“And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!” – Revelation 18:2
I used to like jello. When I was a boy, in the summer time, my family would visit the home of my grand aunts. They were sweet old ladies. When I say “sweet,” I mean sweet. They’d always have some triple decker, red-green-yellow-jello with whipped cream on top waiting for us in the refrigerator. Man oh man that was good stuff! But something ruined that for me. You see, on Saturdays way back when, it was the time for chiller theatre when they’d show old Science Fiction movies. They’d start the show with a cool creepy six-finger hand reaching up out of a swampy bog. I loved it. Well, one day, as I was tuning in to watch, the feature was The Blob. It was a great movie with a young Steve McQueen in one of his first movie roles. It was about a ravenous gooey blob of all-consuming jello-gelatin that devoured everyone in its path. I watched that and, I don’t know what happened, but I never quite looked at jello the same after that. I lost my taste for it. Watch the movie, maybe you’ll see why.
I want to talk about another type of monster, a Green-eyed Monster. This monster wreaks havoc. It grows like cancer. It is all consuming. And it’s green. You’ll have to read through this study to discover what exactly this green-eyed monster is. No peeking! I hope the journey will be worth your time investment. And watch for clues.
In Revelation 17 God pours out His wrath on a Christ rejecting sinful one world religious system. This system is impersonal, domineering and contrary to the personal relationship God calls people to through Christ in His gospel of grace (e.g. John 17:3). Rather than clarify and proclaim truth and point people to reliance upon God, this false religious system presents God as mysterious and secures its dominance over people by putting themselves in between God and man as the means to heaven. The root of this religious system is traceable to the Tower of Babel. It is the outgrowth of what started there; the Babylonian religious system. This religious system manipulates people by focusing them on what they need to do to secure favor with God rather than on what God has done in Christ by grace to work saving reconciliation between God and man.
In chapter 18 of Revelation we see the judgment of God fall upon the second head of a two headed beast. Satan’s attempt at world rule and domination is made through an antichrist figure and a false prophet (Revelation 13). These two figures lead a world religious-economic-political system; a one world government. In Revelation 17 the world religious system is judged. In chapter 18 we see the economic and political system of Satan judged.
At the Tower of Babel mankind constructed a ziggurat to enhance their human efforts to attain to godhood by worshipping the stars. But at the Tower mankind also moved from dependence upon God for provisions to a focused reliance upon their own self-governing efforts and industry to survive. This economic system incorporates self -rule. Economics and politics are always closely intertwined.
Revelation 18:1 – “After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.”
God is always in control. It is important to remind ourselves that during the seven-year period of Tribulation when so much hardship and turmoil is taking place, that God is still in control. GOD IS ALWAYS IN CONTROL.
That the angel comes “down from heaven” symbolizes power and authority. Things that are high convey the idea of transcendence and authority. Things that are low communicate subordination.
The word “authority” (Greek exousia) means privilege, force, capacity, competency, mastery, influence, authority, power, strength. This angel is coming down with true authority over what is taking place on the earth. Since the Tower of Babel fallen humanity has been trying self-rule. And throughout history, regardless of government type, humanity has made an unholy mess of this world.
Since Babel humanity has sought alternatives to God’s rule (Genesis 11). It wasn’t long until God’s own people called for a human king to replace God as their king. The prophet Samuel didn’t like the idea and resisted the people. But God told him, “Heed the voice of the people in all that they say to you; for they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me, that I should not reign over them” (1 Samuel 8:7). God’s people would learn that human leadership is a poor substitute for Divine Kingship.
Since biblical times throughout human history it seems as though the move of the human spirit is to lean more and more on government self-rule. Government has been exalted as “God.” Government is looked to for protection from invaders outside one’s borders as well as from bullies within its borders. Government has been looked to for justice and maintaining order in society. Government is looked to for the equitable distribution of wealth. Government is looked to as a provider for the poor and needy. Government has been looked to for everything to govern the lives of humanity. There’s nothing wrong with government and in theory government can be good. The problem is that every government is governed by fallen humanity and that spells inevitable trouble for every governmental system. Humanity has tried to put checks and balances in place to govern government and guard against abuses of power. Problem is, humanity has a bent toward corruption. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. But any power has a tendency to be abused by the carnal nature of human beings.
