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Chapter 18

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Posted on CCPC's website 2022

The study Index page.

     Again. This study is verse by verse, IMAGE by Image, IDEA by Idea, and concept by concept. Which means it is a Marathon.
     We are using sources that John the Apostle and those mentioned as the recipients of the letter, the Seven Churches and other First Century Christians, the majority of which were Jews, would / should / could have been familiar with. We will also reference newer translations and versions of the book, beginning with the 1560 Geneva Bible (the bulk source for the 1611 KJV, which we also use) all the way up to much more current publications, and examinations of the text from various scholars, as well as beginning the analysis of the text from the Greek.
     It should be said here, as we are beginning with the Greek, we are going in remembering that John was writing in an 'apocalyptic' style. It seems many translations have forgotten that and 'moderated' the language.
“Blind ignorance misleads us thus and delights with the results of lascivious joys.”
- Leonardo da Vinci

     A short break is implied.
     John sees another angel “katabainonta” (coming down) from “ouranou” (sky / heaven) who had “exousian megalen” (privilege/competency/authority great) and the land was “ephotisthe” (brightened / illuminated) by his “dox?s” (glory).
     The text does not state this angel's name or rank. But, so far in the book, no 'angel' has had that kind of radiance. It may well be an Archangel, but it isn't so stated.
     One place in Scripture where we see angels that light up is at the tomb after the resurrection. The messenger to Cornelius evidently got his uniform from the same closet for his errand in Acts 10. Christ's outfit glowed in Luke 9 at the transfiguration.

     And he “ekraxen” (shrieks) in a “ischyra” (vehement) voice, “legon” (calling out, 'saying'): “Epesen” (the motion of coming down to the ground) is “Babylon he megale” (Babylon the great)! And “egeneto katoiketerion daimonion” (caused to become the habitation of evil spirits / heathen deities) and a “phylake” (guardian / protector) of every “pneumato akathartou” (spirit unclean / demonic), a guardian of every “orneou akathartou” (bird unclean), and a guardian of every “theriou” (creature) unclean and “memisemenou” (detested).
     NOTE: Many translations end the verse after the bad poultry, beginning with the 1560 Geneva Bible, while some, led by the Living Bible, have it as above. We were unable to find anything in any record or text about the next 'critter' clause having been added in later manuscripts. If you look at best renditions in the Greek side by side on (link below), the 'detested animals' are there, although in some the renditions are as clear. Is it important in the larger sense that Babylon has nasty animals running around with the birds and demons? No, but it is an interesting difference.

     There is a revisit of something previously stated: The wine of the wrath of the idolatry with all of the nations and kings of the earth....
     But then there is something new, and the “emporoi” (traders, merchants) through the “dynameos” (force / power) of the “strenous” (luxury) of the woman has “eploutesan” (enriched / become wealthy).
     The merchants have made their living trading on the general vices of the great city. And the idea of luxury comes back up shortly.

     John hears another voice from heaven. While the speaker is not identified, what is said tells us who it is, also the first word is an imperative, a command, not a polite request:
     “Exelthate” (Come out) 'my people', out of her, so that you “synkoinonesete” (not share in / not participate in) the “hamartiais” (sins) of her, and the “plegon” (plagues / afflictions) of her that you will not receive.
     At this point, we do not know if these people of God are those who have been sealed, or if they are other believers, if they are the Church, or faithful Jews... we don't know. We do know, GOD claims them, and warned them to 'get out'.t

     For “ekollethesan” (adhering to / piled on) her “hamartiai” (sins) “achri tou ouranou” (up to the sky / heaven), and God “emnemoneusen” (has remembered) the “adikemata” (misdeeds / crimes (includes accusations)) of her.

     This verse can be shortened to “paybacks, double”.
     The voice from heaven continues to say that Babylon will be given what she has rendered, and “diplosate” (pay back double) to her, “dipla kata ta erga” (two-fold according to her works). In the “poterio” (drinking cup) “ho ekerasen” (in which she mixed), “kerasate aute diploun” (mix to her double).
     This is something akin to one of the aspects of 'karma' that we saw in our feature on Witchcraft.

     “hosa edoxasen hauten” (so great she has glorified herself) and “estreniasen” (reveled in luxury), so give to her great “basanismon” (torture / torment) and “penthos” (sorrow / grief (as mourning)), “hoti” (because) in her “kardia” (inner thoughts) she says “Kathemai basilissa” (I am enthroned as a queen) and a “chera ouk” (widow never”), and “penthos” (...grief...) never see. 8
     Through this, “en mia hemera” (in one day) will arrive the “plegai” ((plural) plagues / torments) of her, and “thanatos” (death) and “penthos” (sorrow/ etc) and “limos” (famine / hunger); and with fire “katakauthesetai” (entirely burned / consumed), because “ischyros” (powerful and vehement and sure) is the “Kyrios ho Theos”...

A quick look at the “Word for God”:
     :Here in 18: 8, as in other places in Revelation, we have what works out as “Lord God”.
     :“Kyrios” comes down to being the Greek word for Ultimate Authority, such as in 1:8.
     “Theos” is the primary term for the Creator as Supreme Deity used in most of the new Testament and is the term John favors in his first general epistle.
     The combination, such as is used in 4 : 8 and as will be coming up in 19 and a couple more times before the end of the book, is special. It is essentially the equivalent of the Hebrew “Jehovah Elohim” and in this usage, means exactly the same thing indicating the Creator in His role as the Ultimate Power and Judge.
     In the next chapter we see "Theos" with "Pantokratoros" which is another expression for Ruler of All.
End look
     .... is the One that will “krinas” (adjudicate) her.

     And “klausousin” (will lament / mourn) and “kopsontai” (will wail) for her the “basileis” (rulers) of the land, and with her “porneusantes” (practiced idolatry) and “streniasantes” (lived luxuriously), when they “bleposin” (perceive) the smoke of the “pyroseos” (trial by fire / smelting) of her, from “makrothen hestekotes ” (a distance off standing) because of the “phobon tou basanismou” (alarm/terror of the torture/torment) of her, ...

Time out for Assaying:
     We're going to drop back into First Corinthians for a moment. 3: 13 - 15 to be exact, and then we'll check out 1 Peter 1 : 7. These verses, as well as the one we're looking at talk about works being tried by fire, which is why believers should do things that matter for others and the larger Kingdom. If the things you've done are totally consumed by the fire, you end up with ashes, while gold is purified. Which is how metals are assayed by cupellation. Not only gold and silver, but lead and copper are also purified by fire. Impurities are burned off and the metals are separated. There's a link below to an expert's view of the topic.
     The bad news is that Babylon, as depicted, probably doesn't have a lot of high quality works that will come out of the fire that Christ mentions in Mark 9: 49 that will test everybody.
End assay.
     ... saying: “Ouai” (alas / woe) unto the great city Babylon, the city “ischyra” (strong / powerful)! For in one hour “krisis” (justice) has come.

     Now we hit the punchline.
     The “emporoi” (merchants (the root word gives us 'emporium')) “penthousin” (lament in guilt) because their “gomon” (wares) “oudeis agorazei ouketi” (no one is going to market no more)-

12 and 13
     It's a shopping list. Stuff you'd see in a bazaar. Including precious items, gold, ivory, and decorative woods. Then comes a list of 'consumables' such as oils and spices. Then you even see horses and chariots and 'slaves'.... and finally something interesting.
     ... and the “psychas anthropon” (spirits of men).

     For some reason, the 1560 Geneva translation has 14 in parenthesis, no other translation checked, nor the Greek source page did.
     And the “opora” (ripe fruit) “epithymias” (longing eagerness/ lust) of the “psyches” (soul / spirit) “apelthen” (is gone) from you, and all the “lipara” (fat / rich) and the “lampra” (radiant / magnificent) “apoleto” (departed (as in destroyed)) from you, and they will find them no more.

15 and 16
     The merchants of these things “ploutesantes” (have become rich / wealthy) from her will stand at a distance because of the 'fear/ terror/ alarm' of the 'torment/ torture' of her, 'mourning/ lamenting', saying 'woe / alas' to the great city having been vested with “byssinon” (fine linen / cotton) and “porphyroun” (royal purple) and “kokkinon” (crimson) and has been “kechrysomene” (gilded) with gold, gems, pearls.

17 - 18
     For in one hour “eremothe ho tosoutos ploutos” (brought to waste / ruin such great abundance / richness). And every “kybernetes” (ship's pilot (note: this same word occurs in Acts 27: 11 and is translated 'pilot' instead of 'captain' in the KJV)) and all the passengers, and “nautai” (seamen / sailers), and those who trade via the sea, stood at a distance and shrieked, seeing the smoke of her “pyroseos” (fiery test), saying, what is “homoia” (equal to) the city great?

     And they “ebalon choun” ... ... and they... yeah, OK, we'll look at that one:

Time out for Jewish insult
     ... and they threw dust in the air.
     This was something done by the Jews, and to be fair, others, and is still done in the Middle East, to show everything from disagreement and disapproval to total disgust and revulsion. And is also a term used when one believes that another is trying to either distract or deceive them. Dust is also used during a shortage of ashes as a symbol of mourning.
     We see it from a relative of King Saul who threw dust in the air and rocks at David in 2 Samuel 16 : 13. Shimi both disapproved and was disgusted by David. And then there's more OT dust in Ezekiel 27 and Lamentations 2:10, perhaps instead of ashes.
     There is also New Testament flying dust in Acts 22:23 from the ranking Jewish officials who don't like what Paul is saying, and they were probably trying to distract everybody from his testimony.
     In the current verse, it is in grief and mourning as they are throwing it up so it lands on their heads.
End time out
     ... yeah, that's what the verse says, they are mourning the great city that “eploutesan” (enriched / made wealthy) all those “echontes ta ploia” (holding / possessing the ships) at sea through the costliness of her, for in one hour she was laid waste.

     There is a dramatic change of tune here. From the grieving of the merchants to the other side of things.
     “Euphrainou” (have a good mind / rejoice) over her “ourane” (heaven) and 'you' “hagioi” (those set apart by God (saints)), and “apostoloi” (those delegated 'by Christ' (apostles)) and “prophetai” (inspired fore-tellers (prophets)) because “ekrinen” (decided / judged) GOD the “krima” (decision) for you against her.

     Then the scene changes.
     And “eren” (raised up) an angel “ischyros” (powerful / strong / mighty) “lithon” (stone),...
It makes more sense here, given the word choice and placement in the Greek statement, that it is the angel that is “mighty” instead of the stone as in the KJV and certain other versions. The description of the stone follows next.
     ... like a “mylinon megan” (millstone great) and cast it into the sea, saying: “Houtos hormemati blethesetai” (In this way violently thrown) Babylon the great city, and not exist any longer.
     Is which of the two 'mighty' important in the larger drama? No, not in the least, but it is interesting.

22 and 23
     This is the real “Sound of Silence” at least in Babylon.
     The band doesn't play any more in the city. Nor any “technites / technes” (builders and tradesmen / building etc). And the mills shut down.
     There is no light from lamps. Nor do grooms and brides speak together.
     For the merchants were the “megistanes” (noblemen (satraps)) ...

Pardon our satrap sighting:
     Flashback to Daniel 6. King Darius appoints 120 satraps to run his kingdom. The position in the Persian Empire was very like the regional governors under the Roman Empire. They had great authority, and answered directly to the palace, if not personally to the king himself.
     You'd think that after the episode in chapter 3 with old King Neb, those with that title would have learned their lesson. Evidently political appointees of every era are basically the same. We also run into those with that job in Esther and it is mentioned in Ezra, so they weren't an endangered species.
Back to verse 23, already in progress
     ... because by the “pharmakeia” (enchantment / magic / sorcery) of you were “eplanethesan” (led astray / caused to wander / deceived) all the nations.

     The crimes for which Babylon was convicted were idolatry and deception and what happened because of those. Not being important and wealthy.
     The overall idea of sorcery and as it compares to something else comes into a sharp focus in our feature on witchcraft.

     .... and those “esphagmenon” (those unjustly slain / murdered) on the earth.

End 18

Selected Sources for this chapter:
Greek Text Analysis of verse 2:

“From the Bible to State of the Art - Cupellation Test Methods Explained” Sources used throughout entire study:
Bible Hub Interlinear pages:

the Geneva Bible downloadable

the 1611 KJV

The study Index page.

NOTE: The Bible Study Lesson presented above is posted as a reference document to begin a conversation of the topic. And that's it. Please accept it at such.

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