Revelation 18:9-10: One hour.
“9 ‘When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. 10 Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry:
‘“Woe! Woe to you, great city,
you mighty city of Babylon!
In one hour your doom has come!” NIV
It’s a moment I’ll never forget. It was a September afternoon and I was on a pastoral visit, along with my colleague David. We were seeing a couple from our church when, suddenly, their phone rang. A relative of their’s, from the other side of the world, was calling them to say, ‘Have you seen what’s happening in New York?’ They immediately switched on their TV, and we watched stunned and appalled and terribly shocked as we watched the tragic events unfold. Who can ever for forget 9/11? David related how he had stood on one of those towers, and watched planes fly beneath him into La Guardia.
In the wake of these events, this picture of the fall of Babylon came back to me: ‘’In one hour your doom has come!’’ (Note the repetition of ‘’In one hour’’ – verses 17 and 19). It was deeply shocking to watch first one, and then the other tower come down so quickly. They just seemed to crumble to dust. I’m not saying the events of that day were the fulfilment of Revelation 18, but they are an example of how quickly symbols of worldly wealth and power can fall, and how fragile the whole (outwardly impressive) system is.