A Short History of Tribulation - Part 2
How to Live in Babylon
Issue No. 149
Our first part showed the difference between the iron yoke and the wooden yoke. The iron yoke was God's judgment upon Israel when that nation refused to repent and submit to the captivity after God had sold the nation into the hands of a foreign nation. It meant that God would empower the foreign nation to take Israel by force. The land would be destroyed, and the people deported to other lands, where they would serve out their sentence.
The wooden yoke, on the other hand, was a lighter sentence upon the nation that saw itself worthy of God's righteous sentence. Such a nation would submit to the captivity without attempting to fight the nation to whom God had sold Israel.
We saw also that in the history of Israel, both types of yokes came upon the nation. In the book of Judges, there are six different captivities, totaling 111 years of captivity. In each case, the people submitted to the yoke. There is no record that they attempted to fight their captors until after the sentence had been completed. At the end of captivity, God raised up a judge who delivered them. In each case, we read that the people repented before their deliverance.
The one principle that comes through loud and clear in the Bible is that God does not deliver His people until after they have repented. Captivity continues until the people repent.
This brings to mind what appears to be an exception to this principle. Zionist Jews have gone to Palestine without first repenting and accepting Jesus Christ. There is something strangely different about this. The discrepancy will clarify as we proceed with our study.
How to Live in Babylon
In part one of our study we also saw how Jerusalem and Judah refused to submit to the wooden yoke of judgment. Jeremiah 27-28 tells the story of how God told the prophet to put a wooden yoke across his neck and walk around the city of Jerusalem as a witness of God's judgment. If the people would submit to the wooden yoke, then they would be allowed to remain in the land to serve their 70-year sentence.
However, the prophet Hananiah broke the wooden yoke and prophesied that God was on their side, that God would break Babylon's yoke within two years (Jer. 28:11). So God told Jeremiah to put an iron yoke on his neck. This signified that the people would be captivated by force and would be carried into another land to serve their 70-year sentence.
Jeremiah then gave the captives some advice on how to live in Babylon while in captivity. He wrote a letter to the captives in Jeremiah 29, saying to them,
4 Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon, 5 Build houses and live in them; and plant gardens, and eat their produce. 6 Take wives and become the fathers of sons and daughters, and take wives for your sons and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply there and do not decrease. 7 And seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the LORD on its behalf; for in its welfare you will have welfare.
In other words, the prophet tells the Judahites to settle down and be productive citizens in Babylon. Do not fight the system. Do not be a revolutionary. Do not even retain any resentment against Babylon, for God has called the king "My servant" (27:6). Therefore, to submit to the yoke of Babylon is to be obedient to God Himself.
Furthermore, the prophet told the people to PRAY for Babylon! If Babylon has peace and prosperity, so will the captives who live there. Seek its welfare--that is, do what you can (lawfully, of course) to help Babylon prosper. Do NOT seek its destruction by rebelling, and DO NOT pray against it, for it operates under God's authority as an instrument of judgment to cause Judah to repent.
After 70 years of captivity, the Word of the Lord was a bit different. Babylon refused to let the people go free at the end of their sentence (Jer. 50:33), so God dealt with Babylon by Himself. He did not call Daniel to organize a revolt. God hired the Medes and Persians and their allies, who conquered Babylon and set the Judahites free.
The End of Captivity
Jeremiah wrote a separate book to the Judahites that was not to be read until the end of their captivity. It is found in Jeremiah 50:1 to 51:58. We read in Jer. 51:60-64,
60 So Jeremiah wrote in a single scroll all the calamity which would come upon Babylon, that is, all these words which have been written concerning Babylon. 61 Then Jeremiah said to Seraiah, As soon as you come to Babylon, then see that you read all these words aloud, 62 and say, Thou, O LORD, hast promised concerning this place to cut it off, so that there will be nothing dwelling in it, whether man or beast, but it will be a perpetual desolation. 63 And it will come about as soon as you finish reading this scroll, you will tie a stone to it and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates, 64 and say, Just so shall Babylon sink down and not rise again, because of the calamity that I am going to bring upon her; and they will become exhausted. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.
