Prophetic Words. Kingdom Words.
Rev. 18:21Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,
“With such violence Babylon the great city
will be thrown down,
and will be found no more;
Living life under the on-going oppression of Rome had become more than the people of God could bear. Rome, the great Babylon, was crushing the Christians as the people went about about their daily lives, round and round in circles being ground down as they rode the millstone of secular society. John has Rome in mind and his prophetic words point to the overthrown of the earthly kingdom of Rome, which is eventually replaced by the Roman Catholic Church. These are prophetic words…kingdom words, for the worldly kingdom is to be overthrown by the heavenly kingdom.
But before we get too far, just a few centuries later the words again become prophetic. Interestingly as you read later commentaries you discover that no longer is the Rome of Nero seen as the Great Babylon, but with the corruption of the Church, the Church of Rome is seen as the great Babylon and the Pope as the one who needs to repent. Prophetic words which lead to a Reformation of Christianity. Prophetic words, kingdom words, which remind us that whenever human kingdoms try to take over God’s intended heavenly kingdom, they will fall.
The original earthly kingdom in which the prophetic words apply is a Babylon established with the blood of Abel. It is that kingdom which is established when proud and arrogant Cain spills his brother’s blood. Kingdom after kingdom is established that will persecute the followers of God. These are the prophetic words, but also the kingdom words, for eventually those kingdoms will be thrown into the sea as God’s kingdom takes root and is established. Jeremiah spoke the same prophetic words, “When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it, and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates, 64 and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disasters that I am bringing on her.’” (Jer. 51:63 )
The lesson is for us to learn from the past. Mystical Babylon will continue to raise her ugly head whenever the grind and draw of secularism become a force with which to be reckoned. This is the prophetic word for we must live in a state of awareness. At the same time we are challenged to live in the kingdom, for Christ’s death has brought about the ultimate victory over the power of this world. We don’t have to live in the centrifugal force of Babylon for she and her stone have been thrown into the sea. We are set free to live in the power of the kingdom. These are the prophetic words, the kingdom words.
Lord, may the power of your Holy Spirit lead me in your kingdom today. Amen.