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Friday, October 19 2012
Introduction: Last week, we considered the two faces of Babylon; the Religious Babylon (Rev.17); guilty of religious abominations and Commercial Babylon (Rev.18), guilty of pride, greed and self-indulgence and the judgment that befell her. We concluded by saying that it was very easy, these last days to be lured into the entrapment of the system that rules the world we live in so we have to be careful to steer clear of "self" - a destroyer and a waster. Today, we will consider the aftermath of the judgment of Babylon and learn a few valuable lessons
1. Verses 9-10: The kings of the Earth Lament
"The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ?Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'"
When you read this verse of scripture two things can be suggested about the kings of the earth standing at a distance
· The heat and smoke of her burning must be very intense that they had to stand at a distance.
· When God's judgment comes, no one can contend it. The best they can offer will be idle lamentations "Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! "
2. Verses 11-17a The Merchants reveal their greed and selfishness as they lament.
"And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more"
They were not concerned about the fact that Babylon was burning
It is plain that the mourning was rooted in self-interest: for no one buys their merchandise anymore
The merchandise of 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.
They reveal their materialism and rebellion. Note the last bit of verse 13: "And slaves and souls of men" Their dealings were not only exploiting people and the city but they traded the souls of men; cruelly using others. They sold the bodies and souls of men, occultism, prostitution and pornography were the order of the day. We are already seeing these.
And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
The things craved for (the worldly pleasures) will bear up wings and fly away. These are same things that chased away the things that are dainty and goodly
Verses 15- 17a
The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.
Notice as well that the merchants kept their distance and once again their emphasis on materialism. "For in one hour so great riches is come to nought."
3. Verses 17b - 19 The Sea-Captains lament.
"And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! For in one hour is she made desolate."
We see another group of fake lamenters; their source of business was gone. That was their concern "Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth"
4. Verse 20: Call to the heavens and the people of God: rejoice!
"Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!"
Should God's people rejoice when judgment comes? Yes, but we don't rejoice in the destruction in judgment. Rather, we rejoice in the righteous resolution God's judgment brings.
5. Verse 21: An angel graphically shows Babylon's fall.
"And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all"
Jeremiah 51:61-64: "He said to Seraiah, "When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud. Then say, ?Lord, you have said you will destroy this place, so that neither people nor animals will live in it; it will be desolate forever.' When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates. Then say, ?So will Babylon sink to rise no more because of the disaster I will bring on her. And her people will fall.'".
Matthew 18:6: "But whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea."
This applies to Babylon in Revelation 18, because she led others into sin. It is a terrible thing to sin; it is even more terrible to lead others into sin.
6. Verses 22-23a Babylon is left desolate and powerless.
"And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth;
Shall be heard no more at all in thee . . . shall be found any more in thee . . . shall be heard no more at all in thee. . . shall shine no more at all in thee: In graphic and poetic language, John describes how Babylon will become at the end. All the clamor and glamour gone; no music, no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, no light (not even that of a candle), no more marrying and giving in marriage - Nothing!
7. Verses 23b - 24: The reasons for the judgment of Babylon
"for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived." And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."
"For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived": Sorcery is the ancient Greek word pharmakia, which means, "to prepare drugs." The lure of Babylon can be likened to drug addiction, fueled by deceptive advertising deceiving all the nations
The ultimate reason for Babylon's judgment was that she has killed the prophets and saints.
God takes the persecution of His people as a personal offense. Those who attack His people really attack Him.
The people that mostly drive us into participating in evil usually do so for their own benefits and not ours. And when the time for reaping the consequences of our actions come, the best they can offer will be half-hearted lament and it will not be because they are sorry for us but that they are concerned only for themselves.
Chasing after worldly pleasure will eventually chase away the things that are graceful and goodly and leave us empty, bare and at risk of eternal judgment.
Babylon, in judgment crashed and burned! We don't have to!
