Summary: God is always against those who are proud, and profit or power driven. He lifts up those who are humble and gracious. We, as His people, must always be the voice of the protection of the planet and the deliverance of the oppressed.
v. 9 and they shall weep and mourn about her, those kings of the earth who committed fornication with her and grew rich when they see the smoke of her burning.
v. 10 they stayed a distance for fear of her torment, saying,
“Woe! Woe! The big city of Babylon, the powerful city for in one hour her judgment is come.
v. 11 and the merchants of the earth cry and mourn concerning her because no one buys their cargos any longer. v. 12 cargo of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and linen and purple and silk and scarlet and all citron wood things and all ivory things and things of costly wood and bronze, and of iron and of marble v. 13 and cinnamon and spice and frankincense and wine and olive oil and refined flour and wheat, and cattle and sheep and bodies and souls of people. v. 14 and your ripe fruits, of the lusts of the soul have left you, and all the fat things and the bright shining things have left you, and you no longer find them, not ever.”
v. 15 the merchants of these things, having become rich from her, stand at a distance, because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning,
v. 16 saying “Woe, woe, the big city, the one clothed with fine linen, and purple, and red, and adorned in gold, and precious stones, and pearls! v. 17 for such great wealth has been desolated in one hour.”
And every shipmaster, and all those who sail ships, and mariners (nautical people), and all whose trade is by sea, stood at a distance
v. 18 and cried “what is like the Big City?”
v. 19 and they threw dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and mourning, saying, “Woe, woe to the Big City, in which all those with boats in the sea were made rich through her wealth! For in one hour she has been desolated”.
v. 20 Rejoice over her, Heaven, and saints, and apostles, and prophets! For God judged your judgment against her.
v. 21 and one angle took a strong stone, like a big millstone, and threw it into the sea, saying,
“In this way Babylon, the Big City, will be violently thrown down and not be found any longer. 22 and the voice of the harpist, and the musicians, and the flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you any longer; and all techies of all technologies shall not be found in you any longer, and the sound of a mill shall no longer be heard in you,
v. 23 and the light a lamp shall no longer shine in you, and the voice of the bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you any longer, because your merchants were great on the earth, for by your magic all nations were deceived. v. 24 and in her the blood of the prophets and saints was found, and all those who were killed on the earth.”
We live in a world that is becoming increasingly polarized. Administrations of several countries have recently risen to power on a political platform of hatred, xenophobia, nationalism (in the sense of putting my country first, even if it hurts your country), and fear. In many countries the level of public debate is essentially people yelling their opinions at each other, rather than reasoned and respectful discussion. I hope most of us can agree this is a negative turn. We as humans need to learn how to enter discussion with those who disagree and learn from one another respectfully and graciously.
Yet there comes a point when debate and discussion are no longer the point-some people don’t want a discussion in pursuit of truth. They merely want all the power and wealth and influence they can squeeze out of this life, even though that pursuit destroys human beings and the planet.
So, those who want peace, joy, love, care for the planet and obedience to God will always be at odds with those who are more concerned with personal power and plenty. And we see this conflict in the extreme juxtaposition of heaven’s perspective and the world’s perspective.
Heaven’s View & the World’s View
Merchants mourn the passing of the prostitute. They do not mourn as we mourn the passing of a great soul like Billy Graham or a great mind like Stephen Hawking. When we consider their passing we think of the contribution they made to our souls and our understanding of the universe. The merchants mourn the passing of a person who would pad their pockets. They mourn their own loss of profit. They don’t miss the prostitute, but they do miss the long list of things they were able to get from her. So they mourn.