Rev 18:11-19 "And the merchants of
the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any
more: 12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of
pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood,
and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood,
and of brass, and iron, and marble, 13 And cinnamon, and odours, and
ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and
beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men. 14
And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things
which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no
more at all. 15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by
her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing.
16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen,
and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every
shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by
sea, stood afar off, 18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning,
saying, What city is like unto this great city! 19 And they cast dust on
their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great
city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her
costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate."
Merchants buy and sell merchandise.
These particular merchants bought and sold "religious merchandise." The Lord
condemned the practice of making merchandise of the house of God: John 2:13
"And the Jews' passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem, 14
And found in the temple those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the
changers of money sitting: 15 And when he had made a scourge of small
cords, he drove them all out of the temple, and the sheep, and the oxen; and
poured out the changers' money, and overthrew the tables; 16 And said
unto them that sold doves, Take these things hence; make not my Father's house
an house of merchandise. 17 And his disciples remembered that it was
written, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up."
For some, merchandizing of religious
articles, was a natural livelihood:
Acts 19:24 "For a certain man named
Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small
gain unto the craftsmen; 25 Whom he called together with the workmen of
like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.
26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost
throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people,
saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: 27 So that not
only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple
of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be
destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. 28 And when they
heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is
Diana of the Ephesians."
The list of items set forth in Rev.
18:12, 13 are nearly all items that were included in the ceremonial law given to
Israel. Note, however, that there was not a continual need for acquisition of
these items under the ceremonial law. Occasionally, some of the non-perishable
items might have needed to be replaced, but for the most part that would have
been rare. Even the perishable items would not have been sufficient by
themselves to provide the livelihood of one merchant. What had happened is
similar to what we see in the religious world today. Religious artifacts are
sold for a profit such as crosses, candles, singing tapes, sermons, religious
books, stain-glass windows, paintings, sayings, pictures, etc. There is a great
market of religious merchandise sold today. The merchants had made a market of
the items used in the law service and had sold them to the people under the
guise of religion and the expression of their religious beliefs.
A couple of items stand out in the
listing in verses 12 and 13: slaves and souls of men. We read of such
merchandising in the following passage: 2 Pet. 2:1 "But there were false
prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you,
who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought
them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. 2 And many shall
follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil
spoken of. 3 And through covetousness shall they with feigned words
make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not,
and their damnation slumbereth not." The motive behind these false prophets
is covetousness. They used feigned words and make merchandise of the people.
They bring them into bondage (slavery) of their false religious systems. They
sell the people to false worship in order to make a profit. This is the basis
for tithing, salaried ministry, raising money for foreign missions, and numerous
other unscriptural practices advocated by the religious merchants. Singing
groups and so-called evangelists often earn great sums of money through their
Jerusalem was destroyed along
with the perverted law system the merchants mourned over the loss of their
market based on the sale of religious artifacts associated with the perverted
law system. There ceased to be a need for animal sacrifices, there ceased to be
a natural priesthood, and there ceased to be a ceremonial law service under the
law covenant. Furthermore, there ceased to be a market for the things contained
in the ceremonial law service. No wonder the merchants were weeping and
wailing. If the religious works systems were done away with in our day, there
would be a sudden high influx of unemployed people and business dissolvements!
18:20-24 "Rejoice over her, thou
heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it
into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown
down, and shall be found no more at all. 22 And the voice of harpers, and
musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee;
and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee;
and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; 23
And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of
the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy
merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations
deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints,
and of all that were slain upon the earth."
Recall from Rev. 6:9 "And when he
had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were
slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: 10 And
they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou
not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?" The time
for God's judgment had come and now they could rejoice over her judgment.
Notice who was told to rejoice-thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets.
Thou heaven is referring to God's people in his church and especially those who
had suffered at the hands of the persecutors. Of course we also know that the
holy apostles and prophets had been murdered for their testimony and witness of
the truth. The time of God's vengeance had come. The Roman army invaded
Jerusalem and Jerusalem and the temple were destroyed and the Jews were
dispersed abroad (into the sea of humanity). The great city was thrown down.
Now there is a city in the Middle East today known as
Jerusalem and there are a people known as Jews in that city. But it is not the
same as it was back at that time. The old polluted and perverted law service is
gone for ever. The priesthood is gone. The natural throne of
Judah is gone. That great city shall be found no more.
This time was prophesied in the book of
Rev. 7:9 "And when he had opened
the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the
word of God, and for the testimony which they held:
10 And they cried with a loud voice, saying,
How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on
them that dwell on the earth?"
2. Jer. 16:9 "For thus saith the
LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will cause to cease out of this
place in your eyes, and in your days, the voice of mirth, and the voice of
gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride."
3. Jer. 25:10 "Moreover I will take
from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the
bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the
light of the candle."
The voice of the bridegroom and the
voice of the bride were associated with the mirth and gladness of the people.
The sound of the millstones was associated with the joyful works and provisions
made for the people. The light of the candle was associated with the
candlestick that God had given the people, which was associated with the
ceremonial law and the word of God. The voice of harpers, and musicians, and of
pipers, and trumpeters was associated with the joy of the people's service under
the Old Covenant of worship.
"For by thy sorceries were all
nations deceived." Mystery Babylon had become the great deceiver. What had
been given her of God had been greatly perverted and polluted and formed the
basis for polluting the nations of the earth with her "works system of
"And in her was found the blood of
prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."
Because of her spiritual fornications and because of her murderous practices,
judgment from God came upon her.