Saturday in the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Revelation 18:9-20

The Day the World Wept

“Alas! Alas! You great city,

You mighty city, Babylon!

For in a single hour your judgment has come.”

If you have a Bible translation that follows the literary scheme over the verse numeration, you will notice that this section is set off with laments separated by commentary.  The laments are sounded by merchants, shipmasters, seamen, and all who made their living, even fortunes, through trade with the Great Prostitute, all of which now rises in smoke far off.  Ancient writers testify to the wealth of Rome and especially her upper class, her many luxuries listed in verses eleven through thirteen, including, “human souls.” 

“Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen,

In purple and scarlet, adorned with gold and jewels, and with pearls!

For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.”

“In a single hour,” we are told, “all this wealth has been laid waste.”  When the Lord judges, it is a complete judgment.  There are intermittent judgments whereby the Lord seeks to bring repentance as we saw with the seven trumpets.  But there are judgments wherein hearts are so hardened that God turns people over unto themselves (Romans 1:18-32).  We see this here.  There is no more offer of redemption: the great city is completely destroyed.  Notice that those who weep weep over the city, and not over their sins.  They weep over their means of wealth—nothing more, for that is all they cared about, all that their lives meant to them.  Their lives were about the world, and the world was their lives.  And God’s judgment is so severe, so final, so decisive, the great city is destroyed in but an hour.

“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets,

For God has given judgment for you against her!”

I struggle with those scholars who see the saints rejoicing over the overthrow of the wicked as somehow sub-Christian and thus whitewash such passages as the saints rejoicing over God’s defense of His own honor against the wicked.  This is not the reading of the last line above.  The Israelites danced over the bodies of dead Egyptians lying in the sand.  The martyrs under the altar prayed for vengeance.  If such rejoicing over God’s judgments “for you against her” be sub-Christian, then so is God.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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