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 Revelation chapter 18

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PostSubject: Revelation chapter 18   Thu Jul 06, 2017 9:52 pm



Literal Babylon

Rev. 18:1-24

The word “Babylon” is used 283 times in Scripture and generally always in connection with Israel. Only once is it used as a symbol and that is in Rev. 17:5. There is no reason that the great city of Babylon could not be rebuilt again in the last days then destroyed, as we have seen Saddam Hussein was well under way with the rebuild of Babylon when he was removed from power. There is to be a destruction of a literal city called “Babylon” under the seventh vial (Rev. 16:19), for no earthquake could destroy a religious system. We have the firm foundation of the Word of God as to the rebuilding of Babylon in the land of Shinar. Ref. Isa. 13:6, 9-14, 19-22; 14:1-27; Jer. 50:4-20; 51:5-10 all show latter day fulfillment.

The Indictment of Literal Babylon

“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” (Rev. 18:1-3).

The chapter begins with “And after these things.” After what things? Clearly, the things concerning the explanation of the whore (Mystery Babylon) and the beast of Rev. 17:1-18. Revelation 18 is a continuation of the seventh vial (Rev. 16:17-21) which was broken into by the parenthetical chapter 17 on Mystical Babylon.
The cause of the fall of Babylon is given here. She will “become the habitation (only here and Eph. 2:22) of demons, and the hold (prison, Rev. 2:10; 20:7) of every foul (unclean) spirit, and a cage (same as “hold” above) of every unclean and hateful bird.” This pictures Babylon as the headquarters of the demon world and the concentration of all wickedness. She will play the whore and make all nations drunk on the wine wherewith she is drunk, so that they will partake of the wrath of the fornication with her and become partakers of her sins, and the merchants of the earth will wax rich through the abundance of her luxuries. Thus, we have Babylon as a literal city whose inhabitants in general will be spiritists, unclean and vile in their living, in the very depths of degradation, and subject to demon possession so no true and righteous God can endure the sight of them.


The Verdict of Literal Babylon

“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. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you (others), 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, 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” (Rev18:4-Cool.
This passage is spoken by a voice different from that in the first four verses. This is perhaps the voice of God, for it speaks of certain people in the city as “my people.” The command for God's people to come out of Babylon is the same as that in Jer. 50:4-9; 51:5-8, 45. The purpose for their leaving the city is that they may not partake of her sins and plagues. The word for “sins” means falling aside from prescribed law, and always in a moral sense, showing the terrible corruption of the morals of Babylon.
The plagues will be sent on this account, for her sins will reach even up to God, who will remember her and give her double for her sins and her treatment of His people. According to Greek texts, the word “you” in Rev. 18:6 should be omitted and the word “others” supplied. This simply means full compensation according to her sins.
The cup of destruction of which she will make others drink, she will receive, and to the extent that she will have lived in luxury and glory she will receive torment and sorrow, Jer. 51:24; Isa. 47:8-11.
This verdict will be a just one, as can be plainly seen from her state of living and pride. These plagues are to “come in one day.” The word for “come” is the same in 2 Pet. 3:10 and means “suddenly,” thus indicating the manner of her destruction. This suddenness and completeness of Babylon's destruction and disappearance from the face of the earth are the prominent features of this prophecy. God is the one bringing these judgments on literal Babylon and entirely different from the destruction of Mystical Babylon by the kings of the earth in Rev. 17.

Lamentation over the Destruction of Literal Babylon

The lamentation over the destruction of Babylon is to be done by three earthly worlds, showing the greatness and universality of her commerce, influence, and her luxurious centralization, Rev. 18: 9-19.

By the Governmental World

“And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously 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” (Rev. 18:9-10).

These kings will commit fornication, and live in luxury in literal Babylon right up to the time of her destruction, while, as seen in chapter 17 they tire of Mystical (religious) Babylon before her destruction and rejoice over her fall. The cities burning is an object of sight by the whole world in that vicinity, for they “see” her burning, Rev. 18:9-19. People are to stand afar “off.” The fear they will have will be because of their narrow escape from the destruction which the city will receive at the hands of God. Their loss will be so great that in their frenzied state they will cry, “Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.”

The Commercial World

“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 nought” (Rev. 18:11-17a).

This passage shows the merchants of the earth weeping over destruction, because they have been made rich by her commerce. They use practically the same statement at the destruction of Babylon that the kings do, only along a different line. Thirty different kinds of merchandise sold and bought in Babylon at this time is seen here. Mainly of luxuries, as in Rev. 18:3. This shows that this city is to be a great commercial center of the ten future kingdoms of the Antichrist.