There is no government in power that hasn’t been allowed to come to power by God (cf. Romans 13:1). We are to respect government (Romans 13:2) and pray for leaders in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-3). God’s stated purpose for government is to be a “minister to you for good” (Romans 13:4a). Government is ordained by God to “execute wrath on him who practices evil” (Romans 13:4b). Government therefore, maintains order and protects the innocent against those who do evil. God’s people are to cooperate and submit to government (Romans 13:5; 1 Peter 2:13-20). That’s true even when it comes to paying taxes (Romans 13:6-7). However, since government is run by fallen sinful human beings, it should be apparent that there are times when along with the Apostles we must say, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Respect Government but revere God.
As we draw closer and closer to the End Times, we will see an ever-increasing push for more government. As human beings move further and further away from God as their Governor, we will hear them cry for more and more government oversight. People will look to more government to protect their freedoms ignoring the fact that historically, the more government is in control, the less freedom people have.
Some people have tried to justify certain governmental systems by quoting scripture. They turn to the early stages of the Book of Acts when believers “were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common” (Acts 4:32). They try to use such passages to promote Socialism or Communism of one kind or the other. The only problem is, that those in the early church were moved by the Holy Spirit to such sentiments and freely contributed to the needs of others. Socialism and Communism use government force to redistribute wealth and impose on its citizens what they deem to be just and right and appropriate for every aspect of life.
Socialism and Communism at its roots are thoroughly anti-religious. Communism is the logical result of socialism. Communism flows naturally from socialism. In Revelation 17 the beast and his government will ultimately swallow up the harlot one world religious system. In The Communist Manifesto of 1848, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote that one of their objectives was to abolish all religion and all morality. The more we see today of government, the more we see religious oppression and moral anarchy and degradation.
Over the last hundred years of the prominence of Socialist and Communist systems of government, there have been well over 100 million deaths through depravation, genocide, and politically motivated killings. Socialism and Communism tend to tap in to an evolutionary view of the world. Without God, this cuts off incentive to appreciate and value life. And with that moral compass removed, life is cheap and expendable.
But what of Capitalism and “freer” government systems? Capitalism’s system of supply and demand allows for more freedom and competition. It rewards hard work and ingenuity for the most part, but it is corrupt too. Capitalism which leaves caring for the poor and needy of society to individual sources, can lead to ignoring and neglecting the neediest of society. A “Christian” component such as we have in the United States historically, definitely improves the system. It positively affects through altruism and donation the help of the needy. But the tendencies of fallen carnal sinful humanity to serve self leads to injustices in this system too.
Greed always tempts the carnal soul. And greed is too often the winner in that tempting point. Greed robs of life (Proverbs 1:19). Greed leads to trouble (Proverbs 15:17). The religious leaders of Jesus day were greedy (Luke 11:39). Christian leaders are to guard against greed (1 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:7). As we go deeper in our study we will look more closely at the proper attitude and position toward possessions. But the green of greed is a monstrous problem for the carnally minded. That is true in whatever class, whatever your position in life you are.
The thing for us to remember is that, whether it is religion or government, the answer to our questions and the solutions to our problems rest with God. Our trust and faith should be in God not government, God not money. God is the Sovereign in all of these workings (Revelation 17:17; 18:1, 8 and 20). No matter what is happening or how out of control things seem to be, God is in control.
Revelation 18:2 – “And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!”
The cage. “Babylon the Great,” that world economic colossus headed by Antichrist who is Satan’s perverse incarnation of himself, is described as a “cage.” The world of wantonness is a trap! The way of worldliness is a demonic trap that imprisons those who succumb to its temptations. We see this in our world today. Families are left unattended, marriages fall apart, and ministries are lacking ministers because of the worldly siren call of, “Just a little more!” It’s a trap! It’s a demonic trap to live your life for the riches of this world. It’s a monstrous mistake to allow yourself to get locked up in a cage with the foul spirits who dwell with demons.
