About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
The cities of Babylon
are the two most mentioned cities in the Bible.
is mentioned 286 times in the KJV, 280 times in the NIV, and 283 times in
the CSB. It first appears in
the Bible in Genesis 10:10 as Babel, and based on its Hebrew equivalent, means "confusion."
is mentioned 811 times in the KJV, 808 times in the NIV, and 801 times in
the CSB. It first appears in
the Bible in Genesis 14:18 as Salem, and based on its Hebrew equivalent, means "city of peace."
The Hebrew meaning of the names of these two cities puts them in
direct odds with each other - confusion and peace.
cities have significant theological relevance for us today.
was a literal city and empire. It
once existed just beyond the city limits of present-day Baghdad, in Iraq. Former president of
Iraq, Saddam Hussein, started rebuilding Babylon
as a tourist destination in the 1990's.
The Bible portrays all nations as Babylon. This portrayal originated in
Genesis 11:4 where it states that Babel
(Babylon) was a product of man's desire to build a nation that would glorify
himself instead of God. Such
attempts at nation building will end in God's judgment, as seen in
Revelation 17 and 18.
that is above is free ... "
Hebrews 12:22 reads:
"But you have come
When we understand the
Bible to portray all nations as Babylonian in nature and when we realize
there is a heavenly Jerusalem, we have some things to consider.
I am a citizen of the
Babylonian oriented nation of Canada. I am also a citizen of the
heavenly city of Jerusalem. As a dual citizen, my
heavenly citizenship takes priority over my earthly citizenship.
unlike the Babylonian state of Canada, the heavenly Jerusalem
glorifies God and not man.
My ultimate allegiance is to the Jerusalem
that is above, and when there is a conflict between my two citizenships, I
stand on the side of the heavenly Jerusalem, as did the apostle Peter. Acts
"Peter and the
apostles replied, 'We must obey God
rather than people.'"
I may have a home in Canada, but it's not my primary residence. It's
temporary. I anticipate the
heavenly Jerusalem's arrival on earth. Hebrews
"For here we do not
have an enduring city, but we are looking
for the city that is to come."
Revelation 21:1 says:
"I saw the
I cannot make the
mistake that many have made over the centuries by attempting to
Jerusalemize Babylon by humanistic means.
Such attempts always fail because they are not Biblical and they
differ little from man-centered nation building seen in Genesis 11.
It is not my responsibility to Christianize the Babylonian nation
of Canada. It is not my job to bring
under the rule of Jesus. Jesus
will do that at His return. My
job, as an ambassador of the heavenly
For clarity sake; I am
not advocating a withdrawal from cultural involvement.
I am advocating placing our Biblical mandate to make disciples of
people, not nations, at the top of our list of cultural priorities.
Failing to do this undermines our ambassadorial mission as Christians.
If you have prioritized
your life in Biblical terms, your individual rights of citizenship in a
democracy permit your involvement in social/political concerns.
Like Paul, who used his Roman citizenship to appeal to Caesar (Acts
25:11), your democratic rights of citizenship allow you to make your appeal in the
social arena. That being said,
your social/political appeal should be understood to be secondary to your primary calling as a
citizen of the heavenly Jerusalem.