Economic Recession and Covetousness

 

 

REVELATION 18:1-24

There is a day on the horizon of the future. On that day a series of events will take place, which will arrest every day life on planet Earth. In a single moment on a single day all over the World

 

􀀹 The food supply will end,

 

􀀹 The transportation system will grind to a halt,

 

􀀹 The banking system will freeze and default,

 

􀀹 The luxuries, precious metals, gems, art and all other hoarded wealth of our country and all others will become worthless,

 

􀀹 The communications industry will be cut off and there will be no radio, no TV, no telephone, no internet,

 

􀀹 The supply of power will fade and blink off, and darkness will rule in the homes and businesses of the World. In short there is a day when the lights are going off all over the World and they won’t be coming on anytime soon.

 

The 18th chapter of Revelation gives us a road map for the coming economic collapse of the World. By learning the lessons God laid down in His Word we can see what response He desires from His servants not only in the ultimate collapse (the topic of Revelation 18) but also in any other reversals, downturns and recessions, depressions and panics that precede the big and final crash.

What does God want us to learn in Revelation 18? Many things. There is life beyond money. Life is more important than possessions. You can’t take it with you. Life is not linear; there will always be unexpected and devastating changes and disasters. There are no disappointments for the Christian only the appointments of God. So much we can learn from this chapter.

© Discover the Book Ministries 2002 8720 East 61st St. Tulsa, OK 74133 918-252-1513 www.discoverthebook.org Page 4 5 The Unveiled Christ: Revelation 18 “TRUE WEALTH IS IN JESUS”

First an over view. Revelation 18 is a twin to Revelation 17. In Revelation 17 we find the collapse of the apostate world church. In the process we see Satan’s harlot bride, the delusion of religion.

Revelation 18 is the other member of Satan’s family. Religion in all its many varieties is one branch. The other of the twins is found in materialism, worldliness or covetousness. From the Garden of Eden onward Satan has been offering to humans the elusive greener grass. If only you eat this fruit you will have it all. If only you earn this income you will be happy. If only you reach this level of popularity, power or success you will have it all. Hand in hand with Satan’s fall is the insatiable desire for more. Lucifer was discontented with the highest position in Heaven, he wanted more. Humans are born with a thirst for more of whatever they desire. This is the IDOLATRY OF COVETOUSNESS.

The most visible sign of covetousness is materialism. Materialism is the desire for things as opposed to spiritual worship, which is the desire for God. Materialism is seen in money, possessions, and endless pursuits of physical pleasures and recreations. All of that physical pursuit is going to end. In Revelation 18, God turns off the party. The music stops. The money fails. The party is over and in a moment the lights go out! As we read Revelation 18 listen to the description of the coming global financial collapse.

 

􀀹 JESUS CONDEMNING WORLDLINESS (18:1-3)

 

􀀹 JESUS CALLING FOR SAINTS TO COME OUT OF WORLDLINESS (18:4-8)

 

􀀹 JESUS DESCRIBING THE WORTHLESSNESS OF WORLDLINESS (18:9-19)

 

􀀹 JESUS CELEBRATING THE END OF WORLDLINESS (18:20-24)

 

WHAT IS THE BACKGROUND OF REVELATION 18?

When we come to Revelation 18 we are looking at the fully-grown evils of this World. As we saw in our study of Revelation 17, Babylon is at the same time an ancient city, a kingdom of the past, as well as a system of religion and a present way of life. Babylonian materialism in Revelation 18 may be distilled down to one word in the Bible - covetousness. Covetousness is idolatry. It is the worship of Mammon (money, possession and so on) instead of God.

In John’s day Rome had gone to the limits in extravagance. The Caesar’s would spend fortunes on a single meal demanding the most exotic and rare dishes for their personal consumption. Nero decorated his banquets with roses from Egypt costing $70,000 and wore an outfit (he only wore things once) costing $40,000.