Too many are imprisoned by the wanton lust for more material things than they need. There is no place on earth where this is truer than in the United States. Satan has succeeded in perverting the God given blessings of this nation in a way that has gotten the eyes of its people off of the Giver and onto the gifts. Some commentators have gone so far as to theorize that the United States indeed is the end time version of Babylon the Great referred to here in chapter 18. Certainly, if this were true and the United States was destroyed in the space of an hour as this chapter depicts, the economists and leaders of the world would mourn because its most prominent market had been lost. Economically, all roads lead to the United States. This truth makes such a speculation feasible. Whether or not the United States is indeed Babylon the Great, or whether it is some future entity, only time will tell.
Revelation 18:3a – “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, . . .”
A lust for luxury. The word “fornication” (Hebrew zana; Greek porneia) is found 12 times in the Bible (Isaiah 23:17; John 8:41; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5; Revelation 14:8; 17:2, 4; 18:3 (2x), 9; 19:2). Half of those occurrences, six times, the word is found in Revelation! And of those six occurrences in Revelation, two are found in this verse!
The word “fornication” refers to illicit sexual intercourse of various kinds (e.g. adultery, homosexuality, lesbianism, pedophilia, incest, bestiality, etc.) It is also used to describe the practice of idolatry. In this verse it would seem to refer to a kind of prostitution or selling of oneself for profit. Jesus said, “What profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:26). The answer to Jesus rhetorical question is that our soul is priceless and not worth selling for anything. But those devoted to the lust of Babylon have sold their souls to the devil. They reaped a temporary reward but paid an eternal price.
God is righteous to judge this perverse system because those who are a part of it have worshipped luxury and the pursuit thereof rather than the True Giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1:17). The term “luxury” is translated from the Greek term strenos. The term strenos occurs only here in the New Testament. Strenos, means insolent, arrogant luxury and refers to a wantonness.  “Wantonness” is the unrestrained, undisciplined, and unmanageable, out of control, pursuit of something. The idea here is “the quality of being addicted to pleasure or sensuous delights.”  This is materialism gone wild. This is living for only what you can see. This is an addiction to the accumulation of wealth. This is exactly what we see in our world today.
God judges this system because those in it are addicted lustfully to the attaining of things and the accumulation of wealth for selfish reasons. The picture here is a feeding frenzy for material things. It’s the ultimate spirit of Black Friday. The people caught up in this system are hopelessly addicted to getting more, more, more! They pursue more things, bigger and better things, and bigger and better positions to get bigger and better things and don’t even know why they are doing it. Not only do they live by the motto, “The end justifies the means,” but the means have become the end of them.
This system has taken hold in our world. The people who live in our affluent section of the world never seem to have enough. There is a constant pursuit of more of everything without any thought as to purpose or meaning of life. A time will come when God will say, “Enough is enough!” and stop this system and those who worship therein.
A recent article on America’s wealth entitles 8 Stats That will Change the Way You Think About Wealth began like this:
Recently I heard a sermon that put “wealth” into perspective. If you are reading this article, that means you have access to either a computer, a laptop or a smart phone. You have electricity. You have a connection to the Internet. If you know where your next meal is coming from and you don’t have to worry about getting clean water, having shelter over your head and accessing medical care, you benefit from more wealth than many people throughout human history.
In Western culture, accumulating wealth, finding career success and obtaining financial prosperity have become the focus of much of our lives. But the constant effort to earn more money can make you lose perspective on the reality of poverty and the blessings of actual wealth.
Here’s a look at eight stats that will shift the way you think about money and what it means to be rich: . . .
Then the author lists the following statistics:
- 1% of the population has almost the same amount of money as the rest of the 99% combined. 48.2 percent of all the world’s wealth is in the hands of just 1 percent of the population.
