SPIRIT OF BABYLON
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 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.
First, we need to repent for our indulgence in what Babylon represents in this portion of Scripture; of which a major theme is greed and self-indulgence. We need to repent for thinking more about what we can buy for ourselves than how we can bless others. We need to ask God to forgive us for often forgetting to thank Him for the multitude of things that He has already given to us.
Gods hates the spirit of greed – the “Spirit of Babylon.” In addition to inevitably exploiting others, it also lulls us into complacency. The greedy person’s goals in life become petty and foolish–we waste our precious time on earth accumulating things that we can only enjoy for a few years, making a comfortable cocoon around our existence in which we can forget the pain and poverty of others–and then we too, are gone.
Instead of living in a high spiritual plane we become weakened with the cares and love of the world. This brings spiritual blindness, weakness, dullness. The hunger in our hearts that God is longing to fill with Himself, becomes numbed with the placebos of clothing, cars, knickknacks, vacations, food, homes, interior decorations, beauty products, entertainment centers, and toys of every variety.
None of these things are wrong in and of themselves. God desires us to be blessed, not just with things that we need, but also with things that we want. Yet, when more of our passion is poured into them than God, when these things bring us more joy than God, when we spend more time, money and thought on these things than God, something is wrong. It is called idolatry. And idolatry is always a sure path to ruin and destruction.
How Do We Get Free of the “Spirit of Babylon?”
We must begin by repenting of our sins. Repent, means more than being sorry for one’s actions. It means to turn around and go the other way. We need to counteract the spirit of greed and self-absorption with the opposite qualities. In other words, we need to thoughtfully, specifically, and aggressively begin to do the opposite of what we were once doing. We should not be overly proud of our generosity, as indeed, it is our duty from Heaven’s perspective. What I am suggesting, is that instead of resting on the fact that we have been generous in the past, let us be even more generous than before. Most of us give out of our excess, and not much out of true sacrifice. Now is the time to cultivate a strong dose of generosity in our hearts to kill the subtle greed that has flourished inside of us. We can begin to overcome internal sin by outwardly changing our ways. This is what it means to repent.
In conclusion, we must all be aware that the Spirit of Babylon is something that every Overcoming Christian will have to battle. There is no way around it and even those in less prosperous nations will have to face it. Greed finds a home in the heart of the poor just as much as in the heart of the rich. The condition of our heart is what needs to change. When He has changed the condition of our heart regarding money, He will be able to trust us with much more, as He knows that we will use it wisely for the kingdom of God.
Though there may be other repercussions from this Scripture, as related to the global events that are happening, we do not need to become frightened. Babylon is doomed to come down and be replaced with the Kingdom of God. God’s triumph is inevitable, and His plan, which He purposed from the beginning of the ages, will prevail. This is the good news. If we obey the Holy Spirit now, we have nothing to be afraid of. And His directions are simple–to love the Lord with all of our heart and to love our neighbor as ourselves.