Alfred Place Baptist Church

Revelation, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18.

It is useful to hear an occasional overview of books of the Bible from the pulpit, especially when one is beginning to preach through a new book because the congregation can see where they are going. However, there are considerable disadvantages in announcing a text as vast as this one – six whole chapters. So much of the preacher’s time is going to be spent in explaining the symbolism and there can be little time left to apply it. Preaching without application is all information, whereas preaching must be information applied to men and women to the end of the obedience of faith. The devils have all the information of these six chapters. In other words, they understand the meaning of much of the book of Revelation. You can go to hell understanding correctly the meaning of the images and numbers of this book. What the demons do not have is the power of this truth coming into their lives with saving and sanctifying energy. I fear a tour of these chapters is going to be deficient in this crucial area, and if I had not been asked to cover the whole book of Revelation in five messages I would resist such an approach.

A friend of mine once drove Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones to hear a prominent American preacher. When they returned Dr Lloyd-Jones was silent. “What did you think of it?” my friend asked him. “A glorified Bible study,” was the Doctor’s terse reply. That sermon had not been preaching. It had not engaged the whole man, bringing the truth to bear on him so that the man was convicted and reproved and transformed as he looked to Jesus Christ the Saviour.

1. REVELATION 13.

In this chapter we see a vision of two terrible beasts opposing the church, one coming from the sea and the other from the land. The first has seven heads, and ten horns with crowns upon them, and on each head is a blasphemous name. It is similar to the four beasts of Daniel chapter 7, in opposite order of their appearance, but this monster is an amalgam of all Daniel’s beasts. One distinctive features is that one of its heads has a fatal wound. It is a beast looking as if it had been slain; it is a caricature of the Lamb, and all men worship it and boast about it, “Who is like the beast?” they ask one another. The beast blasphemes God and makes war on the saints.

The second beast (v.11) comes out of the earth. It has two horns like a lamb it speaks like a dragon and it pressurises people to worship the first beast. It performs miraculous signs, for example, calling down fire from heaven. It forces people to make an image of the first beast and it puts its breath into that image so that it actually speaks. It forces everyone to have a mark on their foreheads or right hands. No one was allowed to trade without the mark. The beast has a number, 666. Three obvious questions are called for:

i]. WHO ARE THESE TWO BEASTS?

They are not future despots. When I was a little boy there were those who thought that they were Hitler and Mussolini, and who can fault them for such an interpretation? They were taking Scripture seriously, but the beasts are symbols of powers which are always attacking the church.

The first beast stands for all forms of atheistic power, the spirit of the Enlightenment, materialism, humanism, all of this world’s philosophy, postmodernism, all of non-Christian power structures. This beast is enormously powerful in Europe and North America today. It has ten crowns which underline the extent of its influence. It has seven heads, so you dare not absolutise one of them and say that our single greatest enemy is, for example, communism and devote all your energy to fighting that, for if you could succeed in chopping off that head the other six heads would be growing stronger in the meantime. So these seven heads are intellectual powers like Marxism, evolutionism, materialism, rationalism, love of pleasure, apathy. Sometimes the state is very antagonistic to the gospel church – Jesus was crucified under Pontius Pilate. There is also the power of atheistic learning. That too was a New Testament threat; to the Greeks Christianity was folly.

