Summary: What is your source of wealth?? Who do you believe supplies everything that you need? For Christians, the answer to both questions should be-God.
Have you ever looked at the current economic situation and asked yourself if it represents the end of the world? Well, you can relax. It is not the end of the world, but it paints a picture of what the economic situation will be like just before Christ returns.
The image in Revelation 18:9-20 is also an image of the economic situation that will happen as the time of Christ’s return draws near. God owns everything and gives us all things to enjoy and use. He is a good shepherd to us. We must trust him, not stuff. We must move from the fear of scarcity to the comfort of provision. Less hoarding, more sharing.
Revelation 18 emphasizes the living enjoyed by people who have invested everything they have in the economic system. When their world starts to crumble, they will begin to cry in anguish. The Antichrist, who they love so much, will be crushed along with his empire. Jesus and his followers will take control.
At the time this happens, the only way people will be able to buy and sell is if they have the mark of the Antichrist. As the Antichrist’s empire crumbles, his supporters will realize that their time is short. The new reality become quite obvious to them, and by then it will be too late to reverse their fate. They will be judged for identifying with the false prophet.
The image in Revelation 18:9-20 is also an image of the fall of the Roman Empire. The vision of destruction is so total that there is no escape or help unless God were to change the inevitable course of the collapse. John points out that although society was built on the economy, only what was built on God would last forever.
The judgment of humanity will cause the leaders of the world to weep as much for their loss as for hers. They have relied on Babylon for their success. Now it is gone; however, they will be standing at a distance for fear of her torment.
Because they benefit financially from financial power, the merchants and the mariners of the earth will mourn when the economic hub of the world is gone. In the midst of destruction, mankind’s inhumanity is judged. This final system of commerce championed by the beast will dehumanize humankind, as any system without God will do.
The list of 28 items in Revelation 18:12-13 form the basis of end-time economic commerce. This list includes the various material possessions for which people have labored, schemed and become enslaved throughout history, which makes it symbolic of humankind’s perennial pursuit of extravagant wealth. Even though John lists commodities that were significant in his day, it is amazing to see how timeless they are, even to the end of the age.
Three classes of people on earth-monarchs, merchants and mariners-will mourn the judgment of humanity, but three classes of people in heaven-apostles, saints and prophets-will rejoice. Even humans will be reduced to cargo, treated as slaves to drive the engines of products and productivity. Unquestioned jubilation will break free as the people of God will be vindicated and retribution will be meted out to the people that had persecuted and martyred them.