He can move no further. Holding the very form of truth, the church system denies the essence and life of that truth…and boasts in her wealth! Yet, the Lord says, ‘Because thou sayest, I am rich and increased with goods (doctrines and forms and rituals and eschatology charts) and have need of nothing (not even the anointing) and knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked…’ because of all this, ‘I WILL SPEW YOU OUT OF MY MOUTH!’” — end quote.

With this higher spiritual dimension firmly in mind let us reverently and prayerfully consider together once more all the things that are merchandised in Babylon. “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: the merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all scented wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, and cinnamon, and odors, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.”

It is doubtful that in all of scripture there are words more specific, pungent, and precise than these! The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones — to list only the first three. Gold bespeaks the divine nature. And I do not hesitate to tell you that the ministers of Babylon will offer to sell you even the divine nature for a price! Oh, yes — if you are committed to the church, if you are faithful in attendance, if you pay your tithes and offerings, if you sell your soul to their programs and agenda — then you are promised that you will thereby grow spiritually and become a strong, mature Christian, Godlike in character — that is, full of divine nature! These ministers of Babylon will also sell you their seven-step book on Overcoming Made Easy. They will sell you their CD’s and DVD’s on Prosperity and Healing. And if you want to really understand how to grow and mature in Christ, if you need faith and understanding on how to receive and move in the gifts of the Spirit, if you covet to prophesy, if you need healing, if you seek to have your marriage strengthened, if you want to be a better husband or wife, if you need wisdom to nurture and raise your children, if you hunger and thirst after righteousness and yearn to appropriate the riches and glory of the promises and covenants of God — just register and PAY THE ADMISSION PRICE of $30.00, or $100.00, or $300.00 to attend their Seminar or Retreat! In Babylon you must pay for all of this! Babylon does not freely minister the deep spiritual truth, blessing, life, and reality of the Lord — they neatly package it, then put a price on it, thus making merchandise of the holy things of God! For a fee you are able to access the gold of divine nature, the silver of redemption, the precious stones of divine strength and godly character, the pearls of death to self, the fine linen of righteousness, the purple of a kingly, royal life, the scented wood of His fragrance, the precious wood of a redeemed humanity, the odors of His attributes, the ointments of His healing power, the wine of His joy, the oil of anointing, the fine flour and wheat of His word, the sheep of His humility and sacrifice, the chariots of the movings of His power, and many more besides. How wonderful are all these things! Are they not indeed of great value? Yet — one can easily discern the difference between the great city Babylon and the holy city New Jerusalem — in the “great city” of Babylon all these things are merchandised! In the “holy city” of New Jerusalem they are freely given! “And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there…and the Spirit and the Bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him TAKE THE WATER OF LIFE FREELY!” (Rev. 21:25; 22:17). Great is the mystery!

REJOICE OVER HER!
“Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her” (Rev. 18:20).

If ever there was a facet of the pleasure of the Lord that we desire to see in manifestation, and to joyfully participate in, it is this — that He do His pleasure on Babylon. In the natural it would appear cynical to rejoice over a city that is burning and merchants who are lamenting, weeping, and mourning. Yet what a day of rejoicing and singing when HE delivers, yes, when HE breaks asunder the prison bars, removes the blindfolds from the faces of the inmates, when HE REDEEMS man from all of the religious systems of our day, and finally men are freed to truly know God and “worship the Father in spirit and in truth.” Even now His remnant have been drawn out and cut off from the world of man’s religion, and from the contention of creeds, to partake of HIS LIFE in a very personal and powerful way.

But the hour draws nigh when the Son, and those who follow the Lamb, shall execute the will of the Father, and the command shall be given, “Repay to her what she herself has paid to others and double her doom in accordance with what she has done. Mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed for others. To the degree that she glorified herself and reveled in her wantonness, to that measure impose on her torment and anguish and tears and mourning…so shall her plagues come thick upon her in a single day, pestilence and anguish and sorrow and famine; and she shall be utterly consumed with fire, FOR MIGHTY IS THE LORD GOD WHO JUDGES HER” (Rev. 18:6-8, Amplified).

We find so many today, even among God’s elect, who bemoan the awful conditions of the church and the world. Shame on them! God reminds you and me now, when we see Babylon made desolate, “REJOICE OVER HER, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” This is the day of reckoning, the day of judgment on this ungodly system. It will be followed by peace and righteousness and glory and rejoicing! It is indeed wonderful! Only faintly can our hearts contemplate the wonder of such a day when the Babylon religious system exists no more, replaced with the manifestation of the sons of God and a universal outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord! And while false prophets and calamity-howlers of every brand and hue are prophesying the darkest days of earth’s history soon to fall as a shroud upon the whole world, yet the word of the Lord tells a far different story. To all the people in Babylon the Lord says, “Come out of her, my people!” Make no mistake about it, precious friend of mine, every single person in Babylon is the Lord’s people. And now we find, “Thy people shall be delivered, EVERY ONE that shall be found written in the book” (Dan. 12:4). This is the day of victory, not of defeat. It is the day when God is “bringing again Zion” (Isa. 52:8), that is, bringing all His people out of Babylon and establishing Zion as the city of God in the earth. This deliverance is for “every one” that belongs to Christ, whose name is written in the book. THERFORE, “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets!”

The whole system shall come to nought, and we shall see the establishment of HIS KINGDOM in righteousness throughout the earth. Believe it, my beloved, He taught us to pray it, “”THY KINGDOM COME, Thy will be done, on earth, as it is in heaven.” And this pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand! “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever” (Rev. 11:15). Truly, redemption means a “loosing away” from all of Babylon’s corruption. And most especially is this essential from all of its religious tyranny and corruption. And what a day of rejoicing that brings!

We stand in the glory that Jesus has given,
The moon as the day-spring doth shine;
The light of the sun is now equal to seven,
So bright is the glory divine!

Now filled with the Spirit and clad in the armor
Of light and omnipotent truth,
We’ll testify ever and Jesus we’ll honor,
And stand from Babylon aloof!

The prophet’s keen vision transpiercing the ages,
Beheld us to Zion return;
We’ll sing of our freedom, though Babylon rages,
We’ll shout as her city doth burn!

THE MILLSTONE CAST INTO THE SEA
“And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all” (Rev. 18:21).

