There are as many ideas of what/who "Babylon" is as there are websites, books, and Bible teachers. The Creation Gospel attempts to leave the concept of Babylon within its context in the Torah, Prophets, and Psalms as well as its historical and cultural significance to Israel. That done, I am content that others have other insights that are interesting as well. The revisions to CG Workbook Two should draw out some of these newer teachings on Babylon, the Book of Revelation, and the Shabbat, so I look forward to finishing some other projects in order to finish those revisions.
Briefly, Babylon is presented in two types of parables: the King of Babylon and the Great Whore of Babylon. Indeed, the male/female personifications continue into John's Revelation, matching the twin blessings promised to Abraham and Sarah.
A little investigation in Isaiah highlights one of the points of engagement in the great war of the universe: the mount of the moed. In other words, the Shabbats and feast days are the focal point of the power struggle between the King of Babylon and The Holy One. It is a war; a competition. Because Israel was given moedim and the Shabbat as a sign of their covenant status, the sabbaths are furiously contested by the Babylonian King who wants to "sit on the mount of the moed." Of course, Jerusalem, and the Temple Mount specifically, are the mount of the moed. It is an ancient competition for the Throne of the Holy One, and human beings are soldiers in the battle. Will they submit to the Holy One and His appointed times, or will they obey the King of Babylon and soldier for him?
How does one soldier for the Holy One? Guard and keep His Shabbat, the first thing in Scripture defined as holy. How does one soldier for Babylon? According to Nehemiah and John, one method is the continuation of commerce on Shabbat. Just as the Seventh was the pinnacle of all the goodness of Creation Week, so the Seventh is the pinnacle of both judgment and restoration prophesied by John in Revelation. Babylon the Great will fall, fall, and her commerce will cease to compete with the rest of peace in Messiah Yeshua:
"And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more." Revelation 18:11
Yeshua never came to destroy Shabbat or change it, but to restore it to all mankind in its glory of holiness. Before there was an Israel or a tribe of Judah, there was man. Adam. Mankind was given Shabbat for rest and peace, just as Mashiach is given to all mankind for rest and peace.
The six days of the week are a competition to acquire dominion over substance. We race against time to acquire food, shelter, clothing, intellectual growth, and affirmations of others.
On Shabbat, there is no competition. There is no race against time, for Shabbat is a day that time serves a holy use. Shabbat is a space of time that ceases to compete with the one who rules it with the Spirit of Reverence.
"You shall keep my Sabbaths and Revere my Sanctuary; I am YHVH." Leviticus 19:30
Shabbat is a sanctuary of relationship with the Father. Ironically, according to the Jewish tradition, on Erev Shabbat two witnesses "inspect" each home to make a report to Heaven about the home's preparation. Is the table set. Are the candles alight? Is the appearance of the home's interior one of preparation, such as beds made? If so, according to tradition, then they speak a blessing of peace and make a report to Heaven.
In Revelation, there are also two witnesses, and they torment the wicked on Earth. Why are the wicked tormented? Is it because they refuse to stop their competition with time and substance on Shabbat? To do so requires preparation.*
Isn't this the essence of the message to Babylon the great, who mourns over the loss of commerce, which is the competition for more substance, more esteem, more power, more self-actualization? Isn't this the passion of the nefesh (soul) subjugating the Ruach (spirit), a subjugation contrary to the creation of mankind in the image of Elohim? The "older" nefesh (soul) was created to serve the "younger" ruach (spirit), that which was breathed last into the man and sealed him as a being set apart, a being in the image of Elohim, not the beast.
Every Shabbat is a rehearsal and a teaching step toward the holiness of eternity in the Presence of the Father, who will not tolerate the spirit of commerce and competition in His Presence. He is all. He is supreme. He is majesty. He is our Source of self-actualization. He is our substance and sustenance.
May we set the seal of the Shabbat as a sign upon our hearts and arms.