- You might be a part of the 1%. If you make more than $50,000 a year, you are among the top 1 percent of earners on the entire planet.
- $10 a day is the norm. Most of the population of the entire world (80 percent) lives on less than $10 a day.
- If your annual household income is above $9,733, you are doing better than most. The median household income for the global population is less than $10,000 a year.
- Your coffee costs as much as many people spend in a whole day. More than a third of people on earth live on less than $2 a day. 1.2 billion live on less than $1.25
- Most Americans spend less than 10% of their personal income on food. Most of the income (60%-80%) of individuals in impoverished communities in other parts of the world is spent putting food on the table.
- Americans spend roughly $465 billion every Christmas; America spends $6.3 billion to fight AIDS overseas. The amount American consumers spend buying stuff at the holidays is greater than the GDP of some of the world’s poorest countries.
- Children in rich countries only face a 1 in 165 chance of dying by age 5. In extremely poor countries, their chances are 1 in 6. Every day, nearly 29,000 children younger than 5 die, mostly from preventable diseases.
According to Wikipedia, seven of the ten wealthiest people in the world live in the United States. There is a lot of wealth concentrated in a very few people. In America too many people see only green. Too many people are consumed by seeking mountains of money. As we draw closer to the end times, the concentration of wealth will be come even greater. But since we don’t have a clear reference to America in scripture, it should give us pause. We should pause and pray and wonder, “Where is America in the End times?” Has she been consumed by a monstrous money hungry government? Have the consumers been consumed by their own conquest of wealth? Time will tell of the money monster has caught its prey.
Romans 18:3b “. . . the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
Rule. The term “king” (Greek basileus) refers to a sovereign, a leader of people, prince, commander, lord of the land, king. The word “king” occurs 1848 times in the New King James Bible. The plural, “kings” occurs another 313 times. Both words together therefore appear 2161 times in the Old and New Testament of the Bible.
In 1 Samuel 8 God’s people rejected God as their King and sought a human king. This transition marks a change from theocracy to monarchy. God told Samuel to solemnly warn the people about what a king would bring them. A human king would lead to oppressive ruling over the people that would tax their wealth and put at risk their children (1 Samuel 8:10-20). And that’s exactly what they got.
In Revelation 18 kings are mentioned. The final one world government is described as “a swelling place of demons” (Revelation 18:2). Earlier in Revelation it speaks of the “spirits of demons, . . . which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world” (Revelation 16:14). This final world government will be demonically driven. The kings of this final world government may come to power in a democratic system or not. Whatever system they are in it is probably that they will seize power by manipulation of whatever system they are in. Just because someone is “elected” in a democratic election doesn’t necessarily mean they were elected democratically. They may have been elected demon-cratically. This final government will be as corrupt as the heart of the devil.
Revelation 18:4-5 – “And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.5 “For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.”
“Come out of her My people. The people of God are not to be caught up in this Babylonian system of lust for luxury. Jesus warned that people can’t serve God and money (Matthew 6:242-34). John said much the same in his first epistle (1 John 5:15-17). The people of God are to have a balanced view of material things. God has a plan and purpose for material things. The Babylonian system of lust for luxury has ignored God’s plan and purpose for the material and is consumed with self-indulgent consumption. This was never God’s intent. What’s wrong with this system and its view of wealth? What is God’s plan and purpose for material things? That is what we will consider now.
Revelation 18:6-7 – “Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.7 “In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’”
She glorified herself. At the root of this system’s sin is the attitude that permeates it which gives glory to self rather than to God. This system lives on work. There is little “faith” in this system. There is little dependence upon God in this system and there is next to no seeking direction from God in this system as to how material things should be used.
In this material system each person works, earns and spends on their own. In this system each person is the Lord of their own wealth. There is no thought of the Biblical tithe here. There is no thought of thanking God for His provision because those in this system do not see God as their Provider. In this world government economic system, a person earns what they have by the sweat of their brow. They give no consideration to God for Divine Appointments and opportunities provided by God nor that God created people with the talent to earn a living the way they do.
