The Road From Babylon To Zion – Part 2

by | Jul 5, 2024

Chapter 1 – Babylon


It is necessary at the beginning of this book to identify what Babylon is and what she
is not. There is much confusion over the identification of Babylon, yet her
identification is a very important matter. If Yahweh God is calling His people out of
Babylon in this hour, (and He is), then His people must understand what they are
being called out from.


Some have supposed that Babylon represents a country or nation of the earth that
fits some characteristic attributed to her in scripture. For example, Babylon is spoken
of as a land of trade where “the merchants of the earth have become rich by the
wealth of her sensuality” (Revelation 18:3). She is further described in this way:


Revelation 18:11-13
“And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no
one buys their cargoes any more — cargoes of gold and silver and
precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and
scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and
every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and
marble, and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and
frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle
and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human
lives… saying, “Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine
linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious
stones and pearls; for in one hour such great wealth has been laid
waste!’ And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as
many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, and were
crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, “What city is
like the great city?’”


Some have supposed that America must represent Babylon since it is the greatest
consumer nation in the world. Yet others have argued that Babylon is New York City
due to the scripture’s repeated use of the word “city.” If this were true, then coming
out of Babylon would mean that the people of God who reside in either America or
New York City must depart from these places. If Babylon were merely describing a
physical location then simply changing one’s place of residency would fulfill the
command to “come out of her, My people” (Revelation 18:4).


It is true that there is much in America and New York City that are typical of
Babylon, and undoubtedly there is a judgment and plagues reserved for all such
places who have been given great light and have chosen instead to walk in darkness.
But Babylon is not referring specifically to America, nor to her “queen city.”


Some have supposed that Babylon refers to the actual Babylon of the Old Testament.
The ancient city lies in the country of Iraq, and although it has been an uninhabited
ruin for centuries, some have advanced the notion that Saddam Hussein is having
Babylon rebuilt and that it will be populated once again. The ancient city is the site
of much excavation and archaeological work today. But it will not be inhabited, nor
will it rise to a glorious position such as she once knew in the world. The climate has
changed. Bodies of water have dried up. What was once a fertile region is now a
barren wasteland due to the judgment of Yahweh. Furthermore, we have Yahweh’s
word that the ancient city of Babylon will never be inhabited again.


Jeremiah 51:36, 37, 41-43, 61-64
Therefore thus says Yahweh, “Behold, I am going to plead your case
And exact full vengeance for you; And I will dry up her sea and make
her fountain dry. Babylon will become a heap of ruins, a haunt of
jackals, an object of horror and hissing, without inhabitants… How
Sheshak has been captured, and the praise of the whole earth been
seized! How Babylon has become an object of horror among the
nations! The sea has come up over Babylon; She has been engulfed with
its tumultuous waves. Her cities have become an object of horror, a
parched land and a desert, a land in which no man lives and through
which no son of man passes… Then Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “As soon
as you come to Babylon, then see that you read all these words aloud,
and say, “You, O Yahweh, have promised concerning this place to cut it
off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast,
but it will be a perpetual desolation.’ And as soon as you finish reading
this scroll, you will tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the
Euphrates, and say, “Just so shall Babylon sink down and not rise again
because of the calamity that I am going to bring upon her; and they will
become exhausted.'” Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.


People imagine many vain things, but these scriptures should be sufficient to let all
know that the ancient city of Babylon will not rise again as some mystical phoenix
from the desert to once more ascend to glory. Yahweh’s judgment on ancient Babylon
is final. Her ruins stand now as a somber warning against spiritual Babylon and her
impending judgments and plagues. She too will be broken beyond remedy, never to
rise again. We must conclude that the Babylon of Revelation is not speaking of the
ancient city being rebuilt.


Others have supposed that Babylon represents Rome and the Roman Catholic
Church, and there is much to support this argument. The following scripture reveals
more about the character of Mystery Babylon.


Revelation 17:5, 6, 9
And on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE
GREAT,THEMOTHEROF HARLOTSANDOFTHEABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.” And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the
saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Yahshua. Here is the mind
which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the
woman sits…”


Untold numbers of saints have been martyred at the hands of Rome and the Catholic
Church. Through Rome’s influence many heresies and pagan practices have been
mixed in with the worship of God until Christendom has become a corrupt mixture.
Rome also sits on seven hills.


