Revelation 18-19:10, It’s All About Perspective.

1] After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.  2] And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place for demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!  3] For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”

4] And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.  5] For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.  6] Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.  7] In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment will and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and not see sorrow.’  8] 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.

9] “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, 10] standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city!  For in one hour your judgment has come.’

11]  “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore:  12] merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13] and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle, sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men.  14] The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all that things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all.  15] The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16] and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls!  17] For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’  Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance 18] and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’

19] “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth!  For in one hour she is made desolate.’

20] “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”

21] Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.  22] The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore.  No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore.  23]  The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore.  For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.  24] And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.” 

19:1 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia!  Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God!  2] For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.”  3] Again they said, “Alleluia!  Her smoke rises up forever and ever!”  4]  And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen!  Alleluia!”  5] Then a voice came form the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”

6] And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia!  For the Lord God Onmipotent reigns!  7]  Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.”  8]  And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints. 

9] Then He said to me, “Write:  ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!”  And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.”  10] And I fell at his feet to worship him.  But he said to me, “See that you do not do that!  I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus.  Worship God!  For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”  

This might seem a strange title, but I think it’s borne out by the text we printed above, which has several different viewpoints in it.  In verse 7, the woman says, “I sit as a queen and will see no sorrow.”  When she’s judged, the kings of the earth weep and lament for her, v. 9.  The merchants of the earth, who’ve been made rich by her – how much do you suppose it would cost to rebuild the Vatican? – lament at the blow to their bottom line.  Read the list of things they no longer will be able to sell her.  Most of them are luxuries.  Expensive.  The maritime world, with all its enormous cargo ships holding hundreds of shipping containers, is also devastated, v. 19.

The reaction in heaven?

“Rejoice over her…, v. 20.

The point is, we live in a time when there are no absolutes.  There is no “objective reality.”  For example, a biological man or woman can say they’re the other, and it is so – at least as far as the world is concerned, regardless of what they are genetically.  Indeed, reality has become simply a subjective idea.  It is what you or I think it is.  We have become the Creator.  And the idea that God might have something to  say about anything is as far removed from most people’s thinking as the far side of the moon.

This was the hook Satan caught Adam and Eve with – “you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” Genesis 3:5.

“You don’t need God.  You can decide for yourself what is good or evil.”

How has that worked out?

There are so many applications that could be made here, but we’ll leave it to the Holy Spirit in this case.

What does God say?

It matters.


Hebrews 1:2: “His Son”

2]  In the last of these days, He spoke to us in [His] Son…. [author’s translation]

In our previous posts, we have seen that the writer asserts that God spoke.  In doing so, he emphasizes the reality, the fact, that God spoke.  Contrary to the “wisdom” of many, the OT is not a patchwork product of men who gathered myths and stories and formed them into a “holy book”; it is the word of God, given in and through “the prophets” by the direct revelation and inspiration of God Himself.

Furthermore, not only did God speak through and to the prophets of old, but He also spoke “in Son,” that is, personally and directly.  The writer described this “Son” with eight statements. We wish to take a closer look at these statements.

We’re spending more time on this section of Hebrews because it is essential that we have a Scriptural understanding of Who Christ is and of what He did.  Christianity stands or falls with Christ and who He is; no other religion so depends on the nature and character of its founder as Christianity.   We believe, further, that the Christ of the Bible and the Christ worshiped by much, if not most, of modern Christianity, not only here in America, but around the world, are two different individuals.  They take a verse here and there from the Bible to construct their Christ, but the Christ of the Bible is as foreign to them as a person would be from another planet.

Is that too strong?  Too judgmental?

Is it?

Only in the Christ of the Bible is there any hope for the reconciliation of guilty sinners to a holy and righteous God.

Who is this “Christ of the Bible”?  Hebrews 1:1-3 gives a succinct description of Him.

1.  “Son”:  His Essential Nature.

It’s interesting to note that the writer begins by asserting the deity of the Lord Jesus.  You see, if Jesus isn’t truly God, then nothing else matters.  There is no salvation.  If Christ isn’t God, then Christianity becomes merely a bandaid to cover man’s festering corruption and pollution, a social message to address social issues: “justice,” “fairness,” “equality,” etc., but without any ability to solve the underlying problem.  Indeed, that problem, man’s basic sinfulness and his alienation from and opposition to God, is not even recognized.  Often, it is denied.

