Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Revelation 18:13

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And cinnamon - "By the sinamon is ment all maner of costly spyces, wherewith they bury their byshops and founders, lest they shoulde stinke when they translate them agayne to make them saintes for advauntage.

"By the smellynge odours, the swete herbes that they strewe abrode at theyr dedications and burials; besydes the damaske waters, bawmes, muskes, pomaunder, civet, and other curious confections they yet bestow upon theyr owne precious bodyes.

"The oyntments are such oyles as they mingle with rose water, aloes, and spike, with other mery conceits, wherwith they anoynt their holy savours and roods, to make them to sweat, and to smell sweete when they are borne abrod in procession upon their high feastfull dayes.

"Frankinsence occupye they ofte as a necessarie thinge in the sensyng of their idols, hallowinge of their paschal, conjuringe of their ploughes; besydes the blessing of their palmes, candles, ashes, and their dead men's graves, with requiescant in pace.

"With wine synge they theyr masses for money, they housell the people at Easter, they wash their aultar stones upon Maundy Thursday; they fast the holy imber dayes, besydes other banketinges all the whole years, to kepe theyr flesh chaste.

"With oyle smere they yonge infantes at baptisme and bishopping; they grease their massmongers, and gere them the mark of madian; they anele their cattell that starveth; and do many other feates els.

"Fyne floure is suche a merchandyse of theirs as far excedeth all other, and was first geven them by Pope Alexander the first, thinkinge Christes institution not sufficient, nor comly in using the common breade in that ministerie. For that ware hath brought them in their plentifull possessions, their lordshippes, fatte benifices, and prebendaries, with innumerable plesures els.

"Wheat have thei of their farms, whereof they make pardon bread and cakes, to draw people to devocion towardes them.

"Cattell receive they, offered unto their idols by the idiots of the countries, for recover of sondrye diseases; besides that they have of their tithes.

"Shepe have they, sometime of their owne pastures, sometime of begginge, sometime of bequestes for the dead, to cry them out of their feareful purgatorye, when they be asleepe at midnight.

"Great horses have they, for mortuaries, for offices, for favers, giftes, and rewardes, to be good lords unto them, that they may holde still their farmes, and to have saunder waspe their sonne and their heire a priest; or to admitte him unto a manerly benefice, that he may be called 'maister person,' and suche lyke.

"Charets have they also, or horse litters, of al manner of sorts, specially at Rome, with foote men runninge on both sides of them, to make roome for the holy fathers. Of whom some carye their owne precious bodyes, some theyr treasure, some the blessed sacramente, some holy reliques and ornamentes, some their whores, and some their bastardes. The bodyes of men must needes be judged to be at their pleasure, so long as Christen provinces be tributaries unto them, princes obediente, people subject, and their lawes at their commaundement to slea and to kyll. And to make this good, who hath not in England payd his Peter peny, sometime to acknowledge hymselfe a bondman of theirs, at the receit of his yerely howsell? Furthermore yet, besides their market muster of monkes, fryars, and priestes, they have certayne bondmen, of whom some they sell to the Venicians, some to the Genues, some to the Portingales, and some to the Turks, to row in their galleis. And laste of all, to make up their market, least any thing should escape theyr hands, these unmercifull bribers maketh marchaundise of the soules of men, to deprive Christe of his whole right, sending many unto hell, but not one unto heaven, (unlesse they maliciously murther them for the truths sake), and all for mony. After many other sortes els, abuse they these good creatures of God, whom the Holy Ghost heere nameth. Much were it to shew here by the cronicles severally of what Pope they have received authorytie, power, and charge, to utter these wares to advauntage, and how they came firste by the old idolatrous."

Several of the most reputable MSS. versions, and some of the fathers, after cinnamon, add και αμωμον, and amomum. What this shrub was is not easy to say, though mentioned and partially described by Pliny and Dioscorides. Some think it was a species of geranium; others, the rose of Jericho. It was an odoriferous plant supposed to be a native of Assyria; and is thus mentioned by Virgil, Eclog. iv., ver. 25: -

- Assyrium vulgo nascetur amomum.

"The Assyrian amomum shall grow in every soil."

This is translated by some spikenard; by others lady's rose.

