Thoughts and Reflection
Today we read many different symbols of the book of Revelation. This book has been open to many different interpretations through the years. We read about the fall of Babylon. What and where is Babylon? Some say it was Rome and others say it was Jerusalem.
The challenge for us is to remain faithful to the Lord. Through our work, we will be sure that Babylon won’t be our end as well. God will be the ultimate Judge of us and we want to be one of those he vindicates. Our bodies will be raised for glory or condemnation. We will be judged by what we have done. So our actions matter and the consequences they carry.
About This Project
For the year 2022, I decided that my New Year’s Resolution was to read the whole Bible following the Bible in the Year plan presented by Fr. Mike Schmitz. It is a big and bold undertaking. You can follow along by subscribing. Feel free to look at previous day’s post and comment. It’s something we can all learn from together!
1 After this, I saw another angel come down from heaven, with great authority given to him; the earth shone with his glory.
2 At the top of his voice he shouted, ‘Babylon has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, and has become the haunt of devils and a lodging for every foul spirit and dirty, loathsome bird.
3 All the nations have drunk deep of the wine of her prostitution; every king on the earth has prostituted himself with her, and every merchant grown rich through her debauchery.’
4 Another voice spoke from heaven; I heard it say, ‘Come out, my people, away from her, so that you do not share in her crimes and have the same plagues to bear.
5 Her sins have reached up to the sky, and God has her crimes in mind: treat her as she has treated others.
6 She must be paid double the amount she exacted. She is to have a doubly strong cup of her own mixture.
7 Every one of her pomps and orgies is to be matched by a torture or an agony. I am enthroned as queen, she thinks; I am no widow and will never know bereavement.
8 For that, in one day, the plagues will fall on her: disease and mourning and famine. She will be burned to the ground. The Lord Godwho has condemned her is mighty.’
9 ‘There will be mourning and weeping for her by the kings of the earth who have prostituted themselves with her and held orgies with her. They see the smoke as she burns,
10 while they keep at a safe distance through fear of her anguish. They will say: Mourn, mourn for this great city, Babylon, so powerful a city, in one short hour your doom has come upon you.
11 ‘There will be weeping and distress over her among all the traders of the earth when no one is left to buy their cargoes of goods;
12 their stocks of gold and silver, jewels and pearls, linen and purple and silks and scarlet; all the sandalwood, every piece in ivory or fine wood, in bronze or iron or marble;
13 the cinnamon and spices, the myrrh and ointment and incense; wine, oil, flour and corn; their stocks of cattle, sheep, horses and chariots, their slaves and their human cargo.
14 ‘All the fruits you had set your hearts on have failed you; gone for ever, never to return again, is your life of magnificence and ease.
15 ‘The traders who had made a fortune out of her will be standing at a safe distance through fear of her anguish, mourning and weeping.
16 They will be saying: Mourn, mourn for this great city; for all the linen and purple and scarlet that you wore, for all your finery of gold and jewels and pearls;
17 your huge riches are all destroyed within a single hour.’ All the captains and seafaring men, sailors and all those who make a living from the sea kept a safe distance,
18 watching the smoke as she burned, and crying out, ‘Has there ever been a city as great as this!’
19 They threw dust on their heads and said, with tears and groans: ‘Mourn, mourn for this great city whose lavish living has made a fortune for every owner of a sea-going ship, ruined within a single hour.
20 ‘Now heaven, celebrate her downfall, and all you saints, apostles and prophets: God has given judgement for you against her.’
21 Then a powerful angel picked up a boulder like a great millstone, and as he hurled it into the sea, he said, ‘That is how the great city of Babylon is going to be hurled down, never to be seen again.
22 Never again in you will be heard the song of harpists and minstrels, the music of flute and trumpet; never again will craftsmen of every skill be found in you or the sound of the handmill be heard;
23 never again will shine the light of the lamp in you, never again will be heard in you the voices of bridegroom and bride. Your traders were the princes of the earth, all the nations were led astray by your sorcery.
