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Title: Antichrist%20and%20the%20End%20Times


1
Antichrist and the End Times
  • AET-071 and 072 Babylons Destruction

2
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • In Chapter 18 the destruction of the great
    prostitute/Babylon the Great in 1716 is now
    expanded into a full-fledged vision, further
    fulfilling the promise of the angel in 171 that
    he would "Show John the judgment of the great
    prostitute."
  • The overarching theme of this section is the
    judgment on Babylon for its economic oppression.

3
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • 1After these things I saw another angel
    descending from heaven, having great authority,
    and the earth was illumined with his glory. 2And
    he cried out with a strong voice "Fallen, fallen,
    is Babylon the Great. It has become a home for
    demons,a prison for every unclean spirit and a
    prison for every unclean and hateful bird.
  • For all the nations have fallen because of the
    wine that leads to passion for her immorality.
    The kings of the earth have committed adultery
    with her, and the merchants of the earth have
    grown wealthy because of the power of her
    luxuries."

4
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • 4Then I heard another voice from heaven saying,
    "Come out from her, my people,lest you share in
    her sins, lest you receive her plagues,5because
    her sins have reached to heaven, and God has
    remembered her crimes.6Give back to her as she
    has given.In fact, pay her back double according
    to her deeds give her a double portion in the
    cup she has mixed.

5
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • 7To the degree that she has glorified herself and
    lived in sensuous luxury,to the same degree give
    her torment and sorrow. For in her heart she
    said,I sit as a queen,I am not a widow,I will
    never see grief. 8Because of this her plagues
    will come in one day, pestilence and grief and
    famine,and she will be burned with fire, because
    mighty is the Lord God who has judged her. 9Then
    the kings of the earth who committed adultery and
    lived in sensuous luxury with her will weep and
    wail over her when they see the smoke of her
    burning.

6
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • 10They stand far off because they are afraid of
    being tormented with her and say, 'Woe, woe,
    great city, Babylon, mighty city, because in one
    hour your judgment has come."
  • 11The merchants of the earth weep and mourn over
    her, because no one will buy their cargo any
    longer

7
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • 12cargo of gold, silver, precious stones, and
    pearls of fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet
    fabrics of every kind of citron wood, every type
    of ivory product, every type of costly wood,
    bronze, iron, and marble 13of cinnamon, spice,
    incense, myrrh, and frankincense of wine, olive
    oil, fine flour, and wheat of cattle, sheep,
    horses, and carriages of bodies, that is, human
    souls. 14?he fruit you lusted after has gone away
    from you. All the expensive and beautiful things
    have disappeared from you. They will no longer be
    found."

8
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • 15These merchants who have become wealthy from
    her will stand far off because they are afraid of
    being tormented with her, weeping and mourning
    16and saying, 'Woe, woe, great city, clothed in
    fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and glittering
    with gold, precious stones, and pearls 17for in
    one hour all this wealth has been made desolate."
  • Every sea captain and everyone who sails to a
    place, the sailors and as many as make their
    living from the sea, stand far off 18and cry out
    when they see the smoke of her burning, saying,
    "Who is like this great city?"

9
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • 19They throw dust on their heads and cry out,
    weeping and mourning, saying, "Woe, woe, great
    city where all those who had ships in the sea
    became rich because of her wealth, in one hour
    you have been made desolate." 20"Rejoice over
    her, heaven, and the saints, apostles, and
    prophets, for God has judged her for the way she
    judged you." 21Then a mighty angel took a stone
    like a large millstone and cast it into the sea,
    saying, "In this way Babylon, the great city,
    will be cast down with sudden violence, Never to
    be found again."

10
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • 22The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and
    trumpeters will never be heard in you again. No
    craftsman of any trade will ever be found in you
    again. The sound of a millstone will never be
    heard in you again. 23The light of a lamp will
    never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom
    and bride will never be heard in you again. Your
    merchants were the great men of the earth all
    the nations were deceived by your sorcery. 24In
    her was found the blood of the prophets and
    saints and of all who have been killed on the
    earth."

11
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Here "Another angel" (after the angel of chap.
    17) is seen ?ataßa????ta ?? t?? ???a???
    (katabainonta ek tou ouranou, descending from
    heavenanother present tense participle
    dynamically stressing the action), probably in
    contrast to the beast "Ascending from the abyss"
    in 178.
  • Also in contrast to the beast, this angel has two
    characteristics.
  • First, he possesses ????s?a? µe????? (exousian
    megalen, great authority), compared to the
    derived authority of the beast (from the dragon,
    132, and from God, 135).

12
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Second, the earth was illumined with his glory),
    while the members of the false trinity do not
    possess "Glory" in the Apocalypse.
  • In fact, no celestial being, angelic or demonic,
    has "Glory" in the book except here.
  • Therefore, it is likely that the angel reflects
    the glory of God, implying he has come directly
    from the divine presence.

13
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • In 101 the "Mighty angel" who also "Ascended
    from heaven" was "Clothed in a cloud, and a
    rainbow was upon his head. His face was like the
    sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars."
  • Both there and here, the angels reflect the power
    and splendor of God, especially his authority
    over earthly affairs (in 102 he "Placed his
    right foot on the sea and his left on the land,"
    indicating control over this world).
  • Also, in both places some scholars believe we
    have Christ rather than an angel.

14
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • But as stated at 101, there is too little
    evidence that language used of angels in the
    Apocalypse ever refers to Christ it is more
    likely that it always refers to celestial beings.
  • Most agree that Ezek. 432 is echoed here, "The
    land was radiant with his glory."
  • In Ezek. 43 the measurements of the temple have
    been completed (421520), and now a solemn
    procession occurs as Yahweh enters the restored
    temple through the east gate (431).

15
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Here the glory of God once more returns to the
    temple (4329) and illumines the whole earth
    (432).
  • In that narration, Israel is reminded of the past
    and warned of future judgments if she persists in
    her sin (433, 79).
  • The twin motifs of Yahwehs glorious presence and
    the warnings of judgment are also present here,
    and it is likely that John intended these
    parallels to Ezek. 43.

