BABYLON THE GREAT (Part 1)
BABYLON THE CITY THAT CHALLENGED THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD ON EARTH
The city of Babylon was in present-day Iraq, not far from Baghdad, in the south, by the Euphrates river. To fully understand what this city represented spiritually, it is necessary to know why it was originally built: To challenge Jehovah’s sovereignty on Earth.
Recognizing that Jehovah is the Only One to be worshiped in an exclusive way, is closely linked to the recognition of his sovereignty, both in heaven and on earth: “Whenever the living creatures give glory and honor and thanksgiving to the One seated on the throne, the One who lives forever and ever, the 24 elders fall down before the One seated on the throne and worship the One who lives forever and ever, and they cast their crowns before the throne, saying: “You are worthy, Jehovah our God, to receive the glory and the honor and the power, because you created all things, and because of your will they came into existence and were created” ( Revelation 4:9–11). The context clearly shows that the worship reserved for Jehovah, and the fact of recognizing his sovereignty, are linked: “they cast their crowns before the throne”.
When Nimrod, founder of what would later be the city and kingdom of Babylon, decided to build a tower to unite the world population, around his person and his kingdom, he rebelled against the exclusive worship due to Jehovah and his legitimate right to sovereignty: “Cush became father to Nimrod. He was the first to become a mighty one on the earth. He became a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah. That is why there is a saying: “Just like Nimrod, a mighty hunter in opposition to Jehovah.” The beginning of his kingdom was Babel (Babylon)” (Genesis 10:8–10). “They now said: “Come! Let us build a city for ourselves and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a celebrated name for ourselves, so that we will not be scattered over the entire face of the earth” (Genesis 11:4). The “tower with its top in the heavens” was a challenge to Jehovah’s sovereignty, being Himself the God of Heaven. The expression Babylon “the Great” of the Apocalypse (Revelation), alludes to this project of earthly self-government, which challenged the sovereignty of the God of the Heavens, but also of the Earth.
Therefore, according to the biblical context, the symbolism in connection with Babylon, cannot be only “religious” (linked to the worship), being separated at the same time, from a political concept (linked to the sovereignty), because they are simply nested and inseparable. The concepts of “religion” and “politic” are not biblical (Even though 2 Kings 17: 26–33,44, the Latin word “religion” appears, to translate the Hebrew word מִשְׁפָּט (mishpat) (Strong’s Concordance (H4941), it rather has the general sense of judgment or divine law). These concepts come from Greco-Roman philosophy which admits their separation in the administration of the city.
In the Bible, the “political” and “priestly” sovereignty were completely intertwined (Not only in Israel, but in neighboring nations as Egypt, Syria, Babylon…). They were both theocratic and monarchical governments, the king often being either the representative of a sovereignty of a god on earth, or the very embodiment of a god. Just as the political and military fall of the former world power of Babylon, represented the destruction of this earthly rivalry against the sovereignty of God, it is the same today in terms of the symbolism of the fall and the destruction of Babylon the Great (Revelation 14:8). Since the beginning of humanity, the challenge is the worship by the recognition of sovereignty on earth (Genesis 3). In the model prayer, Jesus Christ put these two important ideas at the beginning of the prayer: “Our Father in the heavens, let your name be sanctified (the worship). Let your Kingdom come (the sovereignty)” (Matthew 6:9,10) (HOW TO PRAY GOD ? ; EARTHLY KINGDOM GOD ; THE NEW JERUSALEM).
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