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The Fall Of Babylon (ch. 18:1-24)


Revelation 17 spoke of the prostitute who is the city of Babylon as seen in verse 18.  I understand Babylong to be first a city and then the Empire of Babylon to be the city where the last pagan world religion emanates from.  As I've said before, many Prophetic Futurists believe that there are two Babylons.  They call them Religious Babylon that they see in chapter 17 and Commercial or Political Babylon that they see in chapter 18.  Others suggest that there is one Babylon with two aspects to it.  One aspect is religious and the other is commercial and political.  I'm no longer convinced of both of these views. 


We also should note from the last chapter that the city
of Babylon
is in present day Iraq.  Babylon was.  At the moment of this writing there is a settlement in Babylon , although it is more of a tourist site than anything else.  However, a city named Hillah is located adjacent to modern day Babylon.  In 1998 the population of Hillah was close to 65,000 people.  It is quite possible that Hillah could grow larger and incorporate Babylon into its territory and then be renamed as Babylon. That being said, Babylon does not have to be a large city to fulfill the prophecy of Revelation 17 and 18.  It just needs to be a city.      


It's my opinion at the moment that chapter 18 describes what is seen in chapter 17, verses 16 and 17, where God put it in the heart of the beast to destroy Babylon , the prostitute.  That only makes logical sense to me if you follow the narrative.  To suggest that there are two Babylons, one religious and one secular, as many Futurists believe, doesn't really follow the logic of the text.  I see that once the anti-Christ destroys Babylon , destroys the anti-Christ.  I know that this is not the popular opinion, but at the moment it is my opinion.                    


In the past I have believed that chapter 18 speaks of the fall of Babylon that is brought about specifically by God without any assistance from the anti-Christ.  This might well be the case, but at the moment I question that train of thinking. Again, it's logical to conclude that chapter 18 is the details of how the anti-Christ, powered by God's authority, brings down Babylon.  If that sounds strange to you, you must understand that the anti-Christ, even satan, is used as a tool in the hand of God.  God has supreme power over all things.  He can and does use anything at His disposal to accomplish His will. 


Verse 1 opens with the words "after this".  I see these words to be in reference to the last chapter.  That is to say, after the events seen in the last chapter we now have the events of this chapter.  Chapters 17 and 18 are in chronological order.  If this is so, then we must understand that the antic-Christ has taken full control of Babylon.  No longer is Babylon what it once was that was seen in chapter 17.  It is now the center of the worship of the anti-Christ and all that he brings to the table of the world, which includes politics and commerce, as  seen in this chapter.


We see an angel with lots of authority come down from heaven.  He is extremely bright in his countenance.   This suggests to me that there are many ranks among the angels.  It tells me that there are all sorts of different kind of angelic beings; probably more than we will ever know until we reach the next life.  Some people understand this angel to be Jesus but I don't think so.  The text clearly says he is an angel.


This angel speaks in a very loud voice as we've seen all angels speak before.  It's my thinking at present that all that John hears in the heavenly realm is loud because of his frail earthly ears.  Human ears just don't adjust to heavenly sounds.  That will obviously change when we end up in heaven.


In verses 2 and 3 we see that this angel announces the fall of Babylon .  In context, this Babylon has to have some kind of reference to the Babylon of chapter 17.  It makes no sense to interpret this Babylon to be any different.   So, some may feel this Babylon here in chapter 18 is a different Babylon .  I see it as the same Babylon of chapter 17.  The angel is simply describing its fall by the anti-Christ as seen in Revelation 17: 16 through 18.   


Note the feminine pronoun "she" in verse 2 that is in reference to Babylon.  I believe "she" is in reference to the prostitute of chapter 17 who has been defeated by the anti-Christ.        


The angel then proceeds to say that the fallen city becomes haunted with evil spirits and unclean birds.  Why are birds set apart here from other animals?  It might be possible that the evil spirits left human beings and entered the birds with the fall of Babylon.  We do know that Jesus allowed demons to enter pigs. 


Note the word "unclean".  This is an Old Testament Law of Moses word.  This suggest to me, as we've seen before, that the book of Revelation is a dispensation unto itself and concerns Israel and not the church.  


Babylon fell according to this angel because it causes the kings of all nations, along with their nations, to “drink the wine of her adultery”.  The point here is that the spirit of Babylon has penetrated all aspects of human society at this point in history, as it is beginning to happen in the days in which I write these words.  


I understand the word "adultery" in two ways.  It is literal sexual adultery.  As I said in the last chapter, the prostitute religion of chapter 17 mixed worship with sex.  The same I believe is true as we see here in the religion of the anti-Christ.  I also understand the word "adultery" in its Old Testament spiritual sense.  When Israel forsook its God to be united with other gods, God viewed that as spiritual adultery.  He viewed it this way because He understood His relationship with Israel to be a marriage. 


We see that the kings and the nations of the world have become intoxicated by Babylon 's adultery.  Again, the spirit of Babylon has enticed the whole world into a supernatural intoxication.  It's like the whole world becomes drunk with all that Babylon is.    


