Useful Bible Studies > Revelation Commentary > chapter 18

LIPARA and LAMPRA: What people truly desire

Revelation 18:14

The world’s traders express their sad feelings at the loss of Babylon, the greatest city. Their attention at this time is entirely on the objects that they themselves traded with the city. The desire to own such things was all that the traders considered worthwhile in life. After the loss of the city, only despair remains.

Those precious objects were what the inhabitants of the city truly desired. They gave all their effort, and they considered those things the reward for all that hard work. The traders use two similar words to describe those things. In the original language (Greek), those words are LIPARA and LAMPRA. LIPARA originally meant oily foods. It later had a more general meaning: the rich things in life, all the things that bring luxury. LAMPRA meant bright things; everything that is colourful and splendid.

Together, those two words describe well what many people consider important in life. They desire the things that taste and feel good; or they desire the things that look good. They care about the feelings that come from their senses. Nothing else really matters to them. They do not care about God, and they do not really care about other people. All their work and all their effort is for one purpose: to please themselves. We can describe that attitude with one simple, English word: they are selfish.

We have seen how that was the attitude of the people in Babylon. In Revelation 17:4, John describes Babylon as a woman with such attitudes. Everywhere, people show the same selfish attitudes. The result of those attitudes is that they are allowing the devil to control their lives. In the future, God will be the judge of those people. Then they will see how they have wasted their lives. They will suffer the loss of all that they considered precious.

Next part: Reactions to the sudden loss of great wealth (Revelation 18:15-16)


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© 2016, Keith Simons.