Sunday, February 24, 2008

On Babylon, Beasts, and White Picket Fences

I just preached from Revelation 13, where we are introduced to the beast from the sea and the beast from the earth (sometimes called "the antichrist" and the "false prophet" respectively). When we discover these beasts' project, we see that their aim is to combine military might and lofty religious rhetoric in order to bring about conformity to their sinister agenda of destroying the church by means of lies and deceit.

I can't help but wonder if, in our little parcel of earth, we haven't to some degree bought in to the lie that there's a protective force field around our nation that precludes our complicity in an agenda that is anything but godly and divinely-favored.

I recently heard a well-known Christian talk-show host (yes, he is Reformed) attempting to explain the difference between providence and redemption. He said, "You see, just because America has been the source of tremendous good in the world doesn't mean we hold a 'Most Favored Nation' status in God's redemptive plan. God uses us to providentially bless the world, but not to redeem it."

Indeed, for we wouldn't want to think too highly of ourselves, now would we?

As I heard that, I couldn't help but wonder if we see our heavenly citizenship as profound enough to help us handle the fact that our little corner of the kingdom of man is itself a suburb of Babylon, and no imagined myth of nobility or manifest destiny can change the earthly, fallen, and selfish motives that drive us "further up, and further in" to this Dream which we have been told we are blessed to enjoy.

Last time I checked, a dragon-empowered beast with ten horns, seven heads, and the authority to make war upon and conquer God's people is not likely to be stopped by stars, stripes, and white picket fences.