From the Greek, the word "haunt" in verse 2 means a permanent dwelling place.   That, which was Babylon , the city, the empire, and the last great pagan religious movement of the age, has now become a dwelling place for demons.


In verse 3 the angel points out that the “merchants” have benefited financially from Babylon’s excessive luxuries”.  Excessive luxury is definitely common to the modern world of today, even within the Christian church. This shows us how God feels about “excessive luxuries”.  This also tells me that the Prosperity Gospel is not Scriptural.  When church gets caught up in excessive luxury, it follows the ways of the world, and, in this case, the way of the world is actually the way of satan.


In verse 4 we see yet another voice from heaven calling God’s people to come out of her, meaning, to come out of Babylon.  Some suggest that this is a mid-tribulation rapture, but I don't believe it is.  There have been all sorts of ideas about this verse.  I've even heard that Babylon is New York City and that Christians must move out of New York. 


I see that God is calling His people, that are Israelis, out of the literal city of Babylon.  If Babylon becomes the center of world wide commerce, you can bet that there will be some Jews in Babylon.  Remember, back in the Old Testament Israelis were exiled to Babylon.  When they were given the opportunity to return to Jerusalem , only a small remnant actually returned.  They like Babylon more than they should have.  The same could well be true here. 


As I've said before, Babylon is a literal city, but it is a city that has intoxicated the world with all of who she is.  She is thus seen, not only as a city, but  as an empire, and a pagan way of life.  Israelis are now told by God to leave all three aspects to what Babylon has become by this stage in history.  


God’s people Israel are told to come out of Babylon so they will not share in her sins and so they would not share in any of her plagues of judgment.  God doesn't want His people judged in the same way as Babylon is judged.  I suspect that those who fail to leave Babylon are not those who are a part of the saved remnant of Israel that will exist at the end of this age.  Those Israelis who fail to take heed to the Lord here will experience the wrath of God along with all others in the world who have not received the mark of the beast. 


Verse 5 states that Babylon's sins have pile up to heaven.  This is obviously idiomatic of the excessive sins of the world at the end of this age that has been intoxicated by Babylon.  That being said, in Biblical terms, sin is often seen in terms of reaching a certain limit.  Once the limit is reached, judgment comes.


Note the feminine pronoun "her".  The word "her" is in reference to a female, who as seen in chapter 17 is a prostitute.  Again, the anti-Christ killed the last pagan world religion who is the prostitute seen in chapter 17 and has replaced it with a satanic religion of himself.  Thus we have the Babylon of the anti-Christ portrayed as a "she".   


If you remember back in chapter 6 the souls of the martyrs cried out to God for vengeance on those who killed them.  God said that these souls had to wait a little longer until the total number of martyrs would join them.  What we see here is the day when God takes vengeance on those who killed His saints.  Throughout the New Testament we see that it is not the place of Christians to retaliate.  Vengeance is mine says the Lord, and here we see the reality of that statement.  God can do a much better job than us to avenge those who mistreat His people.    


Verse 6 also uses idiomatic language.  The point is that the measure of judgment that should fall on Babylon is determined by the measure of her sins and injustice.  To the degree of her sins is the degree to which she will experience the wrath of God.  This is another Biblical principle.  Christians will be rewarded for their good works. Non-Christians will be punished according to the measure of evil works they have done.  That being said, there is a bit of a twist here.  God will mix Babylon a double portion of judgment and punishment. 


Again in verse 7 we see a similar idiom.  Babylon will be judged with the same excess it lived by.  As much as Babylon was consumed with luxury and wealth, so she will be consumed with the wrath of God.  I suggest that this should tell us something of the present day prosperity teaching that in my opinion puts way too much emphasis on the accumulation of wealth and not enough emphasis on serving Jesus as His servants.


Notice the pronoun "I" in verse seven. It's used in a very boastful since.  You see the influence of the devil here in these words; "I sit as queen; I am not a widow; I will never mourn".  This reminds me of Isaiah 14:13 - 14 where we see the five "I wills" of satan.  The pride and boastfulness of satan is clearly seen here in Babylon.          


In verse 8 we see God as one who is viewed mighty in judgment.  Mighty in judgment is part of the nature of who God is.  This might not be the religiously correct view of God these days but it is the Biblically view of who God is and we should never forget that as many have.   


Verse 8 states that Babylon 's plagues of judgment will overtake her in one day.  We'll see later that it only takes one hour of this day for her to fall.  I take this literally.  Death, mourning, and famine, will be her fate.  She will be consumed by fire.  Fire in the Bible always speaks of cleansing, purging, and judgment.  This is where the world gets cleansed and judged.  I see this taking place at what we have called the Battle of Armageddon.


Verse 8 clearly shows us that once God decides to make a judgment, His judgment is quick and it is swift.  He does not fool around.  


