The next vision in this chapter describes the future judgment of the Antichrist and the False Prophet and the decimation of all those who allied and pledged their allegiance to them. The conclusion of the enemies of God is swift and bloody. The two beasts are thrown into the fiery abyss and the allies are killed with the sword that proceeds from the mouth of the Lord. The birds feed on the flesh of the dead and the victory of the Lamb is complete.
Vs 17 - 18: The great banquet of God presents a solemn difference to the wedding feast of the Lamb. It is the banquet of God in the sense that God will provide it.
In this final battle, there will be no partiality to rank or station. The bodies of the allied (kings and slaves) will lie on the field of battle to be consumed by the vultures. The corpses that remain exposed for the predators were historically considered a dishonorable destiny. Overall, the scene is one of worldwide disgrace and annihilation of the enemies of God.
Vs 19: Now the Antichrist, False Prophet, and the allied kings gather to fight against the Messiah. The battle of Armageddon has arrived. The scene is eschatological in an absolute sense. John is not describing the slow conquest of evil in the spiritual scuffles of the faithful, but it is a great historic event that concludes the reign of the Antichrist and his minions and begins the long-awaited era of righteousness.
Vs 20: There is no description of the battle of Armageddon. The battle of Armageddon portrays the end-times battle of Antichrist (an event that takes place in time and brings to a close this age as we know it) but does not require that we accept in a literal fashion the specific imagery with which the event is described. The Antichrist and false prophet are apprehended and thrown alive into the fiery lake of burning sulfur. The beast/Antichrist is the embodiment of secular power in its hostility to the church. The false prophet symbolizes the role of false religion in coaxing people to worship the antichristian power. The lake of burning sulfur would not only be extremely hot, but foul and putrid as well. It is a suitable place for all that is evil and wicked in the world. The Antichrist and the false prophet are its first inhabitants.
Vs 21: The allies and armies of the Antichrist are killed by the sword that comes from the mouth of the Messiah. This is not a literal sword, and it is not symbolic of the Gospel message. This scene is one of judgment, and the sword is the declaration of vengeance of the Lord that kills all who have in loyalty displayed themselves against God and all that is righteousness. The supper of God is ready, and the vultures gorge themselves on the flesh of the wicked. Their destruction is complete. There now remains but one who must still meet a like fate—Satan himself, and his demise is detailed at length in the following section.
Vs 1: An angel comes down from heaven holding in his hand the key to the Abyss or the bottomless pit and a heavy chain to bind Satan. The Abyss was thought of as a vast deep cavern that serves as a place of imprisonment for evil spirits awaiting judgment.
Vs 2 – 3: The angel seizes Satan, binds him, and throws him into the abyss for 1,000 years. When trying to decipher the binding of Satan for 1,000 years depends upon whether the passage is taken as descriptive of the present age or of a period that will follow the second coming of Jesus Christ. All this passage says is that during a period elected as a thousand years the devil is bound and thrown into the Abyss, which is then locked and sealed. The reason for imprisonment is not to punish Satan but to stop him from deceiving the nations. A thousand years of confinement does not change Satan’s plans, nor does a thousand years of liberty from the encouragement of wickedness change people’s basic tendency to rebel against their creator.
Vs 4: John sees thrones with people sitting on them, and they are the faithful martyrs who willingly and obediently gave their lives rather than worship the beast or receive his mark. We do not know much about the people on the thrones other than they have been given the authority to judge. Their judgment does not relate to the question of who is worthy to be resurrected and share in the millennial reign with Christ. It appears to be connected to the vindication of the martyrs and their right to undertake the territory of the defeated powers of evil.
John also sees the souls of those who had been beheaded for their testimony of Jesus and the word of God. They are the ones who stayed faithful to God and refused to worship the Beast and the False Prophet. “These are the souls under the altar in 6:9 and all who are to meet a similar fate until the time of their vindication (6:11). They are called souls because, at this point, they are still awaiting the resurrection.”
They come to life again and then reign with Christ for a thousand years. The length of this reign is said to be a thousand years. It is this number that gives us the term “millennium”.
Three views of the Millennium Doctrine
Vs 5 – 6: Those who partake in the first resurrection are called “blessed and holy”. They are priests of God, they will reign for a thousand years, and the second death has no power of them.
