Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 89: Babylon and Company

We're nearing the end of the Book of Revelation, and I can't say that I'm unhappy about that.  It's hard to read, for a number of reasons:  1) the symbolism, some of which is pretty easy to follow, some of which is impossible to discern; 2) the violence, 3) the gloom and doom.  But read Revelation in the midst of a war, or if you are a religious minority being persecuted, or at one of those scary apocalyptic times in history, and perhaps the book of Revelation becomes more interesting.

Now we hear more about Babylon (Remember, "Fallen is Babylon the great!)  Babylon probably referred to a particular government or Kingdom at the time Revelation was written (possibly the Roman Empire, with its 7 hills), but now it has come to mean any corrupt kingdom or people.  Babylon does not recognize any god but itself, and idolizes power, wealth, greed, violence.  You name it.

Babylon is "a whore" (pretty strong language) and is contrasted with the church, which is the Bride of Christ.

Babylon will be defeated.  And it's not pretty.

So at the end of Revelation 19 we have this great scene of worship, but we also have this gruesome scene of the defeat of the beast.  And as much as I want the good guys to win, I still have a hard time reading the words about the "feast" at the defeat of Babylon, and "drinking the blood of kings."  All I can say is, when I read these horrible words, is I remember talking to Veterans, and especially Veterans of World War II, and how they don't like to talk about their war experiences much, or at all.  I think it is because they have been to hell and back, and even though Hitler (for example) needed to be defeated, there is no way they want to glamorize what they went through.

So Revelation is about the war between good and evil, between God and the forces of Evil, and the good news is that God will win, God has won already, but in the meantime, the battles are sometimes gruesome.

Tomorrow, we come to the end.

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