Hope after Hope Before Hope / Revelation 18
We are offered grace for new lives that withstand eternity itself.
Revelation 18 is all about collapse. It is about life outside of Christ.
› It is life that is attempting to exist outside of God
› And then succeeds in separating itself from God.
› And then collapses under it’s own weight.
Revelation 18:2–3 ESV
And he called out with a mighty voice,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
For all nations have drunk
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”
Here we have Babylon. An Empire, a mechanism that manipulates humanity for it’s own means.
Babylon, for the writer of this book and the churches involved is Rome. Babylon for us is meant to reveal any other empire in the world. A structure or a form or beurocratic organism or even a technology.
This is an idea that theological Jacques Ellul calls technique.
He says that necessity determines and dominates society. We default to attempting to find the best technique and it ends up ruining us.
It becomes too large. We become controlled by the forces of the city. We try to manipulate but we get twisted within it
We not only get mixed up but we build on top of it. We take a last stand and say to God and others, my will be done.
When we do that we build higher and higher until it can’t hold itself.
The human world is not built for humans
My will be done. Living without direction
The city is a self sustaining gathering. It has gathered itself and accumulated itself and because it feels like it has done all the work it rejects any other gathering. It will refuse every other invitation (142 MOTC)
Revelation 18:7–8 ESV
As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
since in her heart she says,
‘I sit as a queen,
I am no widow,
and mourning I shall never see.’
For this reason her plagues will come in a single day,
death and mourning and famine,
and she will be burned up with fire;
for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”
We use until the use is gone. And once the use is gone there is a temptation to lose all sense of value. All the things that were once full of value and beauty are now just piles of collections.
Look at this list of things that people would buy from babylon.
Revelation 18:11–13 ESV
And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.
And then lastly slaves. But look how it is described: Human souls.
When we just live lives that accumulate we lose sense of humanity. We treat people like products. We quickly slip into a transactive life.
A transactive life
A World too Heavy. The middle will collapse by it’s own weight. Living without support
Revelation 18:6 ESV
Pay her back as she herself has paid back others,
and repay her double for her deeds;
mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
Here we have direction. We are called out. We are called to not participate in the schemes of babylon. While we are in the world we are not of the world. We live in it but do not engage with the way the world operates.
We are called out because the middle cannot sustain
We are called out because what is piling up can never offer life. When we depend on ourselves and our accumulations there will never be life within ourselves or life in our collections.
Christ doesn’t just offer to give us better ways of living, He offers us new life
In every place where people have tried to pull themselves out of thier own technique Christ has offered compassion.
John 6:35–37 ESV
Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst. But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe. All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
Jesus offers Himself as the bread of life.
Out of the frenzy, out of acquiring.
To be given something in which we will not thirst or hunger.
To be offered life itself.