Could your religion—your faith—withstand the great deception prophesied to come upon the world?
The Bible contains a fascinating and mysterious book of prophecy titled Daniel after its author. In this book we see an outline of history that carries down to our time—today’s world.
Through the story of the prophet Daniel, we also see how one person could keep faith toward God in the middle of an ungodly culture and society called Babylon.
The final Babylon is greater than anything ever imagined by those who held its power in the ancient world. But the intention is still the same—to stand against God and to end His purpose for human life.
Our world today resembles this ancient culture of Babylon more than we realize. By looking at the story of Daniel, we can understand how we can maintain faith in God in the midst of a modern Babylon. Today more than ever we need the lessons of Daniel’s experience to understand the world around us and to live by God’s teachings.
Daniel’s story begins with the invasion of the kingdom of Judah and his deportation to Babylon. Babylon was the capital of the world’s most powerful nation. Along with the best minds and talents in Jerusalem, Daniel found himself thrust by God’s will and his own faith into a key position in the court of Nebuchadnezzar II, one of the most intriguing figures in history.
God gave Daniel insight into visions and dreams. Daniel wisely used his gifts to glorify God while not giving in to the temptations of Babylonian culture. Let’s understand what the Bible tells us about this ancient city and the empire called Babylon. We’ll start at the beginning of the story, in Genesis.
The story of a man and his city
It begins with a man called Nimrod, who is mentioned in Genesis 10. The Bible tells us only a little about him: “Cush begot Nimrod; he began to be a mighty one on the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the Lord; therefore it is said, ‘Like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.’ And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel” (Genesis 10:8-10).
Let’s dig into what the Bible says about Nimrod. He was a man who rose above his peers and contemporaries and became, as it says, a mighty hunter before God. “Before” in this case is negative—in the sense of being “in God’s face,” challenging Him.
And Nimrod’s claim to fame as a mighty hunter may imply more than simply being an accomplished slayer of animals—though he may have proved himself a strongman through such pursuits, gaining glory for himself. This role no doubt characterized his rule—the rule of a tyrant.
God’s ideal of a leader is that of a shepherd, not a tyrant. A shepherd guides and shields those in his care. A shepherd is a kind, caring and attentive leader who lovingly looks over a flock to preserve and to keep them, not hunt them and kill them and exploit them. Nimrod originated a system that acts as a predator of people.
Babel was the beginning of his kingdom—a kingdom that expanded into an empire.
Babel—or Babylon—is both a city and a system that the Bible shows endures throughout human experience. It enslaves the bodies and souls of men into a complex mesh of economics, politics and religion. Nimrod chained others to his wicked and greedy ambitions. In him we see the roots of what Babylon becomes. Babylon will rise again in the end time to dominate the world in one final attempt to build a “city” or system that defies the purpose of God.
Reaching defiantly to the heavens
Genesis tells us another story about the city founded by Nimrod. In involves the famous Tower of Babel.
“Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar [or Mesopotamia], and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, ‘Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly.’ They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’
“But the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, ‘Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech.’
“So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth” (Genesis 11:1-9).
Here we see the gathering of people together—one language, one speech. A civilization begins to develop in brick and stone. They say, “Let us build a city, and a tower whose top reaches to heaven.” That is a symbol of a human desire to exalt itself through culture above God.
The Tower of Babel represents a cultural unity where people work and create together. A tower that “reached to the heavens” shows their effort to defy the plan and purpose of God.
God could not allow this act of defiance. He confounded the language in order to scatter the people. What did God see in the hearts of these people creating this tower? It was an effort to defy Him and thwart His plan through a global effort to harness human wealth and skills.
Here in Babel is the seed of a system that spans the history of mankind into our day and beyond. Babylon, the city and the empire that rose from it, represented society in opposition to God’s way of life. It would continue to grow to become a great empire that would one day break the walls of Jerusalem and burn the temple built to honor God.
It’s important to remember Nimrod and Babel. He is not the last figure in the Bible who will defy God in this manner. A similar ruler will appear again at the time of the end.
