and cinnamon, and incenses, and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
In the NKJV it refers to bodies and souls of men being sold.
Anyway, I guess they're cloning monkeys over in Oregon right now and some people were worried that they might start cloning human embryos next. What really made me think of this verse is how this whole cloned embryo thing could perhaps take off at some point. I believe that a baby is a baby in the zygote stage, so whether you are talking about an embryo, fetus, or even a blastocyst, it's still a baby, and if it is a human baby, creating it to experiment on or harvest stem cells from (forgive me if I get my terminology wrong I don't feel it's worth the time investment to research) is morally wrong.
But let's say at some point in the future scientists do start cloning humans and start experimenting on their cells (at whatever stage). I could really see a trade of sorts developing... people would be buying and selling the bodies and souls of men as this Bible verse is referring to.
Now I know that slavery does exist today in the traditional sense that we learn about in history books. Back in the days when I had more money I did donate money to a modern abolitionist group through the Combined Federal Campaign. For more information about slavery today you can visit www.antislavery.org. Up until today, I thought that Revelation 18 referred to the modern slave trade. And it probably does, to some extent. But perhaps this verse is also referring to the buying and selling of cloned embryos as well.
Another thought on the subject of cloning... if you cross a human with a mouse, what do you get? Scientists have already created these chimera-like creatures, and I'm wondering what they are. I believe that there is a divide between animals and humans and humans are not animals, and vice-versa. So what is a chimera? Is it a human or an animal? Does it have a soul? Does it need to get saved? Will it automatically go to hell? At the end, will God just destroy it and it will cease to exist? To me it's a scary thought... that God is allowing us to create these... whatevers... and who other than God knows whether these creatures need salvation or not? Or can get saved?