18:6-8 LIVING IN LUXURY
“Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double to her according to her works; in the cup which she has filled, fill to her twice as much. As much as she has glorified herself and lived in luxury, so much torment and sorrow give her; for she said in her heart, I sit as queen, and am not a widow and see no sorrow” (Revelation 18:6,7).
These and the following verses bring out an aspect of Babylon that is particularly repugnant to God—her luxurious and profligate living. The countries that are in the forefront of end-time Babylon (the United States and Europe) are the richest of any countries at any time in history, much of the wealth coming as a result of grinding the poor of the world into wretched poverty. Cheap bananas, clothes and electronics (as well as a whole raft of other consumer products) are possible because poor people in developing countries have been forced off their fields to make way for multinational plantations, or have had to work in sweatshops and as field laborers for barely enough to provide a shirt on their backs and a bowl of food at the end of the day. This is a major part of “her sins” which “have reached to heaven.” “Come now, you rich...you have heaped up treasure in the last days. Indeed, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, which you kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the reapers have reached the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth. You have lived on the earth in pleasure and luxury; you have fattened your hearts as in a day of slaughter” (James 5:4,5).
A fictitious but revealing story is told about a man who was talking with the Lord. “It’s such a pity that there are so many poor and starving people. Lord, why don’t you feed all the hungry people of the world?’ to which the Lord replied, ‘Why don’t YOU feed all the hungry people?” God has abundantly blessed the people of the “Christian” nations, but as we saw in the discussion of God’s covenants with His people (see 11:19 The Ark of the Covenant, Appendix 9), the purpose of His blessing is so that His people can be a blessing to the world. The selfish misrepresentation of God’s generous character of love by His people is one of the major reasons that the majority of the world’s people have rejected Christianity. “He who gives to the poor will not lack, but he who hides his eyes will have many curses” (Proverbs 28:27). The people of Babylon have lived in luxury and hidden their eyes from the poor, and the wretched of the world have cursed them for it. Nevertheless, the Lord will plead their cause—“He will bring justice to the poor of the people; He will save the children of the needy, and will break in pieces the oppressor” (Psalms 72:4). “Therefore shall her plagues come in one day; death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her” (Revelation 18:8,9).
 In fact, this is just what Jesus said to His disciples who came to Him concerning the needs of the multitude who had “nothing to eat. But He [Jesus] answered and said to them, ‘You give them something to eat” (Mark 6:36,37). When they obeyed and brought the inadequate supply that they had He multiplied it in their hands so that it was more than enough.