Today’s Bible Reading: Zechariah 10-11:17; Revelation 18:1-24; Psalm 146:1-10; Proverbs 30:33
One constant theme of the Bible is that people need leadership. Without a leader we will wander (Zechariah 10:2). When it comes to spiritual matters this is of eternal importance. Leaders are expected to shepherd people towards God. When they don’t the people suffer and then those leaders have to answer to God (Zechariah 10:3).
It is also possible that people will reject a leader that God has in mind for them. In a democratic country, such as the United States, where government leaders are elected by popular vote, this is certainly possible. God’s response in these cases is to raise up a leader who cares nothing for the people but who cares only for his/her own welfare and legacy (Zechariah 10:16).
Yesterday’s passage in Revelation (chapter 17) dealt with the downfall of the one-world religion that will exist on earth during the Tribulation. Today’s chapter will deal with the downfall of the one-world political & economic system that will also exist at this time.
At some point in the future the world will think it is a good idea to unite under the leadership of a single ruler. They will chose this leader based on his charisma as we’ve seen, but will know nothing of his true character. This man will lead the world into total chaos as his true nature is revealed. He will declare himself to be god and will demand worship from the entire planet. His reign will succeed for a while, but only by through violence. In the end God will have the last laugh.
Rather than faithfully devoting themselves to the true God the world will chase after false religion, wealth, and comfort (Revelation 18:3, 7) and will blatantly murder God’s people (Revelation 18:6). The world will be filled with people who care nothing about God or the less fortunate, but who care only for themselves.
But the entire system will come crashing down when God sends His judgements into the world as we’ve been reading. Everyone will mourn because their selfish way of life can no longer be sustained (Revelation 18:8-14). Notice that much of the wealth that was created was completely unnecessary – none of the items listed in Revelation 18:12-13 are necessities. They are all luxuries. This time period will be characterized by people pampering themselves with things they don’t need, such as BMWs, granite counter tops, etc rather than using their wealth to help others. People will be completely selfish. I think we can certainly say that we are well on our way to living like this.
The entire world’s economy will come to a complete halt (Revelation 18:17, 22). People will not know what to do. Everything they had been chasing after will suddenly be gone. All their efforts will be revealed for what they were – pointless. These people will have forsaken a relationship with the God who created them and who loves them and in exchange piled up temporary and meaningless material wealth for themselves that could do nothing for them.
Our passage in Psalms touches on these same issues. When people put their trust in other human beings, including leaders, they will be disappointed (Psalm 146:3-4). Rather we should put our hope in God who is completely unselfish and who wants nothing but the best for us. Just like he will do to the antichrist and those who will follow him, God will frustrate the plans of those who are evil – those who live for themselves and ignore the plight the less fortunate (Psalm 146:9).
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