Vs 7 - 8: After this literal or symbolic millennium Satan is released from his chains, and he picks up where he left off. He goes out and does what he does best… deceives the nations. He assembles an army to wage war on God. In Revelation, both Gog and Magog are symbols that represent the nations of the world that assemble for one final attack on God and his people. There are no specific regions, they simply represent nations across the world who oppose God.
Vs 9: The nations that are allied with Satan surround the millennial city. We anticipate a great battle, but none ever comes, instead, the enemies of God are consumed by fire from heaven.
Vs 10: Satan does not suffer the same fate as his followers. He is cast into the lake of fire of burning sulfur. He will join both the Antichrist and False Prophet. In this lake, they will be tormented day and night for all eternity.
Vs 11: This is the final scene of judgment. John looks and sees a Great White Throne descending from the heavens. There is one seated on the throne, who is most likely God, and all creation flees from his presence, because of his awesome grandeur. The reality of this entire description is to show that God is in charge and that he will implement justice upon all that is under the control of evil. In its departure from the presence of God, no place is found for the terrified universe.
Vs 12: The rest of the dead the “great and the small” all stand before God. The point is that no one is so important as to be immune from judgment, and no one is so unimportant as to make judgment inappropriate. There is apparently a book with the deeds written and the other is the book of life. Concerning the deeds, the issue is not that salvation is attained by works but that works are the evidence of a person’s actual relationship with God. Salvation is by faith, but faith is revealed by the works it produces. The second book is the book of life. This would be considered a divine registry. If one’s name is not written in it, they are thrown into the lake of fire.
Vs 13- 15: The sea now gives up its dead, as do death and Hades, and all people are judged based on what they have done. The sea is specifically mentioned to show that no one—not even those whose bodies had gone unburied because lost at sea—would escape resurrection and judgment.
The lake of fire is the second death. Anyone whose name is not written in the book of life will suffer the fate of Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet.
Thus concludes the judgment of evil and now the church reigns triumphant with the Messiah.
 Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 365). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
We are continuing in our series titled FEVER PITCH. For the past three of weeks, we have talked about “hot button” topics in our culture that have reached a fever pitch and we are learning together how we should respond to these topics in a biblical manner and in ways that bring glory to God. The structure of our mornings together has had a different feel to them as we watch videos of our discussion panels who talk openly and honestly about these current issues. so far, we have talked about “Socialism vs Capitalism”, “Racial Equality”, and “Sex and Gender.” This week is another topic that people have intense moral, spiritual and emotional convictions.
Sanctity of life or being pro-life has been a controversial topic for many decades and will continue to be the center of heated debate for years to come. The topic of abortion vs. anti-abortion has intensified to the point where people have been publicly shamed, thrown in jail, and ironically murdered over their convictions and beliefs. But when we talk about being pro-life does this only mean we only fight for the lives of the unborn or does being pro-life cover more?
Today’s video discussion panel will speak more specifically to this issue and our biblical response to how the church can be holistically pro-life. Remember, the questions discussed in the video were asked by the students in our ministry at the 43rd Street Campus. Some of these questions include, how can we show grace about such a sensitive issue? Why is it important to advocate for life? Is abortion the only pro-life issue? And what should the church do about women who had an abortion in their past? Let’s see what our panel has to say…
At the core being pro-life means that you support life over death. I understand this is a very general and broad definition, but true, nonetheless. I believe pro-life means more than being anti-abortion. It is true that the topic of abortion is the most prominent discussion when talking about pro-life, but it covers so much more. So, the question is since we are holistically pro-life what does this mean? This certainly can also affect our views on the death penalty, suicide, and euthanasia. As Christians we support life of all people. The Bible very clearly tells us that humanity was made, formed, and created in the image of God. All humanity is created by God so this means all humans have intrinsic worth. We value every person because we believe anyone can be saved. And if anyone can be saved, then everyone is worth saving. Since we value ALL life, EVERY life, and the WHOLE of life—from conception to natural death... we must also value justice for those lives.
So, what does this say to us as Christians or more importantly what does the Bible, God’s Word, have to say to us about the importance and sacredness of life?
Theologian, J.I. Packer writes, “(The sixth commandment) rests on the principle that human life is holy, first because it is God’s gift and second because man bears God’s image. Human life is thus the most precious and sacred thing in the world, and to end it, is God’s prerogative alone. We honor God by respecting his image in each other, which means consistently preserving life and furthering each other’s welfare in all possible ways.”