The Babylonian system of work is filled with those who pride themselves on what they earn and how high they climb in the business or corporate world. The awards, the credit, the bonus is taken by men, not offered to God. God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). Pride goes before a fall and haughtiness before destruction (Proverbs 16:18). Such people would do well to remember the story of Rosie Greenhouse.
Rosie Greenhouse was a Confederate spy during the Civil War who stole large quantities of gold from the confederacy at the close of the war. She hid the gold by sewing it into the hems of her garments including the dress she was wearing. She then boarded a ship. Her ship was attacked and sunk a hundred miles out to sea. As the ship went down, she went down with it as her gold sunk her. If the gold of this world is all that you live for, eventually it will sink you.
Revelation 18:8 – “Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.”
It’s all going to burn! Not only will all of this stuff burn one day, but it will burn “in an hour” “For in one hour your judgment has come” (Revelation 18:10, 17, and 19). Remember, Jesus put it succinctly when He said: “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.25 “For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.26 “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Matthew 16:24-26). That’s a profit margin we all need to consider. We need to consider what it is we are investing in.
Revelation 18:9-14 – “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning,10 “standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’11 “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore:12 “merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble;13 “and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all.”
The lament of lost luxury. The kings of the earth weep over Babylon’s destruction (18:9). They stand at a distance which implies a frightening destruction of the city (18:10a and 15). Their lament is, “’Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come’” (18:10b). Imagine sixty minutes of destruction over what is the greatest economic monolith in the world? It’s going to be an incredible sight and it will shake the economic world to its foundations.
The merchants of the world will weep over the loss of potential future profits with the destruction of Babylon (18:11). The details of the loss of the “merchandize” are listed (18:12-13). THEY ARE MORE CONCERNED OVER THE LOSS OF MATERIAL THINGS THAN ANY HUMAN BEING LOST IN THE DESTRUCTION! Evidence of the lack of a sense of the sanctity of human life is seen in the phrase, “and the bodies and souls of men” (18:13b). People, human beings, will be seen only in terms of their profits. In our world the problem of human trafficking and sex trafficking is on the rise. In the Tribulation this despicable atrocity in all its forms will be a part of the world. In recent years Project Veritas and James O’Keefe have gone undercover and filmed conversations of Planned Parenthood officials discussing the monetary value of body parts of aborted babies.  That’s a testament to the depth of depravity and lack of a sense of the sanctity of life that will have taken over the hearts of those living during this time in history.
The passage continues to state “the fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all” (18:14). The inevitable outcome of those who live for luxury is a lament for what is lost. An addiction draws in its victims with the promise of fulfillment that never comes. The addiction and lust for luxury is just like that, fulfillment is always just out of the grasp of the pursuer. The lie of this system is that if you just get this or that thing or accomplish this or that goal, you will be satisfied. THERE IS NO LASTING SATISFACTION APART FROM A PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD!
“Godliness with contentment is great gain.” The greatest gain is eternal life. And Jesus said eternal life was knowing Him (John 17:3). Do you know Him? Have you tasted “the riches of His goodness”? (Romans 2:4). Have you experienced the “riches of His grace”? (Ephesians 1:7). Have you received by faith “the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints”? (Ephesians 1:18). The riches of His gracious provision to be saved from your sin is the greatest wealth of all. The are “exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:7). They are “unsearchable riches of Christ” (Ephesians 3:8). They are “riches of His glory” (Ephesians 3:16). God has a wealthy inheritance He wants to share with you. All you have to do to receive it is, admit your sin and ask Him to forgive it, not because of anything you do, but on the basis of what Jesus has done on the cross. On the cross Jesus has paid the penalty for all your sins. And He has risen from the dead to prove that His death on the cross is worthy and acceptable to God as the means by which we might be saved. All you have to do is trust Jesus as Savior and you will be eternally wealthy. That’s money in the bank! (John 3; Ephesians 2:1-9; Romans 10:9-10).