The second beast stands for all false religion. It encourages men to worship man, his power, his scholarship, the whole human system. It also performs great wonders and thus it deceives the world. This beast is man-made religion and is just as dangerous as the first beast of atheism. The main opposition to Christianity in the New Testament came from religion. To the Jews Christ crucified was a stumbling block. To Islam today the crucifixion of God’s great prophet Jesus is utterly unacceptable. It was Barrabas, they claim, who hung and died there. That religion cannot accept the possibility of the resurrection. I think we ought to realise that we carry no brief for the religions of the world; we cannot speak of them in terms of too severe a denunciation. They have caused mankind’s greatest crimes. The hatred of Islam for Christianity and its murderous threats directed on those who become Christians in North Africa and the Middle East constitute the greatest single barrier to the spread of faith in the Lord in the world today. Hinduism in India and its attacks on Christianity are another effective impediment to Christian progress. But I would say more, that the diluted forms of our own Christian faith, the unreformed Roman church and the Orthodox church, and Protestantism under the influence of humanist philosophy, and the cults that have spread into the world from America are also another barrier to evangelism. We meet the important men of the modernist dominated religions who control the media and the religious departments in most colleges and universities. To them the historic Christian faith with its inerrant Bible, atonement by the blood of Christ, a physical resurrection and the need for personal regeneration is utterly unacceptable. They are no friend of that gospel; they will stand side by side with the forces of rationalism against the faith of that gospel. The two beasts stand in solidarity; they are determined to defeat the church. They are committed to its overthrow. These monstrous powers cooperate in an alliance to destroy the gospel church. That is how it has been and that is how it is always going to be. They threaten the youngest and most vulnerable Christians here today. They are having to live their entire Christian lives under the hateful eyes of these beasts.

ii] WHAT ARE MEN’S RESPONSES TO THESE BEASTS?

You would expect the world to be scared stiff, terrified at the malice of these beasts, but the response rather is of wonder. The world is terribly impressed by these awesome creatures. History reflects this. There was, for example, the procession of English intellectuals like the Webbs who went in the 1930s to Stalin’s Russia – one of the most repressive regimes this world has ever seen with 30 million people slaughtered – and they came back to Britain full of praise for Stalin and Lenin. I parallel that phenomenon to the scores of women who write each week to those infamous mass murderers languishing in prison, and they breathe out their love for these men, longing to meet them and marry them. There is no revulsion and horror at what they have done to other women. They are completely captivated by handsome wickedness.

More than captivated by the Beast men brag about him and worship him (v.4). They worship man’s achievements; his power and his plans for the future, all his boasting, pomp and show. Think of the prominence given to the corpse of Lenin in Moscow, and the long lines that pass his open coffin each day. Think of the way men treat the North Korea dictator, or the late Chairman Mao. Those men are made virtual gods.

Or you consider the signs and wonders of the second beast. Milk may appear to come from china cows in Hindu temples; statues may appear to bleed real blood; people are healed of various ailments so that piles of crutches show the consequence of praying to certain women or men. The beast has put its mark on their heads, that is, on their thinking and whole attitude to life, and also on their hands, that is, on their actions in whatever they do. If the men of the world don’t toe the line there is trouble, persecution and years in concentration camps.

iii] WHAT IS THE COUNSEL FOR THE CHRISTIAN FACING THE BEASTS?

Here it is in verses 8 and 9, “He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints.” How plain it is. Be prepared for what lies before you. You are following a crucified Saviour, so take up your cross and be ready for the troubles to come. John warns them in this verse about taking up an iron sword to fight for the gospel and he urges them to trust in God. Patient endurance and faithfulness are the marks of victory over the two beasts. Take what God gives and love him still. Let’s keep on trusting the Lord and following him wherever he goes. That’s the victory that overcomes the world. God doesn’t give them breezy promises, saying that revival will soon come or that the tide is going to turn. He says keep trusting in God, but he adds one thing more, “calculate the number of the beast” (v.18). In other words, please think when some men announce that they know the identity of the beast, that it is Mussolini or Hitler. Calculate! Don’t be gullible.

What about this number 666? Derek Thomas, whose book on Revelation is excellent, “since the number 7 is used throughout Revelation as a number of completeness (the seven days of creation and rest), it is likely that John intends 666 to be parody of 777. A number short of completeness repeated three times is a trinity of imperfection. The beast of the earth bears the spirit of utter imperfection. Despite his lofty claims he bears a deadly flaw” (Derek Thomas, “Let’s Study Revelation,” Banner of Truth, 2003, Edinburgh, p114). He cannot answer the great questions all men ask, why are they alive, what is the purpose of life. They cannot satisfy the deep longing in the heart of man for communion with the God who made them in his image. They are not 777, that is our living and true God. They are the pathetic 666.

