This is part four of a five part series answering “how do we prepare for end times?” If you haven’t read my previous posts in this series, I urge you to do so before reading this one. We’re taking the long way around to answering the question that made itself the running theme of this series, and to fully understand the context and where I’m coming from, I encourage you to start from the beginning.
As for those who have read up ’til now, I’m sure you’ll be glad to know we’re nearing the end of our journey to answering the title’s question.
Where Are We In the Timeline?
Quick disclaimer: I have a feeling that of all the posts in this quick series, this one will rub the most people the wrong way, as this will be discussing Revelation from the perspective of my historicist views. In the words of my mother on her blog, “I am not trying to be a prophet but simply to study out Scripture and evaluate our culture according to what it teaches.” You don’t have to agree with me, but I do hope you’ll give it a chance!
“The thing with prophecy, is that it is not a crystal ball in the sense that any one of us can know the exact details of what will happen. The purpose of prophecy is to glorify God — after the thing has come to pass, mankind can look back and see that God had said it would happen just that way thousands of years before it happened. Prophecy most exactly reveals itself through hindsight, not foresight.”
— Christine Miller, The Seven Bowls of Wrath blog post
I’m not writing this series to prophecy or tell you what is going to happen, nor am I writing it to tell you that my perspectives and theories of Revelation are the correct ones with any dogmatic certainty*. I’m writing this to help us prepare for the return of our King and Messiah who will come as a thief in the night. We don’t know the day nor the hour of His return, and as such we must prepare ourselves now to ensure we’re ready, whether He come tomorrow, four years from now, or a hundred years from now. I encourage you to read your Bibles and do your own research within them as you prepare.
*Don’t go running after blogs, YouTubes, television evangelists and whatever else for answers about Revelation until you have a solid grasp of the texts, as you’ll receive only more perspectives and theories of imperfect humanity. Even once you do have a solid grasp, continually read your Bible and use it as a microscope to analyze theories, and ready yourself for Yeshua’s return accordingly, and bear in mind Revelation is prophecy, and while we can theorize, we won’t know for certain until it’s finished and we look back on it.
Good. With that out of the way, let’s discuss where we are currently at in Revelation. It’s my understanding that we’re after the sixth bowl* and the three frogs that come from the dragon’s mouth** in Revelation 16:12-14, and we’re now somewhere in the seventh bowl.
*I highly recommend reading Christine Miller’s book Revelation Revealed to understand why I believe this. You can get a printed or e-book version of it here. It’s a very good read that puts the last 2000 years of history in a synced perspective with the Bible!
**For more information on what the frogs were and how recently the sixth bowl seems to have been completed, I recommend the blog post series by Anne Elliott from January 10 to February 21, 2020.
The seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple, from the throne, saying, “It is done!” And there were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, and a great earthquake such as there had never been since man was on the earth, so great was that earthquake. The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell, and God remembered Babylon the great, to make her drain the cup of the wine of the fury of his wrath. And every island fled away, and no mountains were to be found. And great hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, fell from heaven on people; and they cursed God for the plague of the hail, because the plague was so severe.
— Revelation 16:17-21
Where exactly in the seventh bowl do I think we might be? Perhaps in this section of Revelation 18:
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
For all nations have drunk
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living…”
For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
death and mourning and famine,
and she will be burned up with fire;
for mighty is YHVH God who has judged her.”
And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say,
“Alas! Alas! You great city,
you mighty city, Babylon!
For in a single hour your judgment has come.”
And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.
— Revelation 18:2-3, 8-13
Keep in mind that I don’t know what all Revelation 18 correlates to yet, but I made bold the parts I believe I might.
To start, I believe Babylon in prophecy is symbolic for sin and and every evil deed, idolatry, and “the nations,” as Babylon was the hub of idolatry and evil under Nimrod, who appointed himself like a god over the people in his city.
The Bible says there are only two religions, those who follow God and those who follow this world’s system. All nations and mankind have united themselves together in their opposition against God, and the Bible calls this “Babylon.”
— Anne Elliott, Teaching Our Children the History of Babylon blog post
Babylon is a world system, not a location. Revelation 11:8 refers to a great city “which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Master was crucified.” It’s a parable, intended to cause us to grab our Bibles and a search tool and find all the references to Babylon, Sodom, Egypt, and even rebellious Jerusalem in our Bibles, in order to fully understand what is being referred to. But please note that it’s a worldview that causes sinful action, not a physical place that we need to flee from.
