Viewing the Bible as a story of two cities will help you see the big picture of the world. This quick study will assist you in framing end time events so that you know what God's Word tells you about the past, present, and future plans for us all.
So, take a minute of your time to be productively engaged with an interesting analogy of history's timeline.
On the left you have Babylon, ruled by the prince of darkness. Babylon is hell-bent on evil and destruction. On the other hand, you have Jerusalem which is ruled by the Prince of Peace. Jerusalem desires holiness and seeks God's eternal glory.
God the Father reigns sovereign over both cities from the beginning. He presides as the omnipotent judge over the two city's battles, while they attempt to gain control of the eternal world.
All of earthly humanity associates and engages with both cities - but, at the end of one's earthly existence, he or she is a citizen in one city or the other. All humanity is born into Babylon, bar none. Some, though, escape its clutches and enter Jerusalem's gates, seeking refuge from Babylon's oppression.
This study is an analogy which gives you, the reader, a manageable perspective of the entire Bible.
This encouraging lesson reveals some of the mysteries of these two spiritual cities, giving you knowledge and understanding of the world, from heaven's perspective over both cities from the beginning. He presides as the omnipotent judge over the two city's battles, while they attempt to gain control of the eternal world.
This isn't a "tale" of two cities, similar to what Charles Dickens penned 150 years ago. The biblical cities we're studying are a spiritual reality, which is much more real than the physical cities we experience in today's world.
Even though this concept is spiritual, the two cities will play out in the physical world for each of us.
Biblical Babylon and Jerusalem, i.e. NOT to be confused with the earthly Babylon and Jerusalem, are mysterious because they're spiritual in nature. They represent something deeper, something much more meaningful, more lasting, than their earthly counterparts. They're in another dimension, a sixth dimension, if you will [that's as deep as we'll go with that idea, so don't run away!].
While having physical attributes these two biblical cities, and those who inhabit them, are seen by YHWH spiritually. He sees into human hearts and judges their thoughts, ideas, motives, and actions by his laws, commands, and Scriptures (Revelation 2:23).
Let's keep this study simple, shall we? God blesses clarity and brevity, so let's keep our "yesses" as yes, and our "no's" as no. There will be many why's and how's that go unanswered here, but they'll be covered in the later, correlating lessons.
The biblical cities, Babylon and Jerusalem, are global, actually universal; therefore, we should view them as such. Yes, physical cities are always much smaller geographically, but not in this case.
All cities have rulers and Babylon and Jerusalem are no exceptions.
Starting at the top of the City of Babylon is Satan, also known as the Devil (see Ezekiel 28:12-19). He's the prince of darkness who rules and reigns his city from the shadows (1 Peter 5:8).
He hides behind fellow fallen angels and demon spirits, who secretly direct elite men and women in building the world's governmental, financial, military, corporate, religious, and entertainment structures (Revelation 16:16). They're currently striving to build the New World Order, aka One World Government.
Babylon's intent is to defeat Jerusalem and hold the mass of humanity in eternal bondage to its power.
Starting at the top of the City of Jerusalem is Yeshua, aka Jesus Christ the Messiah. He's the Prince of Peace who rules and reigns over his city from heaven. His Holy Spirit, Word, and servant angels mysteriously direct people towards righteousness and peace.
Jerusalem's intent is to free people from their spiritual bondage to Satan's powerful world system (John 8:31).
Christ and his agents are currently preparing the world for his 1,000 year Millennial Reign.
Satan and Christ have gone to battle many times over the ages and they're fully dressed in their spiritual armor ready for more. As the close of this 2,000 year old biblical age draws near, their battles will intensify, and people will suffer (Revelation 13:9-10).
There aren't city limits that keep people in or out of the two cities. Keep in mind they're universal entities, each allowing people from every continent, nation, tribe, and family to become a citizen.
Naturally, all people are born into Babylon, no matter their family, tribe, nation, or continent.
Satan does his BEST to keep every person a member of his city through various means. First, he diverts attention from Christ's word and ways. Satan keeps his citizens busy working, sleeping, watching TV, playing games, and chasing their sensual pleasures.
Basically, Satan gets people to practice idolatry by loving the things of this earth. People love other people too much, including themselves; they love money, power, fame, religion, houses, cars, sports, hobbies, reading - you name it, they'll love it. It's the worship of mammon - the ultimate in paganism.
The days, months, and years pass them by as they waste the precious time they've been allotted to do good deeds by their Creator (Ephesians 2:10).
Christ, however, draws citizens of Babylon one-by-one into his heavenly city. He offers help through providing the Holy Spirit to strengthen the resolve of his citizens. The Jerusalem citizens learn Christ's way by studying his Word and applying its precepts to their lives.
Basically, Christ changes people's minds and habits, turning them from idolatry to the righteousness that He expects from his citizens.
Satan never gives up on his former citizens. He torments, tantalizes, and tempts them until they pass away and depart to Paradise, where he can no longer touch them.
Christ never allows one of his true citizens to leave his city. Once a citizen always a citizen. He never errors in giving a person their official citizenship, although some may appear at times to renounce the privilege!
It's not always easy to tell which global city a person lives in, but sometimes it's apparent. YHWH and the two city rulers are the only ones who know where each and every person resides at any given time.
The Bible explicitly tells us the future of the two cities, including their citizens. It's not confusing at all. The wise folks of one city pay attention and learn their future, while the fools of the other city ignore YHWH's Word, preferring to daily live flying by the seat of their pants.
