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Revelation 18:11-24 “Warnings To Depart From Babylon (2)”

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THE TEXT:

Rev 18:11-24

(11)  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.
(20)  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.

THE INTRODUCTION:

In chapter 17: we took a step back and reviewed the identity and characteristics of Satan’s kingdom.  In this text, we have the two aspects of Satan’s kingdom symbolized by the two main characters being presented to us… “the Great Whore” (the religious aspects of Satan’s kingdom) and “the Scarlet Colored Beast” (the political aspects of Satan’s kingdom).

[Please note Revelation 13: where the “Great Whore” in this passage symbolized as the “Beast from the Earth”, while the “Scarlet Beast”  is symbolized as the “Beast from the Sea”.  This description also links these to a description of Satan as the scarlet dragon with 7 heads and 10 horns in Rev 12:]

In chapter 18: we will see warnings that are given to mankind to depart from these kingdoms that are destined to fall under the hand of Almighty God.

A brief outline of chapter 18:

Chapter 18:  The Warnings To Depart From Satan’s Kingdom
18:1-3 – Announcement Of Babylon’s Fall
18:4-8 – Warning To God’s People
18:9-10 – Warning To Kings
18:11-17a – Warning To Merchants
18:17b-20 – Warning To Mariners
18:21-24 – Angel With The Millstone

The background for these warnings comes from Ezekiel 26-28

THE EXPOSITORY STUDY:

Rev 18:11-24

(11)  And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

John’s attention is now turned to the merchants of the earth and their relationship with Mystery Babylon, the false religions of the world.  Keep in mind, all of this is being said to warn the merchants living on earth during John’s day, and forward, to not unite with Satan’s religious kingdom.

This beneficial relationship between the religious kingdom of Satan and the merchants are shown in these verses:

  1. vs 3 – Much of Mystery Babylon’s luxury was created through the purchase of the goods of merchants.
  2. vs 11 – The merchants received monetary gain from these religions.
  3. vs 15 – The merchants were made rich by her.
  4. vs 23 – The merchants were greatly respected due to their wealth given to them through Mystery Babylon

Many to the false religions fill their buildings and the pockets of their leaders with great riches producing a great marketplace for merchants.  Also, many times, merchants who are members of a false religion will be favored by other members of their religion.

The loss of all these business opportunities is the cause of their great grief.  It is a selfish mourning due to the great loss of wealth and social standing now that Mystery Babylon is defeated.  They are said to “weep” showing an outward display of sorrow, while also mourning feeling a great inward sorrow at their losses.

Please note: the fall of Mystery Babylon is pictured by the fall of Tyre in the OT prophets (Ezek 27:26-36).  In these verses, the fall of Tyre results in great economic loss for the merchants of the earth.

(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.

All the merchandise of the merchants that is listed in these verses are used by false religions in the performance of their ceremonies…

Role In Worship Merchandise of Merchants Verse
Idols, Chalices, Building Decorations Gold, Silver, Precious Stones, Pearls 12
Clothing, Building Decorations Fine Linen, Purple (Material Dyed Purple), Silk, Scarlet (Material Dyed Scarlet) 12
Furnishings, Idols, Utensils, Candle Sticks Thyine Wood, Ivory, Precious Wood, Marble, Brass, Iron 12
Incense, Potions Cinnamon, Odours, Ointments, Frankincense 13
Ordinances,  Celebrations Wine, Oil, Fine Flour, Wheat 13
Sacrifices,  Manual Labor, Ceremonies Beasts, Sheep, Horses, Chariots, Slaves 13
Worshippers, Contributions, Spiritual Servitude Souls of Men (Trading men’s spiritual welfare for worldly riches) 13

Folks, we can see EVERY area of merchandise sold by these merchants can play a role in the false religion’s worship and their continuance.  Based upon the individual needs and desires of each false religion, the merchants would profit through the selling of their goods to these religions and the members of these religions.

(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.

The fruits (merchandise) of the merchants was lusted after by Mystery Babylon.  At her defeat, Mystery Babylon will have these fruits taken from her.  All that she desired will be lost, never to be regained.  This is describing the great scope and permanence of her fall as the Lord brings her to an end at His second coming.

 

(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.

The merchants will separate themselves (much like the kings – vs 10) fearful that they will be judged along with her.  Their fear of judgment is also causing them to “weep” (crying in sorrow) and “wail” (crying in pain).     They both feel sorrow due to their loss and they are pained due to their fear of coming judgment falling upon them.

These merchants cry out “Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.”

“alas, alas” – they give an emphasized, outward, sound of grief

“that great city… precious stones and pearls” – they remember her times of greatness (and their great transactions with her)

“For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.” – they realize the Lord’s greatness as He quickly brought her greatness to rubble.

 

 And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

John’s attention now turns to a warning given to the mariners who supplies these goods to the merchants.  John now sees them standing in separation from Mystery Babylon as well.   Although most, but not all of their profiting came indirectly from Mystery Babylon, by way of the merchant’s sales, they still understood that they were in great danger of being judged for their uniting with Mystery Babylon.