Here an angel appears. Observe that it is a strong and powerful angel. What he is about to do requires great strength. All alone — we read one strong angel — he picks up an enormous millstone. Not any ordinary stone from a handmill but a great millstone, that is, one from a mill turned by strong oxen. What does the angel do with this great millstone? Does he roll it upon the land? No, he thrusts it into the sea where it disappears into the depths. Does he merely permit it to fall? No, he lifts it up and then hurls it into the sea — quickly the waters close over the stone so that it may be buried deeply in the ocean floor. Violence, suddenness, and permanence combine in the overthrown of Babylon. So thoroughgoing and complete will be Babylon’s destruction! Never will the millstone be retrieved! The “angel” prophesied that in the same way, that is, with the same sort of power and violence, the great city Babylon would be thrown down and disappear forever. The prophecy is emphatic — Babylon will never, ever, be found any more at all! Thus, this wicked system, as center of seduction, will perish forever. Its devastation will be final, total, and irreversible. By this we are assured that God is bringing in an order in which apostasy cannot and will not ever raise its ugly head anywhere, or at any time, ever again! Oh, saints of God — it’s REJOICING TIME!

The prophet Daniel beheld a stone cut out without hands which became a great mountain and filled the whole earth. The stone of Babylon, on the other hand, is removed from the earth and cast into the sea! The beast of Revelation 13:1 came out of the sea; Babylon is, as it were, engulfed in the sea, never again to raise its proud head to deceive the nations with its sorceries. The imagery of the scenes is very precise. We have seen again and again that the sea represents symbolically the unconverted state of mankind, the wicked which are tossed about like the troubled sea, the raging, surging, restless masses of humanity foaming out their shame in the old Adamic mind and nature. As the Father graciously unfolds this mystery to our wondering hearts, can we not see that the destruction of Babylon as a millstone cast into the sea signifies that she will sink to such a low level of degradation until she comes to a devastating collapse. She will become completely absorbed by the world and simply disappear into the sea of humanity as a viable system in the world of religion.

Verses twenty-one through twenty three of chapter eighteen are like waves sealing Babylon in the deathly silence, stillness, and darkness of a watery grave — from which there is no return or recall. The recurring words “no more at all” are used six times in these three verses. “No more at all” has about it the doleful sound of a dirge and of the somber tolling of a death knell. No more music (praise and worship), no more craftsmen (true ministries), no more sound of a millstone (preparation of the word of God), no more light of a candle (even the little truth she had), no more the voice of the bridegroom (the voice of Christ the Head), no more the voice of the bride (God’s remnant) — all spiritual progress, all spiritual action, all spiritual life, all spiritual reality, and all spiritual people CAN BE FOUND NO MORE AT ALL IN HER!

I now close this message with the sober and urgent admonition of brother George Hawtin from one of his issues of The Page. “Thus with violence endeth great Mystery Babylon, which for centuries has ruled the nations…binding the professing church with the chains of tradition and bringing into slavish subjection all who are unaware of her whoredoms. Times without number I have sought to show God’s dear people the cunning mystery of ecclesiastical Babylon, warning continually of the danger of remaining in her fold. Oh that God’s people would awaken and obey the Father’s call, ‘Come out of her, my people,’ that God may be their Father and they may be His sons and daughters. I solemnly warn and admonish the people of God that it is not possible to attain to sonship or a life that is controlled by the Spirit as long as their lives are under the influence of this satanic system, which is doomed to such utter and complete destruction. Not only are the kingdoms of the world doomed to desolation, but the whole church system, identified as it is with the world system, is also doomed to irreparable dissolution and ruin. If you obey God and come out of it, you will be spared her woes; but, if you remain in it, you will be condemned with it. For what other reason does the Lord call to His people, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues?’” — end quote.

To be continued…

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE 201

FROM THE CANDLESTICK TO THE THRONE
(A study in Book of Revelation Part 201) by J. Preston Eby.

THE DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON (continued)
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partaker of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Rev. 18:4).

There is a place OUTSIDE THE CAMP of Babylon’s vain worship and pseudo-church. “Let us go forth therefore unto Him without the camp, bearing His reproach” (Heb. 13:13), and when you have departed from all these things and broken Babylon’s idols from off your neck and cast their image from before you, then you will see NO MAN BUT JESUS ONLY, and then you will understand what it means to be JOINED UNTO HIM. When this wisdom is sweet to your soul, then you will discover the secret place of the Most High, where the King brings you into His chambers, a hidden place of meeting with the Lord, that place within our own being where our Lord ever dwells, where we go in and shut the door, where we meet Him alone in the most intimate fellowship and the most exquisite union of soul and spirit. This is a place which the world cannot invade. Even should soldiers come with guns and carry you away they cannot separate you from it, for it is within yourself. “I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also” (Jn. 14:3). Where is this place? Jesus said, “Where I am.” That is sufficient! It is a place in the spirit that no man can violate. A hidden place for those who are in the world, but not of it, in the very sanctuary of the Spirit of God. A place where we can see the countenance of the Bridegroom, and hear his voice!

Ah, we do not arrive at this secret and sacred place with one grand leap. It is a continual leaving, leaving, leaving, and the nearer and dearer HE becomes to us, the more rejoiced we are to leave everybody and everything for Him. But where are we to go? Outside the gate, outside the city which hath played the harlot. Do you think that we shall see Him if we stay inside the city? inside with all those who do not love Him enough to go out to meet Him? if we stay with those who spurn Him and are half-hearted? NO! It is as we “go forth” that we behold Him, the King in His beauty, and discern His beauty as He sits upon the throne of our lives. Let us go out to meet Him, outside the city wall that we may behold Him; let us leave everything which is in the city that our eyes may be anointed to behold Him who is altogether lovely, the Bridegroom of our soul. When earth is in our eyes, we cannot behold the Christ; when Babylon is in our eyes, we cannot discern the Bridegroom; when anything else is before our eyes, we cannot embrace Him. Everything must be cleared away if we would see and hear and know Him!

I was blessed by the sweet testimony of Patricia (Gus) Savas, a former Catholic Nun who was called out of Roman Catholicism and led into the paths of sonship by the sovereign dealing of God. She wrote, “When the GUS book came out, I was frequently asked to give my testimony. Sometimes, I would look at the audience and say, ‘Some of you out here have been delivered from drugs, from alcohol, from pornography or sex perversion, but I have had a major deliverance. I have been delivered from religion.’ When you are under the control of most addictions, during moments of sobriety or lucidity, you know you have a problem. Religion, however, is a blinding spirit; it’s actually like having a blindfold on. You’re following these rules, this program, doing ‘good works,’ so you must be okay, right? I’ve Got my religion; don’t confuse me with the truth. I am a good person” — end quote.

