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The Revelation - Book 6

A study of Revelation 16. This is book 6 of an 8 part book series.

Category - Bible Commentaries

Chapter 15

Transferring the Debt Note

After the revelation of the seven bowls of wine (and water) and their connection to the seven drink offerings at the feast of Tabernacles, we can be assured that Babylon will indeed fall. As for the timing of this, the only thing we can say for sure is that the city will fall some time after God’s contract with the beasts runs out.

That contract was prophesied in the laws of tribulation in Leviticus 26 as “seven times,” which Daniel interprets as a distinct time period, and which John interprets as a series of 360-year cycles. As I have written earlier, seven times is 2,520 years, and the beasts then had actual rulership from 607-604 B.C. until 2014-2017. This date takes into account the century when Jerusalem was independent and free of beast rule from 163-63 B.C.

We were led to pour out the seven bowls of water and wine from October 2000 until October 2006, the final bowl being thrown into the air at Babylon, NY, with the pronouncement, “It is done.” We knew then that we would begin to see an economic collapse within the following year, and this is indeed what happened. The subprime mortgage crisis of mid-2007 was followed by the more serious banking crisis of September 2008.

Though many claimed that the crisis was over within a few months, we understood that the underlying “derivatives” problem was never solved. In fact, this gambling problem only increased, leaving the world economy more vulnerable than ever. Yet with the massive amounts of money being pumped into the banks through bailouts and “quantitative easing,” the problem was masked by the manipulated rise of the stock market to record heights.

As it turned out, the crisis in 2008 was only a harbinger of a greater collapse yet to come. It served as a wakeup call to stop or limit the derivatives, but this warning went unheeded. The world now stands poised for a final collapse of Babylon.

Two Biblical Patterns

There are two biblical patterns that appear to be contradictory patterns for the fall of Babylon. The first is the actual fall of Babylon itself, when the city fell intact. Few were killed, as the Persian troops took the city after its divine mandate had run a full 70 years (607-537 B.C.). Dan. 5:30 tells us that “that same night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain.” He is the only casualty recorded in Scripture.

The other pattern is that of Israel coming out of bondage from Egypt. This pattern is important, because the prophets liken Israel’s future deliverance to the time when they came out of Egypt (Isaiah 10:26; 11:16). How far we should take this pattern is uncertain, but we know that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart in order to inflict ten plagues upon Egypt. The seven bowls of wine are called plagues in Rev. 15:8, partly to connect these with what happened to Egypt.

So the question remains, will the collapse of Babylon be relatively non-violent (as with the fall of Babylon), or will it be destructive (as with the fall of Egypt)? Perhaps the answer lies in observing how long the hearts of the Babylonian leaders remained hardened. As of October 2016, it has been ten years since the seventh bowls were poured out in Babylon, NY. Does this suggest a time of ten plagues, during which time men’s hearts were hardened? We can only “watch and pray,” as Jesus counseled us in Mark 13:33 (KJV).

We can say with some certainty that Babylon’s collapse could not have occurred prior to October 2014 when the seven times contract began to expire. Furthermore, the city had to be given a year in which to redeem itself, according to the law of redemption (Lev. 25:29-31). This gave Babylon until October 2015 in which to pay the debt that it owed. Yet this time also extends at least to the end of October 2017.

The Debt Note

One of the little-known themes of Scripture is that of the debt note. All sin is reckoned as a debt. That is why “forgive us our sins” in Luke 11:4 is the equivalent of “forgive us our debts” in Matt. 6:12. When a man sinned against his neighbor, he became indebted to him and was thus “under the law” until full restitution was paid. When restitution was paid, and the law had no further interest in his case, he was said to be “under grace.”

If a thief stole from his neighbor, he was normally required to pay double restitution (Exodus 22:4). If he did not have sufficient assets to pay, then he was to be “sold for his theft” (Exodus 22:3). The court would then find a buyer who could redeem (take full responsibility for the debt of) the thief. The buyer would also take upon himself the responsibility to pay the debt, and in return he would be given a slave for a specified period of time. The judge was responsible to determine the sinner’s time of slavery according to the value of his labor and the amount of debt that he had incurred.

