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|"BABYLON THE GREAT" — WONDROUS MYSTERY OF OUR TIMES
(Revelation Chapters 17 & 18)
At Revelation 17:1-5 we find these words:
"And one of the seven angels that had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying: `Come, I will show you the judgment upon the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, whereas those who inhabit the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.'
"And he carried me away in [the power of the] spirit into a wilderness. And I caught sight of a woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored wild beast that was full of blasphemous names and that had seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and was adorned with gold and precious stone and pearls and had in her hand a golden cup that was full of disgusting things and the unclean things of her fornication. And upon her forehead was written a name, a mystery:
Babylon the Great, the mother of the harlots and of the disgusting things of the earth."
Who really is this most mysterious woman spoken of in the Bible as "Babylon the Great," the Great Mystery [Greek mysterion]? And why is she such a great "mystery?" True to the saying, even up until our day and time, this "Woman" has indeed remained a great mystery! (Revelation 17:5,7) Fortunately, the pages of God's Prophetic Word the Bible describe with great detail and precision the identity of this age-old mystery-city. To be sure, this "mystery" would be finally unlocked and understood for the benefit of God's people all over the world in the "time of the end." That's a promise that we can rely upon! — Daniel 12:4; Habakkuk 2:3
REVISITING THE ANCIENT CITY
But before we attempt to unlock this age-old "religious secret" [mysterion], let's go back in time to revisit the name sake and forerunner city of Babylon the Great, yes the original Babylon the Great, the great city, situated upon the mighty Euphrates River centuries ago.
According to Harper's Bible Dictionary, the name "babylon" is itself derived from:
"Akkadian bab ili, which means gate of god."
The name, Babylon, highlights the city itself as being, not only the great cultural, learning center of it's time, but also more importantly, as the great, religious center or city of worship. Yes, it was said to be the "gate of god" itself. Also, the same source mentions that the name of Babylon became synonymous with the entire spectrum of lands held within it's region: It states:
"In the Hebrew Bible, Babylon (Heb. bavel) refers both to Babylonia and Babylon, the region and its capital."
Yes, but one might ask: "Just how great was this city that ruled the whole world for a God-decreed 70 years? (Jeremiah 29:10) Well, the literal city of Babylon (in Nebuchadnezzar's day) was the largest city in the world, covering a very impressive 2,500 acres. The river Euphrates flowed through the heart of this powerful city, passing in close proximity to the illustrious ziggurat Etemenanki, otherwise known as the Tower of Babel. Of course it was at the original Tower of Babel that God confused the languages of the builders of this tower. These individuals took their pagan teachings with them to all parts of the globe.
Yes, from this "Tower of Babel" came forth many religious teachings we see common, among many religions of our time all over the world. Today one can find common teachings, tricklings of false beliefs, held together by a seeming common denominator. We find this common denominator of false teachings prevalent in practically all forms of worship, the worldwide — among Christendom or non-Christendom lands.
In contrast, it is to be noted that the Mosaic Law Covenant, created a deep division between pagan nations and their form of worship and the worship of "Israel," since God's Name people possessed a "framework of truth," unlike all other nations which surrounded them. This "framework of truth," separated them as distinct, completely different in their form of worship, as long as they carefully obeyed God's Commandments. In fact, this "Law" given by God, actually elevated the entire nation's worship high above all other forms of worship, like a high mountain towers over smaller hills. — Deuteronomy 7:5, 6; 26:16-19; 28:1, 2; Micah 4:1
An example of a common denominator among religions today can be found in teachings such as the immortality of the human soul and eternal punishment in fiery torment for the wicked. These beliefs can be found in many differing forms of worship today worldwide. Also, the worship of gods in a triune form of some kind, as well as the veneration of images whether in the form of the cross or some other, help us identify pagan relics or embellishments of religious rites, which started in the "east," or at the "Tower of Babel." Further, rituals such as Christmas, Easter, and Halloween (All Souls Day) are all pagan celebrations that originated in Babylon or the "East."
"BABYLON" — THE GREAT CITY REMEMBERED
Perhaps, most noteworthy to readers of the Holy Scriptures today and no doubt most remembered by those who think of the Great City of Babylon is the fact that:
This particular city became famous for holding God's people, the nation of Israel as captives for a specific period of 70 years. Yes, 70 years! — 2 Chronicles 36:20, 21; Daniel 9:2
As we recall, this specific period ran from Daniel's capture under wicked King Jehoiakim's rule, until the Jews were release by Cyrus. And so, counting from the time of Daniel's capture until the actual release of the Jewish nation from captivity covered some 70 years, as "discerned" by Daniel. (Daniel 9:2)
Now at this point of the discussion, I suggest a distinct possibility.
First, I suggest modern-day "Israel" of Bible prophecy is today, represented as a nation, by Jehovah's Witnesses.
Which leads to the next thought. If this is true, then, we must now ask at this time the question:
Is possible, that in addition to Jehovah's Witnesses being modern day "Israel" of Bible prophecy, that also, there exists a modern-day "Babylon the Great" counterpart, for our modern-day times too? And what's more, could it be this modern-day counterpart of ancient Babylon, could exist today, and have a controlling, yes even captivating hold upon this same said people, namely Jehovah's Witnesses, as "Israel"? Could this be possible?