Daniel stands against Babylon
Let’s fast forward to the time of Daniel and look at the character of this prophet. Daniel found himself among the Jewish captives transported to Babylon after an invasion by Nebuchadnezzar’s armies. Nebuchadnezzar was a tyrant, the spiritual heir of Nimrod. He commanded armies and the political, religious system that grew out of the culture Nimrod founded. Babylon was the larger, more powerful version of Babel. Daniel would need strong faith and courage to stand against this culture.
Daniel was taken to Babylon to be trained as a civil servant in the government. The king’s court was full of food, wine and delicacies—a place of physical pleasure. The Babylonians valued such feasting and didn’t follow biblical restrictions on what they ate. For Daniel, this was not an option. He knew God had certain standards in what human beings are to eat (see Leviticus 11). God’s law had determined how he would live, and there would be no compromise in his mind.
After hearing the requirements for his training in the ways of Babylon, “Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king” (Daniel 1:8, New Living Translation).
Daniel set his heart and his mind not to compromise with teaching and laws he knew to be eternal and unchangeable for the sake of convenience or to just go along with the times. Even in the face of the lavish temptations of Babylon, he held firm to his faith. He held firm to the life he knew even down to the food he ate. And God honored his faith.
Later, when Daniel heard the king had a dream no one could interpret, he asked for time and opportunity to know the dream and its meaning. With his friends, Daniel sought “mercies from the God of heaven concerning this secret” (Daniel 2:18).
This is quite a contrast in attitude to that of Nimrod, the tyrant who stood before God and defied His sovereignty. You and I need to be like Daniel!
Discern your times like Daniel
Daniel was a righteous man who was caught up in a period of great world upheaval. Instead of being overcome by the rapid changes happening in his life, he leaned into the wind and doubled down on his faith and belief in the great God. Instead of giving in to the lights and the glamor of Babylon, he remembered the grace and humility of Jerusalem—the city God chose. He chose to stand firm in the faith of his fathers and obey God rather than man.
Beyond that, he wanted to understand what this great empire and city called Babylon meant to the world. To use a term Jesus used, Daniel wanted to “discern” his time. He wanted to understand the current events and trends of his day. He went to God in prayer, asking for wisdom and insight into these events. And God gave Daniel that understanding.
God can give you that same understanding! The news today is filled with events that are reshaping the world we once knew. How do we understand this in light of what the Bible teaches and foretells? We do what Daniel did! We go to God in prayer, and we study the Bible to understand what’s happening in the world. Daniel would pray three times a day and ask God for understanding about the events in his day (Daniel 6:10). And God gave him an understanding about world history down into our time and to the coming of Jesus Christ.
Why does it matter that we discern our time? Because the Babylon we see from the time of Daniel is prophesied to have another life, a modern form that will emerge from the midst of today’s world!
The Babylon of the future
God gave to Daniel the understanding and interpretation of a dream by King Nebuchadnezzar. The king dreamed of a giant statue made from different materials (Daniel 2). The gold head of the image in that dream represented Babylon. The head directs the body. Babylon is an age-long system continuing to impact today’s world.
The Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible says this about Babylon: “Babylon is . . . understood as the archetypical head of all entrenched worldly resistance to God. Babylon is an age-long reality . . . Babylon, the mother of all harlots, is the great source and reservoir of enmity to God . . . which gives power and authority to false gods . . . She is the antithesis of the virgin bride of Christ, the holy city, the New Jerusalem, the kingdom of God” (p. 338, “Babylon (NT)”).
Kingdoms are at war today flowing out of the story of Babylon we see in the book of Daniel. We can pick up the story in Revelation 17, where we see a set of coming events that form the concluding chapter of the story of Babylon the Great.
In Revelation 17, we are told of a time in the future where the world is at a critical juncture of greed, war and human incompetence. The global systems of commerce and government are on the verge of catastrophe. Currency and economic structures will collapse if something is not done.
At the moment when armies are poised to gather and people can do nothing but blaspheme God, we see that something emerges that promises to preserve and protect the global world order.