Jeremiah told Seraiah to read the prophecy of Babylon's fall aloud and pray that it would be fulfilled. But then he was to throw it into the Euphrates river. No one would be able to read the prophecy, then, until the night Babylon fell to the Medes and Persians.
History tells us that the invading armies diverted the waters of the Euphrates River upstream and were able to enter Babylon through the dry river bed. This exposed the writing of Jeremiah, which had been weighted down with a stone and thrown into the river, no doubt in a sealed jar. I like to picture a Persian soldier picking up the jar, thinking he might find some treasure in it. When he read it, he must have been surprised to find the prophecy of Babylon's downfall on the very night that his army took Babylon.
Only then did Jeremiah 51:6 become applicable to the Judahite captives living in Babylon. It reads,
6 Flee from the midst of Babylon, and each of you save his life! Do not be destroyed in her punishment, for this is the LORD's time of vengeance; He is going to render recompense to her.
Because God had sentenced Judah to 70 years' captivity in Babylon, it would have been a sin to try to leave Babylon before the end of the 70 years. God said in the law of Deut. 17:10-12 that refusing to comply with the sentence of the law is contempt of court and is worthy of the death sentence. This is why Jeremiah told the people in Jeremiah 27:12 and 13,
12 . . . Bring your necks under the yoke of the king of Babylon, and serve him and his people, and live! 13 Why will you die, you and your people, by the sword, famine, and pestilence, as the LORD has spoken to that nation which will not serve the king of Babylon?
Once the 70 years had been completed, Babylon was found to be in contempt of court for not freeing their captives. God Himself then dealt with Babylon. Only then were the Judahites themselves allowed to return without being in contempt of court.
Mystery Babylon: The Second Captivity
One of the most important prophetic time cycles is the period of 2,520 years, or "seven times" (7 x 360 = 2,520).
Daniel and Revelation generally deal with half of this time period, which is 1,260 "days" or 42 months (42 x 30). This can be shown by comparing Daniel 7:25 with Rev. 13:5. A "time, times, and a half a time" is the prophetic equivalent to 1,260 days or 42 months, or three-and-a-half years.
In short-term prophecy, seven "times" is seven literal years, or 2,520 days. In long-term prophecy, seven "times" is 2,520 years.
The Babylonian captivity of the old Jerusalem has been repeated 2,520 years later. The only difference is that the new Babylon is now hidden, or secret. It is a "mystery Babylon," as opposed to something everyone sees. In Jeremiah's day everyone saw the armies coming to capture Jerusalem. There was nothing hidden about it, no mystery. King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon conquered Jerusalem in 604 B.C., and Daniel was among the first captives to be taken to Babylon.
2,520 years later brings us to 1914 A.D., the year that President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act. The manner in which the top bankers wrote this bill in 1909 in their hide-away on Jekyl Island was reported fully in the Saturday Evening Post about 20 years later. The Act was passed by just five senators on Dec. 23, 1913 while the others were home for Christmas. It was signed by Pres. Wilson, who was assured that it was just a routine banking bill. He later said it was the worst mistake of his life.
Everything about this Act was done in secret. Not even the president himself understood that this bill put America into captivity to a financial empire owned by the "kings" of the top banking families. Some have attempted to alert the public about this, but their success has been limited. Patriotic organizations have sprung up since that time to try to overthrow this financial empire. Men have attempted to fight it or at least "get out of the system." They have only succeeded in making the problem worse, for every attempt to come against this Mystery Babylon has only resulted in more laws restricting everyone's freedom. Every attempt to fight this financial empire has failed, and the rebels ruined or destroyed.
