The Ultimate Ending, Part 2
Our world is broken. God designed it in perfection, but sin has made our universe an evil place to live. But God won’t leave the earth like this. He has plans to restore it and eliminate the evils of the world.
In Revelation 17 and 18, John gives us a picture of worldliness in the form of the city of Babylon. But Babylon was more than a city, and we see its effects today—from politics to power struggles to personas. When worldliness becomes someone’s identity, there is nothing but trouble to be found. But be encouraged: God will make things right and eliminate the evil of the world, which fears the day it will take its last breath.
If you missed last week’s show, you can catch up HERE.
Steve Conover: Welcome to the Friends of Israel Today. I'm Steve Conover. With me is our host and teacher Chris Katulka. Several weeks ago, we held an online virtual Bible conference and we were so excited to see the people respond. Thousands tuned in for our eight session study on the book of Revelation. Like last week, once again today, we want to bring you some of what we experienced.
Chris Katulka: Steve, I'm holding in my hands right now, our Ultimate Ending DVD. It's our study of the book of Revelation, as you mentioned, and you know what? We wanted to bring our audience, you listening right now, a message from The Ultimate Ending. It's one that actually I had a chance to do called The World's Last Breath. So we began that message last week and we're going to finish it up this week. We're also going to give you some insights on how you can get your hands on this conference, this digital conference, The Ultimate Ending. It's for sale by DVD. So we're going to give you some insights on how you can get your hands on that. So I think it's going to be a great episode.
Steve Conover: In the news, Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was unable to form an Israeli coalition government, which gives opportunity for other parties to unite to form a coalition. Israeli party leaders that span the political spectrum have been meeting to discuss the potential of forming a government for the Israeli people. Those parties include Yesh Atid leader, Yair Lapid, Yamina chair, Naftali Bennett, and New Hope leader, Gideon Sa'ar.
Chris Katulka: Steve, this is my take on this situation. This really could be the end of the Netanyahu era of Israeli politics, and it's been a very long one. He's the longest serving Israeli prime minister with the Likud party. Now, the outcome can really only go one of two ways. Parties like the ones that Steve just mentioned unite together despite their differences in order to form a government, thus ousting Netanyahu, which is what a lot of these people want to do. They just want to unload Netanyahu from his position of power or Israel moves into an unprecedented fifth election in two years, which keeps Netanyahu in the game. I just finished teaching at World of Life Bible Institute and there's one thing that I saw in the book of Ephesians over and over again, and it's the sovereignty of God. Hey, listen, God's got everything under control. So really, all we can do is wait to see what time will tell.
So last week, we started a study on Revelation 17 and 18, a message that I've titled, The World's Last Breath. This message actually comes from an online prophecy conference The Friends of Israel did called The Ultimate Ending, which was a study of the book of Revelation and yours truly, I was tasked to teach on Revelation 17 and 18 for the online conference. I titled the message The World's Last Breath because Revelation 17 and 18 describes the world's final moments. In Revelation 17 and 18, the world is on the cusp of changing from the control of Satan that's mentioned in Ephesians chapter two, that the prince of the power of the air has control over the earth, that he's controlling the sons of disobedience and that they're all... Whether they know it or not, the world is under the control of Satan, but really Revelation 17 and 18 is transitioning from that control of Satan to the control and leadership and reign of the Lord Jesus Christ.
So if you have your Bibles in front of you, turn to Revelation 17 and 18, because we're going to be studying how God really brings an end to this world that's been longing and craving for the Savior to come, for the Messiah to come. Now, last week, I defined how the Apostle John interprets the world, that the world for John wasn't the physical world, the trees, the sky, the mountains, the oceans. For John, the world was deeper. It was the values of the world. It was the religion of the world. It was the economy of the world. It was the governments of the world. All of these things stem from our values. What your values are is where you're going to spend your money. What your values are as who you're going to put in power to lead your country. These things matter. What your values are is what kind of religion you follow. So really, when John thinks about the world, he's thinking about the values. So let's go to Revelation chapter 17 because Revelation 17 gives us a picture of a prophetic vision.
If you remember, we talked about in the last message, we talked, we read through Revelation 17, and we saw that there was a prostitute that was dressed really to the nine. She was wearing the nicest clothes. That means she was really, really wealthy. Listen, remember what the tech says here, that this woman is sitting over many waters and that the Kings of the earth, this is what it says, commit sexual immorality with her. The Earth's inhabitants were getting drunk on the wine of her immorality. In verse four of Revelation 17, it says that the woman was dressed in purple and scarlet clothing and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls and in her hand is a golden cup filled with detestable things and unclean things from her sexual immorality. It's this mystery that John is seeing. It's that this woman's name is actually Babylon. Now what is Babylon? This is interesting because Babylon is an actual place that once existed.
