Bible Study with Jairus
Revelation 18 (Part 2)

The Fall of Babylon and the Symbol of An Olive Press

 

Revelation 16 depicts the fall of Babylon the Great. The Holy Spirit showed me that Babylon the Great is a symbol of evil, like a nest full of evil spirits and impure birds. They not only resist God but also ensnare and deceive believers.

Therefore, God’s judgment on Babylon the Great involves placing it in the winepress of His wrath. God calls His people to leave Babylon the Great before the city structure collapses.

Babylon the Great is an Olive Press

In this world, there are three spiritual realms. We humans live in the first spiritual realm; Satan and his evil spirits live in the second spiritual realm; and God dwells in the third spiritual realm. I sometimes call these three spiritual realms the three heavens.

Babylon the Great is the dwelling place of Satan and evil spirits in the middle spiritual realm between heaven and earth. Christ (who lives in the heavenly realm) and humans (who live in the earthly realm) yearn to be connected through marriage. Thus they collectively press against the middle realm as they try to unite. This pressing or mutual attraction will ultimately crush and overthrow Babylon the Great.

In the same way, the indwelling Christ and the Holy Spirit long to fill the Church and all things; the body of Christ longs for the Holy Spirit’s filling; and all of creation yearns to be liberated from its bondage to corruption. These forces attract each other, just as a bride and groom are drawn to each other, ultimately leading to the marriage feast depicted in Revelation 19. Eventually, heaven will invade earth, and heaven and earth will merge, crushing Babylon the Great which lies between them.

The structure of these three realms mirrors the three areas of the tabernacle, which contained the Holy of Holies, the Holy Place, and the Outer Court. It also mirrors our human existence, in which we have the spirit, soul, and body. In our personal lives, the spirit and the body cooperate to sanctify the soul. Our spirit has been born again and has become God’s dwelling place, like the Holy of Holies. The Holy Spirit desires to fill the Holy of Holies (our spirit) with his presence and gradually expand outward. Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and they long to be freed from the bondage of corruption and receive the glorious freedom of sons of God. Like earth and heaven attract each other, so do the body (God’s temple) and the spirit (God’s home). But in between is the soul, which is sometimes adulterous. However, the body and spirit attract each other, ultimately leading to the renewal of our minds and the sanctification of our souls (Romans 12:1). This force purifies our adulterous souls.

Babylon the Great is a mixture of several spiritual substances, like a golden cup full of both good oil and dregs. The cup is full of abominations (Revelation 17:4). When God poured out Babylon the Great, it was like placing olives in an olive press. The olive oil is pressed out while the dregs are thrown into the fire and burned.

Just as oil comes out when olives are pressed, and the sediment is thrown into the fire and burned, God will destroy the evil in Babylon the Great. When God’s glory descends from the third heaven (Revelation 18:1), and believers continue to pray for God’s judgment and salvation (prayer under the altar, Revelation 6:10), God accomplishes his final judgment against Babylon the Great. The blood of countless saints was shed in Babylon the Great, and many believers were ensnared. As God judges Babylon the Great, he calls to the ensnared believers and dismantles the lair of evil spirits and burns it. From this, we can see that Babylon the Great is symbolized by an olive press.

Babylon The Great Exists in the Middle Spiritual Realm

As mentioned previously, there are three spiritual realms. All things in heaven and earth belong to God, and all of the world should be filled with God’s glory. However, Satan defiled heaven, the dwelling place of God (also known as the third heaven). After being cast down to earth, the devil took up residence in the middle realm (also known as the second heaven). By occupying this middle realm, he blocks God’s will from being done on earth.

On the cross, Jesus Christ not only completed the work of redemption so that humans can be reconciled to God, but He also cleansed the heavens once and for all (Hebrews 9:23). God not only cleansed the heavenly realm (represented by the Holy of Holies), but is also cleansing the earthly realm so His will can be done on earth as it is in heaven (represented by the Outer Court). The middle realm (second heaven) is occupied by Satan and the evil spirits, who have ensnared and deceived many believers. Therefore, God must also purify the second heaven. This is God’s mode of operation.