16
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The angel in 182 cries out in ?s???? f???
    (ischyra phone, a strong voicefound only here
    but compare "A great voice" in 52 103 161
    etc.) in keeping with his authoritative
    pronouncement and repeats the message of the
    second angelic herald in 148, "Fallen, fallen is
    Babylon the Great" (with the aorist emphasizing
    the certainty of the event).
  • As stated there, this alludes to Isa. 219a,
    where Isaiah prophesied the destruction of
    Babylon via a messenger in a chariot who cries,
    "Babylon has fallen, has fallen," followed by
    "All the images of its gods lie shattered on the
    ground" (2129b).

17
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Thus, the judgment on the empire includes the
    destruction of its idols, specifically the
    Antichrist, who has set up an idol of himself
    (Rev. 131415).
  • Moreover, it is not seen as a new announcement
    but one foretold by Isaiah himself, grounded in
    Gods eternal decree.
  • The absolute desolation of Babylon is then
    described in three parallel poetic lines.

18
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Mounce (1998 324) notes that "A major poetic
    feature in this section is the repeated sets of
    three lines."
  • This is the first of several.
  • The depiction of it as a deserted city inhabited
    by demons and unclean birds is taken from Isa.
    132122 (Babylon) 341114 (Edom) Jer. 5039
    5137 (both Babylon) Zeph. 21415 (Assyria).
  • All these depict the destruction of those cities
    that have flaunted Gods laws and fallen under
    his judgment.

19
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • First, Babylon is ?at????t????? da?µ?????
    (katoiketerion daimonion, a home for demons
    da?µ????? is a subjective genitive meaning demons
    now "Make their home" there), the direct opposite
    of the only other place the term occurs in the
    NT, Eph. 222, where Christians are "Dwelling
    places of God."
  • Often in biblical literature, demons live in
    deserts or lonely places (Isa. 3414 Tob. 83
    Matt. 1243 par.).

20
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The meaning of this is expanded in the next two
    lines, where Babylon is transformed into a
    phylake, (prison), an unusual term for "Lair,
    haunt," derived from the ancient view of "The
    underworld as the prison of evil spirits" (Kratz,
    EDNT 3441).
  • First, it becomes the prison house of "Every
    unclean spirit," the basic term in Jewish
    literature for demons as detestable creatures.

21
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Second, it is the prison house of "Every unclean
    and hateful bird," building on the presence of
    scavenger birds in Isa. 1321 and preparing for
    the carrion birds of Rev. 191718, 21 who will
    feast on the bodies of the Antichrists army.
  • The reason (?t?, hoti, for) for this terrible
    judgment in 183 is the sins of the wicked, again
    found in three lines, with the three groups
    anticipating the three of verses 919 but with
    "Nations" instead of "Sea captains."
  • The first line is drawn from 148 and 172 but
    alters the "Made to drink the wine" of 148.

22
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • First, the angel announces the "Fall" of Babylon
    and then proclaims that "All the nations have
    fallen because of the wine that leads to passion
    for her immorality".
  • In other words, the nations will be destroyed
    along with the evil empire because they have
    freely participated in her debauchery.
  • She is "The mother of prostitutes and
    abominations," leading her offspring, the
    nations, to fall into the same depravity.

23
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Now they are both destroyed because of those evil
    acts. In a wonderful play on words, "Drinking the
    wine that leads to passion (t?? ??µ??) for her
    immorality" in 148 results in "Drinking the wine
    of the wrath (t?? ??µ??) of God" in 1410.
  • The results of this divine wrath are now
    displayed. As in 1410, this probably alludes to
    Jer. 251518, 2728 Isa. 5117 and Zech. 122,
    where God commands that the nations get drunk on
    his wrath after drinking the cup of sin.

24
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • As throughout Revelation, "Immorality" refers to
    both sexual immorality and religious apostasy
    (esp. idolatry).
  • The second line virtually repeats the first the
    "Kings" of the nations have led their people in
    immorality and idolatry.
  • Some (Beale 1999 895 Aune 1998b 988) believe
    that this line alludes to Isa. 2317 (where Tyre
    is condemned as a "Prostitute" selling herself to
    "All the kingdoms of the earth" for profit, a
    commercial rather than a religious metaphor) and
    that therefore this is more a commercial than a
    religious image.

25
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • These were wholesale dealers (EDNT 1446) who
    traveled all over the Roman world selling
    merchandise in huge quantities.
  • They Have grown wealthy" from all the trade (see
    also 1815, 23).
  • C. Smith (1990c 30) says these merchants engaged
    in Unrestrained debauchery," by which he means
    excess consumption of goods, with gross
    ostentation the order of the day.

26
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Much of the material in chapter 18 relates to
    Ezek. 27, a lament for Tyre.
  • As Block (1998 51) says, This island city,
    renowned for maritime commercial enterprises, is
    imagined as a magnificent merchant ship loaded
    with the products of the world, only to be
    shipwrecked on the high seas." Thus, it is a
    perfect type of Babylon and a perfect picture
    for the destruction of Babylon.

27
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Ezekiel 271225 centers mostly on the trade of
    Tyre, and 2712 is close to the text here,
    Tarshish did business with you because of your
    great wealth of goods."
  • Here the merchants grow rich because of the power
    of her luxuries.
  • Babylon seduced the nations due to her
    incredible wealth and the luxurious living it
    purchased.

28
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • This bound them to Babylon more securely by far
    than its armies could, for wealth brought them
    into the Babylonian fold willingly.
  • Edgar (1982 338) believes that Babylon the Great
    is not a religious but an economic symbol, as
    seen in the merchants who symbolize the kings of
    the earth (1823).
  • Thus, chapter 18 focuses on the economic sins of
    Babylon and the luxurious ostentation that
    brings about the wrath of God.