We are created in the image of God; thus, all life is sacred; your life, a baby’s life, a supposed failure’s life, an elderly person’s life… EVERY life… EVERY life matters. It is God who determines life or allows a life to end. But we know that the Bible tells us God is a life giver, and Satan is one who desires to devalue and destroy life. It is not up to you, me, or any other person to take the life of any innocent person. Life is a gift from God and this gift is precious, thus we must be willing to protect it, fight for it, and ultimately live it in the abundance that Jesus came to give us.
We are continuing in our series titled FEVER PITCH. In the past two of weeks, we have talked about “hot button” topics in our culture that have reached a fever pitch and we are learning how we respond to these topics in a biblical manner. The video round tables have been excellent as our discussion panel talk openly and honestly about the issues at hand. So far, we have covered “Socialism vs Capitalism” and “Racial Equality”. This week’s is one, in my experiences and observations, is a very touchy subject that can easily lead one down the path of degradation and hatred towards other people.
Sex and gender identity has become a major talking point for the past few years in society. In fact, this month is recognized as “Pride Month”. I am almost certain that when I even mentioned “Pride Month” you immediately had some sort of response in your mind or demeanor. Some of you may have responded with disgust, angst, or unbeknownst to you self-righteously. For some of us it may be an uncomfortable or touchy subject because we may very-well know someone personally who would identify as LGBTQ+. It makes us uncomfortable because, quite honestly, we do not know how to talk to our friends, loved ones, or co-workers who may identify themselves as LGBTQ+. Many of us avoid the conversation altogether because first it has the potential to be an awkward conversation and second, we know what the Bible says about these identity issues… or do we?
Today’s video discussion panel talks more specifically about the biblical response to those who may identify as LGBTQ+. Some of the questions asked by the students and answered by the panel in this video are why is there such animosity from the church towards the LGBTQ+ community? Does God care about gender? And how do we as the church respond and minister to this community without being judgmental? Today’s discussion panel consists of BCS Bible teacher Jonathon Jankovich (who will be guest preaching at Southside July 18 & 25) and West Bradenton Baptist Family Minister Jenny (Funderburke) Smith, let’s listen as they discuss today’s topic “Sex and Gender.”
After watching the video, I think the most prevalent question is how should the church respond to those who may identify as LGBTQ+ with truth and love? If we truly understand the gospel of Jesus Christ, we should feel compelled to respond with grace and truth. There is a lie out that tell us there are two responses and I challenge you today Don’t believe this lie that there are only two responses to the LGBTQ+ community.
It is important for us to understand that People in the LGBTQ+ community are not categorically different sinners. They are sinners as we all are. Personally, I believe that we are not supposed to focus on a particular sin. In the eyes of God, sin is sin and ANY and EVERY sin separates us from God. The key, however, is that when it’s a major cultural issue, we must address it head on. Yes, we call sin, sin period regardless of the cultural issue. It will certainly not be received well, but we also need to be mindful of how we address it. We need to remember that we should NOT separate the issue from people. We’re talking about people God loves, people made in God’s image. We are to love all types of people (sinners), and not dismiss one group in disgust as if “your sin is too much for us and God to handle.”
We also need to remember the Gospel implies that when Jesus died on the cross, it wasn’t just for heterosexual sinners. He died for every sinner.
And the gospel also tells us, and what we must remember, is that whatever defined us BEFORE Christ no longer defines us IN Christ.
1 Corinthians 6:9 – 11 – You once lived according to sin and the flesh, but since you have been saved you no longer practice the sins you once practiced. Paul lists a bunch of sins in this passage.
2 Corinthians 5:14 – 17: You are a new creation in Christ.
1 John 3:1: Your new identity… You are a child of God. You are now identified as a son or daughter of God.
So, the question remains, how do we support our friends, co-workers, and loved ones who are LGBTQ+?
In the same way we support anyone! Don’t lose your friends (or a family members) over this issue. Jesus was a friend of everyone. We should be too. You still can love someone who is LGBTQ+ and still hold firmly to your convictions. Loving someone does not necessarily entail affirming their lifestyle. We love with the love of Christ, regardless of the person, this is what Jesus has commanded us to do.
Nobody, including those in the LGBTQ+ community, should be bullied, harassed, or harmed. We as the church should stand for injustice no matter who it is against. We believe the gospel is for and should go to ALL people.
