CHAPTER 38 – Revelation 18 跟隨世界的教會 A CHURCH THAT FOLLOWS THE WORLD

「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.

比較之下,教會太落伍、太無知,教會領袖應該讀商科,用管理企業的方式來管理教會。領導人要擁有人人聽從的權柄榮耀。但羅馬大公教所追求的成功、榮耀、權柄,都是虛假的,都是暫時的。

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.

真假榮耀

TRUE AND FALSE GLORY

1 此後,我看見另有一位大權柄的天使從天降下。地就因他的榮耀發光。

1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.

這位有大權柄的天使,有別於世人的權柄。他不需要某些條件、因素使人聽話。他很有權威地宣告這大巴比倫城的結局。他的榮耀,也不倚靠別人的吹捧,他出現所在的地方,就因他的榮耀發光。大巴比倫城的榮耀是在自己臉上貼金,真正的榮耀,是他在那裡,那裡就有榮光。

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.

約翰教我們不要愛世界和世界上的事。世界雖然看起來有條理,很漂亮,有世界的榮耀。但是跟隨世界的人,就會失去對神的愛。在撒母耳先知的時候,以色列人看見世界每一個國家、民族,都有王在管理,他們也要有一個王。神說:「他們厭棄我作他們的王。」他們不喜歡只聽神話語生活的方式,他們要世界的條理、系統管束他們。這就像是說:「我不喜歡我家丈夫的當家方式,我比較喜歡鄰居丈夫的條理。我要把他接過來,管理我的家,這樣她就被稱作淫婦。」

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.

十八章論到這淫婦的下場。這對我們來看,已經是歷史。但對於第一世紀的約翰與當時的教會來說,這是一個遙遠的預言。預言未來二千年教會的問題。

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.

教會發展到第四世紀的時候,因為羅馬皇帝信了耶穌,引致整個帝國歸主。教會權力不單增大,而且他們相信,教會就是天國。天國的王是基督,但由於基督看不見,他們想要一個皇后。終在第八世紀時,搞出一個教皇出來,統治地上的天國。天國要像當時的帝國,有組織、有權力、有軍隊、有各階層領導人物。當時的教皇,是普天下最大權力的人。歐洲的皇帝全都要聽他的話。

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.

成了鬼魔住處

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.

天國的城,應該是最神聖清潔的地方,但裡面充滿了污穢、罪惡,有世界各種團體的骯髒、奸詐手段。繁華的地方變了荒涼之地。就算到現在,仍然會聽到有黑社會頭子到教堂去告解,也有很多教會領袖的醜聞被挖出來。這教會在信仰上黑暗了。

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.

使列國喝邪淫大怒的酒

MADE THE NATIONS DRINK THE MADDENING WINE

3 因為列國都被她邪淫大怒的酒傾倒了,地上的君王與她行淫,地上的客商,因她奢華太過就發了財。

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.

她衰退的原因,是因為她使世界各國衰退。本來她是神聖的團體,有神的蔭庇,每個跟隨的國家都會興旺蒙福。但由於她教導神子民拜偶像。使他們喝了她邪淫大怒的酒,中了邪淫的毒,全走向衰退的路上。

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.

有偶像到底有甚麽不對?既能看見具體的像,向看得見的像禱告,比較容易。尤其弄個女的神像,更容易說話。有甚麽不好?

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?

第一,敬拜主必須按真理、按啟示敬拜。神說,不可造出任何的像來敬拜,人就要根據神的吩咐。人如果不聽祂話,他們的敬拜也就是虛偽的敬拜。

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.

第二,拜偶像的人會以偶像代替了神。當某地的偶像或某殿堂的神像有神蹟出現,向它禱告必有果效,非常靈驗。人就會一窩蜂的擁到那裡,表示人心所信的,不是無所不在的神,只是那神像而已。

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.

第叁,拜偶像的人,都是為一己自私生活,為自己的需要而虔誠。當然很多信徒也為自己的需要禱告,但跟隨神吩咐而生活的人,到底是不一樣的。很多中國人的團體、僑社,就是為非信徒,不想參加教會的人而設,使他們在沒有教會下,仍然有熱鬧的聚會。但在那些團體中,明顯看見,他們整天談論的,是想炫耀自己的房子、車子、孩子或自己的成就。如果別人不如他,他會藐視。如果人比他成功,他會妒忌。這是一個自我中心的世界,向偶像的禱告,常是自我中心的禱告。

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.

第四,在偶像背後接受敬拜的,不是神,是魔鬼,有偶像的地方,就成了鬼魔的住處、污靈的巢穴。就是說,就算面前放的是耶穌像,當人敬拜的時候,那受者卻是魔鬼。所以有偶像之處,就是魔鬼的所在。

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.

神呼喚祂的子民離開那團體

GOD CALLS HIS CHILDREN TO LEAVE THAT ORGANIZATION

4 我又聽見從天上有聲音說:我的民哪,你們要從那城出來,免得與她一同有罪,受她所受的災殃。

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.”

這話很奇怪。神呼籲子民離開那城。以賽亞書52:11 出現過這話:「你們離開吧,離開吧,從巴比倫出來,不要沾不潔淨的物,要從其中出來。」以賽亞早已看到。神吩咐祂子民趕快離開這一個大城的管轄。

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.

