Comparing “Russian World” Teaching to Mystery Babylon: Part 2 of 2

Comparing “Russian World” Teaching to Mystery Babylon: Part 2 of 2 March 16, 2022

In my previous post, Part 1 of this subject, I quoted at length from the recent “A Declaration on the ‘Russian World’ (Ruskii Mir) Teaching.” Signed by over 500 church leaders around the world, it condemns the growing teaching called “Russian World” in which people like Russia’s President Vladimir Putin call for the formation an ultra, ethno-nationalism that would go even beyond the geography occupied by the former Soviet Union to replicate the Russian Empire of medieval times, which included present Ukraine. Many who advocate this vision of Russian nationalism also connect it to the Russian, or Eastern, Orthodox Church. One who does is Patriarch Killil of Moscow, a close associate of Vladimir Putin. That is why Killil has remained silent in condemning Putin’s War in Ukraine, which is likely supports.

I suspect that this ideological union between Putin and Killil, between Russian World and at least some of the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church portrays the graphic prophecy in the Bible’s book of Revelation called “Babylon, the great mother of whores and earth’s abominations” (Rev 17.7). I have a book manuscript about Revelation 17-18 which I plan as Book 6 in my STILL HERE series on Bible prophecy. Revelation 17 begins as follows in the NRSV in vv. 1-14, with one named “John” (Rev 1.4) as the author and narrator:

“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the judgment of the great whore who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and with the wine of whose fornication the inhabitants of the earth have become drunk.’ So he carried me away in the spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her fornications, and on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: ‘Babylon the great, mother of whores and of earth’s abominations.’ And I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints and the blood of the witnesses to Jesus.

“When I saw her, I was greatly amazed. But the angel said to me, ‘Why are you so amazed? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to ascend from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the inhabitants of the earth, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will be amazed when they see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come.

“This calls for a mind that has wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; also, they are seven kings of whom five have fallen, one is living, and the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour together with the beast.

“These are united in yielding their power and authority to the beast; they will make war on the Lamb [Jesus Christ at his return], and the Lamb will conquer them for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.'”

There is much to digest here, and I won’t get into all of it. What is the overall meaning of this woman Babylon riding on a beast? To learn who the woman is, we have to go back to nearly the beginning of the Bible. Genesis 11 relates that after Noah’s flood, people multiplied and congregated together in “the land of Shinar” in the “kingdom of Babel” in what is central Iraq today (Gen 11.2). There was a city there named “Babylon.” And the people said, “‘Come, let us make bricks and burn them thoroughly.’ And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves'” (vv. 3-4). So they built what came to be known in ancient history as “the tower of Babel” or “the tower of Babylon.” Eventually, a religious system became attached to this tower of Babel. In the Bible, it represents man’s self-made religion in contrast to the pure and true religion of the God of creation as witnessed through Israel, God’s chosen nation through which he would reveal himself to the world. Thus, “Babylon the great” in Revelation 17 hearkens back to the tower of Babel recorded in Genesis 11.

I believe that the portrayal in Revelation 17 of Babylon the great riding the beast is symbolic of manmade religion controlling various governments in world history. Thus, this mystery Babylon has existed throughout history and becomes very prominent at the end of the age. As for certain specifics that the angel told John about this vision, all interpreters are not in agreement. I think, as do many conservative commentators, that the seven heads of the beast refer to seven successive kings of the Roman Empire and that the last one symbolizes the man in the Bible called the final Antichrist (1 John 2.18). Since he has not yet appeared, the Roman Empire will be revived in the latter period of this age, and then he will appear among the ten horns, who also represent ten kings who will rule that final empire consecutively in the last days.

Some Bible interpreters call mystery Babylon in Revelation 17 “Babylonianism.” Babylonianism is ungodly religion that is associated with human government or even controls human government. I believe it has happened in history with many religious systems, including Christianity. When this happens with Christianity, I believe that those who are responsible for it likely are not true Christians. True Christianity is not ethnic, but God through Jesus calling out a people for his name among all ethnicities and socio-economic classes. In fact, the apostle Paul wrote concerning the true church of God, “There is no longer Jew or Greek, there is no longer slave or free, there is no longer male and female, for all of you are one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3.28).

Jesus taught many things about whether or not people are his true disciples or pseudo-disciples. For example, he said of his genuine disciples, “My sheep hear my voice. I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish” (John 10.27-28). We likewise read, “Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, ‘If you continue in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free'”(John 8.31). And this One who will be Judge of all (Acts 17.31) explained earlier in his Sermon on the Mount concerning that future judgment, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?’ Then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; go away from me, you evildoers'” (Matthew 7.21-23).

I do not think that anyone who fully understands and approves of Putin’s War in Ukraine, in which his Russians forces have attacked and are killing innocent people who have done nothing to provoke this, belong to the Jesus of the Bible no matter whether they are religious or not. And if they are religious leaders who approve of this, they are part of the mystery called “Babylon, the great mother of whores and earth’s abominations.”

 


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