STUDY: PART 57
In chapter 17 we saw Babylon, the apostate church destroyed by the kings of the nations. Unknowingly, the antichrist and the ten rulers worked along with God’s plan to destroy her and they cannibalized her to the bone then burned her bones.* She is no longer a concern in chapter 18. What we are dealing with in this chapter is Babylon the commercial and political beast.
This is a different Babylon and John’s vision now moves from destroyed Rome to the Middle East. Some commentators do not feel Babylon will be rebuilt, but after much study, I believe that Babylon will be rebuilt. It has to be in order for the beast to have the temple in which to set up his image for the people to worship. Hussein started to rebuild it and I believe the construction will continue. Babylon was once destroyed, but never completely. This time there will be no doubt the tearing down of it is from God’s hand as Babylon will become a burnt mountain (Jeremiah 51:25). There will be nothing at all usable or inhabitable in that land when God is through with it (Jeremiah 51:26).
V. 1 – This is the first of seven voices that will proclaim the destruction of Babylon. (I will try to remember to number them as I find them.) Some of the voices will be giving thanks and others will be filled with sorrow. This angel John is now seeing has “great authority”. In chapter 14 we saw six angels making their announcements. This angel in 18:1 is different than they are because he has divine authority and the glory of God on him to reflect all over the world. This suggests he has higher rank in heaven than the other six have.
John said that “after these things” (Greek: meta tauta) he saw this angel. What things did he mean? He meant after all the sevens (seals, trumpets, personages, bowls) were fulfilled and Babylon the religious beast had been destroyed.
V. 2 – “And he (the angel with authority and glory) 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.” This tells us that during the Millennium all the unclean birds of the earth and all the demons of the spirit world will be caged in dead Babylon.
Let’s read Isaiah 13:19-22, “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. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.” and Jeremiah 50:38-40, “A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols. Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.”
V. 3 – God will utterly destroy Babylon because she will have corrupted nations, peoples, tongues, kings, and merchants. She will be destroyed because she profited off the backs of Christians. J.Vernon McGee says that, “The word “merchants” means, “those who travel.” It is not those who produce goods or manufacture goods, but those who are brokers, engaging in business for big profit.” We see this clearly with those who deal with the Middle East for oil. Many of those large corporations are corrupt and feed their money machines from the pockets of those who have come to rely on oil so heavily: us. Joining government and business leads to corruption in both, as we can see from what goes on in our country even today. This is not even a speck on the iceberg of what will take place then.
The end of the Tribulation comes with the destruction of commercial/political Babylon. “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,” refers to spiritual fornication. That is, they will reject God, blaspheme Him and, and turn to false gods. With her destruction comes the collapse of all economies of the world. The kings and nations will lament her death.
Pastor Rodney Fry (Baptist) says that before her destruction, “The morals and sins of Babylon will run so loose that the city will become a center for every foul and unclean spirit and filth of the under world.“
• Immorality, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, abnormal sex, all forms of immoral behavior will run wild.
• Lying, stealing, and cheating will run rampant.
• Lusting after more and more of the possessions and pleasures of the world will increase greatly.
• Sorcery, devil worship, witchcraft, palm readers, fortunetellers, and astrology will be revived and run loose.
“There will be few who will believe and follow Christ and the Word of God. Babylon and society will be spiritually corrupt.” Can you imagine how difficult it will be for born-again children of God to live during that time? Oh Lord, let them be saved now and avoid this horrendous existence.
V. 4- Here is the second voice. This one I believe is Jesus because He is calling out His sheep from among the wolves. Throughout biblical history the people of God have always been told to be “set apart” from the world. God told Abraham to separate himself from his home country, Israel was called out and separated from Egypt, and the church is called out of the world into the spiritual kingdom of heaven. We are to dwell in the world but not be part of its sinful secularism that feeds the soul but denies the God of the spirit. There is no doubt there will be many born-again Christians in Babylon, because the ministry of evangelism will continue until Jesus returns. We see this in Revelation 14:6, 7, “And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.”
Before Babylon is completely destroyed, Christians will be set apart so that they will not suffer the “double” portion of Babylon’s coming plagues.
