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Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Revelation 18

I have been studying the book of Revelation chapter by chapter and posting it here on my blog. If you need to go look at all of studies on Revelation click HERE.

Revelation 18:1-3 1 After this I saw another angel descending from heaven with great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his glory. 2 And he cried out in a mighty voice:
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a lair for demons
and a haunt for every unclean spirit,
every unclean bird, and every detestable beast.
3 All the nations have drunk the wine
of the passion of her immorality.
The kings of the earth were immoral with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy
from the extravagance of her luxury.”

In Revelation 17, an angel comes to the Apostle John and explains a vision he has seen which includes the introduction to the Whore of Babylon, the Harlot, the spiritual Prostitute. For my study on Revelation 17, click HERE.

This is not the same angel that was standing by John and explaining the vision. The "mystery" of the beast and the harlot was declared in Chapter 17, this angel now describes the doom that awaits them. This angel is sent from heaven with judgment from God. Some say this angel is actually Jesus Christ bringing judgment. Others say it is one of the archangels. I tend to think this is an angel, not Jesus, but one who is commissioned and reflects God's glory as he brings judgment. The Whore of Babylon was idolatrous, wicked, greedy and a lure to men (and women). They were lured away from God by this tawdry, tacky Harlot and her worldly riches.

"The downfall and destruction of the mystical Babylon are determined in the counsels of God. Another angel comes from heaven. This seems to be Christ himself, coming to destroy his enemies, and to shed abroad the light of his gospel through all nations. The wickedness of this Babylon was very great; she had forsaken the true God, and set up idols, and had drawn all sorts of men into spiritual adultery, and by her wealth and luxury kept them in her interest. The spiritual merchandise, by which multitudes have wickedly lived in wealth, by the sins and follies of mankind, seems principally intended. Fair warning is given to all that expect mercy from God, that they should not only come out of this Babylon, but assist in her destruction. God may have a people even in Babylon. But God's people shall be called out of Babylon, and called effectually, while those that partake with wicked men in their sins, must receive of their plagues." - Matthew Henry's Commentary

Revelation 18:2 She has become a lair for demons
and a haunt for every unclean spirit,
every unclean bird, and every detestable beast.

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
a lair - κατοικητήριον (katoikētērion) - Noun - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 2732: A habitation, dwelling-place, abode. From a derivative of katoikeo; a dwelling-place.
It indicates a place where residents settle down with the idea of a protracted residence.

for demons - δαιμονίων (daimoniōn) - Noun - Genitive Neuter Plural
Strong's Greek 1140: An evil-spirit, demon; a heathen deity. Neuter of a derivative of daimon; a demonic being; by extension a deity.

a haunt - φυλακὴ (phylakē) - Noun - Nominative Feminine Singular
Strong's Greek 5438: From phulasso; a guarding or, the act, the person; figuratively, the place, the condition, or, the time, literally or figuratively.
This indicates it's not just a home but a prison, a place of involuntary confinement. During the thousand years Satan is bound in the abyss, he is unable to escape from his location. The same term describes the prison which Satan is released from at the end of the Millennial Kingdom (Revelation 20:7)

for every - παντὸς (pantos) - Adjective - Genitive Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 3956: All, the whole, every kind of. Including all the forms of declension; apparently a primary word; all, any, every, the whole.

unclean - ἀκαθάρτου (akathartou) - Adjective - Genitive Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 169: Unclean, impure. Impure (lewd) or specially, (demonic).

spirit, - πνεύματος (pneumatos) - Noun - Genitive Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 4151: Wind, breath, spirit.

As we look across our world, we can see cities that seem to be "lairs for demons". Every evil and filthy thing imaginable comes crawling out of the sewers of most of the cities in this world. Idolatry, greed, addictions, sexual immorality of every description, rapes, murder, theft, corruption, lies/deceit, abuse of any vulnerable person (unborn babies, children, elderly, handicapped, women, mentally handicapped, widows and orphans, etc). It's truly hideous what human beings can do to one another. Rioting in the streets, brazen theft, car jackings, home invasions, drug wars, human trafficking, vandalism, bullying... satan and his demons run rampant in the lives of people. Yes, most cities and towns are "lairs of demons" and "haunts" of the unclean.

What are unclean animals, birds and bugs? In Leviticus 11 and Deuteronomy 14, God instructs the Israelites not to eat certain animals, birds or bugs.

Leviticus 11:1-25 1 Then the LORD said to Moses and Aaron, 2 “Give the following instructions to the people of Israel.
“Of all the land animals, these are the ones you may use for food. 3 You may eat any animal that has completely split hooves and chews the cud. 4 You may not, however, eat the following animals that have split hooves or that chew the cud, but not both. The camel chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is ceremonially unclean for you. 5 The hyrax chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is unclean. 6 The hare chews the cud but does not have split hooves, so it is unclean. 7 The pig has evenly split hooves but does not chew the cud, so it is unclean. 8 You may not eat the meat of these animals or even touch their carcasses. They are ceremonially unclean for you.
9 “Of all the marine animals, these are ones you may use for food. You may eat anything from the water if it has both fins and scales, whether taken from salt water or from streams. 10 But you must never eat animals from the sea or from rivers that do not have both fins and scales. They are detestable to you. This applies both to little creatures that live in shallow water and to all creatures that live in deep water. 11 They will always be detestable to you. You must never eat their meat or even touch their dead bodies. 12 Any marine animal that does not have both fins and scales is detestable to you.
13 “These are the birds that are detestable to you. You must never eat them: the griffon vulture, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, 14 the kite, falcons of all kinds, 15 ravens of all kinds, 16 the eagle owl, the short-eared owl, the seagull, hawks of all kinds, 17 the little owl, the cormorant, the great owl, 18 the barn owl, the desert owl, the Egyptian vulture, 19the stork, herons of all kinds, the hoopoe, and the bat.
20 “You must not eat winged insects that walk along the ground; they are detestable to you. 21 You may, however, eat winged insects that walk along the ground and have jointed legs so they can jump. 22 The insects you are permitted to eat include all kinds of locusts, bald locusts, crickets, and grasshoppers. 23 All other winged insects that walk along the ground are detestable to you.
24 “The following creatures will make you ceremonially unclean. If any of you touch their carcasses, you will be defiled until evening. 25 If you pick up their carcasses, you must wash your clothes, and you will remain defiled until evening.

God didn’t give laws to be arbitrary and controlling. He gave His laws “that it might be well” with those who obey Him. Some of the laws are for sanitation reasons, hygiene reasons, health reasons and mental health reasons. Remember, the Jews lived centuries ago in a hot, desert type environment and they had no idea about germs, bacteria, viruses, or how diseases spread. There was no refrigeration or electricity for them to process and store food safely. There was no indoor plumbing, running water, sewage treatment centers, bathrooms, etc. When you read through the laws, most of them make good sense if you keep that in mind. God was trying to keep them healthy whether they understood it or not. Today, we know how dirty water can be and what kind of diseases it can carry but they didn't. So taking a little wine or adding wine to water, helped purify water with the alcohol killing some of the germs. We also know how fast meat can go bad in a hot environment. That was why our ancestors had hog killing time in the late Fall. It wasn't so cold that you couldn't do it, but it was cold enough so that you could process the meat and have it hanging before it went bad because the cold air refrigerated it through those hours between kill and cure. They didn't even have that luxury in the Middle East as it doesn't get cold enough to be able to process pork. Then there are the "garbage guts". Many of the forbidden animals and birds were garbage collectors such as vultures, hawks, pigs, shellfish (such as shrimp, oysters, crabs) that feed off of decaying flesh or organic material that falls to the sea floor like sewage. Lions, wolves, dogs, cats, etc. kill by going after the weakest, and perhaps they are weak because they are sick. These animals can ingest decaying flesh without it killing them. But it goes through their system and could pass on things to us if we ate them.

“Could it be that God, in His wisdom, created certain creatures whose sole purpose is to clean up after the others? Their entire ‘calling’ may be to act exclusively as the sanitation workers of our ecology. God may simply be telling us that it’s better for us believers not to consume the meat of these trash collectors”. David Meinz, Nutritionist, Eating by the Book, 1999, p. 225

God had His reasons whether we understand them or not and it is not for us to pick and choose what commands we will obey. And Jews were suppose to follow these laws to the best of their ability because God said so. Much like your Mom and Dad used to say, "I don't care if you understand or not. You will do what I say because I said so!" Children are often not mature enough to understand why Mom and Dad say so. Or maybe there isn't enough time for questions, just obey! If a child is playing in the  middle of the road and Mom sees a car coming, she will shout, "GET OUT OF THE ROAD!" If the child stands there, looks at Mom and asks, "Why?",  the child could get run over by the time he understood the danger. There isn't enough time for an explanation and reason, just get out of the road! If you trust your Mom and/or Dad love you enough to take care of you to the best of their ability, then get a move on and obey them. They most likely aren't telling you to do something just to boss you around. There are reasons and good ones at that. I might tell my child to take out the trash. The child gets mad and stomps around and can't understand why they have to do the chore. But Mom knows it's important to teach them responsibility, cooperation, teamwork, sanitation and good manners. If the child never has to throw out the garbage, they may grow up to throw garbage on the ground or floor, live in a pigsty and respect for themselves, their possessions (blessings from God) and others in their household or in their immediate vicinity. If there is one pet peeve I have, it's seeing trash just thrown in other people's yards, on the roadside, in public places, etc. Heck, I can't stand having trash lying around my house! It's slovenly and lazy not to take your trash to your trashcan and to regularly take the trash out. I don't want to be tripping over someone's trash, smelling it, circumnavigating it. It's a filthy, disrespectful habit that shows laziness and discourtesy to those around you. When a child is 7 yrs old, they don't understand all these reasons, but Mom and Dad should and they are right to teach and train their child to take the trash out. It will benefit them in the long run. When I'm watching movies, I get so aggravated at people who refuse to move when someone is telling them to get out! They just stand there and demand explanations. Meanwhile whatever booger, or disaster, is getting nearer. Some even resist and fight the well meaning hero/heroine just to demand a step-by-step explanation! I want to shout with the hero, "THERE'S NO TIME FOR ALL THAT YOU STUPID TWIT! GET MOVING!" They endanger themselves and their rescuers because they demand an explanation! I bet God gets that all the time. He sees a disaster on the horizon and is giving us all the warnings but we stand with our arms folded refusing to budge until God explains everything to OUR satisfaction. It's to our own best benefit to heed God and obey whether we understand or not. It's what sets us apart from the rest of the world. When we trust Him and obey Him, with or without explanation, we are showing to the world that we trust in His love for us. So the Jews, by obeying God's Laws, were supposedly a witness to the world that they trusted in God's love for them. They were set apart. This didn't preclude anyone. Gentiles could become Jews or join the Jewish nation by trusting in Jehovah and following His commands. There is a definite link between a relationship with a God we love and obedience to His commands out of love and devotion to Him. When we have a relationship with God, we learn to trust in Him and to believe in His utter love for us. Then it's not hard to obey His commands.

But we also know, from reading the Old and New Testament in it's entirety, that the Jews struggled with loving God enough to trust and obey. In fact, the nation seesawed back and forth when it came loving and trusting in God. Over and over again, they chose to trust in other gods, idols, and other nations, rather than in God. They were no better than the Gentile world. And so it is with all humans.

The Jews refer to unclean animals, birds and insects as non-Kosher. Everything they are allowed to eat, according to God's Laws, are called Kosher. My husband works for a food manufacturer and they have to meet certain guidelines for Jewish Law if they put "Kosher" on the packaging. A Jewish food expert will come in and inspect, make suggestions, consult, etc. to make sure they are following Jewish Law in preparing food so that it can be considered "Kosher". There are extensive dietary laws for Jews to follow even down to what pot to boil in and what plate to serve on and when to eat something and the ingredients, etc. Not all of that is in Leviticus and Deuteronomy. You can read for yourself. Beyond what is in the Holy Bible, it means that some human(s) have decided on all the other details. I'm sure they had their reasons for the additions, at least at the time they were added.

Orthodox Jews try to follow the laws strictly (all of them) despite the change in knowledge, technology and science in the last 100 years. I can understand they believe if God said it, then they should obey it. God does not change and we should not decide for ourselves if a law should, or should not, be obeyed. On the other hand, many of their dietary laws are outside of the Hebrew Bible (or Tanakh), the collection of ancient religious writings by the Israelites that Christians call the Old Testament. Also God has given us great gifts in science and technology in the last 100 years that have made some of the dietary laws seem unnecessary.