*John echoes a Jewish tradition of greeting Shabbat as the bridegroom greeting the Bride:
"And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, PREPARED as a bride adorned for her husband." (21:2)
In a recent conversation with an Orthodox rabbi, I asked why the Shabbat and Shabbat-keepers held so many personifications in tradition, such as bridegroom, bride, guest, etc. He said that they, like parables, present different personifications because we are using physical substance to represent a spiritual concept. This pattern is found in Proverbs and the Song of Songs, and if one knows some of these Jewish traditions, Yeshua speaks often of Shabbat in his parables.
The beauty of the seal upon the heart and arm in the Song of Songs provides another connection to John's vision of the 7 in Revelation:
"Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hath a most vehement flame." (Song of Songs 8:6)
Revelation describes a worldwide Trial of the Sotah, the accusation of the jealous husband, and it appears in the context of Shabbat and the moedim.
Has the Father Left Us Clueless?
Every word on every page affirms the gospel of the Creation week, good news that man can have a relationship with the Creator of the Universe. From the beginning, the Father has instructed His children how to live without fear of His judgment; He instructed them how to remain in His Presence. By guarding and keeping the Shabbat, man could rely on the Father to guard and keep him.
Even when they chose to leave His Presence, He prescribed the path of return in His explicit Word. No guessing what the Father wants us to know. No good Father would leave His children vulnerable to a dark and difficult season of life. He would make preparations, teach, and leave specific instructions with dependable guardians. For those who love Him and His Word, He leaves specific instructions so that they will not be burned as John prophesied:
The first sounded, and there came hail and fire, mixed with blood, and they were thrown to the earth; and a third of the earth was burned up, and a third of the trees were burned up, and all the green grass was burned up. (Rev. 8:7)
What are the specific clues of the judgment? Trees. Grass. Earth.
Man is made of earth. He is likened to a tree multiple times in Scripture. And at the conclusion of the Torah, Moses warns Israel that they are to soak up His Words like dew on thirsty grass.
Israel's eternal "sign" is the Shabbat. Weekly the Father rehearses them in conduct fit for eternity. Their six days of "good" work is needed to elevate that goodness to the level of holiness, the pinnacle of their overcoming efforts. On the sixth day, the man is separated from the beast by his preparation. The saints are sealed at the conclusion of the Sixth Seal so that they may enter into His rest.
The obedient, prepared earthly man on Shabbat is a tree of righteousness, a planting of His Creator in His Holy Temple. He has absorbed the teaching of Moses like green grass soaking up the dew of Heaven. He has prepared his ways according to the Shabbat song, and he has no fear of burning, for his body of earth, his tree, his grass have fused with eternity through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Revelation is the warning of the 7s, the Shabbat and High Sabbaths of Yeshua's rest...and his judgment from the mount of the moed, the Temple Mount. Shabbat separates the righteous man from the senseless man. In respectfully setting apart the substance of our work for Shabbat, one experiences the Presence of Adonai, a relationship. Good relationships are the result of good work.
If you have the "good" sense to guard and keep the Shabbat, then be a light to draw others to Yeshua's eternal rest. Immerse yourself in the beauty, joy, and poetry of the Psalm for the Shabbat. If we engage the relationship with the Angel of the Presence in whom is the Name, then how can a senseless, but seeking, human being fail to apprehend the Ruach HaKodesh moving within?
Shabbat is coming.
A Psalm, a Song for the Sabbath day.
1 It is good to give thanks to the LORD
And to sing praises to Your name, O Most High;
2 To declare Your lovingkindness in the morning
And Your faithfulness by night,
3 With the ten-stringed lute and with the harp,
With resounding music upon the lyre.
4 For You, O LORD, have made me glad by what You have done, I will sing for joy at the works of Your hands.
5 How great are Your works, O LORD!
Your thoughts are very deep.
6 A senseless man has no knowledge,
Nor does a stupid man understand this:
7 That when the wicked sprouted up like grass
And all who did iniquity flourished,
It was only that they might be destroyed forevermore.
8 But You, O LORD, are on high forever.
9 For, behold, Your enemies, O LORD,
For, behold, Your enemies will perish;
All who do iniquity will be scattered.
10 But You have exalted my horn like that of the wild ox;
I have been anointed with fresh oil.
11 And my eye has looked exultantly upon my foes,
My ears hear of the evildoers who rise up against me.
