Daily Readings & Thought for June 29th. “FOR IN A SINGLE HOUR”
Today’s readings.. (1 Samuel 10), (Isaiah 54), (Revelation 17,18)
Every time we read Revelation, especially chapters 16 to 20, a multitude of thoughts threaten to overwhelm us. We focus our attention most of all on the ‘picture’ they give of the climax of human history at the return of Christ: this is totally dramatic and sudden. We perceive that this is the latter day counterpart to ancient Babylon – and we recall the head of gold of Nebuchadnezzar’s image and the dramatic end of his Empire. We are also mindful of the fact that ‘Babylon’ is the way the Greeks translate the Hebrew word ‘Babel’ into their language causing us to think of what God did to Babel generations after the flood to demonstrate to ungodly men that he is in control in the earth.
Therefore Revelation is giving us a picture in symbolic language, of the final “hour” of human kingdoms. We read, “Alas! Alas! … you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come.” [18 v.10] The spiritual element in Babylon today is “clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet” [18 v.16]; these are the dominant colours in Papal garments – but “in a single hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints … for God has given judgement for you against her” [18 v.19,20]
A puzzling factor is the great wealth of this latter day Babylon that Revelation highlights. Can we see significance in the fact that the European Common Market was established by the ‘Treaty of Rome’ in 1957 and the countries that belong (and it seems significant that the U.K. did not sign), and that just about all of them are Roman Catholic. The major reason for their unity is financial and for 50 years the E.U. has been very prosperous. But now the scene has changed and could become a disaster, so note the words, “for in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste” [18 v.17]
Our Lord made a simple statement, “No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” [Matt. 6 v.24] What is it to “serve money”? Money, and the things it can buy, dominate the thinking of just about every one! We see this all around us; it must not dominate our thinking..
Let us heed the voice which says, “Praise God, all you his servants, you who fear him, small and great … Let us rejoice … and give him glory” [19 v.5]. True believers are “his bride (who has) made herself ready” – make sure you are among them.