The apostle John sees in vision a woman riding a beast (Revelation 17:3). This woman symbolizes a false church, a religious system that has influence over political governments throughout history. The Beast here is a political system.
What does this mean? Briefly, we are looking at a biblical description of a combination of church and state that existed from ancient times. The multiheaded “Beast” ridden by this woman represents a historic relationship between a religious and political system through the centuries up to today. Here John is seeing this system in its final appearance. It’s a global power that will astound the world.
It might seem like this scene is an impossibility when we look at the way our present world is structured. In Europe, religion is not the great power depicted here. Yet religion is not dead in Europe, and it’s certainly not in other parts of the world. Religion rules the Middle East with the rise of militant Islam and its impact around the world.
Daniel’s example of faith in Babylon of old is a lesson for us as we face the coming Babylon the Great. Just like Nimrod’s Babel, the end-time Babylon will stand against God.
Babylon rules over a broken world
How will this end-time Babylonian system come into power? The Bible reveals there will be a crisis so great that it shakes the world with fear. Out of this moment someone steps forward offering a solution to the world crisis. A powerful combined political and religious system emerges. It will deceive the entire world.
The book of Revelation describes the culmination of this time symbolically: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty” (Revelation 16:13-14).
What does this all mean? The dragon here is a symbol of Satan, the great deceiver of mankind. God rips the curtain aside and shows the real power behind the turmoil of the nations—both today and at the end. The nations of the world are at war because of the powerful spiritual forces that war against God and His purposes on earth.
This final Babylon the Great is larger than anything ever imagined by those who held its power in the ancient world. But the intention is still the same—to stand against God and to end His purpose for human life.
What, then, does all this really mean for you? What the Bible reveals about the future is of course fascinating. And it’s important to be aware of and educated about it. But why should you be concerned?
This knowledge should motivate you to holy conduct. You need to fill up your life with God so you’re not deceived. Jesus wants you to understand this lesson: “Behold, I am coming as a thief. Blessed is he who watches, and keeps his garments, lest he walk naked and they see his shame” (Revelation 16:15).
Jesus Christ tells us to consider our spiritual condition. If your spiritual life isn’t rooted in strong biblical teaching and faith and good moral conduct, you stand in danger of being caught in the web of this end-time deception!
Prepare for Babylon now
Do you think you have the ability to stand against the deception of this final hour? Don’t be too sure! You may consider yourself to be a good person, right with God and a follower of Jesus Christ. But many sincere religious people today lack the kind of conviction and courage based on sound biblical teaching that will withstand this deception!
Your religious belief may not be strong enough to keep you from the deception of this hour. Your religion could be a part of this end-time system! You need to understand this—you could become a part of this system without knowing it.
This end-time Babylon is Satan’s final attempt to destroy the human creation and end God’s eternal purpose. Yet God will allow this deception to go only so far.
God says to any who will hear and understand, “Come out of her my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
Will you hear and come out? Will you be like a Daniel in the midst of a modern Babylon and determine to obey your God regardless of the cost?
Babylon the Great as described in Revelation is an attractive culture. And it is developing today before our eyes. We are living in the midst of that emerging system. In fact, in many ways it is already here—a modern Babylon that continues the age-long work of Satan.
We live in the most prosperous time in all human history. Our global economy has produced technological marvels beyond our wildest imaginations. But don’t let yourself be lulled into accepting the moral, cultural and spiritual values of the Babylon described in Revelation.
Today we are being conditioned towards tolerance and acceptance of lifestyles and immorality that directly contradict biblical teaching. Don’t be deceived into compromising what God commands!
Like Daniel, who resisted the temptations of Nebuchadnezzar’s Babylon, we must remain faithful to God. Again, God tells His people to come out of this false system or face its judgment.
Will you make the choice to come out of Babylon and live a godly life in today’s world? What are you doing with the understanding you have? Are you looking for a church that follows biblical teaching? Isn’t it time to be sure that what you believe and practice is truly based on the Word of God?
Make the commitment to worship God according to biblical truth rather than human tradition. Take time to study the Bible and get to know the true God. Honor Him the way He wants to be honored, not through the traditions created by men!