23.5 Revelation – Sharing the Truth

Many job applicants think the interview starts when they enter the room with the interviewer.  For most jobs, the evaluation starts far earlier.  It starts with the resume and cover letter.  The professionalism in answering the phone when called for the interview counts.  The interaction with the receptionist counts.  Every interaction is being inspected and evaluated.

In the same way, our witness for the Lord does not start and stop when we get to say our practiced script about how we came to a personal relationship with Jesus.  Those around us are watching the way we live, how we speak, how we give, how we interact with others at home, at school at work and in the community.  They assess our demeanor.  They assess what seems to be most important to us.

On one hand, this is terrifying because it implies that we are always on duty.  On the other hand, we are only conduits for the work of the Holy Spirit.  This is not a sales job.  This is a job that revolves around one simple thing – the Truth.

But, as a sinful person, how do I provide a witness that serves God?  Prayer.  Plain and simple, it is through continuous prayer.  Ephesians 6, after discussing the full armor of God concludes with verse 18: And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

My Answers:

Destruction – to be thrown down as a millstone thrown into the sea

Because of the eternal communion with God, resurrection, just as Christ was resurrected from death, to be drawn to heaven and live forever in the kingdom of God

The troubles around us, though severe and troubling, are temporary

Teaching, leading through example, sharing my faith and what it means.  Being sure to use the name of the Lord – it is a phrase that is quickly being lost to the language in a positive sense as we become more babylonian

23.4 Revelation – Rejoice or Lament?

We see a stark contrast in the attitudes of men in this section of Revelation 18.  The kings, the merchants and the providers of transportation of goods mourn and lament the fall of Babylon.  They received their riches from the wickedness and excesses of this city and people.  They placed their futures, their lives and their riches in relationships with this wicked place.  When it falls, they feel loss.  They feel loss and shock, that something they were so thoroughly invested in could fall completely in one hour.

Invested is the key word.  For believers with investments in the kingdom of Heaven, of eternity with the Lord, the actions of Babylon have been that of terrorist.  The throw stones to break windows, they harass and threaten, kidnap and even kill.  Even though Babylon is powerless in contrast to the might of the Kingdom of God, they stand in ugly opposition to what is good and right and pure and sacred.  Those with investments in the Kingdom, rejoice when this is put to an end.  They rejoice the wickedness is stopped and God’s Kingdom will cover the earth.  It is something we have prayed for since little children:  Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth as it is in Heaven.

The dawn of the answer to the fulfillment of that prayer is a time for rejoicing by God’s people.  Do not lament.  Do not fear.  Do not carry guilt for your actions and connections with the Babylons of the Earth.  Instead, repent (forgive us our sins), and Rejoice.  For thine is the Kingdom and the Power and the Glory, Forever.

My Answers:

Kings, Merchants, sea captains – each benefited directly from her sinful ways.  They were parties to the excesses.  Merchants had grown accustomed to her markets.  Transporters had carried (at a profit) her excesses to her.

True treasure is found in heaven, not on earth.  We are only temporary renters here.  Why spend our time, energy, resources on temporary housing when we can send it ahead to our eternal home.  The things of this earth – all things of this earth – are temporary and subject to loss and destruction.

God has judged her and the judgment she imposed on you.  It is a leveling of the scales of justice – God setting things right.  It also means an end to the continued wickedness of Babylon poured out on all who follow God

Crimes against children of all forms and in all places.  Abuse, neglect, malnutrition, barriers to education, false-teachers and ungodly educators.  All evil and injustice is bad, but those committed against children are blatant acts against God because they are aimed at the innocent, those with no ability to protect themselves or respond.

23.3 Revelation – Foreshadowing: Fear or God’s Abundance

As I read today’s passage I was immediately reminded of the story of Lot in Genesis 19.  “With the coming of dawn”, the angels extol Lot and his family to hurry and flee the city destined to receive the wrath of God.

I also was reminded of the number of times the dual meaning of the words in Galations 6:7-8 have played out over the history of the world.  “Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows. Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life.”  After the 9th plague, Pharoah promised death to Moses, but instead death fell on the first born of Egypt.

It is not by deeds that we are saved, it is by grace and the redeemeing power of Jesus.  But it is by deeds that those who reject that salvation are punished.  Proverbs 10:24 says that what the wicked fears will come upon him, but the desire of the righteous will be granted.

Do you live a life of fear or desire?  Do you see the scarcity of the world and seek to grab as much as possible from others or do you see the abundance of God and desire to follow Him and spread the good news of His love?  Our God is the creator of everything and His might and power and love knows no limit.

My Answers:

A final warning to flee from “Babylon” for her own “plagues” (her own sins) will be given back to her in a double portion (think about Lot’s family fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah)

It has not left God’s mind and attention.  He has not forgotten nor has He chosen to diminish rightful judgment.  (it doesn’t mean He forgot and then was later reminded)

It is swift and fair, but strong.  It has been delayed for a long time and continues to be, but it is not forgotten.  Patiently God waits.  God gives mankind the ability to select our own punishment by the acts we choose (remember the final plague before the Exodus).

23.2 Revelation – Brought to their knees

Another angel, with great authority and illuminating the world with the light of heaven, proclaims, “Fallen, Fallen is Babylon.”

But what does fallen mean?  Does it mean crumbled as from an earthquake?  Does it mean fallen as in an economic market crash?  Does it mean defeated in battle?  Or all of these?

The greek word that John uses in this quote is pipto.  There are a few other places it is used in the New Testament.  It is the word used to describe the wisemen in Matthew 2:11 who, upon meeting Jesus, “bowed down and worshiped.”  It is also the word that Satan uses in Matthew 4:9 when he tempts Jesus after his time of fasting in the wilderness, “All this I will give you if you bow down and worship me.”  It is also the word that is used repeatedly in Matthew 13 in the parable of the sower, “the seed fell upon…”

From these other uses, I think we get a deeper meaning of the proclamation of the angel.  This is not simply a setback for Babylon, it has been literally brought to its knees in submission to the light of God.

We see this further in the word that the NIV translates as “haunt”.  We think of haunt as a hangout, a meet-up, a place of congregation.  But the original Greek word as translated in the NKJV gives a stronger meaning.  It translates the word as “prison”.

The proclamation, not prediction, of the angel – a completed event not future possibility – is of a Babylon that has become its own prison of wickedness and brought to its knees in submission to the might of God.

My Answers:

Another angel coming down from heaven with great authority and illuminating the earth with his splendor, shouted with mighty voice

Fallen, fallen – she was corrupt from the inside out in every way and now she is fallen

They do not provide, they consume.  They are never enough.  They leave the hollowness on the inside.  They drive people to communion with wickedness and lies and every unclean and detestable thing.  They seek to elevate self only, not creating community or helping the widows, orphans, poor, disenfranchised.

The things that are of the kingdom to come and the will to be done.  The things of heaven, not of earth.  The Godly things that are noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy (Phil 4:8)