29
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Heavenly Voice Commands Believers to Leave
    (1848)
  • The other Voices from heaven" have occurred in
    104, 8 and 142, 13, and refer to a direct
    message from the throne itself (God or Christ6
    see 104).
  • This voice commands, Come out from her, my
    people.
  • Only here and in 213 are believers called Gods
    People," a semi-technical term in the OT and NT
    indicating a special Jewish relationship with
    God.

30
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The command to separate oneself from depraved
    society is frequent in the OT (Isa. 4820 5211
    Jer. 508 5145, 50 Ezek. 2041) and NT (e.g.,
    2 Cor. 614, 17).
  • In the narrative picture of Rev. 18, it means to
    get out of the city lest they be destroyed with
    the pagans.
  • In Jer. 5089 the people of God are commanded to
    Flee out of Babylon" because God was about to
    destroy her and in 5145 they are told to Run
    for your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the
    Lord" soon to fall on Babylon.

31
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Basis of Judgment (185)
  • Callahan (1999 5859) says that 184b is the
    divine command, with 185 the authors
    interpretation explaining why the Jews must
    distance themselves or be implicated in the
    judgment (modeled on Jer. 5145).
  • The reason for this danger (?t?, hoti, because)
    is that the sins of Babylon the Great have
    reached to heaven.

32
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Therefore, God has remembered her crimes.
  • Normally this verb commands the people of God to
    Remember" their past relations with God (see
    Rev. 25 33), but here it is God Remembering"
    the transgressions of Babylon.
  • When God Remembers," he acts (part of the
    meaning of the verb).
  • When he remembers his people, he works on their
    behalf (Ps. 105811 11156 Ezek. 1660) when
    he remembers sin (Ps. 10914 Jer. 1410 Hos.
    813 99), he acts in judgment.

33
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • In Rev. 1619 God remembered Babylon the Great
    and gave her the cup of wine, namely his furious
    wrath."
  • The term for sin here, t? ?d???µata, refers to
    Unrighteous deeds" or Crimes."
  • While there is definitely a religious aspect
    here, in Acts 1814 and 2420 (the only other NT
    occurrences of the term) it has a legal
    connotation of criminal activity, and that is
    probably the primary thrust here as well. The
    wrath of God is a judicial response to the
    Crimes" of wicked humanity.

34
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Just Judgment Explained (1868)
  • This section is dominated by the lex talionis
    (law of retribution) theme.
  • Since the sins of Babylon have Piled up to the
    heavens," God will pay them back in kind.
  • The whole scene could be likened to a universal
    courtroom, in which a class-action suit takes
    place. Plaintiffs in this suit are Tribulation
    Believers together with all those killed on
    earth (1824) the defendant is Babylon/Rome, who
    is charged with murder in the interest of power,
    money and idolatry and the presiding judge is
    God.

35
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • As announced previously in 148, Babylon has lost
    the lawsuit and therefore its associates break
    out in lamentation and mourning, while the
    heavenly court and Believers rejoice over the
    justice they have received.
  • God pronounces a legal sentence on Babylon in
    1868, perhaps given to the heavenly bailiff
    (see further the additional note on 186) who is
    to carry out the sentence.
  • It contains both the sentence and the legal basis
    for the verdict, all expressed in terms of the
    Roman (and biblical) Law of retribution."

36
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • First, the severity of the sentence is described
    (186).
  • The heavenly bailiff must Pay her back as she
    has paid back to others").
  • There can be no better definition of lex talionis
    than this.
  • It is likely that this is taken from Jer. 5029,
    where the judgment of Babylon is stated in
    similar terms, Repay her for her deeds do to
    her as she has done."

37
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Yet there is a rich and varied history behind
    this. Jeremiah could well have been alluding to
    Ps. 1378, which says of Babylon, Happy is he
    who repays you for what you have done to us."
  • As Aune (1998b 993) points out, there are many
    examples of The retributive justice proverb,
    each will be repaid " in accordance with his or
    her works " (Ps. 284 Prov. 2412 Isa. 311
    Lam. 364 Sir. 1612, 14 Ps. Sol. 2.34 17.8 1
    Macc. 268 Rom. 26 2 Cor. 1115 2 Tim. 414
    2 Clem. 17.4).

38
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Strand (1982a 56) adds that this may well also
    allude to The law of malicious witness" from
    Deut. 191619, in which those who bear false
    witness (Babylon) will suffer the very penalty
    their slander has forced on others.
  • More difficult is the next command, Pay her back
    double according to her deeds."
  • At first glance, this seems overly harsh, as if
    God has gone overboard in his vengeance, and
    justice has been forsaken.

39
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • In this sense, it means that God will pay them
    back fully for all they have done, in keeping
    with 1410, which speaks of the Wine of the
    wrath of God that has been poured full strength
    into the cup of his anger.
  • Yet at the same time, the idea of double the
    penalty was a common theme.
  • In Exod. 224, 7, 9 certain transgressions
    demanded a double payment (a stolen animal,
    stealing, illegal possession of an animal), and
    the prophets did emphasize double retaliation
    (Isa. 402 Jer. 1618 1718).

40
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • In Exod. 22 the double penalty for theft would be
    especially apt in light of the economic
    exploitation that is central to this chapter (so
    Callahan 1999 59).
  • Thus, this could be a call for a double portion
    of judgment due to the severity of the sins of
    the nations (see Chilton 1987 450).

41
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The Portion in the cup" refers back to the cup
    Filled with abominations, namely, the impurities
    of the great harlots immorality" in 174,
    which itself referred back to the cup with which
    she "Made all the nations drink of the wine that
    leads to passion for her immorality" in 148.
  • Thus, since she seduced the world into drinking
    the cup of sin, she must drink the cup of Gods
    wrath Full strength" (1410).