It is important for us to remember EVERYONE is made in God’s image thus ALL have fundamental worth to Him. If God values his creation so much that he sent his son to die on the cross so all who believe in him will have eternal life, then it is just as important to know that if God values ALL people, then we must as well.
In the previous verses (18:9 – 19) we read John’s account of how this judgment, or the fall of Rome was going to affect those who have allied themselves to Rome. In the remaining verses (21 – 24) we will see how Rome’s collapse happens from within, resulting in all business, art, and customs coming to an end.
Vs 21: Another mighty angel appears and takes a “huge millstone” and throws it into the water, never to be seen again. This represents the fall of Babylon (Rome). She will be cast out, forever lost and no one will ever be able to see this great city again. The angel violently throws the millstone into the sea. This emphasizes how quickly and astonishingly the judgment of God will be accomplished not only upon an ancient city but the entire ungodly and anti-Christian world who opposes God.
Vs 22 – 23: John describes the effects of the sudden overthrow of Rome. He describes numerous characteristics of everyday life in Rome that cease to exist.
Vs 23b: One of the reasons for this judgment was because of the deception of the nations, which Rome had accomplished by means of sorcery. It is unlikely that this means the actual practice of magic for the advantage of business, however dark magic was widely practiced in Rome. It is meant to indicate in a larger sense the art of deception by which Rome had enamored the nations into a fraudulent means of security, which led to merchants and allies viewing Rome as the eternal city.
Vs 24: The angel speaks about the blood of Christian martyrs that flowed in the streets of Rome. Rome’s guilt extends to all who have been slain upon the earth because she is the reigning sovereign of the entire world.
Vs 1 – 5: The “Song of Victory” breaks out in heaven which contrasts with the woes of the kings, merchants, and seafarers lose everything as a result from the fall of Rome.
Vs 6: John hears a sound like the sound of a vast crowd, like the roar of a mighty ocean waves, and the crash of thunder. Such a spectacle is appropriate for the proclamation that God has at last proven his worldwide reign on earth.
Vs. 7: The heavenly choir resumes its song of praise with the exhortation.
“Time has come for the wedding...” In biblical times a marriage involved two key factors… the betrothal and the wedding ceremony. These two were usually separated by a period of time during which the future bride and groom were considered husband and wife and as such were under the contracts of faithfulness. The wedding began with a procession to the bride’s house, which was followed by a return to the house of the groom for the marriage feast. By analogy, the church, espoused to Christ by faith, now awaits the (second-coming) when the heavenly groom will come for his bride and return to heaven for the marriage feast that lasts throughout eternity.
Vs 8: The prostitute who was once adorned with fine clothes and jewels is now in tatters and destitute is contrasted with the church (the Bride of Christ) that is now attired in linens of pure white. It is explained to John that the linen represents the good deeds of the saints.
Vs 9 – 10: John is told to write, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb.” The church portrayed as both the bride and the guests who are invited to the wedding.
Overwhelmed, John falls and worships the angel, most likely mistaking the angel with Jesus. Immediately John is told not to worship him because he is a mere servant of God. Such an act of worship is unsuitable because the angel is also a fellow servant with John.
Vs 11: Without warning heaven opens and suddenly there appears a white horse whose rider (named Faithful and True) is ready to wage a righteous war and end the present age.
Vs 12: John describes the rider. The first thing that John describes about the rider on the horse is that his eyes were like flames of fire. This represents that nothing can be hidden from the Messiah. Upon his head are many crowns. This is an apparent contrast to the seven crowns of the dragon and the ten crowns of the beast out of the sea. Many crowns indicate unlimited power. He is King of kings; all authority is his.
“A name written on Him...” The most common understanding of this name is that it is a secret name whose meaning is hidden from all creation. It expresses the mystery of Christ. There will always be a mystery about Jesus that humanity will never fully grasp or understand.
Vs 13: The robe dipped in blood of that belongs to Jesus is not his own, but the blood of the enemy spilt in the war. This blood-stained robe symbolizes the victory of Jesus in the coming war.
Vs 14: One would think the heavenly army is composed of angels, but more likely refers to the “called, chosen and faithful” in Revelation 17 and this would certainly include the faithful martyrs. The “finest pure white linen” points to the righteousness of divine retribution.
Vs 15: “Strikes down nations with sword” - The sword represents the conquering power of his judgment through word. This is not a literal sword, but it is a fatal pronouncement that goes out like a sharp blade from the mouth of Christ.