Some time ago a sister in Christ shared with me a dream she was given by the Lord. She said, “I saw a country type brownstone church building, which obviously was very old, and quite dirty from age and neglect. As I watched, I heard music coming from the building. I said, ‘There is a wedding taking place.’ The music, however, was not wedding music and I could not see inside. Then my eyes fell upon a young woman and a young man out front with their backs to the church building. I wondered why they didn’t go in. Then the scene changed, and I saw inside the building. There I beheld the groom coming up the outside aisle with his bride by the hand. He was very tall, clean-cut, with a prominent nose — walking so fast his bride was almost being dragged (not unwillingly). He was hurriedly rushing out of the building. Then I saw the outside of the church building again and fire was shooting out from under the eaves. A force from the heat was blowing down, enveloping the two people I had seen outside earlier. The girl’s hair was blowing like a cyclone and my thought was, ‘Why don’t they get away?’ But they could not. The power of the heat and the wind simply enveloped them. As I watched, the whole front wall collapsed over them. I awoke, and the power of the dream stayed with me for days. I believe it is speaking what Christ is doing today — calling a people out unto Himself and drawing them in a quick work out of the old systems of man” — end quote. To which I can add a hearty, Amen! The dream speaks powerfully of our text: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partaker of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues…therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord who judgeth her” (Rev. 18:4,8).

The Holy Spirit imparts a revelation on how much the institutional religious system is Babylon the Great, and then He whispers in our heart the solemn secret that not only is Babylon judged and destroyed as a system “out there” — it must first be judged and destroyed right within the heart and experience of every member of God’s called and chosen elect! The Lord is coming to deliver His creation from every evil influence, and He deals first with the great harlot to rid the earth of such a thing. We see this so clearly in the Revelation! Before the marriage of the Lamb, before the One riding the white horse smites the nations, before Satan is cast into the abyss, before the holy city, New Jerusalem, descends out of the heavenlies, before all men stand before the great white throne, before the nations walk in the light of the city, before all things are restored and made new — before any of these and many other wonderful events — BABYLON IS JUDGED AND DESTROYED! Therefore, on a personal level we must begin by judging all the elements of Babylon in our own hearts! I do not believe that there is a corruption in any of the carnal church systems of man (or any other realm of the world) of which I could not find the germ in my own heart. That is the mystery!

In his book Seven Lamps of Fire, George Warnock wrote these penetrating words: “When we see One like the Son of man walking among the lampstands with Seven Eyes — God wants us to look at Him, because He wants to change us. We can’t look into those eyes and not be changed! I recall looking into the eyes of a prophet, whom the Lord used in fellowship with other members of the body of Christ, to bring forth a new prophetic movement in the middle of the last century. When I was called forward to receive prophecy with the laying on of hands, after a brief time of waiting he said, Look at me! As I looked up I was very much aware of light in his eyes…as he began to prophesy. I will never forget that moment, and I know that it was from that time that I began to see the Word of God in a new light. I feel strongly it is time for a new moving of God in the earth. He desires to bring His people into still higher realms in the Spirit. We must have the Lamb look upon us, with those seven eyes.

“The movement I mentioned became known as the Latter Rain — a name that people gave it a year or two later. But in the beginning it needed no name, and they simply referred to it as this move of the Spirit. God was graciously pouring out His gifts on the church. These gifts are intended for the edifying of the body…gifts of healing and miracles and other wonderful operations of the Spirit — besides gifts that impart spiritual wisdom and understanding. But it was not God’s intention to start a new denomination with this prophetic movement, and I think it is for this reason that those in later generations wonder what it was all about. And they ask, Where is it now? Multitudes of people in all parts of the earth, partook of the blessing of this movement — and the impact of it has carried on in succeeding generations, as any real move of God should. But as far as I know, it never became a denomination known as The Church of the Latter Rain — at least not prominent enough to make its mark in history. And for this reason it is considered by many to have been a little shower that soon evaporated.

“In the beginning of the movement there was a certain emphasis on coming out of the old systems — coming out of Babylon. But it soon became evident that many would come out of the visible Babylon, while bringing some of the system along with them. I recall a few years later what one of the leaders said about his own experience. He said the Lord spoke to him one day, ‘You are trying to get the people to come out of Babylon, but I want to get the Babylon out of you!’ I’m afraid this continues to go on in the church, and because one has left the mainstream of the denominations, and has set up his own organization — is no proof that he has come out of Babylon. The Babylonian desire for greatness and enlargement, and wanting to make a name of renown, and keeping the whole system well under control — is strong in the hearts of men. And God must deal with all those inward desires that continue to plague the church” — end quote.

Douglas Clark, in a little writing he sent me, shares the following instructive remarks. “When we hear the clarion call to come out of Babylon, God opens our eyes to the mixture of flesh and spirit that exists in the religious systems of man. For many the journey stops a few yards from the church door. We may come out and become separate, but there is often a failure to go further. Why is that? There was a movie out some years ago called The Sixth Sense. Bruce Willis played the main character, a psychologist who had a patient who saw the spirits of dead people. The psychologist didn’t believe the boy, and so the whole movie was about him trying to help the boy overcome his hallucinations. Finally, at the end of the movie the psychologist realizes that the boy is actually seeing dead people. Then comes the interesting twist. The psychologist begins to realize that he is one of the dead people! What a revelation! First the psychologist couldn’t see the truth about the boy. Then he finally realizes the boy does see dead people and then at the very end he finds out that he is one of the dead people!

“Sounds a lot like our journey. We begin as most church folk not recognizing all the spiritual death around us. Then we begin to see it in our surroundings as the Lord calls us out and unto Himself. Finally, if we continue on in our journey to know Him, He shows us the death is in us! How easy it is to see the Babylon within the Institutional Church while overlooking what in us needs to be overcome. It is true our eyes need to be open to our surroundings, but I declare to you that until the Babylon in us is exposed we will not grow in our quest to know Him! The same spirit that gave birth to the mixture of flesh and spirit within the church systems is alive and well right within us! Right now it is trying to figure out ways it can pervert what God is doing in this hour so that it can escape its own demise! The spirit I am speaking of is called Self-preservation and he is in the temple of God seeking a way to sit on the throne of God, ruling in place of the true King. This is why some home fellowships encounter the same old problems we dealt with back in the system. Babylon is in us! How often do we fail to see that the calling of God to come out of the religious systems of man is only the beginning of our journey? It is a much longer process removing the spirit of Babylon from us! That is why in our journey to know Him He often strips us of ministry and gifts for service. His gifts and anointing often become diffused with our carnal reasoning and self-efforts. This is the confusion that is defined in the name, Babylon” — end quote.