Further, is it possible that scripturally, we could prove that modern-day "Israel" (Jehovah's Witnesses) today, could possibly be under the complete control of this modern-day Babylon the Great, namely the Watchtower Society itself?
THE QUESTION OF ESCAPE FROM "MYSTERIOUS" BABYLON OF OUR DAY
We are all reminded that, Jehovah's Witnesses really pride themselves as being different from all other forms of religion in matters of doctrinal confusion as we see evident in such teachings as the "trinity," or eternal torment in "hellfire," and the widely observed celebrations of pagan holidays. It is believed that these teachings and many others really make Jehovah's Witnesses different from all forms of religions today. However, is this enough to prove that the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses are no part of Babylon the Great? Can Jehovah's Witnesses truly say that they have left or totally gotten out of Babylon the Great as of the year 1919? (Revelation 18:4) To properly answer these questions and finally ascertain what the mystery of Babylon really means for our day and time, we must understand what the Watchtower Society teaches concerning the following:
(a) When and how did "Babylon the Great" fall?
(b) How did Jehovah's Witnesses make their escape from "Babylon" after its fall?
HOW BABYLON THE GREAT "FELL," ACCORDING TO THE WATCHTOWER SOCIETY
The Watchtower Society has taught for many years that strenuous and persistent efforts toward establishment of a separate organization free from Babylonish influence and political control were made back in the 1870's under Charles T. Russell. However, `escape from Babylon' was not fully accomplished or achieved until 1919. Why? Because that was the year Babylon the Great fell! (Revelation 18:2) Following is a verbatim quote presenting the position of Jehovah's Witnesses on this matter. Notice this lengthy and indepth explanation on the subject:
"In 1914 `the Son of man arrived in his glory,' and since that time Jesus, installed `on his glorious throne' in the heavens, has been exercising authority over the earth as Jehovah's associate King and Judge. It is fitting, then, that he should announce the fall of Babylon the Great. — Matthew 25:31, 32.
"Whom does this angel with great authority use in heralding such amazing news before mankind? Why, it is the very people that are released as a result of that fall, the remaining anointed ones on earth, the John class. From 1914 to 1918, these suffered greatly at the hands of Babylon the Great, but in 1918 the Lord Jehovah and his `messenger of the [Abrahamic] covenant,' Jesus Christ, began judgment with `the house of God,' those professing to be Christians. Thus apostate Christendom was brought to trial. (Malachi 3:1; 1 Peter 4:17) Her tremendous bloodguilt incurred during the first world war, her complicity in persecuting Jehovah's faithful witnesses, and her Babylonish creeds did not help her in the time of judgment; nor did any other part of Babylon the Great merit God's approval. —Compare Isaiah 13:1-9.
"So by 1919 Babylon the Great had fallen, opening the way for God's people to be released and restored, in one day as it were, to their land of spiritual prosperity. (Isaiah 66:8) By that year, Jehovah God and Jesus Christ, the Greater Darius and the Greater Cyrus, had maneuvered matters so that false religion could no longer keep a hold on Jehovah's people. No more could it prevent them from serving Jehovah and making known to all who might hear that harlot-like Babylon the Great is doomed and the vindication of Jehovah's sovereignty is at hand!—Isaiah 45:1-4; Daniel 5:30, 31.
"True, Babylon the Great was not destroyed in 1919 — any more than the ancient city Babylon was destroyed in 539 B.C.E. when it fell to the armies of Cyrus the Persian. But from Jehovah's viewpoint, that organization had fallen. She was judicially condemned, awaiting execution; therefore, false religion could no longer hold Jehovah's people in captivity. (Compare Luke 9:59, 60.) These were released to serve as the Master's faithful and discreet slave in providing spiritual food at the proper time. They had received a judgment of `Well done' and were commissioned to get busy again in Jehovah's work. — Matthew 24:45-47; 25:21, 23; Acts 1:8." — Revelation Its Grand Climax At Hand!, pg. 259-260, par. 4b-7.
Perhaps, after reading this extensive quote, you may see some serious flaws in the Watchtower's Society's explanation of Babylon's fall. But in case you didn't, we will list a few reasons why this explanation cannot be true. We will discuss these point by point as this is the only way we will truly know just what the facts reveal.
WHAT THE FACTS REVEAL
1) This entire explanation of how `Babylon fell,' is based upon the erroneous premise that Jesus was enthroned and came into Kingdom power in the fateful year of 1914 to make this `announcement.'
2) In what way could we say that Jehovah's Witnesses were "released" from the World Empire of False Religion in 1919? Were they released say, doctrinally speaking?
Well, let's keep in mind that the focus of the escape of Jehovah's Witnesses from the clutches of Babylon the Great really has nothing to do with the early efforts of Charles T. Russell in liberating the "International Bible Students." This part of the story must be conveniently left out since all of the religious works of Russell came before Jesus supposedly came into kingdom power in the year of 1914. And so, if you were to ask a witness: "Did Charles Russell and the International Bible Students escape from Babylon the Great?" — they usually look puzzled. However, if one were to think about it, he would have to admit that there must have been at least two escapes from "Babylon the Great" — One during Russell's day, and one during the year of 1919, right? But again, is this what the Bible teaches about true escape from Babylon the Great?
