John Barnett Discover the Book Daily Devotional
<< Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett

Discover the Book - Apr. 22, 2007

  • 2007 Apr 22

This devotional is one day of a 365 days devotional book entitled Living Hope for the End of Days that explores Revelation, the final book of God's Word; and is available at



Live for What Is Eternal

(Revelation 18)


As the end of days approaches, you can find hope as you live for what is eternal!




SUNDAY: The Coming Global Financial Collapse


“No man can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [earthly treasures](Matthew 6:24, Emphasis added).


A cataclysmic day is on the horizon of the future that will launch a series of events arresting everyday 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 in every country 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 planet Earth—and they won’t be coming on any time soon!

The eighteenth chapter of Revelation gives us a road map for the coming economic collapse of the world. By learning the lessons God has laid down in His Word, we can see what response He desires from His servants not only in the ultimate collapse but also in any other financial reversals or crises that may prompt widespread panic before the big and final crash.

Now let’s look at an overview of Revelation 18, which is a twin to Revelation 17. In Revelation 17 we find the collapse of the apostate world church—Satan’s harlot bride, the delusion of religion. Revelation 18 now reveals the other member of Satan’s family—materialism, worldliness, and covetousness. From the Garden of Eden onward, Satan has been offering the elusive “greener grass” to humans. According to each person’s own vulnerability, Satan thus whispers his lies: 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 be fulfilled!

Hand in hand with Satan’s fall is the insatiable desire for more. Lucifer himself was discontented with the highest position in heaven—he wanted still more. Humans are born with a thirst for more of whatever they desire. This is the idolatry of covetousness.

The Bible clearly describes covetousness—this concept of the idolatrous worship of things: “to long for, be preoccupied with having what God has not given us.” Possessiveness [which is a cousin of covetousness] is “to be selfish and un-sharing with what God has given us.”[1][1] The Book of Proverbs is full of illustrations of such idolatry. The Old Testament prophets have provided many examples of people who were preoccupied with and longed for what God had not given to them: they wanted something else—someone else’s wife or land. Worldliness either makes us covetous (we want what we do not have) or possessive (we want to hold on to what we have). Both are evil.

The most visible sign of covetousness is materialism. A sure sign of the covetous nature of materialism is its insatiability. Legitimate desires (such as food, drink, and companionship) can be satisfied. Illegitimate desires (such as pride, envy, greed, and lust), by their very nature, can’t be satisfied.

Materialism is the desire for “things” as opposed to spiritual worship, which is the desire for God. Materialism is seen in a passion for money, possessions, and endless pursuits of physical pleasures and recreations. But all that is going to end. In Revelation 18, the music stops, money fails, and possessions are worthless. In other words, the party is going to be over the moment the lights go out!

Revelation 18 describes the coming global financial collapse: Jesus condemns worldliness (vv. 1-3); Jesus calls saints to come out of worldliness (vv. 4-8); Jesus describes the worthlessness of worldliness (vv. 9-19); and Jesus celebrates the end of worldliness (vv. 20-24).

Why would John have such a vision on a prison island? 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—worldliness, materialism, and covetousness. Babylonian materialism in Revelation 18 may be distilled down to one word in the Bible: covetousness, which is idolatry. It is the worship of “mammon” (money, possessions, and so on) instead of God.

In John’s day, Rome had gone to the limits in extravagance. The Caesars would spend fortunes on a single meal by demanding the most exotic and rarest dishes for their personal consumption. Nero decorated his banquets with roses from Egypt that cost $70,000; he wore an outfit costing $40,000—which he only wore once, as was his custom. Caligula demanded such meals as hummingbird and flamingo tongues, pearls costing $200,000 dissolved in wine, the livers of pike fish, and the brains of peacocks. Because the commoners only earned a penny a day at this time, that gives you a better idea of the extreme lavishness of the Roman hierarchy.[2][2]

In the fifth century, St. Augustine noted the message of Revelation 18: the central problem of mankind is idolatry. Idolatry is when we use what we are supposed to worship—and worship what we are supposed to use.

If you put all the evils of our world into that grid you will come up with this conclusion: Idolatry is using God for our own purposes, such as when we’re in danger (in a foxhole, a hospital, a storm cellar, a plane shaking, and so forth) and worshiping anything else (by our devotion to money, sex, and pleasure). In other words, idolatry is using God, whom we are supposed to worship, and worshiping the things of earth that we are supposed to use.

So then, what does God want us to learn from Revelation 18? Many things, but primarily this: there is life beyond money. Life is more important than possessions; all you can take with you to heaven is people.


My Prayer for You This Week: Oh Father, we think about how often our beloved Lord Jesus talked about money. He told us that money is the monitor of our heart—that our money and the pathway of our money show where our true treasures are invested. And by our use of money we prove to You where our allegiance and worship are directed. We pray that we will, in a very sobering and sincere way before You, ponder what it would be like in this world if we did not have money—if all our possessions and material things were stripped away from us either temporarily or permanently. What is left after we have no finances is really important for eternity. We pray that we would start rethinking life—about how to live in a way that counts, whether we have possessions or not. May we truly start thinking eternally, planning strategically, and talking prophetically so that our life’s testimony points to the fact that this world is not our home—we are just parked here temporarily. We pray that You will open our hearts to these truths. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.














For more from Discover the Book Ministries, please visit

More Discover the Book, with Dr. John Barnett Articles