It only takes “one hour” for “such great riches” of this world to come “to nothing” (18:16-17). The merchants of the world cry out when they see “the smoke of her burning” (18:18). It’s all going to burn folks. It’s all going to burn. And “weeping and wailing” won’t cure the gaping hole that is left when the things of this world are burned up and that’s all a person ever lived for (18:19).
Jesus warned of this lust for more and more and more things. He called it COVETOUSNESS. Listen to His words: “And He said to them, “Take heed and beware of covetousness, for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses.” (Luke 12:15).
What is covetousness? “COVETOUSNESS” is a translation of the Greek term pleonexias which is defined as “the thirst for having more.” Covetousness is the pursuit of what you already have enough of. That is the “green eyed monster” Shakespeare spoke of. Covetousness tends to dehumanize people as luxury is sought at all costs. Covetousness makes humanity a secondary thought or consideration.
Revelation 18:20-24 – “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.22 “The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore.23 “The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.24 “And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”
Rejoice over her! In the final section of the chapter we see a call to rejoice. The “holy apostles and prophets” who were often called upon by God to denounce the sins of greed and covetousness (e.g. Haggai; Malachi) are particularly singled out to rejoice. For, “God has avenged you on her!” This should be our attitude over God’s judgment of the last days lascivious lust for luxury.
There will be no more mirth, or the sound of music in that city of Babylon (18:22a). No more will craftsmen be working there (18:22b). It won’t be business as usual ever again. The “City that never sleeps” will have the lights turned out (18:23a). There will be no more weddings and partying (18:23b). There won’t be anymore “sorcery” or occult practices; no more deceiving practices to put a spell on the world (18:23c). Babylon will be judged in an hour for “the blood of the prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth” (18:24).
Those in this system have acted like fools. “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’” (Psalm 14:1). Jesus did not mince words when it came to foolish living (cf. Luke 12:16-21).
The mantra of the world is, “Never be satisfied.” The world directed by Satan entices people with the folly that contentment and satisfaction come with a house, a job, a car, a pet, etc. But once these are attained, the mantra is echoed in the ears of its slaves, “Bigger is better. More is much desired.” Jesus calls those caught up in such a lifestyle, “FOOL!” (cf. Luke 12:22-34).
There is a true story about a sailor who a hundred years ago was shipwrecked in the South Seas. He alone survived and was washed ashore on a remote island. He was found by natives who looked at this white skinned sailor and made him their god-king.
This sailor thought, “Heh, this is great! I’m washed ashore and they’re treating me like a king!” In six months or so he began to learn a bit of the language and customs of the people and found to his shock that the god-kings of the island would be treated like deity for a year and then OFFERED UP IN SACRIFICE TO THE OTHER GODS!
He found out about this custom six months into his own one-year term. He thought about his situation and saw that there was more than just living the last six months of his term and life in the lap of luxury. What did he do? He assembled the people and proclaimed that for the next six months they would focus on building a ship. They worked day and night on the royal ship. At the end of six months he got on the boat and sailed away to safety.
Don’t be fooled by the lure of wealth. Don’t get trapped in the cage of carnal accumulation of wealth. Don’t be let greed turn you green with envy.
The proper perspective on wealth. What is the proper perspective of wealth? How can we handle money in a holy way? The Apostle Paul was inspired to speak to Pastor Timothy in the following way about money and those who have it:
- 1 Timothy 6:6-10,17-19 – “Now godliness with contentment is great gain.7 For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out.8 And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content.9 But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.10 For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. . . . 17 Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.18 Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share,19 storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
What is the proper perspective toward material things? First, let’s consider a wrong perspective that has crept into the church. There is another gospel in the realm of the church, which is a false gospel. This false teaching has done a great deal of harm and has served to distract the focus of believers from the Lord. In the very least this heretical teaching has caused believers to go to God with the wrong motives, with impure motives. This false gospel goes by frequent moniker of the PROSPERITY GOSPEL. This false teaching states, “GODLINESS WITH GAIN IS CONTENTMENT.” This is directly contrary to the Biblical truth which states, “GODLINESS WITH CONTENTMENT IS GREAT GAIN.”
