Demon Sabbath

Demon Sabbath July 15, 2015

When Babylon the great city falls, all the inhabitants are driven out. No human sights or sounds are left – whether of music, of labor, of commerce, or of a wedding celebration (Revelation 18:22-23).

But the city is inhabited by three sets of citizens: demons, unclean spirits, and unclean birds (18:2). It becomes a habitation and a prison (2x). 

The description of these three categories uses fourteen words: dwelling, demon, and (3x), prison (2x), every (2x), spirit, unclean (2x), bird, hateful. 

That double-seven underscores a Sabbatical motif in the passage. The Hebrew word behind word “dwelling” (katoiketerion) suggests not only habitation but “being seated” even “being enthroned.” Enthronement is a Sabbath motif, and the fact that work has ceased and the city has fallen silent adds to the Sabbatical character of the setting.

This, however, is an infernal Sabbath, not the enthronement of Yahweh the Creator or Deliverer, but the enthronement of demons and unclean spirits. In the city where Babylon was once enthroned as queen, now unclean spirits and birds rule.

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