For those of you who don’t know, I’m a child of the 80s. As we are coming to the end of Revelation a song keeps playing on a loop in my head. It is the song, “Final Countdown” by a band named Europe. It had a driving beat and few words so as to be easily remembered. It’s interesting that the words of the song have to do with escaping the earth in a rocket ship because of the apocalypse. The reality is that no matter how you cut it, according to Scripture, things are going to get really bad before Christ’s return.
In Revelation 18 and 19, judgment comes to Babylon. People have debated where geographically this place is found. Was it referring to the Roman Empire or some future empire? Others have tried to posit that it is speaking of a religious system characterized by a branch of Christendom, which will go unnamed here. I believe that instead of a physical place or a false religion, Babylon refers to a system. It is a symbol that stands for all the ungodly religious-political-social-economic systems that humans have created. The key word there is “ungodly”. It is civilized man, mankind organized apart from God. The Bottom Line: Babylon is this world’s system. It is found wherever lust for power, greed, and godlessness abound.
When Christ returns, He will not be coming again as a Suffering Servant. This time, he will arrive as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will destroy the “Babylonian” kingdoms of this world and establish his kingdom where he will reign forevermore. It’s romantic to think of Jesus riding on a white horse and riding into town to save the day like some kind of cosmic cowboy, but it’s going to be a day of reckoning like the world has never known. On that day, like in the days of Noah, people will wish that they had paid attention to the words of the Gospel.
With all this doom and gloom, what are we to do in the meantime? Do we just wait around for the inevitable? Do we ring our hands in fear? Others seem to have dealt with it in the opposite way by blending in with the world so that you can’t even tell if they’re Christians. If that’s the case, you almost have to ask yourself if they really are. We’re given a clue in 18:4, which says, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” John would say it another way in 1 John 2:15, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.”
Even though the world system prevails all around us, we don’t have to yield to it. We don’t have to stab others in the back for our own glory. We don’t have to sleep with our bosses in order to move up the corporate ladder. We don’t have to allow the love of money to rule over us and control our every decision. We don’t have to remove any appearance of Christ from our lives because he isn’t considered politically correct. We are called to be in this world but not of it. We are called to be salt and light to those around us. We are to be worshippers of God in every aspect of our lives. We are called to be true believers that are characterized by our love one for another. While we are doing all of these things, our constant prayer should be, “Come quickly Lord Jesus!”