The good news is that the strongholds of Babylon are surely falling within God’s elect by the omnipotent indwelling Spirit of the Lord! God is forming a people in this very hour who fulfill within themselves the prophecy of David wherein he said, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauty of holiness from the womb of the morning” (Ps. 110:3). Even now God is raising up a people who are willing in this day of His power! Willing to change their concepts, willing to give up all their old beliefs, willing to forsake the old ways, the old associations, the old priorities, willing to silence the demands of the flesh, willing to crucify every carnal religious desire, willing to follow the paths of HIS LEADING, turning neither to the right hand nor to the left, but to press forward with an eye that is single to HIS GLORY. Oh, yes! This is not easy for many to accept, and that is why in the Revelation such a great cry goes up for the city that is going down! Even some among us are going to mourn because they have built up a little kingdom that they don’t want to see God’s fire come to!

The people of the Lord have long been held captive by the spirit of the world. Thank God, there has been a little light in Babylon, and there has even been the voice of the bride and the Bridegroom (Rev. 18:23), for the people chained in that horrible darkness have been the Lord’s people. The Lord has, in mercy, allowed the least faithless of the popular churches to declare enough of the gospel to lead a few to the Saviour. A few of these have received of His Holy Spirit and His gifts. They have in measure tasted of His reality and drank from His fountain of life. But from here on, practically everything that is taught and done is nought but defilement and shame: nothing but the precepts of the elders, and the lies and deceptions of the antichrist. Organized religion today, while totally ignorant of the fact of there being an antichrist, is busy teaching his doctrines, observing his forms and ceremonies, and glorying in his shame. To His people who sit shackled in these chains of Babylonian bondage the voice of the Lord commands, “Come out of her, my people!” Thank God, the chains of the Babylon system are doomed to destruction. This mysterious system is to be finally and irrevocably destroyed. Wherefore the Lord saith, “Awake, awake; put on thy strength, O Zion; put on thy beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city: for henceforth there shall no more come into thee the uncircumcised and the unclean. Shake thyself from the dust; arise, and sit down, O Jerusalem: LOOSE THYSELF FROM THE BANDS OF THY NECK, O CAPTIVE DAUGHTER OF ZION. For thus saith the Lord, Ye have sold yourselves for naught; and ye shall be redeemed without money” (Isa. 52:1-3).

The hour of the final deliverance of God’s people from Babylon and the manifestation of His glory, majesty, wisdom, and power upon them is at hand. The King is coming! He is coming to His temple! He is coming within to set His people free, that they in turn may deliver creation. The strong walls and high towers of Babylon shall all come down. Her chains and shackles upon God’s people shall be broken. Our release from all bondage and captivity is even now under way. Once the church is cleansed from her idols and defilement, she will be in a position to bring deliverance to a sin-sick and judgment-weary world, when “the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea” (Isa. 11:9). Only when Christ’s church is delivered from her idols can she ever hope to bring deliverance to the world. And that deliverance has to come. It will come through those who have given up their all, those who have lost everything to be married to their Lord, and who henceforth live only unto Him. The water of life must flow from the city to bring healing to the nations. The sons of God constitute the throne in the city of God, but the city itself is the bride of the Lamb. It is made up of all those who are delivered out of Babylon, released by its mighty destruction, then cleansed, purged, refined, changed, and transformed by HIS LIFE. Before any of us can have any part in God’s great restoration of creation we must forsake all and follow the Lord alone. No one can deliver men from the lies of the antichrist while continuing to preach those lies. No one can deliver the world from the bondages of sin, fear, carnality, limitation, and death while himself remaining a captive of those things. And before God’s true church can persuade men to give up their idols, and loose their bands, she must first get rid of all her own golden calves and come to Zion with everlasting songs of joy and praise upon her head.

Alma McClure once printed a letter in her paper The Winnower which she had received from a sister who had had a startling experience of the dealing of the Lord. This sister wrote, “I began going to a church, and after about eight or nine months, I was awakened one morning from an ominous dream. I dreamed I had just parked my car in a funeral-home parking lot which was filled with cars. I knew they all had a special permit to park there, but I didn’t have one. And I thought, ‘Well, no one will catch me if I just stand behind my car and watch it so I can drive away before the authorities arrive.’ But, as I stood there, I became off my guard, in a state of unawareness, and first thing I knew, this policeman was standing in front of my car writing me a ticket. I had let down my guard, and now I was going to pay! Heavily! I asked him how much it would cost me, and he said, $88.00. That’s when I awoke!

“Immediately I knew the Lord was telling me that if I didn’t get out of that funeral-home (dead church) parking lot, I would really lose out! I felt the number ‘88’ stood for a double anointing, or something spiritually very, very valuable, that would be taken away from me! If I didn’t get out of the church of dead people, I’d really lose out! So I didn’t go back. For more than a month I went nowhere. But I got so lonely! So then I began attending another church…until He took me out of that one! It’s very dangerous to ‘let our guard down’ thinking we’re just going to ‘park’ in the parking lot of death for a few moments. But, thank God, He warns us in a dream to get out or we’ll lose out! He cares for us when we’re too much asleep to realize our unawareness. Thank God, He truly is our Shepherd, to guard us so well! We’re such stupid, careless sheep, sometimes…when we get so hungry to be with other sheep, we wander from His voice. But He does come after us, if we are truly called and chosen. Thank God, He really has chosen me, in spite of all my stupidity! And I will walk alone now, whatever the cost! I’d rather pay it down here, than lose out in the up there high calling! Thanks for your letter of great encouragement, that makes it a joy for me to go on without man’s order…his perfect order…of dry, stacked bones…so very, very neatly stacked in man’s perfect order…of dry, bleached bones!” — end quote.