If you go back to the Old Testament in fact, Babylon is where the Jewish people were exiled in 586 BC. If you go back to the history of Israel, Israel sinned so much that God punished Israel, the Jewish people in Judah, and exiled them into Babylon, which was an incredibly pagan culture, one of the most pegging of all cultures. Really, the prophecies... Think about this. If you go back to the Old Testament, the prophecies of Daniel and Ezekiel are written during this time when the people of God, the Israelites, the Judites are living in a foreign land, in a land that's not their own, in a land controlled by pagans and gentiles. The accounts of Daniel, the prophecies of Daniel are fantastic. But when you look at some of the stories and accounts of Daniel, here's a righteous Jewish man that's attempting to maintain his holiness as a Jewish man in a very pagan society, and God honors that. So this picture of Babylon is one of a pagan culture, a pagan city that embraces everything that's evil.
So that's what the woman in Revelation 17, that's this woman that's sitting on the beast, she represents everything that's evil. She represents Babylon. That's what your mind should go to going back to a pagan culture. You see that here. As we look at the picture of Babylon, it's an actual city in Revelation 17. Now there are scholars, it's interesting, there are scholars that debate what city Babylon represents. Some say, it's a symbolic city. Some say Babylon from Revelation 17 represents Rome because later on in Revelation 17, it says in the text that she sits on seven heads of the seven beasts and it represents the seven mountains or seven hills. This could be Rome. Rome was called the City of Seven Hills, or it could be an actual literal resurrection of Babylon as some scholars think. There are scholars that argue that Jeremiah 50 and 51, they kind of mimic what's going on Revelation 17 and 18.
These scholars believe that Babylon never technically fell in history. So maybe there's an actual resurrection of Babylon in Iraq and so there's a potential for that to be a reality as well. So is it something symbolic? Could it be Rome? Could it be a resurrected Babylon? Some even believe it's Jerusalem. Honestly, the scholars, they all have great arguments. These are all very conservative scholars when they come to look at the scriptures and they debate as to what Babylon represents. But here's what I do believe. Here's what I can be certain of. I believe that this is a city in the future tribulation period, a city that will encapsulate all the sins of the world, all the longings at the flesh and the lust of the eye's desire. They will all be embedded in this future city. The sin of the city will be unleashed because remember, we're talking about the tribulation period, which means there's no presence of the Holy Spirit active, restraining the evil one.
The church is not present in the tribulation period. So this is the world living out without any restraint, whatever it wants to fulfill the lust of the flesh. So it's interesting, however you want to take the vision of the city is fine. I believe that there's some great arguments on all sides, but the one thing that cannot be overlooked is that this is a real city, a literal city. It's interesting because the woman, which represents the city, is sitting on a beast with seven heads and 10 horns. I want you to see this because this is the idea of what the seven heads and 10 horns is. It plays a major role because the city and the beast, Babylon and the beast, they go hand in hand with one another. The Babylon is actually riding on the beast. They relate with one another. The picture of the beast really is ultimately a series of kingdoms that get us to the rule and reign of the antichrist during the tribulation, the antichrist in his one world government that he desires to establish.
So this city, Babylon, is a picture of everything that is the world, everything that the world exemplifies, and what the world longs for is really in connection to the rule and authority of the antichrist in this one world government. So they go hand in hand with one another and that's important to see. So again, I want to bring us back to this concept as we walk through the world's last breath, and as really the world is taking its final breath, this concept, because Babylon The Great represents a couple of things here. It represents what we talked about in our first message. It represents the government in the tribulation period. It represents the values in the tribulation period. It represents an economy. You see all these things laid out in Revelation 17 and 18. It represents the religion and cult that I want to connect you to when you see the future Babylon in these two chapters.
It really amplifies the worldly characteristics that when Jesus talks about the world in the gospel of John and when John highlights it in Revelation, you see it make sense, these values, the economy, the religion, and ultimately the government, how all these things get worked out. Now, listen, before we continue, I want to share with you how you can get your hands on a copy of The Ultimate Ending DVD. If you've ever wanted to study the book of Revelation, I want to encourage you to get The Ultimate Ending. This is going to be a great way for you to really get a big picture view of what God is doing in the book of Revelation.