As we’ve noted before, there is no article (“the”) before the word translated, “son.”  Thus we’re brought to consider the nature and character of the Savior.  The writer isn’t concerned with “relationship” as we might understand it, but emphasizes the agreement in essential nature (deity) which the Son and the Father share.

Jesus is not a “son” by adoption, as some falsely and blasphemously teach, thus “deifying” humanity.  These false teachers hold out the same hope to men, that if we do well enough, God will also “adopt” us.  Such a view is false.  The “adoption” of which the Bible speaks, in which even our physical bodies (though in a glorified state) are to be received into the family of God, is never based on anything but God’s grace.  It’s never a matter of reward or obligation on God’s part.

Nor is Jesus the “Son of God” by “creation,” as Jehovah’s Witnesses and others teach.  Because He is God, He is eternally the Son of God and God the Son by nature and essence.

In addition to Hebrews 1:3, the following verses clearly teach the deity of Christ:

John 1:1In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and [lit.] God was the Word. John isn’t teaching, as some declare, that “the Word” was merely “a” god, some lesser being, in contrast to the Father. Rather, he is emphasizing identity of nature, that is, whatever “God” is, the Son is.

Implicit in John’s thought is also the fact that the Father and the Son, though sharing the same nature, are not the same “Person.”  That is, the Father is not the Son.  We’ll have more to say about this later on.

Colossians 1:15, Christ is the image of the invisible God.  The word translated “image” means “manifestation” or “representation.”  With the addition of the word “invisible,” Paul teaches that Jesus Christ is the visible manifestation and representation of the invisible God.  The uniqueness of His relationship with the Father is such that He could say, He who has seen Me has seen the Father,” John 14:9.  Again, He is not claiming to be the Father.  We emphasize this because of those who say that He does say that.

Philippians 2:6being in the form of God, [He] did thought it not robbery to be equal with God.  The word translated “form” refers doesn’t simply refer to outward appearance, as we might consider it, but what’s on the inside, so to speak.  It speaks of the nature and essence of the individual.  It’s not what the person looks like, but what he is.  In this case, it means that the Word was equal with, on the same level as, God.  In the words of John 1:1, the Word was God.

Notice further that Paul said, “being…God.”  Cf. John 1:1, 14. the Word was God, the Word became flesh.  Nowhere is there any intimation of the Word becoming (a) (g)God.

John 10:30-33, Jesus made the statement, “I and the Father are one,”  v. 30, literally, “I and the Father, we are one.”  He isn’t saying that He and the Father are the same, in spite of those who claim otherwise.  The sequel shows that the Jews most certainly understood that He was claiming deity:  “…you, being man, make yourself God, v. 33.  There are no articles before “man” or “God.”  The focus is on nature.  The Jews were saying, “You are human, but you blaspheme, claiming to be divine.”

We will look at Hebrews 1:3, but for now merely wish to show that the Scripture is unequivocal in its declaration of the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.  In the words of the ancient confession, He is: “very God of very God and very man of very man.”

Do we come to the Bible as the Word of God?  Do we really accept its divine origin?  Do we understand the tremendous privilege we have in its possession in our own language?  Do we understand the responsibility we have toward it? …the eternal repercussions from it?  Do we come to the Scriptures to learn of Christ? or for some other reason?

There are way too many who have advanced degrees in Biblical subjects who deny or question every word from Genesis to Revelation.

Without the Word of God, we have no Christ.

Without Christ, we have no salvation.

“This Is A Faithful Saying”

Perhaps the best known “faithful saying” in Scripture is the one about Christ coming to save sinners, 1 Timothy 1:15, however, there are six such “sayings” in the New Testament.  We’ll start with 1 Timothy and look at all six, which span all our spiritual life, from sin to glory.

  • 1 Timothy 1:15, the saying of Salvation:

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. 

The Lord Jesus didn’t come just to be a good example or to give us a set of moral sayings.  He wasn’t just another prophet.  He didn’t just come to help us to save ourselves or to make it “possible” for us to be saved.  He came to save sinners; that’s the only kind of people He’s interested in.  Religious people, moral people, “good” people – these have no need of Him, or so they think.

