｢世界｣原文 kosmos 看起來像說現代的化裝品。對當時人來說，世界是有系統、有條理、非常漂亮、有榮耀的花花世界。到現在天國與世界作比較時，人也覺得世界非常值得我們去追求學習。那些大機構、大企業、大商家的生意手法、運作方式，人人都想學習。那些成功人士大有榮耀、大有權柄，人人都羨慕。
The world”, from the original word “ kosmos ”, has a similarity to the word “cosmetics”. In the past, people saw the world as systematic, orderly, very beautiful and dazzling with myriad temptations. At present, when comparing the kingdom of heaven and the world, people still think that this world is worth pursuing and learning from. Everyone wants to learn the way big organizations and large commercial businesses operate. The people who are successful receive great power and glory.
In comparison with the world, the church falls behind the ranks, is not knowledgeable enough, the leaders of the church should take a course in business management and they should run the church as a business. The leaders of the church should have authority and power over the people. However, all these things are deceptive and temporary, which are the things that the Roman Catholic Church seeks, success, glory and authority.
TRUE AND FALSE GLORY
1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.
This angel with great authority had a different kind of authority than the people of this world. He did not need certain conditions to make the people of the world to listen to him. He proclaimed authoritatively how the great Babylon would come to an end. His glory did not rely on someone else’s flattery, his splendor illuminated the earth. The glory of the great Babylon was obtained by covering herself in gold. True glory just shines by itself.
John teaches us not to love the world or the things of this world. Although the world may appear to be orderly, very beautiful and glorious, those who follow the world will lose their love for God. During the times of the prophet Samuel, the Israelites saw that the other nations had a king to rule over them, so they also wanted to have a king. God said: “They have rejected me as their King.” They disliked having God’s Words to rule over them, they wanted to be ruled in a worldly way. It is like a woman saying: “I don’t like the way my husband takes charge of the things of our house, I want the neighbor’s husband to do it. I want to bring him over to be in charge. ”That is called an adulterous woman.
Chapter 18 talks about the end of this adulterous woman. For us, it is history. But to John and to the church of the first century, this was a distant prophesy. A prophesy about the problems in the church during these 2000 years.
During the fourth century, the Roman Emperor believed in Jesus and this movement caused the whole Roman Empire to become believers. The Church not only became powerful but they thought that the church was the kingdom of heaven. The king of the Kingdom of Heaven is Christ , but because Christ is invisible, they opted to have a queen. By the end of the eighth century, they set up a Roman Catholic pope to rule over the kingdom of heaven on the earth. The kingdom of heaven was similar to the empire at that time, it had an organized system, it had power and authority, it had an army, and it had a chain of command. At that time, the pope had the utmost authority throughout the world. All the kings in Europe had to listen to the pope.
THE DWELLING FOR DEMONS IS FALLEN
2 他大聲喊著說：巴比倫大城傾倒了、傾倒了，成了鬼魔的住處，和各樣污穢之靈的巢穴[ 或作牢獄下同] ，並各樣污穢可憎之雀鳥的巢穴。
2 With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.”
天使宣告那自命天國的城要｢傾倒了｣。｢傾倒｣的意思，是｢從高處掉下｣，是一種嚴重的衰退( 賽29:1) 。就像現在金融體系大衰退一樣，也可以喊說：｢華爾街傾倒了，銀行業傾倒了，最賺錢的行業傾倒了。｣不是消失，是大衰退了。
The angel proclaimed that the self-called kingdom of heaven is “fallen”. “Fallen” means, “to drop down from a high place, “it is a very serious decline (Isaiah 29:1). Similar to a financial depression; is like saying” “Wall Street has fallen, the banking institutions have fallen, the business institutions that earn the most money have fallen. “They have not disappeared, they have just fallen.
This city of the kingdom of heaven should be the holiest and cleanest of places but inside it, it was filled with uncleanness and sin, it had worldly organizations whose ways were treacherous and filthy. The place that was flourishing became desolate. Even today we hear of mafia leaders who go to church for confession; there are also many scandals about church leaders. The beliefs of this church are murky.