Because I know the book of Revelation can be very confusing. It was very confusing when I started reading it. You're engaging with Jewish apocalyptic imagery, and you know what? For us in a 21st century, that can be very hard to understand. Well, our Bible scholars here at the Friends of Israel unpack that for you. Dr. Jim Showers, Steve Herzig, Dr. Mike Stallard, and myself will walk you through the book of Revelation in eight sessions, and it will enlighten you to what God is trying to tell us from the book of Revelation. You can get your hands on The Ultimate Ending right here from Friends of Israel. Steve, do you want to share with our listeners how they can purchase their copy of The Ultimate Ending?
Steve Conover: Sure. To learn more or to purchase The Ultimate Ending on DVD, visit us at foiradio.org, that's foiradio.org, or you can call our listener line at (888) 343-6940. Someone will return your call during our regular business hours. Again, that's (888) 343-6940. If you're in Canada, call (888) 664-2584. Again, in Canada, that's (888) 664-2584.
Chris Katulka: Okay, so let's dive back into Revelation, chapter 17 and 18. Number one, let's look at that concept of the government of Babylon that we talked about, how it's ruled. This is a one world government. Mankind has been striving for a one world government all the way back to the time of the Tower of Babel. There is a one world system that is established during this time of 10 different confederate nations, but they all place themselves under the rulership, under the authority of the antichrist. So there's a one world government, and they're all working with one mission. I want you to see this mission in Revelation 17, 13, and 14. These Kings of the 10 nation confederacy are all looking to put themselves under that one leader, the antichrist. Look what it says. These Kings have a single intent and they will give their power and their authority to the beast. That's the whole goal of these kings is to get the beast to have the ultimate power.
So that's number one, there's a one-world government that's at work here. Number two, the values of Babylon's culture, of this city's culture. I want you to see what it says here. When it comes to the values of this culture from Babylon, power drives them, power and lust drive this future Babylon. You see that in Revelation chapter 18, verse nine, when it says that the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality and the earth's inhabitants got drunk with the wine of her, that's Babylon's immorality, talking about the city that all that the city represents, the kings of the world wanted a piece of it. They want it to use their power and they lusted after this city and the inhabitants of the world lusted after her as well. They all wanted a piece of the city. They wanted the power and they lusted after that city. So you see that play out as well.
There's also in the economy of Babylon and the economy of Babylon is completely driven by greed. Greed is the mantra of the future Babylon's economy. Wealth is accumulated through detestable acts. Wealth is earned through abuse, injustice, deception, and idolatry. Regional and local rulers are more interested in their economic well being than the wellbeing of their citizens. When Christ comes, he's going to upend the economic systems of the world that are controlled by greed. Now, just think about it. Our economic systems today work on greed. The capitalist system, which I think is the best system the world has, still says this, “what's mine is mine.” The socialist systems of the world say what? “What's yours is mine.” But the kingdom of God's economy says this, “what's mine is yours.”
Finally, there's the religion and cult that will embed itself in Babylon's culture. It's one that you're going to see over and over again, that there's a religion that people follow that's humanistic in nature. Actually, they'll find themselves fighting against the people of God. Not only was it a cult, but they were incredibly anti-God and these people become anti-Christ. Look what it says at the end of Revelation, chapter 18, verse nine. It says this, then as the kings of the earth are fighting, they're sad because ultimately they look at that verse in verse 24 and it says this, “the blood of the saints in her prophets were found in her, along with the blood of all those who had been killed on the earth.” You see, these people who were following the cult of Babylon were actually killing followers of Christ during the tribulation. They were incredibly anti-Christ, anti-God in many ways. This future city is going to represent everything that the world is, but completely unstrained. But Babylon the great falls once and for all.
The world comes to its conclusion because we are on the precipice of Jesus's coming in Revelation chapter 19. That's good news. But I want to leave you with something. It's those words of John that speak to us today from his first epistle, because see, when John's thinking of Babylon, I believe he's thinking of everything that the world represents, but completely unbridled. It's a challenge for us even today as believers, even though Babylon is a future city that's in the tribulation period, we still live today in a corrupt world that's controlled by the evil one. That's why John writes this, “don't love the world or the things of the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him because all that is in the world, the desires of the flesh, the desires of the eyes, the arrogance produced by material possessions is not from the Father, but it's from the world, and the world is passing away with all of its desires. But the person who does the will of God remains forever.”
Friends, as Christians, we live in a world right now that is full of corruption. We live in a world right now that is full of greed and sexual immorality and sin, immorality, and jealousy, and strife, and war. These things occupy the world. Even though it's restrained because the Holy Spirit is present and the church is active and working in the world, there is a day coming when that won't happen. That's the picture of Babylon. But this day, right now as believers, we are supposed to live in the world to be lights in darkness as John encourages us. Not to get invested in all that the world has to offer, the greed, the values, the economy. He's not asking us to be invested in those things, but to be invested in everything that the Lord is calling us to do, to share the good news of who Jesus is, to make Christ known to the world. You know why? Because really, the world is passing away with all its desires, but the person who does the will of God remains forever.
