One of the various charges God gave to the Old Testament priesthood of Israel (descendants of Aaron) was this: “Do not drink wine or intoxicating drink, you, nor your sons with you, when you go into the tabernacle of meeting [with the LORD] , lest you die. It shall be a statute throughout your generations” (Leviticus 10:9).
Why did God give this charge to the priests? He told them: so “…that you may distinguish between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean, and that you may teach the children of Israel all the statutes which the LORD has spoken to them by the hand of Moses” (Verses 10-11).
Is it only by some strange coincidence that many of today’s very active religious leaders have failed to understand the distinction between holy and unholy living, between a clean and an unclean thing — from God’s perspective? Or that these leaders have taught that most — if not all — of the statutes which God gave to Israel through Moses are no longer applicable today?
To the Levitical priesthood the charge concerned physical wine or strong, intoxicating drink. This may well apply also to any church leader today who wants to “meet” with God whether in prayer or in the study of His Word. Much more serious would this be when one preaches or teaches God’s Word to others. One cannot truly grasp God’s truth when one is under a haze of alcohol — regardless of the claim by some to being “immune” to the effects of alcohol on one’s judgment.
One of the universal rules of driving is: “If you drink, don’t drive; if you drive, don’t drink.” It is common knowledge that, somehow, a bit or much of alcohol imbibed influences — more often than not — one’s sense of judgment, warping one’s perception of time and space, and other parameters. It is not without reason that most governments apprehend, and penalize accordingly, those who drive “under the influence.”
A far more serious influence
But, more than physical alcohol, there is a far more intoxicating “wine” that causes one’s judgment as to what is holy and unholy, what is clean and unclean, what is right and wrong, to blur.
This is the “wine” that the god of this world, Satan (2 Corinthians 4:4), has “bar-tendered” to unsuspecting and gullible “customers.” And how has Satan done this? Through his major “agent” — Babylon the Great!
Revelation 17:1-2 describes this agent as a “great harlot,” with a name written on her forehead, “Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and of the abominations of the Earth” (Verse 5). This obviously attractive woman is further described as one “with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication.” The result? “…the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
“Fornication” is commonly defined as sex before one is married, whether it is with someone whom one will eventually marry, or with someone else. Speaking of the Church of God, which is the “bride” of Christ (Revelation 19:7; 21:9; Ephesians 5:23-32), it would be considered fornication if the Church were to have spiritual “intercourse” with anyone but her true marriage “partner” or bridegroom — Jesus Christ. The real Christ, that is. [See: The True Christ.]
One of the frightening signs of our times today — not fully realized by many — is that there are today many “false christs,” just as Jesus prophesied about these our end-times (Matthew 24:5, 24).
To have “intercourse” — an intimate relationship — with such a false Christ is spiritual fornication! This is not talking about sex as such, although false religions have indeed led to all manner of sexual looseness and depravity, at one end, and to repression — even hatred — of sexuality as God has purposed, at the other end. This intercourse has more to do with false teachings that lead to an ungodly, God-rejecting life — an unclean and unholy life.
Revelation 17:4 describes Babylon as bearing a cup “full of abominations [detestable or hateful things] and the filthiness of her fornication.” It is from this cup that the leaders of the earth — including church leaders — have drunk. And, as a result, the whole earth’s inhabitants have become spiritually “drunk!”
Who or what is this Babylon of today? Revelation 17:5 labels her name as “Mystery…” Only God fully comprehends the beginning and end of this mysterious spiritual entity. Some authors have written books proposing that today’s spiritual Babylon has survived from the original kingdom of Babylon which Nimrod had founded soon after the Great Flood of Noah’s day. Notable among these books are Alexander Hislop’s The Two Babylons and Ralph Woodrow’s Babylon Mystery Religion. You may access these references through this link: http://www.herbert-armstrong.org. Click ENTER HERE, select “Reference Materials” and scroll down to the front cover of these books on the right hand side of the screen. Also, see: “Your Eyes Will Be Opened!”
In due time, God will surely make plain and unmistakable the true identity of this “Babylon” that, until this day, has held sway over all the earth. Soon God will cause this Babylon to become “desolate and naked” (Revelation 17:16)! She will be exposed for who and what she really is!
Perhaps it is sufficient for now to say, in a word, that everything that mankind has thought of and practiced that is contrary to the letter and spirit of God’s law is Babylon! It is an unholy union between human government and human religion, with its mixture of some truth and plenty of error — confusion! [Babylon is derived from “Babel” — meaning confusion or to confuse. See Genesis 11:1-9.] And it is rightly given the number 666, the number of man (Revelation 13:11-18).
The “wine” which this Babylon has caused mankind to drink has blurred people’s understanding of what is truly holy and clean in God’s eyes. Worse, this wine has, in fact, caused people to become blind to and reject God’s law and statutes which God gave to Israel through Moses. [See: Spiritual Dyslexia.]
To understand more about how this Babylon has overturned the law of God and replaced human-devised law in its belief and practice, see: True Worship, Beware of False Prophets, Fake News, The Law of Christ, Moses and Jesus — Are They Contraries? Did Christ Cleanse All Meats? Transgressions Under the First Covenant, and God’s Spirit and Obedience.
“Come out of her”
As we move toward God’s kingdom — toward God’s eternal “tabernacle of meeting” (symbolic of the Holy City, the New Jerusalem [see: God’s Feasts and the Jews — Part 3, the section on “The Last Great Day”]) — more closely than ever before, let us be sure we do not drink of Babylon’s wine. Or if we have drunk of it, it’s time to be rid of what you have received of it. As Revelation 18:4-5 bids us: “Come out of her [Babylon], my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.”
In 1 Peter 5:8 the apostle Peter exhorts us: “Be sober, be vigilant…” He tells us further: “…what manner of persons you ought to be in holy conduct and godliness, looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God … we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells” (2 Peter 3:11-13).
That’s where all who are saved among mankind [see: Predestination] will live forever, where they can meet and live with God for all eternity! “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things [of Babylon!] have passed away…Behold, I make all things new…these words are true and faithful” (Revelation 21:3-5).
Finally, instead of imbibing an excess of physical wine — and, more so, the strange wine of Babylon — Paul encourages us to “be filled with the Spirit [of God]” (Ephesians 5:18). May this website help you to drink in of that Spirit! [See: God’s Spirit and Obedience.]
Pedro R. Meléndez, Jr.