The Terrorist Attack and Revelation 18
Overcoming the Spirit of Babylon and Greed
Most of this article was originally written in the days immediately following 9/11/01.
For the one-year anniversary of the terrorist attack against the United States, we have
updated it for a fresh look at a portion of Scripture that many feel may be connected to
the events of 9/11.
Was This Event a Fulfillment of Revelation 18?
A portion of Scripture that many have been pondering lately is from Revelation
18. There are indeed some striking similarities to be found within the passage of
Scripture and the September 11th attack.
Here is just a portion of it:
"And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great
is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul
spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For ALL NATIONS have drunk of the
wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed
fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance
of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my
people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues....
How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and
sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see
no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in ONE DAY, death, and mourning, and famine;
and she shall be utterly BURNED WITH FIRE: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. And
the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her,
shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the SMOKE of her burning,
Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon,
that mighty city! for in ONE HOUR is thy judgment come. And the merchants of the earth
shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more......
The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar
off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas, that great
city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and
precious stones, and pearls! For in ONE HOUR so great riches is come to nought. And every
shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood
afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto
this great city!" Revelation 18:2-4, 7-11, 15-18
The similarities from this passage of Scripture, and what occurred to the city of New
York, are easy to see. I do not believe that 9/11 is a direct fulfillment of this
Scripture, but I do believe that the similarities between the two are such that we need to
prayerfully examine what the Lord wants to communicate to us; both as individuals and as a
nation (the United States) as well as other nations of the world.
Babylon is a Symbol
First of all, we want to make very clear here, that New York City and/or the United
States is NOT Babylon. "Babylon," in this passage of Scripture, is a symbol
of the evil system representing the kingdoms of this world that are in opposition to the
kingdom of God. According to the scripture, all of the nations have "drunk of
her wine." No one city or nation can alone be responsible for corrupting the earth or
martyring all the saints of God; and certainly not the United States. Babylon is a system
that has been on the earth throughout all of history. It is empowered through various
nations, governments, philosophies, and religionsas well as through individuals.
However, because this chapter of Revelation focuses almost entirely on global trade and
commerce, it is hard to ignore the striking parallel of the attack on the World Trade
Center, which was certainly a visible and symbolic head of global trade and economics. The
attack also occurred WITHIN AN HOUR and a day, and most of the nations of the earth did
indeed lament, as they saw the smoke rising from New York City and Washington DC. In fact,
over sixty nations are represented among the slain from the World Trade Center. However, a
year after the attack we do not see an immediate fulfillment of the rest of this portion
of Scripture, which prophesies a complete overthrow of Babylon and indicates a global
We must remember that Revelation is a book of symbols, and that prophecy in Scripture
often has several layers of fulfillment. Therefore, it seems that this event is more of a
warninga prophetic foreshadowing of things still yet to come. I believe that God is
trying to get our attention, and giving us a chance to repent from a Babylonian lifestyle.
Come out of Her My People
Regardless of how much Revelation 18 is directly linked to
9/11, we can be sure of one theme that is very clear in Scriptureand this applies to
The Lord says to, "Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of
her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues."
This is something that we can all apply to ourselves and own nations. In fact, this is
something that every Christian should already be doing, regardless of whether the events
of September 11 had occurred or not.
God is calling His people OUT of Babylon! Why? So that we will not receive of her
How do we "come out of her?"
First, we need to repent for our indulgence in what Babylon represents in this portion
of Scripture; of which a major theme is greed and self-indulgence. We need to repent for
thinking more about what we can buy for ourselves than how we can bless others. We need to
ask God to forgive us for often forgetting to thank Him for the multitude of things that
He has already given to us.
As Americans, most of us live like royalty in one of the wealthiest nations in the
history of the world; and yet, we want more. We are driven to improve our standard of
life, obsessed with what we still lack. Our national credit card debt alone testifies
Gods hates the spirit of greedthe "Spirit of Babylon." In
addition to inevitably exploiting others, it also lulls us into complacency. The greedy
persons goals in life become petty and foolishwe waste our precious time on
earth accumulating things that we can only enjoy for a few years, making a comfortable
cocoon around our existence in which we can forget the pain and poverty of othersand
then we too, are gone.
Instead of living in a high spiritual plane we become weakened with the cares and love
of the world. This brings spiritual blindness, weakness, dullness. The hunger in our
hearts that God is longing to fill with Himself, becomes numbed with the placebos of
clothing, cars, knickknacks, vacations, food, homes, interior decorations, beauty
products, entertainment centers, and toys of every variety.
None of these things are wrong in and of themselves. God desires us to be blessed, not
just with things that we need, but also with things that we want. Yet, when more of our
passion is poured into them than God, when these things bring us more joy than God, when
we spend more time, money and thought on these things than God, something is wrong. It is
called idolatry. And idolatry is always a sure path to ruin and destruction.
How Do We Get Free of the "Spirit of Babylon?"
We must begin by repenting of our sins. Repent, means more than being sorry for ones actions. It means to
turn around and go the other way. We need to counteract the spirit of greed and
self-absorption with the opposite qualities. In other words, we need to thoughtfully,
specifically, and aggressively begin to do the opposite of what we were once doing.
The United States is generally a very generous nationand we should be. In many
ways, we have been given more than any other nation, and "to whom much is
given, much is required." We should not be overly proud of our
generosity, as indeed, it is our duty from Heavens perspective. What I am
suggesting, is that instead of resting on the fact that we have been generous in the past,
let us be even more generous than before. Most of us give out of our excess, and not much
out of true sacrifice. Now is the time to cultivate a strong dose of generosity in our
hearts to kill the subtle greed that has flourished inside of us. We can begin to overcome
internal sin by outwardly changing our ways. This is what it means to repent.