Learning to be satisfied where God has placed you and with what God has given you is the secret of contentment and God’s plan and purpose for you. Contentment comes when we rest in God in all things. Dissatisfaction is usually related to trying to live beyond our own means or beyond what God has provided for us to live with.
If God has blessed you with wealth, great! Don’t feel guilty about it, enjoy it. BUT, be ready for God to employ it too. Don’t say or have the attitude of, “It’s mine! Mine! Mine!” Our attitude needs to be, “It’s Yours God, use it how You see fit.” Remember Who owns all things, God does (Exodus 19:5; Leviticus 25:23; 1 Chronicles 29:14; Psalm 24:1; 50:10; 89:11; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; James 1:17). There’s nothing wrong with enjoying material things. But we should always be ready to employ them as God commands.
A Christlike attitude. God’s plan for each believer is to be conformed to the likeness of His Son Jesus (Romans 8:29). That means we should seek to be like Jesus in every area of our lives. That includes giving and material things. What was Jesus attitude toward giving? Paul wrote to the Corinthians:
- 2 Corinthians 8:9 – For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.
Are we willing to sacrifice and be poor in some areas for the sake of others and their salvation? Jesus is our example in this. Like Jesus, we should be willing to sacrifice for the eternal purposes of His kingdom and the eternal salvation of the lost.
A word on tithing. In recent years there has been a move in the church to discount the validity of tithing. Tithing is to give to God’s work by giving to your local church a tenth (“tithe” means tenth) of your gross income. Some say tithing is legalism and something left over from the Old Covenant. But there’s evidence that Jesus tithed, or at least encouraged it (cf. Matthew 23:23). Tithing is mentioned in the New Testament elsewhere as well (Hebrews 7:5, 6, 8, 9). But I will leave that between you and the Holy Spirit. Where’s your heart in this, looking for an excuse to give less or nothing, or seeking the Lord to give more? Which is closer to a Christlike attitude?
We are not going to lose our salvation if we don’t tithe. We are not under law but under grace. But when we give, we should remember the One who gave His all. “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). God loves a cheerful giver. And He has a way of blessing those who are generous (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:6-11). We shouldn’t be looking for ways to get out of giving. We should be seeking God for direction in how we can give more.
I want to close with giving you some encouragement to begin tithing to your local church if you aren’t already, and if you are tithing already to your local church, keep on doing it.
- Tithing is a good way to store up your treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-21).
- Tithing is a good way to entrust your money to God. Malachi is often used to beat people into tithing. But a better understanding of what Malachi says about tithing is that we should trust the Lord with our finances (Malachi 3:9-11).
- Tithing can be an opportunity for us to express our thankfulness to God for His provision. Our income and wealth come from God! (Deuteronomy 8:18; 26:10; Matthew 22:21).
- Tithing is an opportunity to put God first with our finances (Deuteronomy 14:23). Our tithe should be our first “bill” we pay.
- Tithing is a way to honor God with our income (Proverbs 3:9; 1 Corinthians 10:31).
- Tithing is a good way to discipline yourself in the area of finances (1 Timothy 4:7).
- Tithing can bring us joy. God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor. 9:7). Jesus said its more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35). God’s harvest and our giving from it yields joy (Psalm 4:7).
- Tithing helps your church help others (Proverbs 19:17; Hebrews 13:16; 2 Cor. 9:6).
- Tithing and being generous is looked upon favorably by God (Proverbs 11:25).
- Tithing teaches us to sacrifice (Psalm 4:5).
- Tithing helps us advance the kingdom of God in ministry (Numbers 18:21; Romans 10:14; 1 Cor. 9:13-14).
- Tithing is a way to show your love for God and the condition of your heart (Luke 12:34; 2 Cor. 8:8-9).
Having said all of this, I hope you see the worth of tithing. And although the word “tithe” means 10%, it doesn’t mean you’re limited to only give 10%. Pray and give as God moves you to give (2 Cor. 9:7). Seek the Lord about how much you should give (e.g. James 1:5). 
