Don’t get attached to temporary things. That’s the message I hear when I read about the destruction of Babylon.
A center of commerce and the capital of the powerful Babylonian Empire, the city of Babylon was formidable. The apostle John conveyed the enormity of the city’s economy with the following list of things bought and sold there:
Gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.Revelation 18:12-13
But even at the height of its power, the prophet Isaiah warned that Babylon’s days were numbered, and that its destruction would come suddenly:
Behold, I will stir up the Medes [the Persians] against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it….
And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.Isaiah 13:17, 19, 2 Nephi 23:17, 19
Isaiah’s advice to the children of Israel was not to let this great city captivate their attention. “Go ye forth of Babylon,” he said, “flee ye from the Chaldeans” (Isaiah 48:20, 1 Nephi 20:20). And the apostle John heard a voice from heaven issuing a similar warning: “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues” (Revelation 18:4).
On November 3, 1831, the Lord reissued this warning: “Go ye out from among the nations,” He said, “even from Babylon.” Then, He provided the following clarification: “from the midst of wickedness, which is spiritual Babylon” (Doctrine and Covenants 133:14).
President Russell M. Nelson recently referenced Babylon as he invited us to center our lives on Jesus Christ:
The voices and pressures of the world are engaging and numerous. But too many voices are deceptive, seductive, and can pull us off the covenant path. To avoid the inevitable heartbreak that follows, I plead with you today to counter the lure of the world by making time for the Lord in your life—each and every day.
If most of the information you get comes from social or other media, your ability to hear the whisperings of the Spirit will be diminished. If you are not also seeking the Lord through daily prayer and gospel study, you leave yourself vulnerable to philosophies that may be intriguing but are not true. Even Saints who are otherwise faithful can be derailed by the steady beat of Babylon’s band.
My brothers and sisters, I plead with you to make time for the Lord! Make your own spiritual foundation firm and able to stand the test of time by doing those things that allow the Holy Ghost to be with you always.“Make Time for the Lord,” General Conference, October 2021
Today, I will come out of Babylon. I will avoid being distracted by temporary things, and I will center my attention on the Savior and on the things of eternity.