MADE THE NATIONS DRINK THE MADDENING WINE
3 For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.
The reason why she had fallen was because she made the nations of the world fall. Originally, it was a holy organization under the protection of God; every nation that followed her was prosperous and blessed. But, she taught God’s people to worship idols, she made them drink the maddening wine of her adulteries; they were all poisoned by her and all went into decline.
Why is it wrong to have an idol? Praying to an idol which you can see is easier. Especially if the idol is the figure of a woman, it is easier to talk to. What is wrong with that?
l. We must worship God in truth and through revelation. God commanded us not to make any images in the form of anything and we should not bow down to them or worship them. If people do not obey God, their worship is false.
2. Those who worship idols have the idols in place of God. Whenever people hear of an idol that does miraculous signs, they would swarm to it; this shows that they put their faith in the idol and not in the omnipresent God.
3. People who worship idols are selfish and are looking only to fulfill their own needs. Of course, many Christians pray for their own needs, but those who live according to God’s command are different. Many Chinese Social gatherings are specially catered to unbelievers, for those who do not want to attend church. It provides them with a place bustling with noise and excitement. During those social gatherings people only talk about their own achievements, their houses, their cars, their kids and if people don’t have what they have, the will look down on them. If people are more successful than them, they will feel jealous of them. They live in a self-centered world, like praying to an idol, it is always a self-centered prayer.
4. Satan is behind all idol worship, not God. The place where the idols are worshiped is the place where demons live; it is a lair of unclean spirits. In other words, even when people worship the image of Jesus, the one who is behind it receiving the worship is the devil. Therefore, wherever there are idols that is the place where the devil lives.
GOD CALLS HIS CHILDREN TO LEAVE THAT ORGANIZATION
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.”
These words seem somewhat odd. God is calling his people to come out of that city. These words also appeared in Isaiah 52:11: “Depart, depart, go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Come out from it and be pure .” Isaiah saw what was coming. God commanded his people to get away from that big city and its administration.
Think about it, this calling is very odd. God is calling his people to leave that city; He is not calling the people of this world or those who follow Satan. God is calling His followers. If this was Satan’s city, of course the calling would be for those who worship Satan to come out of that city. But, this city is not Satan’s city, it is a city that by name belonged to Christ, but it committed spiritual adultery. In this city many people belong to God; because those who sinned were from the upper management class, the rest of the people are innocent. Therefore, they are told to get away from that city to avoid being punished with the wicked.
During the 16th century, under the leading of Martin Luther many countries did not want to remain under the Roman Catholic administration. Those countries were: Germany, Holland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and later on England. They also abandoned the worshiping of idols and of Mary. The translation of the Bible into different languages permitted people to understand the truth of the word of God. Those events were prophesied long before it happened. In this way, people could return to the truth.
In 2 Corinthians 6:16-17, Paul said: “What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols?” Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.” Paul seemed to have the same revelation; though he did not say anything about coming out of Babylon, he said to get away from worshiping idols.
THE FALL OF THE EMPIRE
6 她怎樣待人、也要怎樣待她、按她所行的加倍的報應她。用她調酒的杯，加倍的調給她喝。7 她怎樣榮耀自己，怎樣奢華，也當叫她照樣痛苦悲哀。因她心裡說：我坐了皇后的位｢，並不是寡婦，決不至於悲哀。｣8 所以在一天之內，她的災殃要一齊來到，就是死亡、悲哀、饑荒、她又要被火燒盡了。因為審判她的主神大有能力。
6 Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her own cup.7 Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn.’
8 Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.
After the Roman Empire became weaker, the Roman Church’s politics, organization and authority suffered deeply. Originally, she was the greatest power in the world but she fell in an instant. She was treated the same way she treated the dissidents. In the past she judged those who were against her teachings, now others are judging her iniquities. The city that called herself the kingdom of heaven is in darkness, the glory of God has departed from her.
THE CORRUPTED LIFE OF THE GREAT PROSTITUTE
This city, called herself “the city of God” and lived a luxurious life, though there was a time when she flourished, her spiritual life never reached a peak period. She did not lead God’s people to live a holy life, to love God and to love people, or to spread the Gospel. She only made the people to revere and enjoy the pleasures of life and to seek worldly riches. As a matter of fact, many of the countries of the world that make fine wine are Roman Catholic , and they really know how to enjoy good liquor.