“Rule with an Iron scepter” - To rule with an iron scepter means to obliterate rather than to govern in a harsh manner. Just like the shepherd, he not only leads his flock to pasture but defends the sheep from predatory animals. His rod is a weapon of retaliation. Jesus’ rod is a scepter of iron; that is, it is resilient and unbending in its judgment.
 Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 339). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
 Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 347). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
Last week Pastor Sam from our 43rd Street Campus introduced us to the new series entitled FEVER PITCH. We saw this series has a different feel to it because it features a video round table discussion preceding the live teaching that deals with cultural “hot topic” issues that have reached a fever pitch. The social temperature of our culture has escalated to a boiling point regarding social and cultural issues. It has risen to the point where it almost feels like we cannot talk in a rational, calm, or sensible manner about these controversial issues without our conversations becoming a yelling match between two opposing parties. This even rings true in the Church today. Yet, Jesus has called his church to be different from the world, he calls us to be salt and light in this bitter and dark world. Thus, the Church needs to get its act together and become unified under the umbrella of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, Christianity and the evangelical church at large, (we are evangelical, so I can only speak to the evangelical church) has not done a great job of being salt and light. Instead, we are often viewed by the world as bigoted, narrow-minded, and unloving. We are more and more becoming known for our negative political and cultural views instead of the words of Jesus in John 13:34 - 35, “So now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other. Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
It is time to de-escalate the conversation… We can and should engage our culture regardless of the sensitivity of the issues at hand. We do not need to avoid hot-button issues with friends or unbelievers, but we do need to know how to talk about these in healthy and Christ-honoring ways.
My goal for this whole series is not so much to give my opinion on the topic at hand, but more to point to scripture passages that generally speak to or deal with the issue. With that in mind let’s look watch today’s round table discussion.
Video (Advance to next Slide when Pastor Sam is thanking Davon and Bresch and says, “We will talk more about this more…”)
We have just viewed a video roundtable with three individuals with three different histories and life experiences. All three shared one commonality and that is all three are children of God and followers of Jesus, regardless of the color of their skin or cultural background. We have seen and heard only the tip of the iceberg their stories and experiences in growing up and living in both racially diverse and hostile environments. Unfortunately, as Pastor Sam alluded in the video, that even though slavery ended has ended, in general racism has not. Racism may not be as prevalent as it was 150 years ago, but it does still rear its ugly head in modern society and even in the church today.
What does the Bible Say About Race and Racism?
So, what does the Bible say about the topic of racism? Interestingly it does not address the more modern black and white issues of racism, but it does speak very directly about human beings, culture, ethnicity, and God’s great love for his creation regardless of race, ethnicity, and nationality.
The Gospel Connection
I mentioned at the beginning of the message that believers are called to live differently and to be separate from the world, thus I believe the Church should be the one place that does not tolerate racism in any form or fashion. Our God is a God of diversity. He is not just the God for America or Israel, He is the God and creator of all nations, people groups, and languages. Let us not forget Jesus was not a white suburban U.S. citizen. He was an Israelite, brought up in Jewish tradition and culture. Since he was of middle eastern descent, He very well could have had a darker complexion. He more than likely was not the blond-haired blue-eyed Jesus we may envision because this is the only Jesus, we have seen growing up. He lived a life that shook his community and the Jewish faith to the core. He was unconventional as touched unclean lepers, He associated with sinful people, He treated women, outcasts, and the culturally diverse with respect and dignity. He died for both Jew and Gentile so they could have life. He promoted loving others as we love ourselves. He did unify all believers under one umbrella, declaring us all children of God. We can and should talk about and celebrate our cultural diversities, but at the end of the day, we need to celebrate our savior, who gave life to all regardless of skin color, culture, and language. So, may we respond individually to those who may have different skin color or have another cultural background by loving others as Jesus loved us, treating others with respect and dignity, and seeing them as people created in God’s image for HIS glory.
 Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 106). New York: United Bible Societies.
 Louw, J. P., & Nida, E. A. (1996). Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament: based on semantic domains (electronic ed. of the 2nd edition., Vol. 1, p. 129). New York: United Bible Societies.
The announcement of Babylon’s judgment comes in two divisions. The fist is an angel who comes down from heaven with “bright splendor.” and with great authority. The angel announces that Babylon (Rome) has fallen. The second is when another voice from heaven calls God’s people out of the city, for it is about to receive double the penalty for the suffering it imposed on others. There is nothing ahead for the city but death, mourning and famine. The once proud kingdom is now about to be ruined.
