Tuesday, 15 June 2021
“And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: Revelation 18:11
With the description of the kings of the earth mourning over Babylon the great, the account goes to a second group of mourners. The verse begins with, “And the merchants of the earth.” The word is emporos, and it signifies a passenger on a ship, a trader, or a merchant. It is found only in Matthew 13:45 and four times in this chapter of Revelation (3, 11, 15, & 23). Of these people, it says they “will weep and mourn over her.”
The translation is correct and fixes the incorrect “shall weep and mourn” of the older KJV. The tense of the verses has gone from the future in verse 9 (“will weep and lament”) to the present tense. The tense will change again in verse 17 where aorist verbs are used. Thus, there is a process occurring that captures the scene – “they will weep and lament,” “they weep and mourn,” “they stood at a distance.”
The first group was the kings of the earth and so this catastrophe is not just in the political realm, but in the economic realm as well. In fact, the details about the merchants and their merchandise will be extremely detailed in the coming verses. They will follow the general theme that is presented in the lamentation over Tyre in Ezekiel 27. For now, it says, “for no one buys their merchandise anymore.”
The word gomos is used. It signifies the lading of a ship. It is better translated as “lading,” or “cargo.” The destruction of Babylon the great will bring the world to a financial precipice from which it cannot hide. These merchants will weep and mourn over her because of this. In other words, there is less weeping for the city than there is for their personal catastrophe.
Merchants have always found ways to buy and sell regardless of the economic system which exists. Through capitalism, they openly sell, profit, and grow. Through socialism, they sell what they can legally and pay as little as possible to the corrupt government by selling what they can illegally. Through communism, much is sold on the black market to avoid giving to the government.
No matter what though, the merchants sell. But in the case of the end times, there has already been set up a worldwide system which controls all commerce, and no one can buy or sell unless they have the mark of the beast. In an attempt to control everything and everyone, this system was developed, and the inevitable result is that when it falls, everything else will fall with it. No one will buy merchandise anymore because there is no method of transaction left.
Life application: The state of the world is aligning in the manner described in Revelation. For example, the liberal left in America is doing everything possible to head us into this brave new world. However, what is coming is already destroyed in God’s mind. What they think is liberation from Him and His rule will be the very mode and method of their own destruction.
So much for progressive liberalism leading to socialism, leading to communism, and finally to world control! It is a one-way avenue that has been proven wrong in the pages of the Scripture. Only one form of government will prevail. It will be that of the rule of the coming King, JESUS!
Lord God, we know that the system of this world is coming to an end. The Bible tells us that the things that are happening now will lead to a great system of control over all people, but that it too will come to an end when Christ returns. It would be great if people would just submit to Him now and avoid all of the troubles that are foreseen in Your word. Help us to keep telling others about the good news of Jesus while there is time. Amen.