Many books and a myriad of sermons have gone forth proclaiming the Roman
Catholic Church to be Babylon. Without a doubt there is a connection between
Babylon and Rome, yet the Babylon of Revelation is more than the Roman Catholic
Church. It is noted in the preceding scripture that Babylon is “the mother of harlots.”
Babylon has many daughters, and each one of these daughters is also Babylon. Some
have argued quite convincingly that these daughters are the various denominations
that populate Christendom today. Even within the denominations that have
protested against the Roman Catholic Church (the Protestants), there is much of
Rome left in them.


Entire books have been written to expose the false pagan practices that have become
part and parcel of Christian practice today, both inside and outside of Rome. It is not
just the Catholics that celebrate the Christ Mass on the historic date of the pagan
festivals of Sol Invictus and Saturnalia. It is not just the Catholics that have kept the
name and the date of the Spring fertility festival held in honor of the goddess Ishtar
(Eostre, Astarte, Ashtoreth) which we know as Easter. It is not just the Catholics that
have brought such devastation to the body of Christ by instituting the false divisions
of clergy and laity. All of these things, and many more, are as typical of the harlot’s
daughters as they are true of the Great Harlot.


If we try to identify Babylon by her false practices, however, we will fail. These things
are merely symptoms, and the outward trappings of Babylon. We must discover the
root and the heart of Babylon to know how to truly come out of her. The saint could
identify every false practice and every pagan influence of Babylon, and separate
themselves from all such things, and still not have come out of her.


We are getting much closer to the center of things in looking at Mystery Babylon’s
association to the Roman Catholic Church and Protestant denominationalism. If
these entities represent Babylon, the Great Harlot, and her daughters, then the call
to come out of Babylon is a call to flee from Catholicism and all denominationalism.
Yet there are those who have come out of these and they are not yet free of Babylon,
for Babylon at its heart represents a spiritual principle.


Let us examine one more example of that which people are identifying as Babylon in
this day. This last example is also related to Rome and her heresies. Many are
identifying Babylon today by outward measures, by forms of worship, forms of
assembly, practices and traditions. Many are looking back to the manner and practice
of the apostles and how things have deviated since those first meetings of the early
saints. Certainly there is value in discerning these matters, but returning to a “New
Testament form” does not insure one’s departure from Babylon, nor does holding to
what is considered a deviation from the original pattern mean that one is still in
Babylon.


By way of illustrating what I am speaking about, some say that home churches are the
model that was portrayed in the New Testament and that large gatherings and
meetings in buildings dedicated to the gathering of the saints (church buildings) is a
Babylonian device and it should be avoided. The truth, however, is that there are
saints meeting in homes who are indistinguishable from those who meet in church
buildings. The only difference is one of form. The true distinction between Babylon
and Zion is one of the heart, and it cannot be measured or quantified or described
and set forth by examining traditions, practices, or forms.


This is not to say that these things are unimportant, but leaving a fellowship of
believers who meet in a church building to join others who meet in someone’s home
is not to be mistaken as journeying from Babylon to Zion. Neither is leaving a church
that has pastors and deacons to go to a church that has a five-fold ministry of
apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Nor is leaving a body that meets
on Sunday to join a group that meets on the traditional Sabbath which began at
sundown on Friday. Nor is leaving a group that uses the names and titles God, Lord
and Jesus to join a group that uses the names and titles Elohim, Yahweh, and
Yahshua.


All of these matters should be examined, and we should ask the Father to grant us
wisdom and understanding in them all, but these things do not mark the boundaries
of Babylon and Zion. The Pharisees sought to conform to the letter of the Law and
they had an appearance of righteousness, but Yahshua testified of them that inwardly
they were full of dead men’s bones. Even so, we can faithfully reproduce New
Testament forms to the best of our understanding and still be considered citizens of
Babylon. We should consider our Savior’s words:


Matthew 7:21-23
“Not everyone who says to Me, “Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of
heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will
enter. Many will say to Me on that day, “Lord, Lord, did we not
prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your
name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, “I never
knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE
LAWLESSNESS.’”


In this scripture we see a people who confess Yahshua as Lord and they are doing the
very same activities that He did. Yahshua prophesied and so did they. Yahshua cast
out demons and so did they. Yahshua performed miracles and so did they. Yet we
have Yahshua’s very pointed pronouncement, “Depart from Me, you who practice
lawlessness.”


It is not enough to conform to Christ in form, or even in action. We must have an
internal conformity. Yahshua lived to do the will of the Father, and so must we.
Yahshua never performed any of the activities mentioned of His own initiative. He
only did what the Father commanded Him to do. Yahshua never walked in
lawlessness, He was every moment surrendered to the governmental will of His
Father in heaven.


