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FLIGHT FROM BABYLON

 

The Coming Salvation From The Works Of Collective Society

 

 


SUBVERSION OF THE OLD COVENANT PEOPLE

 

 

     Shortly we will consider the ministry of Jesus and demonstrate that His salvation included salvation from the works of human collective society. We cannot appreciate this however until we first consider what happened to the original line of Abraham's descendants. We must see what happens when the  "called-out" People of God fail to maintain the righteousness of faith evidenced by a mobile life outside control of the systems of organized population. This will place our understanding of Jesus into right perspective.

 

     We know that God had promised Abraham's physical descendants a land they could inhabit all to themselves. But God never intended them to build an empire on it after the fashion of the surrounding nations from which they had been called-out. He never intended them to develop a fixed political, economic, and social system rooted in huge centres of immobile population. The chief figure in such a society is called a "king". We specifically know that God did not want Israel to have a human king, nor therefore the babylonian type of society over which such a king presides. Israel had already experienced slavery to such an empire for 43O years in Egypt.1 It was hoped by God that such slavery would have washed out all inclination in His People to become like such a nation.2 When we come to the time of Samuel however, we find the subversive spirit of babylonianism prevail in the hearts of the people concerning the matter of a king:

 

    Then all the elders of Israel gathered together and came to Samuel at Ramah; and they said to him, "Behold, you have grown old, and your sons do not walk in your ways. Now appoint a king for us to judge us like all the nations." But the thing was displeasing in the sight of Samuel when they said, "Give us a king to judge us." And Samuel prayed to the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, "Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected me from being king over them. Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought  them from Egypt even to this day - in that they have forsaken Me and served other Gods - so they are doing to you also. Now then, listen to their voice; however, you shall solemnly warn them and tell them of the procedure of the king that shall reign over them." I Sam. 8:4-9

 

     So God accommodated the people in their rebellion and gave them a king, warning them of the slavery that lay ahead for them. In time, a capital city was founded like the other nations had, and the entire nation converted over to a babylonian-style society. The capital city was named Jerusalem. In God's eyes, however, it carried the names "Sodom and Egypt" after the spirits of babylonianism that founded those cities.3 From its founding the city was an offense to Him.4

 

      Eventually, Israel achieved the coveted status of "empire" like her predecessors - Babylon, Assyria, Egypt.5 Despite a fleeting moment of "glory" under David and Solomon, Israel's adoption of an immobile political, economic, and social order paved the way for her eventual destruction as a nation.6 By becoming "like the nations", she sealed her already rampant inward alienation from God and subjected herself to the same fate ordained for all nations. From Solomon forward, the story of Israel is a story of societal decay, decline, and destruction.

 

     Under Israel, seed spiritual forces were unleashed that were to characterize God's dealings with His People in succeeding ages. This made Israel to become a type and pattern for future generations of God's People.7 (This continuity of spiritual forces explains why there are dual and even multiple applications and fulfillments of prophecy in different ages.) Through Israel's reversion to babylonianism, five particular precedents were set which activated patterns to be repeated throughout all subsequent history of God's People and the struggle for world dominion:

 

     1. Israel's reversion to babylonianism was unique because, unlike all other people, she had specially been called-out to be a testimony against babylonianism in the earth. This peculiar display of unfaithfulness to the God who called her out of Babylon gives rise to the scriptural picture of spiritual harlotry. From this time forward, the picture of spiritual harlotry is used to describe the People of God in any age who "fornicate" and "commit adultery" by reverting back to babylonian life.8  Beginning with the Old Testament prophets, this portrayal culminates in John's Revelation with a harlot seated on the beast of world babylonianism. To her is ascribed the name: "Babylon the Great, The Mother of Harlots, And of the Abominations of the Earth" (Rev. 17:5).

 

     2. Israel's ultimate dispersion, captivity, and destruction was accomplished by the very nations she copied - in particular, the first two empires developed after the Flood - Babylon and Assyria.9 The very babylonianism she emulated destroyed her. From this time forward, whenever God's People leave the way of faith to return to babylonian life, He has ordained their judgment by the society they have emulated. The warning of this begins with the Old Testament prophets10  and culminates in the picture in Revelation when the harlot is destroyed by the beast on which she rides (Rev 17:16).