Also, the Watchtower Society has taught for many years the remnant of anointed actually shared bloodguilt for their misdeeds during the war years of 1914-1918. It is taught that they, the "anointed," did not take a neutral stand during those years. Let's notice this quote:
"In similar fashion, the modern-day remnant of spiritual Israel had to do some reforming as to their way and thoughts as World War I ended on November 11, 1918, and they entered still alive on earth into the postwar period. Their exile from God's full favor in Babylon the Great's realm was about to end, and it became the proper time for they to think about their failings and shortcomings with regard to God's worship and service. They had come under a community responsibility because of the bloodshed and violence of World War I. They needed to search for Jehovah and to call upon his name in prayer..." — Man's Salvation Out of World Distress At Hand pgs. 114
And so, according to the Watchtower Society, since Jehovah and Jesus visited the "temple" class in 1918 and rendered appropriate "judgments" upon Christendom as well the anointed "temple" of God, the captivity of Jehovah's Witnesses would prove to be very brief, occurring between the years of 1918 and 1919. A very brief period indeed. However, if the "International Bible Students" of 1919 were really freed from the influences and control of the churches of Babylon the Great, why is it that the organization retained so many teachings and practices that are today viewed as of "pagan" origin? And what about the teachings and beliefs of Charles T. Russell and his early companions? Are these present teachings in harmony with the belief of Charles T. Russell and his understanding of escape from Babylon the Great? Let's examine the following.
As you may remember, prior to 1919 under Charles T. Russell, the International Bible Students, as they were known then, had exposed several false religious teachings such as eternal suffering in hellfire for the wicked, immortality of the human soul, and the trinity doctrine. Even so, it was to be many years after the date of 1919 when Jehovah's Witnesses would discover that Christmas, Birthdays, and the Cross were of pagan origin. (See Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, Pages 200, 201 - 1993) Note this quote from the 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 148, paragraph 3:
" . . . beginning with its issue of October 15, 1931, The Watchtower no longer bore the cross and crown symbol on its cover." (see 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pg. 147-149)
So could we say Jehovah's Witnesses were truly free from Babylonish teachings in 1919? Hardly! (See Proverbs 30:12) This raises still another question. What in fact did the Watchtower Society teach as to the identity of Babylon the Great itself during those years?
"BABYLON THE GREAT" AND CHARLES T. RUSSELL
It might surprise you to know that the Watchtower Society has taught three (3) different viewpoints concerning the identity of Babylon the Great over the years. That's right, three different viewpoints.
(1) The Watchtower Society first taught, under Pastor Russell, that Babylon the Great was the "Papacy of Rome."
(2) Secondly, the Watchtower Society taught that Satan's World in general was "Babylon the Great.
(3) And finally, in 1963 the world empire of false religion (inclusive of Christendom and Pagandom) was thought to be mysterious "Babylon the Great" from which one should escape. According to the publication, Jehovah's Witnesses — Proclaimers of Gods Kingdom, Pg. 52, Charles T. Russell published in the November 1879 Watch Tower magazine that "Babylon the Great" was the "Papacy as a system." This was apparently their first viewpoint.
The second viewpoint is revealed in the following excerpt taken from the article "Get Out of Her, My People" printed in the October 1, 1960 Watchtower magazine which says in part:
"... Babylon of old was the pride and joy of God's adversary, Satan the Devil. It was his organization. It so completely represented his foul works that in the Bible, especially in the book of Revelation, it became a symbol of his wicked world organization."
Now notice how the Watchtower Society makes the actual breakdown of exactly what Babylon the Great is suppose to represent. The articles explains:
"This Babylonish world boasts of its  military might,  political ideologies,  economic prosperity and  great religions. However, God has decreed the same fate for modern Babylon that befell its ancient counterpart..."
"Now, in this year, the handwriting on the wall for modern Babylon, Satan's world, is clear. Since the beginning of World War I in 1914 this world has entered its foretold "time of the end," the warning of which has been sounded faithfully by Jehovah's modern witnesses for over eighty years. Detailed Bible prophecies are being fulfilled before our eyes." (pg. 581, par. 5, 6 thru 582, par. 4)
Did you notice that this message had been "faithfully sounded" for over "eighty years" as of the year of 1960! That would mean that from the Watchtower Society's conception, during Russell's day, they have carried this message to "Get Out of Babylon" to the people! Yes, in Russell's day. In other words, they [Watchtower Society and Jehovah's Witnesses] had been liberated from Babylon the Great way back in Russell's day. Certainly C.T. Russell didn't feel that he was still in Babylon the Great, the Harlot, did he? Understandably, he must have felt he had successfully escaped from the Great `Harlot,' as is bore out by the following comments by Pastor Russell himself in the May, 1884 Watchtower magazine pg. 5, and also quoted in the Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose publication, (pg. 37) which said:
"Since 1878 (and never before that) we have felt at liberty to call God's children out of the nominal churches to a position of freedom and liberty, where they would be free to serve Him fully, as well as to study his word and be taught of Him: saying, `Babylon ... is fallen and become a habitation of devils and a hold of every foul spirit and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.'
Yes, since the year 1878, Charles T. Russell believed that "escape" was made possible by Jehovah God for all of his people, from "Babylon the Great," or the religious institutions of his time. That point is quite clear we must admit. But let's also notice something else that is very important. In the 1884 Watch Tower, Russell explained the actual "fall" itself of Babylon the Great during his lifetime by saying, and we quote:
"(This falling of the nominal church and receiving into her bosom the corruptions of earth has been in progress for some time). Now comes the message: `And I heard another voice saying, Come out of her my people that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues.' " (Rev. xviii. 2-4)."