V. 5 – “For her sins have reached unto heaven and God hath remembered her iniquities.” That is her iniquitous history since the building of the Tower of Babble. God does not recall the sins of His people, but he will recall every evil thing Babylon has caused people to do. He will remember Babylon as the one who called people to worship the beasts of money, power, perversion, and murder while denying the God of Love. Babylon is satan’s spiritual pollutant. The ACLU, UN, and other such organizations represent Babylon today, in my opinion. They call people to reject the Lord, His Word, and all things holy.
Beware of reading daily horoscopes or having your palm read at carnivals or parties, which some believe to be innocuous fun. These are not harmless activities; they open the door to all sorts of demonic activity in your lives. I know this from my own involvement with these things in the 80s. There is no such thing as a “toy” Ouija Board. There is no such thing as fun game of 8-ball.
Angelology, or the study of angels, can lead people astray as they come to worship the angels rather than the Savior. Angels are ministering spirits sent to minister to the saints (Hebrews 1:14). God assigns angels to our care and protection, but He never intended for them to be more than that to us. We are made in God’s image and likeness. We are above the angels in creation, not below them. We are joint heirs with Jesus, the angels can never be. Worship God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit and avoid every form of evil and you will be called on that day the trumpet sounds to meet Jesus in the air.
*Many people have asked me what I think of cremation. I stand against it on the premise that it is most often used to destroy something thoroughly because of its wickedness. Fire is a measure of God’s vengeance. Revelation 18:8 says that Babylon will be “utterly burned with fire.” I don’t want to be in that category.
STUDY: PART 58
V. 6 – “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.” Psalm 137:8, 9 makes it very clear what has happened to Babylon before because of her wickedness and what will happen again, and finally, in the tribulation. “O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.”
It is recorded in history that the Babylonians took children from the arms of their Jewish mothers and dashed their heads against stones, successfully causing their brains to come out as the mothers watched screaming. Because of God’s principle of seedtime and harvest (Galatians 6:7 “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.”), Babylon suffered the same fate at the hands of Cyrus’ general and his army. When one sews to destruction, one reaps destruction. In Psalm 137:8, the psalmist sang out for Babylon’s destruction. In Revelation 18:6, the “voice from heaven” is calling for her destruction. God’s retribution against Babylon by Cyrus for what she did to the Jews was equal to what she doled out. In the Tribulation, she will receive double repayment.
Obadiah 15, “For the day of the LORD is near upon all the heathen: as thou hast done, it shall be done unto thee: thy reward shall return upon thine own head.”
V. 7 – During the Tribulation there will be much trading with Babylon. Every tribe, tongue, and nation will benefit from her relationship with this harlot. This will be the wealthiest the world as a whole has ever been and peace is almost achieved, but Babylon made a grave mistake. She believed she had become indestructible. She is “dead” wrong. For every glory, she will receive torment, for every luxury she will be rewarded with grief. For every born-again child of God she causes to be martyred, she will be paid double what she did to him or her.
Let’s read what happened to the King of Tyre for believing the same things about his kingdom and domain.
Ezekiel 28:2-8, “Son of man, say unto the prince of Tyrus, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said, I am a God, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas; yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God: Behold, thou art wiser than Daniel; there is no secret that they can hide from thee: With thy wisdom and with thine understanding thou hast gotten thee riches, and hast gotten gold and silver into thy treasures: By thy great wisdom and by thy traffick hast thou increased thy riches, and thine heart is lifted up because of thy riches: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Because thou hast set thine heart as the heart of God; Behold, therefore I will bring strangers upon thee, the terrible of the nations: and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of thy wisdom, and they shall defile thy brightness. They shall bring thee down to the pit, and thou shalt die the deaths of them that are slain in the midst of the seas."
I suggest that you all take time to read Isaiah 47 sometime this week to see how Babylon has always been headed for this total destruction.
V. 8 – How long will it take to destroy Babylon? “Therefore her plagues will come in one day…” Actually, if we look ahead to verse 10, we see that her plagues of death, mourning, and famine take place in one hour. At the end of that hour fire will consume her. We are unsure if the “fire” is the fire and brimstone as with Sodom and Gomorrah or if it will be an atomic bomb. Only God knows what will be used to rid the world of this evil harlot. But we all can know why He will do it. Read John 3:19, “And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.”
