Revelation 17-18 – The Fall of Babylon
In these two chapters we have recorded the fall of both Ecclesiastical and Economic Babylon. Chapter 17 deals with the fall of Ecclesiastical Babylon, “The Great Whore” (Revelation 17:1) and “The Mother of Harlots” (Revelation 17:5). This is the false religious system of the end times deceiving the entire world. Chapter eighteen deals with the fall of Economic Babylon with the world trusting in its wealth. All will be dismayed and devastated at the fall of both systems. Chapter seventeen and eighteen are yet another of the great parenthetical chapters of this book. Chronologically chapter nineteen and the second coming of Jesus immediately follows chapter sixteen following the final plagues of God’s wrath upon a Christ rejecting world.
Watch the Message
Scholars have debated the identity of Babylon the Great in Revelation 17-18. Some believe Babylon the Great is a figurative allusion to the great powers of ancient Rome. This view’s held by those who hold to the preterism interpretation of Revelation. Others argue that Babylon the Great is used as a figure of speech regarding evil nations in general. Many conclude that Babylon the Great is a revived and rebuilt Babylon (present day Iraq). The futurist interpretation of Revelation sees Babylon the Great as an evil world system (Revived Rome Empire) controlled by the Antichrist and his kingdom and rule. We hold to the futurist interpretation.
The Fall of Babylon was predicted earlier in our studies. “And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication” (Revelation 14:8). “Great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath” (Revelation 16:19). The reason given is “because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Fornication is the spiritual false end time world religion and economic system deceiving the world. God therefore judges it by giving “unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.” Though parenthetical chapters it’s possible its fall comes around the time of or shortly after the release of the seventh vial of God’s wrath.
The Fall of Ecclesiastical Babylon
Revelation 17:1-2 – “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will show unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
So one of the angels that had the seven vials talked with John and tells him to come and he will show him the judgment of the great whore with whom the kings and inhabitants of the earth were made to drink of the wine of her fornication. In the Bible, in a spiritual sense, adultery and/or fornication is the worship of another god. So, the false worship of God or the worship of other gods is spiritual harlotry. So the great whore that has led so many people into a false hope because they are not worshiping God in spirit and in truth according to the Word of God.
The world is intoxicated with, taken in by, and deceived by the falsehood of this false religious system. The Antichrist will bring the majority of the world under his delusion and cause them to submit to him and his authority. This is very probably a system created by him and the false prophet whereby they seek to bring all religions into a world church as it were, culminating in the worship of himself deceived by the miracles he performs.
The scriptures and Jesus warned us of false prophets and teachers that would come. They would deceive the very elect if possible. The gospel was set forth with clarity in the first century apostolic church. However, nearing the middle and end of the century false teachers and prophets began to arise bringing forth deception and damnable heresies. Their aim is to lead mankind astray from the purity of the gospel, the message of the cross, and the person of Christ. This will culminate and come to fruition under the Antichrist and his false religious system. Intoxicated “with the wine of her fornication.” This is why it’s a must that His pastors warn their people and teach sound doctrine in order to prevent them from being deceived.
Matthew 24:24 – “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”
Matthew 7:15 – “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.”
Acts 20:28-31 – “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which He hath purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.”
1 John 2:18 – “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that Antichrist shall come, even now are there many Antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”
1 John 4:1-3 – “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”
1 Peter 2:1 – “But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.”
2 Thessalonians 2:11-12 – “Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
Sitting upon many waters. This is a reference to many nations or peoples and speaks of this false religious system or Great Whore’s sphere of influence. It will radiate throughout the entirety of the world. Its deception will affect entire nations, their leaders, and kingdoms and their people. This needs be come in order to get the world to submit to the Antichrist, takes his mark, and worship his image. A great delusion will come over the world that they should believe his lies. Their hearts will be hardened and they will worship the beast and his image. This deception has already begun and even now is coming to fruition in our day. There’s a deception over our world like at no other time but as foretold it will become increasingly worse and worse as the end times unfold.
The Description of the Great Whore
Revelation 17:3-6 – “So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet colored beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.”
The woman is said to be clothed in purple and scarlet and decked with all kinds of ornaments (Revelation 17:4). This is symbolic of the luxury of Rome and of the meretricious and lustful way in which it was used, the picture of a wealthy courtesan, decked out in all her finery to seduce men. The woman is said to have in her hand a golden cup, full of abominations. The woman is said to have a name on her forehead (Revelation 17:5). In Rome the prostitutes in the public brothels wore upon their foreheads a frontlet giving their names. This is another vivid detail in the picture of Rome as the great corrupting prostitute among the nations. The woman, therefore, is the false religious system set up by the Antichrist to deceive the world, the beast is the Antichrist, and Babylon is the revised Roman Empire and kingdom of the Antichrist.
