Media Sunday Worship Service

Sunday Worship Service

A Eulogy for Babylon

Revelation 18:11 – 24

 

Proposition: The mourning related to the demise of Babylon does not reflect the grief for the city itself but because it affects the mourners personally.

 

Application: Pray our worries away. Be content with our lot in life.

 

Introduction

The other day I was reading a stock market report looking for which stocks are hot and which ones are not. Here is what I found: Helium was up, feathers were down. Paper was stationary. Knives were up sharply. Pencils lost a few points. Elevators rose, while escalators continued their slow decline. Mining equipment hit rock bottom. Diapers remained unchanged.

The market for raisins dried up. Balloon prices were inflated. And toilet paper touched a new bottom.

Transition: One morning the sun will rise on future Babylon. Many will look forward to the profits they will make for that day. Yet before the day ends, Babylon will cease to exist. Gone will be the new world order. We have been on a dark journey for several chapters. Looking ahead there are some bright lights at the end of the tunnel. This passage records eulogies of three groups of people vis-à-vis the fall of future Babylon – those of monarchs, merchants, and mariners. What we will see is that the mourning of these three groups, does not reflect grief for the city, but grief because the demise of Babylon affects their profits.

 

I. Earth’s Eulogy (18:9 – 19)

The Monarchs and Merchants Mourn (18:9 – 11): Here is a picture of immense sadness. The monarchs grieve over their loss of power. The merchants grieve over their loss of profit.

The merchants are the magnates of the earth – people who have amassed more wealth than some nations. They are the rich elites of the world. These merchants belong to an economic system that denied others the right to buy and sell if they refused to take the mark of the beast. Now they are denied that right because the system they built lies in ruins.

The world economy will crash in an instant. There will be nothing but grief and sorrow. They will shed tears of self interest. They will not sorrow over loss of life.

They will mourn because with the collapse of this once proud city they will be deprived of their source of wealth.

Transition: The materialism of future Babylon will outdo anything that has come before.

The Merchandise (18:12, 13): The angel lists products that bring them profit. By and large, the order of the items listed are dropping in value. The list begins with jewelry products – followed by the garment industry – then construction – followed by cosmetic and agriculture. Even the transportation industry is listed. Notice the last product on the list – “bodies and souls.” People will be products. Putting humans at the end of the list of commodities shows the utter contempt for human life. The only lives that will matter will be the lives of the elite. People will be no more than another piece of merchandise to be sold for profit. Human trafficking will be a legal means to make money.

Where are the human rights activists? At this stage in history the concern of activists will be to silence the voice of truth. Every agency will have colluded with the agenda of wealthy elites. The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil – even the evil of human trafficking.

Illustration: Over $50 billion of profit is made in one year because of the 30 million humans trafficked. Some are trafficked for cheap labour – others for prostitution – still others for slavery. Some are even murdered so their organs can be harvested and sold in the black market. Tragically some of the biggest victims in human trafficking are children. About 80% of newly arrived unaccompanied children are victims of human trafficking.

Illustration: Parents in Venezuela seek a better life for their young son. They hook up with a smuggler who assures them he can get their son into a nice American school. So they pay him a sum of money to escort their son across the southern US border. Once the smuggler gets the child into the US, he sells him into forced labour or prostitution. The parents never see their son again. Helpless victims are ruined by human trafficking.

Read Joel 3:3

Trading in humans will become an even bigger business as the world becomes more and more evil and turns a blind eye to this tragedy.

In fact, in some believe that in a few years from now people will be so devalued, as they are pushed out of the job market because of AI.

Listen to the title of an article written in 2016 – AI Will Create A ‘Useless Class’ of Humans. It goes on to say as artificial intelligence gets smarter more humans will be pushed out of the job market. Before you know it billions of people will be jobless, aimless, wasting away their days on drugs with VR headsets strapped to their faces.

No matter how smart a person might be they will not be able to compete with AI. One author believes this will become one of the worst crises of the 21st century. Indeed, the love of money is indeed the root of unimaginable evil.

Transition: The panic felt by the merchants will be far greater than the stock market crash of 1929. They will despair because there is no hope of recovery.

Markets Crash (18:14 – 17a): Notice where the merchants are standing… at a distance. They may be standing at a distance because they fear that the fate of Babylon will also be their fate. So they watch the collapse of their beloved city on their tablets and smart phones.

In all human history there has never been a city like future Babylon – a city that spread wealth around the world – a city that dispersed idolatry across the globe – a city that controlled the human population. This future city will be laid waste and brought to nothing.

Transition: Monarchs will mourn their loss of power. Merchants will mourn their loss of profit. Mariners will mourn their loss of payload.