Now we ask:
What was Charles T. Russell's position as to his "escape" from the clutches of "Babylon the Great" of his time? Does he not clearly show that he, and numerous others, had indeed "escaped" the "nominal church" organizations of Babylon the Great? Clearly, Charles T. Russell did indeed teach that he and many others had actually "escaped" from Babylon the Great, did he not?
However, consider this. If we adopt the latest viewpoint of the Watchtower Society, that is the one expounded in 1963 on the real `escape from Babylon,' which supposedly occurred in the year of 1919, and not 1878 as Russell taught, we must ask:
"Where does this new explanation, given in the year of 1963, leave Pastor Russell, the leader and founder of the corporate Watch Tower Society, as to his "escape" from Babylon the Great? Yes, where does this new explanation, leave the founder and first publisher of the official journal called the "Watch Tower" magazine, in relation to his actual "escape" from Babylon the Great? Again, where does this new explanation of the true "escape" from Babylon, leave the founder of the modern-day movement of Jehovah's Witnesses, or International Bible Students, as they were known during his time? Did Charles T. Russell, after more than 40 years of preaching and teaching God's Word, himself die, in 1916, `unliberated' from Babylon the Great? Or were there "two escapes" from Babylon — one during Russell's day and one in 1919?
Remember, the true escape from "fallen" Babylon the Great occurred in 1919, as first published in the book, Babylon the Great HAS FALLEN!" God's Kingdom Rules! in 1963. Now, we repeat, if we adopt this more recent viewpoint, then we must face the fact that either Charles T. Russell had not "escaped from Babylon," or after his death in 1916, the organization was re-captured again by Babylon the Great for a brief period of time? We can actually see that what the Watch Tower Society teaches on this subject is very confusing.
Now, lets review in our minds what Revelation 18:2, 4 says. Remember, Babylon would have to "fall" first, BEFORE God's people could "escape," right? (Please reread Revelation 18:2,4.) And there is no mention of any second captivity or re-capturing of God's "people." And so, how did Charles Russell and thousands of "International Bible Students," make their escape from what was thought to be "Babylon the Great" before Babylon actually "falls" in 1919? Further, if Babylon the Great only `fell' in 1919, three years after Russell had died (1916), then how could C.T. Russell, the founding father of the Watchtower Society and it's first President, have made his escape from it? Actually, if this present explanation of matters is true, then C.T. Russell himself, had not really "escaped" from Babylon the Great, that is, before it had "fallen," in God's sight. Remember, the scripture says Babylon "falls" first then God's people make their escape. And certainly, there is no mention of any second captivity, is there?
Therefore, we must ask the Watchtower Society this question in view of their past position on the "escape" from Babylon the Great:
Where does C.T. Russell stand in relation to the great "fall" of Babylon in 1919 C.E.? Did C.T. Russell himself make his escape before Babylon "fell" in 1919, or did he die "unliberated" from Babylon, the Harlot, because he died before Babylon could experience the great "fall" of 1919 C.E.?
However, let us continue along with the explanations in this revealing article. The same 1960 Watchtower magazine furthers points out:
"A heavy responsibility falls on yet another part of the Babylonish world, the false religious element, which has divided people and confused their knowledge of God." — Watchtower 1960 pg. 583 par. 3
Also, the summation of the matter is made for us in these comments under the heading "Get Out of Her," in the same magazine which says:
"All these things are part of the great sign of the times that Jesus gave, indicating the near end of this world. The complete wrecking of modern Babylon with her  hurtful politics,  commerce and  false religions is fast approaching, yes, within our lifetime!"
And how should the sincere seeker of truth "get out of Her?" Notice this point:
"God is judging the nations today. The warning work of Jehovah's witnesses grows day by day. Take heed to it for your own safety during the coming universal war of Armageddon. What should you do? Study God's Word to ascertain his will and purposes. Then, as you make your mind over to conform to his will, separate yourself from this world's wicked practices and schemes. Put your hope and trust in God's established kingdom." (pg. 583 par. 5-7)
Yes, that is how the Jehovah's Witnesses escaped Babylon the Great — the world under Satan's control! They must "separate from the "world's wicked practices" and "schemes." Now what do you think of that? (See also 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, pg. 147-149.)
MAKING THE VITAL POINT
Now we bring this entire discussion and line of reasoning up to demonstrate how illogical and unreasonable the doctrinal message of the Watchtower Society really is on the subject of Babylon the Great and escape from it. Actually, the vital point of this discussion. And it is this:
Giving the Watchtower Society the benefit of the doubt today, yes assuming that the Watchtower Society has the correct understanding of what Babylon the Great is NOW, then how can Jehovah's Witnesses themselves be sure they have escaped from the mysterious Babylon the Great in the all important year of 1919, when in fact it was still a mystery to them as their own explanations of the subject clearly demonstrate right up until the year of 1963!
Yes, in the year 1919, the year the Watchtower Society says the Jehovah's Witnesses escaped, they, the Watchtower Society, had absolutely no earthly idea or clue of what Babylon the Great really was by any stretch of the imagination!
And, as the Watchtower Society admits, they didn't arrive at the proper conclusion of what the mysterious Babylon the Great was, until 1963! (See Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom, pg. 147) Therefore, how can Christians really "get out" of something that they cannot properly define or admittedly don't understand? (See Revelation 18:4) Yes, you can't take effective steps to get out of something unless you FIRST find out what it is you are escaping from — Right?