When it comes to Christians and the New Testament, we find these were heavy questions to the first church Christians. Once they accept Jesus as their Savior, do they have to follow the Old Testament Jewish laws? The Apostles addressed the issue by teaching if you are convicted by God to follow, or stop following, Jewish law, follow God's direction. But don't impose one way or the other on anyone else. Having grown up following those laws, it came naturally to the Messianic Jews (those who were Jews but accepted Jesus as the Messiah and Savior) to continue eating as they had been. For instance, if you had never eaten pork, you probably weren't tempted to eat a ham sandwich, it wouldn't appeal to you. On the other hand, it wouldn't be right to insist all Christians refuse to eat pork or to insist all Christians must eat pork. It's between them and God and not something to be commanded or dictated. It's not a sin one way or the other as long as you are following God's leading in your own heart. They were to remember that God chose Abraham and his descendants to be His People before there was the Law. So it wasn't following the Law that brought salvation, but faith in God. We are back to having a relationship with God based on love and faith. He loves us and we love Him. We can obey Him because He loves us and we can trust in that love.

Romans 4:13,16 13 Clearly, God’s promise to give the whole earth to Abraham and his descendants was based not on his obedience to God’s law, but on a right relationship with God that comes by faith... 16 So the promise is received by faith. It is given as a free gift. And we are all certain to receive it, whether or not we live according to the law of Moses, if we have faith like Abraham’s. For Abraham is the father of all who believe.

Acts 10:9-16 9 The next day as Cornelius’s messengers were nearing the town, Peter went up on the flat roof to pray. It was about noon, 10 and he was hungry. But while a meal was being prepared, he fell into a trance. 11 He saw the sky open, and something like a large sheet was let down by its four corners. 12 In the sheet were all sorts of animals, reptiles, and birds. 13 Then a voice said to him, “Get up, Peter; kill and eat them.”
14 “No, Lord,” Peter declared. “I have never eaten anything that our Jewish laws have declared impure and unclean.”
15 But the voice spoke again: “Do not call something unclean if God has made it clean.” 16 The same vision was repeated three times. Then the sheet was suddenly pulled up to heaven.

Matthew 15:17-20 (Jesus speaking) 17 “Anything you eat passes through the stomach and then goes into the sewer. 18 But the words you speak come from the heart—that’s what defiles you. 19 For from the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, all sexual immorality, theft, lying, and slander. 20 These are what defile you. Eating with unwashed hands will never defile you.”

1 Timothy 4:3-5 They will say it is wrong to be married and wrong to eat certain foods. But God created those foods to be eaten with thanks by faithful people who know the truth. 4 Since everything God created is good, we should not reject any of it but receive it with thanks. 5 For we know it is made acceptable by the word of God and prayer.

1 Corinthians 8:7-13 7 However, not all believers know this. Some are accustomed to thinking of idols as being real, so when they eat food that has been offered to idols, they think of it as the worship of real gods, and their weak consciences are violated. 8 It’s true that we can’t win God’s approval by what we eat. We don’t lose anything if we don’t eat it, and we don’t gain anything if we do.9But you must be careful so that your freedom does not cause others with a weaker conscience to stumble. 10 For if others see you—with your “superior knowledge”—eating in the temple of an idol, won’t they be encouraged to violate their conscience by eating food that has been offered to an idol? 11 So because of your superior knowledge, a weak believer for whom Christ died will be destroyed. 12 And when you sin against other believers by encouraging them to do something they believe is wrong, you are sinning against Christ. 13 So if what I eat causes another believer to sin, I will never eat meat again as long as I live—for I don’t want to cause another believer to stumble.

Note - we are not to fall into gluttony where food becomes our god and we become addicted to food. There is sin in that.

Back to Revelation 18:2, we have learned what unclean animals and birds are but why is God mentioning it in this verse?

Isaiah 34:1-15 1 Come near, you nations, and listen;
pay attention, you peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
the world, and all that comes out of it!
2 The Lord is angry with all nations;
his wrath is on all their armies.
He will totally destroy them,
he will give them over to slaughter.
3 Their slain will be thrown out,
their dead bodies will stink;
the mountains will be soaked with their blood.
4 All the stars in the sky will be dissolved
and the heavens rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.
5 My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
see, it descends in judgment on Edom,
the people I have totally destroyed.
6 The sword of the Lord is bathed in blood,
it is covered with fat—
the blood of lambs and goats,
fat from the kidneys of rams.
For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah (capital city of Edom)
and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
7 And the wild oxen will fall with them,
the bull calves and the great bulls.
Their land will be drenched with blood,
and the dust will be soaked with fat.
8 For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.
9 Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch,
her dust into burning sulfur;
her land will become blazing pitch!
10 It will not be quenched night or day;
its smoke will rise forever.
From generation to generation it will lie desolate;
no one will ever pass through it again.
11 The desert owl and screech owl will possess it;
the great owl and the raven will nest there.
God will stretch out over Edom
the measuring line of chaos
and the plumb line of desolation.
12 Her nobles will have nothing there to be called a kingdom,
all her princes will vanish away.
13 Thorns will overrun her citadels,
nettles and brambles her strongholds.
She will become a haunt for jackals,
a home for owls.
14 Desert creatures will meet with hyenas,
and wild goats will bleat to each other;
there the night creatures will also lie down
and find for themselves places of rest.
15 The owl will nest there and lay eggs,
she will hatch them, and care for her young
under the shadow of her wings;
there also the falcons will gather,
each with its mate.

We will look at this scripture again in a minute.

The blood, fatness, and kidneys are God's portion of the animal sacrifices according to the Jewish Law. Isaiah tells us that this is payment for the penalty of sin. The Sword of the Lord will be bathed in blood and engorged with the fat.

The wild animals were not used for sacrifice. Edom will be desolate and filled with burning sulfur and pitch so no real birds or animals will live there. It appears that both Babylon and Edom will be dwelling places for demons. God is separating the sheep from the goats. There are no humans here. These wild animals and birds are mentioned in Isaiah 15:
  • Wild male oxen (sometimes translated unicorns, rhinoceros or buffalo/bison)
  • Desert owl (sometimes translated pelican)
  • Screech owl (sometimes translated porcupine)
  • Great owl
  • Raven
  • Falcon
  • Ostriches
  • Desert creatures
  • Wild male goats
  • Night creatures (lilith, night demon)
  • Arrow snake
  • Jackals
  • Hyenas
These represent demonic spirits. Satan is often seen as a male goat with horns or a wild he goat, as a snake and dragon. These are wild, scavengers, destructive, carnivorous, decayed-flesh-eaters. They are spiritual beings in the service of the devil. That's what will be inhabiting the burning wastes of Edom, imprisoned there.

I talked about how God used Babylon as a tool to try to bring the Israelites back to God. A tool of direction, then a tool of correction and, finally, a tool of judgment. There have been other nations like Babylon. Tyre, in Ezekiel 26-28, and Babylon, Revelation 18, are called out by God on their pride. They were known for their empires, commercial successes, shipping, and idolatrous influence upon other nations. The destruction of Tyre did happen. Nebuchadnezzar indeed laid siege to Tyre from 585–573 B.C., a thirteen-year siege in all. Tyre was situated so there was a mainland city on the coast and an island part of the city.

Here are some excerpts from Ezekiel's prophecies of Tyre:
Ezekiel 26:1-2 1 On February 3, during the twelfth year of King Jehoiachin’s captivity,a this message came to me from the LORD: 2 “Son of man, Tyre has rejoiced over the fall of Jerusalem, saying, ‘Ha! She who was the gateway to the rich trade routes to the east has been broken, and I am the heir! Because she has been made desolate, I will become wealthy!’

Ezekiel 26:7a 7 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: From the north I will bring King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon against Tyre..."

Ezekiel 26:19-21 “This is what the Sovereign LORD says: I will make Tyre an uninhabited ruin, like many others. I will bury you beneath the terrible waves of enemy attack. Great seas will swallow you. 20 I will send you to the pit to join those who descended there long ago. Your city will lie in ruins, buried beneath the earth, like those in the pit who have entered the world of the dead. You will have no place of respect here in the land of the living. 21 I will bring you to a terrible end, and you will exist no more. You will be looked for, but you will never again be found. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”

Ezekiel 28:1-2 1 Then this message came to me from the LORD: 2 “Son of man, give the prince of Tyre this message from the Sovereign LORD:
“In your great pride you claim, ‘I am a god!
I sit on a divine throne in the heart of the sea.’
But you are only a man and not a god,
though you boast that you are a god.

In fact, most scholars see the "prince of Tyre" as satan himself. They see Ezekiel 28 as a description of him and his fall from heaven. Another dual fulfillment, as Tyre was actually a city and was destroyed by King Nebuchadnezzar and "many nations". But originally, satan is described and his end prophesied here as well.

Have you ever read Tom Wolfe's Bonfire of the Vanities? The story is a drama about ambition, racism, social class, politics, and greed in 1980s New York City. It describes Sherman McCoy, a bonds trader in New York, who has become wealthy. He has everything, including a svelt, upper tone wife and a beautiful little daughter. But he attributes his success to himself and calls himself one of the "Masters of the Universe" and looks down on EVERYONE else, including his wife and daughter! Of course, the rest of the story humbles him painfully. I mean, where do we get off thinking we are god?!?

"He was of that breed whose natural destiny it was…to have what they wanted!" - Tom Wolfe's The Bonfire of the Vanities, Chapter 4, page 77

In his story (which is not a Christian book, by the way), Wolfe describes how Sherman McCoy is debased from his lofty height of pride. Wolfe used various ways to pull him down and he falls hard. God used tools to punish Jerusalem to bring them back to Him. But, even the "tools" became so full of pride that God went after them next. Jerusalem, His true people, were never forgotten and He always took care of the remnant, the true believers.

"The Achaemenid Empire of King Cyrus the Great conquered the city in 539 BC and kept it under its rule until 332 BC. The Persians then divided Phoenicia into four vassal kingdoms: Sidon, Tyre, Arwad, and Byblos. They prospered, furnishing fleets for Persian kings. Phoenician influence declined after this.
"After his conquest of Persia, Alexander the Great moved his armies south towards Lebanon, eventually sieging and sacking the City of Tyre. Alexander the Great connected the island to the mainland by constructing a causeway during his siege of the city in 332 BC, demolishing the old city to reuse its cut stone. In 315 BC, Alexander's former general Antigonus began his own siege of Tyre, taking the city a year later. In 126 BC, Tyre regained its independence from the Seleucid Empire." - Wikipedia

Hiram, king of Tyre, played a major role in the building materials for important structures such as the Israelite kings’ palaces and the first temple of King David and King Solomon (circa 1000 B.C.). In numerous bible verses, the text states that Hiram sent cedar trees, carpenters, masons, and builders to Israel (2 Samuel 5:11) because of their skill in timber cutting (1 Kings 5:1-18) and shipping But eventually, Tyre exulted over Jerusalem's punishments. Their slave trade even enslaved Jews to sell to their Greeks.

Alexander's conquest brought a permanent end to the Phoenician Empire. He even scraped the city and pushed the debris to form a land bridge to the island of Tyre. Tyre has been conquered or ruled over by the Greeks, the Persians, the Romans, the Crusaders and the Arabs, who destroyed the city, in 1291. The original island city is now under water. The rest of the island is still there with the land bridge. A small modern city called Tyre or Sur, now stands near the ruins of the ancient mainland city. It is the fourth largest city in Lebanon after Beirut, Tripoli, Aley and Sidon, and houses one of the nation's major ports. So the prophecy did come true.

You will notice between the two stories of Tyre and Babylon, their principal sins were pride and idolatry. God uses them as tools, as weapons to punish pride, greed, idolatry. But their time is coming when they will be judged. In history, Tyre and Babylon, have been destroyed.

Jeremiah 51:1 This is what the LORD says: “I will stir up a destroyer against Babylon and the people of Babylonia."
Jeremiah 51:6-7 6 Flee from Babylon! Save yourselves!
Don’t get trapped in her punishment!
It is the LORD’s time for vengeance;
he will repay her in full.
7 Babylon has been a gold cup in the LORD’s hands,
a cup that made the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank Babylon’s wine,
and it drove them all mad.

Jeremiah 51:20 “You are my battle-ax and sword,” says the LORD, “With you I will shatter nations and destroy many kingdoms.

Jeremiah 51:25-26 25 “Look, O mighty mountain, destroyer of the earth!
I am your enemy,” says the LORD.
“I will raise my fist against you,
to knock you down from the heights.
When I am finished,
you will be nothing but a heap of burnt rubble.
26 You will be desolate forever.
Even your stones will never again be used for building.
You will be completely wiped out,” says the LORD.