“Come,” said Christian, “and join me. For I am on my way to the Celestial City. It is a place of great delights, of everlasting joy, and wondrous comfort.” “Indeed, it sounds good,” said Pliable, “and methinks that I will join thee on the King’s Highway.” Thus it is that John Bunyan delineates for us the journey of Christian and Pliable on their way from the City of Destruction to the City Celestial, in his immortal Pilgrim’s Progress. However, they had not gone very far out of the City of Destruction when unexpectedly and precipitously they plunged headlong into the Slough of Despond. “Is this,” lamented Pliable, “the happiness you have told me all this while of? If so, then I think that should I ever get out of this alive, I shall return to the city from whence I came and you may possess that brave country alone for me.” So, with several strenuous exertions, he made his way back to the side of the slough from which he entered and, dripping mud and muck behind him, hastened himself back to the City of Destruction. Thus we have the profile of this unforgettable character, Pliable, drawn for us by Bunyan.

Now, what is this City of Destruction, what is this City Celestial, and just who is this character called Pliable? I am certain most Christians would identity the City of Destruction as the world, or man’s lost state, or perhaps even hell itself. They would in turn view the City Celestial as heaven. In the Revelation, however, the City of Destruction is Babylon, the great harlot, and the City Celestial is New Jerusalem, the bride of Christ! And the character, Pliable — why his name is legion and his descendants multitudinous. Through the age vast numbers of saints have heard the call to “Come out of her,” to flee Babylon lest they be partakers of her sins and receive of her plagues, to depart the City of Destruction before her judgment falls. Many make their professions and they start on the journey out of the harlot city in search of the Holy City, the bride of the Lamb. But alas, it is only a short while till many of them, staggering out of the loneliness, pressures, trials, testings, and tribulations of their own Slough of Despond, are hurrying back to the comfortable City of Destruction, even though they have been told that God intends to destroy that city and judge all who remain therein. Yes, my beloved, there have been many who for a season have treasured the beautiful hope of the high calling of God, but despairing of the aloneness of the walk, the dealings, the provings, and refining fires encountered upon the journey, they soon make their way back to Babylon. Their eye is upon the crown and not upon the cross! Their eye is upon the glory and not upon the processing that qualifies for the glory! The idea that one must truly suffer with Christ in order to reign with Him is exceedingly repugnant to them. There is no place in their soul for a Slough of Despond! The gifts, the blessings, the excitement, the comfortableness, the prosperity, and the busy-ness of Babylon are much more to their liking. So they have turned back to the City of Destruction!

The following admonition from the anointed pen of the late Carl Schwing still speaks powerfully to us even today. “When we were ‘taken’ from the camps of the fun, food, and fellowship crowd, the Holy Spirit led us into the ‘Wilderness of Aloneness.’ In our aloneness, we found our Beloved…and He freed us from the doctrines and religious notions of human thought. He gave us freedom…freedom to be all He would have us to be…freedom to become all that He is…freedom to sit with Him in heavenly places and to have fellowship with the Father. It was then that our ‘Wilderness of Aloneness’ became our ‘Fortress of Aloneness’…closed in with our Elder Brother and our Everlasting Father. A Fortress to ‘keep out’ those who would ‘gaze’ and to ‘keep in’ the sons that would be prepared for the Day of the Lord…sons that would regain His presence and the knowledge and experience of His life, joy, and glory, they shared with Him in their beginning.

“There are those who say that we are part of the occult. Others call us spiritualists, mystics, isolationists, and even heretics. They say these things because we will not seek the Living One among the dead ones; because we will not worship in temples built with hands. The liberty of the sons of God will not be found among those who are bound hand and foot to the ideologies and programs of men. It seems strange to those that worship in religious shrines that we would worship in our home, or in the mountains, or forest, or at the water’s edge…or worship in the house of grief and sorrow, or upon a bed of pain and suffering, or in the shadows of heartache and disappointment. It seems even stranger to them that we should glory in our cross, rejoice in our rejection, and find life in our aloneness…and to receive the overwhelming power of His Presence and Love here within our ‘Fortress.’ Oh! What great gifts the Father has given to us…with Him in the vast family of God’s sons! Ten thousand hallelujahs! Now, in the light of this glorious dawn, He is gently and lovingly gathering the Lillies of the Field…to bind them together with the cords of love and give them to their Everlasting Father. Oh! Sons of the morning, be still and know that our God is a ‘Mighty Fortress’!

“Alas, there are those among us that are turning back to the old ways, the old order, thinking they will find life in the steeple-houses of the fun, food, and fellowship crowd. Though our Elder Brother has done wondrous works; though He has taught them wondrous truths; and though He has shown man how to have spirit converse with our Father, there are those who have gone back to the temple of flesh, to the blind leaders of the blind, back to the bondage of ordinances, holy days, and numberless religious practices, praying the prayers of their fathers of old, eating once again of the wilderness manna. However, it was the very ‘turning back’ of the multitude which brought forth the living words of truth from the depths of Peter’s heart: ‘To whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God!’ Therefore, may the ‘turning back’ of others stir the truth within us, reminding us of all the wondrous things the Lord has done for us, reminding us of all the words of life He has revealed to us, reminding us of the still small voice that speaks within, saying, ‘This is the way, walk in it.’ Let us slay the giant of religion that would take us captive and return us to the rulers and children of the house of divisions and bondage…slaying him with the Stone that the builders rejected…the living Stone that is so precious to us…the Rock of our salvation! And we, also, are living stones, fitly joined together to form the City of the Living God!

“Our Elder Brother said that when we pray (worship or praise), we should go into our closet (our secret place) and close the door — that we might have private and intimate converse with our Father — assuring us that our Father would hear us and answer us, that He would come into the secret place of our heart, and would close the door, to be alone with us, to commune with us, to shed His life and light upon us, to assure us of His abiding presence, faithfulness, and love, for He sees and hears and speaks in this secret place, and therefore is He there. There is no room for forms or rituals within our secret place. It is the place where the Spirit of God comes as a ‘rushing mighty wind’ to fill our inner son with the fire of the Father’s matchless love, to prepare our inner son for the time of divine worship, for the time of the communion of the saints, the time to consciously sit with Christ in the heavenly places, the time to eat of the Manna of Life.

“The outer man has no part in this worship! This is when the hand of our inner son reaches out to touch the hand of God. This is the assembling of the firstborn (the first to come forth from the Father in that most glorious beginning of beginnings). This is when the Holy Spirit lifts the veil of the Holy of holies for us to enter, that we might worship the Father, who is spirit, in spirit and in the beauty of holiness. This is the holy time of the renewing of our inner man; the hour of remembering our place in Him in ages past. My beloved, as you know, the secret place of which I write is where we walk in the liberty of the sons of God! It is the holy ground upon which mighty angels fear to tread! It is the place where flesh and blood cannot enter! It is the assembling we must not forsake…as is the manner of some who have returned to the assembly houses of brick and stone. Let us enter our ‘secret place’ even more, as we see the day of our manifestation approaching. In the preciousness of our aloneness…in the beauty of our secret place…in the glory of His presence…let all that is within us, praise His holy Name!” — end quote.

