In the fall of 2008, I was a senior in high school applying to colleges and looking for scholarships. Right before Christmas, I decided to attend a private Christian college near my hometown instead of a public state university a few hours away. I knew that the Christian college was going to be a lot more expensive, but my parents said that as long as I earned enough scholarship money, they would be able to afford it.
Then, in January 2009, just a few months after I’d decided to attend the expensive school instead of the more cost-effective one, my dad lost his job. He had worked at IBM for more than 25 years. Why did a manager at one of the top companies in the world lose his job in 2009? The same reason a lot of his peers did: the Great Recession.
The recession of 2008–2009 affected the lives of millions of Americans. Over the course of the recession, nearly nine million Americans lost their jobs, and about 818,000 of them lost their jobs in a single month—January 2009, when my dad lost his.
The Great Recession showed America and the world that even the biggest companies can be toppled by forces beyond their control. No one is untouchable. Revelation 18 reminds us of a similar truth. Even the greatest worldly powers will not stand against the rule and reign of Almighty God when all is said and done.
The prostitute in Revelation 17 is now called “Babylon the Great” here in Revelation 18. And it is in this chapter that John tells us of her demise. He says, “Then I heard another voice from heaven: ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins or receive any of her plagues. For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes’” (vv.4–5).
Regardless of what we may believe about the literal meaning of Babylon the Great, this principle is true: the fall of Babylon shows us that even the strongest, most powerful worldly structures will crumble and fall at the feet of Jesus.
Babylon opposed the work of Christ in the world. In human terms, Babylon seems impenetrable and all-powerful. Yet, when God pours out His wrath, even this seemingly invincible entity cannot bear the weight.
We must resist the temptation to seize power and control in the world around us as an act of disobedience to God our Father. In our sin, we will be tempted to build our own empires in our lives, ones we want to rule apart from, and therefore in opposition to, the rule and reign of God. But no system we create, business we launch, or family we grow is more important than the family and mission of God.
Written by Chris Martin