Let me be clear about what I am saying: we currently reside in Babylon. I am not saying that this or that church or institution is Babylon. I am not saying that a political institution or a country or a nation is Babylon. I am talking about the culture in which we live, and which nearly everyone in the advanced world in Europe, North America, the South Pacific. I say that because confusion is the essence of Babylon, and we live in daily confusion.
We confuse guilt and innocence. We confuse truth and falsehood. We confuse freedom and coercion. We cannot identify or differentiate male from female, indeed we — the larger culture — are no longer sure that either one exists. Great numbers of our population do not believe that when an author writes a text, that the author has any idea what it actually means. They believe that everything can be deconstructed — can be taken apart, reduced to its basic elements, and reassembled in any way that pleases the reader.
We are told that everything revolves around power and oppression, including the sum of two numbers, the logic of any statement, the outcome of any experiment. The world, we believe, is infinitely mutable. We can mold reality like clay, except that it’s magical clay, because we don’t have to take into account that this clay has any characteristics inherent in itself. Whoever has the power can construct reality in any way they choose. Gravity, entropy, inertia — these are only expressions of power, and can be modified at a whim. If the powerful choose, up can be down, day could be night, light can be darkness, heat could be cold, opinions can be facts and vice versa.
Indeed, it is commonly declared that both speech and silence are violence, while burning your building, or defecating on a police car are speech. These are not beliefs held only by fringe elements of society: they are taught as fact in colleges and universities. Even those that claim to be Christian.
For the student of the Bible this is a serious problem. Revelation 14 declares that Babylon is fallen, present tense. Not that it will fall, not that it might fall at sometime in the future. No, the Bible declares that Babylon is fallen now. And lest we think that, because we are conscious of the state of confusion surrounding us, we are somehow immune to it, we must not forget that in Revelation God makes the call to, “come out of Babylon my people.” My people. Not you people, those people. My people.
The state of confusion in the surrounding culture is so pervasive that we are all in it to one degree or another. Since Babylon is fallen, and faces destruction, we had best find a way out of it. This task cannot be accomplished by human effort alone, but neither can it be accomplished without human effort.
Because he respects our free will, God always enlists our cooperation with his deliverance. It may be as simple as getting on the ark, or confessing that he is Lord, or repenting from our sins and being baptized. While salvation is all his work, he invites, requires, and enlists our cooperation.
The Ark didn’t save Noah from the flood, God did. But as a testimony of his faith, Noah built the Ark on dry land in an environment where there never been any rain, and he entered into that Ark before the rains began. These were expressions of faith. They did not save Noah. But without them, he would have perished.
Just as we want our children to cooperate and grow, God wants us to cooperate with him and to grow. So it behooves us to inquire about this Confusion, this Babylon in which we live. The more we are able to recognize it, and see its workings, the less susceptible we will be to its temptations.
Before we can find our way out of a problem, we must first recognize—and accept—the reality of the problem. Babylon is our reality. We must recognize confusion if we are to find clarity and truth. It is that journey on which we will now embark.