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Friday, October 19 2012
The fall of Babylon was first mentioned in Chapter 14:8 but there were no details about its fall. And then again in Chapter 17 where Babylon was revealed and its alliances; there are many interpretations of what Babylon represents today; physically, spiritually, etc. Verses 4-5 of Chapter 17 describe Babylon as the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth and chapter 17:18 says "And this woman you saw in your vision represents the great city that rules over the kings of the world." [NLT]
The combination of these scriptures (chapter 17 and our text for today) has led to the analogy that Babylon manifests in two faces:
Religious Babylon (Rev.17); guilty of religious abominations and Commercial Babylon (Rev.18); guilty of pride, greed and self-indulgence
"After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury."
So after the happenings in Chapter 17, John saw another angel shinning with the "carryover" from the presence of God; he was literarily glowing to the extent that he lit up the earth! No wonder the Bible says that in heaven we will not need the Sun because God Himself will be our light!
Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!
The Angel was prophesying the fall of Babylon as though it had already happened. God had revealed to him the future of Babylon.
The Future of Babylon
The city has become a dwelling place of demons: This is a prophetic picture of absolute desolation where the proud achievements of man become the demonic haunts of unclean and horrible creatures.
For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication: Babylon's sin is not only idolatry (referred to with the term fornication), but also becoming rich by devious means "and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury"
"And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities."
Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins: Amazing! At this stage in the events of time, Jesus still calls out to His own "Come out of her, my people," It is inconceivable that a child of God could be a part of the fornication with Babylon but because of the commercial angle of Babylon, it is very likely that some may have been lured in as we are being lured in today. This materialistic lure is a constant threat to be guarded against.
Lest you receive of her plagues: Recall the story of Lot while he living in Sodom in Genesis 19. God sent his angels to warn him of the impending disaster. This is a similar warning especially for those who would have been lured in the name of business located at the wrong place at the wrong time. Similar warning in (Isaiah 52:11, Jeremiah 50:8, Jeremiah 51:45, 2 Corinthians 6:14, Ephesians 5:11)
d. Their sins have reached to heaven and God has remembered her iniquities: There is always a day of reckoning. No matter how long it takes, it will surely come. Just as God remembered Amalek (1 Sam.15:2-3) and sent King Saul to annihilate them.
"Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ?I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.' Therefore her plagues will come in one day; death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her."
Render to her just as she rendered to you: The ancient Greek word for render (apodidomi) means literally "to pay a debt" or "to give back that which is due." God will give to Babylon exactly what she deserves. He is a just God.
Repay her double according to her works . . . mix for her double: Double restitution was required in the Old Testament in cases of theft (Exodus 22:4-9). This perhaps is a commentary on how Babylon has made her wealth - through dishonest dealings.
Her Works (sin):
Self-glorification (she glorified herself),
Self-indulgence (lived luxuriously),
Self-idolization (for she says in her heart, ?I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow)
Therefore her plagues will come in one day: The destruction of Babylon will come suddenly, and with completeness (utterly burned with fire).
God's judgment on Babylon was sudden and could not be averted because as in verse 8d says: "for strong is the Lord God who judges her." It is very easy these last days to be lured into the entrapment of the system that rules the world so we have to be careful to steer clear of "self" - a destroyer and a waster. Remember Lucifer? ""I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly, on the utmost heights of the sacred" Isaiah 14:13[NIV]
Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai
Tuesday, October 09 2012
Preamble: The revelatory confirmation given to John plays a very pivotal role in our understanding of Daniel's interpretation of King Nebuchadnezzar's dream and also magnifies Daniel's direct vision of almost a direct replica of Daniel 7. At the very beginning of the study of the Book of Revelation; certain assertions were made and one of such assertions was the fact that the Book of Revelation is a hodgepodge of past, present and future representation of events. I believe this chapter as well as others clearly shows a build up from past revelatory experiences and not only that but also provides for us an opportunity to appraise past revelatory encounters and contrast them with present reality- thereby creating clear cut authentication of not only past and present prophecies but also the elicitation and veracity of future occurrences.
Revelations. 17: 10-18 put paid to any doubt or uncertainty about the terrestrial world being under the direct subjection of the celestial world. Physical happenings are manifesting only as the spiritual world determines. Ephesians. 6: 11-14, 2 Cor. 10: 3-6; Job. 1: 6-12.