— Anne Elliott, I’m Leaving Facebook and Twitter blog post
Whether you believe the tower of Babel was constructed because the people were afraid of another natural disaster, such as another flood (would there be anything to fear if they weren’t intentionally sinning?), or they were building it to be up near the heavens to worship the sun, moon, and stars: either way you can probably agree the people were evil, blatantly defying God who commanded them to spread out and fill the earth.
What about the kings of the earth who are in cahoots with Babylon? Or the merchants who cry when Babylon falls?
I believe the kings of the earth are the leaders of our nations (logical, right?)… the same nations that have been lying to us and taking advantage of us as they control our lives for largely the worse in increasing amounts over recent months. I also believe the merchants mentioned are large corporations and news media outlets who have also been saturating our world with lies and evil at increased levels in recent history.
With everything that has happened in the last few months, we’ve learned of numerous sins done by our politicians and corporations worldwide with their governments, monopolies, money, and power. America’s elections, the massive hacking of Solarwinds, China’s huge control over our industries, the evils of corporations such as Google, Facebook, CNN, Amazon, Netflix, Twitter, and Microsoft, censoring users, invading our privacy and selling our information, employing “slaves” overseas for mediocre pay, and releasing horrible content. And it’s not just America — although, as an American, that’s what I keep up with the most — and it all becomes overwhelming very quickly. However, we’re on to them and they’re losing more and more of both our trust and our business by the day. It feels as if we’re on a roller coaster that’s taking us on a wild ride through bombshell news after bombshell news and we’re all suffering from whiplash, but I daresay Babylon’s lies are crumbling in front of us, exposing Babylon’s many sins for what they are.
Let’s discuss Babylon’s specific sins mentioned in Revelation 18:2-3 that the kings and merchants take part in:
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit…”
— Revelation 18:2
Demons and unclean spirits have a knack for creating in their victims convulsions, manic behaviors, and sickness, inciting violence, and driving people toward witchcraft, necromancy, voodoo, Satanism, ancestor-worship, and a love of things such as horror, death, self-harm, etc. (I’m not saying that demons are the sole cause for these things, but they do seem to be heavily present with these topics.) My sister and I went shoe-shopping the other day, and as we walked through the mall we saw things such as dream catchers, dolls intentionally painted to be creepy with all-black eyes and scars, choker necklaces made to look like blood droplets, ouija boards, and, of course, skulls and pentagrams (that ironically, as Wikipedia states, “were used symbolically in Babylonia”) on jewelry, flags, stickers, and all sorts of clothing. If it only took one afternoon at one location to see all of those things, I think it’s incredibly safe to say that demons and unclean spirits made their way into the mainstream long ago.
“..a haunt for every unclean bird…”
— Revelation 18:2
Take a quick look at Leviticus 11 for a moment:
And these you shall detest among the birds; they shall not be eaten; they are detestable: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, the kite, the falcon of any kind, every raven of any kind, the ostrich, the nighthawk, the sea gull, the hawk of any kind, the little owl, the cormorant, the short-eared owl, the barn owl, the tawny owl, the carrion vulture, the stork, the heron of any kind, the hoopoe, and the bat*.
— Leviticus 11:13-19
*I used to be confused as to why the bat was listed in with the birds, but we should keep in mind that God’s classifications for His creation don’t always match science’s, in which case we should resort to using His. After all, He created it and it is His decision.
Compared to the verses listing the other unclean animals, we can see that birds are “clean” animals by default, unless they’re listed among these verses. Note that the purpose in nature for all of these birds is to scavenge, eat dead flesh, and help compost bodies, so to speak. For there to be so many unclean birds as to create “a haunt,” one has to assume there’s death and disease aplenty. It doesn’t sound too unlike our world right now, in which — even without a global pandemic — sickness is considered a normal part of life to the point where we have va©©ines to fight off countless things, healthcare is a huge part of our politics, and it’s recommended we go to biannual check-ups at our doctor’s and dentist’s offices just to make sure there aren’t any new diseases or cancers.
“..a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast…”
— Revelation 18:2
Again I’d like to turn to Leviticus.