Thyine wood - The Thyne or Thyin is said to be a tree whose boughs, leaves, stalks, and fruit, resemble the cypress. It is mentioned by Homer, Odyss, lib. v., ver. 60; by Theophrastes, Hist. Plant, Revelation 18:5; and by Pliny, Hist. Nat. lib. xiii. c. 16. How much the different articles mentioned in the 12th and 13th verses were in request among the ancients, and how highly valued, every scholar knows.

Slaves - Σωματων· The bodies of men; probably distinguished here from ψυχας, souls of men, to express bondmen and freemen.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And cinnamon - Cinnamon is the aromatic bark of the Laurus Cinnamomam, which grows in Arabia, India, and especially in the island of Ceylon. It was formerly, as it is now, a valuable article in the Oriental trade.

And odours - Aromatics employed in religious worship, and for making perfumes. Mr. Gibbon (vol. i. p. 34) mentions, among the articles of commerce and luxury, in the age of the Antonines, “a variety of aromatics that were consumed in religious worship and the pomp of funerals.” It is unnecessary to say that the use of such odors has been always common at Rome.

And ointments - Unguents - as spikenard, etc. These were in common use among the ancients. See the Matthew 14:7 note; Mark 14:3 note.

And frankincense - See the notes on Matthew 2:11. It is unnecessary to say that incense has been always much used in public worship in Rome, and that it has been, therefore, a valuable article of commerce there.

And wine - An article of commerce and luxury in all ages.

And oil - That is, olive oil. This, in ancient times, and in Oriental countries particularly, was an important article of commerce.

And fine flour - The word here means the best and finest kind of flour.

And beasts, and sheep, and horses - Also important articles of merchandise.

And chariots - The word used here - ῥεδῶν redōn- means, properly a carriage with four wheels, or a carriage drawn by mules (Prof. Stuart). It was properly a traveling carriage. The word is of Gallic origin (Quinctil. 1:9; Cic. Mil. 10; Att. v. 17; 6:1. See Adam‘s Rom. Ant. p. 525). It was an article of luxury.

And slaves - The Greek here is σωμάτων sōmatōn- “of bodies.” Prof. Stuart renders it “grooms,” and supposes that it refers to a particular kind of slaves who were employed in taking care of horses and carriages. The word properly denotes body - an animal body - whether of the human body, living or dead, or the body of a beast; and then the external man - the person, the individual. In later usage, it comes to denote a slave (see Robinson, Lexicon), and in this sense it is used here. The traffic in slaves was common in ancient times, as it is now. We know that this traffic was carried on to a large extent in ancient Rome, the city which John probably had in his eye in this description. See Gibbon, Dec. and Fall, vol. 1, pp. 25,26. Athenaeus, as quoted by Mr. Gibbon (p. 26), says that “he knew very many Romans who possessed, not for use, but for ostentation, ten, and even twenty thousand slaves.” It should be said here, however, that although this refers evidently to traffic in slaves, it is not necessary to suppose that it would be literally characteristic of papal Rome. All this is symbolical, designed to exhibit the papacy under the image of a great city, with what was customary in such a city, or with what most naturally presented itself to the imagination of John as found in such a city; and it is no more necessary to suppose that the papacy would be engaged in the traffic of slaves, than in the traffic of cinnamon, or fine flour, or sheep and horses.

