Seven-fold Luxuries of Babylon City:
- Luxury metals and stones (fine gold, silver, precious stones, pearls). (Rev. 18:12)
- Luxury clothing (fine linens, silks, color dyes). (Rev. 18:12)
- Luxury building materials (precious woods, ivory, brass, iron, marble). (Rev. 18:12)
- Luxury produce (exquisite herbs, fragrances, ointments, wine, oil, flour, wheat). (Rev. 18:13)
- Luxury meat products / animals (beasts, sheep, horses). (Rev. 18:13 )
- Luxury cars and transportation (chariots). (Rev. 18:13)
- Human slave trade and sex-trafficking (slaves and souls of men). (Rev. 18:13)
Commentary: This looks like today’s shopping list of the rich and famous, and of the political and financial elite of the world. I believe this covers everything materialistic that is generally valued around the world today (and in the future). There is nothing mundane, routine or common among these ‘delicacies’. Babylon is built on luxurious living and is the center of worldwide trade of these items and merchandise. These things are literally brought into Babylon by the ship loads (Rev. 18:17-19), “For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off.” (Empahsis added). These items are considered luxurious because they are extremely expensive! (Rev. 18:19, “the great city was made rich by all the ships of the sea by reason of her costliness.”) (Emphasis added). The people in Babylon are extremely materialistic and glorify themselves through their wealth, but are spiritually evil and bankrupt. Demand for luxury items is so great that merchants of the earth have become wealthy themselves by providing these luxuries (Rev. 18:3, “and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” (Emphasis added). Both supply (merchants) and demand (people in Babylon) worship the created things and not God, the Creator. The worship of and reliance on luxury items plays right into the hands of the mystery religion of Babylon (Mystery Babylon). Keep in mind that all these players (merchants and Babylon citizens), all have the mark of the beast and his system. They are allowed to sell and buy through the complicity and authority of the antichrist’s economic machinations via having the mark. Hypothetically speaking, I wouldn’t be surprised if the wealthy in Babylon view the antichrist’s mark as a luxury brand symbol or something equivalent. Sad, very sad (understatement).
Interestingly, there is a parallel condemnation of wealth and materialism regarding the church of Laodicea (Rev. 3:14-22). During the time when John received the Revelation of Jesus Christ, Laodicea was a leading banking center, and known for manufacturing garments made from a soft, black wool. Additionally, Laodicea was also home to a famous medical school that specialized in the treatment of eye diseases. The city had a lot going for it economically. The Laodicea church also benefited financially from the surrounding strong economy. The city was so strong financially, that in AD 60 when it was destroyed by an earthquake, Laodicea paid for its own reconstruction instead of asking Rome for rebuilding funds. As a result of the Laodecian church’s self-sufficiency and affluence, they received a strong rebuke from Jesus. The church considered itself wealthy and self-sufficient, instead, Jesus viewed this church very differently. He saw this church as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked”, using metaphors from the local economy that surrounded the church. “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing: and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked.” (Rev. 3:17) (Emphasis added). While the church thought it had everthing, it had nothing. They confused material prosperity and comfort with spiritual health and security. The Bible teaches that the rich (and very rich, by today’s standards) are often tempted to rely upon themselves, while the poor often turn to the Lord for help. Jesus challenges his people to trust in him rather than in material possessions, and to use things to meet the needs of others (Deut. 8:10-14; Prov. 30:8-9; Matt. 6:19-24; Luke 12:13-21; 1 Tim. 6:6-10, 17-19). Physical wealth and comfort can foster spiritual complacency and self-reliance. Affluence tempts us to forget God. The message to the church of Laodicea illustrates the power of forgetting God, do to materialistic affluence.
From an economic point of view, the parallel between Babylon and Laodicea is staggering. The rebuke that Jesus gave the church of Laodicea is generally considered to be one of the stronger (est) rebukes given to the five churches who were in need of correction. Keep in mind that Jesus’ rebuke was to those members in his own house (church). Babylon has the same evil symptons, but on steroids! Citizens of Babylon and worshippers of Mystery Babylon are swimming in luxury, wealth, materialism and self-suffiency. Greed is rampant. They are not members of Jesus’ church and they do not acknowledge or worship the Creator who made the material wealth they worship and enjoy. Revelation 18:7 indicates, “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously. ” (Emphasis added). God is not remotely on their spending or spiritual radar. They are utterly deceived by their materialism and love of luxury and “delicious living”. Since Jesus strongly rebuked the Loadicean church members, how much more so will God pour out His wrath on Babylon, who openly rejects him for the love of wealth? The Loadicean church received rebuke from Jesus, Babylon will receive total destruction by God. This should be a message to today’s churches who preach the prosperity gospel. God is not against a person being prosperous, however, he is against the amount of prosperity that fosters complacency and self-sufficiency, or to the point of fostering wealth worship (greed) at the expense of forgetting one’s relationship with God and Jesus Christ.