One year ago, as we were reading Revelation 18 while on holiday, and afterwards, as I wrote these notes, the fall of ‘Babylon’ seemed somewhat theoretical. I certainly believed it would happen one day. But it felt distant and removed from every day realities at the time. Now, in the space of a few weeks, we have had at least a foretaste, and we can see how quickly it can happen. Just about all the great, prized institutions of the world (including the arts) have taken a huge hit. I repeat, I am not saying ‘This is that.’ I’m not saying we are living through the fall of ‘Babylon’. We could be, but this may also be a foreshadowing. What we do now know for certain though is that the world-system is built on sand. Despite it’s outward grandeur, it is incredibly fragile and cannot last.Let’s be sure we are building on the Rock of Christ and His Word.

Monday 3rd June 2019: Revelation 18:21-24: Pied Piper

21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said:  ‘With such violence

    the great city of Babylon will be thrown down,
    never to be found again.
22 The music of harpists and musicians, pipers and trumpeters,
    will never be heard in you again.
No worker of any trade
    will ever be found in you again.
The sound of a millstone
    will never be heard in you again.
23 The light of a lamp
    will never shine in you again.
The voice of bridegroom and bride
    will never be heard in you again.
Your merchants were the world’s important people.
    By your magic spell all the nations were led astray.
24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of God’s holy people,
    of all who have been slaughtered on the earth.’ NIV


There can be no question that this present world system is on borrowed time. Its end will come (21). This message is hammered in with the repeated use of the word ‘’never’’.

It struck me as I read this that one of the ways ‘the world’ influences is by music. It is a ‘Pied Piper’. It casts a spell on people. It mesmerises. It influences in ways that go far deeper than logic. This is not to say that music is bad. Not at all. But we do need to try to analyse the messages the culture is preaching to us constantly. It comes at us through a variety of means. It will have us under its spell in no time if we are not on guard. The prevailing culture will ‘disciple’ us in its ways if we do not determine that we will be discipled by Scripture, God’s Word.

‘’By your magic spell all the nations were led astray’’ (23b).

In his book ‘Don’t waste your life’, John Piper says ‘America is the first culture in jeopardy of amusing itself to death.’ Western Europe can’t be far behind.

PRAYER: Lord, please awaken me to the cultural forces that will shape my life only too gladly, if I do not allow you to do the shaping. Help me to swim against the strong tide.

 (NB. After our short detour into Revelation we will be returning to 1 Peter tomorrow).