First of all, the Bible warns us that the Time of Jacob's Trouble, aka the Great Tribulation, falls upon the entire world. It's mainly a time of YHWH's wrath striking his chosen Nation of Israel. He unleashes heaven's full fury.
Israel physically represented the spiritual city of Jerusalem, for a time. Israel committed adultery against YHWH, though, and now He's making them pay - in full.
Babylon tempted and persecuted Israel, so they'll experience God's wrath in full, as well. No one, but Christ's citizens of Jerusalem who've died, escapes this terrible time. See our next lesson for more on this topic: Christ's Rapture.
As the Great Tribulation subsides after seven years, Satan's city, the mystery Babylon, forcibly rises against Christ's city at the end of this age. Babylon's forces assault Jerusalem, including Christ himself, attempting to destroy it. Ezekiel 39 describes the incredible war.
Believe it or not, it's easy to see this future battle developing now within the context of our own world events - the time may now be upon us. Wake up, my friend.
Babylon loses this great battle when Christ himself slaughters any and all beings associated with the city. First of all, he kills all the humans and sends them to the grave. Next, he takes all the fallen angels and demon spirits and locks them in chains beneath the earth. None of these citizens of Babylon will be heard from again for 1,000 years.
Christ and his spiritual city, Jerusalem, then take over the Middle East. The spiritual city of Jerusalem becomes physical at this point in time. They rebuild what's left of physical Jerusalem into Christ's Holy City, the millennial Jerusalem.
Let God describe through John the Apostle the victory that takes place (replace "kingdom" with "city" to stay with our theme):
“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever... the one who is and who always was, for now you have assumed your great power and have begun to reign. The nations raged, but your wrath came, and the time for the dead to be judged,
and for rewarding your servants, the prophets and saints, and those who fear your name, both small and great, and for destroying the destroyers of the earth” Revelation 11:15-18.
Christ then brings all people who survived the Great Tribulation to Jerusalem, where he blesses them for 1,000 years (John 10:16). He's their King, ruling from his Holy City. All people know Him. Jerusalem's citizens who previously died before or during the Great Tribulation are resurrected, and they help their King rule the renewed cities of the earth.
The people greatly increase in numbers, repopulating the renewed earth. It's a period of great joy. People eat from their own gardens and share with their neighbors. No one is forgotten or forsaken. All people are healed, happy, and satisfied. No threats against them take shape because their Ruler immediately squashes all rebellion (see Isaiah 54:8-17).
The tempter, Satan, has no influence on people, so the only misbehavior comes from the people's own hearts. Christ makes sure all law-breaking is swiftly punished, though, even with physical death, if deemed necessary.
Spiritual Jerusalem has become the earthly Jerusalem at the outset of the glorious 1,000 year Millennium. It's now the center of the earth, a place where all peoples of the earth come to see and worship their King at his new Temple.
All animals will be kind, never becoming a threat to anyone. Plants will all be fruitful and they'll supply all the nutritional needs of the people. The earth will return to a Garden of Eden state, much like the original habitat of mankind and animals.
This millennial city of Jerusalem period comes to a close, however, with a surprising bang.
Christ unleashes the captive Satan from his chains at the end of the Millennium.
Why would He do such a thing?! Everything seems so perfect!!
Well, there's even more great news, because there's an eternal city waiting for God's people that's even more amazing than the millennial Jerusalem.
Satan's released and allowed to influence certain kings of the earth to rebel against Jerusalem one last time. He hastily brings a few nations together, arms them for battle and leads the armies against Christ's Jerusalem. Ezekiel 38 graphically describes the short but violent war.
The war ends as quickly as it started. Christ himself destroys all of Babylon's rebellious warriors, including Satan himself. The corpses are left in the valley for the birds to devour (Isaiah 66:24), but just for a short time.
The Great White Throne Judgment then commences, as Christ himself resurrects, convicts and sentences all of the unbelievers for their rebellion. At that time, he makes every citizen of Babylon bow their knee before Him, acknowledging and confessing Him as Lord of ALL. Each and every one of them is thrust into Final Babylon, which is renamed the Lake of Fire.
YHWH enters the picture at this point in time. He brings his heavenly home, New Jerusalem, down to Israel. This beautiful, holy City is given to his Son, Jesus Christ, as his Bride.
All of the citizens of Jerusalem enter its gates to live forever with Christ, the holy angels, and YHWH himself. Revelation 21 & 22 describe this incredible City.
Once all Christ's citizens are safely inside New Jerusalem, He burns up the earth and heavens with a final word (2 Peter 3:10-13). At that point, ALL sin, evil, sickness, injury, and death disappear forever and ever.
Where does your citizenship belong?
Choices must be made in this very real world of two cities - this is no tale.
Ignoring the choice is to remain a citizen of Babylon; because you're basically rejecting the free citizenship offer that Jerusalem offers.
Remaining a citizen of Babylon leads directly to the eternal Lake of Fire.
Choosing to live as a citizen of Jerusalem leads directly to the eternal New Jerusalem.
Dear Father, Please help me escape from Babylon. It's a terrible, dark city, so full of vice. I'm not made for such things, Lord. My deepest desires are to be with you and your Son in Jerusalem, the City of Light. I want to spend my days serving you and serving others in your City. Please forgive my sins, put me in new garments, so I'm sparkling white. In Christ's name, Amen.