42
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The next two verses (1878) give examples of
    this cup of sin and the full recompense that
    follows.
  • The format means To the degree that " to the
    same degree (BAGD 586).
  • Her sins are twofold here.
  • First, she has Glorified herself" rather than
    God.
  • Such arrogance is frequently derided in
    Scripture. Luke 1411 says, Those who exalt
    themselves will be humbled" (cf. 2 Sam. 2228
    Job 4011 Prov. 334 2923 Isa. 212, 17
    515 1 Pet. 56).

43
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Those who seek their own glory will not only lose
    all glory in the life to come but also face the
    judgment of God.
  • One of the major themes of this book is that
    glory belongs only to God (see the introduction
    to 411621), and all who refuse to acknowledge
    him will face his wrath.
  • Second, she has lived in sensuous luxury, a term
    that means both sensual and luxurious living
    (both aspects are probably present here).

44
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Their sensuality is expressed not only in
    immorality but in opulent living.
  • This is another primary theme of the chapter, for
    both sensuality and materialism flow out of a
    self-centered greed that is the antithesis of
    holiness.
  • Due to this sensual lifestyle, the avenging angel
    is to Give" (a cognate of Pay her back" in
    186) her torment and sorrow.

45
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • In Revelation the first term occurs six times
    (95 twice 1411 187, 10, 15) and its
    cognate verb five times (95 1110 122 1410
    2010), always of the Torment" awaiting those
    who stand against God.
  • Five of the six times Sorrow" occurs (187, 8,
    11, 15, 19 214) are in this chapter, describing
    the Grief" that will attend the judgment of
    Babylon.
  • Grief" is obviously the result of the Torment,"
    but it is too late.

46
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The judgment on this hubris is found in 47911,
    These will overtake you on a single day" .
  • They will come upon you in full measure."
  • The parallels between these Isaianic themes and
    the rest of Rev. 18 are obvious (note the full
    recompense in 186, One hour" in 1810, 17, 19).
  • Her pride and security will be revealed in all
    its delusion, and the Grief" (the second use of
    p????? in this verse) she swore she would never
    See" is soon to fall upon her.
  • All such boasting will come to naught.

47
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Because of this arrogant boasting, her plagues
    will come upon her (188), the same Plagues"
    that in 184 led to the call to believers to
    flee.
  • Moreover, they will come in one day, again
    echoing Isa. 479, where the judgment of Babylon
    was also to come In a single day."
  • The type for this occurred when Darius killed
    Belshazzaar and destroyed Babylon in a single day
    (Dan. 530).

48
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • As stated in Rev. 1717, it is God who is in
    control, and he causes the depravity of Babylon
    the Great to turn upon her and destroy her.
  • All these images of war function as they did in
    618 lust for conquest and power must come full
    circle and self-destruct.
  • That has been the history of sinful humankind
    from the beginning.
  • Thus, the final point of this section is the
    ultimate cause because mighty is the Lord God
    who has judged her.

49
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • It is not the beast or his allies who are
    "Mighty" but God alone, and this is proven in the
    virtually instantaneous destruction of the evil
    empire.
  • While God is not called ?s????? elsewhere in the
    Apocalypse (though his angels are in 52 101),
    he is called "Mighty" often in the LXX (2 Sam.
    223132, 48 Neh. 15 931, 32 Job 3622, 26
    Ps. 712 Jer. 2734 5034 MT 3918 3218
    MT Dan. 94 2 Macc. 124), and there is a
    direct contrast with the pretentious "Mighty
    city" of 1810.

50
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Three Laments Over Babylon the Great(18919)
  • The three funeral dirges are sung by three groups
    who profited most greatly from the largesse of
    Babylon the kings who grew rich from her, the
    merchants who shared her expanding markets, and
    the shipping people who carried her cargo all
    over the world.
  • Now they see her destruction and weep at the same
    time that they Stand far off" so they do not
    have to participate in her judgment.
  • In other words, those who grew fat on her wealth
    now desert her in her time of agony.

51
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Aune (1998b 97879) points to four form-critical
    elements that the three laments have in common
    each Stands far off" each Weeps and wails"
    each begins the lament with Woe, woe" each
    exclaims on the suddenness (In one hour") of the
    destruction.
  • These laments are again built on Ezek. 27, the
    lament over Tyre, the great maritime and
    commercial giant of Ezekiels day.
  • Many of the details come from there, like the
    three groups of mourners themselves, their fear
    and sorrow, the list of cargo, and details in the
    lamentations

52
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The purpose is to show the final end of those who
    participate in evil, the deep mourning for all
    that will be lost.
  • Yet in this as well is the terrible hardness that
    depravity produces.
  • None of these groups mourns their sin, only all
    the luxurious living they have lost.
  • In other words, they remain self-centered to the
    bitter end.
  • There is no true sorrow for Babylon, only sorrow
    for all they have lost.

53
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Lament of Kings of the Earth (18910)
  • The reason The kings of the earth"12 weep over
    Babylon is twofold. First, they have committed
    adultery with her, referring to the immorality
    and idolatry they have shared with her in 148
    172, 4 183 (cf. 214, 2021.
  • They have lost their paramour and are bereft.
  • Second, they have lived in sensuous luxury with
    her, a reference back to the Sensuous luxury"
    condemned in 187.

54
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • There had never been such extravagance as
    developed during the End Times, and the kings
    of the earth share in all this wealth gathered at
    the expense of the common people.
  • As said in Ezek. 2733, the Great wealth" of
    Babylon Enriched the kings of the earth."
  • Much of the rest of the chapter will focus on
    this sin.
  • The kings see the smoke of her burning.

55
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • In this book there is a contrast between smoke as
    incense and prayer (823) and smoke as a symbol
    of fiery judgment (91718 189, 18).
  • The two aspects are combined in 1411, where the
    Smoke of their torment rises to God as incense
    forever and ever."
  • This is part of the motif that says the judgment
    of the sinners is Gods answer to the prayers of
    his saints for vengeance and vindication.

