v11: These words are all associated with death. The merchants of the earth will be unprepared for what is going to happen. They will suffer huge economic loss.
v12-14: You are born naked, and you leave this world naked. You can’t take any of these “precious” things with you. All the things the world considers precious are, like wood, hay and stubble, going to be consumed in a moment (1 Cor 3v10-15) Righteous deeds, or those things done as an outcome of the Word of G-d (statutes, commandments and laws), are going to be refined by fire. These will be used to worship G-d.
v15-16: ‘Stand at a distance’ speaks of a people who are unprepared and who did not discern the purposes, plans and ways of G-d. G-d’s judgement is not here today and gone tomorrow. His wrath is eternal (Matt 25v41). All are going to be resurrected. Some to eternal life and some to everlasting shame (Dan 12v2)
v17: The sea speaks of instability (see 12v12); we are to build, by faith, on a sure foundation. In Luke 6v43-45 we are told to produce good fruit (i.e. good deeds), to apply G-d’s truth to our lives.
These individuals have no consistency or foundation in their lives. They need to repent and seek G-d’s mercy and forgiveness. But they have no remorse over what they have done.
v18: They are full of remorse because of G-d’s judgement, but not in the sense that it brings about repentance in their lives. They are sorry that the righteousness and holiness of G-d are beginning to be manifest in this world. They are similar to Lot’s wife. The reason why she was punished is because, as she began to flee from Sodom, she looked back longingly, regretful that she was being forced to leave (Gen 19v26). These people liked the instability of sin. They wanted to build upon their own foundations and not on the foundation of faithfulness.
v19: At a funeral good words, a eulogy, are spoken about the dead person. These people are sad and full of sorrow. They are depressed, because what they had lived for has come to an end.
v20:There is a connection between the apostles and the prophets. The teachings of the apostles are understood in light of the revelation from the prophets. G-d’s wrath consumes sin and vindicates His children. For this reason we can rejoice!
The final tribulation will produce repentance in Israel. It will turn her back to a right relationship with G-d. Judgement and wrath are a way for G-d to communicate His love and His truth to His people.
v21:Babylon will be cast into the sea of instability – that which does not reflect the peace of G-d.
Babylon will come to an end. No place will be found for her.
v22:Music is often used as a reflection of joy. No longer will there be any joy in Babylon.
- There will be no more produce. It will be empty/void.
- There will be no more grinding of flour, no more making of bread. There is no longer any life.
G-d takes everything from this empire, because it was an empire that was in conflict with G-d.
v23:No light means that there is no longer any truth.
- If there is no bride or groom there is no future joy.
v24:G-d doesn’t only judge them for pursuing what they wanted to pursue but because they wanted to stamp out the revelation of G-d. They wanted the prophecies to stop.
Judgement is good. Judgement prepares the world for G-d’s blessings. When G-d judges, sin is put away – and so are hardship, sorrow and pain!