My friend Jason Leonard gave me a break last week and led the discussion on Revelation 14-16 on the topic of judgement, which is so clearly a theme of Revelation. I think our knee-jerk reaction to the judgements described in the Bible is to put ourselves in the place of the people being judged and thinking, how unfair! The reality is that God is fair, and that judgement is delayed as long as possible so that people may come to repentance (see 2 Peter 3:9). The question for us is whether we trust and believe God to be “just and true” as the angels in Revelation put it. You can see Jason’s notes here.
This week I jumped back in the fray with a discussion on Babylon in Revelation, from chapters 17 & 18, and a little bit of 19. What it boils down to is that Babylon is the anti-church; it is a culture and a people that are the opposite of what the Church is and will be. This is why God calls His people out of Babylon in Revelation 18:4-5, and why He continues to call us out of it even today. We are called to live in the tension between witness and purity, speaking God’s life to a dead world. I ended the talk thinking about Hebrews 11:13-16, thinking about how we are “exiles and strangers” who desire a better world. Really, I don’t think we should fear and shun our culture as much as we should desire and live towards a better place, on God has planned for us. I think hope in God’s promises will make a much more profound effect on how we live life than shunning our culture will. You can see my notes from this talk here.