THE DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON
“For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death and mourning and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her” (Rev. 18:5-8).

“For her sins have reached unto heaven…” The meaning is not that the sins of Babylon are like a mass or pile so high as to reach to heaven, to pollute even the realm of the spirit, but that they had become so prominent and offensive as to attract the attention of God and move Him to action.

“…God hath remembered her iniquities…” That God “remembered” Babylon’s unrighteousness does not mean God had forgotten it. The phrase “God remembered” is a Hebrew expression meaning God had been remembering it all along and now was about to go into action to do something about it. The same phrase is found in Genesis 8:1 where God “remembered Noah” and caused the rain to stop and the waters of the flood to recede. It is found in Genesis 19:29 where God “remembered Abraham” and sent Lot out of Sodom, for God knew of Abraham’s loving concern for his nephew. Genesis 30:22 states that “God remembered Rachel” and answered her prayers by opening her womb so she conceived and bore a son. Thus, God’s remembering Babylon’s unrighteousness means He had been considering it all along and now was about to bring His righteous divine judgment on it.

“Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.” The scene changes now with a call for the agents of God’s judgment to do their work on Babylon. Some think this call is a response to the angel’s call for the people of God to leave Babylon. As they leave, they call for retribution for what Babylon has done to them and to multitudes of others who have been deceived, or suffered, and even died at her hand. It is my conviction, however, that the voice here is still the voice of the same “angel” mentioned in verse four — indeed, it is the voice of the Lord Himself who says, “Come out of her, my people…” The call is for God’s agents to act in divine justice and render or recompense to Babylon as she herself has rendered to the Lord’s people. True saints of God will not try to avenge themselves on any adversary. The love of Christ will cause them to forgive those who mistreat, malign, and enslave them. But the time must come when those who have been the masters of Babylon’s deception and bondage must face God’s righteous judgment. The Voice tells us plainly that those who willfully partake in her sins will also receive of her plagues. Babylon will be judged “double the double” according to her works. This does not mean that her punishment will be double what she deserves. The judgment will still be according to her works. “ Double the double” is a cryptic way of saying that she will receive a full measure of all she deserves. That is, she deserves punishment in two categories — not only for the harm, damage and suffering she has caused the Lord’s people, but also for the corruption of the ways and truth of God, and the greed and immorality behind what she did to them. In this way she receives “double the double.” She will drink the passion of God against her from the same cup she used to pour out her corruption upon the people of the Lord!

“How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” Part of the reason given for her judgment is that she is always thinking in her heart that she is sitting a queen, not a widow — that is, she sincerely thinks that she herself is the true church, the actual Bride of Christ, well favored of the Lord, the very kingdom of God on earth with authority to rule! She positions herself for leadership, sitting on the throne as queen, as did Jezebel in the days of Elijah, and her counterpart in the church at Thyatira, the Jezebel who called herself a prophetess and a teacher, seducing God’s people to commit fornication. She expects always to rule, to be in control. She loudly professes that she shall “see no sorrow” or tribulation. So she continues on in her abominable lifestyle, “living deliciously,” foolishly justifying her lust and greed and travesties, “naming and claiming” whatever appeals to her at the moment, not knowing what her end shall be. In her drunken, deluded stupor, she is blind to the impending judgment God has appointed for her! She does not believe the plagues of God’s judgment will ever come upon her. Babylon of Isaiah’s day felt the same way, but in fulfillment of Isaiah’s prophecy it was leveled to the ground and made a swamp, “pools of water” (Isa. 14:22-23), as archaeological records of Sennacherib confirm. It is also just as sure that the present Babylonian world system will come to a total end!

“Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” Because of Babylon’s self-exaltation, taking glory to herself that belongs only to God and His called and chosen elect, and because of her greedy, sensual luxury, the plagues of divine judgment will come on her suddenly, swiftly, and powerfully. In “one hour” the prophecy says! It’s not talking about 60 minutes. Spiritually, it signifies that her judgment comes swiftly, and in the day, the hour, the time, the season of God’s dealing. Death, mourning, and famine will be part of the judgment. Consuming fire will complete it!

The scriptures specifically foretell a number of judgments which are destructive in their nature. Here the Revelation points to the time when “Babylon the Great” or “Mystery Babylon” will be judged — and consequently destroyed. Mystery Babylon is not limited to any single ecclesiastical body, but is composed of many, indeed of ALL who are walking apart from the LIFE OF THE SPIRIT and the HEADSHIP OF JESUS CHRIST. For two thousand years God has been calling out and forming a heavenly people, born from above, filled with the Spirit, walking in the Spirit, led by the Spirit, growing up in the life and power of the Spirit, the workmanship of GOD BY THE SPIRIT, the true church of the firstborn whose names are written in heaven. Along side this glorious company of the Spirit-born and Spirit-led the enemy has planted the tares: the doctors of the law, the bishops, theologians, ministers and priests organizing carnal systems, legislating laws and commandments, writing static creeds, instituting ordinances and sacraments, performing empty ceremonies and powerless rituals, and teachers poring over the dead letter of the Word, but never being quickened by the Spirit of Truth.

These blind leaders of the blind are the lords of a vast and powerful system which calls itself “the church,” but is not the church at all, but a blinding, restricting, abyss of incomprehensible darkness and confusion that holds men’s spirits in such bondage to lifeless traditions that they can never see the glory of God nor His transcendent purpose in their lives. It is only when the blazing fire of the Omnipotent Spirit sovereignly penetrates the dankness and death of Babylon’s walls that men first catch a glimpse of the living Christ of God and rise up to FOLLOW HIM. The chains fall off, the prison doors swing open on their rusty hinges and these followers of the Lamb behold a world of freedom and revelation and reality and life and glory beyond the constricting walls of denominationalism, ritualism, tradition, and the kingdoms of men. Rather than continuing to call a few souls here and there out of the City of Destruction, God has now decreed HIS JUDGMENT against this idolatrous system of Babylon, and has already established by His immutable counsel just HOW THE JUDGMENT SHALL BE EXECUTED.