2. Chapter 14.

This chapter sets before us the bifurcation of man’s destiny, in two visions of heaven and hell, and it concludes with a picture of the great harvest judgment.

i] Heaven, and I will answer three questions:

What does John see? He sees the Lamb with his fair army standing on Mount Zion. It is the constant theme running through the book. We turn over a few pages and what do we meet? It is the Lamb again and again throughout the book. The tomb is empty; the Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world lives and reigns.

What does John hear? This great company are all singing and he tries to describe its beauty. He says that it’s like a roar of rushing waters, or a loud peal of thunder, or like harpists playing their harps. In other words the sound of heaven reflects the voice of the Son of Man. When he speaks it is like the sound of many waters, and so it is with them. Once they sang praise to God with cracked voices here on earth, but there they are glorified and they are singing a new song

Who are with the Lamb? There are 144,000 in heaven and they are described in three ways. They have not defiled themselves with women, in other words they are Christ’s bride, married to him alone, not running after other gods. Again, they are following this Lamb wherever he goes. What he says they do; what he prohibits they refrain from. When he says, ‘Come!” they come, and “Go!” they go. They are being redeemed from mankind as firstfruits to God and the Lamb. Who exactly are the 144,000? 144,000 is 12 X 12 X 1,000, or 10 X 10 X 10 X 12 X 12 and that represents completeness. These are also called ‘firstfruits’ (v.4). Maybe this 144,000 are a symbolic number of the martyred saints pictured in chapter 6.

How happy these people are; “Then I heard a voice from heaven say, ‘Write: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them” (v.13). Do you understand that there is no disjunction between the people we have known in this world and what they are in heaven. We loved them here because they were patient, strong, loving, forgiving, wise and so on, and this is what they are in heaven, only far more so. It is these same people we meet there. What they have been made by the grace of God is what they are now in heaven, but every grace vastly strengthened. Their works have followed them through death. So that is a picture of heaven.

Then three angels, that is three messengers, fly out and the eternal gospel is proclaimed to the people of earth. The first declares “Fear God. Give him glory!” The second proclaims the triumph of God over Babylon, this world system, and the third proclaims the judgment of God in hell.

ii] Hell

The picture is frightening; it is one of the most unsettling descriptions of hell in the Bible: those who worship the beast “will drink of the wine of God’s fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name” (vv. 10 &11). The unrepentant are going to experience the wrath of God. Each one is going to endure this personally – he will be tormented – and there will be no end to it “the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever” (v.11). They will enjoy no rest. Is that what the passage is saying? Am I making this up? I cannot see annihilation here. I can only see torment. Is the God who is light, in whom there is no darkness at all, is he the only true judge of determining what sin deserves? In hell a sinner will look back and long for the worst day of his life on earth. From hell how heavenly that day will seem, and in heaven a Christian could grieve over his best day on earth. How hellish it will appear.

iii] Harvest

Jesus again appears as the Son of Man, the king who is coming to judgment. An angel issues a command from God to the Son of Man figure to take up his sickle and reap. The sowing and watering of the word of God has gone on and on, and God has given the increase, and now it is harvest time. This harvest is described twice, verses 14-16 and 17-20, and these are mirror images of each other.

“For the Lord our God shall come,
And shall take His harvest home;
From his field shall in that day
All offences purge away;
Give his angels charge at last
In the fire the tares to cast,
But the fruitful ears to store
In His garner evermore” (Henry Alford, 1810-71).

Consider the final verse, verse twenty, what can it mean? “They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses’ bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia” (v.20). That distance is about 185 miles, the measurement of Palestine down to the Egyptian border, and so it could be describing a comprehensive judgment on the land. Or because 1,600 is 4 squared X 10 squared then perhaps 4 is a symbol of the four corners of the earth, north, south, east and west, and a worldwide universal judgment is being emphasised. John has taken Isaiah’s great image of the appearance of the Messiah, standing alone, his garments stained with blood. This great colossus whose one foot is in the ocean and other foot is on the land treads out the winepress of God’s judgment on his enemies by himself and the blood flows out in all directions – over the land or over the whole world. The picture is intended to bring our affections to the truth. Are you taking it seriously?