And souls of men - The word used and rendered “souls” - ψυχὰς psuchas- though commonly denoting the “soul” (properly the “breath” or “vital principle”), is also employed to denote the living thing - the animal - in which the soul or vital principle resides; and hence may denote a person or a man. Under this form it is used to denote a “servant” or “slave.” See Robinson, Lexicon. Prof. Robinson supposes that the word here means “female slaves,” in distinction from those designated by the previous word. Prof. Stuart (in loco) supposes that the previous word denotes a particular kind of slaves - those who had the care of horses - and that the word here is used in a generic sense, denoting slaves in general. This kind of traffic in the “persons” or souls of people is mentioned as characterizing ancient Tyre, in Ezekiel 27:13; “Javan, Tubal, and Meshech, they were thy merchants; they traded in the persons of men.” It is not quite clear why, in the passage before us, this traffic is mentioned in two forms, as that of the bodies and the souls of people but it would seem most probable that the writer meant to designate all that would properly come under this traffic, whether male or female slaves were bought and sold; whether they were for servitude, or for the gladiatorial sports (see Wetstein, in loco); whatever might be the kind of servitude that they might be employed in, and whatever might be their condition in life. The use of the two words would include all that is implied in the traffic, for, in most important senses, it extends to the body and the soul. In slavery both are purchased; both are supposed, so far as he can avail himself of them, to become the property of the master.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The mourners had shared Babylon's sensual pleasures, and gained by her wealth and trade. The kings of the earth, whom she flattered into idolatry, allowing them to be tyrannical over their subjects, while obedient to her; and the merchants, those who trafficked for her indulgences, pardons, and honours; these mourn. Babylon's friends partook her sinful pleasures and profits, but are not willing to share her plagues. The spirit of antichrist is a worldly spirit, and that sorrow is a mere worldly sorrow; they do not lament for the anger of God, but for the loss of outward comforts. The magnificence and riches of the ungodly will avail them nothing, but will render the vengeance harder to be borne. The spiritual merchandise is here alluded to, when not only slaves, but the souls of men, are mentioned as articles of commerce, to the destroying the souls of millions. Nor has this been peculiar to the Roman antichrist, and only her guilt. But let prosperous traders learn, with all their gains, to get the unsearchable riches of Christ; otherwise; even in this life, they may have to mourn that riches make to themselves wings and fly away, and that all the fruits their souls lusted after, are departed from them. Death, at any rate, will soon end their commerce, and all the riches of the ungodly will be exchanged, not only for the coffin and the worm, but for the fire that cannot be quenched.
Ellen G. White
Early Writings, 275

All heaven beholds with indignation human beings, the workmanship of God, reduced by their fellow men to the lowest depths of degradation and placed on a level with the brute creation. Professed followers of that dear Saviour whose compassion was ever moved at the sight of human woe, heartily engage in this enormous and grievous sin, and deal in slaves and souls of men. Human agony is carried from place to place and bought and sold. Angels have recorded it all; it is written in the book. The tears of the pious bondmen and bondwomen, of fathers, mothers, and children, brothers and sisters, are all bottled up in heaven. God will restrain His anger but little longer. His wrath burns against this nation and especially against the religious bodies that have sanctioned this terrible traffic and have themselves engaged in it. Such injustice, such oppression, such sufferings, are looked upon with heartless indifference by many professed followers of the meek and lowly Jesus. And many of them can themselves inflict, with hateful satisfaction, all this indescribable agony; and yet they dare to worship God. It is solemn mockery; Satan exults over it and reproaches Jesus and His angels with such inconsistency, saying, with hellish triumph, “Such are Christ's followers!” EW 275.1

These professed Christians read of the sufferings of the martyrs, and tears course down their cheeks. They wonder that men could ever become so hardened as to practice such cruelty toward their fellow men. Yet those who think and speak thus are at the same time holding human beings in slavery. And this is not all; they sever the ties of nature and cruelly oppress their fellow men. They can inflict most inhuman torture with the same relentless cruelty manifested by papists and heathen toward Christ's followers. Said the angel, “It will be more tolerable for the heathen and for papists in the day of the execution of God's judgment than for such men.” The cries of the oppressed have reached unto heaven, and angels stand amazed at the untold, agonizing sufferings which man, formed in the image of his Maker, causes his fellow man. Said the angel, “The names of the oppressors are written in blood, crossed with stripes, and flooded with agonizing, burning tears of suffering. God's anger will not cease until He has caused this land of light to drink the dregs of the cup of His fury, until He has rewarded unto Babylon double. Reward her even as she rewarded you, double unto her double according to her works; in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double.” EW 275.2

I saw that the slave master [see Appendix.] will have to answer for the soul of his slave whom he has kept in ignorance; and the sins of the slave will be visited upon the master. God cannot take to heaven the slave who has been kept in ignorance and degradation, knowing nothing of God or the Bible, fearing nothing but his master's lash, and holding a lower position than the brutes. But He does the best thing for him that a compassionate God can do. He permits him to be as if he had not been, while the master must endure the seven last plagues and then come up in the second resurrection and suffer the second, most awful death. Then the justice of God will be satisfied. EW 276.1

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Ellen G. White
The Ministry of Healing, 338

Every year millions upon millions of gallons of intoxicating liquors are consumed. Millions upon millions of dollars are spent in buying wretchedness, poverty, disease, degradation, lust, crime, and death. For the sake of gain, the liquor seller deals out to his victims that which corrupts and destroys mind and body. He entails on the drunkard's family poverty and wretchedness. MH 338.1

