The Beacon Lights is sent out to many different places. Some of us live in big cities, some in small towns and villages and some out in the open countryside. We all have a specific address to identify our location in distinction from everyone else. But though we all live in our separate places, our spiritual citizenship is in one of two places: the kingdom of heaven, or the kingdom of this world. Unlike the name of the city found on your address label, the cities of Jerusalem and Babylon have special symbolic meaning in the Bible. God uses these cities in the Bible as earthly pictures of a heavenly reality. We are earthly and cannot see the heavenly realities with our physical eyes. We must, therefore, study carefully the pictures which God has given us so that we come to know and love the heavenly reality. Of what is Jerusalem and Babylon a picture? Rev. Heys gets right to the heart when he points to the absolute difference between them.
From a physical point of view, Young People, there is a tremendous difference between that which is white or black, hot or cold, large or small, sweet or sour.
Likewise, from a spiritual point of view, there is a tremendous difference between that which is holy or unholy, the truth or the lie, serving God or serving Satan, loving God or loving sin.
What is more, there is a city mentioned in Scripture, that stands higher than all other cities mentioned therein. That is the city called Jerusalem, which was the capital city in the land of Canaan. It had God’s temple in it, and therefore was the city to which the believers came, in order to worship God. That name Jerusalem means Possession of Peace.
Yes, there were many other cities presented in Scripture that had names that expressed belief or unbelief, joy or sorrow. There was a city that was far away from Jerusalem whose name was Babel, which means Gate of God, but it referred to an idol, not to Jehovah, the one and only true God. The name Babel was, in the New Testament changed to Babylon which has the same meaning, namely, Gate of Satan.
That city, Babylon, was far east of the land of Canaan, and therefore far from Jerusalem, which was the capital city for the twelve tribes of Israel. Babylon, however, was a city of gross idolatry. But Jerusalem was the place where all the believing children of God went to worship Him in His temple. They came home with the confidence that their sins were forgiven them. And that is why the name of that city means, and was called, Possession of Peace.
What is striking is that the city of Babylon is mentioned six times in the Book of Revelation, while Jerusalem is mentioned therein twenty times. What we read concerning Jerusalem in this Book of Revelation is always the blessedness which God has for those whom He chose in Christ. While Babylon is presented as an Antichristian city. That we read in Revelation 18:2 in these words: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” We can, therefore, call the believing children of God Christians; and the Babylonians then can correctly be called Antichristians, that is; those who are against Christ, and are not the members of His body, the Church. The Babylonians are those who want nothing to do with Christ but to go against Him and those who belong to Him.
That is an awesome truth, which we should today keep in mind. We are Christians or we are Antichristians. There is no third kind of people, from a spiritual point of view. We are citizens of Jerusalem from its spiritual point of view, or of Babylon, which belongs to Satan’s Kingdom of Evil. Remember that Christ Jesus, our Savior, was crucified by those who hated Christ; and in that sense they were Antichristian. For “anti” means against. And they were against Christ, and against all the members of His body, the Church for whom He died, and whom He saves.
Here then we have that awesome difference between believers and unbelievers. The believers represent Christ; and the unbelievers present themselves as Antichrists in the Book of Revelation. And we do well to take heed of that truth. The cities themselves are not against each other; and today we can find children of God in the same city as those wherein the unbelievers dwell. In fact, in the cities in this world, more of them are children of Satan rather than children of God. They are not Christians, but in all they want and seek are Antichristians.
What we should bear in mind, and hold on to tightly in our hearts and minds is the fact that Satan is so very, very clever today, using these Babylonians, who are Antichristians, against Christ’s covenant seed, dwelling in the same city or community. We live today in a world wherein Satan has so many clever and deceitful and powerful means of making most of the world by far to be Antichristians rather than Christians; and to make the Christians cover their Christianity by Antichristian activities.
You Young People should therefore bear in mind what we read in II Corinthians 6:17. There we find this awesome and important command: “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing: and I will receive you.” Therefore also we read in Revelation 18:4: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not her plagues.” We also have that serious calling presented in Isaiah 52:11. There we read: “Depart ye, depart ye, go ye out from thence, touch no unclean thing; go ye out of the midst of her; be ye clean, that bear the vessels of the Lord.”
That is an awesome and very serious command that comes to us today. For Satan has many more devices to make us live as the Antichristians live. With many awesome inventions that we have today, we are tempted craftily and seriously by things which Satan did not use upon our parents and grandparents. With an automobile, radio and television set we can, even on Sunday, seek many worldly pleasures that could not be sought and used in ages gone by; and were not found as being sought by church members.
We must judge everything that God calls sin to be sin, and must seriously judge all that is round about us, and is being performed by those whom we see, read about, and are recommended by the Antichristian men, women and young people, who are round about us. When we walk as Babylonians, that is, as those who live as Antichristians, we should take heed of what God says of them.
The sad situation today is that Satan is far more clever and crafty in getting men and women of Babylon into Jerusalem. He is getting many more of those that are Antichristian, to get those who are Christians to live as the Antichristians sinfully live. They get false doctrines into churches, both in preaching and in singing. They enter into man’s hearts through their ears. They will even get people to clap their hands, because of what their men sang, rather than because of the truth that was sung. They reveal far more delight in music than in the truth which is sung. What man does pleases them rather than what God does and presents in a song.
Our calling, therefore, is to live Christian lives, and to keep away from Antichristian entertainment. By all means we must sing of God’s grace, in order to praise Him. We must not ever brush God aside by bringing men in front of Him. Rightly we begin our services singing: “Praise God from Whom all blessings flow. Praise Him all creatures here below.”
Let your life, Young People, reveal that you are citizens of the Kingdom of heaven, the New Jerusalem, rather than citizens who are happy because they are Babylonians. We must not walk as citizens of Babylon, but as citizens of the coming New Jerusalem. Fight against your flesh, not against Christ, your Savior.
Look forward to the day when you will be spiritually perfect Christians, who glorify God, and have Babylon’s gate tightly closed, to keep from you all that which tries to brush God aside, and brings man to do what Satan wants man to do. Now already reveal yourselves as Christians, rather than Antichristians. Reveal yourselves as Christians, and you will soon be with Him in the New Jerusalem, when Christ comes to punish the spiritual Babylonians.
Rev. Heys is a retired minister of the Protestant Reformed Churches. He is a member of Hudsonville Protestant Reformed Church.