No, I'm not about to predict the end of the world, but in the last two weeks of the Church's liturgical cycle we will be reading the book of the apocalypse, most often translated in English as Revelation. The word apocalypse literally means uncovering, or unveiling. Probably the most controversial and most misunderstood book of the Bible; its main theme is the ultimate victory of good, the victory of the Kingdom of God.
It was written toward the end of the first century. Which John is its author scholars continue to debate. As part of the Bible, its ultimate author is of course God and the human author matters very little. The human author follows Paul's model and writes in the form of a letter.
The Babylon to which he refers is the Roman Empire of the day which was oppressing the early Church. Worship of the Emperor was the great symbol of how far the people were from God and 6 out 7 of the cities to whom the letter is addressed were centers of this emperor worship. Surrounded by those who worship the emperor, the Book of Revelation is written to the seven churches to help them hold fast to the truth, the worship of the one and only God.
As we begin this two week journey through the Book of Revelation, perhaps it is a good time to look for forms of idolatry in our own lives, places where our priorities are out of proper alignment.