An ancient insight into the modern drugs scene
Scripture: Rev 18:23, 9:21
These passages are set in the last of the last days. They describe the days just prior to the coming of the Lord Jesus when the ancient city of Babylon will once more be prominent as a world power, at the heart of the empire of the Antichrist. This is the same city previously preached against by Isaiah, v5; and Jeremiah, v21 (51:63-64) – n.b. this fall was still future in John’s day. It is not until this time arrives that the words of the old prophets will be finally fulfilled against that city.
The city of Babylon has since its beginning and in its various epiphanies, been the seat of rebellion against God. Since Genesis 11 through to Revelation 18, it has been a hub for apostasy. The spiritual system of apostasy that built the city, and is associated by God with that city, is not however limited to the confines of the city itself. Its evil tentacles and influence reach far and wide to affect all nations, v23. It is especially so in the last great falling away as the mystery of iniquity—the lawless religion of antichrist—develops to its climax in the manifestation of the man of sin who declares himself to be God and who will be destroyed by the Saviour at His return.
The city of Babylon is seen here as the heart of a global trading empire. It is a commercial centre, but which has at its heart the uncleanness of harlot religion.
I THE USE OF DRUGS IS SEEN AS AN ASPECT OF BABYLONIAN ENTERPRISE.
- The ultimate cartel. We are used to hear of Columbian or Mexican drug cartels who control the supply of illicit drugs. Yet above and beyond such ethnic identities we must recognize another. The sinister hand of Babylonian wickedness/apostasy is at work in this way in all nations. Drug use is just one aspect of antichristianity. It is the spirit of Babylon that drives the production and use of drugs. This is part of the rise of her influence and power in the last days.
- Commercialized. The commercial empire of Babylon is on view in this chapter. The merchants of the world are ruined by her eventual downfall. Their business is so completely wrapped up in that system/city that when it falls they are ruined. The business of these merchants involved the global spread of sorceries. It is the Greek word for ‘drugs’. These words indicate that such substances have become part of normal commercial activity. Have we not seen this very process take place? Taking just alcohol and marijuana, Canadians spend about $30bn annually. There are those who now lobby for the decriminalization/commercialization of all drugs. Many other pharmaceuticals initially developed as therapeutic medicines, are also now marketed/used for their mind-altering properties.
II THIS DRUG CULTURE SUCCESSFULLY ADVANCED A SPIRITUAL AGENDA.
- Spiritual. Man’s depraved religions have long been advanced by mind altering substances and practices. That is why the term sorceries is used here. The advance of the last great falling away will, in part, be accelerated by the use of drugs. What destruction is wrought to the moral fabric of society by the use of alcohol and drugs today! The debauched immorality and viciousness of the age is fueled by it. Defiance of God is energized by it. We have read of how atrocities of one kind or another are fueled by drugs and alcohol. There is a spiritual/moral/religious state produced by the use of drugs that we must not miss. Drug use is not just a health issue or a law and order issue. It is primarily a spiritual issue.
- Note that this drug culture brings the nations under the spiritual control of Babylon. They are deceived by her! They are induced into believing the Devil’s lies. Cp 2Thess 2:9-11.
- It is a culture of death. That which is advanced by Babylon lies at the root of every murder ever committed. It is especially seen to be the heart of bloody persecution against the people of God down through the ages. Yet this philosophy of the devil who is a murderer from the beginning is embraced by all nations in part under the influence of the drug pushing sorceress, Babylon.
- The extent and power of this deception, v24. It affects all nations. Cp also 9:21. There is no repentance in the face of the clearest evidence that Babylon’s power is destructive and deadly as well as the wrath of God against her. Though it is clear from Scripture and from life that ruin can be the only outcome, still men pursue that which caters to their carnal pleasure.
III THE UTOPIAN FUMES OF HER DRUGS CANNOT PREVENT HER FALL AND DESTRUCTION AT THE HAND OF GOD.
- Ultimate ruin. Revelation 18 records the final ruin of Babylon as predicted by Isaiah, v5, Jeremiah, v21, and all the prophets who are vindicated and avenged by God in her fall. What a dreadful sobering lies ahead of those deceived by her drugs and her wine! There is a time coming when those who ‘chill out’ under the influence of the sorceress, will facing the chilling reality of eternal ruin.
- The duty of God’s servants to warn of the end that this course leads to. Specific attention is drawn to the work of the prophets who opposed this evil system/agenda. There is a reminder here of the price that may have to be paid for opposing Babylon and her agenda, v24.