It would behoove us to watch ourselves and not let the same thing happen to us or to our country. America can choose to be on God's side or satan's side and we keep choosing pride, commercialism, idolatry and rejecting the only true God. We have been a help to Israel in the past but some of our leaders don't even want to do that any more. We have cut our ties to Jehovah God. We have pridefully shouted that we don't need "God" any more and there should be "separation between church and state" as though that were somehow written in scripture! It wasn't, and it's not even in the U.S. Constitution. It was in a letter written by Thomas Jefferson to Baptists in 1802. But those who hate God love to run out this statement in some kind of self righteous frenzy so they can continue to delete God from American life, government, society and culture. We now teach our children in state supported schools that there is no God or all gods are the same. We cannot worship any god in any government funded institution. We cannot read His Word in school; we cannot carry His Word in school libraries; we cannot have religious speakers or prayers read in school; we cannot teach the Ten Commandments, the Golden Rule, the Lord's Prayer, the Twenty Third Psalm or John 3:16 in school (like we did when I went to school in the 1960-1970's). I have no idea what atheists are so afraid their children will learn if we teach those fundamentals? Treat everyone with the respect they want to be treated with; love their enemies; don't kill, steal or lie; and there is someone who loves them and provided a way of salvation for them. I mean, honestly, even if I wasn't a believer, I would still want my child taught those basic principles that make life better for everyone. But Americans have allowed these things to be railroaded out of our public institutions as though they were despicable and we've been flooded with social experiments ever since. We now teach them sex education which isn't just how babies are made but how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and STDs in graphic detail and all the different ways someone can have sex in all it's most perverted manners. And if it weren't enough to teach that to children using my tax dollars in public schools, they get to see it in constant vivid color and stereo surround sound in every TV program, movie and music. I had one black person pull up beside me with their stereo on so loud that it was causing my SUV to rattle and my heart to jump in my chest. She was laid back on the steering wheel damaging her ears but that wasn't what concerned me. The words to the song, which I couldn't avoid hearing even with my windows up, were so disgusting that I wanted to vomit. It was pornographic and I'll leave it at that. Those words were being blasted into her head, and the heads of everyone around her in traffic. And it's what is being blasted into our children. But heaven forbid, someone should say a Bible verse in a classroom. That might offend someone's tender ear! It's so ludicrous, with not one shred of logic behind it, that it must be satanically inspired.

But America, better wake up or we will find ourselves in these scriptures of utter destruction! It happened with Hitler, the USSR, etc. All the "empires" influenced and empowered by satan have come to utter destruction and the end time empire of the anti-Christ will also be utterly destroyed, along with whatever props it up. There are so many ways of total annihilation now that it doesn't take a lot of imagination to see this world as a smoldering rock of ruin.

But, praise be to God, He is aware of everyone who are truly His children, converts and disciples of Jesus Christ. Not one of us are forgotten. He has provided a way of salvation so that our eternity is assured. In the end times, there will others who will finally accept Jesus Christ. They may be martyred and persecuted but God does not forget them. His remnant will be saved in the Ark of Christ! They will join all those who went before, and we will worship the only true God in spirit and in truth!

We really have nothing to fear if we are true believers and followers of Christ. Man may harm our bodies and kill us, but God rescues every one of us to bring us into His ultimate Kingdom! The true theocratic kingdom that will last forever and ever! Our time here on earth is but a blink of an eye in comparison to eternity. "When we've been there ten thousand years, bright shining as the sun, we've no less days to sing God's praise, than when we first begun" (Amazing Grace, last verse)

So, do I put off accepting the salvation of my soul through Jesus Christ? May it never be! Maybe I have painted a scary picture that Christians, in the last days, will be persecuted and martyred. But let me tell you, the whole of the warnings of God are to spare you the worse judgment of those who refuse to accept Jesus Christ as Savior. If you refuse and go into eternity with rejection on your lips, you are lost in eternal damnation. He doesn't want to lose you and you don't have to be lost. Things may look rosy for awhile in the world but our sins will make us miserable here and damn us in eternity.

Another kingdom is a tool used by God. Edom, or Edam (Hebrew for "red"), was an ancient kingdom which lies in today's Israel and Jordan. Bozrah was it's capital city. According to Genesis (the story of the twin brothers, Jacob and Esau), Esau's descendants settled in this land after displacing the Horites. It was also called the land of Seir; Mount Seir appears to have been strongly identified with them and may have been a cultic site. The southern area of Edom was called Idumea. The Edomites were considered as Israel’s kin, and the term “brother” is used in relation to the Edomites or the descendants of Esau in several places (Numbers 20:14; Deuteronomy 2:4-5; Amos 1:11; Obadiah 1:10). But like the twin brothers, the relationship was conflicted. Jealousy, as far back as Esau's time, plagued the Edomites. Moses and the Israelite people twice appealed to the Edomites for safe passage through their land along the "King's Highway" to Canaan. Both times, the King of Edom refused permission. So the wandering Israelite detoured around the country. The King of Edom did not attack the Israelites, though he was prepared in case of aggression. They were defeated by King Saul of Israel in the late 11th century BC. Forty years later King David and his general Joab defeated the Edomites in the "Valley of Salt", (probably near the Dead Sea). Edom remained a vassal of Israel. David placed Israelite governors over the Edomites and this continued under Solomon. When Israel divided into two kingdoms, Edom became a part of the Kingdom of Judah, aka Judea. Edom, Ammon and Moab invaded Judea but the invaders turned against one another and were all destroyed. Edom revolted against Jehoram and elected a king of its own. King Amaziah attacked and defeated the Edomites but the Israelites never completely subdued Edom. The Edomites joined the Babylonian King, Nebuchadnezzar II, and helped slaughter and plunder Jerusalem and the Judaeans. Herod the Great was an Idumean from Edom and he was the one who wanted the Wise Men to tell him where the child Jesus was. When they evaded him, he ordered all boy babies 2 yrs old and younger to be killed in Bethlehem. It was called the Killing of the Innocents. Why do I bring up Edom?

Isaiah 34:1-15 1 Come near, you nations, and listen;
pay attention, you peoples!
Let the earth hear, and all that is in it,
the world, and all that comes out of it!
2 The Lord is angry with all nations;
his wrath is on all their armies.
He will totally destroy them,
he will give them over to slaughter.
3 Their slain will be thrown out,
their dead bodies will stink;
the mountains will be soaked with their blood.
4 All the stars in the sky will be dissolved
and the heavens rolled up like a scroll;
all the starry host will fall
like withered leaves from the vine,
like shriveled figs from the fig tree.
5 My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
see, it descends in judgment on Edom,
the people I have totally destroyed.
6 The sword of the Lord is bathed in blood,
it is covered with fat—
the blood of lambs and goats,
fat from the kidneys of rams.
For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah
and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
7 And the wild oxen will fall with them,
the bull calves and the great bulls.
Their land will be drenched with blood,
and the dust will be soaked with fat.
8 For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.
9 Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch,
her dust into burning sulfur;
her land will become blazing pitch!
10 It will not be quenched night or day;
its smoke will rise forever.
From generation to generation it will lie desolate;
no one will ever pass through it again.
11 The desert owl and screech owl will possess it;
the great owl and the raven will nest there.
God will stretch out over Edom
the measuring line of chaos
and the plumb line of desolation.
12 Her nobles will have nothing there to be called a kingdom,
all her princes will vanish away.
13 Thorns will overrun her citadels,
nettles and brambles her strongholds.
She will become a haunt for jackals,
a home for owls.
14 Desert creatures will meet with hyenas,
and wild goats will bleat to each other;
there the night creatures will also lie down
and find for themselves places of rest.
15 The owl will nest there and lay eggs,
she will hatch them, and care for her young
under the shadow of her wings;
there also the falcons will gather,
each with its mate.

Now we are seeing how places and events have dual fulfillments, double meanings. We've seen Tyre and Edom and now studying Babylon. It helps to study their history but to also realize that they are speaking of something in the future as well. The prophecies have been literally fulfilled on this earth in the past. But there is a future fulfillment in the end times.

The enemies of God's people will know God's wrath and experience His punishing judgments. Another warning for the end time empire of the anti-Christ! Again there are dual interpretations. It has already happened to the physical Edom and it will happen again in the end times when God brings judgment against the anti-Christ and his kingdom.

"The judgments against Sodom and Gomorrah and that of Babylon are both typical of the Final Day; and for that reason, the comparison suggested here enables us to classify the judgment against Edom in the same way. Like Babylon, Edom will be nothing but a waste land generation after generation. This, of course, has already happened." - Coffman's Commentaries of the Bible


Revelation 18:4-8 4 Then I heard another voice calling from heaven,
“Come away from her, my people.
Do not take part in her sins,
or you will be punished with her.
5 For her sins are piled as high as heaven,
and God remembers her evil deeds.
6 Do to her as she has done to others.
Double her penalty for all her evil deeds.
She brewed a cup of terror for others,
so brew twice as much for her.
7 She glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so match it now with torment and sorrow.
She boasted in her heart,
‘I am queen on my throne.
I am no helpless widow,
and I have no reason to mourn.’
8 Therefore, these plagues will overtake her in a single day—
death and mourning and famine.
She will be completely consumed by fire,
for the Lord God who judges her is mighty.”

The Beast System is everything in the world that is against God, the one and only, true God. Whether it is blatantly hostile towards God or religious institutions and systems who have eroded until they are now just as much a hindrance between people and God as those who openly hate God. Many of Christian denominations started with the desire to be closer to God and follow His Word. But, over years and generations, with power, money and influence they become corrupted and not much better than what they broke off from. They are human institutions. Soon these leaders begin to think they are a "Master of the Universe". There are Popes and Preachers, Evangelists and Bishops, Cardinals and Deacons, Prophets, District Superiors and Church Managers who creep in and take over to make the "church" run better but God is not on their radar except to cloak their ambition and lust with respectability. God usually uses something to bring them down.

How do they get there? They are mere men/women who are just like us. Give us a little praise and attention and we get prideful and it goes from there. I'm all for giving our pastors respect and love. They are shepherds that we need and God anoints them to teach and encourage us. But when we begin to treat our leadership as gods... we are on the road to ruin. When we become body slaves to a pastor or Pope and run around getting them water, holding their coats for them, rushing them to important appointments and providing for their every whim and desire... we've set them up for failure and a terrible fall. Not many of us human beings can resist all that adulation and attention, power and money. No simple Deacon, Pastor, Bishop, Pope, etc should be treated such a way for then they are tempted to fall into pride. And from pride go all the sins of greed, lust, desire for ungodly things, etc. They will begin to feel it is due them and they should be able to indulge in any kind of lust because, after all, they are doing God's work and it's a perk. They think they deserve it. We've seen little pastors of little country churches to big time money-making evangelists to mega church pastors to the top of the food chain in denominations... and they all fall like dominoes because they begin to get too big for their britches. We aren't made to be God. We cannot do His job. We are NOT God. We are not even His best buddy. We are His child and He will discipline us in order to save our souls. If we refuse His discipline and His warnings, our fall will be even greater, etc. God doesn't do this to destroy, but to save!. He disciplines to save the sinner, to rescue the one who is rushing headlong into bondage and misery. He knows how bad things can get for us if we refuse to repent and humble ourselves. Too many ignore His warnings and his lighter disciplines to finally fall far. Its humiliating, utter disgrace before they realize what God was trying to tell them all along. And sometimes, even that doesn't work. They lose their public standing, their families, their friends, their livelihood, but they still refuse to repent and humble themselves before their God. Instead they blame God as though He were the one who led them down the path of pride, lust and greed. For those, they only thought they had fallen far. God will not let a true child of His get away with it. They have farther to fall still. If they are saved and they are God's child, He will work on them until they finally quit, give up to Him and find themselves released from the bondage they created. If they never were a child of His, He may let them go on their merry way straight to hell. Now, God doesn't want anyone to go to hell. I'm not saying that. He implanted a seed of faith in everyone. He sent the Holy Spirit during this Church Age to attempt to breath life on that seed of faith. He woos and works to try to get through to the hard hearts. But we have a life or death decision to make. We want Him or we reject Him. That determines whether we got to Heaven or Hell in eternity. He gave us the way to salvation, the only way. We don't get to pick and choose how we save ourselves. So He has done everything to keep us out of hell. He gave us His Son who died on the cross to save us. He gave us the seed of faith and the inborn knowledge that there is a god. He gave us the Holy Spirit to work and prepare our hardened hearts. He gave us His Word. He gives us Christians commanded to tell us the gospel (whether it's the preacher at church, the evangelist on the corner, the Christian speaker on the radio, or the Christian neighbor next door). He loves us that much! But we have to accept it, want Him, desire Him above all else. But, each time we reject His calling to our heart, our heart becomes a little more hardened, callused. It's our own fault. His call is still there, but it gets fainter and fainter because we keep rejecting Him. We can get to a point where we don't hear it at all because we've hardened our hearts by our constant rejection. That's a dangerous place to be because you could end up in eternity without God and that's Hell. You've risked your eternal soul and are on your way to hell in a handbasket. You chose it. God knows what your choice will be, He knows all things. But it was still your choice.

God will discipline to save our souls, to try and save us from our stupid choices and sins. But He will also discipline to bring integrity back to His church. If you are an egomaniac but you sell widgets, God is concerned for your soul and your own integrity. But if you are an egomaniac and you are preaching His Word, doing work in His Name... you are doing damage to His kingdom and you will not stand. You are hurting others in His Name and you will not get away with it.

Please don't think that I set myself above anyone else. I also know that I'm a mere woman who can fall into sin if I'm not very careful. We must remain humble and I don't mean like Charles Dickens' character, Uriah Heep, in David Copperfield. He was such a hideous character of pride and ambition but all the while he talked about how 'umble he was. He aspired and plotted to take everything from his boss, even his daughter, while telling everyone he met that he was just an 'umble man. He even gets to the point that, because he is humble, he deserves to take everything away from someone else! Boy, does satan have us twisted up or what!?!

Knowing how insidious pride is, sometimes I think I should go out in public wearing a black sheet (like the Muslim hejab) so no one will notice me and say anything good to me. But, if you do that, you can soon become self righteous and prideful about how righteous you are.  In reading The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, one of the characters comes to mind, Father Ferapont. Although the good monk, Zosima, is a part of the same order of monks and their leader, Father Ferapont takes his ascetism to extremes. He fasts so much it's unhealthy and it does him little good because his heart is full of self righteous pride and envy. He had only fed his inner demons. In his little spot in the world, he thinks he should be the monastery leader because he fasts more than the others. He's so full of the devil but thinks he's God's right hand man! It's the nature of mankind to be prideful. A poor person is proud because he's "been poor all his life" and a rich man is proud because he's worth more in dollars than others. An uneducated, illiterate person is proud because he "ain't got no book larnin'" and a college professor is proud because he's "been educated in the highest fashion". No matter what circumstances we find ourselves in, we tend to be ever so proud of ourselves and looking down on someone else. If you had a good family, you were proud that you "came from good stock". If you had a non-existent, or bad, family life, you were proud that you weren't "stuck up like those big whigs". Our self conceit seems to know no bounds. We can turn anything into something to brag about, good or bad. Criminals love to brag on how they got away with thieving and murderers love to brag on how smart they are in killing. God forgive us! Have you ever heard of someone boasting about how bad they are? I have. It becomes like a sign of honor to tell all the stories of the way you broke the law, got drunk, and abused someone! Lest you think it's all in the lower orders, it's also a sign of honor for the rich to tell all the stories of how they conned someone or built a pyramid scheme as though they were so smart. There is no difference in thieving whether it's stealing a flower pot off someone's front porch or stealing people's retirement income in pyramid schemes. Theft is theft and shouldn't be something to be proud of. I may not have been a thief but if I'm prideful in my virtue, I'm just as rotten with pride as the thief bragging on his illicit loot! Pride is so hard to combat! We have to see it first and then repent.

When God shows us a flaw, we should be quick to repent and try and cooperate with the Holy Spirit's work in our hearts. That's our best chance.

Revelation 18:4 Come away from her, my people.
Do not take part in her sins,
or you will be punished with her.

I don't want to be a Babylonian, entrenched in the sinful, ungodly "system" of the world. I must come away from that world in my spirit, mind, and sometimes my body. Physically removing myself from a place of temptation. Remember the story of Joseph and his master's wife? She wanted to start an affair with this goodlooking Hebrew who ran her husband's household. At first she evidently admired him but then her lust caused her to make sexual advances. He turned her down but she persisted. Finally she grabbed his coat to pull him to her and he literally had to come out of his coat and run away. This time she got mad and tried to make him pay by accusing him of being the aggressor and trying to rape her. He went to jail for it. As a slave, Joseph could not leave the household. He couldn't just move away or change jobs. But he refused her advances even to running away from her. He was thrown in jail but he was the good guy. God made sure he was physically out of that household. You would think jail worse than the household with the lusty wife but it wasn't because eventually he was trusted and did so well in jail he became the second highest in the land beneath the Pharaoh. If he had not been out of that household, the Pharaoh would probably never have known Joseph. God knew what He was doing. Joseph was careful and conscientious, dependable, honest and hard working. God did the rest. I'm sure Joseph was down, afraid, depressed at times and he couldn't see the future. But God was always working on his behalf and on the behalf of millions of little people who would have starved but for Joseph's administration during a famine. Joseph managed to keep his head up and keep working and doing his best despite how bleak things looked for him. Joseph was not a superman. He would have felt the same feelings we would feel in his situation. But he overcame them with God and made the choice to be a person of integrity before God no matter what his outward circumstances were. If he was going to be a slave, he would be a good and honest slave. If he was going to be in jail, he would be a good and honest convict.

Revelation 18:5 For her sins are piled as high as heaven,
and God remembers her evil deeds.

Hebrews 8:12 For I will forgive their iniquities and will remember their sins no more.

Psalm 103:12 As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.

What are the differences between these verses? In one, God remembers the world's sins, they are piled high as the heaven (much like that Tower of Babel in Genesis). But in Psalm and Hebrews (and many other places) God forgives and remembers sin no more. Isn't that contradictory?

NO! God does not want to hold our sins against us. He doesn't want to have to bring judgment or for anyone to go to hell. It's why He gave His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, to save us! It's why He has sent the Holy Spirit to work in us and given us His Word. But sin is sin and it cannot be allowed to stand. And there is nothing we can do about. Human beings are born in sin and we live in sin. If it were up to us to save ourselves, we would ALL be on our way to hell in a merry handbasket. But humans brought sin into the world and we were all infected from Adam and Eve. We inherited sin from them. There is no way out for us. But where there is no way, God provided a way. God sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to pay the price for sin and rescue us from the consequences of eternal damnation! Jesus voluntarily took on the job and obeyed His Father to the tiniest detail to insure salvation for all who would receive it! We have a way out! But the catch is, we have to acknowledge our sin and ask for Jesus Christ to forgive us. We have to trust in God's provision for salvation. We can't pick and choose how we will be saved. That puts us in the catbird seat where we dictate to God and that will not happen. God has provided a way and there is no other way. So we must do it His Way. He is God and we are not.

So God has sent His Word to communicate with us. He sent His Son to do the work. He has sent the Holy Spirit to prepare our hearts and teach us about salvation through faith in Christ. Once we see our sins and repent and ask for Jesus, we are saved and the Holy Spirit actually moves into our heart to begin training and empowering our newly born spirit. What else could God do to save us from ourselves?!? Jesus freely forgives. He requires nothing but to seek, ask and accept. Then our sins are removed and we are no longer under judgment! They are removed as far as the east is from the west. Our sins are remembered no longer! But if we reject Christ and we stick to the evil system of the world, our sins will be remembered and we will pay the price for them in eternal damnation.

Isaiah 44:22 I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.

1 Peter 1:18-19 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life you inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or spot.

Revelation 18:6 Do to her as she has done to others.
Double her penalty for all her evil deeds.
She brewed a cup of terror for others,
so brew twice as much for her.

I learned the Golden Rule in school. We would say the Pledge of Allegiance, repeat the Golden Rule and the Lord's Prayer every morning.

Matthew 7:12 So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.

This means if you want to be treated with kindness and respect, then treat others with kindness and respect. If you want someone to love you, then you begin by loving others. If you want to be treated generously, then treat others generously. But the opposite is true as well. If you treat someone badly, you will probably receive bad treatment in return. If you steal from someone, someone will steal from you. You sow and you reap what you sow. What goes around comes around. Cause and effect. Those are sayings that are based on the Golden Rule. The type of seed you plant determines the type of plant that grows and is harvested. This is the principle of duplication or multiplication. If you want good things, then you sow good things in others. Although you sow one seed you will reap much more than one seed. For instance, you sow a seed of corn but reap a stalk that produces several ears of corn and each ear is filled with corn kernels. But if you sow bad seed, then you will reap weeds and not just a weed but a whirlwind.

Hosea 8:7a For they sow the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind.

You will reap not only a single consequence to your sin but a whole lot more than you bargain for. In Hosea, the Israelites didn't sow seed, they sowed "the wind". Wind is nothing. You are blowing hot air. You are sowing nothing but expecting a good harvest? Instead you will reap a powerfully destructive force that harms not only you but those around you. Babylon sowed evil and reaps double the misery.

Revelation 18:7 She glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so match it now with torment and sorrow.
She boasted in her heart,
‘I am queen on my throne.
I am no helpless widow,
and I have no reason to mourn.’

Psalm 10: 2-14
2 The wicked arrogantly hunt down the poor.
Let them be caught in the evil they plan for others.
3 For they brag about their evil desires;
they praise the greedy and curse the LORD.
4 The wicked are too proud to seek God.
They seem to think that God is dead.
5 Yet they succeed in everything they do.
They do not see your punishment awaiting them.
They sneer at all their enemies.
6 They think, “Nothing bad will ever happen to us!
We will be free of trouble forever!”
7 Their mouths are full of cursing, lies, and threats.
Trouble and evil are on the tips of their tongues.
8 They lurk in ambush in the villages,
waiting to murder innocent people.
They are always searching for helpless victims.
9 Like lions crouched in hiding,
they wait to pounce on the helpless.
Like hunters they capture the helpless
and drag them away in nets.
10 Their helpless victims are crushed;
they fall beneath the strength of the wicked.
11The wicked think, “God isn’t watching us!
He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do!”
12 Arise, O LORD!
Punish the wicked, O God!
Do not ignore the helpless!
13 Why do the wicked get away with despising God?
They think, “God will never call us to account.”
14 But you see the trouble and grief they cause.
You take note of it and punish them.
The helpless put their trust in you.
You defend the orphans.

Remember, as low down on the totem pole as you may be, there is always someone lower and thus more vulnerable than you. Are you going to help them or hurt them? Do you bully them and take advantage of them or do you protect and help them?

Let's say you are a normal 10 year old child. Who could be more vulnerable than you? What about that child in class with the glasses or the old clothes? What about those children who are younger than you? What about babies and the unborn? Are they not all more vulnerable than you?

What about a teenage girl. Who is more vulnerable than you? What about the unborn child you may be carrying? What about the geek girls? What about the janitor in your school? What about the handicapped boy in the wheelchair? Are they not all more vulnerable than you?

What about a male nurse working for low wages in a nursing home? Who is more vulnerable than you? Isn't it that old lady who can't speak or move any more? Is it the nurse's aide who only makes minimum wage? Is it the family of a patient who can't afford to lose the room for their loved one by complaining about your shoddy work?

What I'm trying to say is there is always someone below you to abuse or help. If you are a bully at school then you are taking advantage of, and abusing, those more vulnerable than you are. If you choose abortion then you've murdered a vulnerable human being. You had the power to do good but you chose to do evil to someone who was vulnerable, who didn't have protection. If you steal from a patient in your nursing home or rape an old lady who can't report you, you are abusing a trust. On the other hand, you could choose to do good to those who need your help. You can be their help, their advocate, their champion, their strength.

So how do you respond to those who need help? Do you brush them off, use them, avoid them, or, heaven forbid, actually do physical and psychological harm to them? You may think you are getting away with it, but think again! God always knows what you have done. There is no way to hide it from Him. Even if you just think it, but don't do it, God knows the thought was in your heart.

In Revelation 18 and Psalm 10, people think they can get away with evil. They think God is not watching and does not catch all the mean little things they do. Before long, they are not only thinking and doing evil but bragging about the evil they get away with. God, in His mercy, will give you correction time but it won't go on for long. You will be held responsible for the evil you do unless you repent and ask for Jesus Christ's forgiveness. That is true, sincere repentance, not just lip service. Too many people think, if they add the gloss of confession, they can still get away with doing the sin. That's not repentance. Repentance is a change of mind. You see your sin for how ugly it is and you are sickened by it. You desperately don't want to be that kind of person and you go to Jesus in true repentance.

So the choice is repentance and forgiveness through Jesus Christ or continue on in your sins, tell yourself the lies and walk into eternal damnation? Sin damns but Jesus saves. It doesn't matter what we tell ourselves, it's all a bunch of lies. God does know what you are doing. God will judge you and the end result is eternity in utter torment. Your little running patter is just so much hot air sown.

"I am queen on my throne. I am no helpless widow, and I have no reason to mourn. Nothing bad will ever happen to us! We will be free of trouble forever! God isn’t watching us! He has closed his eyes and won’t even see what we do! God will never call us to account."

All of it is lies and we tell ourselves this so we don't feel any guilt or shame. But it's hot air that reaps the whirlwind of destruction.

Revelation 18:8a Therefore, these plagues will overtake her in a single day—
death and mourning and famine.
She will be completely consumed by fire,
for the Lord God who judges her is mighty.”

Here is the truth. Sin will bring about a harvest of "death and mourning and famine".

Isaiah 47:8-10 8 So now hear this, O lover of luxury, who sits securely, who says to herself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or know the loss of children.’ 9 These two things will overtake you in a moment, in a single day: loss of children, and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the potency of your spells. 10 You were secure in your wickedness; you said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge led you astray; you told yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’

Psalm 73:18-19 18 Surely You set them on slick ground; You cast them down into ruin. 19 How suddenly they are laid waste, completely swept away by terrors!

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
plagues - πληγαὶ (plēgai) - Noun - Nominative Feminine Plural
Strong's Greek 4127: A blow, stripe, wound; an affliction, plague. From plesso; a stroke; by implication, a wound; figuratively, a calamity.

death - θάνατος (thanatos) - Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 2288: Death, physical or spiritual. From thnesko; death.

misery - πένθος (penthos) - Noun - Nominative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 3997: Mourning, sorrow, sadness, grief. Strengthened from the alternate of pascho; grief.

famine - λιμός (limos) - Noun - Nominative Masculine Singular
Strong's Greek 3042: A famine, hunger. Probably from leipo; a scarcity of food.

fire - πυρὶ (pyri) - Noun - Dative Neuter Singular
Strong's Greek 4442: Fire; the heat of the sun, lightning; fig: strife, trials; the eternal fire. A primary word; 'fire'.

"Her plagues are four-fold, as though from every quarter her trouble came: 'death for her scorn of the prospect of widowhood; mourning, for her inordinate revelling; famine, for her abundance;' and fire, the punishment of her fornication." - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers


Revelation 18:9-10 9 Then the kings of the earth who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her will weep and wail at the sight of the smoke rising from the fire that consumes her. 10 In fear of her torment, they will stand at a distance and cry out:
“Woe, woe to the great city,
the mighty city of Babylon!
For in a single hour
your judgment has come.”

The "kings of the earth" weep and wail, not in repentance or in sadness for the judgment of God. They weep and wail in lament because of what it means to THEM! They see it as losing their golden goose! They had lived off of her and were more worried about themselves. What did it mean for them?!?

"The mourners had shared Babylon's sensual pleasures, and gained by her wealth and trade. The kings of the earth, whom she flattered into idolatry, allowing them to be tyrannical over their subjects, while obedient to her; and the merchants, those who trafficked for her indulgences, pardons, and honours; these mourn. Babylon's friends partook her sinful pleasures and profits, but are not willing to share her plagues. The spirit of antichrist is a worldly spirit, and that sorrow is a mere worldly sorrow; they do not lament for the anger of God, but for the loss of outward comforts. The magnificence and riches of the ungodly will avail them nothing, but will render the vengeance harder to be borne." - Matthew Henry's Commentary

Jeremiah 51 (To see the context, read verses 59-64 first.) 1 This is what the LORD says:
“Behold, I will stir up against Babylon
and against the people of Leb-kamaia (Berean Study Bible "Leb-kamai is a code name for Chaldea, that is, Babylonia")
the spirit of a destroyer.
2 I will send strangers to Babylon
to winnow her and empty her land;
for they will come against her from every side
in the day of her disaster.
3 Do not let the archer bend his bow
or put on his armor.
Do not spare her young men;
devote all her army to destruction!
4 And they will fall slain in the land of the Chaldeans (Wikipedia - Chaldea was a country that existed between the late 10th or early 9th and mid-6th centuries BC, after which the country and its people were absorbed and assimilated into Babylonia.),
and pierced through in her streets.
5 For Israel and Judah have not been abandoned
by their God, the LORD of Hosts,
though their land is full of guilt
before the Holy One of Israel.”
6 Flee from Babylon; escape with your lives!
Do not be destroyed in her punishment.
For this is the time of the LORD’s vengeance;
He will pay her what she deserves.
7 Babylon was a gold cup in the hand of the LORD,
making the whole earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine;
therefore the nations have gone mad.
8 Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been shattered.
Wail for her; get her balm for her pain;
perhaps she can be healed.
9 “We tried to heal Babylon,
but she could not be healed.
Abandon her!
Let each of us go to his own land,
for her judgment extends to the sky
and reaches to the clouds.”
10 The LORD has brought forth our vindication;
come, let us tell in Zion
what the LORD our God has accomplished.
11 Sharpen the arrows!
Take up the shields!
The LORD has aroused the spirit
of the kings of the Medes,
because His plan is aimed at Babylon
to destroy her,
for it is the vengeance of the LORD—
vengeance for His temple.
12 Raise a banner against the walls of Babylon;
post the guard;
station the watchmen;
prepare the ambush.
For the LORD has both devised and accomplished
what He spoke against the people of Babylon.
13 You who dwell by many waters,
rich in treasures,
your end has come,
the thread of your life is cut.
14 The LORD of Hosts has sworn by Himself:
“Surely I will fill you up with men like locusts,
and they will shout in triumph over you.”
A Song of Praise
15 He made the earth by His power;
He established the world by His wisdom
and stretched out the heavens by His understanding.
16 When He thunders,
the waters in the heavens roar,
and He causes the clouds to rise
from the ends of the earth.
He makes lightning for the rain
and brings forth the wind from His storehouses.
17 Every man is senseless and devoid of knowledge.
Every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols,
for his molten images are a lie,
and there is no breath in them.
18 They are worthless, a work to be mocked.
In the time of their punishment they will perish.
19 Jacob’s Portion is not like these,
for He is the Maker of all things,
and of the tribe of His inheritance—
the LORD of Hosts is His name.
Babylon's Punishment
20 “You are My war club,
My weapon for battle.
With you I shatter nations;
with you I bring kingdoms to ruin.
21 With you I shatter the horse and rider;
with you I shatter the chariot and driver.
22 With you I shatter man and woman;
with you I shatter the old man and the youth;
with you I shatter the young man and the maiden.
23 With you I shatter the shepherd and his flock;
with you I shatter the farmer and his oxen;
with you I shatter the governors and officials.
24 Before your very eyes I will repay
Babylon and all the residents of Chaldea
for all the evil they have done in Zion,”
declares the LORD.
25“Behold, I am against you,
O destroying mountain,
you who devastate the whole earth,
declares the LORD.
I will stretch out My hand against you;
I will roll you over the cliffs,
and turn you into a charred mountain.
26 No one shall retrieve from you a cornerstone
or a foundation stone,
because you will become desolate forever,”
declares the LORD.
27 “Raise a banner in the land!
Blow the trumpet among the nations!
Prepare the nations against her.
Summon the kingdoms against her—
Ararat, Minni, and Ashkenaz.
Appoint a captain against her;
bring up horses like swarming locusts.
28 Prepare the nations for battle against her—
the kings of the Medes,
their governors and all their officials,
and all the lands they rule.
29 The earth quakes and writhes
because the LORD’s intentions against Babylon stand:
to make the land of Babylon a desolation,
without an inhabitant.
30 The warriors of Babylon have stopped fighting;
they sit in their strongholds.
Their strength is exhausted;
they have become like women.
Babylon’s homes have been set ablaze,
the bars of her gates are broken.
31 One courier races to meet another,
and messenger follows messenger,
to announce to the king of Babylon
that his city has been captured from end to end.
32 The fords have been seized,
the marshes set on fire,
and the soldiers are terrified.”
33 For this is what the LORD of Hosts, the God of Israel, says:
“The Daughter Babylon is like a threshing floor
at the time it is trampled.
In just a little while
her harvest time will come.”
34 “Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has devoured me;
he has crushed me.
He has set me aside like an empty vessel;
he has swallowed me like a monster;
he filled his belly with my delicacies
and vomited me out.
35 May the violence done to me
and to my flesh
be upon Babylon,”
says the inhabitant of Zion.
“May my blood be on the inhabitants of Chaldea,”
says Jerusalem.
36 Therefore, this is what the LORD says:
“Behold, I will plead your case
and take vengeance on your behalf;
I will dry up her sea
and make her springs run dry.
37 Babylon will become a heap of rubble,
a haunt of jackals,
an object of horror and scorn,
without inhabitant.
38 They will roar together like young lions;
they will growl like lion cubs.
39 While they are flushed with heat,
I will serve them a feast,
and I will make them drunk
so that they may revel;
then they will fall asleep forever and never wake up,
declares the LORD.
40 I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
like rams with male goats.”
41 How Sheshach (Berean Study Bible - "Sheshach is a code name for Babylon"; THE LITERALISM ELEMENTS OF PROPHETICAL INTERPRETATION, By Rev. J.W. Brooks, Orrin Rogers, 67 S. Second St., Philadelphia, PA, E. 0. Doner, Printer, 1841 - "Sesach was the name of one of the Babylonian deities, in honour of whom there was a feast which lasted five days, called Saccea")
The praise of all the earth has been seized.
What a horror Babylon has become
among the nations!
42 The sea has come up over Babylon;
she is covered in turbulent waves.
43 Her cities have become a desolation,
a dry and arid land,
a land where no one lives,
where no son of man passes through.
44 I will punish Bel (Wikipedia - Bel signifying "lord" or "master", is a title rather than a genuine name, applied to various gods in the Mesopotamian religion of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia. Bel became especially used for the Babylonian god Marduk. The feminine form usually referred to Marduk's spouse, Sarpanit, or his mother, Ninhursag. Baal was a title and honorific meaning "owner," "lord" in the Northwest Semitic languages during antiquity. From its use among people, it came to be applied to gods. It seems to have been a title used for different idols as the human landscape evolved in the mid-east.) in Babylon.
I will make him spew out what he swallowed.
The nations will no longer stream to him;
even the wall of Babylon will fall.
45 Come out from among her, My people!
Save your lives, each of you,
from the fierce anger of the LORD.
46 Do not let your heart grow faint, and do not be afraid
when the rumor is heard in the land;
for a rumor will come one year,
and then another the next year
of violence in the land
and ruler against ruler.
47 Therefore, behold, the days are coming
when I will punish the idols of Babylon.
Her entire land will suffer shame,
and all her slain will lie fallen within her.
48 Then heaven and earth and all that is in them
will shout for joy over Babylon
because the destroyers from the north
will come against her,”
declares the LORD.
49 Babylon must fall
on account of the slain of Israel,
just as the slain of all the earth
have fallen because of Babylon.
50 You who have escaped the sword,
depart and do not linger!
Remember the LORD from far away,
and let Jerusalem come to mind.
51 “We are ashamed because we have heard reproach;
disgrace has covered our faces,
because foreigners have entered
the holy places of the LORD’s house.”
52 “Therefore, behold, the days are coming,”
declares the LORD,
“when I will punish her idols,
and throughout her land the wounded will groan.
53 Even if Babylon should ascend to the heavens
and fortify her lofty stronghold,
the destroyers I send will come against her,
declares the LORD.
54 The sound of a cry
comes from Babylon,
the sound of great destruction
from the land of the Chaldeans!
55 For the LORD will destroy Babylon;
He will silence her mighty voice.
The waves will roar like great waters;
the tumult of their voice will resound.
56 For a destroyer is coming against her—
against Babylon.
Her warriors will be captured,
and their bows will be broken,
for the LORD is a God of retribution;
He will repay in full.
57 I will make her princes and wise men drunk,
along with her governors, officials, and warriors.
Then they will fall asleep forever
and not wake up,”
declares the King,
whose name is the LORD of Hosts.
58 This is what the LORD of Hosts says:
“Babylon’s thick walls will be leveled,
and her high gates consumed by fire.
So the labor of the people will be for nothing;
the nations will exhaust themselves to fuel the flames.”

Jeremiah's Prophecy to Seraiah
59 This is the command that Jeremiah the prophet gave to the quartermaster Seraiah son of Neriah, the son of Mahseiah, when he went to Babylon with King Zedekiah of Judah in the fourth year of Zedekiah’s reign. 60 Jeremiah had written on a single scroll about all the disaster that would come upon Babylon—all these words that had been written concerning Babylon.
61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud, 62 and say, ‘O LORD, You have promised to cut off this place so that no one will remain—neither man nor beast. Indeed, it will be desolate forever.’
63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and cast it into the Euphrates. 64 Then you are to say, ‘In the same way, Babylon will sink and never rise again, because of the disaster I will bring upon her. And her people will grow weary.’”
Here end the words of Jeremiah.


Revelation 18: 11 And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, because there is no one left to buy their cargo— 12 cargo of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; of fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet; of all kinds of citron wood and every article of ivory, precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13 of cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; of wine, olive oil, fine flour, and wheat; of cattle, sheep, horses, and chariots; of slaves and souls of men:
14 “The fruit of your soul’s desire
has departed from you;
all your luxury and splendor have vanished,
never to be seen again.”

Treasures (These were, and still are, investment items that would sell anywhere and in any economy):
  • Gold
  • Silver
  • Precious stones
  • Pearls
  • Fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet (expensive fabrics and dyes that were normally used for the wealthy, nobles, ruling classes)

Dubai is known for it's over the top and rich lifestyle.

Materials used in building and furnishing mansions, impressive temples and businesses:
  • Citron wood (Biblestudytools.com - Thyine wood called citron wood by the Romans, is derived from the Greek word thuein , "to sacrifice," and it was so called because it was burnt in sacrifices due to it's fragrance. It's very valuable, and was for doors, panels, and ceilings; its rich brown hue was often relieved by inlaid ivory, also for making articles of furniture by the Greeks and Romans. Like the cedars of Lebanon, it is disappearing from the forests of Palestine.)
  • Ivory used in various ways
  • Precious wood
  • Bronze
  • Iron
  • Marble

Ointments and Incense (for vanity much like our makeup and toiletries and scenting the home or temples):
  • Cinnamon (may not be the same as our modern cinnamon but was used for scent)
  • Amomum, a kind of sweet-scented shrub, yielding an ointment much used for the hair (not used in the English translations but authority is in favour of its insertion) Spice
  • Myrrh
  • Frankincense
Americans Spent More than $16.5 Billion on Cosmetic Plastic Surgery in 2018. Socialite Jocelyn Wildenstein earned a reputation as "Catwoman" for her extensive plastic surgeries, which left her looking, well, like a hybrid of a human and a feline. The Mirror reported that she's admitted to spending more than $6.7 million on plastic surgeries.

Food articles (these were also the best food):
  • Wine
  • Olive oil
  • Fine flour
  • Wheat
  • Cattle
  • Sheep
Costing $25,000 this taco contains langoustine, Kobe beef, Almas Beluga caviar, and black truffle brie cheese. Even the salsa is extreme, made with dried Morita chili peppers, Ley.925 ultra-premium anejo tequila, and civet coffee.

Equipage (this would be like our cars, trucks, trains, airplanes today):
  • Horses
  • Chariots
The world's most expensive car is this $14.4 million dollar Bugatti La Voiture Noire

Here is the $9.9 million dollar Rolls Royce Sweptail

This Mercedes is studded with 300,000 real diamonds.

Human traffic, the number of slaves in Rome was enormous.:
  • Slaves
  • Souls of men (Referring to the rich masters treating their slaves as though they owned them body and soul. Their slaves were just other furniture or tools in the household to be used for their own pleasure at will. They didn't see them as human beings but only as conveniences for their own enjoyment. The height of worldliness, indolence, selfishness and inner corruption. Slavery is not inherently bad. It's when the master so abuses his slaves and refuses to treat them with the respect due another human being made in the likeness of God that it becomes sinful. The nature of slavery, purchasing and owning another human being, is a temptation to so abuse them and therefore is not ideal. The temptation is too strong for most men, especially the unsaved. When slavery is stealing men from their homes and families, conquest and brutality, this is wrong. When slavery includes abusing, mistreating, molesting, starving - these are evils whether it was done in slavery, marriage, by corporations or governments. It's being cruel to a fellow human being that is the sin. Many slaveowners did not mistreat their slaves and treated them as co-workers and friends, even as part of the family. But this was more the exception than the rule so it is good to outlaw slavery altogether. Today we don't have slaves, per se, but human trafficking continues to worsen and these human beings are the slaves of today. Most to the sex trade. Human beings are used as so much disposable property to use to make money and then discarded, even killed, when they are of no more use. But let us not forget workers. They are paid a wage and benefits but are they being mistreated by the companies they work for. Fast food restaurants who deliberately arrange hours to deny workers benefits is an abuse of power. Corporations who make financial decisions without counting the enormous cost on their workers are abusive. Bosses who cut the payroll by firing workers and then expecting the workers left to fill in and do multiple jobs for the same pay or risk losing their own jobs, is mistreatment. When CEO's make huge salaries and bonuses but do so closing plants laying off human beings who need the wages and benefits are making their money on the backs of those who need their little wages. Governments who keep people in virtual poverty is another form of slavery. The government gives them enough to keep them dependent and aquiescent. They are not encouraged or helped out of poverty by government "programs" but kept dependent. This is the way politicians keep their vote and keep them under control. The people are too afraid to lose their benefits and the money trickle from the government.  They lose their dignity as human beings, their worth and value as God's image bearers. They are treated as just a vote so the politician can keep his place and make his fortune. It has nothing to do with wanting to help, encourage, lift up, or enable a fellow human being no matter what the politician or political party says. Yes, individuals are out there that really do want to help the poor and vulnerable, but as a whole, politics and politicians, do what they do for votes so they can keep their power and continue to make money. Whatever party is in the ascendance is doing the same as all those before them and changing a party or politician will usually not result in much change because there is too much to be made in the current system.)
I deliberately chose photos of modern day excess. I mean, someone who has enough money to waste by pouring expensive champagne on the floor, people who have closets the size of small houses just to hold their expensive and excessive wardrobes, bathrooms built like palaces... all of it is just a little much. Do you know where the term, "Gotta go to the can" comes from? In the days before indoor plumbing and indoor bathrooms, people had to use a chamber pot during then night. Then someone had to empty the chamberpot in the outhouse the next morning. That person would be the lowest on the totem pole! But if you were too poor to "have a pot to piss in" then you used a large coffee can and from that comes the term, "Gotta go to the can." But today, we have the luxury (thank God!) of running water and indoor bathrooms to take care of our most basic needs. But a bathroom is a necessary room. When did our outhouse become a palace? Today's market has created the need to have multiple bathrooms and separate shower and soaking tubs. We just can't imagine having to share a bathroom and heaven forbid we should have to settle for a shower or a tub and not both! Excess, decadence, hedonism, extravagance, greed, selfishness is still happening and will until the end.

The commercial system of the nations depended on the Beast and Babylon, who rode the Beast. Not just their needs, but their luxuries. Markets had opened for so many to make fortunes based on the evil system. Like parasites, they had sucked up to Babylon and were sucking her blood for their livelihoods and fortunes. It's a disgusting picture. But one we see today. A government may change but people will adjust and then begin to figure out the system in a way so they can make money and even become rich. They learn to navigate the system, find the loopholes and manipulate their way to make money. It's seen in every single human being and in every single human institution whether it's religious institutions, government institutions, corporations, educational institutions, etc. They hire marketers and consultants who are trained to psychologically change people and create needs so the institution or corporation can fill those needs and make money. For instance, last summer the fashionable color might have been orange and platform sandals were in all the magazines and commercials. They filled every clothing store. But, the very next summer, the color changes to apricot orange and ultra flat sandals are the fashion. So that's what's found in every store from Walmart to Macy's, in every magazine and ad on Facebook. And like sheep, people replace perfectly good orange clothes from last summer and their platform sandals by buying (they get your money!) the new apricot orange and flat sandals. We are conditioned by experts who laugh up their sleeves at how they can lead us by the nose! Just 75 years ago, most of the American population didn't have a high school diploma. When they reached an age to be able to work, a lot of family dropped out of school to get a job. Families needed the income. Before that, they were lucky to have even a 6th grade education. Before that, as soon as a child could read, write their name, add/subtract/multiple/divide simple numbers, they were pulled out of school to work on the farm or get a job. To get a full high school education was a luxury and a college education was only dreamed of! Today, every single child is expected to attend high school AND college. They, and their parents, have been totally brainwashed to think that a high school diploma and college degree are owed to them by the government. Taxpayers should foot the bill so that every young person gets a free education from kindergarden thru college. That would be ideal but the money has to come from somewhere to pay the exorbitant college and university tuitions which include ungodly amounts for textbooks and kids think they deserve to live on campus or partying in fraternities. Where did those thoughts even come from? Parents going into hock, kids taking on student loans, maxing out credit cards to pay for these outrageous college/universities. Universities allowing predatory lenders on campus to talk students/parents into loans that double, triple and quadruple over the years. I personally know of a young woman who worked her entire time in college, made good grades and yet still had to get student loans to get her through a SMALL Southern college. Twelve years later, she hasn't made a dent in the principle but the amount has tripled. They are making their interest off her every month and the interest continues to rise. She's been securely married for twelve years to a husband with a good job, she worked full time except during maternity leaves and they have children. These are not deadbeats, dropouts, welshers, etc. They pay their bills, pay their taxes, contribute to society and raise their children. I.e. if it can happen to her, it will happen to any kid. I blame the college first and foremost. They get their money so they are not concerned how they get it. They don't care if you maxed out a credit card to do it. They don't care if your children are saddled with student loans for the rest of their lives. They don't care if the government taxpayers are paying the bill in grants. All they want are more and more students so more and more money is coming in. They have consultants and specialists who have created the need, the demand, for the highest education! As I said, every high school senior graduates high school thinking that they deserve to go to college with their friends and every parent thinks their children will be failures in life working minimum wage if they don't go to college. It's a created need. Your child wants to go to college because of the parties, the girls/boys, the drinking, the college football games, etc. They've seen it in movies, on TV and you've taken them to football games. All they can see is party, good times and being with their friends. But that's not what college is about and if they aren't interested enough by working hard in high school to get good grades, then maybe they shouldn't go to college, at least not at first. I didn't. My husband didn't. None of my sisters did. I got married right out of high school to a man five years older than me. We couldn't afford pots to pee in much less going to college. My parents didn't offer to pay for me to go either and it would never have occurred to us to ask them. It was our responsibility. When we got to a little breathing space, I went to the local technical college and got an Assoc. Degree in Accounting. I worked part time so Stan could go to technical college to get his Assoc. Degree in Engineering. He went on for another year at a local college in Business Management but then his company changed their policy. They had been willing to pay for his classes and books up front but now they wanted to wait until the end of the semester after he showed he had passed the course. We had a choice. He either had to quit or we would be putting it on a credit card and paying interest until he passed his classes. We couldn't afford the credit card interest so he had to stop. But he's made a good living in his life and we did it all on our own. It was not owed us. We barely made minimum wage but it was still considered too much for us to qualify for assistance. We would not have asked our parents to cosign for us. So we made choices and did what we had to do. Today, kids coming from a low income family can apply for college assistance and the government pays for the entire tuition, textbooks, lab fees and dorms. I know 2 young men who went through one of the best colleges without paying a dime and neither did their parents. They lived in dorms, never paid for a book or a class and graduated. They had not applied for any scholarships so it wasn't on scholarship. They never worked a day in high school or college. To their credit, they made good grades and are doing well. But my point being someone had to pay for it and why did they deserve it more than the young lady above strapped with loans for the rest of her life, or me, my husband or anybody else? There was nothing special, no reason, other than their parents didn't work and the healthy young men wouldn't work to put themselves through college. The college/university got their money. This time it was from taxpayers. But don't even think that a nice college/university wouldn't do anything to get money even if it means letting predatory lenders use their office space in order to offer student loans to kids who shouldn't be going to college if they don't have the money. I spoke to a local Chancellor of a big college here and he was just as smooth talking as they come. They are doing all kinds of things to appeal to more and more students and a better educated workforce will draw more businesses to the area, blah, blah, blah. But he's only doing what he's paid to do - bring in money! The bottom line is the more students, the more money. So how do they draw students, more and more students? All kinds of ways. They dumb down classes, they change testing procedures, they build this and that, they remodel here and there, they open coffee houses and add big fountains. But the biggest thing they do is create the need in people's minds.