There was a time when Paul was like that.  He thought he was doing God service.  He thought he was blameless as far as the Law was concerned.  I believe it was during the witnessing of Stephen in Acts 7 that the light began to dawn and Paul began to understand how far short he fell of the mark, cf. Romans 3:23.  That his “best” was bogus.  And on his way to Damascus, the Lord stopped him short and turned him around.

  • 1 Timothy 4:9, the saying of Realization:

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance. 

We might ask, “a saying of what?”  I think it refers to all of vs. 1-11.

In this section, Paul prophesies a time in which “the faith” will be replaced by teachings from deceiving spirits, teachings which are the doctrines of demons, v. 1.  According to Paul, we need to realize that there is an active warfare – in a realm we can’t see, but which greatly impacts the one we can see.  The truth will suffer reproach, but God’s people are called on to both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God.

Verses 1-11 speak of a Christian’s perseverance in times of apostasy.

We certainly live in such a time, when a supposedly Christian college will invite a Muslim scholar to lecture about “the historical Jesus” – as opposed to the Christ of faith. This happened here locally just a few weeks ago.  The religious organization which sponsors this college prides itself that they’re the true one and that their teachings are the true faith, yet they host a man who denies everything they say they believe.  A man who says that the Gospels aren’t to be trusted as accurate history, but were written much later than the events they portray.

  • 2 Timothy 2:11-13, the saying of identification:

This is a faithful saying:  For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.  If we endure, we shall also reign with Him.  If we deny Him, He also will deny us.  If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself.  

Some look at these verses as teaching that a true believer can lose his or her salvation.  If that were the case, then they would contradict all the verses which teach that salvation once entered can never be lost.

I think there’s another thought in these verses.  Many people have just identified with a church or a denomination.  They were sprinkled into it, maybe “confirmed” a few years later, but the Bible may as well still be in the original languages.  They never read it, and have no idea what it says.

This goes for those who don’t accept infant baptism, as well.  My earlier years were spent in fundamentalism, where I was privileged to know and work among many wonderful Christian people.  At the same time, because of the tremendous emphasis on “soul-winning,” there were many who were manipulated into making a “profession of faith” who never seemed ever to be any different.  They never went to church or were baptized.  They seemed no different after than they did before.  I think Paul would say that there’s something wrong with that.

I believe in evangelism; it’s just not about working a particular “method.”

When persecution comes, and we believe it will, we’ll find out who’ve merely identified with some church and who’ve truly identified with Christ.

  • Titus 3:8, the saying of exhortation:

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works.  These things are good and profitable to men.

There’s a big discussion going on about the relationship of faith and works.  Some vociferously maintain that we’re saved by faith alone.  No works at all.  “Just believe.”  There’s a certain amount of truth to that.  We are saved by faith alone.  The difficulty comes in when one asserts that “faith” is alone.

Paul put it like this in Galatians 5:6, For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything but faith working through love(emphasis added.)  Make no mistake.  Paul isn’t talking about faith AND works, but faith WHICH works.  There’s an eternal difference.

  • Revelation 21:5, the saying of expectation:

Then He who sat on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.”  And He said to me, “Write, for these words are true and faithful.”

While the saying is a little different, the thought is the same.  V. 4 speaks of tears, death, sorrow, crying, pain.  These are all common to this life, even for Christians.  I know Christians who suffer terribly physically, or mentally, or emotionally.  Some of the blogs I follow speak eloquently of this, as well.

John assures us these things will soon be over; there is coming a time when they all have passed away.

  • Revelation 22:6, the saying of confirmation:

Then he [one of the seven angels, 21:9] said to me, “These words are faithful and true.”  And the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show His servants the things which must shortly take place.”

There’s a lot of discussion about Revelation:  how to understand and interpret it.  That’s not the point of this post.  The Book of Revelation isn’t just the hallucinations of a tired, overworked old man, as some blasphemously assert, but is the very word of God.  This applies not only to Revelation itself, but to every part of God’s Word; it has all been given to us by divine inspiration.  It is, therefore, to be handled with reverence and respect.  It is the Word of God.