In Revelation 17:6 the woman is said to be drunk with the blood of the saints, God’s dedicated people, and with the blood of the martyrs. This is a reference to the persecution of the Christians in the Roman Empire especially under Nero. But it does more than simply stamp Rome as the great persecutor. She is glutted with slaughter; and she has reveled in that slaughter as a drunken man revels in wine and strong drink. We know the reign of the Antichrist will be like that of Rome in its desire for world domination, its persecution of both Jews and Christians alike and like Caesar, he will seek to be worshiped as god (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4). All who get in his way will be slaughtered and annihilated.
The scarlet colored beast upon which she sat is beyond question the Antichrist and Babylon is the Revised Roman Empire over which he rules. The woman is the false religious system(s) of this world which are contrary to the true gospel of Jesus Christ. As we go back into the dim twilight of history with scripture, we learn that the founder of Babel, or Babylon, was Nimrod, of whose unholy achievements we read in the tenth chapter of Genesis. Nimrod was a grandson of Ham, the unworthy son of Noah, whose character is revealed in his exposure of his father’s shame. He persuaded his associates and followers to join together in “building a city and a tower which should reach unto heaven” (Genesis 11:4-8). This symbolizes man attempting to make his way to heaven and God by his own works apart from the finished work of Jesus on the cross.
Babylon later became the fountainhead of idolatry, and the mother of every heathen and false system in the world. Every false religion has its origin here. This symbolizes man, by his own efforts, attempting to make his way to heaven apart from the cross of Christ. The scriptures make it abundantly clear that none can by any means go to heaven but through trusting Jesus, His grace, shed blood, and finished work on the cross on our behalf. We cannot do anything to get to heaven except by accepting Christ as our Lord and Savior and being made worthy by His imputed righteousness. Every false religion of this world has a system of works and a false perception of the true Jesus. Trusting in anything other than Jesus, His blood, and righteousness is utter foolishness.
2 Corinthians 11:3-4 – “But I am afraid that, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, your minds will be led astray from the simplicity and purity of devotion to Christ. For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.”
1 Corinthians 1:18 – “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.”
Acts 4:12 – “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
John 14:6 – “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by Me.”
The Mystery of the Woman and the Beast
Revelation 17:7-13 – “And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.”
This is nearly identical to Revelation thirteen. Seven heads and ten horns are symbols of power and authority. Rome sat on seven hills, therefore, the revised Roman Empire is in view representing the Antichrist and his kingdom. This alludes to Daniel’s vision and the world ruler who arises to reign over the revised Roman Empire empowered by the dragon. There are originally ten kingdoms of which three are subdued by the little horn. How this will be manifest and played out in the end times is a matter of speculation. Only God knows.
Daniel 7:7-8, 24 – “After this I saw in the night visions, and behold a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, and strong exceedingly; and it had great iron teeth: it devoured and brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with the feet of it: and it was diverse from all the beasts that were before it; and it had ten horns. I considered the horns, and, behold, there came up among them another little horn, before whom there were three of the first horns plucked up by the roots: and, behold, in this horn were eyes like the eyes of man, and a mouth speaking great things. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings.”
There were seven emperors who reigned over the Roman Empire. Five are fallen (Revelation 17:10), or are already dead at the time of John’s writing. One is, and the other is not yet come; and when he comes, he must continue for a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven (Revelation 17:10-11). So, the beast according to this, is one of the five previous Roman emperors prior to the writing of the book of Revelation by John. At the time that John was writing, he was no longer alive. He was in the bottomless pit or Greek abusso. He ascends out of the abusso or bottomless pit.
The world will wonder at this man who once lived and was dead and is now alive again. Of the seven of the major Roman emperors, and of course the one that comes closest to fitting the description is none other than Caesar Nero whose name numerically in Hebrew totals to six hundred and sixty-six (666). Caesar Nero was called by the early church the beast. This was because he wrecked so much havoc among the church. Apparently he was demon possessed. The things he did could only be done by a mind perverted by Satan. The horrible atrocities that this man brought against the Christian church could only be done by a mind that was totally deranged by demonic forces.
These are very probably not actual kings that shall arise, but they receive the same kind of a power as a king and for one hour they’ll have power or authority with the beast, Antichrist, or world dictator. And they have one mind with the beast (Revelation 17:13). And that with one mind they set out to make war with Christ and to destroy Him when He comes to set up His reign upon the earth. So, they turn their power and strength over to the Antichrist. He becomes the leader in the effort to thwart the establishing of God’s rule upon the earth.