56
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The kings, however, lament the destruction of
    their Gravy train."
  • Thus, they ?eep and wail over her," a sign of
    mourning and sorrow. This alludes to Ezek. 2735,
    in which the kings Shudder with horror, and
    their faces are distorted with fear" at the
    destruction of Tyre.
  • Yet at the same time, they are standing far off
    in 1810, meaning that they distance themselves
    Far away" from the burning city.

57
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • This is not out of respect but out of
    self-serving interest.
  • They want nothing to do with the judgment
    Because of fear of her torment"), with the
    objective genitive and a genitive of
    accompaniment, respectively They were afraid of
    being tormented with her.
  • They too were guilty of the same sins and so
    tried to remove themselves as much as possible
    from the scene of devastation, for they were
    terrified that they were next (they were right!).

58
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The rulers of the earth have been seduced by the
    earthly power and might of Babylon and have
    ignored the evidence showing the temporary and
    partial nature of all such worldly splendor (note
    the emphatic repetition of the connection between
    On the throne" and Who lives forever and ever"
    in 4910).
  • Beale (1999 907) notes the background behind the
    suddenness of the judgment in one hour in Dan.
    417a, 19 LXX.

59
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • There Nebuchadnezzar is told that God would make
    him temporarily deranged so that people might
    Know that the Most High is sovereign over the
    kingdoms of men."
  • Like Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 4
    arrogantly set himself up as a god and Refused
    to acknowledge Gods sovereignty."
  • Therefore, the Judgment" of Babylon has arrived
    suddenly.
  • This is the judicial act of the "Mighty " Lord "
    who judges" in 188.

60
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • This is the third of four times ???s?? (krisis,
    judgment) occurs the angel in 147 announces,
    The hour of his judgment has come," and in 167
    One from the altar" says, Your judgments are
    true and just" (repeated verbatim in 192).
  • It is interesting that it is the kings who decry
    the Judgment" of Babylon, for it is they who
    have been the judges in this earthly sphere.

61
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Lament of Merchants (181117a)
  • Now the "Merchants," wholesale dealers made rich
    through Babylonian trade (see v. 3), Weep and
    mourn" over the destruction of Babylon.
  • While the kings weep and Wail," the merchants
    and seamen weep and pe????s??14 (penthousin,
    mourn) over her, focusing on the Grief" (note
    the noun cognate in 1878) they felt.
  • This alludes to Ezek. 2727, where the merchants
    and all on board the great ship Tyre Sink into
    the heart of the sea," and Hiss" at the
    destruction, "An expression of intense grief"
    (Block 1998 84 n. 190).

62
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The reason for their sorrow again has no
    connection with love for Babylon but rather is
    entirely focused on the loss of trade.
  • As Bauckham (1993b 373) points out, the
    merchants were usually citizens of the exporting
    cities and may even include the shipowners who
    sold cargoes at the ports (they are missing from
    the list in 1817b).
  • These merchants did not have high social status
    (the nobility did not sell but instead controlled
    the profits) but became quite wealthy.

63
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The purpose here is to show why Gods wrath has
    descended on themostentatious, self-centered
    materialism.
  • Provan (1996 8788) argues that this reflects
    not only the economic exploitation of Ezek. 27
    but also the sin of luxurious living exemplified
    by Solomon.
  • The list is arranged in groups of four to six,
    with six categories of goods precious stones and
    metals, luxurious fabrics, expensive wood and
    building materials, spices and perfumes, food
    items, animals and slaves.

64
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • In 1814 we hear the voice of the merchants
    summarizing the list and mourning the passing of
    all these luxuries.
  • While it is unusual for there to be no
    introductory formula, this is probably because
    the list of cargo (vv. 1213) is a parenthesis,
    and verse 14 continues the idea from verse 11 of
    the merchants Weeping and mourning" over the
    loss of cargo and then lamenting it directly.
  • It is presented as a poetic lament with three
    lines, and the absence of the formula heightens
    the rhetorical force of the lament.

65
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • First, they mourn the disappearance of "Your
    fruit, the desire of your soul".
  • The "Fruit" is obviously the list of luxuries
    (the "Good things" life has to offer so Louw and
    Nida 1988 133) and staples in 181213.
  • In apposition is The desire of your soul,"
    undoubtedly meaning The fruit you lusted after."
  • It has all Gone away."

66
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Second, in a poetic alliteration, (all the
    expensive and beautiful things) have
    Disappeared"16 ?p? s?? (apo sou, from you
    repeated in both lines for emphasis).
  • The first noun stresses the cost of the
    extravagant luxuries, the second the Bright,
    glittering" appeal of them to the senses.
  • The result is that these luxuries Will no longer
    be found," combining the emphatic future negative
    ?? µ? (ou me, never) with the negative particle
    ????t? (ouketi, no longer) to mean "Will never be
    found any longer."

67
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • They are gone forever, a warning to those in our
    society who have given themselves over to the
    folly of conspicuous consumption (which describes
    most of us).
  • As Jesus said in Matt. 61920, seek Treasures
    in heaven" rather than Treasures on earth."
  • In 1815 we now return to the merchants of 1811,
    and they are described as having Become wealthy
    from her," certainly true in light of the vast
    numbers of wealthy merchants, some of the richest
    people in the whole empire.

68
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • But this also means that they share the guilt of
    Babylon, for they have not only been a major
    cause of the ostentation but have also
    participated in it themselves.
  • The rest of the verse repeats the litany of the
    kings in 18910.
  • They Stand far off" to distance themselves from
    the fate of the Babylonian empire.
  • Then they "Are afraid of being tormented with
    her".
  • There is no actual sympathy but a self-centered
    sorrow at all they have lost and a terror of
    suffering the same fate (which they will).