I would like to draw our focus to the colour of the beast, the colour of the woman's dress and the golden cup in her hands. Rev. 17: 3. These are powerful symbolisms of Satan's deception they are his instruments of attraction to undiscerning travellers who are only after the dainties of the world without understanding that whatever the devil gives it is to lure men to their doom. Prov. 7: 15-20, Luke. 4: 5-8
Verse 10: unfolds a deep mystery Satan orchestrates control over the nations using the woman as an instrument of domination. It is amazing how the woman is used as a portrayal of God's instrument of victory in Revelation. 12: 15-17. Here also we see Satan using the woman as an agent of destruction upon the nations; that's not surprising Satan has no capacity for creativity but deception and lies. The highest of Satan's efforts are always entrenched in counterfeits.
Many scholars have varying interpretations of the 8 kings. some believe the kings represent the Caesars and emperors of Rome. Others posit that the kings are representations of kingdoms and empires that had ruled and were particularly hostile to Israel and those kingdoms are. Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Roman Empire existing at the time of John's revelation. And then the seventh, the revived Rome which has not yet come, then the eighth and final will be the Antichrist. I would be more inclined to go with the latter argument because it has correlation with Daniel. as we earlier read. No matter what side of the divide one belongs the most important thing is the realisation of a spiritual determinism on physical reality. Kingdoms and dominions exhibit whatever spiritual machinations operating within their territory. Zech. 1: 21
The perversion of nations and the display of madness are as a result of spiritual harlotry being orchestrated by Satan in collusion with leaders that have drunken at the hand of the strange woman. Prayer. Lord deliver this nation from spiritual harlotry and help the leadership of our nations to escape from the grip of this Babylonian blasphemer.1 Tim. 2: 1-5.
Verse 11: we have seen five kings whose era had gone and as at the time of John's revelation the sixth king was already on the throne with two more kings yet to ascend the throne. The reign of the seventh king will be brief so as to make room for the scarlet coloured beast coming in the form of a king. This eighth king had ruled before but would come back again perhaps to finish what it started. 2 Thessalonians. 2: 3-12. This is the man of perdition, the man of sin waiting to be revealed before the final stage which perhaps would herald the coming of the Lord. Prayer. Lord keep us in the knowledge of the truth; that we be not taken by the deceit of Satan and the strong delusional spirit that shall come upon the earth.
Verse 12 and 13: (Daniel. 7: 7, 24-25). Some scholars believe that a time will come when leaders of nations will come together to form a coalition by joining forces together and appointing one to be their leader and there have been certain assertions that the EU might be the fulfilment of these revelation. Some bible scholars believe Rome will emerge once more as a powerful empire that would lead these other nations until the glorious appearing of the Great God. In reality we need not look far to understand the manifestation of these things. Look at the different philosophies, religions, movements, etc. springing up everywhere; "The truth is that the West has chosen to be secular, and secularity has taken the form of a religion; not necessarily like Atheism, Agnosticism, Hedonism etc, but as a force to pull down spirituality, and preach a new message, which elevates science to the pedestal of religion. Charles Krauthammer, while writing in TIME magazine of April 3, 2006, averred that the ?European man has convinced himself that in order to be modern and free, he must be radically secular'. Therefore, I dare propose that what is our modern day demon is no more than Radical Secularism" Odogwu, author of The Spiritual Evolution of Mankind. Recently some European countries came together and developed a machine called neutrino the idea behind this invention was to simulate how the world began. They created an atmosphere where particles collided and asserted that that was how the world came into existence.
Verse 14: (Dan. 7: 21-22, 13-14, 27). We are aware that the end game is near and the close of the age will come but it will not be without the battle for supremacy. Satan is poised for war, arming, preparing and equipping his end time army for the final showdown. Dan. 8: 23-25. The battle for the heart and mind of believers is real. We are killed all the daylong that the life of Jesus might be manifest in us. 2 Cor. 4: 10-11. These prophesies are happening right in our presence, we therefore cannot sit idly by and think that these things are for a time to come; unfortunately we are witnesses of these realities and are called to battle everyday as the soldiers of Christ. Rev. 12: 12-13. Zech. 14: 1-4, 9.