“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning…and they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate” (Rev. 18:9,19).

Let me share some spiritually poignant words written by David Wilkerson many years ago. “Babylon is not a physical city; it is a spiritual condition — even as Zion is not just a city in Israel, but also a spiritual representation of the true church of Jesus Christ. Babylon is the harlot church! It really is not complicated. Forget about the seven heads and the ten horns — those are only symbols that signify the worldwide influence of the harlot. What we have is a vivid picture of the apostate, sensual, rich church of today! A famous, influential harlot, in possession of great wealth and prestige — but polluted with nakedness, fornication, and filth! God has decreed ‘Enough! I’m going to put a sudden end to all spiritual foolishness!’ What does it mean to us — right now, in our day? So much, in fact, that God says it will tingle the ears and astonish the whole world! We are going to witness the fall of some highly esteemed ministries! Multimillion dollar projects are going to come crashing down! It will be headline news! Some churches that have strapped themselves with monstrous debt will go bankrupt! Liberal denominations will suffer an even greater loss of revenue! God is going to shut down every TV program that uses ungodly men and methods! There is coming a great purge! Only the spiritual ministries will remain! Those who hear the call of the Spirit to purge their ministry, God will bless and increase. Those in league with the world will only grow more unspiritual and worldly. The spiritual man of God will fill the breach!

“God is getting ready to do a new thing! He is going to bring down the proud, the famous, the ambitious — and lift up humble, unknown prophets to bring the church back to repentance and holiness! Friends, the days of superstar evangelists are all over! No more one-man shows! No more stealing God’s honor! No more glamour! No more showmanship! No more world-directed choreography in God’s holy place! No more big-time religion! The Holy Ghost is going to shut down corporate religion! God has declared He will not finance the ego of any preacher of the gospel! The Holy Spirit is already wooing the children of the Lord away from bigness, brightness, and sensationalism. Even sinners are fed up with all the pitiful appeals for money! A revived, sanctified people are going to discern between the clean and the unclean! Those in the middle of building their little empires will weep and despair — as God brings it all down! He is going to write ‘Ichabod’ over their doors! His glory will depart from them! God is going to cause the hustle and bustle — the busy pace — to burn out and wear down all who have wasted so much time at building — instead of seeking the face of God! ‘I am against you Babylon…I will lift up my hand against you and roll you down from your heights and leave you a burnt-out mountain…you shall be desolate…you shall be completely wiped out…’ (Jer. 51:25-26, L.B.). The scripture commands — ‘Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquities; for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; He will render unto her a recompense’ (Jer. 51:6)” — end quote.

The following dream was given to Richard L. Jones, a pastor in Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A in March, 2006. “In this dream I was in the downtown area of a large city and there was a lot of activity going on around me. The next thing I knew, I was on the top of a tall structure that was being dismantled. It was not being torn down, but dismantled and carried away on flatbed trucks. I was directing heavy equipment, like huge cranes and such, that were being used to dismantle the many structures of the city. These structures were made of stone, or cast concrete facades, with steel beams used as supports for the structures. Again, I was having the cranes and other heavy equipment lower large pieces of these structures and facades to the ground so they could be moved and taken away on heavy trucks.

“I awoke from my dream and inquired of the Lord what this meant. The Lord said to me, ‘I am dismantling the old religious structures that have been erected by men. I am clearing the way to build what I desire to be raised up in this place and at this time! There is a large city to be dismantled, but I will raise up a new city built upon foundations of Divine Truth which support pillars of Righteousness and Justice. But first there will be a great dismantling and many will be exposed to the winds and the rain, to the hail and the hot sun, to the snow and the darkness. I am their Strong Tower. Oh, how I so desire for them to run to Me in that day of the great dismantling! For I am raising up a New City for those who will.’ I knew then that my dream was about the ‘dis-mantling’ of the old church structure as we know it and that God was going to raise up a new church, one that is built according to His divine providence and not built on the plans and ambitions of men” — end quote.

The picture given us in chapter eighteen of the Revelation, of the judgment of Babylon, is a picture of utter desolation that is drawn before our eyes. Instead of the joyful light and illumination of her festive streets, there is now absolute (spiritual) darkness: for even the light of a candle shall shine no more. Instead of the bustle of machinery (her programs and promotions), the joyful sound of music, the glad voice of bride (God’s true people) and bridegroom (Christ the Head), there is now a doleful and gloomy silence. She is set on fire and her fire burns so brightly that all the world beholds it together in awe and somber wonder. Then with great steaming convulsions she sinks into the depths of the sea to be seen never again. Babylon is turned into a region of death and destruction! All her glory is gone in one hour, and that forever. God has sent judgments upon that system throughout the age, as in the days of the Reformation, and in the days of the French Revolution, but this is the final and complete judgment upon Babylon. She has committed fornication with the kings and the princes of the world. She has made the nations drunk with the wine of her fornication. She has deceived them with all her sorceries. In her was found the blood of the saints and prophets. She has made war with the Lamb throughout the ages. Her iniquity rises to heaven. Therefore, in one hour has her final and complete destruction come!

I recently quoted some words from Ray Prinzing’s wonderful book, Revelation — A Positive Book, and I will quote a small portion of that again as it is so vital to the present message. “Particularly we are led to emphasize coming out of religious Babylon. ‘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’ (Jer. 51:9). We would have healed her — oh, how we tried to bolster her up and heal her! We poured our strength into her, ignoring the instruction to ‘Give not thy strength unto women…’ (Prov. 31:3). We fasted and prayed for God to revive her! Though she reeked with abominations, traditions of men, false doctrines, and platitudes for itching ears, still we tried to heal her. But in time the holy Spirit speaks so loudly, ‘flee out of the midst of her,’ that we have to obey. All her works, her kingdom building endeavors for self, are not sufficient — but are as filthy rags ready for the burning” — end quote.

There are many sincere, good people who are trying to reform and heal the old church systems. But they cannot be reformed, revived, or healed — they must one and all be destroyed — just as the Lord has revealed! “The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God…for His device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of His temple” (Jer. 51:10-11). Even those within the church systems who truly love the Lord must be thrown into the melting pot, melted up, refined, and reconstructed. No healing is possible! No reform is possible! John Wesley found out that it was not possible to get the people saved in the Church of England, therefore he was led to form a society for the salvation of souls. But John Wesley himself prophesied that his new society would depart from the faith and decline. He prophesied that one day Ichabod would have to be written over the Methodist societies, for “the glory would depart,” as they themselves apostatized. And today “the glory has departed,” except in flashes here and there where a truly consecrated preacher and people rise, for a brief season, above the level of the dead sea of formalism, hypocrisy, and moral and spiritual corruption. The movement as a whole has gone all the way from being a society for the salvation of souls, to becoming a society for the damnation of souls!