“Speak to the people of Israel, saying, These are the living things that you may eat among all the animals that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven-footed and chews the cud, among the animals, you may eat… These you may eat, of all that are in the waters. Everything in the waters that has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers, you may eat. But anything in the seas or the rivers that does not have fins and scales, of the swarming creatures in the waters and of the living creatures that are in the waters, is detestable to you… “All winged insects that go on all fours are detestable to you. Yet among the winged insects that go on all fours you may eat those that have jointed legs above their feet, with which to hop on the ground. Of them you may eat… And by these you shall become unclean. Whoever touches their carcass shall be unclean until the evening, and whoever carries any part of their carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening. Every animal that parts the hoof but is not cloven-footed or does not chew the cud is unclean to you. Everyone who touches them shall be unclean. And all that walk on their paws, among the animals that go on all fours, are unclean to you. Whoever touches their carcass shall be unclean until the evening, and he who carries their carcass shall wash his clothes and be unclean until the evening; they are unclean to you.
— Leviticus 11:2-3, 9-10, 20-22, 26-28
This chapter has far too much contained in it to get all of it, but really the whole thing is relative to this, so I’d encourage you to read it all for a more in-depth explanation to “every unclean and detestable beast.” Continuing on, however, I don’t have any convictions yet as to what this it pertains to in our world today. My theory is that perhaps it’s referring to the food chain of this world. I don’t know if you watch food shows on TV, but my family certainly does, and it’s rare for us to not say “we’d have to substitute [unclean food that the chef uses] if we made this” during an episode. We also often find ourselves looking up restaurant menus and ingredients when we go out, checking labels at the grocery store, and occasionally having to toss food into the trash because we thought it was “clean” and it ended up not being so.
“For all nations have drunk
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”
— Revelation 18:3
This section seems self-explanatory. As you look around at our world, you see a drastic rise of sensuality, homosexuality, and even ped○philia or p○rn encouraged in and by our movies, TV shows, books, music, games, art, fashion, photography, social media, ads, speech, and even kids’ toys. It’s becoming more mainstream by the day. Every aspect of the relating passages I quoted in Part Two of this series surrounds us constantly.
Now let’s skip a little to our next point:
“For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
death and mourning and famine.”
— Revelation 18:8
Bearing in mind that a day in prophecy is equated to a year or so in real time, does this kind of plague sound familiar? A plague where people die, causing mourning (perhaps both from those with loved ones being hurt by it, and from those cooped in their houses for so many months), and famine (which is defined, as Wikipedia says, “a widespread scarcity of food, caused by several factors including war, inflation, crop failure, population imbalance, or government policies.” Policies such as a quarantine creating an inability to get food, as well as a shortage in many, many countries worldwide).
And to finish, let’s move onto the merchandise that’s sold a few verses later:
“And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.”
— Revelation 18:11-13
I’d like to mostly touch on human souls, as I believe the rest is A) self-explanatory, and B) perhaps linked with the human souls. We can look at our world and see that slavery as many of us know it is gone from the day-to-day, right? But what about slaves such as trafficked men and women, forced into a life they didn’t choose against their will? What about the children of third-world countries who go deep into dangerous holes, caves, and pits looking for anything shiny to sell to makeup companies for next to nothing so that they can make our eyelids shimmer? And what about women in sweatshops, earning pennies compared to what they should be paid, who are the backbone of companies that then sell their products to us for significantly more? Are these people not slaves to a master? And in turn, we get our jewels and pearls, our fine linen and purple cloth. Is there anything listed here that we can’t buy for much cheaper than the “employee” earned in obtaining and making it?
Now you may say, “yes, all those things — the demons, the sickness, the sexual immorality, and even the slavery — are all over the place, but they already have been for years and years! How is it evidence that the seventh bowl is occurring now?”
The seventh bowl is when Babylon is falling, and these things will fall with her. How many conservatives and liberals alike — in America and worldwide — have you seen awaken and say “no more” to companies and industries feeding us these things in the past couple years? How many are looking for alternatives to companies utilizing sweatshops, boycotting companies for ramping up the sensuality in their products, and saying goodbye to social media for pushing their agendas just a little too far? While the world is sleeping, Israel’s eyes are opening and they’re slowly rising up and saying they won’t endorse these things anymore, and the kings of the earth and the merchants are taking notice.
While these theories and only that: theories, I daresay no matter what there’s evidence that we’re creeping closer and closer to Babylon falling like Jericho’s walls, and her lies will be exposed for all to see.
Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more.
— Revelation 18:21