Therefore, this would certainly be an impossibility since it was 44 years before the Watchtower Society officially identified Babylon the Great! It would not be reasonable to believe such a thing. (Romans 12:1) We must remember that Babylon the great is a `mystery' (mysterion) or `sacred secret' and if we are not very careful, we may deceive ourselves with `false reasoning.' (Revelation 17:5; James 1:22) Let's remember also that Babylon the Great, the mystery would come to be understood in the `time of the end' and not before! — Daniel 12:4, 9, 10.
3) How can it be said:
"No more could it [Babylon] prevent them [Jehovah's Witnesses] from serving Jehovah and making known to all who might hear that harlot-like Babylon the Great is doomed. . ." (Revelation Its Grand Climax At Hand!, pg. 260, par. 6)
This is a very empty and wholly unsubstantiated statement. It cannot be proven historically that Babylon the Great (particularly Christendom) held back Jehovah's Witnesses from service to Jehovah before 1919 in any discernable way. Nor can it be proven or demonstrated that after 1919, Jehovah's Witnesses (as an organization) experienced any great `release' from the supposed control and power of Babylon the Great. Neither statement nor viewpoint is true and thus cannot be substantiated!
Jehovah's Witnesses (International Bible Students) have been very busy preaching a judgment message against the churches of Christendom, a prominent part of so-called Babylon the Great, ever since their beginning in the 1870's. From the beginning of Charles T. Russell's ministry, while still a youth he struggled with the Presbyterian church's erroneous teaching that a God of Love would torment individuals endlessly in Hellfire. He could never accept that teaching! Then later in life as an adult, his disenchantment and confusion compounded with the complete rejection of the Bible's teachings on these doctrines from the self-centered clergy of Christendom in his local area, convinced Russell of the all-important ministry he had before him, namely, the liberation of as many as possible from the clutches of false religion. His life story shows he was busy in doing just that! The publication Jehovah's Witnesses in the Divine Purpose points out:
"In 1877 Pastor Russell called a meeting of all the ministers of Allegheny and Pittsburgh, showed them the Scriptures which indicated our Lord's presence and urged them to investigate and proclaim the message. All of the ministers of the two cities were present; all of the ministers of the two cities refused to believe." — Pg. 18, par. 7.
Since that time, Pastor Russell became quite famous lecturing and even debating other ministers of Christendom upon numerous occasions, exposing the errors and unscripturalness of the clergy's teachings of hellfire, immortality of the human soul, etc. He became a world famous author and publisher of Bible literature that proved the shortcomings and wicked ends of false religion during his day.
4) Can it be said that Jehovah's Witnesses were freed of religious persecution in 1919 from Babylon the Great, the so-called world empire of false religion? — then think again.
Jehovah's Witnesses suffered some of the greatest persecution ever during World War II, after 1919. (See "Jehovah's Witnesses - Proclaimers of God's Kingdom," pgs. 666 & 667) It is estimated that over 25% of Jehovah's Witnesses living in Nazi Germany were killed during Hitler's wicked rule. Also, during this time in America, the flag salute issue, neutrality toward military service, and other issues caused numerous imprisonments, beatings, and even death to many there and about. Mob action was present in 48 states against Jehovah's Witnesses in the United States during World War II. Notice this comment:
"As the Nazi-Fascist-Catholic war drive stampeded throughout Europe, legal restrictions and imprisonment came upon Jehovah's Witnesses, crushing branch office after branch office of the Watch Tower Society, forcing them to close down. Connections with Brooklyn headquarters were severed. Following the pattern already established in Germany, Nazi occupation forces in country after country banned the Witnesses, as had been done in Austria and Czechoslovakia. This flood of CATHOLIC-INSPIRED ACTION SWAMPING IN UPON Jehovah's Witnesses now became overwhelming and seemed about to engulf them completely." — Jehovah's Witnesses In The Divine Purpose, pg. 153, par. 3
Yes, this persecution was inspired, encouraged by the clergy of Christendom, a very prominent part of so-called Babylon the Great! Therefore, how can we, as Jehovah's Witnesses, teach that Babylon fell in regards to its persecution or it's ability to manipulate such demonic attacks upon God's People. Christendom was an enemy of Jehovah's people before 1919 and after 1919. True, Jehovah's Witnesses suffered greatly at the hands of Christendom during World War I (1914-1918) with the 9-month imprisonment of the Headquarters staff. However, even these turbulent days could not be equated with the very great suffering of the brothers world-wide, particularly the unspeakable horrors of the Nazi concentration camps during Hitler's reign of terror, as well as the sufferings of the brothers in America and abroad during World II (1939-45) at the hands of Christendom! So, where is the difference in the before and after of 1919? And, more importantly where is the `Fall of Babylon' in relation to God's people after this particular year?
IDENTIFYING THE REAL "HOUSE OF GOD" — 1 PETER 4:17
5) First Peter 4:17 plainly states:
"Judgment starts with the house of God."