想想看,這裡的呼籲是很奇怪的話。神呼籲祂子民離開那城,不是呼籲世界的人,不是呼籲跟隨撒但的人,是呼籲跟隨神的人。如果是向撒但的城呼籲,那當然是呼籲拜鬼魔的人離開。所以這個城不是撒但的城,是名字屬基督,卻犯了屬靈姦淫之地。這城裡有很多神的子民,因為犯罪的,只是高層管理的官員,有很多神子民是無辜的,所以要離開那城,免得一同受刑罰。

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.

十六世紀在馬丁路德的帶領下,多個國家:德國、荷蘭、挪威、瑞典、芬蘭、丹麥,以及後來英國等,脫離了羅馬教的管轄,也同時放棄了偶像敬拜與向馬利亞的敬拜。聖經翻譯成人人懂得的文字,讓各國人人明白聖經真理。這些事,都早已在預言裡面。這樣,在信仰上纔回歸真理。

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.

在哥林多後書6:17 ,保羅也說過:「神的殿和偶像有甚麽相同呢?你們務要從他們中間出來。」保羅好像也得了同樣的啟示,只是他沒有說是離開巴比倫,只說要離開偶像的敬拜。

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.

王國的衰退

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.

羅馬教會在羅馬帝國衰弱之後,在政治上、權力上、組織上都遭遇非常大的打擊。本來她是世界最大的權力中心,一下子全失去。以前她對待異議份子的方式,也遭到報復。以前審判別人違反她的教義,現在別人來審判她的不義。戴著天國名字的城黑暗了,失去了神的榮光。

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.

大淫婦的腐化生活

THE CORRUPTED LIFE OF THE GREAT PROSTITUTE

這自稱上帝的城過著奢華的生活,在她的全盛時期,並不是靈性的高峰期,並沒有使神的眾子民過聖潔、愛主愛人、廣傳福音的生活。只使人崇尚享受人生,追求享樂,增加財富。縱眼世界各個尊崇羅馬教的國家,都是製造美酒的國家,都有最懂得享受的人群。

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.

有很長的時間,教會只成了有錢人、有身分的人、有地位的人的俱樂部。教堂裡有名人的名字,有名人的座位,能夠進去,就是身份的象徵。這完全違反了主耶穌使命。主的使命是傳福音給貧窮人。也違反了保羅、彼得等人的志願。他們熱心愛主,為窮人作犧牲。

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.

但那時在上面掌權的人,卻只重視個人的享受,重視自己的收入有多高。他們的總部富麗堂皇,像皇宮一樣。但下面很多教堂,人卻坐木板凳,有蚊子來咬,信徒沒有飯吃,沒有床睡,營養不良。神必定要懲罰這樣的教會領導人。

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

她一直以為在基督的國度裡擁有皇后的位份。她代表神做決策,以為可以為所欲為,她絕不是寡婦,絕不會失去大靠山。

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.

她既有人才,又有嚴密組織,有強大的經濟能力,以為永遠不會衰退,甚麽事都可以解決。誰知災殃會一齊來到。

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?

教會的領導人如果有太大的權力,不單會變了屬世的團體,而且不知不覺之中,也奪取了神的權柄。其實這種問題,存在在很多教會中。只是羅馬教成了更大的問題,因為她有一個教義,任何一個教皇所講的話,歷世歷代的信徒都要遵守,就像聖經的話一樣。這個皇后凌駕在皇帝之上,成了皇上皇。

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.

支持者與她拆夥

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!”

後來的政教分離,所有國君脫離了教庭的掌控,教庭衰落,他們也只在旁邊觀望。以前教會是推動世界性行業的媒介,到各地設立教會的同時,使很多人都要出差旅行。在當時是了不起的大事。這種世界性的行動,不單開了人的眼光,也帶來做生意的機會。

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.

到教庭出問題時,這些客商也向政治人物一樣,只能貓哭老鼠了。

When things go awfully wrong with the Holy See the merchants, like politicians, can only shed crocodile tears.

才藝才能上的衰退

TALENTS AND ABILITIES IN DECLINE

22 彈琴、作樂、吹笛、吹號的聲音,在你中間決不能再聽見,各行手藝人在你中間決不能再遇見了。

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.

教會曾經有很輝煌的藝術光榮史。那時人才鼎盛,最有名的畫家、雕刻家,都為教堂作裝飾。大音樂家都為教會寫音樂、唱聖歌、彈琴。全世界最好的人才都在教會裡。他們當時也是以這些有名的人為榮。

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.

人的才藝、天分都是神所設計,是神所賜,是中性的,能夠被神使用,也是好事。比人用才能犯罪好多了。葛理翰佈道大會也請名人上台。名人作見證,能吸引很多人聽。詩班有水準,也使聚會生色不少。

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.

但這裡告訴我們,教會失去了這一些高才藝的人參與。這曾經是充滿世界一流人才的教會,變了在才藝上荒涼了,鬧人才荒了。過去他們以這些名藝術家為榮,以為擴展天國是要藉著這些才智之士。撒迦利亞先知看見的燈臺異象,知道是天國的藍圖,燈臺要走遍全地,天國纔能擴展到全世界。怎麽達到這目標呢?他說:「不是倚靠勢力,不是倚靠才能,乃是倚靠我的靈,方能成事。」這些才藝、才能要加上聖靈的膏油,纔能做大事,纔能建立起天國。不是才能加上世界的系統,乃是才能加上聖靈的膏油。

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.