69
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Their "Mourning" in 1816 (see 1811) is now
    expressed in a similar lament to that uttered by
    the kings.
  • The opening cry, Woe, woe, great city," found in
    1810, 16, 19, expresses the horror of those who
    see the destruction occur.
  • The Great city" has become a wasteland (see
    182, 2223).
  • The description of Babylon in the rest of the
    verse adds "Fine linen" to a nearly verbatim copy
    of the description of the great prostitute in
    174, Clothed in purple and scarlet, and
    glittering with gold, precious stones, and
    pearls."

70
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The kings mourn the loss of her power (1810),
    the merchants the loss of her wealth.
  • Finally (1817a), the merchants decry the sudden
    (In one hour") desolation of the Great wealth,"
    using the same term (???µ???, eremothe, make
    desolate) as used in 1716.
  • In the same way that a city is left in ruins, so
    the wealth of Babylon is stripped away, leaving
    it all a wasteland (the verb is the cognate of
    ???µ??, eremos, desert).

71
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The third group that Stands far off" is all
    those who have profited from Babylons sea
    trade.
  • The list builds on Ezek. 2729 ("All who handle
    the oars " the mariners and all the seamen") but
    with a different list of personnel.
  • The list is the most extensive of the three in
    this chapter, with four groups (1) the sea
    captain, the person who commands or pilots the
    ship rather than its Owner" (2) ?veryone who
    sails to a place,"17 the passengers (most) or
    merchants (3) the sailors and (4) those who
    "Make their living from the sea.

72
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Like the kings (189), they See the smoke of her
    burning" in 1818, but this group exclaims, Who
    is like this great city?.
  • This parallels 134, Who is like the beast?" and
    has the same obvious answer, No one."
  • Behind this is Ezek. 2732b, Who is like Tyre,
    surrounded by the sea?"
  • All who center on earthly wealth without
    consideration of God are doomed to destruction,
    like Babylon, Tyre, Rome, and the final evil
    empire of the beast.

73
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • This group demonstrated their sorrow even more
    visibly in 1819, throwing Dust on their heads"
    as a sign of mourning (Josh. 76 1 Sam. 412 2
    Sam. 1319 1532 Job 212), echoing Ezek.
    2730, where the seamen also Sprinkle dust on
    their heads" at the destruction of Tyre.
  • Their lament begins similarly to those in 1810,
    16, Woe, woe, great city," but then focuses
    explicitly on the fact that "All those who had
    ships on the sea became rich because of causal
    ??, ek her wealth," a reference now to the ship
    owners (see 1817b) who profited from the Rich"
    sea trade.

74
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • They have participated in the economic sins of
    Babylon and so share her fate.
  • The cry regarding the suddenness of her
    destruction (In one hour you have been made
    desolate") follows closely the wording of 1817b.
  • All the glory, the magnificence, and the
    extravagance are gone forever, and the seamen
    realize their future has gone with it.
  • As Michaels (1997 207) says, They do not know
    it yet, but before long the sea itself will be
    gone" (cf. 211).

75
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Call for the Heavens and Saints to Rejoice
    (1820)
  • At first glance, this verse seems out of place in
    a section focusing on the effects of the
    destruction of Babylon on her followers, but the
    jarring effect is intended.
  • While those who participated in the sins of
    Babylon mourn her passing, those who were
    faithful to God rejoice that the name of God has
    triumphed and his people have been vindicated.
  • Thus, both heaven and the believers are enjoined
    to Rejoice.

76
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Again, while a call to rejoice over the
    destruction of a whole group seems strange and
    offensive at first glance, we must realize that
    the overriding concern in the book is to defend
    the justice of God and vindicate the suffering
    saints.
  • The rejoicing occurs because divine justice is
    being served and because the oppressors of Gods
    people are finally receiving what their evil
    deeds deserve, as the last line says (God has
    judged her for the way she judged you).

77
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • As in 1212, two groups are called on to rejoice,
    building on Ps. 9611 Isa. 4913 and Jer.
    5148, in which heaven and earth are called on to
    rejoice in Gods righteous deeds.
  • Jeremiah is especially behind this, for there too
    the heavens and earth rejoice over the
    destruction of Babylon.
  • In this passage, the Heaven-dwellers" of 1212
    are specified as the saints, apostles, and
    prophets.

78
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The reason for the rejoicing (?t?, hoti, because,
    for) is that God has judged her for the way she
    judged you lit., God has judged the judgment of
    you objective genitive from her").
  • This theme of lex talionis recurs throughout the
    Apocalypse (most recently 186, Give back to her
    as she has given" cf. also 223 6911 115,
    18 148, 10 1657 192 201213).
  • It is justice that is being celebrated, not the
    punishment itself.

79
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Similar to verse 6, this is a legal scene, and
    the spectators at the trial are rejoicing as the
    just sentence is handed down and the just penalty
    imposed on the guilty.
  • Babylon has condemned the saints in their
    courtroom, so they in turn have been condemned in
    Gods courtroom.
  • Since they have murdered the saints, apostles,
    and prophets (Rev. 69 714 117 137, 15
    1413 176 1824 192), God has justly
    destroyed them.

80
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Therefore, the same ones who suffered under her
    repression and persecution are the ones who
    rejoice over her destruction (see Krodel 1989
    306 Mounce 1998 336).
  • As Beale (1999 91617) says, The rejoicing does
    not arrive out of a selfish spirit of revenge but
    out of a fulfilled hope that God has defended the
    honor of his just name by not leaving sin
    unpunished and by showing his people to have been
    in the right and the verdict rendered by the
    ungodly world against his saints to be wrong."

81
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Destruction of Babylon (182124)
  • This is the third and last time an ???e???
    ?s????? (angelos ischyros, mighty angel) appears
    in the book.
  • In 52 the "Might" was seen in the portentous
    message regarding the one worthy to open the
    seals, and in 1012 it was seen in the authority
    the angel wielded over earth and sea.
  • In both cases, the "Mighty angel" was the herald
    who held the great Scroll" detailing the end of
    the age.