There are many home churches today that are doing much of their own initiative.
There are many fellowships that eschew pagan practices and that name the name of
Yahweh and Yahshua, yet they are full of their own plans and ambitions. There are
many local bodies of believers that have five-fold ministers and who seek to pattern
themselves after New Testament forms, but they are still living out of the soul of man
and making decisions apart from the Spirit of God.


Leaving Babylon requires much more than simply changing forms and practices that
are outwardly observable. Undoubtedly, the people of Zion will stand out from the
citizens of Babylon in numerous external ways, but the real difference is inward. To
leave Babylon one must be circumcised in the heart. Babylon must be removed from
one’s desires and passions before one can journey out from Babylon.


Babylon and Zion have actually existed side by side throughout the entire history of
the Scriptures. We see Babylon and Zion in the two brothers Cain and Abel. Both
men brought an offering to Yahweh. Cain brought of the fruit of the earth, while Abel
brought forth of the firstlings of his flock with their fat portions. We are told that God
had regard for Abel’s offering, but not for Cain’s.


What was the difference between Cain’s offering and Abel’s that God would regard
one and not the other? I have heard many vain things preached regarding this story,
many saying that Cain did not bring the best of the fruit of the ground while Abel
brought the best of the flock. But the scriptures do not say that Cain brought less
than the best of what he had grown. I believe that he did indeed bring the very best
of his produce from the ground. Why then did God despise Cain’s offering?


The reason has to do with what the offerings represent. We can easily see that Abel’s
offering of the firstlings of his flock was in keeping with the offerings that Yahweh
ordained should be brought before Him. The firstlings of the flock represent the
Lamb who would be slain for the sins of the world, and we are told that “without the
shedding of blood there is no remission of sin” (Hebrews 9:22). Abel’s offering found
acceptance with God because it looked forward in faith to that spotless Lamb that
would one day cleanse the world from all guilt and condemnation. The scriptures
reveal that it was because of this faith that Abel’s offering was acceptable in God’s
sight.


Hebrews 11:4
By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which
he obtained the testimony that he was righteous…


Cain, however, made an offering based upon his own works that did not look to the
future atonement of Yahshua. After Adam sinned, the ground was cursed and
produce came forth by the sweat of man’s brow. It was the fruit of his own sweat and
labor that Cain presented to God as an offering and God was not impressed. Babylon
always seeks to ascend to God through its own works and to thereby find acceptance
and approval. Cain made an offering of the best that he had, and I am certain he was
proud of the quality and quantity of the fruit. He thought, “Certainly God will have
regard for my offering”, but God did not. By works of the flesh no man will be
justified before God. Justification is only by faith in Yahshua and HIS FINISHED
WORK.


This is actually the key distinction between Babylon and Zion. Babylon initiates great
works and then asks God to bless them. Babylon has the appearance of great
industriousness and her progress seems evident to all. But Babylon’s works are the
works of man. Babylon may be doing the same kind of works that Yahshua
performed, but she is doing them as she sees fit, not by command of God. Babylon
is not Spirit directed, she is soul directed.


The soul of man devises many plans that seem noble and right and which find the
approval of others. As we saw earlier, some of these activities include prophesying,
casting out demons, and performing miracles. These activities also include feeding
the hungry, proclaiming the gospel, building ministries with noble sounding
purposes, and the list could go on and on.


The majority of the saints have been taught to judge things according to sight. If they
observe a man casting out a demon they judge such a one to be righteous and holy
and pleasing to God. If they see a person performing an authentic miracle they
conclude that this person certainly bears the stamp of God’s approval. If they see a
person operating a charity to care for the poor, they will also assume that it must
certainly be of God. Yet Yahshua said that “many” would come to Him in the day of
judgment and proclaim that they did such things in His name, but He will deny even
knowing them.


This is a large part of the trouble of coming out of Babylon: Babylon looks good on
the outside. This is the same struggle that those who followed Messiah faced when
He said, “Unless your righteousness exceeds that of the Scribes and the Pharisees,
you can in no wise enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” The Pharisees looked good. They
prayed. They fasted. They tithed of all their substance. They meticulously kept the
Law… Yet, they were relying on their own works to gain approval before a holy God.


Yahshua told the story of the Pharisee who stood proudly in the Temple and looked
with disdain at the tax collector who was on his face before God. The Pharisee
pompously prayed, “I thank you God that I am not like this sinner.” Yet Yahshua said
the sinner went home JUSTIFIED while the Pharisee found no regard before God.


