Friday, December 29, 2017

Daily reading assignment – Revelation 18-22

Our readings in the Book of Revelation come to a close with today’s scripture reading, Revelation 18-22.  The length of the passage and the practical and prophetic applications are far too great to be summed up in a brief devotional commentary.  For that reason, I will narrow this commentary to a few elements for interpretation and understanding taken from Revelation 18-19.

Revelation 18 addresses the destruction of Babylon.  Realizing Babylon was already destroyed, it is obvious this Babylon has a broader interpretation than that ancient city.  In the scriptures, Babylon, the world’s first great empire, represents the world’s political, economic, and religious systems.  She is the symbol of idolatry and rebellion against God (18:1-3).

Revelation 18:4-8, God calls His people to separate from Babylon and not be a party to her sins and the judgment of God that will fall upon her.

Revelation 18:9-19, prophesies the collapse and destruction of Babylon’s (i.e. the world’s) financial and commercial sectors.  Given the interdependence and interconnection of our international economy and the volatility and turmoil of our world politically, it is easy to grasp the potential of imminent collapse and anarchy.

Having been oppressed and persecuted by the world’s political and economic systems, we read the LORD commanded the saints of heaven to,

Revelation 18:20 – “Rejoice over her [Babylon], thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.”

The rejoicing over God’s vengeance against Babylon (i.e. the world’s political and economic systems) continues in Revelation 19:1-10.  The Lamb in verse 7 is Christ (John 3:29) and his wife is the church (Ephesians 5:22-33).

With the world’s political and economic systems destroyed, heaven opens and Christ triumphantly returns to the earth as Conquering King and Judge… “Faithful and True, and in righteousness He doth judge and make war” (19:11).  Christ has ruled in heaven and now He comes as Conqueror (Rev. 19:11-16) to establish His earthly kingdom.  “His name is called The Word of God” (19:13; John 1:1-14) and He comes as the “KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS” (19:16).

The nations that have gathered themselves against Israel will be defeated (19:17-19, 21).  “The beast” and “false prophet” (19:20) will be “cast into a lake of fire burning with brimstone” (19:20).

Revelation 20 records the final judgment of God.  The Devil is bound a thousand years (20:1-2) and cast “into the bottomless pit” until the final judgment of God (20:3-4).  At the close of the thousand years, Satan is loosed and leads a final insurrection of the nations against God and Jerusalem until “fire came down from God out of heaven, and devoured them” (20:9).

The devil is cast “into the lake of fire and brimstone…and shall be tormented day and night for ever and ever” (20:10).  Lost sinners are gathered before “a great white throne” (20:11) and “stand before God” (20:12) and “were judged every man according to their works” (20:13). “And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (20:15).

I close today’s devotional commentary at the threshold of a glorious new beginning…John writes,

Revelation 21:1-6 – “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2  And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
3  And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.
4  And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
5  And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful.
6  And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely.”

Copyright 2017 – Travis D. Smith