I’m pretty sure this will come upon Babylon at the return to earth of the Lord Jesus Christ. When He returns, it will be from the east, from Edom, through Babylon. He will have His garments stained with the blood of the spilled as He brought about His judgments against her. We’ll see the return of Jesus in the next chapter.
V. 9-17a – When Babylon is finally, inextricably ruined, the world will mourn her with a loud lament. Remember one thing here. Everyone around the world will be tuned in via satellite to watch what happens in Babylon. The moment the plagues begin in her, people will run to the televisions in homes, stores, business, etc… to watch in horror as the people die. They will be crying and mourning what’s going on as the final blow is struck. No matter what method God chooses to use, it will cause a devastating fire.
Remember that in chapter seven we saw religious Babylon destroyed by the antichrist and the kings and merchants of the world because the antichrist was jealous and wanted all the praise and worship. We learned that the kings and leaders in the world did the will of God with that evil city.
There will no longer be a Wall Street in New York City, the Stock Exchange will have moved to Babylon. There will no longer be a Washington, DC. All the lobbyists and pork-barreling money grubbers will have moved to Babylon. Everything religious, political, or financial will be concentrated there. Now the kings and merchants will all witness Babylon’s last hour. They never dreamed Babylon could or would be destroyed. They were secure in the fact that Babylon was the financial center for the world. They are wrong and they will suffer for their foolishness in grieving and rejecting the Holy Spirit’s call to salvation continually.
Look at how the amplified version renders verse 9, “And the rulers and leaders of the earth who joined her in her immorality (idolatry) and luxuriated with her will weep and beat their breasts and lament over her when they see the smoke of her conflagration.”* (Emphasis added.)
As the religious, political, and commercial world power, Babylon will be filled to capacity with people. Many corporations will have their headquarters in her. The day and hour of her destruction will come upon them as a thief in the night and millions will be killed during her final upheaval. The world will be overcome with mourning as they lament their great losses.
Let’s look at the partial list of merchandise that will be sold through Babylon included in verses 12 and 13:
1. 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,
2. 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.
There will be every luxury known to man from meats, breads, pastries, herbs and spices to costly perfumes, jewelry and fine clothes. There will be vessels of the precious products of the world as well, I’m sure, as reproductions of the statue of antichrist. Suddenly all of these precious items will be of no value. No one will be able to buy them.
The soul is the mind, will, and emotions of people. This tells us people will not only traffic in all the finery above, but in slavery and in the very essence of a person’s being. How does one buy a soul? Only the devil can do that. He buys souls with money. That’s why the Scripture makes it clear. It’s not money that is the root of all evil; it’s the LOVE of money (I Timothy 6:10). The devil knows he can entice people with money and all that money can buy. To have more, they sell their souls to him. In this case the devil is the antichrist.
The merchants who survive the destruction of Babylon will stand afar off and shout, “Ouai! Ouai!” which when translated is “Alas, alas.” “Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!” is gone, lying there before them in ruins. All the drink, drugs, and sexual perversion people took part in will no longer be affordable. Can you see how sad this country will be when everyone is drying out at once? In just one hour of the judgment, they will lose everything.
*A conflagration is a large fire that totally destroys something beyond repair.
STUDY: PART 59
V. 17b-19 – Here in chapter 18, we have so far seen two groups mourning the passing of Babylon, the political and the commercial. Now we see a third group in deep mourning who made their money from Babylon; that is, those who transported the goods from Babylon around the world, the shipping industry. The first two groups mourned and wept over the burning of Babylon. This group will mourn her with weeping and wailing as they throw dust on their heads (Isaiah 23:14 Howl, ye ships of Tarshish: for your strength is laid waste.”) This is a deep, passionate mourning as of a loved one. When Babylon is destroyed, this world will be plunged into the greatest depression it’s ever known.
How do you feel about the things you own? If you lost everything today, would you mourn them and blame God for taking them from you, or is your real treasure stored up in heaven so that you could be sad without giving in to depression and bitterness against God? How we feel when we lose something tells us a lot about who we are and who and what we love. Remember back to the “Great Depression” for a moment. Do you recall reading or hearing about how many people committed suicide from losing their money? What do you supposed their heart was attached to? Money and possessions of themselves are not evil, it’s the love (Ecclesiastes 5:10; I Timothy 6:10) of them that perverts them and makes them evil. Seeking the things above is what we must do, and then these things will be added to us. We should have money, money should not have us. We should own possessions, possessions should not own us.
V. 20 – Here is the third voice. The word “voice” is not specifically used, but it is another voice with a command. In all this horror of loss and weeping, John sees rejoicing. The people in heaven celebrate. Jeremiah 51:48, “Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the LORD.” The people of heaven will be rejoicing that God has taken out His vengeance upon those who tortured and killed them (Luke 11:49, 50 Therefore also said the wisdom of God, I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they shall slay and persecute: That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation…) God will not allow anyone who participated in these brutal acts, who have not repented and turned to Jesus, to go unpunished. He keeps His promise of “a little while” (Revelation 6:11) made in answer to the cry of the martyrs under the altar. Revelation 6:9, 10, “And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?”
During this time other cities in the world will be suffering their own destruction. Revelation 16:17-21, “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. And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. 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. And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 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.” The people of these cities were also mourning when Babylon was dashed in one hour because she had been their hope of recovery and rebuilding.
V. 21 – Here is voice number four. Now John’s focus is again drawn to the destruction of Babylon. A millstone can be small like a mortar and pestle, medium like a woman’s grinding stone, or large like the stone used in mills to grind the wheat. This stone will be enormous. I hesitate to say the size of a mountain, but that’s what I feel it would take to represent the total annihilation of this evil city. Imagine the splash of this great stone as the angel casts it into the sea. It will sink to the bottom instantly. That’s what will happen to the harlot. She will be so totally destroyed that not one remnant will remain of her. This will occur at the end of the seven years and Jesus will come immediately after this.
V. 22, 23 – Music is, and always has been the sound of celebration or of praise and worship. Music is listened to around the clock by millions. It leads us through a gamut of emotions. It uplifts and encourages, it depresses and causes sadness, it causes the mind to be flooded with memories, good or bad, it serves God or the devil. There will be no music when Babylon is done in. The antichrist will be gone, so people there will believe there is no one to worship with music. No one will get married or have birthday parties so will not require music. The sounds of the mills will be quieted. No factories will operate in Babylon any longer. Her destruction will be complete that not even the flicker of a candle will be seen in her. She will go from a neon-lighted glamorous city to a burnt desolate place void of any life, sound, or light.
Babylon has been judged for the same sins all nations are judged for. They will be judged for taking God out of society and replacing Him with false gods. The sins of the nations include pride and arrogance, witchcraft and sorcery, deception, persecution of God’s people, misuse of wealth, and the corruption and/or abuse of the people under those in authority.
Things the people will need to watch for after the church has been removed from the world that will be signs of the antichrist taking control are, he will install racial mandates that will seem to benefit all people, he will bring a false, superficial peace, he will dominate and rule all governments of the world, he will set up a one-world religion. The mark of the beast will be something he will insist everyone gets. Religious persecution will reach an unprecedented level.
V. 24 – Babylon is satan’s city and the antichrist is satan’s puppet who walks in pride and arrogance. Their final error that will cause this cataclysmic event of total destruction to Babylon will be the shedding of the blood of the saints of God. Her ground and the grounds of the nations of the world will be soaked with the blood of the martyrs and, as they cry out, God will hear from heaven and avenge them, finally and completely.
We are living in the last generation. Most of the people living now, I believe, will be alive when Jesus calls the dead in Christ and the church to meet Him in the clouds and take the glory train to heaven. We will still see more of the beginning of the Tribulation, or birth pangs, of the coming of the antichrist as God sets the stage for His coming, but we will not be in the Tribulation for a second. At least, that’s what I firmly believe. Unless and until someone can show me in the Bible where it says God is vengeful toward the righteous, I will believe this. God is Love, but He also is perfect holiness and to maintain that holiness, He has to bring sin to an end.