God not only purifies the three heavens, but also our personal spiritual lives. In the process of salvation and sanctification, God first renewed our spirit (represented by the Holy of Holies). His presence then expands outwards and fills our body, which is the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Spiritual growth is a result of human initiative and God’s initiative. It is not solely God’s work or man’s work. Rather, God’s work from the throne and man’s prayers from the altar collectively propel God’s work forward. As we long for more of the Holy Spirit’s filling, God responds by working in our lives. Our prayers and spiritual desires can be compared to digging a tunnel in a mountain. We dig on one side of the mountain, and God on the other side, and eventually we break through. In this way, God cooperates with man.

However, Satan’s mode of operation is to resist God in the soul, body, and spirit. First, He resists God through the sins of our flesh. Since the Lord Jesus crucified our flesh when he completed the work of redemption on the cross, Satan’s next spiritual battlefield is our soul. Our souls dwell between the body and the spirit, and they must choose to either listen to the spirit or to the wrong choices of the flesh (body). If our souls (and minds) make the right choices by choosing the spirit, it leads to life and peace; if our souls make the wrong choices by choosing the flesh, it leads to death. This is the truth revealed by Paul in Romans 8.

Satan has already been thrown out of the heavenly realm (third heaven), which is why he now lives in the middle realm (second heaven). At the same time, the battle between God and Satan continues in the earthly realm. These battles on earth are directly impacted by the battles taking place in the middle realm, the realm of the angels and demons. On the one hand, Satan constantly opposes God’s will in the middle realm, just like the demonic prince of Persia resisted the angel God sent to convey messages to Daniel (Daniel 10:13). On the other hand, Satan constantly deceives and ensnares believers on earth by influencing them from the middle spiritual realm.

This is why many believers have been deceived and have fallen into the net of Babylon the Great, which is in the middle realm. This net contains a mixture of deceived believers, sinners, and evil spirits. So how should God judge this mixed bag? Just like in the image of the olive press, God will separate the sediment from the wine, the wheat from the chaff, and the evildoers from the believers. mentioned earlier. When God puts Babylon the Great into the winepress or oil press, He will extract the oil from the olives and the wine from the grapes. When the wheat is harvested by God into His barn, the chaff (including evildoers and evil spirits) will be severely judged by God. These people will be thrown into the fire by God and burned.

“Heaven Invades Earth” and “The New Jerusalem Descends from Heaven”

I recently learned that our solar system is traveling northward at a speed of 20 miles per second. Moreover, the Bible reveals that the third heaven, where God dwells, is in the extreme north (Psalm 48:2). Therefore some speculate that earth is constantly moving closer and closer to God’s dwelling place, making it plausible for the New Jerusalem to descend from heaven on a physical plane. I am uncertain if this aligns with science, but it certainly does spiritually.

The Bible reveals to us that the New Jerusalem will descend from heaven, and it is explicitly stated that the New Jerusalem is a bride prepared for her husband (21:2). This leads to two complementary spiritual truths. First, God’s glory will descend from the third heaven, as verse 1 of this chapter says, “After this, I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory.” Revelation 21:2 says that God will come down to his people: “I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband.” (NIV) On the other hand, we as believers will also ascend to God as we grow and mature in Him. Ephesians 4:15 tells us that we, his bride, must continue to mature so that we can grow up into Christ, who is the Head (Ephesians 4:15).

We cannot merely anticipate the descent of God’s holy city from heaven; we must also ascend to him as we mature. Our spiritual lives should be like balloons, which float upwards until we sit with Christ on his heavenly throne (Revelation 3:21). When we are burdened by too many earthly and physical entanglements, it is like tying stones to the balloon, hindering it from floating upwards.

In my visions and spiritual experiences, I have been carried by God to heaven. I have also flown independently to heaven. This shows that a person’s spirit can ascend to God. With God’s help, our spirits can sour to heaven. In some of these experiences, my spirit has been attacked by adversaries and evil spirits as it went through the middle realm, or second heaven.

These stories and experiences show that the Body of Christ, His bride, is constantly ascending to the third heaven. The bride includes the martyred believers throughout the ages who have been massacred by Babylon the Great for their testimony for God. In Revelation 6:10, they incessantly pray from heaven that God would judge their murderers and bring them. Perhaps they say, “God, may the believers on earth continue to mature. We have finished our race, but they have not yet completed theirs. As a result, we cannot yet receive our reward (Hebrews 11). So please help them mature as soon as possible so that you may judge Babylon the Great who shed our blood.” Perhaps God also responds in a similar way, telling them to endure for a while longer until the number of martyrs is complete. Once this number is complete, God’s judgment will be poured out on Babylon the Great.