For a long period of time the church was a place where people with money and social status would get together. The church was made out of illustrious people whose names were inscribed on the pews; it was a symbol of high class society. It completely violated the mission of the Lord Jesus. The mission of our Lord is to preach the Gospel to the poor.
During those times, the people in positions of power only cared about their personal enjoyment and about their high income. Their general headquarters were sumptuous mansions. Yet many churches only had wooden benches, they were infested with mosquitoes and many believers didn’t even have food to eat or a bed to sleep in and were suffering from malnutrition. Those leaders will not go unpunished by God
She always thought she was the queen in Christ’s Kingdom. She represented God to make all the decisions, she thought she could do whatever she wanted, she never thought she would become a widow and completely lost all kinds of support.
She thought that as long as she had a talented group of people that was highly organized, had strong economic capabilities, she would never fall, and have a solution to any problem. Who would have imagined that disaster would suddenly come to her?
If church leaders have too much power, they will not only become like a worldly organization but they will unwittingly snatch away God’s authority. This problem exists in many churches. But there is a bigger problem in the Roman Catholic Church because they have their own teachings ; since the beginning of history, whatever the Pope says it had to be strictly obeyed as if his words were the Word of God. This queen is above the emperor.
HER SUPPORTERS WILL PART COMPANY
9 地上的君王，素來與她行淫一同奢華的，看見燒她的煙，就必為她哭泣哀號。10 因怕她的痛苦就遠遠的站著說：哀哉，哀哉，巴比倫大城，堅固的城阿，一時之間你的刑罰就來到了。
9 “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. 10 Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry:
“Woe! Woe to you, great city,
you mighty city of Babylon!
In one hour your doom has come!”
Later, with the separation of church and State, all the monarchs break away from the control of the Vatican and while it goes into decline, they just observed from afar. In the past, the church wanted to promote global trading so they set up churches everywhere. This led to many people travelling all over the world for business and for pleasure. This major event opened people’s eyes and brought about business opportunities.
這裡有叁大類人受影響，第一，是所有政客、國家領導。第二，是商人，第叁，是旅客。11 節就描寫當時做生意的人，也因著教會得到很多利益。那時不單教會權力極大，她活動的範圍也非常廣，因為要到世界各處建立教會。宣教士成了推動世界性行業的媒介。客商因著教會的政策，也得到很多利益。12-13 節所記載的貨品，都是當時最豪華的東西。藉著設立教會的方便，這些商品就推到世界各地去了。
There are three kinds of people that are affected here: The first kind was the politicians and leaders of the world; the second kind was the businessmen; and the third kind was the tourists. Verse 11 describes the people who were doing business at that time and who obtained many benefits from the church. During those times, not only did the church have great authority but its area of operation was very vast as it needed to establish churches all over the world. Missionaries were a way to promote worldwide business. Many merchants were also benefited from the way the church worked. The goods mentioned in verses 12-13 were very luxurious. These products made their way all over the world in order to make it convenient for churches to be established.
When things go awfully wrong with the Holy See the merchants, like politicians, can only shed crocodile tears.
TALENTS AND ABILITIES IN DECLINE
22 And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer.
The Church used to have a brilliant history of artistic glory. In those days there were many talented people, renowned painters and sculptors decorated the Church with their masterpieces. Great musicians wrote music, sang and played the piano for the Church. The most talented people of the world were in the Church. They were proud of these famous people.
People’s talents and gifts are designed and given by God and are neutral, and it is a good thing when we use them for God. It is much better than to use them to commit crimes. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade also invites celebrities to give their testimonies which can attract a lot of people to listen to them. Their choir has very high standards and makes their meetings very lively.
But, here it tell us that the Church will loose the participation of very gifted and talented people. This was a church that was full of world-class talents but it became desolate, no more talented people. In the past, they gloried from these gifted artists, they thought that to needed these talents to expand the kingdom of heaven. The prophet Zechariah knew that the lampstand that he saw on his vision was a blueprint of the kingdom of heaven. The lampstand had to go all over the world in order for the kingdom of heaven to expand. How to reach this objective? He said: “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit said the Lord of Hosts”. These abilities and talents need the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit in order to accomplish great things for the expansion of the kingdom of heaven. Not by talents plus the system of the world but by talents plus the anointing oil of the Holy Spirit.