27 December 2017 Bible Reading
Another angel comes down from heaven, carrying great authority and full of glory. Though Rome has not fallen yet at the time of the writing of Revelation, the angel declares its fall in the past tense, symbolic of the certainty. The nations are not innocent. They also have been participants in the immorality of Rome. The merchants of the earth has prospered through the immorality of Rome. Another voice calls out from heaven for God’s people to come out from her. This is a prophetic reference from Jeremiah and Isaiah:
- Isaiah 48:20, Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it out to the end of the earth; say, “The LORD has redeemed his servant Jacob!”
- Isaiah 52:11, Depart, depart, go out from there; touch no unclean thing; go out from the midst of her; purify yourselves, you who bear the vessels of the LORD.
- Jeremiah 51:6-7, “Flee from the midst of Babylon; let every one save his life! Be not cut off in her punishment, for this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance, the repayment he is rendering her. Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’s hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine; therefore the nations went mad.
The call of the voice from heaven is for the people of God to remove themselves from the ways and immoralities of Rome. If you act like the world, you will be judged with the world. Come out from the world and separate yourselves from the Roman ways and sins.
We saw in Revelation 17:16 that the world turned against Rome. Rome deteriorated from the inside as the empire turned against the rule of Rome. They do not understand that Rome’s fall will be the end of the prosperity of the world. The world will end up wailing at the fall of Rome. The merchants of the earth will mourn because all of those trade routes will be lost. The goods listed in verses 12-13 are a sampling of the many goods that traded through the might of the Roman Empire. Their economy is crushed. All the luxuries and splendors that the people enjoyed are gone.
Not only are the merchants and traders devastated by the fall of Rome, but the shipmasters and seafaring men who worked on the sea will also lose their wealth and business. While Rome does not sit on the coast, it had built an amazing trade city called Portus just west of Rome that did sit on the sea. The Tiber River runs between Portus and Rome and archaeologists have found the massive amount of trade that went through Portus on its way to Rome. There was also a Roman road from Portus to Rome.
The people of God are called to rejoice over the judgment of Rome.
A mighty angel takes a stone like a great millstone and casts it into the sea. While doing this the angel says that Babylon has been thrown down with violence and will never be found again. The Roman Empire will never rise again and will never be a world power. Those who know the timeline of world history know that the collapse of the Roman Empire led into a time period that would be called the Dark Ages. The world was completely changed with the fall of the Roman Empire. This language is the same as what Jeremiah did concerning the judgment against Babylon.
10 Ask of Yahweh rain in the spring time,
Yahweh who makes storm clouds,
and he gives rain showers to everyone for the plants in the field.
2 For the teraphim have spoken vanity,
and the diviners have seen a lie;
and they have told false dreams.
They comfort in vain.
Therefore they go their way like sheep.
They are oppressed, because there is no shepherd.
3 My anger is kindled against the shepherds,
and I will punish the male goats;
For Yahweh of Armies has visited his flock, the house of Judah,
and will make them as his majestic horse in the battle.
4 From him will come the cornerstone,
from him the nail,
from him the battle bow,
from him every ruler together.
5 They shall be as mighty men,
treading down muddy streets in the battle;
and they shall fight, because Yahweh is with them;
and the riders on horses will be confounded.
6 “I will strengthen the house of Judah,
and I will save the house of Joseph,
and I will bring them back;
for I have mercy on them;
and they will be as though I had not cast them off:
for I am Yahweh their God, and I will hear them.
7 Ephraim will be like a mighty man,
and their heart will rejoice as through wine;
yes, their children will see it, and rejoice.
Their heart will be glad in Yahweh.
8 I will signal for them, and gather them;
for I have redeemed them;
and they will increase as they have increased.
9 I will sow them among the peoples;
and they will remember me in far countries;
and they will live with their children, and will return.
10 I will bring them again also out of the land of Egypt,
and gather them out of Assyria;
and I will bring them into the land of Gilead and Lebanon;
and there won’t be room enough for them.
11 He will pass through the sea of affliction,
and will strike the waves in the sea,
and all the depths of the Nile will dry up;
and the pride of Assyria will be brought down,
and the scepter of Egypt will depart.
12 I will strengthen them in Yahweh;
and they will walk up and down in his name,” says Yahweh.
11 Open your doors, Lebanon,
that the fire may devour your cedars.
2 Wail, cypress tree, for the cedar has fallen,
because the stately ones are destroyed.
Wail, you oaks of Bashan,
for the strong forest has come down.
3 A voice of the wailing of the shepherds!
For their glory is destroyed: a voice of the roaring of young lions!
For the pride of the Jordan is ruined.
4 Yahweh my God says: “Feed the flock of slaughter. 5 Their buyers slaughter them, and go unpunished. Those who sell them say, ‘Blessed be Yahweh, for I am rich;’ and their own shepherds don’t pity them. 6 For I will no more pity the inhabitants of the land,” says Yahweh; “but, behold, I will deliver the men everyone into his neighbor’s hand, and into the hand of his king. They will strike the land, and out of their hand I will not deliver them.”