Steve Conover: Now, Apples of Gold, a dramatic reading from the life and ministry of Holocaust survivor, Zvi Kalisher.
Mike Kellogg: Years ago, I learned that a well-known rabbi was going to speak in one of Jerusalem's big synagogues on the topic of life after death. Naturally, I was curious about his thoughts on the subject. I decided to attend the meeting. During the question and answer session, the rabbi and I engaged in a heated discussion because I told him in front of several hundred people that a person can have eternal life only through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, he said to me, "I never want to see you at one of my meetings again." But I never give up quickly and I replied, "When you come to speak here again, you will see my shadow." Recently, the rabbi returned to speak in the area and I kept my word. Once more, I sat on the front bench. He spoke for more than an hour before he realized I was there. But as soon as he spotted me, he became tongue tied. The people in the audience were surprised by his change in demeanor. He then ended his speech abruptly without a proper conclusion. Many requested a question and answer session.
The rabbi said, "I am in a hurry, but I will answer one or two brief questions." I was the first to stand up and I asked him, "How can you be so sure you will have life after death when you have ignored God's commands?" The rabbi looked intently at me and began to accuse me of idolatry. I held up my Bible for everyone to see and said, "Here is the Holy Bible and I worship the Lord according to it. Is this, as the rabbi says, idolatry?" I then asked the rabbi to show the audience the book he was using. Naturally, it was a commentary. It wasn't the Bible. Then I asked the people, "Which book is more kosher and who is practicing idolatry?" I thank the Lord I was not afraid, even though I was standing in a lion's den.
I told them, "I believe, according to the law, we are the chosen people of God. It is our duty to go to the people and preach the gospel about the Lord. I have no other books with me, no commentary books written by men. This great rabbi has come with fictitious stories. I encourage you all to read the Bible, read all the commands of God, then you will know how to worship him and how to obtain true eternal life. Then someone asked, "Who is your God?" I replied, "He's not my God. He is our God. He is one God for all the world and he is the Savior, Yeshua. You can read about him in the Bible."
A few people asked to examine my Bible to see if it was the complete Hebrew scriptures. Then I asked, "What do you think? Have I come to you with fictitious stories or with facts about the Lord, our God?" By then, the rabbi had had enough of the discussion and he left. I, however, stayed and had some very good conversations about the Lord. I pray what they heard that night, not from the rabbi, but from the Word of God will penetrate the minds and hearts and lead them to a true knowledge of the living Savior.
Steve Conover: Thank so much for joining us today. Chris, tell our listeners where we're headed next week.
Chris Katulka: Man, we've got an exciting guest next week. Joel Rosenberg shared with the Friends of Israel some important information about what's happening in Israel and what it's like being a Jewish believer living in Israel. So for the next two weeks, we're going to be hearing from Joel Rosenberg. You're going to want to come back for that.
Steve Conover: Our host and teacher is Chris Katulka. Today's program was produced by Tom Gallione. Our theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong. Mike Kellogg read Apples of Gold, and I'm Steve Conover, executive producer. Our mailing address is FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. Again, that's FOI Radio PO Box 914 Bellmawr, New Jersey, 08099. One last quick reminder to visit us at foiradio.org. The Friends of Israel Today is a production of the Friends of Israel Gospel Ministry. We are a worldwide evangelical ministry, proclaiming biblical truth about Israel and the Messiah while bringing physical and spiritual comfort to the Jewish people.
The Ultimate Ending DVD
If you fear the future or struggle to understand the end times, don’t miss this powerful study of the book of Revelation! With eight sessions of biblical truth from our popular speakers at The Friends of Israel, you can find clarity, peace, and wisdom through these teachings of God’s Word.
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Apples of Gold: Standing in the Lion’s Den
When Zvi learned that a well-known rabbi was going to speak in one of Jerusalem’s big synagogues on the topic of life after death, he decided to attend the meeting to hear the rabbi’s thoughts on the subject. During the question and answer session, as Zvi shared God’s truth with the rabbi, the discussion grew heated. Though the rabbi threw him out of the meeting, Zvi found a second chance to proclaim the Word of God to a large audience. Hear what happened the next time he met this rabbi!
The Friends of Israel Today theme music was composed and performed by Jeremy Strong.
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