Revelation 17… And “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day”

This morning I read a very encouraging passage of Scripture (and I think you may be surprised that I found it encouraging)! 

This morning I read Revelation 17 that speaks of “Babylon” or “the great prostitute that sits on many waters” at the end of time.  Leon Morris, in his commentary on Revelation identifies the “Babylon” imagery as “humanity in organized opposition to God.” This chapter describes the incredible evil and the terrible persecution against God’s people unleashed at the end of time by what is referred to as “Babylon” (“In her hand she held a gold goblet full of obscenities and the impurities of her immorality… she was drunk – drunk with the blood of God’s holy people who were witnesses of Jesus.” Vss. 7-10). 

As I read this chapter I could only imagine how wicked human culture will become and how vicious persecution will become for Christians before Jesus returns!  Not a pretty picture!

But then I read these encouraging words in the passage… “God has put a plan into their minds – a plan that will carry out His purposes… and so the word of God will be fulfilled!” (vs. 17).  Although this verse predicts escalating evil at the end of time and increasing persecution, NOTHING that happens will be outside of God’s control…  NOTHING!!  Ultimately God’s plan and purposes will be fulfilled!!  The world may seem to be spinning out of control!  Culture may be in decay!  Evil may seem to be escalating and winning the battle for human hearts.  Righteous people may increasingly be the object of derision and persecution.  All may seem hopeless… BUT GOD IS IN CONTROL!!  In the end He will make the very “wrath of man to praise Him!” (Psalm 76.7-10)

So, at this Christmas season the words of this old carol come to mind…

 I HEARD THE BELLS ON CHRISTMAS DAY :

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet the words repeat
of peace on earth goodwill to men

I thought how as the day had come
the belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along unbroken song
of peace on earth goodwill to men

And in despair I bowed my head
“there is no peace on earth” I said
For hate is strong that mocks the song
of peace on earth goodwill to men

(Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead nor does he sleep
The wrong shall fail the right prevail
with peace on earth goodwill to men)

Till ringin’ singin’ on its way
the world revolves from night to day
A voice a chime a chant sublime
of peace on earth goodwill to men

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep
God is not dead nor does he sleep
The wrong shall fail the right prevail
with peace on earth goodwill to men

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
their old familiar carols play
And wild and sweet the words repeat
of peace on earth goodwill to men

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