82
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Here the sentence depicted in that scroll is
    carried out, and his "Might" is seen as he picks
    up "A stone like a large millstone."
  • This millstone is not the small stone used by
    women Grinding grain with a hand mill" (Matt.
    2441) but the Large millstone" of Mark 942
    (and par.), a stone so large it had to be driven
    by a donkey.

83
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • It was used to grind large amounts of grain and
    weighed several tons.
  • The angel Cast this stone into the
    sea"another prophetic, acted parable (see 108,
    10 1112), which looks back to Jer. 516364,
    where Jeremiah is told to Tie a stone to the
    scroll" and throw it into the Euphrates, saying,
    So will Babylon sink to rise no more."
  • Echoing the Jeremiah passage, this angel says,
    In this way Babylon the great city will be cast
    down with sudden violence."

84
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Chapters 1718 in this sense celebrate, 1) the
    judicial verdict, with, 2) the sentence imminent.
  • In both cases, the key terms function to heighten
    the rhetorical power of the judgment.
  • Babylon will first be Judged" and then Cast
    down" for slandering Gods name and murdering the
    saints.
  • The same violence that occurred when the huge
    boulder was Cast" into the water will occur when
    Gods wrath Casts down" the empire of the beast.

85
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The extent of the destruction is introduced in
    1821b and then amplified in 182223.
  • The city will never be found again, continuing
    the future orientation of the action.
  • When a millstone sinks into the oceanic depths,
    it is never seen again.
  • Thus also Babylon is cast down by God, Never to
    be found again."

86
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • This last phrase (Never to be found") becomes
    the model for the next five lines, all of which
    utilize the same format and detail what Will
    never be again" after Gods wrath falls on
    Babylon.
  • These five losses expand on the merchants lament
    of 1814, All the expensive and beautiful things
    have disappeared from you. They will no longer
    be found.
  • First, the Sound of harpists, musicians
    (µ??s????, mousikon), flutists, and trumpeters
    will never be heard in you again.

87
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • These are the artists who brighten everyday life
    and make the simple moments joyous.
  • Any city without them would be desolate indeed.
  • This builds on Isaiahs bleak picture in 248
    (The gaiety of the tambourines is stilled, the
    noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful
    harp is silent" and on Ezekiels diatribe in
    2613, I will put an end to your noisy songs,
    and the music of your harps will be heard no
    more."

88
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Music has always been the special provenance of
    the wealthy class, and so this is an economic
    judgment as well.
  • As Beale (1999 919) says, "Babylons economic
    system persecuted Christian communities by
    ostracizing from the various trade guilds those
    who did not conform to worship of the guilds
    patron deities."
  • Thus, Babylon has now lost the very thing they
    used against the Christians.
  • This leads to the second deprivation No
    craftsman of any trade will ever be found in you
    again."

89
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Cities in the ancient world were subdivided so
    that different sections of the town would belong
    to the various trades (see the introduction to
    the letter to Thyatira, 21829).
  • The removal of the craftsmen means the abandoning
    of the city itself.
  • Without them there would be no economy, and here
    we see the fulfillment of 1867, the Double
    portion" that God would return upon Babylon for
    the Glory" and Sensuous luxury" she heaped on
    herself.
  • She lived for her material pleasures, and so God
    has now taken them all away.

90
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Not only is there to be no economy, there will
    not even be food.
  • That primary staple of life in the ancient world,
    grain, will also disappear forever, for there
    The sound of a millstone will never be heard in
    you again.
  • In light of the centrality of economics in this
    chapter, however, the broadest interpretation is
    better, namely, the production of food for the
    populace with the Large millstone."

91
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The last three items of this list are probably
    taken from Jer. 2510, where in his prophecy of
    the seventy-year captivity, he presents them in
    slightly different order I will banish from
    them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices
    of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones
    and the light of the lamp."
  • Again, the judgment theme from Jeremiah comes to
    the fore.

92
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The fourth deprivation is The light of a lamp."
  • While the millstone was heard during the day, the
    lamp was seen at night.
  • These are not the torches that lit the way for
    groups traveling at night (there were no street
    lamps in the ancient world) but rather the small
    lamps of the home (see Thomas 1995 346, building
    on Swete and R. Charles).
  • Thus, these are pictures of everyday life, those
    elements that define normal existence. They are
    to be seen no more.

93
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Finally, The voice of bridegroom and bride" will
    be Heard no more."
  • There is no stronger metaphor for Joy and
    gladness" (Jer. 2510, where the Voice of the
    bridegroom and the voice of the bride" is placed
    first as the primary example of joy see also
    Jer. 734 169 3311) than the wedding, so the
    stilling of such sounds of joy has a special
    poignancy. Also, note the contrast The nations
    will never again know the joy of a wedding, while
    the church will become the Bride" of Christ
    (Rev. 1978 212, 9).

94
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • In the ancient law court, the crimes were always
    read as the sentence was carried out.
  • Thus, in addition to the other lists of her
    crimes in 1823, 7, one final enumeration is
    given.
  • In summary there are three primary sins economic
    tyranny, sorcery, and murder.
  • First, the merchants are described as the great
    men of the earth). This sums up all the emphases
    on wealth, luxury, and greed in the chapter.

95
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • This line refers back to Isa. 238 in the
    prophecy against Tyre, Whose merchants are
    princes, whose traders are renowned in the
    earth."
  • In other words, like Tyre the merchants have
    exalted themselves as the Rulers of the earth"
    and left God out of the picture.
  • Beale (1999 921) calls this self-glorification
    Economic self-idolatry," linking it also with
    Ezekiels condemnation of The prince of Tyre" in
    Ezek. 2819 for Lifting his heart up because
    of your riches," which in effect was saying, I
    am a god."