By Maritime World

“And every shipmaster, 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” (Rev. 18:17b-19).

Thus the three earthly worlds will lament the destruction of literal Babylon and cry, “Alas, alas that great city,” realizing that her judgment is sudden and from heaven. They will all see her burning and weep and wail because her riches have come to naught in “one hour,” as in Rev. 18:10,17,19; Isa. 47:11; Jer. 50:26; 51:8.

Rejoicing over the Destruction of Literal Babylon

“Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her” (Rev. 18:20).

Here we have the command for the heavenly world to rejoice over the destruction of Babylon. The literal reading of the verse makes more clear, “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and ye saints, and ye apostles, and ye prophets; for God did judge your judgment upon her.” This means that the angels and redeemed mankind and all creatures in heaven will have passed or sanctioned this particular judgment of God upon Babylon and will rejoice because He has done it in His own justice.

The Cause and Utter Doom of Literal Babylon

“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” (Rev. 18:21-24).

The violence of the destruction of Babylon is first pictured. She is to cast down in such violence that she will be no more at all. This is illustrated by an angel taking a great stone like a great millstone and casting it with furious rush into the sea so that it is seen no more at all. The phrase “no more at all” is used six times. It is an expression showing the absolute truthfulness of the statement, as well as the utter destruction of the city. This shows after the rebuilding of the city and the destruction of it under the seventh vial that it will be utterly ruined and made desolate forever. Therefore, its destruction will culminate the wrath of God, under the seventh vial.

Political Babylon Destroyed

But the destruction of the commercial and governmental systems will not take place, however, until the end of the Tribulation. Some Bible scholars do not distinguish between the destruction of chapter 17 (religious) and that of chapter 18 (political), but mold them altogether. The following six reasons establish that they are not the same.

1. "After these things" (Rev 18 v.1) This expression indicates that the events described in chapter 18 will not take place until after the events of chapter 17 have been fulfilled.
2. "I saw another angel coming down from heaven" Events of chapter 17 were introduced by "one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls" (Rev 17 :1). The angel referred to in chapter 18 is obviously not the same as the one who introduced the events of chapter 17. Therefore, we can expect the same sequence of events that have happened throughout the book of Revelation: When an angel fulfills his responsibility, another distinct judgment takes place on the earth.
3. The names in the 2 chapters are different. The name in chapter 18 is simply "Babylon the Great". (Rev. 18 :2) True, the Babylon destroyed in chapter 17 has the name, "Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and of the Abominations of the whole Earth", (Rev. 17 :5) but the only similarity is the location, Babylon. When both titles are used fully, the contrast of these two Babylons is clearly seen.
4. Babylon the prostitute of chapter 17 will be destroyed by the kings of the earth. (Rev. 17 :16) The Babylon of chapter 18 will be destroyed by the cataclysmic judgments of God.
5. The kings who destroy the Babylon of chapter 17 rejoice in her destruction. In the Babylon of chapter 18, the kings and merchants lament and weep for her because of her destruction, (Rev. 18 :9-15).
6. If chapter 17 and 18 both take place during the last days of the Tribulation, there will be no place for the Antichrist and the False Prophet to do away with all religions and substitute the worship of the Antichrist's image as described in chapter 13.
Further revelation on the destruction of Babylon was made by another angel coming down from heaven. This contrasts with “one of the seven angels” mentioned in Rev.17:1 and should not be confused with angelic representations of Christ. Angels do have great authority and often make pronouncements in the Book of Revelation. The power and glory of this angel was such that the earth was illuminated by his splendor (Rev.18:1). Then John saw another angel coming down from heaven. Whether "another angel" is one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls we are not told. But it seems doubtful, for this angel is distinctive, with such "great authority" that he lights the earth with his glory. In the last lesson we saw that the beast, and his system, and the great whore were revealed. Here in chapter 18, we will see the judgment that comes from God poured out on them. This "angel" in Vs.1 was sent from heaven. This "power" spoken of here is power that God has endowed on this angel for the execution of this punishment. This "angel" has been in close association with the Light. We see here that this powerful Light of Jesus, even though second hand through the angel, still lightens the earth.

The angel’s message is summarized: Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! The question has been raised as to whether or not this is another view of the same destruction mentioned in Rev.17:16-17. A comparison of Rev.17:1-18 and Rev.18:1-24 reveals that these are different events. The woman in Rev.17:1-18 was associated with the political power but was not the political power itself, and her destruction apparently brought no mourning from the earth. By contrast the destruction of Babylon in Rev.18:1-24 brings loud lamentation from the earth’s political and economic powers. Instead of being destroyed and consumed by the 10 kings, here the destruction seems to come from an earthquake, and it is probable that this is an enlarged explanation of what was described in Rev.16:19-21. The message of this angel who cries with a "mighty voice" is this: "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!" Since chapter 18 seems to describe the destruction of a literal commercial city, the governmental capital of the world during the Tribulation, we naturally ask ourselves the question, "Where is that city?" Again, Bible prophecy students are not in agreement. Some suggest the city of Rome, and some years ago suggested New York City because he felt it was the commercial center of the world. Some who believe we should take the Scriptures literally whenever possible are inclined to believe that the city of Babylon will be rebuilt.

In chapter 18 verses 10, 16, 18, 19, and 21 you find reference to this Babylon being a city. In verse 2 the angel cried mightily and said "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen". The literal interpretation would dictate that indeed this Babylon is a city.
What is pictured here is a large prosperous city, the center of political and economic life. The judgment of God makes it a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wines of her adulteries. While it brought riches to merchants, it is now doomed for destruction. Remember in chapter 16 we saw the actual destruction of religious Babylon. At the end of this chapter I will show it to you again so you can make sense of what is taking place.
The corruption may have had its beginnings at the city of Babylon, but believe me it has spread to every corner of the earth. It will not be until the earth is totally destroyed that this evil will be no more. Those who mourn are those who are loosing their ability to deceive the nations any longer.
Looking ahead at what it says in chapter 18 verse 23: "for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived", so you see this is not a city only but a very corrupt system that is being destroyed by God by his Judgment to prepare for the coming Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.
The destruction of the Antichrist's political and economic power will strike a fatal blow to his empire. The fall of Babylon will be a symbol of the fall of the entire evil world system.
God has taken vengeance on the ones who killed his prophets and apostles and even his blessed Son. Finally, all of those martyred by these have been avenged.
The long awaited moment of vindication, retribution and vengeance for which the martyred tribulation believers had prayed for in chapter 6 verses 9 -10 and for which all the redeemed have hoped, that time has arrived.
These final verses picture from within the results of the collapse of the Babylonian system. The finality of its destruction is shown by the six fold repetition of the phrase "no more at all". The stone cast into the sea depicts the violence and permanence of the destruction. The Babylonian system began in Genesis 10, and has continued uninterrupted in one form or another to the present day. But one day it will suddenly "sink," never to return.
In verses 23b, 24, three reasons are given for the destruction of Babylon:  (1) its arrogance, (2) Its deception of the nations, and (3) its persecution and martyrdom of God's people.
Babylon will be completely and so thoroughly destroyed that it will never rise again as predicted by the Old Testament prophets. Isaiah in Chapter 13 verses 19-21: "And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' Excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah." "It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there." "But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there." Nor will there be light and the joy of weddings (Rev.18:23). The reason for her judgment is that by her magic spell (pharmakeia; cf. Rev.9:21) all the nations were led astray from God (Rev.18:23), and she was guilty of murdering prophets and… saints (Rev.18:24). Three final reasons are given for Babylon's judgment. Notice that the merchants are mentioned as the great men of the earth. That's why this is talking of a commercial system as well as a political system.

Now let's go back and read the end of chapter 16 starting with verse 17 through verse 21.

This is starting when the Angel pours out the seventh vial or bowl judgment which is the last of the 21 plaques of Revelation right before the second coming of Jesus and the battle of Armageddon.
16:17 And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done.
16:18 And there were voices, and thunders, and lightning’s; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, [and] so great.
16:19 And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
16:20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, [every stone] about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
Notice that not only Babylon fell, but also the cities of the nations as well, v.19.
Also don't forget the earth is already reeling from the thunders and lightnings not to mention the biggest earthquake the world has even know.
Then the great hail that weight about a talent each (100 pounds each). This hail is totally capable of destroying cities with no problem at all.
And verse 20 tells us that every island fled away and the mountains were no longer found. This is the worst plague of the 21 by far as it completely destroys the political, commercial system called Babylon the Great from off the earth. Not to mention that this is the end of the earth as we have known it as it now has been completely leveled and is ready for the renewal process that's coming.
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