In the previous blog, we saw through John’s vision that Babylon was doomed by the judgment of God; that God’s people who resided there were warned to get out quickly because the day of destruction had arrived; and that the kings of the earth who were complicit in her horrid sins were smart enough to watch from a great distance. The kings were not alone:
“And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore, cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble, cinnamon, spice, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls. (Rev 18:11-13).
The elites in Babylon had controlled the entire world market and traded on the backs of slaves, who were treated more like animals than human souls.
“The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you, never to be found again” (Rev 18:14).
Babylon had chosen the wrong fruit for their souls and was about to pay God’s price for judgment:
“The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud, ‘Alas, alas for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels and with pearls! For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.” And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning. ‘What city was like the great city’” (Rev 18:15-18)?
The observers had nowhere to turn and could hardly comprehend what they saw:
“And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, ‘Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her’” (Rev 18:19-20).
The merchants were not necessarily as evil as Babylon itself. This is a surprise – in their mourning they realize who has benefited from the destruction of the great city. As if to stamp approval on God’s judgment:
“Then a mighty 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 be found no more; and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be hear in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for your merchants were the greatest ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery. And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on earth’” (Rev 18:21-24).
We might infer here that the “supply chain” of evil has been cut forever! The merchants will have to work much harder elsewhere to make a profit and stay in business. Alas, alas. God’s judgment has been sated.
Now at last comes his blessing for those who have endured by faith! That is, those who know Jesus as Lord and Savior!