Merchants Mourning Over Babylon’s Destruction
“The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning and saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls’” (Revelation 18:15-16). On October 19, 1987 the Stock market (DOW) lost 22.6 % of its value, the largest one-day market crash in history, but within two years the DOW was back above its original highs. That was a walk in the park compared to what God will do to the worldwide political and financial systems that are run by the Antichrist and his kings. Someday God will destroy Babylon and the worldwide economic systems it controls—and there will be no recovery! The merchants are crying because of their own self-interest and greed. Jesus said to the rich fool, “Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided? So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God” (Luke 12:20-21).
“For in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste! And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’” (Revelation 18:17-18). The worldly minded people of that day will trust in their riches, but their riches will go up in smoke. God will destroy all their worldly riches in a very short period of time! Jesus said, “How hard it is for those who trust in riches to enter the kingdom of God!” (Mark 10:24). Solomon wrote, “Will you set your eyes on that which is nothing? For riches certainly make themselves wings; they fly away like an eagle toward heaven…He who loves silver will not be satisfied with silver; nor he who loves abundance, with increase. This also is vanity” (Proverbs 23:5, Ecclesiastes 5:10).
“And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’” (Revelation 18:19). There’s lots of grief, mental pain, and agony among the merchants about the destruction of the great city which helped them gain their earthly wealth. All their hopes and dreams are built on the Babylonian economy that no longer exists. But there is no mourning or repentance over their sin of greed and pride. It’s not woe is me because of my sinfulness, but woe is me because of my depleting bank account. There will come a day in the future of this earth that worldly riches and treasures will have absolutely no value!
“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her” (Revelation 18:20). The angel is speaking to all God’s angels, and to the apostles, prophets, missionaries, preachers, and saints who have been martyred for their faith and are now in heaven. Telling them to rejoice because God is answering their prayers for Him to judge and avenge their blood on the unbelievers on the earth (Revelation 6:9-11). The martyred saints are rejoicing that God’s righteousness is triumphing over evil. Heaven is waiting for God to destroy the ungodly political and financial systems of this world, and Jesus Christ sets up His Kingdom of peace and righteousness on this earth (Revelation 19-20).
“Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, ‘So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer’ and the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer” (Revelation 18:21-22). Jeremiah told Seraiah, “Now it shall be, when you have finished reading this book, that you shall tie a stone to it and throw it out into the Euphrates. Then you shall say, ‘Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise from the catastrophe that I will bring upon her’” (Jeremiah 51:63-64). Jeremiah 51:59-64 concerning Babylon hasn’t been fulfilled yet. But it will happen, because God always keeps His Word! Earthly riches are very short-lived when compared to God’s eternal heaven.
“And the light of a lamp will not shine in you (Babylon) any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery” (Revelation 18:23). The angel announces the total destruction of this great city and its promotion of worldly pleasures, pride, immorality, greed, and materialism. The English word “sorcery” comes from the Greek word “pharmakeia,” where we get our English word “pharmacy.” Just as people can become addicted to drugs, the worldly minded people of that time in the future will be addicted to every type of worldly passion.
“And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth” (Revelation 18:24). The worshipers of the Antichrist, and the ungodly commercial, financial, and socialistic systems will be guilty of killing believers in Jesus Christ (Revelation 13:1-10, 17:6). Someday all the world’s humanistic and overhyped wisdom and progress will come to an end and there will be nothing to show for it but pile of burning desolation. Worldly minded people of the entire earth, from its highest kings to the lowest of servants, will be filled with terror and despair with no way to escape God’s judgments and wrath upon this ungodly world. Jesus said, “Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36). Human rule of this earth is over; Jesus Christ is coming back to rule this earth (Revelation 19-20)!