The educational system is not the only thing that does it. So do churches. Stan and I attended a church for 25 years. We were deeply involved and had weathered many storms. We thought of it as home and we fully expected to be there the rest of our lives. Until a pastor came who got the idea that the church should become a mega church, or at least a lot larger than it currently was. Where did he get this idea? A demand was created whether it was in his own heart (mid life crisis perhaps?), or whether it was by denominational supervisors and district superintendents, or whether it was by leadership in the church? We don't know. All we know was he suddenly began espousing corporate strategies in order to draw people to our church with numbers and money. I'm not making this up. MANY churches hire consultants to give them new ideas and programs to try and draw people in. Now it's all carefully covered by saying we are trying to reach the lost with Jesus. But that's usually a thin veneer. He insisted the church spend $6,000 on several "water features", he added tables and chairs with a coffee bar in the lobby, he hired a consultant to teach the Praise and Worship team how to entertain the audience rather than lead in worship. When these things were not working, he became more frantic and his decisions were hurting people. The last straw for me was when he got the church ByLaws changed. He wanted the Deacons to meet with him once a quarter instead of once a month (less oversight) and he threatened someone on the church staff because he didn't want to follow policies and procedures on spending. In the business meeting, I knew he had moved numbers around to make them less conspicuous and when he was able to get the majority to agree in voting for his changes, we walked out the door and we didn't go back. It was devastating. To lose a church and all your friends was very hurtful. Not one single person, besides family, reached out to us. The pastor, the associate pastor, the district superintendent, none of the deacons or our friends. We tried other churches looking for one that had the same beliefs we do and freedom of worship but one that wasn't into corporate, money-making schemes and fads. We were sorely disappointed. There is not one sinful thing about having a coffee bar in the lobby (one of the "fads" I happened to like) or painting the church interior black and having strobe lights or adding water features. It wasn't that it was sinful. And I'm certainly not against new people coming to church and the lost being saved and finding a church home! I wouldn't want to exclude anyone to keep my comfort. It was what was behind it. Why are the churches doing these things? Is it to draw in the unsaved or is it really to draw in people who bring in money. Spending so much money on water features when we were financially struggling was a silly fad. I'd rather have sent that $6,000 to missions than spend it on water features. We hadn't been making our missions budget but he spent $6,000 on water features! Even if our church was doing well financially, I think multiple water features was silly. But those are things you can agree to disagree about because it wasn't essentially sinful. This pastor tried to get the Praise and Worship team to wear matching outfits; only raise their hands if the Minister of Music directed them to; look heavenward on cue. It was like they were supposed to be faking it for entertainment purposes. I'm sorry, but if it isn't sincere, then it's entertainment and that's not why I go to church. I didn't like it but we might could have stuck it out, praying for a change. But it was about him not wanting oversight and not wanting to be accountable for money being spent and how he was shifting numbers around. I worked in the Financial Office and I know what I'm looking at so he didn't fool me, but he fooled a lot of other people. No one was going to listen to commonsense, they voted the party line, so we had to leave. Churches are led, and filled, with people. They are at all different kinds of spiritual levels and they make mistakes and get off the right track. It happens to all of us. But what we have felt is that it's a definite, and desperate, trend in churches to do whatever they can think of to build numbers back up. The unfortunate fact is less and less people are going to church because our society is so secularized and hostile to God. Young people are growing up without any attachment to church. Families don't go, they don't come in contact with it through other families (their friends), they aren't encouraged at school. They have no affinity or comfort in the thought of church. And then there are those, like us, who have been hurt by the different and sundry situations but people leave church altogether rather than find another. We were tempted. After 2 years of trying different churches we gave up for a few years. But, thank God, we kept praying for another church and found it! I don't know what the real solution is. But fake church isn't it; diluted feel-good pep talks aren't it; entertainment isn't it. It's partly our government's fault for allowing God to be deleted from our society and public institutions. It's partly the church's fault for following in the footsteps of the world to appeal and attract rather than give the simple truth and offer free worship. It's partly parents fault for not taking their children to church to start with (those that didn't). It's partly the fault of denomination leaders who pressure pastors and churches to "succeed" by having numbers in the pews and dollars in the bank. It's partly the fault of society who now has unrealistic expectations about church and God. They expect something impossible - perfect people and a God who does everything they want Him to do. Church is full of imperfect people and hypocrits, it's the human plight. You are not perfect and you don't want others to expect you to be. But you tend to turn your magnifying glass on others and expect them to be perfect and meet your expectations. You don't offer them any grace or room to wiggle. I feel for pastors in church. It's even difficult to get people to be pastors because of the unrealistic expectations and the hurt and pressure they undergo. They deserve our support, love and prayers. But we also need to hold them accountable so they don't go off the deep end however they are tempted. For some it's sexually, for some it's greed, for some it's a mid life crises, for some it's beating their wife or children, for some it's downright heretical teachings, etc. This ought not to be and should be confronted. It's one thing to disagree on the color of carpet or the size of the parking lot. We should be open, able to discuss, take input but when the decision is made, sometimes we have to agree to disagree and be graceful about it. But some things cannot be allowed. It's important to make a stand on things before they get out of hand if possible. Do it the right way. Then, if there is nothing more you can do, shake the dust off your feet and move on. But keep looking for a church because it is important to be a part of a church family. Jesus encouraged it and so did the Apostles. Who knows, maybe your commonsense will direct someone in the right direction for a change!

My last thoughts. How are we, regular people, falling into the same traps? How are we sucking up to the pig of Babylon?

Are you a contractor? Do you pad your estimates, do you choose inferior products to increase your profits? Do you give kickbacks to acquire contracts? Do you treat your employees fairly with decent wages and benefits?

Are you a teacher? Do you do a good job as a teacher or have you lost your desire to teach and are just there filling a spot and collecting your wages? Do you treat your students as human beings and fairly? Do you live in anger because you've been mistreated by students, parents, administration so you no longer try? Are you part of the problem or the solution in your realm of influence.

Are you a doctor? Do you treat your patients and staff with respect? Do you gouge the insurance companies by adding charges for services never rendered? Do you justify it by saying, "I don't get paid enough from Medicare so I'll charge extra for something I didn't do to make up for it"? Do you really care about your patients or are they numbers to make you the money you think you deserve? Is it a ministry or just a job? Do you steal drugs? Do you overprescribe medications? Do you withhold necessary treatment because the patient can't pay?

Are you in insurance? Do you sell people policies that you know they can't afford or don't need just to make money? Do you sell a good product or is it a poor product but you are making money on it? Do you look for ways to cancel policies and deny coverage because the insurance companies don't want money going out? Even if it's legitimate claim, you and your company would deny it to try to avoid paying out.

Are you a salesman? Do you really believe in your product or are you selling something that you wouldn't buy yourself? Are you filling a real need or creating a need? Do your products help people are harm people? If you sell illegal drugs, you are doing harm. If you are selling drugs for a pharmaceutical company but you know they haven't revealed everything or have done inadequate testing... then you are doing harm. Can a human being get hurt or killed as in a defective product or just plain dangerous products? Are you laughing at your customers or clients behind their backs because you know you've sold them a bill of goods? Do you make fun of how gullible your customers are? Are you pushing people to go beyond their means to buy the product? A realtor who sells a house to a couple they know can't really afford it, could care less. They get their commissions right off the top.

Are you a banker, you collect mortgage loan fees and interest over the months/years someone has made their payments. But you take the first chance to foreclose on them. That's unethical. Banks who loan money to people they know can't afford to pay it back, are doing it to make their loan fees and interest. Then they foreclose on the hapless people and take their home to re-sell it. Face it, if the economy is good, the bank WANTS to foreclose. They can make even more, and faster, by foreclosing and putting the house up for sale. If someone is the least bit late, they will begin the process of foreclosing because they want the house. It's a whole lot quicker way to make money than waiting over the 30 yr mortgage so you better believe they will come after it (unless your house is in really bad shape or in a really bad neighborhood). During the Great Depression, my Grandfather owed $300 on his farm. He was not late on a payment. But the bank was in difficulty and called in his load. They wanted his farm. He didn't have the $300 and the bank was going to get his land. Fortunately a neighbor went with him to the bank and forced the bank to take the $300 and Papa paid his neighbor back. He never borrowed money again!

Are you a production worker? Do you steal time from your employer? Do you steal office supplies or tools or widgets from the company for your own use? Do you fill up your car with stolen stuff from your employer and take it to a flea market to sell? Do you justify it by thinking, "They don't pay me enough, so this is payment rendered"? Do you put in a good job or do you deliberately keep your production levels low because you think they will expect it from you every day? Do you follow company rules and policies? Do you come in late or leave early but you are paid for that lost time? Do you bully or abuse co-workers? Do you make fun of co-workers?

Are you a manager? Do you hold your employees to impossible standards? Do you try to look good by asking your departments to slash their budgets? They are able to do it but then you expect them to continue to run on a shoestring or even slash it more just to increase the profit margins more and more? Then you expect them to increase production but you've slashed their budgets? Are you making impossible demands on employees and dept heads? Have you demanded that they slash their budgets, increase production and do it without any overtime? Do you have unrealistic expectations? Do you back your employees and dept heads or do you throw them under the bus? Do you make a good salary, benefits and bonuses but you expect your employees to cut out their overtime or lose a benefit, raise their health insurance premiums? Do you drive a company car, new every two years, only to make your employees use their own cars/trucks to make pickups, deliveries, and run company errands? Do you reimburse them fairly for the use? Do you take expensive company trips in first class but lay off your third shift employees when the orders are down? Do you use temps to avoid paying payroll taxes and worker's comp insurance? The temps work with the hope of being hired fulltime by your company but you keep stringing them along knowing you won't really hire them.

Ask yourself if God is happy with where you are and how you make a living. Do you ethics and integrity in whatever you do? Do you treat others well? What would Jesus do in your situation? Would He say, "Well done my good and faithful servant?" If you are a Christian, He loves you, but He may not be best pleased with the way you're conducting business. He will help you change. If you need to run from a job to avoid temptation to do evil, He will honor that. He will help you find gainful employment to meet your needs. It may not make you rich, may mean hard work. But if you are grateful and do well, God will promote you. Remember Joseph who was a slave then in prison but eventually second only to the Pharoah. Trust in God's promotion for it is better to have Him working on your behalf and to have a soul at peace with what you do everyday.


Revelation 18:15-20 15 The merchants who sold these things and grew their wealth from her will stand at a distance, in fear of her torment. They will weep and mourn, 16 saying:
“Woe, woe to the great city,
clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet,
adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls!
17 For in a single hour
such fabulous wealth has been destroyed!”
Every shipmaster, passenger, and sailor, and all who make their living from the sea, will stand at a distance 18 and cry out at the sight of the smoke rising from the fire that consumes her, saying, ‘What city was ever like this great city?’
19 Then they will throw dust on their heads as they weep and mourn and cry out:
“Woe, woe to the great city,
where all who had ships on the sea
were enriched by her wealth!
For in a single hour she has been destroyed.”
20 “Rejoice over her, O heaven,
O saints and apostles and prophets,
because for you God has pronounced
His judgment against her.”

Hosea 12:7 A merchant loves to defraud with dishonest scales in his hands.

Proverbs 11:1 Dishonest scales are an abomination to the LORD, but an accurate weight is His delight.

Micah 6:11 "Can I excuse dishonest scales or bags of false weights?"

Proverbs 16:11 A just weight and balance are the LORD'S: all the weights of the bag are his work.

Ezekiel 22:1-15, Proverbs 22:25-29 1 Now this message came to me from the LORD: 2 “Son of man, are you ready to judge Jerusalem? Are you ready to judge this city of murderers? Publicly denounce her detestable sins, 3 and give her this message from the Sovereign LORD: O city of murderers, doomed and damned—city of idols,a filthy and foul— 4 you are guilty because of the blood you have shed. You are defiled because of the idols you have made. Your day of destruction has come! You have reached the end of your years. I will make you an object of mockery throughout the world. 5 O infamous city, filled with confusion, you will be mocked by people far and near.
6 “Every leader in Israel who lives within your walls is bent on murder. 7 Fathers and mothers are treated with contempt. Foreigners are forced to pay for protection. Orphans and widows are wronged and oppressed among you. 8 You despise my holy things and violate my Sabbath days of rest. 9 People accuse others falsely and send them to their death. You are filled with idol worshipers and people who do obscene things. 10 Men sleep with their fathers’ wives and force themselves on women who are menstruating. 11 Within your walls live men who commit adultery with their neighbors’ wives, who defile their daughters-in-law, or who rape their own sisters. 12 There are hired murderers, loan racketeers, and extortioners everywhere. They never even think of me and my commands, says the Sovereign LORD.
13 “But now I clap my hands in indignation over your dishonest gain and bloodshed. 14 How strong and courageous will you be in my day of reckoning? I, the LORD, have spoken, and I will do what I said. 15 I will scatter you among the nations and purge you of your wickedness...
25 Your princes plot conspiracies just as lions stalk their prey. They devour innocent people, seizing treasures and extorting wealth. They make many widows in the land. 26 Your priests have violated my instructions and defiled my holy things. They make no distinction between what is holy and what is not. And they do not teach my people the difference between what is ceremonially clean and unclean. They disregard my Sabbath days so that I am dishonored among them. 27 Your leaders are like wolves who tear apart their victims. They actually destroy people’s lives for money! 28 And your prophets cover up for them by announcing false visions and making lying predictions. They say, ‘My message is from the Sovereign LORD,’ when the LORD hasn’t spoken a single word to them. 29 Even common people oppress the poor, rob the needy, and deprive foreigners of justice.


Revelation 18: 21-24 21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a huge millstone. He threw it into the ocean and shouted,
“Just like this, the great city Babylon
will be thrown down with violence
and will never be found again.
22 The sound of harps, singers, flutes, and trumpets
will never be heard in you again.
No craftsmen and no trades
will ever be found in you again.
The sound of the mill
will never be heard in you again.
23 The light of a lamp
will never shine in you again.
The happy voices of brides and grooms
will never be heard in you again.
For your merchants were the greatest in the world,
and you deceived the nations with your sorceries.
24 In your streets flowed the blood of the prophets and of God’s holy people
and the blood of people slaughtered all over the world.”

Remember we read Jeremiah 51 earlier in this post. The last words of Jeremiah 51 are:

Jeremiah 51:61-64 61 And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, “When you get to Babylon, see that you read all these words aloud, 62 and say, ‘O LORD, You have promised to cut off this place so that no one will remain—neither man nor beast. Indeed, it will be desolate forever.’ 63 When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and cast it into the Euphrates. 64 Then you are to say, ‘In the same way, Babylon will sink and never rise again, because of the disaster I will bring upon her. And her people will grow weary.’”

"The taking up of the stone and casting it into the waters is a symbol drawn from Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51). Jeremiah enjoined Seraiah to bind the prophetic roll to a great stone, and cast them together into the Euphrates. The meaning of the act was explained--"Thus shall Babylon sink and shall not rise," etc. (Jeremiah 51:63-64)." - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

Revelation 17:1 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters.

We saw the Whore of Babylon sitting over many waters and now she sinks beneath the water. When we studied Revelation 17, we saw that the waters represent humanity, nations. Constantly seething, roiling, moving. But now the law of gravity will see the harlot sink like a stone. The sea is typical of the nations of the earth (see Revelation 13:1). Empires and nations rise and fall. The last one, the one of the anti-Christ, will also fall and disappear. Something similar was said about Tyre in Ezekiel 26. We studied about Tyre in my blog post on Revelation 17.