Why? Were the rebels not religious enough? Did they not love God enough? No, the real problem is deeper than this. The Church taught rebellion against the laws of God. One such law they cast aside was the sin of usury, or the practice of loaning out money with interest. So God decreed judgment against us and put us into captivity to this hidden financial empire.
The book of Revelation prophesied about this in Rev. 17 and 18. But this "Babylon" was so hidden that even the Church does not realize that it has been in captivity during most of the twentieth century. Most Christian teachers seem to think that this "Babylon" is yet future, and that it will not be set up until "the Antichrist" does so.
The Wooden Yoke on America
Men have a history of disagreeing with God when He decrees judgment for sin. Usually, they end up blaming the devil, because they cannot believe that God would actually put His people into captivity to an ungodly beast system. Such people do not understand the mind of God. The Bible is full of examples where God has done this to Israel and Judah.
Judges 3:8, "Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia."
Judges 3:12, "Now the sons of Israel again did evil in the sight of the LORD. So the LORD strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done evil in the sight of the LORD."
Judges 4:1, 2, "And the LORD sold them into the hand of Jabin king of Canaan."
These are just the first three captivities of Israel. Need I continue? Not once do we read that the foreign armies were so strong, powerful, and intelligent that they were able to conquer Israel. Not once did God ever give them credit for putting Israel into captivity. The Bible always says that God did it in order to judge Israel for their sin.
So let us apply this same principle to America.
The Church in America became lawless. So the anger of the Lord was kindled against America, and He sold them into the hands of the kings of world finance and to their corporation, the Federal Reserve System.
However, because God knew that we would never willingly submit to His judgments, God decided to do this in an unusual manner. He hid the captivity and called it a mystery, or a secret. That way the majority of the people would submit to this captivity and unwittingly comply with the judgment of God against America.
God blinded our eyes, so that we would not even know that we were in a captivity. In this way God mercifully tricked us into submitting to the WOODEN YOKE. If the majority of the people had known of this captivity, their naturally rebellious nature would have caused them to try to revolt--and then God would have had to subject us to the IRON YOKE.
Under the iron yoke, we would have been overrun and occupied by foreign troops -- perhaps Soviet troops. Our land would have been desolated. We would have gone into captivity the hard way. Many would have been deported to Siberia to be used as slave labor. That is the nature of the iron yoke.
But instead, God was merciful. He even had the Federal Reserve Act signed by WOODrow Wilson as a sign that we were coming under the wooden yoke. Other countries did not fare so well, coming under the IRON CURTAIN.
Life in America Under Mystery Babylon
The old city of Babylon was a great and prosperous city. America, too, has prospered under Babylon. The Apostle Paul admonished the believers to pray for their Roman rulers (1 Tim. 2:2). This was not a popular idea in the land of Judea, for many of them cursed the Romans. But the Church had grown in the Greek-speaking world outside of Judea. In fact, persecution scattered many of the Judeans out of Palestine into other parts of the Roman Empire (Acts 8:1). So perhaps Paul's advice was taken more seriously among the first-century Christians.
Paul's advice was given in the spirit of Jeremiah 29, where the prophet wrote to the captives in Babylon, telling them to settle down, live, and prosper under Babylon until God released them.
Yet both the Judeans in Jeremiah's day as well as the Christians in Paul's day had to live in a society that was ruled by a foreign ideology and by moral and judicial systems that were often contrary to the divine law. It was, no doubt, often a challenge not to take the law into their own hands and try to change the system by force.
So it is today. We must understand that we have been conquered, and that God has done this to us because we cast aside His law. Yet we should also recognize that this is not the iron yoke, but a yoke of wood. It could be worse! In His mercy, God blinded our eyes, so that we would not see most of the really bad things going on behind closed doors. Otherwise we might revolt and put ourselves under a judgment that was much worse. Another issue that is very prominent is that of abortion.
