Brit Hadashah Reflections 41
Hebraic understanding Hebrews and Revelation
Revelation 18 : 8 - 24
This is a part of Scripture which is avoided by many people because of its seeming complexity. It is the only book in our Bible attributed to Yeshua Ha’mashiach Himself. Written by the Apostle John late in his life during a visionary encounter with the Holy Spirit of God. At times John is prompted, even directed, by the Lord to write what he is witnessing. One can only guess at the amazing spectacle of being so directed. What he describes is sometimes very difficult to imagine. There are quite unusual events and situations, such as have never before been encountered by mankind, to be considered, evaluated, and reckoned with. But it all comes with a promise!
Just like last week, we ‘reflect’ again on the fall of Babylon as we continue to look at the remainder of Revelation 18. It could be appropriate to title this passage “The great lament”. It focuses entirely on the dismay, the incredulity, the shock, and the swiftness, which the fall of Babylon will bring to the world of commerce and to those who do not heed the many warnings and opportunities to repent. The cry of those who lament can be heard “In one hour, in just one hour!” And that brings to mind the promise of God regarding the return of our Lord, brought to us by Paul writing to the Corinthian ‘ekklesia’ “In a moment, at the sound of the last trumpet, in the twinkling of an eye.” And at the risk of being charged with “adding” to the Scriptures, in my mind I hear other voices crying “Too late, too late.” But the good news for us is, that right now, it is not too late. The picture we are given is prophetic of still future events.
Last week we ended our ‘reflection’ with an image of the great harlot who rides the scarlet beast, representative of the excesses of Babylon and her wanton disregard of all things Godly, proudly proclaiming her arrogant invulnerability. “I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.” And this week, our Scripture passage opens with words which describe the prophetic vision given to John, “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.” Completely humiliated, in one hour, for the whole world to see, and to marvel at, in reflection of the warnings of the faithful who had lost their lives in martyrdom.
‘The lament’ is the lot of those who benefited and grew rich from the excesses of “Babylon”. In some respects, that “Babylon” is all around us today. Rank commercialism, with which we are both absorbed and enamoured. It appears to dictate the idealism which is held in such high regard by so many of us in our present day world. It is in our clamour for more and more ‘stuff’. It is in the way we seem to care more about what we have, than who we are. And has little regard for where we are heading! And ‘in one hour’, as verse 19 of our text tells us ‘she is made desolate’. Gone for ever.
But that is only part of the story. That is the lament of those dispossessed of their former allegiance. The other side of the story relates to the faithful. To those who heeded the warnings. Including those who ‘came out of her’. Those who heard the alarm bells and escaped in time. Today, there is still time! The angel with the loud voice said “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her.” That sounds a bit like ‘gloating’ doesn’t it? But it is not. It is an observation of the holiness and faithfulness of God. It is God fulfilling another of His promises. What He says, He will do. Always. Perhaps not in our time scale, but in His perfect time. And as yet, we do not have that understanding. “Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.” It is as certain as night follows day.
In emphasis of this event, we are shown a picture of contrast between what is, and what will be. A glimpse of the ‘desolation’ to come.
“The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft will be found in you anymore, and the sound of the millstone shall not be heard in you anymore. The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of the bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore.”
Then the angels give us the reason for this desolation. We need to recall that this system which is to be removed, is the system of order in this world which is presently under the control and direction of Satan. We are being shown the result of that final battle, the battle which was won in the death and resurrection of Yeshua. It is a done deal.
“For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth (because of their faith).”
It is truly a horrible picture. This whole ‘revelation’ contains detail of horrible events. So horrible that many preachers won’t touch it with a proverbial ‘barge pole’. The more is the pity, because it is God’s timely warning for those wise in the Spirit to take heed. You will receive blessing as you do.