What Happened 70 Years Ago

George Hawtin, in his little booklet Mystery Babylon, relates his heart-gripping experience in these words:

“Forgive me if I boast a little, for this boasting is not the kind that savors of pride, but rather brings great sadness to my heart. There may be many men in the world qualified to speak of these things, but few have been more qualified by experience than I both to see and discern the many ramifications of the Babylonish system. I was born into the system many years ago. I walked its streets and wore its garments before I ever knew Christ as my personal Saviour. The denomination was everything. It mattered little how men lived or whether they had any personal experience with God. The thing that mattered was whether or not you were a church-goer. You did not hide the Babylonish garment in your tent; you wore it with pride. Neither did you hide the talents of silver or the wedge of gold. The more you contributed to the organization the better Christian you were.

Then one day I found Christ and my heart was filled with joy because of a love I had for Him. I wanted to be near Him and point other men to Him. He was to me the center of all things and the most important person in all the universe. It was not long, however, before I saw that I was falling into another sect. They wanted me to speak their language and help to build their tower. Was I going to join them? Was I going to preach for them? Was I going to wear their garment? Was I going to be distinctly theirs? But God was leading me on, delivering me from the prisons of Babylon, opening the rusty gates, and leading me out into the broad ways of His grace divine.

“Perhaps it was a miracle. I do not think it was chance. I learned that men could be baptized with the Holy Spirit. So I sought and found this blessed new experience in God, and joys flowed like a river as the Comforter came in. But here again the arms of another daughter of Babylon began to enfold me. Was I going to join their church? Was I going to preach for them? Was I going to take out papers and credentials? This time I was persuaded, and I did, and for seventeen years thereafter I was a faithful slave of the organization, speaking its language and building its visible tower. But I was never fully satisfied, though I loved the work, I loved the people, and I loved the students of my old Bible School. Many dozens of them went out to minister far and wide and many found their way to distant and foreign lands. I am sure their rewards will be many, indeed. “All the while there was a longing for a freedom which I did not know, a relationship with God that I did not have. Many times I taught the people that some day God would send a revelation of truth, but the very denomination we had so faithfully built would not be able to receive it. When finally that revelation did come, they were not able to receive it, and those of us who did receive were vomited like Jonah from the belly of the denominational whale, thrown up upon dry land, for we had sickened his stomach. God does not leave you in a dry land for long if you are bound to be one with Him.

Should my life be very long on earth, I shall never be able to forget the glory, the awe, the reverence, the holiness, and the power that came to our class room as we waited on God that glorious 13th of February, 1948, when God began to do a new thing that was destined for a time to shake the church systems all over America. How we sang the songs of deliverance! How the praises of God echoed down the corridors of the soul and re-echoed among the battlements of heaven! Music of heavenly choirs of earth went sweeping up the sky steeps while angels stood at heaven’s gates and swept their harps of gold. Day after day, month after month the celestial wonder continued. Heaven came down our souls to greet and glory crowned the mercy seat. People came for thousands of miles to drink at the ever flowing fountain of life and it looked for a time like the walls of Babylon were to be broken down and the whole church would come marching to Zion.

“But the Babylonian captivity was not yet over. As I look sadly in retrospect now, I can see with clearness that the great and blessed move of God was not two years old before the sectarian spirit began to show its ugly head and men began to hide the Babylonish garment in their tents together with the silver and the wedge of gold. Much as we may despise the Babylonish garment, let me use this pun: The moment the gold gets its wedge in, we are on the way back to Babylon. It is true that we vociferously denied that we had become a sect. Oh, no! Not we! We had no name; we were not registered with the government as a sect and never would be. We had done away with many of the institutions that had characterized other sects. Gone were the Bible Schools. Gone were the church buildings. Gone were the hireling pastors. Gone were so many things that would have identified us with either the Mother of harlots or any of her daughters. The old Babylonish garment was well hidden deep beneath the earth of the tent, but it was there none the less, and the whole move was becoming more and more enfolded by another tentacle of the great octopus. Stricter and more rigid became the teaching and the discipline. There was to be no fellowship with anybody who was not within the confines of our ever narrowing circle. We were the true church. We were the elect. We stood on the foundation and all other men stood on sinking sand. No man must cast out a devil unless he followed us. No teaching was worth the time it took to tell it unless it originated with us. We were the most spiritual people in the world! We were going to reign in the Kingdom and even now we were beginning to reign! We had the gifts of the Spirit, and we were going to ‘call the shots’ in the tribulation.

“We did not know that through the years false apostles had crept in among us, men who were apostles in name only, who had never founded anything in their lives but were building on the foundation of others. We did not know that the doctrines and deeds of the Nicolaitanes (which God hates — Rev. 2:6) were prevalent among us. The word Nicolaitanes is formed by two Greek words: ‘nikao’ which means to conquer and ‘laos’ witch means the people or the laity. This doctrine had reared its ugly head to the extent that the people had no voice in anything. The elders were no longer fathers, but men who were to carry out the will of those who were lords over the heritage of God. Everything was cut and dried and firmly enfolded in the arms of another of the harlot daughters of the Babylonian system. We boasted of the gifts of the Spirit, but what had become of them? Where were the healings? Where were the miracles? Where was the faith, the gift of languages, the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge? The only thing that was left was prophecy and it became a weariness to the flesh, flowing continually from the mind of man and scarcely ever having any fulfillment. Prophecy that has no fulfillment comes from one of two sources: from the mind of Satan or from the mind of man, but never from the mind of God. How often I have listened to people fumble for words as they prophesied thus giving the lie to their words having been inspired of God. How is the faithful city become a harlot! It was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers (Isa. 1:21).

“I shall never cease to thank God that I was vomited out of the belly of this whale also, for we never know the depths to which we have sunk until we are able to view Babel at a distance. Then and then alone our heart gives thanks to God for deliverance from another of the harlot daughters of Babylon. ‘My soul is escaped as a bird from the snare of the fowler, the net is broken and I am escaped.’ Nevertheless one is scarcely delivered from his bondage until another arm of the Babylonian octopus lies waiting to enfold him again. But the spirit of Babylon goes much deeper than sects and denominations. It is a mystery the spirit of which seems to be deep-rooted in the heart of man. It is like an octopus with many arms reaching in all directions. If it cannot catch you with one of its arms, it will enfold you with another. It is like a demon which, being cast out, will return with seven other demons more powerful and cunning than itself. You do not have to look for the spirit of Babylon in some great and powerful denomination; you will find it in your heart if you look close enough. Mystery, Babylon, is in the forehead!”

As you can see by George’s first hand account of the Latter Rain Movement, Agape Love was missing.  We are warned how quick the anointing can depart if our motivations are not fully enveloped in Agape Love.  We must be mature in Love for the coming movement to be sustained among us.

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