As you read the Bible, especially the Old Testament, it can be difficult to make sense of all the kings and nations. This is especially true in Daniel as his prophetic missionary ministry in Babylon continued throughout the reign of four kings, and also foretells of additional nations rising up in history after his death. For the original readers, these details would be as familiar to us as the high-profile nations and political leaders on the world stage that dominate our nightly news.
As a bit of a history lesson to set the stage for the book of Daniel, Babylon is also called Chaldea and the Chaldeans throughout the Bible. Geographically, today we’d call this land Iraq.
In Daniel 1:2 Babylon is also called “Shinar”. We first learn about this region in Genesis 11:2. The context is the tower of Babel. Following the great war in heaven where Satan and demons tried to set up their own kingdom apart from God, this demonic effort continued as godless people wanted to make a great city and great name for themselves, complete with a high tower that reached up to the heavens so they could act like god. God creates a Kingdom, Satan counterfeits with Babel.
Seeing this evil, God said that if everyone worked together nothing would be impossible with them and evil would only increase on the earth. To reduce evil on the earth, God confused their languages and scattered the people. The principle is that Satan’s team is often more unified than God’s people. Why? Satan attacks the unity of God’s people and blesses the unholy alliance of those opposed to God. For this reason, Jesus took His longest prayer in John 17 to pray for Christians to have unity and not division. The point is that unified unbelievers are more powerful than divided believers.
Babylon is an ancient nation. But, it is important to note that behind Babylon was the demonic spirit of Babylon. God creates a Kingdom that is called His bride. Satan counterfeits with a kingdom that is called Babylon, the “mother of prostitutes” (Revelation 17:5). The spirit of Babylon is at work in every nation and generation. For this reason, the last book of the Bible, Revelation is closely connected to Daniel as they both have prophecy about the end of human history and beginning of eternity with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Long after the nation of Babylon had ceased to exist, Revelation reveals that the demonic spirit of Babylon remains at work in the world. Here are some examples:
- Revelation 14:8 | Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”
- Revelation 16:19 | 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.
- Revelation 17:5 | And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”
- Revelation 18:1-2 | I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, “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.”
- Revelation 18:10 | 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.”
- Revelation 18:21 | 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…”
The demonic spirit of Babylon was in Sodom and Gomorrah, Nazi Germany, is in North Korea and Iran, runs drug cartels and human trafficking, is writing curriculum for students from kindergarten through graduate school, is architecting political platforms and cultural narratives in everything from movies to television shows, and enjoys surfing the internet and causing social media trends. No one, no thing, and no place is immune from the demonic influence of the spirit of Babylon.
How is the spirit of Babylon at work in your life right now?
In addition to this introduction to and overview of Daniel, you can find the corresponding sermons, daily devotions, men’s ministry resources, and hundreds of additional sermons and Bible teaching resources for free at markdriscoll.org or on the Mark Driscoll Ministries app.
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