Fear not, saints of the Most High God, for your Father is in control of all these things and is directing all these events. He concludes none of these ominous judgments until first He brings His sons to mount Zion with authority and power to fill the earth with His glory. Notice the scripture I quoted in the paragraph above — “The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare IN ZION the work of the Lord our God…” Then the prophet goes on to tell how God is against Babylon, to destroy it. Oh, yes! The Lord will bring forth His righteous people, His holy sons upon mount Zion, those who sing the new song, those who are virgins, undefiled by women (harlot churches), those who follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth (all the way into the fullness of God), those who are redeemed from among men (out of the Adamic nature), those in whose mouths is found no guile (deceit, false doctrines), those who have ascended into the throne zone! The pattern, the order, the sequence is clearly seen in the Revelation — the manchild is birthed and caught up to the throne in chapter 12, the 144,000 sons of God are seen standing in righteousness, glory, and power upon the mount Zion in chapter 14 — then Great Babylon is judged and destroyed in chapters 17 and 18! The Lord will bring forth the righteousness of His Zion company and reveal to them His purpose before moving in mighty power to judge the harlot and destroy her kingdom from the face of the earth. That is God’s order! It will, at long last, be the hour of the exaltation and ministry of those humble followers of the Lamb to whom shall be committed the rule and reign of the kingdom of God under all the unbounded heavens! Isn’t it wonderful!

We used to wonder who was going to judge Babylon, but we have found out. In Revelation 18:20 we read, first from the King James Bible, “Rejoice over her thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” Those words appear to indicate that God is going to judge Babylon with HIS OWN JUDGMENT. But we will read the literal translation from the Diaglott, “Exult over her, O Heaven! and you saints, and you apostles, and you prophets; BECAUSE GOD JUDGED YOUR JUDGMENT ON HER.” The actual word by word translation from the Greek text reads thus: “…because judged the God the judgment of you on her.” What a word that is! So we see it is first of all the judgment of heaven. “Exult over her, O heaven, and you saints…” “Heaven” denotes the realm of sonship, throneship — kings and priests. Then it is the judgment of saints, of holy ones, that is brought upon her. Paul said the saints are to judge the world! How my heart rejoices that God has declared that the judgment that He shall bring upon this Babylon, shall be the judgment of sons and of saints, the apostles and the prophets. We will pronounce the judgment and God will enforce it! But it will not be a vindictive or retaliatory judgment, for it is the judgment of THE MANCHILD IN THE THRONE AND OF THE HOLY ONES! We will not be as we have been, mixtures of flesh and spirit, of truth and error, of carnality and spirituality, of Adam and Christ. Oh, no! As of now we have no desire for any of God’s people to pronounce judgment upon us, neither do we want to pronounce judgment on anyone else. There must come a mighty change in all of us for this, until we have fully PUT ON THE MIND OF CHRIST! Jesus said that He judged righteous judgment, because He sought not His own will, but the will of Him that sent Him. All the holy sons of God must come to this before being able to judge Babylon in the spirit of RIGHTEOUS JUDGMENT!

This great truth was first revealed to John the beloved in chapter seven of the Revelation. “And after these things I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads” (Rev. 7:1-3).

There are many beautiful truths and deep mysteries hidden in the symbolisms of this passage, but I am sure the reader can discern in the action of the four angels the ministry of judgment. Four is the number of that which is world-wide or universal, and the winds which blow with devastating force are the symbol of judgment. Everywhere in scripture the winds are revealed as divine agents and used either for blessings or for judgments. Here, the four winds are significant of judgments which for the time, the four angels are holding back in order to permit the Seer to have a vision of something that must be brought forth and established before the winds are permitted to blow!

Let not the winds blow — until! He holds the winds back — hold everything in restraint for a season — endure the corruption, UNTIL THE SONS OF GOD ARE SEALED IN THEIR FOREHEADS! Bring no judgment upon the earth realm, or the sea realm, nor upon the trees, representing those activities, works, creations, and institutions of men which grow and are produced out of the carnal mind (earth) — let there be no judgment upon any of these things until the sons of God have put on the mind of Christ! As I write these things and meditate upon them it becomes crystal clear within my spirit that there can be no righteous judgment out from God’s elect until we all have been imbued with the nature of the Father and the mind of Christ. Any man, apart from the mind of Christ, is unqualified to render any kind of judgment — and he will never be able to judge even his own soul, or his body, or the trees that grow out of his earth, apart from the understanding and wisdom of the mind of Christ. Much less is he prepared to administer righteous judgments to those realms outside himself — the world of mankind and the harlot systems of Babylon. Righteous judgment comes only out of the heavens of the spirit of the Lord! Thus the divine fiat issued by the word of the Lord that the four winds be restrained from blowing upon the earth, the sea, or any tree, until the mind of Christ has been fully formed in God’s kings and priests!

The fruit of this judgment will be glorious indeed! The long dispensations of apostasy and backsliding and faithlessness will be ended. We shall have come to the most blessed age of all: to the time when God is introducing yet one more provision, a new, incorruptible, and eternal order and arrangement which shall never go down to defeat as have all the provisions of the past. Great Babylon shall have fallen to rise no more! “And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, AND SHALL BE FOUND NO MORE AT ALL!” (Rev. 18:21). “Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old. Behold, I will do a new thing: now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert (that all men may seek the Lord and be refreshed). The beast of the field (natural man) shall honor me, the dragons and the owls (men of unclean natures): because I give waters (or life) in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen. This people have I formed for myself; they shall show forth my praises” (Isa. 43:18-21).

In this glorious Day apostasy has raised her ugly head in God’s church for the last time! The adversary, with all his lies and deception and ignorance, is now a vanquished foe! God’s new thing, God’s new order must now triumph as Great Babylon sinks into the sea never to be found anymore! God’s manchild company ascends the throne. God’s holy city, New Jerusalem, descends out of the heavens of the spirit. The nations of them that are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honor into it. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him. And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads…and they shall reign for the ages of the ages. Oh, the wonder of it! Oh, the mystery of it!

To be continued…