Today’s reading: Revelation 17-19.
He came the first time as a lamb. He will return as the lion of Judah. Before, he was a servant. Then, he will rule the world. He stayed but a few years in his first appearance. The next time he will remain forever. Mercy and forgiveness were his offer before. Judgment will be his work when he comes back. He submitted to the world in order to save the world when he walked the earth as a man. The world will submit to him when he returns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords.
Revelation unveils Jesus walking among his churches, the worthiness of Jesus to open the property deed to the world, the birth pangs of the tribulation, Satan’s defeat in heaven which brought his war to earth, and the rise of Satan’s beast to dominate the world. But the beast’s time is short, and Jesus will return quickly to defeat him and his false world religion. John pictures that false religion as a woman, Babylon, who stands in contrast to the woman clothed in the sun.
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.” Revelation 18:1-3
Adultery and prostitution, in the Old Testament, are always a symbol for idolatry and false worship. Babylon the Great represents the spirit of false religion that has existed since Eve gave in to the serpent’s temptation. John describes the worldwide traits of false religion:
- It persecutes those who worship God.
- It is greedy for trade and profit.
- It is obsessed with appearance, covering itself with all the external trappings of beauty.
- It permeates all the world with its idolatry.
Babylon is doomed, and the return of Jesus will seal its fate.
I saw heaven standing open and there before me was a white horse, whose rider is called Faithful and True. With justice he judges and makes war. His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God. The armies of heaven were following him, riding on white horses and dressed in fine linen, white and clean. Out of his mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. “He will rule them with an iron scepter.” He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty. On his robe and on his thigh he has this name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS. Revelation 19:11-16
The destruction of Babylon coincides with the defeat of the Antichrist and the Kings of the earth at Armageddon. With that done, Jesus sets about the important work awaiting him.
- The Beast and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire.
- The wedding supper of Jesus and his bride, the church, takes place. Believers are united with Jesus, face to face, “and so we will be with the Lord forever.”
- Jesus judges justly but fulfills the wrath of God against the unrepentant rebels of the world.
Worship God…That’s what the whole book of Revelation is about. That’s the point of all God’s judgments, all God’s dealings with the world. All God’s plans for history from beginning to end have this one goal—WORSHIP GOD! Don’t worship the wealth of Babylon, don’t worship the power of Babylon, don’t worship the pleasures of Babylon, and don’t even worship the holy messenger who brings you the news that Babylon has fallen forever. WORSHIP GOD! – John Piper
Jesus Christ has a mighty power today—a power which none can measure. He was crucified in weakness, but where is the weakness now? He gave His hands to the nails and His feet to be fastened to the wood but He does so no longer. Now He has mounted on the horse of His exceeding great power and He rules in Heaven and in earth and none can stay His hand, or put Him to dishonor, or dispute His will! O you that love Him, feast your eyes upon Him this day! It is not for me to speak—to do so were but to hold a candle to the sun—but gaze upon Him for yourselves and let your eyes be satiated with the image, as you see Him, once despised and rejected, now taking to Himself His great power! – Charles Spurgeon
Image by Waiting for the Word on Flickr, CC by 2.0