24 In her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and all the blood that was ever shed on earth.’
1 After this I heard what seemed to be the great sound of a huge crowd in heaven, singing, ‘Alleluia! Salvation and glory and power to our God!
2 He judges fairly, he punishes justly, and he has condemned the great prostitute who corrupted the earth with her prostitution; he has avenged the blood of his servants which she shed.’
3 And again they sang, ‘Alleluia! The smoke of her will rise for ever and ever.’
4 Then the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures threw themselves down and worshipped God seated on his throne, and they cried, ‘Amen, Alleluia.’
5 Then a voice came from the throne; it said, ‘Praise our God, you servants of his and those who fear him, small and great alike.’
6 And I heard what seemed to be the voices of a huge crowd, like the sound of the ocean or the great roar of thunder, answering, ‘Alleluia! The reign of the Lord our God Almighty has begun;
7 let us be glad and joyful and give glory to God, because this is the time for the marriage of the Lamb.
8 His bride is ready, and she has been able to dress herself in dazzling white linen, because her linen is made of the good deeds of the saints.’
9 The angel said, ‘Write this, “Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb,” ‘ and he added, ‘These words of Godare true.’
10 Then I knelt at his feet to worship him, but he said to me, ‘Never do that: I am your fellow-servant and the fellow-servant of all your brothers who have in themselves the witness of Jesus. God alone you must worship.’ The witness of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
11 And now I saw heaven open, and a white horse appear; its rider was called Trustworthy and True; in uprightness he judges and makes war.
12 His eyes were flames of fire, and he was crowned with many coronets; the name written on him was known only to himself,
13 his cloak was soaked in blood. He is known by the name, The Word of God.
14 Behind him, dressed in linen of dazzling white, rode the armies of heaven on white horses.
15 From his mouth came a sharp sword with which to strike the unbelievers; he is the one who will rule them with an iron sceptre, and tread out the wine of Almighty God’s fierce retribution.
16 On his cloak and on his thigh a name was written: King of kings and Lord of lords.
17 I saw an angel standing in the sun, and he shouted aloud to all the birds that were flying high overhead in the sky, ‘Come here. Gather together at God’s great feast.
18 You will eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of great generals and heroes, the flesh of horses and their riders and of all kinds of people, citizens and slaves, small and great alike.’
19 Then I saw the beast, with all the kings of the earth and their armies, gathered together to fight the Rider and his army.
20 But the beast was taken prisoner, together with the false prophet who had worked miracles on the beast’s behalf and by them had deceived those who had accepted branding with the mark of the beast and those who had worshipped his statue. These two were hurled alive into the fiery lake of burning sulphur.
21 All the rest were killed by the sword of the Rider, which came out of his mouth, and all the birds glutted themselves with their flesh.
1 Then I saw an angel come down from heaven with the key of the Abyss in his hand and an enormous chain.
2 He overpowered the dragon, that primeval serpent which is the devil and Satan, and chained him up for a thousand years.
3 He hurled him into the Abyss and shut the entrance and sealed it over him, to make sure he would not lead the nations astray again until the thousand years had passed. At the end of that time he must be released, but only for a short while.
4 Then I saw thrones, where they took their seats, and on them was conferred the power to give judgement. I saw the souls of all who had been beheaded for having witnessed for Jesus and for having preached God’s word, and those who refused to worship the beast or his statue and would not accept the brandmark on their foreheads or hands; they came to life, and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were over; this is the first resurrection.
6 Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection; the second death has no power over them but they will be priests of God and of Christ and reign with him for a thousand years.
7 When the thousand years are over, Satan will be released from his prison
8 and will come out to lead astray all the nations in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, and mobilise them for war, his armies being as many as the sands of the sea.
9 They came swarming over the entire country and besieged the camp of the saints, which is the beloved City. But fire rained down on them from heaven and consumed them.
