…and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all. Rev 18:13-14
In Revelation 18 we are given the image of a global system of trade and economy that collapses at the end of time. Included within the descriptions of that corrupted economic order is a list of products and commodities which that system is dependent upon. The final item in the list – bodies and souls of men – strikes me as very unique. I think this passage is talking about more than slavery but it is also talking about a global social and economic arrangement in which there is both a supply and demand for human souls which is as central to the functioning of the system as is the food, livestock, weapons, and building materials included earlier in the list.
At no point in the history of human civilization has the consumption of human souls been more prevalent than in this current day of media saturation. In recent generations, our culture has been shaped to move from a producer mentality to a consumer mentality and today the most popular products we consume are the lives and souls of men. We call it reality television, social media, and celebrity culture but ultimately our lives are constantly self-indulged by consuming the lives of others.
Dr. Malachi Nichols, Jonathan Webster, and Jerusha Gittlen join JB Shreve for today’s podcast episode.