When his victim is dead, the rum seller's exactions do not cease. He robs the widow and brings children to beggary. He does not hesitate to take the very necessaries of life from the destitute family, to pay the drink bill of the husband and father. The cries of the suffering children, the tears of the agonized mother, serve only to exasperate him. What is it to him if these suffering ones starve? What is it to him if they, too, are driven to degradation and ruin? He grows rich on the pittances of those whom he is leading to perdition. MH 338.2

Houses of prostitution, dens of vice, criminal courts, prisons, almshouses, insane asylums, hospitals, all are, to a great degree, filled as a result of the liquor seller's work. Like the mystic Babylon of the Apocalypse, he is dealing in “slaves, and souls of men.” Behind the liquor seller stands the mighty destroyer of souls, and every art which earth or hell can devise is employed to draw human beings under his power. In the city and the country, on the railway trains, on the great steamers, in places of business, in the halls of pleasure, in the medical dispensary, even in the church, on the sacred Communion table, his traps are set. Nothing is left undone to create and to foster the desire for intoxicants. On almost every corner stands the public house, with its brilliant lights, its welcome and good cheer, inviting the working man, the wealthy idler, and the unsuspecting youth. MH 338.3

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 102

Before the Flood God sent Noah to warn the world, that the people might be led to repentance, and thus escape the threatened destruction. As the time of Christ's second appearing draws near, the Lord sends His servants with a warning to the world to prepare for that great event. Multitudes have been living in transgression of God's law, and now He in mercy calls them to obey its sacred precepts. All who will put away their sins by repentance toward God and faith in Christ are offered pardon. But many feel that it requires too great a sacrifice to put away sin. Because their life does not harmonize with the pure principles of God's moral government, they reject His warnings and deny the authority of His law. PP 102.1

Of the vast population of the earth before the Flood, only eight souls believed and obeyed God's word through Noah. For a hundred and twenty years the preacher of righteousness warned the world of the coming destruction, but his message was rejected and despised. So it will be now. Before the Lawgiver shall come to punish the disobedient, transgressors are warned to repent, and return to their allegiance; but with the majority these warnings will be in vain. Says the apostle Peter, “There shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, and saying, Where is the promise of His coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning.” 2 Peter 3:3, 4. Do we not hear these very words repeated, not merely by the openly ungodly, but by many who occupy the pulpits of our land? “There is no cause for alarm,” they cry. “Before Christ shall come, all the world is to be converted, and righteousness is to reign for a thousand years. Peace, peace! all things continue as they were from the beginning. Let none be disturbed by the exciting message of these alarmists.” But this doctrine of the millennium does not harmonize with the teachings of Christ and His apostles. Jesus asked the significant question, “When the Son of man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8. And, as we have seen, He declares that the state of the world will be as in the days of Noah. Paul warns us that we may look for wickedness to increase as the end draws near: “The Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” 1 Timothy 4:1. The apostle says that “in the last days perilous times shall come.” 2 Timothy 3:1. And he gives a startling list of sins that will be found among those who have a form of godliness. PP 102.2

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Ellen G. White
Temperance, 24

Why Alcohol and Crime Are Related—Those who frequent the saloons that are open to all who are foolish enough to tamper with the deadly evil they contain, are following the path that leads to eternal death. They are selling themselves, body, soul, and spirit, to Satan. Under the influence of the drink they take, they are led to do things from which, if they had not tasted the maddening drug, they would have shrunk in horror. When they are under the influence of the liquid poison, they are in Satan's control. He rules them, and they co-operate with him.—Letter 166, 1903. Te 24.1

Nature of Crimes Committed Under Alcohol—The result of liquor drinking is demonstrated by the awful murders that take place. How often it is found that theft, incendiarism, murder, were committed under the influence of liquor. Yet the liquor curse is legalized, and works untold ruin in the hands of those who love to tamper with that which ruins not only the poor victim, but his whole family.—The Review and Herald, May 1, 1900. Te 24.2

Houses of prostitution, dens of vice, criminal courts, prisons, almshouses, insane asylums, hospitals, all are, to a great degree, filled as a result of the liquor seller's work. Like the mystic Babylon of the Apocalypse, he is dealing in “slaves, and souls of men.” Behind the liquor seller stands the mighty destroyer of souls, and every act which earth or hell can devise is employed to draw human beings under his power. Te 24.3

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