Verse 15: (Dan. 7: 2-3), the reality of this should make one shudder and tremble because this woman rules over multitudes of people. She sits upon the heads of destinies. Many lives are at her whims and caprices. Do we still wonder why the world is the way it is. Why we see the things we see in this generation and the barrage at which they come at us. Many people are remote controlled by a force stronger and more powerful than them. Many lives not under the Lordship of Jesus are susceptible to this worker of iniquity.
We are experiencing unprecedented scale of immorality and blasphemies like never before. Many lives are in jeopardy, tormented by a vicious fiend determined to enslave them forever. Christians are the only ones equipped to liberate lives from this hideous and atrocious beast; now is evangelism needed than in any other generation. Many lives are under the manipulation of a higher spiritual force. Luke. 18: 8, Matt. 24: 12. Prayer. the Lord should deliver us from the power of the stranger that manipulates destinies to self destruct.
Verse 16: Satan gives only to take back; once he is through with his victims he discards them without a second thought. Judas, the Pharisees and Sadducees were used by Satan to crucify the Lord and once Satan was through with them he threw them away. John. 8: 44. Whatever the devil gives he gets back. The devil uses and dumps. John. 10: 10. Demons connive to destroy others and then they help to destroy themselves. All those who do Satan's biddings are themselves lined up for slaughter.
Verse 17: God unfolds His greatness and majesty. We see God using all of creation to fulfil His purpose. Col. 1: 16-18. All of creation exists to bring God's will to pass. Every single thing under heaven functions to the commandment of God. God puts His will in the heart of these terrible creatures so that His purpose might be established. God can use anyone and anything to being your miracle to life.
God allows these kings to cede their kingdoms to the beast. These nations or kings are willingly giving up their kingdoms to the worship of devils. Politicians making laws that advance the cause of the devil; Policies promoting abortion, gay rights, worshipping of devils, Raelian Movement, (UFO religion), etc. 1 Tim. 4: 1-3, 2 Tim. 3: 1-3. Isaiah. 14: 26-27. This reality should give us hope that all things work together for good. God is still in charge and determining every move no matter how miniscule it may seem. Romans. 11: 33-35. Isaiah. 40: 21-22, 28. All things must work in tandem with His will and to His word. Psalm. 119: 89, Luke. 16: 17.
Verse 18: this I believe unfolds the nation whose culture, language, way of life and might controls the rest of the world. Many nations today talks about the greatness of America and how through her greatness and might controls the rest of the world. We see the extent at which other nations and leaders would go to cripple America. We see the passion and hatred with which Americanism is being lauded and at the same being derided. Citizens of different nations look to America for fashion, freedom, culture and might. This text is quite inductive in the sense that we can take a country as explained above and then use it as a model for whatever nation this might end up being.
Nations around the world are emerging with great powers and determination, not only to be acknowledged and recognised but to have the world at its feet. Nations like China, Russia and even Iran are not only demanding recognition but also challenging the status-quo. Two verses back talks about the connivance of other nations to bring this nation to her knees and make her of no relevance. God is strategising- to the end that His purpose only will stand. 2 Chronicles. 20: 22-23.
Our generation I believe is witnessing the fulfilment of prophesy in greater dimension than any other generation. Events of end time proportions are unfolding before us with amazing speed but that also leaves us with very grave responsibilities that require our total and unreserved commitment to be active participants in bringing to bear the kingdom of God on the earth. In no other generation is Matt. 28: 19-20 more relevant than in ours. We have seen the helplessness of humanity under the tyrannical rule of a monster bent on decimating humanity at will. We have also seen his tools of operation that they are clandestine and deceptive; we can therefore like Apostle Paul say we are not ignorant of the devices of Satan.
God beckons on us as His battle axes and weapons of war to sharpen our vigilance and commitment in rescuing humanity from the onslaught of a maniac, that old serpent called the devil. We must as a matter of urgency first work out our own salvation with fear and trembling before we step out as crusaders. May we not be found wanting. Shalom.
Contributor: Paul Thomas