Here are some specific suggestions:
Look in your closet and around your house and honestly assess what you really need at
this time. Ask the Lord to help you. Do you really need several new sweaters this fall or
a new entertainment center or a trip to another state? If you decide that you can live
without that purchase, take the amount of money that you would have spent on yourself and
give it away to someone who really needs it.
Give a hundred dollars, or a thousand dollarswhatever you can affordto a
single mother you know who is struggling to make ends meet.
Slip a check into the hand of someone you know at church who needs a little extra cash
at this time.
If you have a good job, consider regularly giving part of your income to someone you
know who has recently lost their job.
Give more money to works of the gospel that are always in need of
assistancewhether it is a food bank downtown, a missionary overseas, a ministry that
has blessed you, or your local church.
Send some money to help with the relief effort for the Afghan refugees, or those who
are starving in Africa and other parts of the world.
If you dont have much money, there are other things that you can give. Ask God to
show you how to sacrifice and give of your time and resources to be a blessing to others.
Believe me, He will give you lots of ideas if you ask Him! If you are poor, it is
important to remember that even in your state of poverty, there is always something that
you can give, even in the financial realm. If it is just $5.00, give that. Rich or poor,
if you are a child of God, then you are able to be a blessing to others, and it is crucial
that you see yourself in this way. We are called to be conduits of blessing to those
Most of all, call out to God for forgiveness of whatever sin of greed and complacency
that He may reveal to you in your own heart. We all need Holy Spirit-empowered grace to
honestly assess our own hearts, and change our ways. If you recognize the spirit of greed
in your life, begin to deliberately counteract it with giving. Greed cannot survive for
long once we begin to discover the great joy in sharing and blessing others.
John Wesley had a very simple approach to money. His instructions were: Earn as much
as you can. Give as much as you can. Save as much as you can.
No where on his list were the instructions to "buy as much as you can." He
instructed his followers to be content with plain clothing and food and a simple lifestyle
so that their resources could be placed into things of eternal value. In this way, they
could be a blessing to the world around them in a very real and practical way.
Obviously, there is more to discuss in this portion of Scripture than just
greedand there are still many angles that could be considered even on this topic
alone. We hope to address these in other articles. However, I pray that the Holy Spirit
speaks something to each person reading this article in regard to the giving and dreaming
and scheming that lies in the realm of the pocketbook. We can talk all day long about what
we believe, but it is only actions that truly reveal what god we worship. Hearing the word
of God profits us nothing, if we do not obey the Word.
When the multitudes went to John the Baptist to repent and be baptized by him in the
wilderness, he gave them specific instructions on how to repent. All of his instructions
had to do with overcoming greed and covetousness:
"What should we do then? the crowd asked. John answered, The man
with two tunics should share with him who has none, and the one who has food should do the
same. Tax collectors also came to be baptized. Teacher, they asked,
what should we do? Dont collect any more than you are required to,
he told them. Then some soldiers asked him, And what should we do? He replied,
Dont exhort money and dont accuse people falselybe content with
your pay" (Luke 3:10-14 NIV).
John the Baptist is a prophetic picture of the generation that will prepare the way for
the return of the Lord. We can be sure that one of the great battles at the end of the age
will be concerning greed, covetousness, materialism and a lack of care for the needs of
those who live in dire poverty. If we want to help prepare the way for the return of the
Lord, we must repent of every trace of these things in our lives, so that we can then help
others repent, just as John the Baptist did at the first advent of the Messiah.
Babylon is Fallen
In conclusion, we must all be aware that the Spirit of Babylon is something that every
Overcoming Christian will have to battle. There is no way around it and even those in less
prosperous nations will have to face it. Greed finds a home in the heart of the poor just
as much as in the heart of the rich. The condition of our heart is what needs to change.
When He has changed the condition of our heart regarding money, He will be able to trust
us with much more, as He knows that we will use it wisely for the kingdom of God.
Though there may be other repercussions from this Scripture, as related to the global
events that are happening, we do not need to become frightened. Babylon is doomed to come
down and be replaced with the Kingdom of God. Gods triumph is inevitable, and His
plan, which He purposed from the beginning of the ages, will prevail. This is the good
news. If we obey the Holy Spirit now, we have nothing to be afraid of. And His directions
are simpleto love the Lord with all of our heart and to love our neighbor as
ourselves. Babylon is falling, but praise God, we can come out of herand help others
to do the same.
There is no better moment to be changed and filled with the Holy Spirit than right now.
There is no better day than today to flee a system that is coming down anyway.
"So, as the Holy spirit says: Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your
hearts as you did in the rebellion, during the time of testing in the desert, where your
fathers tested and tried me and for forty years saw what I did. That is why I was
angry with that generation, and I said, 'Their hearts are always going astray, and they
have not known my ways.' So I declared on oath in my anger, 'They shall never enter my
rest.' " (Hebrews 3:7-11 NIV).
If nothing else from Revelation 18 is to be applied to the Terrorist
attacks, we know this: That we, as a nation, need to repent for our greed and our pride.
We knew this before the attack. We all knew it, deep in our hearts.
Now, lets do something about it while there is yet time.
"If I shut up heaven that there be no rain, or if I command the locusts to devour
the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; If my people, which are called by my
name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked
ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their
land." (2 Chronicles 7:13-14).