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Pride and Rebellion Comes Before a Fall: Martyn Iles Living in Babylon Tour

by | Fri, Mar 22 2024

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‘Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall.’ Proverbs 16:18 CSB

Martyn Iles spoke about the striking similarities between today’s society and the Babylonian culture from the book of Daniel in the Bible at the Living in Babylon Australian Tour. The two similarities at the core are pride and rebellion.

In the first Babylon, the city of Babel, the people had become so self-centred that they tried to build a tower that would reach heaven. They wanted to make a name for themselves and be self-sufficient rather than dependent on God. Does that sound like people today?

‘We live in a time when I have never seen a greater prevalence of narcissistic marketing slogans in all my life,’ said Martyn. ‘You’re worth it. Believe in yourself. You are beautiful. You deserve it.

Today, the culture of pride has people trying to figure out who they are or who they feel they are as a means to guide their future. People place importance on finding a spouse or people to affirm them, usually on social media, so that they can feel good about themselves.

The very first verse of the beatitudes Jesus taught to the multitudes in the Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 5 was:

‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.’ – Matthew 5:3 NKJV

‘What does it mean to be poor in spirit? It means to be poor in yourself,’ said Martyn. ‘It means to know that in yourself, you don’t have what it takes to hold up anything of value in the face of the Almighty. It means to know that in your heart dwells sin, as Jesus told us.’

‘But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and those things defile the person. For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, acts of adultery, other immoral sexual acts, thefts, false testimonies, and slanderous statements.’ Matthew 15:18-19 NASB20

The Culture of Rebellion

Another similarity of today’s culture with Babylon is rebellion. People want to pursue their heart’s desire regardless of whether God says it’s wrong. People have convinced themselves that to be authentic, they need to follow their lusts, passions and desires.

‘There is a desire to climb up into heaven and sit on God’s throne and be like God in that we want his authority,’ said Martyn.

God gave us a blueprint so there would be no confusion about who we are. Genesis says God created ‘male and female’ in His image and told them to be fruitful and multiply. Today, people are suffering from gender confusion, and babies are being aborted because nobody can agree on when life is a life. God’s blueprint is no longer respected. People feel they have the authority to tamper with it and bend it to their will so they can be happy in the way they design happiness to be, regardless of the cost to others.

Yet, happiness eludes so many. People live in fear and anxiety over the state of the world and the destiny of the planet. Only Christians believe there is a God in heaven who has a destiny for this world. He has a plan that no one can undermine or derail.

‘We live in a time when we are raising a generation that is the most anxious and depressed generation we’ve ever seen,’ said Martyn. ‘It’s curious that whilst life has never been better, materially speaking in the West, our young people have never been worse off mentally. There’s got to be more than one explanation for that. I think obsession with the self is one explanation. … and another one is, when you don’t know God, it’s all up to you.’

People are anxious because they believe it’s up to them to save the planet, even though many believe the world created itself in a big bang and somehow became this beautiful, complex masterpiece of nature all on its own. If that is the case, why hasn’t it stayed pristine? Could it be that sin entered the world and will remain in the world while humans rule?

Seduced by the Babylon Prostitute

There’s a final Babylon depicted in Revelation—the Babylon prostitute who is drunk with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus and is hostile towards the testimony of Christ.

‘She is not only hostile to the people of God, but she seeks to seduce the people of God. She’s a prostitute. She’s a seductress, and she offers all kinds of great things. She has wealth, she has pearls, she has wine, she has all this good stuff which she’s holding out to offer the people of the earth,’ said Martyn. ‘What’s going on here is that she is trying to put people to sleep spiritually with material good things, with wealth, with opportunity, with bread and circuses, with a life that they can live where they just pursue their own desires and be distracted enough and happy enough and content enough that they don’t think about God.’

Babylon can offer us many good things, seducing us with offers of being inside social circles, getting ahead in education, and climbing the corporate ladders. As we accumulate more and more wealth, we feel secure in our world. The more secure we become, the less we realise that we’ve been deceived and have gone into a spiritual sleep. The rise to wealth is when people become more secular and less religious because they have allowed their wealth to seduce them.

When you’re in this comfortable state, the day will come when you have to pay a price. Think about Daniel, who, on his first day in Babylon, was offered a place at the ancient equivalent of Harvard University and a fast-track career placement into the ancient equivalent of the White House and a lot of nice things like food and palace accommodation and all the head-swelling that goes along with being numbered among the powerful.

The same happened with Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who were promoted to governors in the provinces of Babylon. Then, the time came when they were asked to bow down to the golden image and eat the food presented to them. It might have seemed like a trivial request, but they would have taken the first step in compromising their values and beliefs by complying.

Will You Face the Fiery Furnace?

The call to comply is happening today. The government is pressuring Christian schools not to discriminate against hiring LGBTQI+ teachers and to change their policies on gender. Over the years, Christian schools have had massive growth. Student numbers have increased; they’ve received government funding and accepted students from all denominations, including non-Christian families.

Now that the pressure is on, will Christian schools push back on compromising their Biblical core beliefs, or will they comply so as not to risk losing funding or risk being in the newspaper headlines? Will they risk losing it all and lean on God to fight their battles, or will they stay in their comfort zone?

‘People never crumble in just one day. It’s Babylon seducing you. Has she already done it? Are you a compromised and compromising relic of what you ought to be?’ asked Martyn.

The reality is that sooner or later, we will all be faced with battles of persecution over our faith. Trouble will undoubtedly come our way. We need to ask ourselves, what are we afraid of losing? Will we face the lion’s den or the fiery furnace? If so, we need to remember how those stories ended. God saved Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, and He will save you. Not only did God save them, He saved Nebuchadnezzar. You can read his amazing testimony in chapter four of the book of Daniel.

God works in the fires. Martyn mentioned Israel Falaou, who went through a fire and God did a great work through him. God promises never to leave us nor forsake us.

‘The Gospel went around the nation night after night after night because that man was offered everything to delete a post, and he said, “Jesus said, ‘If you deny me before men, I will deny you before my father in heaven.’ I will not do it.” What a legend. Unbelievable,’ said Martyn. ‘Never let the state of this world overwhelm you. Never let it beat you down. Never let it deceive you into thinking that God is not at work because God is at work. He’s at work in the hearts of His people. Jesus said to ordinary folks on a hillside in Judea, “You are the light of the world.”  People will see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven, and that will be a power that endures beyond every power that man has ever made. … We are the ones that God has chosen to do a work of eternal glory and eternal weight here in this place.’

All Sin is Forgiven Through Jesus

Salvation is available to everyone. Never believe the lie that the size of your sin is too great to be forgiven. Nebuchadnezzar was saved despite the size of his sin. All sin is forgiven to those who accept Jesus as their Saviour. He paid the price in full on the cross. The size of your sin makes your usefulness to God so much greater because you’ll be such a towering example of His great work.

To learn more about Martyn Iles, visit Martyn Iles | Answers in Genesis

Watch Martyn’s Living in Babylon Australian Tour presentation below.