 

© Discover the Book Ministries 2002 8720 East 61st St. Tulsa, OK 74133 918-252-1513 www.discoverthebook.org Page 5 6 The Unveiled Christ: Revelation 18 “TRUE WEALTH IS IN JESUS”

Caligula demanded meals of hummingbird and flamingo tongues, pearls costing $200,00 dissolved in wine and the livers of pike fish, the brains of peacocks and so on.

St. Augustine noted the problem of Revelation 18 in the 5th century. Idolatry is when we use what we are supposed to worship and worship what we are supposed to use. Just put all the evils of our world into that grid: IDOLATRY IS WHEN WE USE GOD AND WORSHIP MONEY, SEX, PLEASURE, ETC. Anything can be worshiped. Worship simply stated is anything, which captivates and draws us toward something.

 

􀀹 A person may be so captivated by work that they are irresistibly drawn to work all the time, thus the workaholic. WORK WORSHIP

 

􀀹 Another may worship alcohol or drugs, and thus the alcoholic and drug addict. ESCAPE WORSHIP.

 

􀀹 Another may worship pleasure in the sensual realm, and thus the sex addict, pervert and whore-mongering fornicator. PLEASURE WORSHIP.

 

􀀹 Another may be drawn by the allurements of wealth and possessions, thus the materialist, the greedy and selfish rich fool Jesus spoke of who only planned for prosperity, eating, drinking, and enjoying life. WEALTH WORSHIP.

 

􀀹 Another may be drawn to the praise of man, and thus the proud, inward seeking, callused and unfeeling self-centered person. SELF WORSHIP.

 

The test of whether or not you worship something is quite simple. Can you give it up? Try this on each of the areas we have covered.

 

􀀹 Can you give up your career and the accomplishments of your goals in your field, to the Lord today?

 

􀀹 Can you stop drinking alcohol, smoking whatever, taking whatever substances that help you escape reality – stop them completely – today and give your life to the Lord?

 

􀀹 Can you end all selfish sensual pleasure pursuits, pornography, fornication, sodomy, and adultery today and give your pleasures to the Lord to fulfill in His perfect time and way?

 

􀀹 Can you give up your money, security, power, all of it, today, into the Lord’s control?

 

􀀹 Can you give up your pride, self seeking, self absorption, self focus and so on, today and humble yourself, deny yourself and take up your cross following Jesus today?

 

WHAT IS COVETOUSNESS?

Covetousness is “to long for, be preoccupied with having what God has not given us”. Possessiveness is “to be selfish and un-sharing with what God has given us”.3

A sure sign of the materialism of covetousness is its INSATIABILITY. “The legitimacy of a desire lies in the ability to satisfy or fill it. All true needs -- such as food, drink, and companionship -- are satiable. Illegitimate wants -- pride, envy, and greed -- are insatiable. By their very nature they can’t be satisfied.”

The Bible has many grim markers that show where illegitimate desire has given birth to immense disaster:

 

􀀹 Achan’s lust for more lead to his death by stoning and a similar death for all his family. [Joshua 7]

 

􀀹 Balaam’s greed made him fail to hear his own message. [Numbers 22:4-35]

 

􀀹 Delilah betrayed a man who trusted her, for a payoff. [Judges 16]

 

􀀹 Solomon’s insatiable desire for more of everything led him away from God. [Deuteronomy 17:16-17]

 

􀀹 Gehazi was not content with serving God; he lied to get more and paid dearly for it. [II Kings 5:20-27]

 

􀀹 Judas measured the inestimable value of Jesus in pieces of silver. (Mt. 26:15)

 

􀀹 Annanias & Saphira could not let go of the money they possessed nor the applause they coveted so God killed them! [Acts 5:1-11]

 

JESUS WAS WARNING HIS DISCIPLES ABOUT COVETOUSNESS

What can we conclude? Covetousness or greed is not just a harmless pastime but also a serious offense against God. Just as the lustful man is an adulterer in Matthew 5:28; The hateful man a murderer in I John 3:15; so the greedy man is an idolater in Col. 3:5.

 

For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit  discoverthebook.org.