It very well may be an existing nation that arises liken unto the Roman Empire. It’s possible and even probable that it will be a confederation of nations over which the Antichrist or world dictator will reign. We do know his reign and kingdom will be like that of Rome in its desire for world domination, its persecution of Jews and Christians, and like Caesar he will seek to be worshiped as god (Daniel 9:27, Matthew 24:15, 2 Thessalonians 2:1-4).
Revelation 17:8 goes back to Revelation 13:3 ; Revelation 13:12 ; Revelation 13:14 and is a clear reference to the Nero redivivus legend, which is never far from the mind of John. The idea of Nero resurrected and of the Antichrist had become inseparably connected. Therefore, in this passage the beast stands for the Antichrist. Revelation 17:9 the seven heads are seven hills. Rome was a city which sat upon seven hills; this once again identifies the beast with Rome or the revised Roman Empire and no doubt represents the kingdom of the Antichrist.
In Revelation 17:10-11 the heads are also seven kings. Five have fallen; one at present exists; another has not yet come, and, when he shall come, he must remain for a short time. The beast, which was and is not, is itself the eighth proceeds from the series of the seven, and it is on its way to destruction. They will unanimously agree to hand over their own power to the beast or Antichrist (Revelation 17:12-13). This federation of the future will be utterly godless and God defiant. The eighth head, who is of the seven, is the last great world ruler (the Antichrist) who will dominate this League of Nations.
The Beast and His Allies Make War with the Lamb
Revelation 17:14-18 – “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfill His will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the Words of God shall be fulfilled. And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”
The waters upon which the whore sits are the nations and peoples of the world. The ten horns or ten kings or rulers shall receive power one hour with the Beast. One hour speaks of the swiftness by which they come to power. These will rise violently against the harlot who had been their mistress. These confederation of nations, under the authority of the Antichrist, will utterly destroy this false, godless, ecclesiastical system they used to rise to power. Once the Antichrist has used this false religious system, after he sits in the temple demanding worship, he will then destroy it. He does so because he no longer needs it and because he so falsely believes that he alone is worthy of worship.
“God put it in their hearts to fulfill His will.” God put this into their hearts that His purposes might be carried out and His Words fulfilled. These evil powers thought they were working out their own purposes but they were, in fact, working out the purposes of God. R. H. Charles says, “Even the wrath of men is made to praise God.” The truth behind this is that God never loses control of human affairs. God uses evil, the evil devices of men, and even the evil one himself to work out His will in the affairs of men (Genesis 50:20, Romans 8:28).
The ten horns or ten kings or rulers that receive power with the Beast will impiously make war with the Lamb only to be overcome by Him who is King of kings and Lord of lords. This, of course, will be fulfilled at the Battle of Armageddon when the armies of this world, under the control of the Antichrist, will come against Jerusalem or Israel seeking to annihilate them (Ezekiel 38), at which time Jesus returns (Revelation 19). The Antichrist and his cohorts not only come against Israel but the Lord Himself. The utter delusion and deception over them thinking they can actually overthrow God.
Psalms 2:1-2 – “Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the Lord, and against His anointed.”
Psalms 2:8-9 – “Ask of Me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
Thus, they “imagine a vain thing” and “rage against the Lord and His anointed” but at the second coming Jesus will “break them break them with a rod of iron.” He will “dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
The Fall of Economic Babylon
In chapter eighteen we have the fall of economic Babylon, which will be the financial capital and hub of the world in the end times. All the peoples and kings and rulers of the world, who profited from it will weep, lament, and mourn over its destruction. This will be a total, worldwide financial collapse leaving the world devastated. In contrast, the heavens and saints will rejoice over its demise.
The Doom of this World Economic System
Revelation 18:1-3 – “And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies” (or luxuries).
This synchronizes with the second angel’s message of chapter 14:8, and introduces the judgment of the seventh vial as foretold in chapter 16:19. Babylon will likely continue near to the end of the tribulation period. The angel pronounces the destruction of economic Babylon. (Ecclesiastical Babylon was destroyed by the Antichrist and his cohorts). This great city is said to be “the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” This could be an existing city, Babylon rebuilt (present day Iraq), or likely a city the Antichrist builds as a new financial hub of the world. It will likely be built quickly and the laborers will be paid well and fair sumptuously from it.
Challenge to God’s People – “Come Out of Her”
Revelation 18:4 – “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”
A voice from heaven cries out for God’s people to come out from this false religious and economic system. It’s interesting to me that this is directed to the people of God, “My people.” If we are taken out of this world prior to the tribulation period we would not need to be challenged thus. I hope and pray this is not so but we have to admit that because of this verse it’s a possibile we could be here during this time. If so it would be a post-tribulation rapture and not a pre-tribulation rapture.