The sinner threw himself on the mercy of God, offering no works, making no
bargains, pledging no promises, trusting wholly to the character of God to deliver
him. He simply asked for mercy and he believed God would be merciful.


The paradox today is that it is often the most righteous looking people who are the
chief citizens of Babylon for they are working hard to find approval before God. They
are striving laboriously to appear righteous. Many a minister has spent his entire life
working to find the approval of God and of men, and he has yoked the people who
follow him to the same burden of works. They may accomplish many remarkable
things, but before God it is all striving and dead works for they are not born out of
faith in the completed work of Christ. As the Galatians who began in faith and then
tried to continue in works, such ones have become severed from Christ and He has
become altogether worthless to them.


Looking at a church externally, how can you tell which ones are of Babylon and
which are of Zion? They may both be performing the same activities, but one body
is striving to be judged as righteous, while the other is resting in the knowledge that
in Christ, Yahshua the Messiah, they are already righteous. One is seeking to
overcome the flesh, the world and the Devil by imitating the works of Christ, the
other realizes that Christ has already overcome all and they are in Christ and He is
in them. One body is expending their very life to be approved before God, and the
other proclaims that they have died and their life has been hidden with God in Christ
Jesus, Yahshua the Messiah.


These are things that are not easily quantified and observable, but Babylon is living
life from a point of striving to be approved before God and man while Zion is resting
in the life of the Son. Zion is a people of faith.


Perhaps nowhere is this identity of Babylon seen more clearly than in the judgment
that was brought upon Judah and Jerusalem when they were given over into the
hands of ancient Babylon. The duration of Judah’s and Jerusalem’s captivity was
prophesied to be seventy years. This time period was arrived at based on the number
of years that they had failed to let the land know its sabbath rests.


Every seven years Israel was commanded to not till the land, nor plant, nor harvest.
They were to let the land enjoy a sabbath, an annual rest. They should have taken a
lesson from Cain. “Give it a rest Cain. God doesn’t want your sweat and your labor.
He wants your faith.” Even so, the people of Israel were commanded to demonstrate
the principle of rest and live by faith every seventh year. They were to trust God to
provide everything they needed. But man has a problem with faith. Man wants to
trust in his own works to carry him through.


Judah and Jerusalem had not given the land a rest in 490 years. This means the land
had missed seventy of its sabbaths. As a judgment against their lack of faith Yahweh
had the people carried away into captivity and for seventy years the land knew rest.
For seventy years there was no one to till and to plant and to harvest.


II Chronicles 36:20-21
Those who had escaped from the sword he carried away to Babylon; and
they were servants to him and to his sons until the rule of the kingdom
of Persia, to fulfill the word of Yahweh by the mouth of Jeremiah, until
the land had enjoyed its sabbaths. All the days of its desolation it kept
sabbath until seventy years were complete.


This is the difference between Babylon and Zion. Babylon is a land of works where
man must accomplish every task and fulfill every mandate. Babylon knows nothing
of rest and faith. Oh yes, Babylon speaks very much about faith, but it is a faith that
is rooted in man’s ability. Babylon’s faith is founded upon man’s ability to envision
some end and to see it through. Babylon is built with blueprints, and planning
sessions, and organization, and fund drives, and pep rallies, and the sweat of untold
men and women. This is why when all is said and done and some project has come
to completion, the people of Babylon feel justified to stand and proclaim:


Daniel 4:30
“Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built… by the might
of my power…?”


Zion, however, is not seeking to build anything of her own will and initiative. Zion is
a people of faith. Zion knows that salvation is of the Lord, as is sanctification, and as
is glorification. Zion does not labor to build a city, for she seeks a city not built with
hands whose builder and maker is not man, but God. Zion does not seek to work for
the approval of Yahweh, she works because she is approved by Yahweh.


Zion is a city of rest. This does not mean that those who are of Zion are doing nothing,
it means that they are doing nothing of their own initiative. They are doing those
works that God prepared beforehand for them. They are not dreaming up their own
works, nor are they stretching out their hands to labor in fields to which they have not
been sent. Austin Sparks made this very enlightening comment:


Thus it was that we were turned in that dark hour to Romans chapter
six, and, almost as though He spoke in audible language, the Lord said:
‘When I died, you died. When I went to the Cross I not only took your
sins, but I took you. When I took you, I not only took you as the sinner
that you might regard yourself to be, but I took you as being all that you
are by nature; your good (?) as your bad; your abilities as well as your
disabilities; yes, every resource of yours. I took you as a “worker”, a
“preacher”, an organizer! My Cross means that not even for Me can you
be or do anything out from yourself, but if there is to be anything at all
it must be out from Me, and that means a life of absolute dependence
and faith.’