10 Then the devil, who led them astray, was hurled into the lake of fire and sulphur, where the beast and the false prophet are, and their torture will not come to an end, day or night, for ever and ever.
11 Then I saw a great white throne and the One who was sitting on it. In his presence, earth and sky vanished, leaving no trace.
12 I saw the dead, great and small alike, standing in front of his throne while the books lay open. And another book was opened, which is the book of life, and the dead were judged from what was written in the books, as their deeds deserved.
13 The sea gave up all the dead who were in it;
14 Death and Hades were emptied of the dead that were in them; and every one was judged as his deeds deserved. Then Death and Hades were hurled into the burning lake. This burning lake is the second death;
15 and anybody whose name could not be found written in the book of life was hurled into the burning lake.
1 The first covenant also had its laws governing worship and its sanctuary, a sanctuary on this earth.
2 There was a tent which comprised two compartments: the first, in which the lamp-stand, the table and the loaves of permanent offering were kept, was called the Holy Place;
3 then beyond the second veil, a second compartment which was called the Holy of Holies
4 to which belonged the gold altar of incense, and the ark of the covenant, plated all over with gold. In this were kept the gold jar containing the manna, Aaron’s branch that grew the buds, and the tables of the covenant.
5 On top of it were the glorious winged creatures, overshadowing the throne of mercy. This is not the time to go into detail about this.
6 Under these provisions, priests go regularly into the outer tent to carry out their acts of worship,
7 but the second tent is entered only once a year, and then only by the high priest who takes in the blood to make an offering for his own and the people’s faults of inadvertence.
8 By this, the Holy Spirit means us to see that as long as the old tent stands, the way into the holy place is not opened up;
9 it is a symbol for this present time. None of the gifts and sacrifices offered under these regulations can possibly bring any worshipper to perfection in his conscience;
10 they are rules about outward life, connected with food and drink and washing at various times, which are in force only until the timecomes to set things right.
11 But now Christ has come, as the high priest of all the blessings which were to come. He has passed through the greater, the more perfect tent, not made by human hands, that is, not of this created order;
12 and he has entered the sanctuary once and for all, taking with him not the blood of goats and bull calves, but his own blood, having won an eternal redemption.
13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkled on those who have incurred defilement, may restore their bodily purity.
14 How much more will the blood of Christ, who offered himself, blameless as he was, to God through the eternal Spirit, purify our conscience from dead actions so that we can worship the living God.
15 This makes him the mediator of a new covenant, so that, now that a death has occurred to redeem the sins committed under an earlier covenant, those who have been called to an eternal inheritance may receive the promise.
16 Now wherever a will is in question, the death of the testator must be established;
17 a testament comes into effect only after a death, since it has no force while the testator is still alive.
18 That is why even the earlier covenant was inaugurated with blood,
19 and why, after Moses had promulgated all the commandments of the Law to the people, he took the calves’ blood, the goats’ blood and some water, and with these he sprinkled the book itself and all the people, using scarlet wool and hyssop;
20 saying as he did so: This is the blood of the covenant that God has made with you.
21 And he sprinkled both the tent and all the liturgical vessels with blood in the same way.
22 In fact, according to the Law, practically every purification takes place by means of blood; and if there is no shedding of blood, there is no remission.
23 Only the copies of heavenly things are purified in this way; the heavenly things themselves have to be purified by a higher sort of sacrifice than this.
24 It is not as though Christ had entered a man-made sanctuary which was merely a model of the real one; he entered heaven itself, so that he now appears in the presence of God on our behalf.
25 And he does not have to offer himself again and again, as the high priest goes into the sanctuary year after year with the blood that is not his own,
26 or else he would have had to suffer over and over again since the world began. As it is, he has made his appearance once and for all, at the end of the last age, to do away with sin by sacrificing himself.
27 Since human beings die only once, after which comes judgement,
28 so Christ too, having offered himself only once to bear the sin of many, will manifest himself a second time, sin being no more, to those who are waiting for him, to bring them salvation.
