Reflections on Revelation #1: Complacency is Complicity


Reflections on Revelation:  Complacency is Complicity

Having finished our verse-by-verse study we have a base to do some reflecting on what we have learned and how it can apply to what we are experiencing right here and now. Truth that Jesus wanted to be revealed to His disciples was given to John to write down, and today we have that Truth to consider. We know that the Christians during the 1st Century were facing opposition and, in some instances, open persecution and even execution. Believers were facing rough, intense, and catastrophic times. Revelation reveals the person, the ministry, and the culmination of Jesus’s work to give hope to his followers.  In the process of doing so, we are given a glimpse behind the scenes.  We discover why there are these difficulties.  It’s important to know what’s going on behind the scenes, behind, our headlines, behind the difficulties we deal with.  If we have never experienced rough, intense, or catastrophic times we don’t have an intuition for it even though history is an incredible teacher, as well as what is revealed in John’s vision. Because there is no intuition, no discerning of the times, people tend to just go on with life, not preparing for the storms that are coming. We stay delightfully unaware. We tend to continue to live as if nothing is ever going to change. The message of Revelation is that change is coming.

In John’s vision, we learned that Babylon is a metaphor for the culture. Babylon personified gives us insight into what is coming. Babylon cannot last.  Babylon must fall.   The reason for this inevitability is that Babylon is unrighteous. Something is righteous when it is rightly related to God, when it, whatever it is, is functioning as designed. Anything unrighteous is doomed to failure. History is our witness.

God has judged Babylon to be unrighteous because of her idolatry. God has commanded His children to worship Him alone.  He is our life-giver, our life sustainer, and our life redeemer.  Babylon was rampant with the worship of numerous gods as well as promoting the deification of the Emperor. Worship is giving something or someone its due, it is the act of showing deference.   Isaiah prophecies against these no-go idols: “All those who make no-god idols don't amount to a thing, and what they work so hard at making is nothing. Their little puppet-gods see nothing and know nothing—they're total embarrassments! Who would bother making gods that can't do anything, that can't "god"?” (Isaiah 44:9-10 (MSG).  (Pslams 135:15-18; Revelation 17:4-5; 18:3).

God has judged Babylon to be unrighteous because of her sexual immorality. God created humanity male and female and gave very specific instructions on how sexuality was to be expressed.  The citizens of Babylon ignored such restraints, debauchery in all its forms was the norm. If you ask, “What’s wrong with that?” Maybe you have already been seduced by the propaganda “You only go around once in life, so grab all the gusto you can.” (Leo Burnett) The Apostle Paul wrote: “Don't you realize that this is not the way to live? Unjust people who don't care about God will not be joining in his kingdom. Those who use and abuse each other, use and abuse sex, use and abuse the earth and everything in it, don't qualify as citizens in God's kingdom” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (MSG).

[Exodus 20:14; Deuteronomy 5:18; Leviticus 18:6-18; Leviticus 20:11-12, 17, 19-21; Leviticus 18:22; Leviticus 20:13; Leviticus 18:23; Leviticus 20:15-16; Leviticus 19:29; Deuteronomy 23:17-18; Deuteronomy 22:25-27; Deuteronomy 22:5.]

God has judged Babylon to be unrighteous because of her economics. God prescribed a certain economy emphasizing fairness, social responsibility, and the importance of community welfare. These commands were designed to ensure a just and equitable society, with a strong focus on the well-being of all members, particularly the vulnerable. Babylon is known for its materialism and economic exploitation such that the rich get richer while everyone else is fodder for the machine. (Revelation 18:11-13).

[Numbers 36:7-9; Leviticus 25:8-13; Exodus 23:10-11; Deuteronomy 15:1-2; Leviticus 19:13; Deuteronomy 24:14-15; Exodus 21:2-6; Deuteronomy 15:12-15; Exodus 22:25; Leviticus 25:35-37; Deuteronomy 23:19-20; Leviticus 19:9-10; Deuteronomy 24:19-21; Leviticus 27:30-33; Deuteronomy 14:28-29; Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19; Leviticus 19:15; Deuteronomy 25:1-3.]