In the passage we are studying today, that number is finally complete. God’s judgment comes upon Babylon the Great. However, even in the midst of such judgment, God hasn’t forgotten to save His chosen people who were ensnared by Babylon the Great. John records, “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues’” (Revelation 18:4). From this passage, we can see that God’s judgment on Babylon the Great includes the deliverance of those believers who have been ensnared and deceived.

In the next chapter, Revelation tells us that the Bride of the Lamb has made herself ready and is fully prepared for her wedding feast (Revelation 19:7). In the very next chapter, the Lamb and the Bride are ready to be married. The Bridegroom in heaven, Jesus Christ, and the Bride on earth have been drawn toward each other. They have constantly pursued one another, ready for a grand embrace. This embrace will crush and overcome Babylon the Great, the harlot, who has vehemently sought to prevent this embrace.

We see a similar picture of desire in the story of Isaac marrying Rebekah. Isaac needed comfort after his mother’s death, so his father Abraham (representing the Heavenly Father) sent his servant (representing the Holy Spirit) to his homeland to bring Rebekah. When Rebekah arrived on a camel, Isaac was waiting outside the tent, eagerly anticipating her arrival. Upon seeing Rebekah, he received her as his bride, brought her into the tent, and was comforted. This is a beautiful picture. Isaac represents Christ, who is eagerly anticipating the arrival of his bride. Rebekah represents the bride, who was willing to undergo a strenuous journey (symbolized by riding the camel) to get to her Bridegroom.

In the book of Revelation, the bride is finally ready to meet her Bridegroom, and the New Jerusalem descends from heaven. Before the wedding feast, God judges Babylon the Great, the harlot, because this harlot has stolen people’s worship and ensnared God’s chosen people. Babylon the Great is the counterfeit bride and she must be judged.

The Fall of Babylon the Great and the Haunt of Unclean and Detestable Birds

 

Revelation 18:2 records, “And he [the mighty angel] cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.’” NASB Did Babylon the Great fall first and then later become a dwelling place for unclean and detestable birds, or was Babylon the Great the haunt of unclean and detestable birds before it fell? What does it mean to be a haunt of unclean and detestable birds? The answer lies in 18:3: “For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.” The word “for” shows that this verse is building on the content of the previous verse. Revelation 18:4-5 says, “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.’” God is addressing His chosen people who are trapped in Babylon the Great, calling them to come out of Babylon the Great to avoid being judged by God in the same way.

Just like Babylon contains a mixture of saints and sinners, our soul often contains mixed allegiances. In our soul, we can either choose the spirit and obtain life and peace, or we can set our minds on the flesh and obtain death. God’s judgment on Babylon the Great purifies believers’ souls and renews their minds. Our soul should be like God’s temple, a place of prayer. However, just like the money changers who turned God’s house of prayer into a place of buying and selling, we often compromise the purity of God’s dwelling place. Jesus was angry and drove out the people who were exchanging money and selling cattle and sheep. God intended the temple to be a place where people could come offer sacrifices to Him. But people had turned His worship into a system of empty religious rituals, and for their convenience, they were buying and selling doves, cattle and sheep in the temple. When we lose the true meaning of worship, which is worshiping the Father in spirit and in truth, the house of God becomes a place of merchandise. Just like Jesus cleansed the temple, God is now judging Babylon the Great. Evil spirits in Babylon the Great wanted to rob people of their ability to authentically worship God. As a result, Babylon contained a mixture of true worship and false human worship.

I believe that before the fall of Babylon the Great, evil spirits had already taken residence in the city, but these haunts were further exposed after the fall of the city.

Our Prayer

During our Bible study, a new believer heard me sharing about Babylon and uttered this prayer: “May the glory of our Heavenly Father continue to fill us, drawing us closer to His Son, Jesus Christ. May we continue to grow spiritually until we become a mature and glorious bride. May we soar higher and embrace Jesus Christ as our heavenly Bridegroom. May the glory of God continually descend from heaven, filling the entire earth. Let us ascend from earth toward Him. Let God’s passion for us (in the heavenly realm) and our passion for him (in the earthly realm) press against Babylon the Great (in the middle realm). Just as olives are pressed for oil, let the chosen people of God caught in Babylon the Great’s snare transform into oil through hardships and pressing, and be gathered into God’s barn. May this pressing and judgment also squeeze out the dregs completely, judge them, and cast them into the lake of fire. Lord Jesus, we long for your return!”