A Study of Revelation 18:3
The Merchants Have Become Rich From Abundance of Her Delicacies
“…and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.”
If we were reading these verses superficially we would have to conclude that these merchants were becoming materially rich through the abundance of Babylon’s material goods, her delicacies and the such. But what is God really telling us when we read the phrase “the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies?” In defining the word “abundance” from the Greek, we find that it does not mean a large quantity or surplus, as one would normally assume. It is the Greek word *”doo’-nam-is” and is defined as force; specially, miraculous power (usually by implication, a miracle itself). This word is translated only once as “abundance” and of course that is in Revelation chapter eighteen. From everything we can gather, we see that the merchants of the earth have become spiritually rich through the might and power of this woman’s delicacies. But what are her **delicacies? Many Greek New Testaments translate this word as luxury. One definition from the English language defines delicacies as “a luxury or dainty; something that is delicate in taste”. Literally, this could be describing a delicatessen full of dainty foods, “an excess of sweetness or richness.” We can certainly see the spiritual implications as God’s Word is written in parables. Certainly these delicacies in which this woman – now harlot – possessed are not literal dainties of any sort. Of course they must be spiritual dainties. These dainties are symbolic of the true Word of God.
“And I took the little book out of the angel’s hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter.” (Revelation 10:10)
“For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ …,” (II Cor. 2:15).
“How sweet are thy words unto my taste! , than honey to my mouth!” (Psalm 119:103)
“… and the mountains shall drop down sweet wine, … ” (Amos 9:13)
Throughout scripture we read of God’s Word being “sweet,” and like “honey,” and also being liken to “sweet” wine. God uses many soothing words to describe His good news of redemption to fallen man. The word “delicacies” is just one of many synonyms used in scripture for the gospel. This word is translated as “luxury” in the New King James Version. “Delicacies” is a hard word to translate since there are no other renderings of it in the New Testament. It is rooted from “ster-eh-os’,” which is to remain “stedfast,” “strong,” or “sure”. The only examples are:
“Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure …” (II Timothy 2:19)
“But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age…” (Hebrews 5:14)
As we said, the New King James translates delicacies as “luxury.” Whether luxury or delicacies, we know that this word is somehow related to spiritual dainties. This will be examined in the following study. When examining the phrase “abundance of her delicacies,” we find many similarities in the Book of Lamentations. An interesting verse is found in Lamentations 4:5, which reads:
“They that did feed delicately are desolate in the streets: they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.”
This section of scripture seems to be ultimately speaking of the abomination of desolation. Looking at verse twelve of the same chapter, we read:
“The kings of the earth, and all the inhabitants of the world, would not have believed that the adversary and the enemy should have entered into the gates of Jerusalem.”
The “gates of Jerusalem” being parabolic language signifying the spiritual gates of heaven. That is to say that Christ is the door and the gate to the kingdom of God. He is the head and the cornerstone of the spiritual Temple of believers. His Church is the earthly gate that leads to heaven. Lamentations 4:5 seems to be portraying the end time abomination of desolation in similiar language as we read in Revelation chapter eighteen. Lamentations tells us that “those who feed delicately” are desolate in the streets. The word “delicately” means dainties or delight. Those who feed delicately must be the true spiritual merchant; the true born-again Christian. Here in Lamentations 4:5 they are desolate in the streets. Their gospel has been desecrated or cut off as a result of the abomination of desolation. The merchants are desolate and in the streets; forced out of the harlot church and it’s desecration of the true gospel. They are the true merchants standing afar off from these abominable congregations.
Lamentations 4:5 goes on to say “… they that were brought up in scarlet embrace dunghills.” Again this is simply reiterating what has already been said. Those that were brought up in scarlet are God’s elect, the true believer. Notice that God uses the figure or symbol of scarlet to depict His Truth. Just as we saw when looking at the apparel worn by the harlot Mystery Babylon. Those that were brought up in the Word of God NOW embrace dunghills! God uses the word “dunghill” in denoting or expressing man’s unsaved spiritual condition. Those that were brought up in scarlet are now forced to embrace dunghills – they are still saved but now are foced out of the apostate churches, leaving them to embrace dunghills. The following are two examples:
“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory: for the pillars of the earth are the LORD’S, and he hath set the world upon them. (1 Samuel 2:8)
“Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. (luke 14:34-35)
As we look at Lamentation 4:1 we find that God’s truth is being worn down or eroded. Note that if these occurrences have transpired in Old Testament time, they will inded repeat themselves within the congregations of the end time church.
“How is the gold become dim! how is the most fine gold changed! The stones of the sanctuary are poured out in the top of every street.” (Lamentation 4:1)
Here we see descriptive terms for God’s Word and it’s richness such as gold and fine gold paralleling the descriptions of the harlot’s possessions in Revelation chapter 18. This is only a partial example of how God’s Word is defined in biblical terminology as dainties, scarlet, gold, etc., etc.
* “Doo’-nam-is” # 1411 Strong’s Greek. Force (lit. or fig.); spec. miraculous power (usually by impl. a miracle itself): – ability, abundance, meaning, might (ily,-y,deed), (worker of) miracle (-s), power, strength, violence, mighty (wonderful) work. From #1410 “Doo’nam-ahee”; to be able or possible, might, be of power.
“Doo’-nam-is” is translated power in “The Interlinear Greek-English”; Berry, and in “The Interlinear Bible”; Hendrickson.
** “Stray’-nos”; # 4764 from Strong’s Greek. A straining, strenuousness, or strength, i.e. (fig.) luxury (voluptuousness):-delicacy.
From #4731 “Ster-eh-os'”; solid, stable, , stedfast, strong, sure.”