God has judged Babylon to be unrighteous because of her blasphemy. Blasphemy is saying something offensive to or about God. Blasphemy is expressing contemptuous ideas about God, such talk lacks the reverence that God is due.  Babylon aligned with the Beast and promoted the claims of the divinity of the Emperor.  The beast, representing the Roman Empire, is said to have "blasphemous names" and to speak blasphemies against God (Revelation 13:1, 5-6; 17:3). Leviticus 24:15-15, the third book in your bible, reads: “Anyone who curses God will be held accountable; anyone who blasphemes the Name of God must be put to death” (Leviticus 24:15-16 (MSG).  Babylon puts her trust in human government instead of God this is her blasphemy. 

[Psam 146:3; Proverbs 3:5; Jeremiah 17:5]

God has judged Babylon to be unrighteous because of her use of power. The purpose of power is to defend those who lack it. Life is a precious gift from God and the guidelines of scripture require life to be respected, protected, and valued at all stages. [Genesis 9:6; Exodus 20:13; Psalm 139:13-16; Matthew 5:21-22; 1 John 3:15] Justice (Micah 6:8; Amos 5:24), Defending the rights of the poor (Proverbs 31:8-9), and Accountability (Psalm 82:3-4) are the hallmarks of a righteous use of power.  Babylon condoned the brutality of the Empire.  (Revelation 18:24) Coerercion is a misuse of power. Violence and bloodshed, the support of the war machine, and the gladiatorial games were all celebrated in Babylon.  History reports that the Roman Empire was ruthless towards its enemies.

          [Genesis 9:6; Proverbs 3:31; Luke 6:29]

God has judged Babylon to be unrighteous because of her pride and arrogance. The Prophet Micah proclaimed that God requires that people walk humbly before Him (Micah 6:8). To walk humbly is to recognize your dependence upon God, maintain a teachable spirit that seeks wisdom, and promote unity and peace among the people.  Babylon says of herself, "I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn" (Revelation 18:7). This is a statement of pride, self-assuredness, self-centeredness, and the delusion of invincibility. Nothing will ever stop me from doing what I am doing.

[1 Samuel 2:3; Proverbs 29:23; Matthew 23:12; James 4:6]

God has judged Babylon to be unrighteous because she persecuted Christians. The scripture declares that those who have bent their knee to the Lordship of Christ have been adopted into God’s family, and believers have been made the children of God. They have been given the privilege of being His ambassadors to the world.  But Babylon oppresses, persecutes, and executes God’s children. Babylon is depicted as being "drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus" (Revelation 17:6; 18:24).

God has judged Babylon to be unrighteous because of her idolatry, immorality, economic exploitation, blasphemy, violence, and persecution of His children.  Babylon is corrupt, through and through, and being misaligned with God, is always falling into its destruction. “Those who refuse to know God and refuse to obey the Message will pay for what they've done. Eternal exile from the presence of the Master and his splendid power is their sentence” (2 Thessalonians 1:8-9 (MSG).

Babylon will collapse and be destroyed because her ways are not aligned with the will of God. Babylon is corrupt. That’s why we read in Revelation 18:4 “Get out, my people, as fast as you can, so you don't get mixed up in her sins, so you don't get caught in her doom” (Rev 18:4 (MSG).

Did you notice that the descriptions of Babylon’s unrighteousness are a picture of the culture in which we live today? Today we live in a Babylonian culture. Having grown up in it, we are accustomed to the sins of Babylon, and our immersion in the culture blinds our eyes to its abuses. To get out of Babylon you must first recognize that you're in it. Allow Revelation to open your eyes to what is happening today. Babylon gets its power from the Beast, the Beast gets its power from the Dragon, and the Dragon is opposed to righteousness, producing a culture that devours people.  Do you see it in our headlines? Violence, injustice, economic oppression, war, corruption, propaganda, indoctrination, immorality, no common understanding of what is right and what is wrong, polarization, ignorance, chaos eroding historical foundations, and hate abounding, those are our headlines, this is the culture we are immersed in.  To get out, you must first recognize the problem.

