Rev 18:23 – “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.”
Whenever I read this verse, I get a picture in my mind of a group of old women sitting around a boiling pot, casting a spell on those around them. Is that what this verse means? Is it saying that the false religions of the world use spells and enchantments to get people to follow them?
The key to understanding this text is found in the understanding of the word “sorceries”. The Greek word translated “sorceries” is the word from which we get our English word “pharmaceuticals”. The word describes things that drugs, potions, cures, enchantments, and/or mixtures. The word originates from two words… one that means “to perform magic”, the other word means “to poison” or “to be sacrificed”.
Basically, when we are told that the false religions of the world use sorceries to mislead others to follow them, the Bible is telling us that the false religions of the world use ”poisonous recipes” to “miraculously enchant” people to willfully bring about their own destruction. WOW!
When we look at it from this perspective, it is much easier to understand what truths are being given to John:
1. The false religions of the world are enabled by Satan to perform works that transcend nature. In that sense, the false religions can work “miracles”.
Folks, we are in a spiritual warfare against powers that are far stronger than ourselves. To gain the victory, it must be done through the gracious enabling of Christ, or else we are doomed to certain defeat.
2Co 10:4 – “(For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)”
2. The false religions of the world use a “recipe” of methods to delude those who follow them.
From the use of unscriptural doctrine, ungodly traditions, counterfeit miracles, false promises etc etc. they seduce others to follow them.
2Co 2:11 – “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant of his devices.”
3. The false religions of the world provide to mankind “poison” that will gradually bring to them corruption into their physical life and eternal ruin in the life to come.
Although they will promise great blessings and prosperity, the actual fruits of their ministry is only sin, ruin and death.
Mat 7:15-20 – “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”
May we all come to understand the great dangers that lie in Satan’s “sorceries” meted out by the false religions of the world and may we always be on guard against them.
1Pe 5:8 – “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:”
For an in depth look at these sections of the Revelation: