Questions to ask in Revelation Eighteen
18 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”
4 I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.’ For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
Lament for Babylon
9 “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’
11 “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more— cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives. The fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’ And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’ And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’ 20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”
21 Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer. 22 And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer; 23 and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.”
- What does this portion of Scripture reveal about Jesus? – He will complete this thing He started, the ultimate judgment of evil.
- What does this portion of Scripture reveal about the church? There appears to be some who live in the city but have not been a part of the evil system. This reminds me of Lot and the image of Sodom and Gomorrah.
- What does this portion of Scripture reveal about the world? The world doesn’t mourn because God has shown them to have chosen to align themselves against God, but that God has destroyed what they worship. They still don’t repent and call out for mercy. However, if you remember the beginning of the 7 vials, God has filled the temple with smoke and no one enters until this is over.
- What does this portion of Scripture reveal about the Evil One? His end is complete and utter destruction. Notice the pride of the harlot in verse 7 & 8 – where her boast is to control the future of her protection. Her boast is that she can withstand anything, and the declaration is the the Lord God who judges her is strong.
- Can you see Christ’s Mercy towards humanity in the passage? He does call out (verse 4) his people who are living there when the judgment is about to fall. He has mercy on those whom He has mercy on.
- Can you see Christ’s judgment of disobedience? It will be complete (no one lives in Babylon) and it will be swift, happens in one hour.
Thoughts about Chapter 18
• With the return of Christ and one word of His power, the armies of the world are defeated and Babylon is reduced to rubble. The defiance of Babylon against God in Genesis ends in Revelation with one final gasp of defiance.
• The vengeance of God is interesting. Verse 6 says to “Pay her back even as she has paid”. The term “double” means (according to MacArthur) that the payback is full.
- The Fall of Babylon
- The case this is the actual city of Babylon
- In the Old Testament, we discover that every time the word “Babylon” appears, it refers to literal Babylon – the city in what is now modern Iraq.
- When the name of a city is used in Revelation, words are added to the text to make it clear if the author wants us to consider it something other than a literal city. For instance, in chapter 11 John refers to Jerusalem as Sodom and Egypt
- The case this is the actual city of Babylon
- In chapter 18 the word “mystery” is dropped and the word “city” is used.
- Henry Morris writes that apart from any prophetic intimation, Babylon is a prime prospect for rebuilding.
- Arnold Toynbee, (famous historian) wrote that Babylon would be the best place in the world to build a future cultural metropolis.
- The case against Babylon
- She glorified herself and lived sensuously
- She says in her heart, “I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning – The phrase “[I] will never see mourning” is using the verb for mourn that is the kind of mourning and moaning that comes from suffering torment. In other words, Babylon says, in effect, that she will never experience the tormenting judgment of God.
- The mourning of Babylon’s fall – but notice that all of these only mourn the loss of something they love, not the fact that they choose to hook onto the wrong side of the battle
- Kings of the earth (v. 9) – the loss of power – acts of immorality might be of the fleshly acts but false worship is also an act immorality. Usually the two go hand in hand.
- Merchants of the earth (v 11) – the loss of customers and wealth
- Every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor (v. 17) – they loved the city
- The Time it took to destroy the City of Man – Babylon
- Verse 8 – in one day her plagues will come
- Verse 10 – For in one hour your judgment has come.’
- Verse 17 – for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’
- Verse 19 – for in one hour she has been laid waste!
- When Babylon Falls
- Complete and utter destruction v. 21
- No music v. 22 – no joy
- No craftsmen or trade v 22
- No food manufacturing v 23
- No families (no light) or maybe symbolic in that it is no longer an example
- No marriages v. 23 – life is not normal
- It becomes a cemetery or a memorial grounds not for the people who live there, but seems like a picture of the Nazi camps, which are now a memorial to those who died there and a shame to those who committed the acts of evil against those who died there. 24