By the time his slave was set free, the full debt had to be paid. If not, the owner of the slave would be held liable for the debt. After all, he had enjoyed the services of his slave and should easily have made enough money to pay off the debt.

In the big prophetic picture, Israel sinned against God by violating the covenant by which they had agreed to be obedient to God’s voice (Exodus 19:8). God then “sold them” into the hands of the king of Mesopotamia for eight years (Judges 3:8). The Mesopotamian king, then, became Israel’s redeemer, taking upon himself the responsibility to pay the debt note of Israel within a period of eight years. Of course, this pagan king knew nothing of the divine law and certainly had no intention of paying Israel’s debt note, but he—not Israel—was held liable for the debt. This was God’s mercy upon Israel.

Stewards of the Vineyard

What was that debt note? In biblical terms, it was the fruits of the Kingdom. By the hand of Joshua, God planted a vineyard in the land of Canaan (Isaiah 5:1, 7). He put His vineyard into the hands of stewards (Israelites), contracting them (by covenant) to bring forth the fruits of the Kingdom. But when the time came to receive its fruit, the stewards could not produce any fruit that was worth eating (Isaiah 5:2).

Jesus told a parable in Matt. 21:33-43 that was based on Isaiah’s revelation, though modified somewhat. In that story the stewards killed the prophets and finally the Son Himself in order to usurp the fruits of the vineyard for themselves. Jesus’ verdict is given in Matt. 21:43,

43 Therefore I say to you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you, and be given to a nation producing the fruit of it.

God has always been a farmer, or “husbandman” (John 15:1; James 5:7), who has intended to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit in the earth. The debt, then, is not paid until someone is able to take the debt note and pay it. Jesus came to do this very thing, and He is raising up a body of overcomers who are like Him. This is the body of the New Creation Man that alone can do the work of redeeming the earth—that is, bringing forth the fruit of the Spirit.

The Laws of Captivity and Tribulation

While in the land of Canaan, Israel sinned continually, and God often “sold” them into the hands of foreign nations as the law prescribed (Judges 3:8; 4:2; 10:7). Each time, those nations became legally responsible to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit, although this was impossible, because those nations were no more capable of doing this than Israel was. Hence, at the end of each captivity, those nations came under divine judgment.

In the end, Israel and Judah were sold into the hands of a succession of beast empires for a period of seven times, which finally began to end in 2014. This extremely long time of slavery tells us that the sin of Israel had accumulated to a very large debt. Those beast nations were only too happy to receive slaves, but now at the end of the age they are being held accountable for the unpaid debt note.

From 2014-2015 they received the mandatory year of grace in which to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit and establish the Kingdom under Jesus Christ. They failed to do this. After 2015, then, these beast nations face divine judgment.

Those who do not know the laws of restitution, debt, and slavery see only death and destruction in the judgment of God. Yet the fact is that God is raising up overcomers who, when perfected, will be able to redeem the debt note from Babylon and pay it by bringing forth the fruits of the Kingdom. This is the “nation producing the fruit of it” (Matt. 21:43). These are the stewards of the vineyard who will render to the Son the fruits which the previous stewards had refused to give Him (Matt. 21:38, 39).

The only hint of timing for this transfer is found in the next verse (Matt. 21:44),

44 And he who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; but on whomever it falls, it will scatter him like dust.

This is a reference to the “stone” that strikes the Babylonian image on its feet and grinds the entire image to dust or “chaff” (Dan. 2:35). In other words, the “nation” of overcomers are given the Kingdom when the seven times have expired and divine judgment comes upon Babylon. We are living in those momentous times today. I believe that the transfer of authority, decreed by the divine court, occurred on the eighth day of Tabernacles, October 16, 2014. Babylon’s year of grace ended at Tabernacles of 2015, and now we await the judgment and the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which will change world history.

Of course, we cannot lose sight of the fact that God has raised up the kings from the east to judge Babylon. The overcomers do not have that calling, for even Daniel did nothing to overthrow Babylon. We must allow God’s executioners to do their job, while all aspiring overcomers ought to concentrate on doing their job of building the Kingdom and bringing forth its fruit.