3. CHAPTERS 15 & 16.

Chapter 15 begins with the scene of the whole church gathered in heaven around the sea of glass singing the song of Moses and the Lamb, “Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways King of the ages” and so on (vv. 3&4). The song is a total vindication of the ways of God. Why did he make man in such a way that man was temptable and could fall into sin? Why is it through his sending his Son to the cross that we are redeemed, and why does he save his people through men spreading the message of the gospel? What is evidently true is that it was more to God’s glory that God worked thus. “Just and true are your ways King of the ages.” As the Saviour said, “Even so Father for so it seemed good in thy sight.” In heaven there is 100% confidence and joy in that reality. That assurance fills the praises of all who are in heaven. There is none singing to a different hymn sheet in glory. Our wills will be perfectly blended with his will.

Then seven angels emerge from the temple (15:5) dressed like priests. They are given seven bowls and these are symbols of the wrath of God. We have had seven seals in chapter six, and seven trumpets in chapters 8 through 11. This is the last set of sevens in the book of Revelation. The seals, the trumpets and the bowls all depict the same events, but from different points of view. Paul tells the Romans that the wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men. That truth, stated there in Romans theologically, is stated here in this apocalyptic picture. The angels are simply messengers bearing God’s wrath, and the different judgments follow the same order as the trumpets in chapter 8, the earth, the sea, rivers, the sun, the kingdoms of this dark world, the Euphrates, and the final judgment. The order is not any earthly sequence, as if this judgment on the earth was going to be followed by this next one on the sea as one bowl is poured out and then the next. Rather these are the diverse judgments as John saw them.

The bowls are actually the answers to the prayers of the martyrs – just like the trumpets were – and they come from the holy one, the just and true one. God is straight. He is not unfair and harsh. On whom are the bowls of wrath poured?

i] Those who bear the mark of the beast and worship his image (16:2). In other words those who worship idols are going to be judged in a variety of ways, with boils, and sores and drowning in the deep – the destruction of every living thing in the sea (16:3) – and the sun scorching people with fire (v.8). John brings vivid pictures of various kinds of inflictions to impress on us that God’s judgments are real. Idolatry is the sort of wickedness that ends in judgment.

ii] The dragon and the beast and the false prophet are the next recipients of God’s wrath (v.10). John is telling that though we are often discouraged at the power of Satan in the world God has total sovereignty over him and all his hosts. A great battle is pictured between God and his mighty hosts and the powers from hell (v.14). Battle pictures and place names from the Old Testament give it colour. Three antagonists arise in verse 13, evil spirits that look like frogs, and they come from the dragon and the beast and the false prophet, and they deceive world leaders and they are part of the war against God and his hosts.

I am not taking any of this literally. I do not believe that there is going to be a actual battle on a plain in the middle east with real metal tanks and bombs. That is Star Wars and fantasy. A friend of mine Tom Ascol visited China a few years ago and on Sunday he was taken to a congregation of the so-called ‘Underground Church.’ There were hundreds who were meeting in a house with close circuit television relaying pictures of the preacher to the people sitting in other rooms and upstairs. The sermon was translated to him It was on these chapters and the preacher had been taught the dispensational interpretation of history, that there will be a great tribulation with a real world war before Christ returned, and one of the battles, Armageddon, was going to take place in Israel and Russia was gong to be fighting America, and Israel was going to fighting Arab and so on. Tom looked around grieved at the hundreds of people there sighing with concern, and writing down all that the preacher said. What does that kind of theorising have to do with godliness? He was sad that such dispensational fantasies had been exported to China from America in the name of Christ.

The Christian life is one of battling against the world and the remaining sin and the devil, and that is horribly real. It is that conflict that is pictured here in apocalyptic language. The Old Testament site for big battles was the fortress city of Megiddo and it symbolises the present and future battles all true Christians experience as by the Lord we fight against the kingdoms of darkness. Yes, I do believe that before the Lord returns there will be a period of intense spiritual warfare. But we will fight spiritual battle then too, not using Colt 45s and Hydrogen bombs. While God’s kingdom spreads Satan’s kingdom will also continue to exist, and thus it will be until Christ himself returns.