Abortion: God's Judgment
The prophet Hosea spoke of a time when Ephraim would legalize abortion. Hosea 9 says,
11 As for Ephraim, their glory will fly away like a bird--no birth, no pregnancy, and no conception! 12 Though they bring up their children, yet I will bereave them until not a man is left. Yes, woe to them indeed when I depart from them! 13 Ephraim, as I have seen, is planted in a pleasant meadow like Tyre; but Ephraim will bring out his children for slaughter. 14 Give them, O LORD--what wilt Thou give? Give them a miscarrying womb and dry breasts.
15 All their evil is at Gilgal; Indeed, I came to hate them there! Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of My house! I will love them no more; all their princes are rebels. 16 Ephraim is stricken, their root is dried up, they will bear no fruit. Even though they bear children, I will slay the precious ones of their womb.
Abortion is part of God's judgment upon us while we are under the wooden yoke for disobedience. The problem is "Gilgal" (vs. 15). Gilgal was the place where Saul was crowned King of Israel (1 Samuel 10:8). God gave them Saul because the people had rejected the rule of God, for God had told Samuel earlier in 8:7 and 8,
7 And the LORD said to Samuel, Listen to the voice of the people in regard to all that they say to you, for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me from being king over them. 8 Like all the deeds which they have done since the day that I brought them up from Egypt even to this day-- in that they have forsaken Me and served other gods--so they are doing to you also.
The problem began in Gilgal. It was not a specific sin, but a heart attitude of rebellion. The people themselves would have disagreed with this analysis, of course. No doubt they were a religious lot and thought they were going quite well. But God told Samuel the real story.
King Saul was then crowned on the day of "wheat harvest" (1 Sam. 12:17), which is the day we now call Pentecost. On that day God sent "thunder and rain," which prophesied of the voice of God and the outpouring of the Spirit seen in Acts 2 at the fulfillment of Pentecost. But the verse says the thunder and rain was given to show Israel that they had sinned in asking for a king.
Applying this to Pentecost in Acts 2, God sent forth His Spirit to show them their sin and bring them to a place of true repentance for wanting men to rule over them instead of God. Pentecost was never meant to be a validation of the denominational system, but an exposure of its heart of rebellion against the direct rule of God.
Even as King Saul started out very well in his first year, so also the Church started out well in its first Jubilee cycle. Saul ruled 40 years; the Church under Pentecost ruled 40 Jubilees (40 x 49 = 1,960 years).
In Saul's second year he sinned at Gilgal again by doing the sacrifice himself, instead of waiting for Samuel. He did so, because the people were scattering from him (1 Sam. 13:11). Is this not why men denominationalize? They want to keep the people organized under man's rule. But this was what disqualified Saul (1 Sam. 13:14, 15).
Hosea tells us that "all their evil is at Gilgal." God says He came to "hate them there." Hosea also links this to God's judgment of abortion and slaughtering children. We may not think there is any connection, but God says that there is. It is the perversions of the Church under Pentecost that have brought these judgments to America. The root of the problem is not "tongues" or "emotionalism," but the very denominational system itself, which is a rejection of the direct rule of God.
True Christianity is a way of life, where believers have a direct relationship with God. The Christian religion is an organization with a system of priests through whom one must go in order to have at least an indirect relationship with God. Any denomination that demands submission to their organization and leaders in order to be saved is in blatant rebellion against God Himself.
This is the real cause of abortions. The Church has no right to accuse unbelievers for causing abortions. The unbelievers are merely carrying out the judgment of God upon us for our rebellion.
And yet, this is being carried out within the context of the wooden yoke, rather than the iron yoke. In Red China, where abortions are mandated for a woman after she has had her first child, it is an iron yoke. In America, where it is strictly voluntary, it is the wooden yoke.
Hosea tells us that God's judgment is that children will be brought forth to be slaughtered. The only question is who will be affected. Lawless Christians and unbelievers volunteer to fulfill this prophecy. True Christians do not slaughter their children. Thank God that He has put upon us only the wooden yoke of judgment. That way, the judgment comes upon the unbelievers only.