96
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The second judicial basis for judgment is that
    "All the nations were deceived by your sorcery.
  • Sorcery" or "Magic potions" is listed as one of
    the vices in 921 218 2215, but here the term
    is metaphorical.
  • While magic was a major problem in Israel,
    Judaism, and the early church (Deut. 1810 Isa.
    479, 12 Nah. 34 Mal. 35 Acts 8913
    13611 191320 Gal. 520), this text uses
    Sorcery" as a figure of speech (though some see
    a literal drug interpretation) for the demonic
    deception of the nations by Babylon.

97
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Elsewhere in Revelation they were deceived speaks
    of Jezebels Teaching" and Seducing" believers
    into immorality and idolatry (220) and the false
    trinitys Deceiving" the nations (129 1314
    1920 203, 8, 10) into worshiping the beast.
  • Thus, idolatry and immorality are clearly
    connoted in the concept (in 218 and 2215 it is
    connected with both vices).

98
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • This makes sense, because Scripture frequently
    links idolatry with demonic influence (Deut.
    321617 Ps. 1063537 1 Cor. 1020), and
    idolatry often included immorality as part of the
    pagan rites (e.g., sacred, or cultic,
    prostitution).
  • Finally, Babylon/Rome/the empire of the beast
    stands condemned by God because she murdered the
    saints.

99
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • This last reason is given special emphasis
    because the ?t? is not repeated (as in the first
    two reasons) and because the tone shifts from the
    second-person style of 182223 back to the
    third-person style of 18120.
  • Thus, this becomes not only the third reason but
    a separate indictment on its own, summarizing the
    emphasis on Babylons martyrdom of the saints
    (6911 714 117 137, 15 1413 166 176
    192).

100
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Yet there are two groups here. There are The
    prophets and saints," probably an adaptation of
    the list in 1820, Saints, apostles, and
    prophets," and reversing the order of 166, Shed
    the blood of your saints and prophets."
  • There is a close connection between 1820 and
    1824. The Prophets and saints" rejoice (v. 20)
    because God is vindicating them against those who
    shed their Blood" (v. 24).

101
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Then there are also "All who have been killed on
    the earth," most likely meaning not just the
    saints but all, believer and unbeliever alike,
    who have died at the hands of the evil empire.
  • Jer. 5149, "Babylon must fall because of
    Israels slain, just as the slain in all the
    earth have fallen because of Babylon."
  • This is similar to Rev. 1118, where the elders
    praise God that the time has come To destroy
    those who destroy the earth.

102
Revelation 19 - Rejoicing
  • Rev 19
  • In 1820 the heavens and the saints are told to
    rejoice at Gods judgment of Babylon the Great.
  • That call to celebration is now expanded into a
    series of Hallelujah" choruses sung by the
    heavenly multitude (1913) and the elders and
    living creatures (194), and finally by an
    invitation to those Servants" on earth to
    participate in the joy and praise of God.
  • Only here in the NT does the word ?????????
    (Hallelouia, Hallelujah praise Yahweh) occur,
    and it governs 1918.

103
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • There could be no greater contrast than the
    mournful laments of the three groups most
    affected by Babylons demise (18919) and the
    great joy of these who were most hurt by the
    murderous policies of the evil empire (1820
    1915).
  • The interconnecting series of hymns reminds one
    of chapters 45 and the great praises to God and
    the Lamb there (see also 71012 111518).

104
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • 1After this I heard as it were a loud voice of a
    great multitude in heaven saying, Hallelujah!
    Salvation, glory, and power belong to our God,
    for his judgments are true and just, 2for he has
    judged the great prostitute who corrupted the
    earth by her immorality, and he has avenged the
    blood of his slaves shed by her hand." 3Then they
    said a second time, ?allelujah! The smoke of her
    torment is going to ascend forever and ever."

105
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Praise for Gods Just Judgment (1912)
  • After this" (namely the destruction of Babylon
    in chaps. 1718), John has another auditory
    vision and Hears" a Loud voice," namely, the
    praise of the heavenly multitude.
  • The only other occurrence of the great multitude
    is in 79, where the group stands before the
    throne and praises God for his salvation.

106
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The reason (?t?, hoti, because, for) for this
    celebration is a virtual quotation of 167, His
    judgments are true and just" (the order is
    reversed in 153, Just and true are your ways").
  • Gods justice is True" because it is based on
    his own covenant faithfulness and Just" because
    it is based on his holy character.
  • In other words, his judgments are both morally
    true and legally just (see on 153 167).
    Babylon is being destroyed because her evil deeds
    demand such an extreme punishment.

107
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The legal basis of the judgment is that she
    corrupted the earth by her immorality.
  • Babylon has not only Corrupted" the earth but
    Destroyed" it, as seen in the persecution
    mentioned in the next line.

108
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • The corrupting presence of the evil empire is
    stressed in 148 ("Made all the nations drink of
    the wine that leads to passion for her
    immorality") 172 (The inhabitants of the earth
    were drunk with the wine of adultery with her"
    cf. 174) 183 (All the nations have fallen
    because of the wine that leads to passion for
    immorality") and 189 (The kings of the earth
    who committed adultery and lived in sensuous
    luxury with her").

109
Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • In each of these, we see how the great prostitute
    has seduced the nations by utilizing Satans
    great weapon, Deception" (129 203, 8, 10).
    Now she must pay the price for her evil folly.
  • The final reason is Gods response to the
    imprecatory prayers of the saints for Vengeance"
    (??d??e?? ekdikeis) in 610.
  • Now we see that the destruction of the great
    prostitute is another answer to those prayers, as
    God has avenged the blood of his slaves see
    1118 on this term shed by her hand).2

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Revelation 18 - Babylon
  • Since Gods slaves were martyred By the hand of"
    persecution, the perpetrators will shed their own
    blood in return.
  • The OT states that God Will avenge the blood of
    his servants" (Deut. 3243 2 Kings 97 cf. Ps.
    7910 941), and this is an extension of that
    covenant promise to Israel.
  • The Great City of Economic, Religious, Drug,
    Commerce, Luxury and Murder has now been
    destroyed by Gods Justice.
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