Are you familiar with the term “too big to fail”? It’s a phrase that emerged in the late 80’s to describe large corporations, specifically financial institutions which have become so large and globally interconnected that if they were to fail, it would have catastrophic effects on the whole economic system. They are too big to fail, therefore it is incumbent on the government to support and subsidize them should they actually face a potential failure.
We actually saw this concept play out in reality in 2009.
When we look at the world systems that are in place – systems we’ve known our whole lives, it would seem that those systems are too big to fail. Yet, as we’ll be reading about in our study this week, there is a point in time somewhere where God has drawn a line. The broken systems of this fallen world, as immutable as they seem to be, will fall and be swept away. This Sunday we’ll be reading Revelation 18 – 19:10.
Chapter 18 provides us with a more detailed account of Babylon’s demise. Babylon, as we presented last week, is a code word in the Bible to describe humanity’s efforts to create a society and ethos apart from God. Paradise without a Creator. Those systems are bound for failure, and invariably create more torment and pain than they ever resolve.
What details are brought out about Babylon in chapter 18? Who is lamenting over her? What do they cry about? What does that tell us about the symbolism of adultery and prostitution? It might help to contextualize this imagery if you read Jeremiah 51(especially v6-8 and v60-64).
When we get to chapter 19, we find a contrasting action to the lament and weeping of chapter 18. Four distinct HALLELUJAHS (Praise the Lord in the NLT) are sounded. What reasons are stated for praising God in those four sections? At one point we are told about the “wedding feast of the Lamb”. What does the imagery of a “bride” conjure up concerning our relationship to Christ as His people? What can we learn about being a follower of Jesus in 21st Century America from this section?