7 So I fed the flock of slaughter, especially the oppressed of the flock. I took for myself two staffs. The one I called “Favor”, and the other I called “Union”, and I fed the flock. 8 I cut off the three shepherds in one month; for my soul was weary of them, and their soul also loathed me. 9 Then I said, “I will not feed you. That which dies, let it die; and that which is to be cut off, let it be cut off; and let those who are left eat each other’s flesh.” 10 I took my staff Favor, and cut it apart, that I might break my covenant that I had made with all the peoples. 11 It was broken in that day; and thus the poor of the flock that listened to me knew that it was Yahweh’s word. 12 I said to them, “If you think it best, give me my wages; and if not, keep them.” So they weighed for my wages thirty pieces of silver. 13 Yahweh said to me, “Throw it to the potter, the handsome price that I was valued at by them!” I took the thirty pieces of silver, and threw them to the potter, in Yahweh’s house. 14 Then I cut apart my other staff, even Union, that I might break the brotherhood between Judah and Israel.
15 Yahweh said to me, “Take for yourself yet again the equipment of a foolish shepherd. 16 For, behold, I will raise up a shepherd in the land, who will not visit those who are cut off, neither will seek those who are scattered, nor heal that which is broken, nor feed that which is sound; but he will eat the flesh of the fat sheep, and will tear their hoofs in pieces. 17 Woe to the worthless shepherd who leaves the flock! The sword will be on his arm, and on his right eye. His arm will be completely withered, and his right eye will be totally blinded!”
18 After these things, I saw another angel coming down out of the sky, having great authority. The earth was illuminated with his glory. 2 He cried with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and she has become a habitation of demons, a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird! 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality, the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from the abundance of her luxury.”
4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that you have no participation in her sins, and that you don’t receive of her plagues, 5 for her sins have reached to the sky, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Return to her just as she returned, and repay her double as she did, and according to her works. In the cup which she mixed, mix to her double. 7 However much she glorified herself, and grew wanton, so much give her of torment and mourning. For she says in her heart, ‘I sit a queen, and am no widow, and will in no way see mourning.’ 8 Therefore in one day her plagues will come: death, mourning, and famine; and she will be utterly burned with fire; for the Lord God who has judged her is strong. 9 The kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived wantonly with her, will weep and wail over her, when they look at the smoke of her burning, 10 standing far away for the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For your judgment has come in one hour.’ 11 The merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise any more; 12 merchandise of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet, all expensive wood, every vessel of ivory, every vessel made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble; 13 and cinnamon, incense, perfume, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, sheep, horses, chariots, and people’s bodies and souls. 14 The fruits which your soul lusted after have been lost to you, and all things that were dainty and sumptuous have perished from you, and you will find them no more at all. 15 The merchants of these things, who were made rich by her, will stand far away for the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning; 16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was dressed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls! 17 For in an hour such great riches are made desolate.’ Every ship master, and everyone who sails anywhere, and mariners, and as many as gain their living by sea, stood far away, 18 and cried out as they looked at the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like the great city?’ 19 They cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had their ships in the sea were made rich by reason of her great wealth!’ For she is made desolate in one hour.
20 “Rejoice over her, O heaven, you saints, apostles, and prophets; for God has judged your judgment on her.” 21 A mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down, and will be found no more at all. 22 The voice of harpists, minstrels, flute players, and trumpeters will be heard no more at all in you. No craftsman, of whatever craft, will be found any more at all in you. The sound of a mill will be heard no more at all in you. 23 The light of a lamp will shine no more at all in you. The voice of the bridegroom and of the bride will be heard no more at all in you; for your merchants were the princes of the earth; for with your sorcery all the nations were deceived. 24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on the earth.”
146 Praise Yah!
Praise Yahweh, my soul.
2 While I live, I will praise Yahweh.
I will sing praises to my God as long as I exist.
3 Don’t put your trust in princes,
each a son of man in whom there is no help.
4 His spirit departs, and he returns to the earth.
In that very day, his thoughts perish.
5 Happy is he who has the God of Jacob for his help,
whose hope is in Yahweh, his God:
6 who made heaven and earth,
the sea, and all that is in them;
who keeps truth forever;
7 who executes justice for the oppressed;
who gives food to the hungry.
Yahweh frees the prisoners.
8 Yahweh opens the eyes of the blind.
Yahweh raises up those who are bowed down.
Yahweh loves the righteous.
9 Yahweh preserves the foreigners.
He upholds the fatherless and widow,
but the way of the wicked he turns upside down.
10 Yahweh will reign forever;
your God, O Zion, to all generations.
33 For as the churning of milk produces butter,
and the wringing of the nose produces blood;
so the forcing of wrath produces strife.”