In the midst of this call to arms and warning to be ready for the fight before us there are words of encouragement. In verse 15 God speaks and says, “Blessed is he who stays awake and keeps his clothes with him, so that he may not go naked and be shamefully exposed.” The Lord is going out to meet his enemies and we are called to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ. Let none of us be unprepared, lying in our beds when we should be clothed in the whole armour of God.

The seventh bowl at the end of chapter 16 introduces the image of Babylon the Great. The context is thunder and lightning and a great earthquake (v 18) – reminding us of the giving of the law of God at Sinai. Babylon is another symbol of the evil structure of this world. We all live in Babylon. Aberystwyth is Babylon as much as London or Moscow. Jerusalem has also become Babylon. You see Babylon is linked with other places, “the cities of the nations” (v.19) which also come under the final judgment so comprehensive in its scope that distant islands in the Pacific and Antarctic oceans disappear, and the mountains in which men are hiding vanish after God has judged them (v.20). A hailstorm of huge hailstones falls on all men (v 21). There is no escape anywhere from him.

To understand Babylon we need to go back to the tower of Babel, and man’s attempt to erect a tower that would reach heaven and bridge the gap between the Creator and the creation. Men sought to make a name for themselves by what they did, and God judged Babel. God’s city is Zion, the city of grace, where God is to have all the glory. In Babel or Babylon man gets the glory. When the judgment falls on Babylon she is given a “cup filled with the wine of the fury of his wrath” (v.19). Little men disdaining the God to whom they owe everything. Little men who see the judgments all around them, on the earth, on the kingdoms of this earth. It is agony being alive, but they refuse to repent (v.9), in fact they cursed God (v.11 and v. 21) and as they live so they die, cursing God. The day of grace is over and he comes to them like a thief at night (v.15), but there are those who stayed awake, and lived in repentance and watchfulness.

4. CHAPTER 17.

John is shown by the angel an extraordinary sight of a great prostitute. It is a vivid and accurate picture of the world today. Without God all our society has is man, sensuous, hungry to satisfy its many desires. Think of the culture we live in and how sex is used to promote and sell everything. This gift of God is demeaned to a recreational activity like football, and about sex there are no rules except perhaps not to hurt people. Wales today is like a great whore tempting and selling itself to anyone. What are we told about this great prostitute?

She sits on many waters (v.1), in other words, like a city is set on a river or an ocean, so this prostitute is set where the Euphrates brings down its cargoes to the city and where the ships of the world trade. You find her where the money and movement is. Yet soon she has moved and she is in a desert place (v.3). Again we are told that with all her loud bawdiness she is as unproductive as a wilderness. Without Christ men live in a moonscape. Dust thou art and unto dust thou shalt return.

She is sitting on the back of one of these huge monsters (v.3). In other words, she is motivated and empowered not by the living God but by the power of darkness. She is covered with blasphemous names, so she is quite defiant in her opposition to Christ. She is dressed voluptuously because she loves the world and all its stuff. She is quite drunk on all the fruit of her abominations and she has this title written on her forehead, “MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH” (v.5). She is also Babylon, and she is the mother of prostitutes and just as the woman in chapter 12 gives birth to the church so this woman gives birth to those who would destroy the church. She gets drunk on the blood of the saints (v.6). She is a vampire not only murdering the Lord’s people but gorging herself with their blood.

But how this monster is loved; her clients consist of the kings of the earth all the leaders of the world are besotted with her (v.2), and John is amazed at the sight (v.6) so much so that the angel asks him why. “I’ll explain it to you,” he says (v.7). He tells John that it is Satan who is there motivating and empowering this woman. You will never understand our civilisation’s crude sensuality and its power to pull down even the very greatest of men – so many of the Royal family, recent Prime Ministers in England and Presidents in America and France – unless you know that there is another dark power at work in the world day by day.