As we will see Rome has become a home for demons, evil spirits, and unclean birds. Nations drink her adulterous wine, kings commit adultery with her, and merchants grow rich from her excessive luxuries.
Revelation 18:1 - 20
Vs 1 – 2: Babylon has always been figurative of resistance to the expansion of the kingdom of God. As it fell in times past, so will it be destroyed in the future. Rome is called “Babylon” so readers will know what God did to the first Babylon and then recognize that in giving Rome that title he will once again carry out his judgment on the city. The once magnificent city of Babylon will lie entirely forsaken. It is to become the hideout for evil spirits and all kinds of unclean creatures. This is it is a prophetic representation of complete isolation where the accomplishments of humanity have become the demonic dwelling place of unclean and abominable creatures. Since Rome is already the habitation of evil spirits, it follows that when she falls nothing will remain but the evil spirits and ceremonially unclean creatures.
Vs 3: This verse gives the reason for the fall of Rome. Rome is fallen because she has coerced the nations to drink the wine of her passionate adulteries. Adultery is often symbolic in the OT for apostasy from God. It is used here to denote the impure and illegitimate relationships between Roma and all the nations of the earth. In the last days it will be personified by worship of the beast.
Vs 4: God’s people are called to leave this ill-fated city. Prophets of former days had issued similar warnings. The call to leave suggests a literal departure from the doomed city, but when, according to theologian Robert Mounce, “projected on the larger screen of the consummation it becomes a call to the last generation of believers for ‘spiritual withdrawal from Vanity Fair.’”
Two reasons they are to leave the city:
Vs 5 – 6: Plagues are about to be released on the city because of the numerous sins the city has piled on her. God has not forgotten these sins and he will punish the city because of them. As a result, she will receive double the penalty. She will ultimately get what she deserves and then some.
Vs 7 - 8: Rome is to receive sorrow and torment in the exact proportion to the self-glorification and luxurious lifestyle she has chosen. This humiliation of Babylon will involve torment and grief. The judgment that will fall on Rome will be like in kind to what she has dished out to others. She will receive a double portion from her own cup. She who once boasted of her invulnerability will be brought to nothing. Just as she has caused many to experience every kind of adversity, she herself will experience the distress of poverty and demise. The point, however, is not that the church will rejoice because others suffer but because God in his justice will see to it that the haughty vindictiveness of Rome will not go unnoticed or unpunished.
Vs 9 – 10: The kings and nations that turned to Rome and profited and benefitted their allegiance to her will all mourn because the city they depended on and loved has fallen. They were involved in illegitimate affairs (immoral business practices, and power) with the prostitute and at one time enjoyed the luxuries that their adulterous relationship with Rome provided to them. The nations do not rush to the rescue of their concubine but “stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment”. They are amazed that judgment could fall upon a city in such a swift manner, as great and strong as Rome. They raise their voices in the sorrowful lament.
Vs 11: The mourning is also taken up by the merchants not out of sympathy for the fall of Rome who is now brought low, but because with its destruction they have lost their major source of financial gain
Vs 12 – 14: The merchants mourn the fact that all the rich luxuries that Rome longed for have vanished forever. The concluding clause, “never to be recovered,” brackets the list along with the earlier statement, “no one buys their cargoes anymore”
Vs 15 – 17: The merchants had profited richly from their trade with the great city of Rome. Now, like the kings of the earth, they take their stand at a safe distance to weep and mourn. Their lament is poetic in form. Continuing the use of triplets, the merchants describe the city as dressed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet; she glitters with gold, precious stones, and pearls.
Vs 18: The mourning continues with a third group, and it involves those in and connected with the shipping industry. As they watch the smoke rise from the burning ruins, they cry out in amazement, “Where is there another city as great as this?”
 Mounce, R. H. (1997). The Book of Revelation (p. 327). Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.
This series will have a different feel to it because each week there will be a video roundtable discussion from members of West B who will discuss the topic at hand. The topics for the sermons deal with cultural “hot topics” issues that have in fact reached a fever pitch. You may have noticed that we live in a culture that has become hostile and angry over anything and everything especially social and cultural issues. The temperature has risen to the point where If feels like we cannot talk about controversial issues without our conversations turning into heated arguments that result in relationships severing due to disagreement. This is unfortunate because when we look at the Bible, the New Testament in particular, we are told time and again to be united as believers and at peace with one another. The Church needs desperately to be unified under the umbrella of Jesus Christ. We gather every week to worship Jesus in one Spirit and with one mind. We are called to be unified. Jesus specifically calls us to be salt and light to the dark world. Unfortunately, Christianity, and the evangelical church, has become known more for what we are against and not who we represent. It is not uncommon in today’s climate for the unbelieving world to recognize or affiliate us with our political beliefs more than our spiritual commitments and this causes friction.
