‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’ Revelation 18:16
This passage is a six fold ‘woe’. The prophet proclaims this ‘woe’ over people who add house to house and join field to field, till no space is left. This is a very topical ‘woe’ in our time, now so many try to become high and mighty. Just look at the business world where - by merging and buying out - big firms try to take complete control. ‘Otherwise we will not survive,’ is the common excuse. Well, an excuse is often certainly needed, when becomes clear how ruthlessly these things happen.
Not only in business, but also in religion we see how people strive to get a grip on things by uniting, which culminates in worldwide organizations. It benefits a large-scale approach, but often the respect for individuals is lost and mass instincts and mass effects are played upon. But - undeniably - it produces ‘results’ and in an euphoria of success we first lose the dependence on the living Lord and soon do not miss it anymore, because we made ourselves king.
But not everybody lives in this euphoria of success. There are still people who ask for God. They know He will come like a thief in the night. ‘Blessed is the one who stays awake’, says our Lord (Revelation 16:15). Because one day much large-scale work, also religious work, will be proved a failure.
But until then the high and mighty will keep celebrating. Oh, of course, now and then some pious hypocrisies are spoken between the festivities: ‘Let God hurry; let Him hasten His work so we may see it’ (:19). Yes, everyone will see how their roots will decay, ‘for they have rejected the law of the Lord Almighty and spurned the word of the Holy One of Israel’ (:24)!