At this point, therefore, we awoke to the fundamental principle of our
Lord’s own life while here, and it became the law of everything for us
from that time. That principle was: “nothing of (out from) Himself”, but
“all things of (out from) God”.


The Son can do nothing of (out from) Himself, but what He seeth the
Father doing: for what things soever He doeth, then the Son also doeth
in like manner’ (John 5:19).


“I can of Myself do nothing: as I hear I judge” (John 5:30).


“My teaching is not Mine, but His that sent Me” (John 7:16).


We saw that this explains so many strange and – naturally – perplexing
things in His behavior: acting and refusing to act; going and refusing to
go; speaking and refusing to speak. Later, we came to see that this is the
whole meaning of life in the Spirit, and that it is an altogether different
life from the natural ways of men, even of Christian men. At the time of
this seeing, it was a matter of this law becoming basic, absolute, and
ultimate, and it was something totally different from what had been in all
our ideas and activities in Christian life and work.


Yes, those who are of Zion are to be emptied of self, both that which they consider bad
as well as that which they consider good. Zion is to live out the words of Paul:


Galatians 2:20
“I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ
lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the
Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”


Babylon seeks to perform godly works through human industry and effort. Babylon
asks the question, “What Would Jesus Do?” and then it tries to perform that action in
the power of sinful flesh. Zion, however, sees self as crucified with Christ and Christ
now living in and through them. As one brother has stated, Zion says, “Watch What
Jesus Does!”


We have seen that Judah and Jerusalem were given over to Babylonian captivity until
the land could receive its seventy sabbaths that it had been denied. The issue of rest is
the most critical distinction between these two cities. By faith in the work of Messiah
Zion enters into rest. Due to unbelief Babylon endures ceaseless striving and fails to
enter into the sabbath rest of God. Babylon’s works are birthed in the mind, will, and
emotions of man. Many of these works appear noble and some are even supernatural
in nature. But due to the corrupted source from which they arise all such works are
rejected by God. Many of the works of Babylon are in direct opposition to Zion and her
citizens.


Yahshua said the day would come when people would kill His disciples and think
they were doing God a favor. Such is the end result of the polluted well that Babylon
drinks from. In the name of God and His Christ millions of saints have been
martyred in the past 2,000 years. This is the work of Babylon. What a shock is in
store for these who will stand before Yahshua and say, “Did we not kill the infidels
and heretics in Your name?” He will reply, “When you did it to the least of these My
brethren, you did it unto Me.”


Perhaps now you can see more clearly why Zion and Babylon cannot be identified
merely by external measurements. Tares and wheat look much alike until they bear
fruit. I know some would like to have a rule of thumb to be able to tell Babylon apart
from Zion. Such rules are hard to come by, but one indicator I will give. Zion is a
people of faith, while Babylon walks by sight and reason.


Example after example could be given of personal encounters I have experienced
with ministers and churches who would not walk by faith. When the test comes then
hearts are exposed.


Yahweh will press His people forward into realms of faith without exception. We are
told that “without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebrews 11:6). The people of
Zion will go forward in faith “not loving their lives unto the death” while Babylon will
shrink back.


Yes, there are many other things which characterize Babylon: her sensuality, her
pride, her idolatry, her love of the world and the things in it; her persecution of the
saints; her pagan practices; her heresies; her false forms and traditions, but all of
these are the result of her lack of faith in Yahshua and her failure to enter into rest.
This is the land that the people of God are being directed to come out from.


Babylon is many places. Babylon is America and New York City. Babylon is the
Roman Catholic Church and her many denominational daughters. Babylon is all of
these and more. The call to come out will impact each child of God in different ways,
but the Spirit will lead all who have ears to hear.


Like Abraham who left Ur of the Chaldees to go to a land of promise he had never
seen, so too are many today being called out in this hour. Abraham had to leave
family and friends behind, and so too must many of those today. When Yahweh calls,
we dare not disobey. We must gladly entrust ourselves into His care. It is a good and
a prosperous land set before us. Yahweh’s delight is in the people of Zion. As Moses
said to the people of Israel when they left another land of captivity:


Deuteronomy 6:23
He brought us out from there in order to bring us in, to give us the land
which He had sworn to our fathers.


The land before us is Yahweh Himself. He is our inheritance and our portion in the
land. The heritage of Zion is beautiful and lovely beyond compare. May the way
before you be made plain and may you know His presence as you journey along

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