And yet, how is it that the Watchtower Society in the book Revelation It's Grand Climax at Hand, page 260, paragraph 5, applies this scripture of Jehovah's expression of judgment to Christendom? Why would they do such a thing? Is Christendom really the "house of God?" "Of course, not!" you say. But isn't this the Watchtower Society's official position according to the publication, Revelation Its grand Climax At Hand!, pgs. 259 and 260? Let's examine that quote again. It states in part:
"...From 1914 to 1918, these [International Bible Students] suffered greatly at the hands of Babylon the Great, but in 1918 the Lord Jehovah and his `messenger of the [Abrahamic] covenant,' Jesus Christ, began judgment with `the house of God,' those professing to be Christians. Thus apostate Christendom was brought to trial. (Malachi 3:1; 1 Peter 4:17)"
Did you get it? Yes, "apostate Christendom was brought to trial!" Christendom, and not God's Name people, the Jehovah's Witnesses, now represents the "house of God" under "judgment."
However, this is not all. The article continues:
"Her [Christendom's] tremendous bloodguilt incurred during the first world war, her complicity in persecuting Jehovah's faithful witnesses, and her Babylonish creeds did not help her in the time of judgment; nor did any other part of Babylon the Great merit God's approval. — Isaiah 13;1-9"
Clearly, we see that the Watchtower Society has taken this information that should have been applied to "God's Household," Jehovah's Witnesses, and promptly applied it to Christendom, their convenient "scapegoat." How ridiculous!
But let's keep in mind, that on other occasions, the Watchtower Society applies the same expression of "God's Household" mentioned at 1 Peter 4:17 to Jehovah's Witnesses themselves. As proof of this, according to another one of their many publications, Choosing the Best Way of Life, page 133, paragraphs 48, 49 and page 135, paragraph 52, they state that this judgment of 1 Peter 4:17 is actually upon the "Christian congregation." Notice this comment based upon the scripture in question 1 Peter 4:17 as of the year of 1979. It states on the subject:
"As a "house of God," the Christian congregation had its beginning in 33 C.E. From that time onward its members have been under divine judgment. Their response to his will, and their attitude, words and actions toward the things that Jehovah God allows to befall them have much to do with what his final verdict will be."
The article continues on page 135 par. 52 in further development of 1 Peter 4:17 this way:
"Since Jehovah God allows his loyal servants to undergo severe treatment to refine them and for them to demonstrate their devotion, how could we imagine that the "ungodly man and the sinner" inside the Christian congregation or "house of God" could even "make a showing" before Him along with "the righteous man" inside the same congregation? The psalmist states: `The wicked ones will not stand up in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of righteous ones.' (Psalm 1:5) No, the wicked will not stand as approved but will be condemned. They may be found in the assembly of righteous ones, but they will never make a favorable "showing" before God. Because of what all believers must face in this world, their finally being saved for everlasting life takes real effort, love and faith in the way of righteousness. Hence, their salvation is "with difficulty." Consequently it behooves all members of the Christian congregation ("house of God") to avoid being "ungodly" and "sinners" in this "appointed time" of judgment."
Now, what do you think of that quote? There can be no question but that the Watchtower Society teaches with a slippery, yes "tricky tongue," as the prophets foretold she would during these "last days." — Zephaniah 3:11-13
Yes, the Watchtower Society knows full well that the "House of God" of 1 Peter 4:17 is in fact the "Christian Congregation" of Jehovah's Witnesses! Let's make no mistake about that. Therefore, this viewpoint taken from the publication Choosing the Best Way of Life, is more scriptural, more accurate, more precise. No, the "House of God" under judgment is NOT Christendom at all! It is, in fact, Jehovah's Witnesses themselves as the scriptures and this quote clearly proves. This viewpoint is more in harmony with Peter's words at 1 Peter 4:17 which says:
"Now if it [judgment] starts first with US, what will the end be for those who are not obedient to the good news of God?"
Did you notice the word "us." Yes, "us," God's people!
Now, if the Watchtower Society knows that the "house of God" represents the true Christian congregation, then why would they present a different view in the publication Revelation — It's Grand Climax which clearly pins the blame for a bad "judgment" upon Christendom! Why would they do that? As we know, Christendom has nothing to do with this judgment! No, nothing at all! Therefore, why bring up a crucial event in Biblical prophecy dealing with the rendering of judgment upon "God's House" and then make the ridiculous application to "CHRISTENDOM as being brought to trial?" This is absolutely inexcusable on the part of someone who is supposed to be "Faithful and Discreet," wouldn't you agree? Is this how we, as custodians of Jehovah's Word, teach that "Babylon has fallen?" Is this how we get our point across?
However, this IS how the Watchtower Society teaches that "Babylon has fallen," whether we know it or not! And no thinking person, no reasonable person could accept this explanation as real proof. Clearly this judgment, also spoken of at Malachi 3:5 is upon GOD'S PEOPLE [Jehovah's Witnesses] and not Christendom. It is God's own name people who are on `trial,' AND NOT CHRISTENDOM, in this instance as Jeremiah 25:29 clearly says:
"For, look! It is upon the city upon which my name is called that I am starting off in bringing calamity."
And there is no explanation needed as to who today is called by Jehovah God's personal name, is there? Yes, they are Jehovah's Witnesses!
"SHE HAS BECOME A DWELLING PLACE OF DEMONS"
Revelation 18:2 and 4 reads as follows:
"And he cried out with a strong voice, saying: `She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen, and she has become a dwelling place of demons and a lurking place of every unclean exhalation and a lurking place of every unclean and hated bird!...And I heard another voice out of heaven say: `Get out of her, my people, if you do not want to share with her in her sins, and if you do not want to receive part of her plagues."
