Saturday, December 3, 2016

Revelation 18:21-24

Revelation 18:21-24
And one strong angel took up a stone as belonging to a great mill and he threw it into the sea while saying, “Similarly Babylon the great city will be thrown by violence.  And she should surely not be found still!”  And a voice of harpists, those skilled in music, flute-players, and trumpeters should surely not be heard in you again.  And every tradesman of every trade should surely not be found in you again.  And a voice of a millstone should surely not be heard in you again.  And the light of a lamp should surely not shine in you again.  And a voice of a bridegroom and a bride should surely not be heard in you again.  Since your sea-faring merchants were the nobles of the earth and since in your sorcery all the nations were being led astray.  And the blood of the prophets and holy ones and everyone who has been slaughtered upon the earth was being found in her.

Thoughts for Today

First Thought:

As we come to the conclusion of this passage, we finally hear a great opportunity to talk about how this vision is rooted in John’s history.  Babylon itself was thrown down.  Remember the history of Babylon.  Babylon was called by God to conquer the Hebrew people in Judah and lead them into captivity.  But seventy years later they themselves went into captivity underneath the Persians.  They went into captivity because they went about God’s business in a very unfaithful way.  They were cruel to the Hebrew people.  They took advantage of the Hebrew people.  Because of this, they were overthrown themselves.  This truly fits in this chapter.  What has John’s point been all along?   Human beings are sinful and selfish.  They think of themselves and their own gain before anything else.  It is the selfishness and sinfulness of Babylon that caused them to be torn down; it is the sinfulness and selfishness in humanity that causes us to face judgment from God.

Where is the rebellion in your life?  Where has God called you in this life, yet you are still desiring your own sinfulness?

Second Thought:

There is something greatly symbolic about a millstone being thrown in water.  First of all, millstones are big and heavy.  You don’t randomly pick up a millstone and throw it around.  However, as big and impressive as a millstone may be, if you throw it in a lake the water will completely cover over it and remove any sign of its existence.  This is what God is saying will happen to humanity – especially the parts of humanity that are in rebellion against God.  When we look at the world, we have to acknowledge that the sinfulness of humanity is rather oppressive.  It seems like an impossible task to combat against it because everywhere we turn we can see its influence.  Yet, God will be able to deal with it.  God will be able to remove it.  God will be able to cast it so completely out of His presence that it will be as though it was never there in the first place.  That’s an incredible message of hope!

How does this message fall upon your ears?  How does it know to realize that God will deal with your sinfulness and the sinfulness of all of humanity?  What elements of fear are in this message?  What elements of joy are in this message?

Third Thought:

Notice that when this is done, John reports that the musicians won’t be heard from again.  The tradesmen won’t be heard from again.  Light will be removed.  Marriage will be removed.  God’s judgment is final.  God’s judgment is real.  For those people who find themselves under judgment and not also within God’s forgiveness, life will be miserable.  When we are cast out of God’s presence because of our rebellion, the joyous things in this life go away, too.  God brings joy into our life.  We should want to remain in God because He is the one who truly gives meaning to our day.

Why is it important to realize that all good things come from God?  How can this passage influence how you think about judgment and life eternal, both for those who are in god and those who are not?

Passage for Tomorrow: Revelation 19:1-10

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