Every time we read Revelation chapters 16 to 20, numerous thoughts overwhelm us. They give a picture of the climax of human history at the return of Christ: this is totally dramatic and sudden. We perceive that this is the latter day counterpart to ancient Babylon – recall the head of gold of Nebuchadnezzar’s image and the dramatic end of his Empire. We are also mindful that ‘Babylon’ is the way the Greeks translate the Hebrew word ‘Babel’ prompting us to think of what God did to Babel generations after the flood to demonstrate to ungodly men that He is in control in the earth.
Revelation therefore is giving us a picture of the final hour of human kingdoms. “Alas! Alas! … you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come” (18:10). The spiritual element in Babylon today is “clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet” (18:16); these are the dominant colours in Papal garments – but “in a single hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints … for God has given judgement for you against her” (18:19,20).
A puzzling factor is the great wealth of this latter day Babylon that Revelation highlights. Is there a significance in the fact that the European Common Market was established by the ‘Treaty of Rome’ in 1957 and the countries that belong are just about all Roman Catholic? Is it significant that the UK did not sign, and has since left? The major reason for their unity is financial and for 50 years the EU has been very prosperous. But now the scene has changed and could become worse, so note the words, “for in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste” (18:17).
Our Lord made a simple statement, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matthew 6:24). What is it to “serve money”? Money, and the things it can buy, dominate the thinking of just about every one! It must not dominate our thinking. Let us heed the voice, “Praise God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great … Let us rejoice … and give him glory” (19:5). True believers are “his bride (who has) made herself ready” – make sure you are among them.