The Mariners Mourn (18:17b – 19): We have heard the saying “It was fun while it lasted.” For instance, you may be in your dream job, but your contract soon ends. So you say, “it was fun while it lasted.” Or you made a lot of money in the stock market, and then lost most of it due to a downturn – so you say, “It was fun while it lasted.” That is the case with the mariners. The wealth of Babylon was good while it lasted. But never again will they know such profits.

As mentioned in prior sermons, we cannot be sure where Babylon will be found. Most believe future Babylon is Rome. But Rome is not a port city. Ships do not go to Rome to pick up and unload cargo. Most likely future Babylon will be a major shipping port and so it needs to be near a source of water.

Transition: We have explored the eulogies from the standpoint of monarchs, merchants, and mariners. Now the scene shifts from earth to heaven. Let’s explore heaven’s viewpoint of Babylon’s demise.

II. Heaven’s Eulogy (18:20 – 24)

Rejoice (18:20): At the fall of Babylon, earth will mourn, and heaven will rejoice. For monarchs, merchants, and mariners this is the worst possible tragedy, but for heaven and the glorified church it is cause for joy. There is joy because God’s justice is carried out at last. There is joy because God has answered the prayers of the martyred saints.

Read 6:10; Luke 18:7, 8a

God takes no pleasure in a godless world regime. This global regime will harass Christians to the point of death. Tribulation saints will bear the brunt of the world’s hatred. God will pronounce on future Babylon the sentence she imposed on the saints.

Read Jer 51:48, 49

Application: We should rejoice when God’s purposes prevail. We should rejoice when prayers are answered.

Transition: The angel uses a millstone to portray the doom of Babylon.

Ruined (18:21 – 23a): A millstone is about 1.5 m in diameter and 30 cm thick and weighs over 500 Kg. Stones that sink to the bottom of the water will no longer be seen. In the same way, Babylon will vanish forever. Her wickedness that once spanned the globe will be gone!

The sights and sounds that once flourished in this city will never again be seen or heard.

No more entertainment. No more trades. No more food. No more electricity. No more festivity. Only silence and sadness.

Read Jer 25:10

Transition: The angel gives two reasons for Babylon’s demise – deceiving the citizens of the world and destroying the saints around the world.

Reasons (18:23b, 24): The winds of deceit are at play even today, but in the last days they will reach gale force. Nations will be deceived through the sorcery of the ruling elites. Let’s talk about this word sorcery. The Greek word is pharmakeia – where we get the term pharmacy. In ancient Greek the meaning of pharmakeia is to use drugs. No matter how the word is translated it will always refer to the use of drugs.

At the time drugs could be used in four ways. It could be used for healing purposes.

It could be used to poison people. It could be used to control the mind. Lastly it could be used for occult practices. The translators of our English Bibles have rendered pharmakeia as sorcery – the use of drugs for occult practices. I do not believe we should limit the term pharmakeia to sorcery.

There are two classic books describing a future dystopic world: one written by George Orwell called 1984. The other written by Aldous Huxley called Brave New World. Both books describe an totalitarian state controlling its people. In 1984 the will of the people was conquered through propaganda. In Brave New World the will of the people was conquered through pleasure.

Brave New World describes a substance called soma which made people feel good. The book describes how citizens of the world could be enslaved using soma. Soma was not so much a drug for the people but a tool for the state.

As Aldous Huxley wrote, “and if ever by some unlucky chance, anything unpleasant should happen, why, there’s always soma to give you a holiday from the facts. And there’s always soma to calm the anger, to reconcile you to your enemies, to make you patient and long suffering… swallow two or three half gramme tablets, and you will be fine.”

The notion is that we can live better lives through chemistry. We can take a pill for any reason – a pill for home life – a pill for work – a pill for entertainment – a pill for the classroom – a pill to fly on a plane – a pill for job interviews – a pill for anything and everything.

The reduce the stress from the horrors of the tribulation age, I believe people will turn to pills far more than at anytime in history. By making drugs legal a totalitarian regime can create docile, aimless, and dehumanized citizens who can be controlled. Perhaps this is what it means deceived by your sorcery.

Future Babylon will not only be a city that makes drug use legal but also sanctions worldwide persecution of Christians. Christians will resist the lies and suffer for it.

 

Conclusion

The forces at work in end time Babylon are at work today. How do we find peace in the mounting stress of today’s frenzied world? There is the pill option and there is the prayer option. We can pray our worries away!

Read Phil 4:6, 7

More and more expensive toys piled up in larger and larger houses and storage units do not lead to a richer life. In fact riches often leads us away from the Lord. How is the wealth of the world affecting you? What is your attitude toward the riches of this world? Is it leading you away from the Lord? If so, make this your prayer.

Read Prov 30:8b, 9

A person who is rich is one who is content with their lot in life.

 

 

 

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