1 So, since the Law contains no more than a reflection of the good things which were still to come, and no true image of them, it is quite incapable of bringing the worshippers to perfection, by means of the same sacrifices repeatedly offered year after year.
2 Otherwise, surely the offering of them would have stopped, because the worshippers, when they had been purified once, would have no awareness of sins.
3 But in fact the sins are recalled year after year in the sacrifices.
4 Bulls’ blood and goats’ blood are incapable of taking away sins,
5 and that is why he said, on coming into the world: You wanted no sacrifice or cereal offering, but you gave me a body.
6 You took no pleasure in burnt offering or sacrifice for sin;
7 then I said, ‘Here I am, I am coming,’ in the scroll of the book it is written of me, to do your will, God.
8 He says first You did not want what the Law lays down as the things to be offered, that is: the sacrifices, the cereal offerings, the burnt offerings and the sacrifices for sin, and you took no pleasure in them;
9 and then he says: Here I am! I am coming to do your will. He is abolishing the first sort to establish the second.
10 And this will was for us to be made holy by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ made once and for all.
11 Every priest stands at his duties every day, offering over and over again the same sacrifices which are quite incapable of taking away sins.
12 He, on the other hand, has offered one single sacrifice for sins, and then taken his seat for ever, at the right hand of God,
13 where he is now waiting till his enemies are made his footstool.
14 By virtue of that one single offering, he has achieved the eternal perfection of all who are sanctified.
15 The Holy Spirit attests this to us, for after saying:
16 No, this is the covenant I will make with them, when those days have come. the Lord says: In their minds I will plant my Laws writing them on their hearts,
17 and I shall never more call their sins to mind, or their offences.
18 When these have been forgiven, there can be no more sin offerings.
19 We have then, brothers, complete confidence through the blood of Jesus in entering the sanctuary,
20 by a new way which he has opened for us, a living opening through the curtain, that is to say, his flesh.
21 And we have the high priest over all the sanctuary of God.
22 So as we go in, let us be sincere in heart and filled with faith, our hearts sprinkled and free from any trace of bad conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
23 Let us keep firm in the hope we profess, because the one who made the promise is trustworthy.
24 Let us be concerned for each other, to stir a response in love and good works.
25 Do not absent yourself from your own assemblies, as some do, but encourage each other; the more so as you see the Day drawing near.
26 If, after we have been given knowledge of the truth, we should deliberately commit any sins, then there is no longer any sacrifice for them.
27 There is left only the dreadful prospect of judgement and of the fiery wrath that is to devour your enemies.
28 Anyone who disregards the Law of Moses is ruthlessly put to death on the word of two witnesses or three;
29 and you may be sure that anyone who tramples on the Son of God, and who treats the blood of the covenant which sanctified him as if it were not holy, and who insults the Spirit of grace, will be condemned to a far severer punishment.
30 We are all aware who it was that said: Vengeance is mine; I will pay them back. And again: The Lord will vindicate his people.
31 It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
32 Remember the great challenge of the sufferings that you had to meet after you received the light, in earlier days;
33 sometimes by being yourselves publicly exposed to humiliations and violence, and sometimes as associates of others who were treated in the same way.
34 For you not only shared in the sufferings of those who were in prison, but you accepted with joy being stripped of your belongings, knowing that you owned something that was better and lasting.
35 Do not lose your fearlessness now, then, since the reward is so great.
36 You will need perseverance if you are to do God’s will and gain what he has promised.
37 Only a little while now, a very little while, for come he certainly will before too long.
38 My upright person will live through faith but if he draws back, my soul will take no pleasure in him.
39 We are not the sort of people who draw back, and are lost by it; we are the sort who keep faith until our souls are saved.
26 When she opens her mouth, she does so wisely; on her tongue is kindly instruction.
27 She keeps good watch on the conduct of her household, no bread of idleness for her.
28 Her children stand up and proclaim her blessed, her husband, too, sings her praises:
29 ‘Many women have done admirable things, but you surpass them all!’