THE ACQUISITION AND USE OF WEALTH Some Reflections from Revelation 18 /Eileen Poh Chu Luan

Eileen Poh Chu Luan Lectures in biblical studies at Discipleship Training Centre, Singapore


Richard Bauckham’s article, “The Economic Critique of Rome in Revelation” has underscored the economic significance of Revelation 18. This paper focuses on two economic aspects of Revelation 18: firstly, the acquisition of wealth, and, secondly, the use of wealth. The former critiques how the kings and the merchants of the earth and the seafarers acquired their wealth, and the latter involves a critique of Rome’s use of her wealth. In 18:4, John hears a voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues.” The fact that this call is made indicates that at best, John’s readers were tempted to “share in her sins,” and at worst, some of them had already shared in her sins. This paper explores, from a socio-historical perspective, the economic nature of Babylon’s sins in the acquisition and use of her wealth, and how some of John’s readers could have acquired and used wealth in similar ways, which are condemned in Revelation 18.



包衡(Richard Bauckham)的文章:〈啟示錄十八章對羅馬的經濟評論〉 強調了啟示錄十八章的經濟意義。本文主要討論啟示錄十八章中兩個經濟論點:第一、獲取財富;第二、使用財富。前者主要評論地上的君王、商人和航海家如何獲取財富,後者則探討羅馬帝國如何使用她的財富。在十八章4節,約翰聽見天上有聲音說:「我的民哪,你們要從那城出來,免得與她一同有罪,受她所受的災殃。」經文中出現這個呼召,顯示約翰的讀者正受試探,「與她一同有罪」,甚至已經參與在那城的罪惡中。本文從社會歷史性的角度,探討巴比倫在經濟方面的罪行,看她如何獲取和使用財富,也分析約翰的某些讀者如何像巴比倫一樣獲取和使用財富,以致遭上帝的審判,藉約翰記載於啟示錄十八章。

原載於《建道學刊》41期(2014年1月),頁 255-298。