o many Biblical prophetic texts are thought to be simple figures of speech, but the years of studying the Scriptures are now indicating something far deeper is found in such verses. The title phrase, Maddening Wine, is just such a text.
Spoken by the prophet Jeremiah, the "Maddening Wine" was the "fruit" of the wicked ways of yet another metaphor – the nation, people, and religion of Babylon:
"Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad" (Jeremiah 51:7).
Rich in texture, this verse is positively filled with Spiritual depth, doctrine, and even designates future events. Obviously, the last book of the Bible characterizes Babylon in a religious context – leading many to see the decadence of a religion which has become thoroughly corrupt, and Spiritually desolate.
However, in looking at the use of Babylon and the Maddening Wine in Jeremiah, the first thing we note is the "Babylon" in the verse is the instrument of the LORD. In effect, the proper nounBabylon – which we've long known can mean far more than a literal, historic city – is a vessel (a "golden cup" in the present instance) which the LORD utilizes to achieve an objective.
Incidentally, this sequence in Jeremiah's 51st chapter is yet another great example of why the literalists – the "believing" morons who tell us every verse in the Bible is literal – are obviously devoid of Spiritual discernment. That is, unless you think this verse proves that God wants us all to get drunk.
Actually, the Spirit of the age which seeks to confuse and obfuscate the truth, will consistently point us in any directionexcept the right one, for that is the role of the deceiving Spirits whose time for judgment is just around the corner. The fact is, this verse doctrinally states that God is the one who is sovereign, and even an unrighteous vessel (labeled here as "Babylon") is under the sovereign control of the LORD on high.
In any event, the instrument used by God was imaged as a winewhich is so potent that is drives the nations mad. Like so many other prophetic similitudes, the Spirit of the LORD uses universal images which are widely recognized. In the present instance, just about everyone knows if you drink enough wine, it will accumulate to the degree that you begin to lose touch with your faculties, and become drunken.
It is also widely known that the first thing that flees when one is under the influence is good judgment. Thus, at some point, the drinker judges it appropriate to consume more of the very compound which diminishes their judgment. Most anyone who has ever had too much to drink can relate to this, but few in our time recognize the application that errors in judgment are in view.
The New Testament tells those in the end times that God will send "strong delusion" to a party or parties who have not received the love of the truth, but few would connect that oft cited passage with the Maddening Wine of Babylon.
"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth…" (II Thessalonians 2:11,12).
The problem with connecting the two streams of identification, regarding the picture of Maddening Wine and strong delusion, is one of assuming things – and I trust the reader knows the maxim concerning what happens when you assume things. Since the "nations" are deceived via the vehicle of the "wine," those that consider themselves believers assume they themselves are not in view.
Further, since those experiencing the Spiritual paralysis of thestrong delusion in II Thessalonians are plainly stated to beunsaved, virtually all "believers" instantly relegate the application to some other person, or some other belief structure. In short, we can't see the forest for the trees, as these passages speak of an all consuming, universal deception which comes upon all the world – and that "world" includes the so called "church" of the last generation.
"For as a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth" (Luke 21:35).
This "snare" – a term which is indicative of a trap – will come on all that dwell on the earth, so even though many believers would aver that their citizenship is in heaven, Jesus is clearly telling us there is a massive pitfall about to snap shut on all mankind.
Perhaps an example is in order. Just in the last 10 minutes, as I was writing this very essay, I received an email from one who obviously considers himself to be a believer in Jesus Christ. This person has apparently heard of our ministry work, and his jaundiced request for more information said the following, and I am quoting from his email precisely:
"I am dogmatic….post-trib pre-wrath last-trumpet pre-millenial [sic] catching away day of the Lord
So, send me anything that supports the truth of the Scriptures in that regard" [name withheld]
It wouldn't really make any difference if he had said he was Pre-Trib, Sabbatarian, or a Methodist (which has been whimsically characterized as a Baptist who can read); the point is, the nature of the communication assumes that he is not deceived, and is happy to receive any material that agrees with his present position.
"For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables" (II Timothy 4:3,4).
Most Christians have been taught the previous verse applies to those who have abandoned the faith altogether, and has no application among the multitude of theological variants which comprise the plethora of denominational and systemic approaches to the Gospel. However, the Apostle Paul said thatthe Gospel is very specific, and that anyone who presentsanother Gospel, or another version of how JESUS CHRIST saves those whom He has chosen, is accursed:
"But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:8).
The very fact that Paul references the error as another version of the Gospel – as opposed to a straightforward repudiation of the Gospel – should give pause to all who believe they have all the facts, if they have not thoroughly examined every adjacent theological position.
It's also worth noting the errors found in "other" Gospels are subtly address in the strong delusion as well, for the very Greek word rendered delusion in II Thessalonians, is translated aserror elsewhere in the New Testament. Thus, we could reference the Maddening Wine of Babylon, as a deluding error which is destined to come upon all the world at the time of the end.
-- James Lloyd
A further look at The Snare is found in the ProFile book from the present author entitled THE SNARE.