This is a very important point that we should not miss.  They understood that not only those who were directly connected to Mystery Babylon would be judged, but also those who were indirectly related to them.  For many of the mariners, they did no business with Mystery Babylon, they simply sold their goods to the merchants who then entered into financial transactions with Mystery Babylon.

Why are these mariners in jeopardy of judgment also?  Perhaps, the solution to this question should be sought based upon this principle…

We must take into account not simply our personal relationships with others, but also what types of relationships they form with third parties.  By doing this, we learn much about the character and lifestyles of our relationship candidates.   These mariners knew that the merchants were selfishly, greedily, selling the goods they supplied to Mystery Babylon.  Therefore, by extension, they were guilty of forming alliances with those who are known to be corrupt and, based upon their knowledge of the merchant’s activities, were guilty of dealing with Mystery Babylon as well.

(18)  And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

They were amazed at seeing her great fall… she had been so great and had come to such a total ruin.

 

(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.

Again, we see signs of selfish mourning… “cast dust on their heads” (done during times of mourning and remorse) and  “weeping and wailing” (outward displays of sorrow and pain).

Again, just like the merchants, they have in mind the great financial loss that they will bear and the great fear at seeing her sudden total defeat at the hands of Almighty God.

(20)  Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

God’s people who are in heaven, both OT saints (“prophets”) and NT saints (“apostles”), eagerly awaiting His second coming, are being addressed.   They are told to “rejoice” at Mystery Babylon’s defeat.  Why rejoice?

Because God hath found her guilty of sins and punished (“avenged”) her.  All of her sins against the people of God are now being punished.  He is keeping His word to avenge His saints.

 

(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.

Following the warnings given to the different groups of mankind to separate themselves from the religious aspect of Satan’s kingdom, we now see the overthrow and total defeat of the false religions of the world illustrated.   John sees a “mighty angel”, perhaps the same angel described as “another angel) in 18:1.

To illustrate Babylon’s great defeat, this angel takes a huge stone, (much like a grinding wheel) and through it into the sea.  As it sinks to the bottom of the sea, no proof of its prior existence can be seen… this pictures the complete, total destruction of Mystery Babylon which leaves no evidence of its previous power, wealth or presence.

See Jeremiah 51:63-64

 

(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:

The destruction of the religious kingdom of Satan is symbolized by a city which becomes deserted due to a great catastrophe:    

Verse Desertion In Text Effects of the Desertion
     
22 the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; No longer will songs of worship be sung or played on instruments
22 no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee No longer will buildings, idols, or utensils of sacrifice be made.
22 the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; No longer will food be prepared for celebratory feasts, and worship observances
23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; No night-time activities, no candle-lit  ceremonies
23 The voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: No more marriages, or joyful, celebrations
     

This symbolism paints the picture of total, complete destruction of Mystery Babylon.  See Jeremiah 25:10

Why did such devastation take place?

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.

Three basic reasons are given:

  1. for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; – She enriched and empowered others through her sinful deeds
  2. for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. – She deceived all lost mankind through her potions, enchantments, false doctrines and rituals
  3. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. – She opposed God’s people, abusing and martyring them.

The Lord, justly, rewarded Mystery Babylon with absolute destruction and total cessation of her activities due to the great evil and harm that her actions brought about.  This is an act of a just Lord who will give back what is deserved to those who oppose His people and commit great atrocities to mankind.

CHRIST REVEALED:

Once again, we see Christ as the One who is Holy, Just and Almighty One that will punish the Kingdoms of Satan with a perfect, complete judgment.    How wonderful it is to see Christ as the perfectly Sovereign, All-powerful One that will someday bring utter defeat to Satan and his kingdoms!

1Jn 3:8 – “He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.”

THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION (SUMMARY)

Here, we see the inevitable, total, destruction wrought during the wrath of Christ against the kingdoms of Satan.  Keep in mind, the longsuffering of Christ has led Him to give all who are in Satan’s kingdom more than an ample opportunity to depart from Mystery Babylon and turn to Him in saving faith.   However, when the time of His judgment comes to pass, there will be no mercy shown to those who have chosen to be a part of Satan’s kingdoms.

There is a time for repentance and there is coming a time of wrath and punishment against sin.  There is a time for God’s mercy and grace to take the forefront in God’s dealings with mankind on earth and there is coming a time when God’s holiness and justice will be placed on display.

May we all be ready for the day of justice and holiness by turning to Christ in saving faith while His mercy is still being shown to lost mankind.

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SYMBOLS EMPLOYED IN THIS TEXT:

  1. the merchants
  2. that great city
  3. every shipmaster
  4. cast dust on their heads
  5. cried,
  6. weeping and wailing
  7. mighty angel
  8. stone like a great millstone,
  9. cast it into the sea
  10. Babylon

THE RELATED SCRIPTURES:

SUPPLEMENTAL STUDIES/NOTES:


4 Comments

  1. […] that Revelation 18:11-24 “Warnings To Depart From Babylon (2)” considers Revelation 18:17, and that is worth […]

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