6) Now after reading the aforementioned verses, a curious thought could be raised concerning Revelation 18:2b in particular, where it states:
". . . and she [Babylon the Great] has become a dwelling place of demons and a lurking place of every unclean exhalation and a lurking place of every unclean and hated bird!"
Therefore, how and when did Babylon the Great become a "dwelling place for demons and a lurking place of every unclean exhalation," "every unclean and hated bird?" Let's give this particular part of the scriptural text special attention. First, let's notice how the Watchtower Society explains Revelation 18:2 in the following comment:
"The word `demons' here is likely a reflection of the word `goat-shaped demons' (se`i-rim') found in Isaiah's description of fallen Babylon: `And there the haunters of waterless regions will certainly lie down, and their houses must be filled with eagle owls. And there the ostriches must reside, and goat-shaped demons themselves will go skipping about there.' (Isaiah 13:21) It may not refer to literal demons but rather to shaggy-haired, desert-dwelling animals whose appearance made onlookers think of demons. In the ruin of Babylon the Great, the figurative existence of such animals, along with stagnant, poisonous air (`unclean exhalation') and unclean birds, signifies her spiritually dead condition. She holds forth no life prospect whatever for mankind." — Revelation It's Grand Climax at Hand!, pg. 261, 11.
Did they say the word "demons" mentioned is "likely a reflection" of some sort? What do you think of that? In other words, according to the Watchtower Society, Babylon the Great, since the year 1919 has become "spiritually dead," or revealed or exposed as a spiritual wasteland or a desolated land. But, we must ask ourselves this question:
Have we actually seen the spiritual devastation of the world-wide church organizations, so-called Babylon the Great, since the fateful year of 1919?
Well, there are two (2) ways we can look at this particular explanation of Revelation 18:2. First of all, there is no way to prove that the Greek word for demons [daimonion] does not, in this case, refer to actual wicked spirit creatures under the control of Satan the Devil since, in each and every instance of the usage of the word in the book of Revelation, it is applied this very way! The Watchtower Society is making a simple matter into a very complicated matter. Remember what Paul said:
"spiritual matters are taught by spiritual words." (1 Corinthians 2:13)
We would have to say at this point that the Society has chosen a very unscholarly approach toward this "spiritual word," daimonion. Why? The answer is obvious. If Babylon the Great has become a "lurking place" of literal demons since the year 1919 — that would mean that they (demons) were NOT PRESENT before the fateful year of 1919 in Christendom! Isn't that true?
However, in view of the church's hideous record, looking back on such events as the "Spanish inquisition," which happened before 1919, or the ignominious role by complicity of the Catholic Church during the time of Nazi Germany and Adolf Hitler, which happened after 1919 — in no way could we prove any difference in the spiritual condition prevalent in church organizations today. No, neither before nor after 1919. There can be no question that wicked spirit forces are very active, as they have been for centuries, in the church organizations of our time. There has been no change in that "spiritual devastation" of the churches over the years.
Also, we must ask the following question, namely:
How can we say that the churches of Christendom, or even pagandom for that matter, have "become a lurking place of every unclean exhalation," since the year of 1919?
Clearly, the nominal church organizations have been guilty of "unclean exhalations" or false religious doctrines such as the blasphemous "trinity" teaching and other false doctrines, for centuries before the year of 1919, isn't that so? Therefore, how could they "become a place of..." such things? The expression, "become a place" clearly suggests that the former "place," was simply not this way, originally, is that not so? Yes, "Babylon" has to "become a dwelling place of demons," and other hideous things, according to scripture, right? Yes, Babylon, must "become a lurking place of every unclean and hated bird." Babylon has to "become a lurking place of every unclean exhalation" or false teaching. That's why the scriptures plainly say,
"She has fallen, she has fallen!"
Yes, she has "fallen" because she at one time did indeed stand upright before Jehovah. Yes, she, at one time, had a favorable standing before Jehovah and had not "become" this utterly filthy, demon-infested, "swampy-place" like spiritual environment. (Ezekiel 47:11) Now we must ask, if the nominal church organizations of this world, or the "world empire of false religion," pagandom and Christendom, are really the fulfillment of mysterious "Babylon the Great" as the Watchtower Society claims, then:
When, yes when, did the nominal church organizations of our time prove themselves to be completely free of the filthy, ungodly false doctrinal, demonic messages and blasphemous teachings? Yes, when did the churches get their start in teaching such blasphemous things as the Trinity doctrine, for instance? Was it in the year of 1919? Further, ask yourself, did the nominal church organizations of our time, just "become" this way, as the scripture says, since the fateful year of 1919?
We are sure you know the answer to these questions. The nominal church organizations of our time, the "world empire of false religion," have in actuality, been quite filthy with such false teachings or "unclean exhalations" for centuries!
And again, neither can we say that only Jehovah's Witnesses exposed such teachings since the year of 1919. We remember, many Bible study groups have exposed these same false teachings for centuries and centuries. Such groups include the "Arians," "Waldenses," "Lollards," "Paulicans," "Albigensians," and the early "Unitarians." All of them have revealed and exposed nominal church organizations as being teachers of much falsehood. Therefore, Jehovah's Witnesses or the "International Bible Students" as they were known at that time, were last among a long list of heroic individuals who took their stand against the masses, and endured religious persecution and death because of such strict adherence to Bible Truth and principle. No, the year of 1919 did not prove itself to be the year that the "world empire of false religions" were "exposed" as having such false teachings.