Dietrich Reinhold was a very wealthy man who lived in Germany. In fact, he was financially better off than anyone else in the valley in which he lived. It’s a true story, Dietrich was known as a man who had, “made it.”
One night he went to sleep in his comfortable bed in his huge mansion and woke up a couple of hours later in a cold, frightened, uncomfortable sweat He had a dream, a very real dream that he knew was more than just an ordinary dream. A dream in which he saw an angel and the angel declared to Dietrich Reinhold, “At midnight tonight the richest man in the valley shall die.” Dietrich panicked shouting, “That’s me! That’s me! THAT’S ME!!!” Immediately he sent a servant to fetch the doctor and when the doctor came, he sat down by Dietrich and listened as Dietrich nervously recounted the dream he had. Dietrich said, “I know the dream I had is true, that the richest man in the valley is going to die TONIGHT! Stay by me doctor, stay by me!” And the doctor sat there and wondered. And they waited and watched the hands of the clock move until finally the clock, . . . struck . . .twelve. Dietrich sat there holding his breath as the clock chimed the twelve strokes of midnight. When the last bell struck, he realized he was still alive. The moment had come and gone and he breathed a sigh of relief. But at that moment a hurried pounding came to his bedroom door and it was another of his servants. The servant said nervously, “Master Reinhold, tonight, just a few moments ago, in the servant’s quarters, your servant Hans died, he died!” And Dietrich Reinhold at that moment was taken aback and realized that his servant Hans, a slave in his vast empire, a humble man, AN EXTREMELY GODLY MAN, NOTED THROUGHOUT THE VALLEY AS ONE WHO LOVED THE LORD, HE WAS THE RICHEST MAN IN THE VALLEY THE ANGEL HAD SPOKEN ABOUT.
Dietrich Reinhold was rich in the things of the world but he came to realize that a truly rich man is one who is rich toward God.
So, what is the Green-eyed monster? In Shakespeare’s Othello, covetousness is powerfully described as, “the green-eyed monster which doth mock the meat it feeds on” (III.iii. 166,167). 
Someone has said:
“Small men seek to get,
a little more, a little more, a little more,
Great men seek to be.”
Covetousness is the pursuit of what you already have enough of. That is the “green eyed monster.” Covetousness dehumanizes people as luxury is sought at all costs. Covetousness makes humanity a secondary consideration. Covetousness is at the heart of the last days one world government, regardless of the form that system takes. Covetousness, the lust for more, is how the demons will lure kings and their constituents into a God forsaken cage with the Green-eyed monster. That monster is ravenous. That monster is blood thirsty. That Green-Eyed monster and all who feed him as their pet are going down. They and all the stuff they live for are going up in smoke. Come out of her my people! “Godliness with contentment is great gain.” Come out of her and remember the words of Jesus that will kill the Green-eyed monster, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35).
 Jon Courson, It’s All Going to Burn, Tree of Life Tape – W782 – 6/4/97, Applegate Christian Fellowship, Jacksonville, Oregon, 97350
Vine, W. E., Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell) 1981.
 Ralph W. Harris, Exec. Ed., The Complete Biblical Library – The New Testament Greek-English Dictionary – Sigma to Omega, (Springfield, Missouri: The Complete Biblical Library, 1986), p. 130.
 8 Stats That Will Change the Way You Think About Wealth by Jesse Carey of Relevant Magazine, May 17, 2016 https://relevantmagazine.com/reject-apathy/8-stats-will-change-way-you-think-about-wealth
 http://www.centerformedicalprogress.org/2017/12/planned-parenthood-baby-parts-business-partners-admit-guilt-in-7-8-million-settlement/ https://www.projectveritas.com/videos_categories/video-releases/
See the article Biblical Reasons to Tithe by Fritz Chery at https://biblereasons.com/about/
 The Complete Biblical Library, commentary on the Gospel of Luke – p. 389.