What about these seven heads on the beast on which she sits? They become seven hills and seven kings. Five of them have fallen, one is fallen, and another has not yet come (v.10). When we read of the seven hills then we think of the city of Rome. Some people have defined five recent Roman emperors at the time of John, and a sixth still alive when this book was written, is that Nero, or Vespasian, or Domitian? Others have suggested that the reference is to seven empires like Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece and Rome. The seventh head is then considered to be symbolic of all the world empires between Rome and the Second Coming of Christ. The beast is the eighth king (v.11) and maybe he stands for all the evil of his predecessors.

What about the ten horns (v.13)? The Lamb of chapter five has seven horns, in other words, he has perfect power. The ten horns represent all the means the beast uses to destroy the kingdom of God – political power, the media, education, commerce, scientific pretension and all that can be used by ungodliness to promote opposition to God. We Christians seem to have been crushed by these horns for years but in the light of eternity how brief is the little day of these horns – an ‘hour’ (v.12). Our battle with them is intense and fierce but there is only one outcome and that is the triumph of the Lamb. Again there is this amazing contrast, on the one hand this enormous beast greater than any dinosaur, with Babylon the whore on its back and it is being taken on by a Lamb, and the Lamb triumphs. Why? We are told in verse 14: “the Lamb will overcome them because he is Lord of Lords and King of kings.” The Lamb wins!

The chapter ends with the kings of the earth turning against the great prostitute and working with the beast to bring her down. Evil is self-destructive. Julius Caesar is himself assassinated by his fellow leaders. So this prostitute is actually the great city of man that has dominion over the kings of the earth. She is the powerful anti-Christ system always present but one which will be especially active in the end times.

5. CHAPTER 18.

This chapter is about the end of the world, portrayed as the overthrow of this woman, the fall of Babylon the Great. There are tensions right through this chapter as we are shown the fascinating energy and achievements of this city. The Lord Christ was taken to the top of a high mountain and shown the glories of the nations, and this is what John sees. The language is at times lyrical and sensual: “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes any more – cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men” (vv. 11-13). Here is the world engaged in the cultural mandate of subduing the earth and replenishing it. Babylon is a place of luxury, “O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!” (v.16). She is a place of great culture, where was heard “the music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters” (v.22). In her were craftsmen of every trade (v.22). People married there and their vows were heard (v.23). Their merchants were “the world’s great men” (v.23) This mighty angel himself recognises such human greatness. We recognise Babylon don’t we? It is not something apart from ourselves. It is the town we are living in today with so much that is admirable about it.

Yet Babylon is rotten. This was the sum total of her longings, what she could see and smell and taste and feel and hear. This was the fruit she longed for (v.14). She ached for this; she hungered and thirsted for this – the world and the things of this world with God shut out completely. She boasted in herself, “I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn” (v.7). She is regal and self-sufficient; she expects others to stand in her presence while she sits. She is totally opposed to the gospel of Jesus Christ; “In her was found the blood of the prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth” (v.24). Hot relentless persecution flows from her to all who name the name of Christ, and all her triumphs are over in an hour, “In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin” (v.17). There has been a time when they marveled at the Twin Towers at the very end of Manhattan. In an hour it was brought to ruin. The fool Jesus referred to had built bigger barns and then God perforated his life; “tonight thy soul shall be required of thee.” The world grieves at what happens, “In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin! Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’ They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: ‘Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!’ (vv. 17-19).

Just an hour that’s all; what a difference an hour can make in the life of New York or America. What a difference in your life, to spend an hour listening to the word of God and asking yourself, “Is this true?” Then if it is I must act upon it. I must be delivered from living my life in Babylon. Let me get to the great city of God! Let me give God no rest until I am a citizen of heaven. There is a voice from heaven saying, “Come out of Babylon my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive of her plagues” (v.4). He is talking about a movement of your heart and mind as you are motivated to change by the word of God, from being a lover of the world and all its boasting, pomp and show, to join with Jesus Christ. Come to Golgotha! Come to the throne of God on which sits the Lamb. Come to the one who says, “I am meek and lowly of heart and you will find rest for your souls.” If there were anyone who had the right to boast it would have been Christ but he was meek and a seeker of those who are lost in Babylon. Don’t be a part of her destruction. Get out and don’t look back. Never look back. Look to Jesus from now on.

6th March 2005 GEOFF THOMAS