Ezekiel 26:21 I will make you an object of horror, and you will be no more. You will be sought, but will never be found, declares the Lord GOD.’”

It will happen very quickly! The angel throws the stone "with such violence" or "violently". The word in Greek means A rushing on, impulse, violence, quickly, suddenly, with great haste. Back in verse 19:

Revelation 18:19 19 Then they will throw dust on their heads as they weep and mourn and cry out:
“Woe, woe to the great city,
where all who had ships on the sea
were enriched by her wealth!
For in a single hour she has been destroyed.”

These things will cease:

The musical sounds of parties, fun.
  • Harps
  • Singers
  • Flutes
  • Trumpets
Today we would be thinking of all the music that we associate with partying such as dance songs, drinking songs, etc. Whether it's rock and roll, rap, country pop, disco, country, pop, etc. If it makes you want to do sinful things, then it's music of the world. Do certain songs make you want to drink? Dance vulgarly? Have sex (outside of your marriage)? Take drugs? Fight? Those are indicators that you should avoid them. They are songs and music of this world, flesh. Whether it's the words or the beat, satan can use music (which God originally created) to influence people to do sinful things. Bars and parties that have such loud pulsing music that you can't distinguish the words of the songs and you can't even have a conversation with someone sitting right next to you... they are using music to control you and make you do things you wouldn't ordinarily do. They want you to spend money to buy what they are selling - drugs, alcohol, prostitution. There is no other reason for music to be so loud. It's a mind control thing. They brainwash you to think you are having fun and spend money! There are many other ways people use music to control people, but in those bars and parties, they just want your money.

Music and song can be used for God and godly purposes. God created music and music is enjoyed in Heaven. It can help us learn scripture by tying a verse to a song. We can teach good lessons by tying them to a song such as "Jesus loves the little children, all the children of the world..." We can praise and worship God with music and song.

1 Chronicles 16:23-24 23 Sing to the LORD, all the earth; proclaim his salvation day after day. 24 Declare his glory among the nations, his marvelous deeds among all peoples.

Psalm 96:1 Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth.

Exodus 15:2 The LORD is my strength and song, And He has become my salvation; This is my God, and I will praise Him; My father's God, and I will extol Him.

Psalm 43:4 Then I will go to the altar of God, To God my exceeding joy; And upon the lyre I shall praise You, O God, my God.

Psalm 101:1 I will sing of lovingkindness and justice, To You, O LORD, I will sing praises.

Psalm 33:1-3 Sing for joy in the LORD, O you righteous ones; Praise is becoming to the upright. Give thanks to the LORD with the lyre; Sing praises to Him with a harp of ten strings. Sing to Him a new song; Play skillfully with a shout of joy.

Psalm 98:4-5 Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth; Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises. Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre, With the lyre and the sound of melody.

Psalm 149:1-3 Hallelujah!
Sing to the LORD a new song—
His praise in the assembly of the godly.
2Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
let the children of Zion rejoice in their King.
3Let them praise His name with dancing,
and make music to Him with tambourine and harp.

Psalm 150:3-6 3 Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
praise Him with the harp and lyre.
4 Praise Him with tambourine and dancing;
praise Him with strings and flute.
5Praise Him with clashing cymbals;
praise Him with resounding cymbals.
6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD!

Acts 16:25-26 But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns of praise to God, and the prisoners were listening to them; and suddenly there came a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone's chains were unfastened.

Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

What else ceases to be found in Babylon?

  • Craftsmen
  • Trade
  • Mills
These represent industry and commerce. The cha-ching sound of making money. In verse 23, it says their merchants were the greatest in the world. But they will sink with the stone. Industrial giants, mega corporations, shell corporations, con games, pyramid schemes, technological companies, manufacturers, all will sink and disappear.

And, finally are these:

  • Light of lamp
  • Happy voices during weddings

Celebrations, holidays, parties. There will be no more. Marketers have again brainwashed us all and created needs we didn't have 50 years ago. Now weddings have to be super expensive affairs with DJs, choreographed dances (which requires all the wedding party, family and friends take dance lessons which is another expense), cakes that cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, full bars, expensive catering, wedding venues that cost tons to rent, wedding dresses worn one day and yet they cost thousands of dollars, bridesmaid dresses and groomsmen tuxedos, flowers and arrangements, showers and parties before, rehearsal dinners, spa days for the entire wedding party, specialists and consultants for hair, makeup, directing the wedding, music, etc, etc, etc. If a bride and groom decided to take even a part of their wedding plan budget and gave it to the charity of their choice (their church, missions, animal rescue, pregnancy centers, etc) how much could be done with it. Or if they tried to save their parents money by making smarter choices, how courteous and unselfish that would be. Or maybe they should pay for their own wedding, since it is their wedding. When it's done on someone else's dime it's easier to be extravagant. Selfishness and greed wins many times. Even tasteful weddings are so expensive because of what is expected. We have been brainwashed into thinking this is all necessary or we will be made fun of, sneered at, embarrassed. We are too worried about what others think. Balance is key!

And it's not just weddings and bridezillas! Every holiday now has become some type of major event that we have to spend a lot of money on. Halloween used to be simple kid fun. We either wore a sheet over us, dressed funny as "hobos" or added Mom's necklaces to be "gypsies". I never got a store bought costume (although I would have loved some of the costumes kids have today). We carried a paper bag. We went to our neighbors house and got some candy. That was it! We didn't have Halloween parties at school, church, carnivals or festivals. No one in the neighborhood bought enough candy for 100 kids, nor did we get fistfuls of candy. One or two pieces was all we expected. And once you reached 10 yrs old, you didn't want to "be a baby" and dress up and get candy for Halloween. Certainly as an adult, you didn't dress up. I'm all for having some fun and dressing up is fun. But balance is the key. If you are spending too much money and expecting too much, then get a grip and realize it's just a little holiday.

Same with Christmas. Christmas has grown into such a big deal that everyone is exhausted and ready for it to be over by the time it gets here! Stores start creating the hype in early Fall. You are pushed to buy tons of decorations that exhaust you to put them all out, much less put them back up and store them until next year! When we were little, we got a live tree and decorated it. We had a little box of decorations and we supplemented with ornaments we made at school (thrown away after we took the tree down), cranberry strings, sometimes popcorn strands and fruit. Mom put up stockings that she had made for us. And we had a little nativity and some Christmas candles. That was it. No door wreaths on every door, candles in every window, decorations on every surface, Christmas sheets on the bed and towels on the towel rack, Christmas dishes, etc. It was simple and easy. Gifts were the same. Kids today expect hundreds and even thousands of dollars in gifts and that's ridiculous. We think someone is poor and pitiful if their parents can't spend hundreds of dollars on Christmas gifts so we put their names on trees at church and beg for more gifts for "poor children". Charitable organizations have toy drives for poor children. Please understand, I'm a generous person and I do spoil my grandnieces and grandnephews. I also love to give to people in need and I certainly don't want a single child to go without a Christmas gift or two. But the expectations children and families have are way beyond what is needed and what is wise. I would rather give people food, basic clothes (don't ask me to donate $100 for a pair of sneakers or a fancy pair of bluejeans), and items they need because they are in crisis not because their kids don't have rooms full of toys. That's not a real need, it's a created need. My toys and clothes fit in my 6' closet. We didn't have toy boxes, toy closets, shelves full of toys, play rooms full of toys, garages and attics full of toys. And we were blessed! My parents got one toy at Christmas and some fruit. Their parents before them got a penny and some candy and fruit. So don't try to sell me on kids having to have pickup trucks full of toys in order to be happy, healthy and well adjusted! We are raising generations who feel entitled and who demand. They think they are pitiful and poor if they don't get the latest iPhone for Christmas or $500 in designer clothes. Other kids might make fun of them or they might feel unloved or embarrassed because they didn't get an American Girl doll (which is very expensive for a doll) and all the clothes and accessories to match. The boys think they must get the latest video games and gaming technology or they feel disappointed, even mad at their parents. When they get to be teenagers, it gets even more expensive. It's really not good parenting to meet their every whim and desire and flood them with stuff. It's a waste of money and a waste of teaching them real life lessons. I just love to hear of children who ask friends and families not to buy them something for their birthday or Christmas but to donate to their favorite charity. Now those children have learned something and their parents have taught them well. If you are new parents, think carefully about the best way to teach your children when it comes to gifts. Don't start out by getting them everything you can think of. A few well thought out gifts are much better than bags full. And you might ask family members to help you. If they want to give, maybe a small gift and a donation to their college fund. As they grow, regularly show them their savings so they see it's building up. You don't want your kids expecting too much and it's essential to start early because when they get to school, others will influence them and you need to be ready to combat that. Your kids aren't suffering if they have a nice home (shelter), good food, good clothes and shoes and some toys to play with. All the rest is fluff and can even damage their outlook on life by making them spoiled, dependent and demanding.

It's every holiday and celebration! Memorial day is coming up and people are thinking they have to have the cookouts, the boats for rides on the lake, the camper for a weekend of camping, breaking in the pool for summer, parties and parades. All costing money and making retailers happy. How about grilling some hamburgers, sitting in lawnchairs watching the kids play in the sprinkler. Top it off with some watermelon or ice cream and then chasing fireflies. Be sure to remember what Memorial Day is really about. Those who gave their lives for our country.

Proms, oh my goodness! Expensive dresses, renting tuxedos, renting limousines, going out to eat at the most expensive restaurants, professional photo shoots, mani/pedis, hairstyling, spa days to get ready, hotel rooms and after parties. It's too much!

Graduations are coming up. When I graduated from high school, I spared my family from having to go sit during a lloonngg ceremony where 700 students would be handed high school diplomas (that was how big my graduating class was). That also saved them having to buy the hat and gown, invitations and announcements. I didn't get a gift from them. I only got a couple of small gifts from others. I didn't expect anything else. I knew my parents and family loved me so I was not disappointed or mad because graduation wasn't a big deal. My parents raised me right. Today, everybody is expected to give graduation gifts and have parties for the graduate. And a few good snapshots with the family camera is old school. Now it's got to be professional photographers with props and going to places for the perfect backdrop. New outfits and matching shoes. Then hundreds of dollars for the photos printed and they must be framed. Parents get in a flurry of spending throughout the summer because little Jane or Johnny is going to go to college and they must have a comfortable mattress, matching bedding and towels, a microwave, their own flat screen TV, organizers, laptops, tablets, etc, etc.

And let's go to birthdays. Every child must have a birthday party with everyone they come in contact with invited. It has to be a big deal with lots of presents and a theme. Parents have to spend a lot of money for parties and once you have a party, every child you invited to your party will have a birthday party of their own and you are obligated to go and take a gift because they came and brought a gift to your children's party. It becomes a vicious cycle that takes up time, energy, gas and gift money. The kids that attend the party have to get gifts. I never saw anything like it. The birthday child gets the gifts, but now every attendee (including the siblings) also gets gifts so "they won't feel left out". When I was a child, we got one gift and a birthday cake. Most of the time we had family over for hot dogs or something. I only had one birthday party where my friends could be invited and that was my 16th. The next party I had for my birthday was my 40th. I do expect my husband to do something in honor of my birthday and I do for him. A gift, going out to dinner, just time alone with him is all it takes. Sometimes he gets me flowers and a card and that's my gift. Sometimes it's more. But the main thing is that he remembers and shows he loves me. I don't expect a huge deal. If I get to have special time with family and/or friends, that's a bonus. Sometimes we combine birthdays and all of the family gets together or goes out to celebrate everyone's birthday in May (or whatever the month is) and that's fun but it's not demanded or expected and we certainly don't feel disappointed for having to "share" a birthday with others. It really adds to the enjoyment.

According to Revelation 18, all these things will go because they are just so much worthless, self-indulgent, greedy demands and desires. God wants us to enjoy life as long as it includes Him and is in balance. A family picnic, a ride in the country, picking flowers or blackberries on a country lane, enjoying a good book, playing games, learning together, playing basketball on the driveway, etc. There are so many ways to enjoy life and enjoy each other.

Revelation 18:24 In your streets flowed the blood of the prophets and of God’s holy people and the blood of people slaughtered all over the world.”
There is not a lot of difference between the entertainment of Romans 2,000 years ago and our forms of entertainment today. Modern movies with all the violence and sex in high def sound and special effects brings it right to our living rooms every day.

Don't think that Christians are no longer persecuted and martyred. In fact thousands, tens of thousands are martyred every year in the world TODAY!

Late February to middle March (3 weeks) of THIS year (2019), 120 Christians were killed, 140 homes destroyed, thousands displaced as villages were over run by Fulani militants (West Africa from Senegal to northern Nigeria and Cameroon. They are traditionally nomadic cattle herders of Muslim faith).

The blood of Christians already flows down streets. It will increase and be far worse in the end times. Be ready.

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