Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Revelation 18 - The Fall of Babylon

John sees another angel coming down from heaven.  He had great authority and the earth lights up with his glory.  He was probably always with God since the glory of God shines and is absorbed by those around Him.  (Rev. 18:1)  Remember when Moses met with God on Mount Sinai.  He came down from the mountain and his face was shining from being in the presence of God.  When we spend time with God, we shine as well.
The angel shouted “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!”Rev. 18:2a  He said the city has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of unclean spirits and detestable birds.  Every nation is influenced by Babylon.  Every merchant grew rich from her excessive luxuries.  (Rev. 18:2b-3)

Who or what is Babylon?  In the last sentence of chapter 17 it tell us that the woman that John saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.  In John’s time that city was Rome.  Rome was an enemy of God and persecuted many Christians.  Babylon represents any evil city, nation, place or even government systems.  It has great influence over people with material possessions, luxuries, wealth and the worship of anything other than God.

There are consequences for making riches and luxuries the top priority in life.  The more you have the more it seems you want.  You never seem to be satisfied.  You become greedy and self-centered.  You tend to forget God and what He’s done for you.  He is not the center of your life.  Wealth and possessions are your number one priority.  The Bible warns against this.  “Set your hearts on the things above, not on earthly things.” - Col. 3:1-2  “But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.  For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” – Matt. 6:20-21

Then John heard another voice from heaven calling for believers to come out of Babylon.  He is also giving another chance for unbelievers to repent and turn to Him.  He is a God of second chances.  God wanted them to separate themselves from Satan’s kingdom.  (Rev. 18:4)  Babylon had so many sins that they were piled up to heaven.  God remembered her crimes and will give her a double portion of judgment.  (Rev. 18:5-8) 

It’s sad and hard to believe that there are believers still living in Babylon.  God want His people to physically leave the city and to separate themselves from the evil worldly practices.  God will not destroy the righteous with the wicked.  It’s like Lot living in Sodom.  God called him out of the city before He destroyed it.

Are you living in a commercial Babylon? 
Is God instructing you to come out of your materialism, commercialism, or immorality?
Are you pursuing righteousness and godliness?
How are you pursuing a higher standard than that of the world?

God is going to pay Babylon back double her deeds.  Babylon boasts that she is a queen not a widow and will never mourn.  She would not repent of her sins.  Her heart was hard.  God will destroy her.  He will bring plagues, pestilence, mourning, famine and fire upon her.  (Rev. 18:7-8)

The kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury and sin will be sorrowful over the fall of Babylon.  Why?  It won’t be for the city, but for themselves.  They will be bankrupt.  Their so called good life will come to an end.  They will have lost their trade and profit.  No one will buy or sell any more.  The merchants, sea captains and sailors will mourn.  No more cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones, fine linens, spices, wines, and oil.  They would suffer as Babylon suffered.  She will all be destroyed in 1 hour.   They will all weep and mourn over her. (Rev. 18:9-19)

Heaven rejoices over the fall of Babylon.  They rejoice because finally God judged them and put an end to sin once and for all time.  Evil will be gone forever!  “Rejoice over her, O heaven!  Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets!  God has judged her for the way she treated you.”Rev. 18:20

Are you a believer in Jesus?  If so, rejoice!  He has chosen you out of the world.

Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder and threw it into the sea.  The stone sank with a great splash and with such force that destroyed Babylon.  No one will ever see that city again.  Babylon fought against God and God punished her severely.  (Rev. 18:21-24)

Babylon’s evil empire is now dead.  God’s people will live forever, because God promised if they believe in Jesus they will have eternal life.  “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”John 3:16

Does God’s mercy and justice give you peace or worry?
What will you do about it, rejoice or repent?

 Next week we will study Revelation 19.  Hope to see you here.

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