Don’t drink the Kool-Aid is what we say to warn about something deadly that looks innocent. The phrase came from the Jonestown Massacre where members of the Jim Jones cult committed suicide by drinking a mixture of a powdered soft drink laced with a cocktail of poisonous drugs.
The final book of the Bible warns of a global “Jonestown” where all the nations consume a different kind of Kool-Aid cocktail. Rewind to Rev. 14:8, “A second angel followed and said, ‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great,’ which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries.” Just before Jesus comes again, the whole world will be forced to drink a poisonous cocktail of lies that makes Jonestown pale in comparison. And the same heart of love that gave us the everlasting good news in the first message, now says in this message, “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid!”
First, some facts about “Babylon”:
- Babylon must be symbolic. “The great city” had ceased to exist by the time John wrote the apocalypse. It was destroyed in 689 BC by Sennacherib, captured by the Medes and Persians in 539 BC, and finally completely destroyed in the reign of Trajan (AD 98-117).
- Babylon must be a superpower to make all nations drink her Kool-Aid.
- Babylon falls just before Christ returns. Even as the Peoples Temple Cult was a failed system ultimately ending in death, the Babylonian superpower is a failed system that ultimately kills those who drink its Kool Aid.
Two great sins of ancient Babylon repeat at the end of time: 1) Doubt of God’s Word (Gen. 9:11); 2) Defiance of God’s will (Gen. 9:1). But Just because you don’t like God’s vision of the future, doesn’t mean you get to create your own. To do so is Babylonian. It is to rebel. It is drinking the Kool Aid.
Babylon was the “confusing gate of the gods.” But Jesus said, “I am the gate . . . whoever enters through me will be saved.” (John 10:7, 9). Jesus is not the gate of the “gods” but He is the gate to the One true God. No man comes to the Father but by me. Babylon’s claims are opposed to Christ, which makes it “anti-Christ.”
Lucifer is the invisible king of Babylon (see Isa. 14:3-4, 11-15). It is his spirit of pompous defiance and lust for God’s throne that drove Nimrod, Nebuchadnezzar, and the Babylon of the apocalypse. It is a rival institution to the true church of God—those who keep the commandments and have the faith of Jesus. It’s three main characteristics: 1) Disobedience of God’s Word; 2) Defiance against God’s Word; 3) Desire for God’s throne.
By the close of the 1st century A.D. Christians were already connecting Rome with Babylon. ( See 1 Peter 5:13.) As imperial Rome gave way to Papal Rome, the spirit of Babylon was detected in the medieval church by reformers like Martin Luther. In 1520 he wrote: “If they [the pope and all the Romanists] do not abrogate all their laws and traditions, restore proper liability to the churches of Christ, and cause that liberty to be taught, then they are guilty of all the souls that perish in this miserable servitude, and that the papacy is identical with the kingdom of Babylon and the Antichrist itself.”
Later reformers, over the centuries, arrived at the same conclusion Luther did: Babylon is an apocalyptic symbol of all religious bodies and movements that have fallen away from the truth, especially the fallen Roman church—the geo-political power that will rise and fall before the coming of Christ. (The system, not the people.)
Babylon is a spiritual/political superpower that will lead a universal apostasy among the nations, substituting human laws and expediency for the laws of God and will appeal to the secular powers of the state to enforce them. This is the maddening wine—the Kool-Aid that the 2nd angel warns against.
But there are other “Kool-Aids” that God’s people must avoid, such as the Kool-Aid of compromise. This is a confusing rationalization that we can be like the world and still be like Jesus–that we can play in the dark, but still walk in the light. We’re fooling ourselves.
We must avoid the Kool-Aid of Ingratitude—a neglect of opportunities and blessings that leads to spiritual indifference and a lack of love. We’re too busy, exhausted and distracted to pray, read the Word, and serve. “There is a stupor, a paralysis, upon the people of God, which prevents them from understanding the duty of the hour.” (Christ’s Object Lessons, p. 303)
Besides these two, don’t drink the Kool-Aid of…
- sexual immorality (same sex or otherwise)
- religion that leaves the heart unchanged
- our own opinions
How do we stay clear of Babylon’s Kool-Aid? The call to worthy worship of the Creator is given as a protection against the confusion of Babylon. Out of gratitude for being saved by the everlasting gospel, fear God, give Him glory, worship Him, keep His commandments, and drink deeply of the Water of Life.–Pastor Randy