 

     3. Throughout Israel's history, God raised up prophets from the midst of His own adulterous people to expose their spiritual harlotry, warn them of the consequences, and give them opportunity to repent before God destroyed them by that society with which they were fornicating.11  In turn, Israel persecuted and destroyed these prophets.12  From that time, whenever God's People  go astray, he has raised up prophets from their midst to correct them and the People destroy them. This pattern begins in the Old Testament, continues in the New Testament,13 and culminates at history's end in the martyrdom of the (company of) Two Witnesses (Rev. 11: 7-10).14

 

     4. Israel serviced her reversion to babylonianism through false kingdom teaching. The thrust of this teaching was to redefine her purpose as the called-out People in terms of babylonianism, enabling her to justify her reversion. By redefining the terms of her calling, Israel was able to live like the babylonians but still consider herself true to the way of faith. The chief spokesmen for this teaching were identified by God as false prophets. Based on false kingdom teaching, these men led Israel to worship at pagan altars in the Lord's name. They also assured Israel's evil kings that God was with them in their wars for babylonian supremacy over their neighbours.15 Most notably, these men also spearheaded the opposition and persecution of God's true prophets. From this time forward, whenever God's People revert to babylonianism, it is serviced with some form of false kingdom teaching which redefines their mission and God's  kingdom in terms of some human collective society surrounding them. This teaching forms their justification for cohabiting with babylonian society and their basis for destroying God's true witnesses. Described in the New Testament as "antichrist",16  the pattern of this teaching culminates in Revelation with the picture of a beast having a lamb's horns and a dragon's voice. This beast leads mankind to worship the image of world babylonianism in the name of the kingdom of God (Rev. 13:11-14). The catchword of false kingdom teaching is "peace and safety"17  as promised through some form of collective society.

 

     5. In keeping with her reversion back to fixed collective society, Israel replaced her tents with brick and mortar structures for securing her society. The symbol of faith was supplanted by the symbols of collectivization. More importantly however, Israel's central place of worship was changed from a tent to a stone temple. There are significant contrasts for note here. God had personally ordained the construction of a tent for His dwelling.18  But it was Israel's human king (David) who initiated the idea for a permanent temple.19 Solomon, its builder, had been a worshipper at the forbidden "high places" before its construction.20  Moreover, he built it under the shadow of a treaty with the babylonian empire at Egypt and his marriage to Pharaoh's daughter (for whose god he also eventually built a temple).21  These connections introduced an element of false worship in the temple from the beginning. While God accommodated the construction of such a building by permission, it was not in harmony with His true desire.22 As an accommodation, God allowed it to serve as a type of His true temple in heaven.23  The point for note here is that, from this time forward, whenever the called-out People of God have reverted to babylonian society, they have moved to erect permanent structures of worship and abandoned mobility-oriented worship. In time, the permanent structures become the centres for the promoting of false kingdom teaching and the symbols of hardness of heart24 - subject to eventual destruction with the downfall of the harlot society they service.25

 

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[4. THE MINISTRY OF JESUS ]

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References:

1 Gen 15:13   (Gal 3:17)  

2 Ezk 20:5-38  Mic 6:4-5  Ac 7:39    

3 Is 1:10  Jer 23:14   Am 4:11 > Rev 11:8         

4 Jer 32:31-32       

5 I Ki 4:21  

6 Jer 2:14-19  Am 9:7-8 > Hos 13:9-11 

7 I Cor 10:1-11 > Heb 3:7 - 4:11  

8 Is 1:21-23; 57:1-13   Jer 2:20 - 3:20; 4:30; 13:26-27  Ezk 6:9; 16:1-58; 23:1-49; 43:6-9  Hos 1:2; 2:2-12; 3:1 - 5:3; 6:10; 9:1; Mic 1:7 > Jms 4:4    

9 II Ki 17, 24 and 25     

10 Is 10:5-6,24; 14:3; 42:22-25; 43:25-28; 51:17-20; 54:7-8; 57:16-18; 64:9-12  Jer 4:5-7,29; 5:15-17; 6:22-26; 10:22; 13:21; 15:14; 2O:4-6; 21:3-10; 22:25-30; 25:8-11; 27:6 -29:32; 32:3-5,24-36; 33:5; 34:1-7,17-22; 39:1-14; 44:24-30; 52:4-34  Ezk 5:5 - 6:7 Hos 7:16; 8:13; 9:3-7; 10:9-11; 11:5-7; Am 6:14; Hab 1:5-11    

11 II Chron 24:19  

12 II Chron 36:16      

13 Mt 23:29-39; Acts 7:51-60  

14 (Is 8:2  Zec 4:11-14)  

15 I Ki 18 and 22  Jer 28  

16 Mt 24:23-25 > I Jn 2:18-19      

17 Jer 6:14; 8:11; 14:13-16  Ezk 13:19-16  Am 9:10 > I Thess 5:3  

18 Ex 25:1-8    

19 II Sam 7:1  

2O I Ki 3:2-4  

21 I Ki 3:1; 11:1-8     

22 IISam 7:5-7 >13      

23 (Is 6:1-4; Ezk 40 - 44; 46:1 - 47:12 > Rev 21 - 22  

24 Jer 7:4-15  (Mic 3:11)  Mt 21:12-13  

25 Is 64:11  Jer 7:14; 26:9; 52:13,17  Ezk 7:24; 13:13-14  Hos 10:2 Am 7:9 > Mt 24:2

[4. THE MINISTRY OF JESUS ]

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