Nonetheless, we are exhorted throughout scripture not to partake of nor have any part of nor trust in this world’s system whether it’s a false religious or economic system. Far too often His people trust in this world rather than God Himself. We depend on the world instead of the living God. We’re challenged to come out from it and not partake of it. The Word of God commands us not to trust in this world’s wealth but God Who promises to take care of us and meet our every need.
Christians are bidden come out before the day of destruction comes, lest, sharing in her sins, they also share in her doom. H. B. Swete says, “this call to come out rings through Hebrew history. God is always calling upon His people to cut their connection with sin and to stand with Him and for Him.” We mustn’t trust in this world’s system or its economy. Our trust and dependency must be in God alone.
2 Corinthians 6:17 – “Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing.”
1 Kings 18:21 – “How long halt (hesitate) ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him.”
Matthew 6:24 – “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.”
Matthew 6:19-21 – “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
1 Timothy 6:9-10 – “But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”
1 Timothy 6:17-19 – “Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, Who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; That they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate (share); Laying up in store for themselves a good foundation against the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life.”
Revelation 18:5-8 – “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously (or sumptuously, luxuriously), so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God Who judgeth her.”
This commercial metropolis of the world will be destroyed shortly preceding our Lord’s second coming. God will judge this false system that has proudly and arrogantly thought it was to too strong, great, and powerful to be brought down. Yet it will be destroyed in one hour (swiftly) and brought to naught. This city that has become the center of the world’s riches and center of world commerce, in one day is destroyed by God. Again, this may be rebuilt Babylon (modern day Iraq), an existing city, or a city that is built by the Antichrist. Whatever the case, it will be an economic kingdom and center of world commerce. This is very similar to the prophecy against ancient Babylon,
Isaiah 13:19-22 – “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendour and pride of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them. It will never be inhabited or dwelt in for all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there, no shepherds will make their flocks lie down there. But wild beasts will lie down there, and its houses will be full of howling creatures; there ostriches will dwell, and there satyrs will dance. Hyenas will cry in its towers, and jackals in the pleasant palaces; its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged.”
Jeremiah 50:39 – “Therefore wild beasts shall dwell with hyenas in Babylon, and ostriches shall dwell in her; she shall be peopled no more forever, nor inhabited for all generations. And Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, the haunt of jackals, a horror and a hissing without inhabitant.”
Jeremiah 51:37 – “And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwelling place for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.”
Revelation 18:9-10 – “And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously (luxuriously) with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come.”
It sounds like it’s destruction could very well be by a nuclear blast of some kind, and there is heavy radiation, which causes them to fear to approach the city. In each case, they are standing afar off and they are afraid to approach it, which does sound like a lot of radioactivity around the destruction of this city. The fact that it is destroyed in just a moment’s time, it sounds like a detonation of a nuclear device with heavy radiation following it. Either that or God simply rains down fire and brimstone on it as He did Sodom and Gomorrah.
The World Bewails its Destruction
Revelation 18:11-19 – “And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble, And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, 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. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! For in one hour so great riches is come to naught. And every ship-master, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! For in one hour is she made desolate.”
So, the kings stand off for fear. The merchants stand far off for fear. All the wealth of the world and this financial hub is wiped out in just an hour’s time. All of the wealth that was brought in to build this city, all of the wealth that was centered in this city now destroyed. And the world is weeping, the kings, the merchants, the merchantmen who brought in the ships bringing the goods and the valuable costly items all weeping and bewailing and lamenting as they look on her destruction.
The Reaction From Heaven
Revelation 18:20-24 – “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”
In heaven there is a different scene all together. The world is lamenting while heaven is rejoicing. Finally God’s judgment upon this world’s system has come. It is now judged and God has avenged “the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” The great millstone could easily be a rock or meteorite from outer space that is thrown to the earth. And so, we see God’s judgment centered in on this commercial system. The world laments and heaven rejoices.
Babylon’s Final Doom
We see also in these final verses her final doom. “With violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.” Its judgment is final because “by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.” John was taking his picture from the destruction of ancient Babylon. In later days, Strabo, the Greek geographer, was to say that “ancient Babylon was so completely obliterated that no one would ever have dared to say that the desert where she stood was once a great city.” Never again will there be any sound of rejoicing in it nor of any craftsman. The economic kingdom of the Antichrist will be utterly destroyed and brought to naught. The Word of God came to Jeremiah:
Jeremiah 51:64 – “Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary.”
The same will be the doom of this modern Babylonian system of the Antichrist.
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