New Testament passage for Thursday, December 27, 2012: Revelation 18:1-24
19 And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.” Revelation 18:19-20 (NASB)
The city of man is destined to fall. The city of God will ultimately prevail. This is the final message of St. Augustine's great work The City of God. It is also the picture of Revelation chapters 17 and 18. Jesus spoke of this when He said, In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. (John 16:33)
There are at least three major components of the collapsing city of man:
1. Unbridled sensuality (vss. 3, 7). This is more than sexual sin. That certainly is a major part, but also this speaks to a lifestyle given to addictive pleasures. Immorality, by definition, means the disregard of moral standards in favor of immediate gratification.
2. Financial implosion (vss. 11-17). I am not qualified to diagnose the monetary soundness of world currency in our day. However, I listen to the news and I hear of the demise of the euro, with a domino-affect leading to world economies teetering on disaster. I believe these rumblings are similar to those predicted in Revelation 18.
3. Human trafficking (vs. 13). Right in the midst of this dire economic picture, we find that men have grown rich by the buying and selling of human beings. Conservative estimates are that this is a 32 billion dollars industry. At any given moment, there are 2.4 million people being bought and sold. 80% are for sexual exploitation. Today, there are perhaps as many as 30 million human slaves most of whom will die soon under the terrible circumstances of their bondage.
It is small wonder that Holy God would bring judgment. But, in the midst of the fall of this city of man, another city is rising up. It is the city of God. His Kingdom will prevail. Jesus has commissioned us to advance His Kingdom with truth, faith, and love. Despite the turmoil of a world gone crazy, we can have peace, joy, and power. These are exciting days in which we live. It is time for you and me to let our light shine brighter than ever. Jesus is Lord!