|John Goh||012 207 email@example.com|
|Dr Lee Fook Sin||019 230 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Moh Ee Lin||019 273 email@example.com|
|Ng Cho Hoo||012 878 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Susanah Ng||012 email@example.com|
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS – STUDY 15
Please look at the questions and discuss the answers. The case histories are designed to let you apply what theoretical knowledge you have gleaned from the study. There are intentionally many more questions and case histories than you can manage in one session but this is designed to cover the many and varied needs of the individuals in the church hence please pick and choose which ones to discuss as long as it gets people sharing and applying the Word to real life situations. Never feel obligated to finish all the questions The answers will be posted on the web the next day.
John in the last 3-4 chapters have been outlining the array of evil forces that are mobilised against the believers. Each evil force is described and how they oppress the believers are detailed to prepare the believers. The Beast sways people by his power especially in government and his ability to survive and come back each time. The False prophet works by authenticating the Beast and using religion as he is seen with horns like a lamb. The power of the prostitute is in the allure and attraction she poses to everyone which is similar to the deadly moral danger a real prostitute poses to men as she enslaves them with her beauty and sexuality.
The 144,000 which are the people of God in Revelations 14 are cast as virgins because the metaphor of spiritual adultery is used. The people of God had not committed spiritual adultery by worshipping idols and this was symbolised by them being chaste like virgins In the same manner, kings commit adultery in the sense that they have fully participated in the idolatry of the Prostitute. She seduces them using their own lust for power and status and at the same time participating in immoral acts and oppression of people.
The Prostitute is also cast as Babylon because the city was the most famous city in ancient times with legendary beauty and majesty at the height of its ascendancy with King Nebuchadnessar. The city is similar to the Prostitute as both of them attracted people and kings to partake in its greatness and beauty as well as its ugly immorality and adultery.
The image of Babylon is one of opulence and luxury.
Revelations 18: 3 For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.”
Revelations 18: 7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, I sit as a queen,
Revelations 18: 9 And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her.
Revelations 18: 16 Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls! 17 For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” The image of the new Jerusalem is also one of opulence.
Revelations 21: 11 having the glory of God, its radiance like a most rare jewel, like a jasper, clear as crystal.
Revelations 21: 18 The wall was built of jasper, while the city was pure gold, like clear glass. 19 The foundations of the wall of the city were adorned with every kind of jewel. The first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, 20 the fifth onyx, the sixth carnelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. 21 And the twelve gates were twelve pearls, each of the gates made of a single pearl, and the street of the city was pure gold, like transparent glass.
The difference is the new Jerusalem has the “glory of God”
Revelations 21: 23 And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and its lamp is the Lamb. 24 By its light will the nations walk, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it.
The description of Babylon is not unlike our cities full of opulence and the latest attractions but as in Revelations 18 the ultimate destiny is ruin and destruction because they are not based on the truth and the glory of God but based on idolatry.
The lesson for us is that we too can be so easily sucked into the pomp and pleasure of the cities as the bastions of man’s efforts to live a life independent of God. The warning is that such luxury and opulence is always short lived
She had enticed the kings of the world to sexual immorality which is a metaphor for idolatry which is probably decadent materialism as Rev 18 : 3b.. and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.
Rev 18: 5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed.
She had committed lots of sins and probably used people and oppressed people, in large cities usually it is slave labour and the poor. The usual practice is to use people to gain wealth, huge profits at the expense of the Heath and well being of employees as seen in Revelations 18: 7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury.
There is the sin of pride and love of status as well
Revelations 18: 7b since in her heart she says, I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.’
We are made in the image of God and we are to reflect Him ans live in submission to God . The kind of life style symbolised by Babylon is a self centered ,selfish life that has no desire either honor God nor serve the fellow man.
Looking at John 17:14-18 and 1 John 2:15-17, Jesus is not asking us to run away from the community and live like monks. He wants us to embed in society but be set part by the values we hold. We are set apart by the truth which is the gospel.
The issue is also about who we love…it is either we love God or we love the world and it’s attractions which the Babylon symbolises. We are to be a witness to the world by our values
Both Revelations and Psalm 2 describe the usual state of play in the world where the kings and people are always arrayed against God but no matter how they rebel in the end when God sets. His Messiah, He will crush them. There is a balance as God allows human choice and the people can choose to rebel as the kings do but in the end God is still in control and His purposes are brought to fulfilment.
Take for example the Genesis account of Joseph. The brothers are responsible for their evil in attempted murder and ultimate selling of Joseph to slavery but the evil as allowed to happen to Joseph but Gods sovereign power elevated Joseph from slavery and prison to the right hand of Pharaoh and this ultimately saved not only Egypt from famine but also Israel.
What does it mean that we are too easily pleased by the things of this world? What kind of pleasure should we strive for? How can Christians pursue faithfulness to Christ when so much of our society seems caught up in “Babylonianism”? How can we protect against the prostitute’s seduction?
What examples can you give of people looking to Babylon to provide satisfaction, joy, and meaning? This chapter shows the inability of sin to provide lasting pleasure. How have you seen the deceptiveness of sin in its failure to provide lasting joy and security? When examining your own heart, what are some of the things of this world that tend to distract you from God and His good plan for you?
How is our heart revealed by what we weep over? What causes you to weep?
Why does love for this world lead to destruction with the world? How does the worship of God make us more like God, and the worship of idols and Satan make us more like them?
This passage provides a strong warning against falling in love with this world. What role does warning play in our evangelism and missions?