12 The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree,
He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
13 Planted in the house of the LORD,
They will flourish in the courts of our God.
14 They will still yield fruit in old age;
They shall be full of sap and very green,
15 To declare that the LORD is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him
What I Love About Shabbat...
I made a Facebook post this morning on what I love about Shabbat:
- I love waking up in the middle of the night and smelling the food holding warm in the crockpot or stovetop warmer.
- I love putting the Shabbat tablecloth on the table and seeing the old spark-marks from the Shabbat candles and the wax stains from Havdalah.
I asked what the readers loved about Shabbat. Here are some great responses:
"I love shutting out everything that is opposed to our King and His ways and dreaming of when it will be a way of life. I love studying Torah without hurry or distractions. I love the rest and refreshing that comes as the result of guarding Shabbat. I love the thought of being in a culture and a land that observes this blessed day..." -LW
"I love that all four of my children wouldn't give up shabbat for sports or even the opportunity to star in a movie. The six of us treasure the time to be together and feast before Father. It gives me joy in looking for the gathering to come." -RAD
"Inviting our King into our home, sharing the Torah portion and loving the folks who show up to share Shabbat with us. But most of all, the feeling of being so set apart for Him to do His will, and upholding His glory." -LZ
"I delight in Torah, the home-baked challah aromas that permeate our home, the arrival of Shabbat "never" gets old, is always anticipated in all ways." -NLH
"Knowing I can leave it ALL outside the door for a few hours and just relax and rejoice in our Father and HIS TORAH." -JP
"Spending Shabbat with my honey and knowing I don't have to cook or think about what to make for the day. smile emoticon leftovers to the rescue! smile emoticon And I enjoy time with my friend Jack even if their are 30 years differences in our ages. We always find something to talk about." -CPR
"I am about to love (hopefully) making bread Friday evening and my whole apt smelling of what I like to call "provision" The smell of bread just seems to make it feel like "home""-LDW
"I love the Torah portions and discussing it and looking for Messiach in the Torah" -FM
"That I can turn on my computer and Share the Shabbat with others all over Yah's creation. Knowing He chose me to be set apart with His Mark of the Sabbath. And having the time to just set on His lap and be loved. Shabbat Shalom All U All." - BG
"Opening my eyes in the am, and realizing it is shabbat! a spark of joy comes to my heart." - BZR
Online Class and ABQ Shavuot Night Yeshiva
Enrollment in the Monday night Creation Gospel Workbook One class is closed, but I may offer a Torah portion study class beginning in the fall. If you've ever been frustrated by the lack of answers to the study questions in the workbooks, this may be the class for you!
We are also looking into having a 3-night yeshiva class close to Shavuot in Albuquerque, NM. The topics will be more in-depth than those at the average conference. There is also a possibility for enrollment both in the physical class as well as a limited number of online participants. We'll send more information when we know the specific dates, location, and number of seats available and online logins available.
Lemalah Children's Centre
The first occupants of the Kenyan Children's Centre have begun the school year. Two staff members need to be hired in order to free Pastor Ndungu to continue traveling to proclaim the Torah in Kenya and surrounding countries. We would like to be able to set a minimum amount of monthly support from The Creation Gospel so that the orphanage can set a budget. There is also a young man who needs to start university, and it will cost around $800 per semester.
Here is part of an email we received from Brother Ndungu today:
"We are well and we hope and pray you too. Lemalah children's home now has children who are eat,going to school, thanks to your generosity and great effort. May Father reward you abundantly.We pray that He will continue to provide and as it is well known, beginnings are difficult and there are logistics still being put in place. Yet, we have made great strides and Abba is faithful that this dream has come to a realization."
If you'd like to commit to a monthly amount of support for the Centre's payroll, school uniforms, shoes, food, and health care, we welcome your assistance. If you'd like to sponsor all or part of the young man's college tuition, please notify us and we can put you in touch with Pastor Ndungu.
To donate via PayPal,
and specify "Kenya" or send a personal check to:
The Creation Gospel
PO Box 846
East Bernstadt, KY 40729
From our home to yours,