Once you have recognized how enculturated you have become to Babylon to get out you must see it in your own heart. Listen to what Jesus said about humanity: 

Mark 7:20-23 (MSG)

"It's what comes out of a person that pollutes: obscenities, lusts, thefts, murders, adulteries, greed, depravity, deceptive dealings, carousing, mean looks, slander, arrogance, foolishness—all these are vomit from the heart. There is the source of your pollution."

 

To get out of Babylon see the corruption around you and see the corruption within you. You need a clean heart. Did you realize that you can ask for one? The Psalmist asks for God to do a miracle within: “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10). Hear what the prophet Ezekiel proclaims that God will do: “I'll give you a new heart, put a new spirit in you. I'll remove the stone heart from your body and replace it with a heart that's God-willed, not self-willed. I'll put my Spirit in you and make it possible for you to do what I tell you and live by my commands” (Ezekiel 36:26-27 (MSG).  To get out of Babylon you need a clean heart.

 

 In our faith community, we emphasize the need for a clean heart.  You bend your knee to the Lordship of Christ, and after you see the pollution that still resides within.  The egoism, the self-centered upon itself, hijacks your best intentions so that the good you want to do doesn’t always get done, while the evil you want to avoid entangles you.  The Apostle Paul said he needed something more to overcome his egoism:

 

Romans 7:17-20 (MSG)

But I need something more! For if I know the law but still can't keep it, and if the power of sin within me keeps sabotaging my best intentions, I obviously need help! I realize that I don't have what it takes. I can will it, but I can't do it. I decide to do good, but I don't really do it; I decide not to do bad, but then I do it anyway. My decisions, such as they are, don't result in actions. Something has gone wrong deep within me and gets the better of me every time.

 

We believe that is something more is second blessing of God that occurs after He declares you to be one of His own, poorly named entire sanctification.  Regardless of what this experience is called, when you are blessed with it, egoism can no longer hijack your best intentions.  You are now fully dedicated to Jesus, your faith has been confirmed, and you are spirit-filled. You become a spiritual adult and as an adult, you are the responsible party for your decisions. God makes your heart clean.  From a clean heart comes righteousness. If you have never asked God for a clean heart, a heart of flesh, for a sanctified heart, if you see the need, ask for it.  Ask God to perform this second work of grace within you for anointed with holiness you can get out of Babylon.

 

To get out of Babylon you see the corruption around you and the corruption within you and you no longer will put up with it. The Holy Spirit has given you discernment so you see what is going on in the culture, a culture controlled by the Dragon.  You want no part of it.  The Holy Spirit has given you insight into the struggle within your soul, you’ve been tainted with Babylonian culture, and you want it out of your life. So you have asked God to rescue you from the war that is being waged within (Galatians 5:17).

There is one more thing that you must do to get out of Babylon, take a stand against it, shine a light on her foolishness, her stupidity, her insanity, and her corruption. If not then you are an accomplice enabling her behavior. Complicit is a strong word.  It means knowing that some activity is wrong and doing nothing about it. Babylonian propaganda has convinced far too many Christ followers to be silent. It’s like an unspoken agreement has been made, Babylon says let me do what I want, when I want, to whom I want, and you say nothing, and I will leave you alone. Self-effacement is defined as withdrawing into the background, making yourself inconspicuous. My friends God has redeemed your life from the pit, crowned you with glory, and filled you with power so that you can be His ambassador, making His plea through you, be reconciled to Christ (2 Corinthians 5:20).  Worse whenever you decide that there is nothing you can do about a situation you are being complicit with Babylon.  Find your voice, take your stand, and get out of Babylon.

God has judged Babylon to be unrighteous.  It will fall.

 

God warns His children, “Get out while you can.”

 

First, understand what is happening around you, and identify the unrighteousness that is an affront to God.

 

Second, see the unrighteousness that has infected you, ask God to give you a clean heart, and ask God to sanctify you.

 

Third, to be complacent, allow Babylon to continue in its unrighteousness, and say nothing is to be complicit with all she does. 

 

Get out 

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