Therefore, as we mentioned at the outset, the Greek word damanion, at Revelation 18:2, literally means "demons" or wicked spirit forces that assist Satan the Devil in his evil ends. Make no mistake about that! And these "demons" can easily be linked with "unclean and hated birds" in the Bible. For example, Luke 8:5, 12 says:
"A sower was sowing, some of it fell alongside the road and was trampled down, and the birds of heaven ate it up...Those alongside the road are the ones that have heard, the Devil comes and takes the word away from their hearts in order that they may not believe and be saved."
There can be no question but that this verse, definitely connects "Satan the Devil" and his "demons," with these "birds of heaven" that ate of up the seeds of the "word of God" before some people could understand it. Yes, they are "demons," wicked spirits. These "demons" or "hated birds" find themselves a home, or a "resting-place." Jesus pointed out that the "demons" or wicked spirit angels are always looking for, searching for a "resting-place." He further pointed out that the entire Jewish nation of his day was shortly to become this filthy habitation or "resting-place," of demons, because of their rejection of Jehovah's chief messianic personage. Matthew 12:43-45 says:
"When an unclean spirit comes out of a man, it passes through parched places in search of a resting-place, and finds none. Then it says, `I will go back to my house out of which I moved'; and on arriving it finds it unoccupied but swept clean and adorned. Then it goes its way and takes along with it seven different spirits more wicked than itself, and, after getting inside, they dwell there; and the final circumstances of that man becomes worse than the first. That is how it will be also with this wicked generation."
Yes, the entire "generation" or nation was shortly to come under complete demon control. And there can be no question but that when one reads the historical writings of Josephus, and examines the mental and spiritual conditions prevailing among the Jewish nation and it's priesthood, just prior to their destruction in 70 C.E. by General Titus, one sees the complete accuracy of Jesus' prophecy concerning the nation. Yes, as Jesus said, their `house had truly been abandoned' by Jehovah. (Matthew 23:37, 38)
Clearly, all of these texts that you have just read, and many, many others, show that these "birds of heaven" that find lodging among the branches of the initially small "mustard seed," or the "birds" that eat up the seed before others can understand the "word" of God, are wicked demonic spirit forces. These ones are "demons!" Let's make no mistake about that. Therefore, the word damanion, as mentioned in Revelation 18:2, means just what it says: DEMONS — wicked spirit creatures in heavenly places! — Ephesians 6:12
Of course, the Watchtower Society is very much aware of what the Greek word for "demons" [damanion] in Revelation 18:2 really means. They have therefore invoked another explanation for the whole matter. "Well, what is that?" you say. THIS: The Watchtower Society says that Babylon the Great (particularly Christendom) "has become a dwelling place of demons" in the sense of the word "demon" actually becoming a "reflection" of the HEBREW WORD seririm which means [goat-shaped] demons. Yes, the word "demons" does not really mean wicked spirit creatures from heaven. No, but actually mean according to the Society "goat-shaped demons," denoting spiritual devastation or wilderness conditions. Now, what do you think of that?
Therefore, this would mean Christendom as well as the rest of so-called Babylon the Great, "the world empire of false religion" has been reduced to a spiritual wilderness condition or desert, as of 1919! Yes, she has come to be exposed (by the Watchtower Society of course, who else) as being a desolate wasteland since 1919 CE. Now again we ask, what do you think of that explanation?
One thing is clear, either explanation you take, it still proves to be absolutely ridiculous! One could probably in all honesty make the observation that Christendom (as well as all the other false religions of the world) have been spiritually dead for a very long, long time! Yes, long before the year of 1919 CE! Neither Babylon the Great, the so-called world empire of false religion nor Christendom died spiritually in the year of 1919. However, the Society can probably get the most "mileage" out of the latter explanation by familiar rhetoric and double-talk. Obviously, the Watchtower Society does not know itself how Babylon the Great became a "dwelling place of demons and a lurking place of every unclean and hated bird." Yes, they do not know just how Babylon the Great ultimately "Fell." They don't have a clue. Think about it.
BABYLON STILL THE UNSOLVED MYSTERY
Therefore, we are still left with the haunting question: When and how did Babylon the Great actually fall? To get the answer, please consider the following.
First, we must be honest with ourselves and acknowledge that the organization of Jehovah's Witnesses, led by the Watchtower Society, cannot prove that they are COMPLETELY FREE of Babylon the Great. In fact, they cannot prove actually what Babylon the Great really is, in our day! They have no earthly idea of what Babylon the Great purports to be in our perilous times. Yes, their own explanations of this matter gives them away! Therefore, we must ask:
Perhaps, "Babylon the Great," even in our day and time, is still very much that great unsolved mystery that has baffled Bible students for over 1900 years, don't you think?
Yes, we repeat for the benefit of those of Jehovah's Witnesses who are reading this information for the first time: Jehovah's Witnesses thought as late as the 1960's that it represented Satan's World in general.
Now that's really something to think about....hmmmmmmm
To get more detail information on the topic of Babylon The Great, please the article entitled: Babylon The Great -- What Is It?
***This article was contributed by YORWW Bible Academy found at the LivingWatersForum.com website.***