Saturday, 19 June 2021
The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, Revelation 18:15
Verse 11 said, “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore.” That was followed by three verses describing the things these merchants traded. Now, after that extended description of their goods, it again refers to the merchants themselves, saying, “The merchants of these things.”
It is referring to all the goods listed in the previous verses that they had sold in supplying the city. So great was their trade that it notes of them, “who became rich by her.” If a person has a product that costs him $5.00 and he sells it for $5.00, he cannot get rich. However, these merchants became rich through Babylon the great.
Thus, it speaks of wealth and luxury by purchasing things at a rate that enriched those who sold their goods. It was obviously a good deal for them, but that has come to an end. As it says, they “will stand at a distance for fear of her torment.”
It is the same as the kings of the earth. In verse 18:10, it said that they were “standing at a distance for fear of her torment.” The difference is that the verb there is a perfect participle, but here it is in the future tense. It makes the scene alive and active as the tenses change. These merchants “will stand” at a distance. It is coming, and when that time comes, they will be “weeping and wailing.”
For consistency, the Greek words, like in verse 18:11, should be translated as “weeping and mourning.” The destruction of Babylon will affect the state of things for these people. While heaven rejoices over her, they will weep and mourn.
Life application: These merchants were enriched by the great city, but their weeping and mourning will not be as one would mourn over a family member. Instead, they will mourn over their own loss.
All of their merchandise has been listed. It is very expensive stuff which they are invested in. However, they will now be unable to profit from its sale. But as the Bible shows elsewhere, even the greatest riches have no true value when society crumbles –
“How the gold has become dim!
How changed the fine gold!
The stones of the sanctuary are scattered
At the head of every street.
2 The precious sons of Zion,
Valuable as fine gold,
How they are regarded as clay pots,
The work of the hands of the potter!” Lamentations 4:1, 2
We tend to look at the things around us and revel in them. Sometimes, we put our hope and trust in stuff that can be stolen from us, lost in a cataclysm, destroyed in an accident, or whatever. There is nothing that is enduring. And those things that may seem of great value can suddenly lose their value with the next technological advance, or with the next financial collapse.
Everything is temporary and fleeting except the Lord. If our trust is placed in Him, we will not face the sadness of the world. Instead, we will have a hope that transcends this earthly life. Let us seek His face and hope in Him. Let us look unto JESUS.
Lord God, please help each one of us to keep our eyes properly directed toward You. Help us to understand that stocks, IRAs, money markets, and even amassed accounts of precious metals cannot save. Instead, they only provide false security in this world. Give us the wisdom to trust in You alone and to direct the attention of those around us to You as well. Amen.