We need to de- escalate the conversation… We need to do as Jesus commands us, “love one another, love our enemies and treat others the way we want to be treated. We do not have to avoid hot button topics, but the question is how do we talk with people about these issues without unhealthy conflict and division? I hope to answer these questions in the next few weeks.
Capitalism and Socialism Defined
What is capitalism? Capitalism according to the dictionary is an economic and political system in which a country's trade and industry are controlled by private owners for profit, rather than by the state. It promotes free-trade, competition, and
What is socialism? Socialism is a complex system with varying ideologies that is a whole other conversation, but the dictionary defines socialism as a political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
What does the Bible say about these two?
Interestingly the Bible does not specifically endorse or refute capitalism or socialism. In fact, the Bible never mentions either of these ideas by name. But it does speak a lot about both the positive and sinful and abusive actions these ideologies promote.
There is no doubt God has blessed individuals with wealth. God used wealthy individuals like Lydia for the expansion and advancement of the Kingdom of God. Lydia, we are told, was a wealthy merchant… a seller of purple, and she supported Paul and his companions on their missionary journeys. She supported them financially and in hospitality. God blessed Lydia wealth and she was generosity with her resources, and she had heart of Christ to advance the Kingdom of God.
On the contrary throughout history there have been multitudes who have abused their wealth in their lust for money, power, and accumulation for evil purposes, such as corruption, abuse, and enslavement.
We also see the Holy Spirit uses the church in Acts to sell their possession and share all they had and distribute their wealth among the people so there were no needs or financial hardships among the body of Christ. God used the generosity of the church to expand the Kingdom of God.
Unfortunately, throughout history many have and continue to abuse social justice, programs, and assistance to enable laziness, avoiding work and shirking responsibility, and encouraging entitlement to receive something for nothing.
Susan mentioned in the video, we have a call to social justice and we should care for and help the needy. However, we do not have the responsibility to enable. Kevin mentions we have the mandate to work hard and provide for ourselves and families and not take for granted the systems that are set up to help those in who are in need. Hard work can pay, and handouts can enslave.
So, let’s take a moment and look at what the Bible says about the positive and negative aspects of these two ideologies.
What does the Bible say about …?
The Gospel Connection
Human governmental is flawed because humans are flawed. The Bible speaks of the depravity of humanity, thus we will, at the heart, have systems that can be and are often depraved. This does not mean that they are evil and anti-God, it simply means they are flawed and need redemption. However, humanity does not have the power to redeem social injustices only through human intervention, economics, and government. Having the heart of Jesus is the only way to redeem what is flawed. Our systems are at the core, heart issues (Jeremiah 17:9 – 10) and only through Jesus can he redeem us through his blood (Ephesians 1:7) and once we live as redeemed children of God, we may see the Gospel expand thus influencing the culture we live in.
As Christians we no longer solely associate or affiliate with a pollical party, ideology, or human institute. We no longer base our thoughts, actions, and reactions on supposed human wisdom or politics. We now belong to Jesus Christ; thus, our thoughts, actions, and reactions should emulate Jesus; and this is how we start to de-escalate the conversation when it begins to escalate. When we do to others what we would like them to do to us. When we love our enemies! Pray for those who persecute us! When we get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior. And when we be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you. Then we can be salt and light when the culture, and climate is bitter and dark.
The world cannot and will not change solely through politics and government. The world needs Jesus, and he has commissioned us to be the agents of change for His glory through social justice, the preaching of the Gospel, living out the Gospel, and sharing His gift of grace with the world.
Jeff has been in ministry for well over two decades. He currently serves as Campus Pastor at West Bradenton Baptist Southside Campus in Bradenton, Florida.
Jeff Has authored an Advent Devotional (The Advent of Jesus) and a devotional on the book of James (James: Where Faith and Life Meet). Both are available on Amazon.
He is married to Carrie and they have four children, Micaiah, Gabe, Simon, and Berea.
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