Wednesday, December 24, 2014

THE COMING CRASH (Revelation Chapter 18)

Revelation 18:9-20, “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city!  For in one hour your judgment has come.’  “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more…The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’  And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’  And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’”

A little more than 85 years ago the US economy experienced a crash of the stock market.  A Time Magazine article described the events of that day: “As the story goes, the opening bell was never heard on Black Tuesday because the shouts of "Sell!  Sell!  Sell!" drowned it out.  In the first thirty minutes, 3 million shares changed hands and with them, another $2 million disappeared into thin air.  Phone lines clogged.  The volume of Western Union telegrams traveling across the country tripled.  The ticker tape ran so far behind the actual transactions that some traders simply let it run out.  Trades happened so quickly that although people knew they were losing money, they didn't know how much.  Rumors of investors jumping out of buildings spread through Wall Street; although they weren't true, they drove the prices down further…One trader fainted from exhaustion, was revived and put back to work.  Others got into fistfights.  The New York Stock Exchange's board of governors considered closing the market, but decided against it, lest the move increase the panic…The market recovered for a few months and then slid again, gliding swiftly and steadily with the rest of the country into the Great Depression.  Companies incurred huge layoffs, unemployment skyrocketed, wages plummeted and the economy went into a tailspin.  While World War II helped pull the country out of a Depression by the early 1940s, the stock market wouldn't recover to its pre-crash numbers until 1954.”

That was a bad day in the history of our country.  And from time to time other kingdoms and countries have experienced similar kinds of financial challenges.  Revelation chapter 18 speaks of a future political and financial collapse that will encompass the whole world.  The chapter has to do with the fall of Babylon.  There is debate as to whether or not ancient Babylon will be rebuilt.  Those who believe that it will view it to be the future epicenter from which Antichrist will exercise reign over a one-world government and one-world economy.  At the end of the Tribulation it will all come crashing down.  J. Vernon McGee has commented on this: “In chapters 17-18 two Babylons are brought be before us.  The Babylon of chapter 17 is ecclesiastical.  The Babylon of chapter 18 is economic.  The first is religious—the apostate church which entered into the Great Tribulation Period.  The second is political and commercial…When Christ returns, political Babylon will be destroyed by the judgment of God.”

The judgment comes about suddenly: “In a single hour” (Revelation 19:10, 17).  The destruction will be complete, laying waste to all human wealth (Cf. Revelation 10:17).  There will be much weeping and mourning on that day.  All kinds of people will lament the destruction of Babylon: the kings of the earth (Cf. Revelation 18:9); the merchants of the earth (Cf. Revelation 18:11); all shipmasters and seafaring men (Cf. Revelation 10:17).  Babylon will be “found no more” (Revelation 18:21).  Musicians will be heard no more (Cf. Revelation 18:22).  Craftsmen will construct no more (Cf. Revelation 18:22).  Industry will function no more (Cf. Revelation 18:22).  Light will shine in cities no more (Cf. Revelation 18:23).  Social and family life will be no more (Cf. Revelation 18:23).

Men plan and scheme and dream big dreams of gaining power and accumulating wealth.  Over the course of history many kingdoms have been built and have fallen.  There are some who suppose that man can somehow create a heaven on earth, a kind of social utopia.  That fallacy has been disproved by history.  Man has a sin problem.  A future kingdom is coming, under the reign of the Antichrist, but it will be no utopia.  And it will all come crashing down to make way for the “King of kings and Lord of lords” (Revelation 19:16).  “Do not love the world or the things in the world…the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

No comments: