Friday, August 1, 2014
In the previous section, we reviewed the fate of the counterfeit ideas that have infected the churches of our nation. Indeed the message of warning has been given, that Babylon has fallen, has fallen. It is not with joy that the angel of heaven must relay his warning, it is with heavy heart. But the message must go out, and the self-deception must be revealed. The plagues will fall. The consequences of our sins will be felt in full measure, no longer shielded from us by a loving God. Our decisions to remain slave to self and self-love are to be honored forever now, as is our decision to find salvation from Jesus Christ alone. In either event, our choices are made permanent. Those who remain in the chains of self-reliance will no longer seek any other course. Those who have found their freedom in the salvation of Jesus Christ alone will have come to know, there is no other source for it. When the plagues are finally poured out, and all the self-deception is wiped away, it will be a cause of great lament. But notice in the passages that follow, the lament of the wicked is not about the pain his actions cause, it is about the lack of wealth he is going to experience. No one weeps for the burden of the poor in increasing the wealth of others. They only weep at the thought that now their own wealth will be impacted.
John resumes his revelation in chapter 18 continuing in verse 9 … “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, [verse 10] Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.” The leadership of evil must stand rebuked. The destruction of our nation, and of the churches who are the daughters of harlotry and have corrupted the pure reliance on Jesus Christ for salvation, are an example to the world of the fate and judgments of God upon these ideas. Our punishment is so great the kings of the earth stand “afar off”. They do not desire close proximity to our pain and punishment, for fear it might be visited upon them as well. Here again, selfishness is revealed. Christ left heaven, and became one of us, in order that He might be with us in our misery, and bring us relief from it. Those kings who have only enjoyed the pleasures of a whore, are not at all interested in seeing her relieved in her suffering. They only lament the end of a lavish life they too once enjoyed.
John continues in verse 11 … “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:” The markets will crash. The economy will fall. Currency will become of no more value than toilet paper. The commerce that was thought to be the tool used to compel the conscience of men, the threat used in the Mark of the Third Beast, is to be obliterated. An ironic punishment meted out by a loving God who stands forever rejected by the evil of men. John then begins to list in specifics the products that will have lost their allure in the great nation of Babylon once the plagues begin to fall as follows starting in verse 12 … “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,” These are the currency, the jewelry, and the most expensive construction materials used in the amassing of wealth. The raw materials of wealth supplied by the merchants of the earth are to have no more customers.
John continues in verse 13 … “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. [verse 14] 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.” Next are listed the items of a more personal nature; spices, perfumes, food, and servants. The things a whore seeks, the things our nation has sought, are to be taken from it as well. The merchants who became rich providing these necessities of a lavish life are to once again find their customer base has gone away, completely evaporated under the outpouring the plagues upon the evil of this world.
John concludes the great lament of evil for the loss of evil beginning in verse 15 saying … “The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, [verse 16] 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! [verse 17] For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, [verse 18] And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! [verse 19] 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.” Notice again that both the merchants and those who trade by sea remain “afar off”. Notice too, that both “weep” and “wail” at the prospect of the loss of wealth. For there truly is no nation like ours. And such a contrast is presented in the nature of the laments for fallen Babylon. Heaven laments that it has “fallen”. The loss, or refusal to be saved, is what is lamented in heaven. Whereas those who are enslaved to self, lament only the loss of self-pleasure that wealth is thought to bring.
The wicked are never sorry for their wickedness. They are only sorry for the consequences of their wickedness. They lament getting “caught”. They lament that their path of wicked behavior has been cut short unexpectedly. Satan desires only that he could continue committing wickedness for all of eternity, unstopped by the powerful hand of a loving God. So it is, in the heart that has chosen to embrace self-love in any form, there is no end to it. There is no concept of “enough”, only the desire for “more”, no matter how much has already been acquired. The kings, merchants, and seafarers lament the loss of wealth they will now experience due to the fall of Babylon. They care not for her misery, only in that it will now impact them as well. This is the lament of the wicked.
Lest we forget, the wealth of Babylon was not gathered through ethical means. And the fervor with which she treated those who refused to abandon their identity as followers of Jesus Christ alone resulted in more than a few deaths. The limits of depravity do not exist in those who seek first the love of self. So John interjects in verse 20 … “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.” The misery of Babylon is well earned. The punishment she reaps are from the seeds she has sown. We are to rejoice that her reign of terror has come to an end. No more will she continue to shed the blood of the apostles, and prophets, and saints. Her ability to murder those who dissent is now ended.
John concludes the epilogue of our nation beginning in verse 21 saying … “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. [verse 22] 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; [verse 23] 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; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. [verse 24] And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”
It is with great and sudden violence that our nation is to meet its end. In an hour are the judgments of God revealed. And the finality of those judgments endure. The great city of Babylon is to be torn down and found no more at all. Music is gone from our nation. Trade is obliterated. Food production is at zero. Light has vanished. Marriage and simple pleasures are no more. The lure of our wealth that has seduced the merchants and great men of the earth exist no more. For it is our sorceries that deceived the nations of the earth. We, the United States, are to be the birthplace of those final deceptive sorceries. Some speculate the antichrist would emerge from Rome and rise to take control of the United Nations Security Council. But if the last and final sorceries are to originate from the U.S., then perhaps the final impersonation by Satan of the coming of the Messiah and other assorted world deities is to begin in our nation instead.
The final text penned by John stands as the indictment of our nation in annuls of time and memorial. In “her”, or in us, was found the blood of the prophets, and of the saints, and of “all” that were slain upon the earth. We are guilty not only of shedding the blood of those who follow Jesus Christ alone, we are guilty of indiscriminant murder as well. All of this is the result of “blending” truth with error. All of this comes from attempting to “balance” the love of self, with the love of others. All of this comes from breaking trust with God, and trusting in our own wisdom and common sense. It is the universal acceptance of the counterfeit, that by nature cannot perform to the specs of the original that leads to so much death and destruction. The seeds of the counterfeit were planted long ago. They require attention to detail. The master of lies has prepared his final battle plan, but the outcome has already been decided. Our nation was once thought to be a beacon of light and enlightenment, but from that state we are to fall.
The Catholic Church once had the opportunity to take the gospel of love to the entire world, but it became corrupted by the introduction of self-reliance and self-importance in its doctrines. The protestant faith was founded in the ideals of a reformation to return the church of Christ back to Him alone. But it too has become corrupted by the wish to control and compel the lives of others. In so doing it has joined with its mother in the naked pursuit to co-opt the power of the state to enforce its edicts. Islam would convert the entire world at the point of a sword. Atheism would teach us there is no greater god than the man in the mirror. Satanism offers us the allure of power over others, supplanted by forces unseen and beyond our explanation. ALL are counterfeits that introduce self into the process of our perfection and evolution. It is this counterfeit that is to be judged by God. It is for the purposes of revealing these falsehoods that these revelations were given. Only Jesus Christ can save us from ourselves. This universal truth underscores the entire book of Revelations and is the recurring theme of each of these prophecies. There is no other truth as fundamental and important to us in any age as this.
In the next chapter, John will resume the telling of the story at the end of the seventh plague and the return of our Lord. Salvation is next to be seen in person …