In verses 9 and 10 we see the kings of the earth stand back in torment.  The anti-Christ and his empire that they gave themselves to have fallen in one short hour.  All of their hopes are gone.  Their future has been devastated.  They will fall along with Babylon.  This is one dreadful moment for the world as this age comes to an end.             


We see Babylon on fire here.  We see the smoke.  This could easily be a nuclear disaster.  The city comes down in one hour.  It doesn't take long for a nuclear bomb or two to destroy a big city.     


In verse 10 the kings of the nations of the earth announces the fall of Babylon.  It took only one hour for her to collapse.  God’s judgments can be swift and sure.  The kings of the earth are terrified and astonished that such a thing has happened and has happened so quickly.  It's hard for me to imagine how the nations of the world feel.  They put every last hope in the anti-Christ and his empire and now it's gone, and, it only took one hour.  I believe one hour is a literal one hour. 


Earlier in the chapter we noted that merchants of the world also delighted in the excess luxuries of Babylon alongside kings and the nations.  Here in verses 11 to 13 we see these same merchants grieving greatly over the fact that they have now lost their business since Babylon has fallen. There is a long list of things that these merchants bought and sold including the bodies and souls of men.  It is quite possible that they were in the slave trade business as well, especially the sex slave trade that is becoming more prevalent in far eastern countries.


The word "souls" here is important.  People of the world not only come on board to the anti-Christ regime, they actually give their souls to him.  They view him as their savior in the same sense that Christians view Jesus as their Savior.   


We should remember that the nations of the world will give themselves to the economy of the anti-Christ.  They will use the mark of the beast system to buy, sell, and to run the economy of the world.  The anti-Christ will institute a one world economy and now that one world economy has fallen.  This is the greatest economic disaster in human history.  People will be beside themselves in horror.  All that is important to them is now gone.  


In verses 14 to 17 we see these merchants standing with the kings in amazement, not understanding that in one short hour Babylon could fall and all of her excess luxuries with her.  Back in the depression of the 1930's men committed suicide because they lost their wealth.  The same will take place here.  It's not only individuals who lose wealth this time around.  It's the nations of the world.  It's the whole world.  Again, history has never seen an economic collapse as this one.   


In verses 17 through 19 we see yet another group of people standing afar off watching the smoke rise from Babylon’s fall.  These are captains of ships that once transported Babylon’s riches.  They too cannot understand Babylon ’s quick and drastic fall.  I would suggest that these captains represent all the means of transportation in the world at that time.  These captains could be captains of a multitude of transportation companies.  They too weep because they have lost their livelihood. 


We see one hour mentioned here now for the third time.  I strongly suggest that one hour literally means one hour.  It emphasizes that fact that when God sets out to do something, it doesn't take long. I've said it before, but there is a difference between anger and wrath.  God can get angry, but wrath is an explosive anger.  It's an anger that can no longer be pent up.  It explodes.  It's this explosion of anger, or wrath, that comes on Babylon here.  This is why it only takes one hour for the world's religious, economic, and political, capital to fall in ruins. 


The only ones who are rejoicing over the fall of Babylon can be seen in verse 20 and they are the saints that include the apostles and prophets.  I believe the mentioning of both apostles and prophets speak of both Old and New Testament saints.  The prophets represent the Old Testament saints while the apostles represent the New Testament saints.  They are told to rejoice over the fall of this evil city.  I believe that the saints, apostles, and prophets, who are told to rejoice, are in heaven.  I say this because they are in the same context as the rest of those in heaven, including the angels.


From verse 21 on to the end of the chapter we see yet another angel.  This angel throws a large millstone into the sea symbolizing the final fall of Babylon.  The angel says that nothing will ever be bought or sold in her name.  This is total destruction.    


No longer will there ever be a system of the world run by humans or the devil.  From here on out it's the thousand year rule of Jesus on earth.  Then, beyond that, it is the era of the new earth that lasts forever.


Verse 22 tells us that the music of Babylon , the music of the anti-Christ regime, will never be heard again. I can't say what kind of music this is.  Being a musician myself, I don't think we're talking about styles of music here.  We may be talking lyrically.  We may be talking about the spirit behind the music.  We may be talking about the excesses of drugs and sex that comes with the music.      


In verse 23 the angel says that no light stands will ever shine in Babylon again. Also the voice of brides and bride grooms will never be heard again as well


Verse 23 speaks of Babylon ’s “magic spell”.  There was a distinct spiritual lure that drew all mankind into Babylon.  Of course, this is a demonic lure; still, this last great false movement will be filled with mysticism and miracles.  Remember, it is satan that gives the anti-Christ all of his power.  The words "magic spell" are appropriate words to use here. 


Verse 24 ends this chapter by saying that in Babylon was found the blood of the saints.  Babylon and the regime of the anti-Christ had killed many, if not all those who came to Jesus during the tribulation. 


Both here in verse 21 and in chapter 9:21 the Greek word “pharmakia” is translated as “magic spell”.  “Pharmakia” is where we get our English word “pharmacy” and part of its meaning is associated with drug use.  So, the spell that the anti-Christ had over the nations of the world was like a psychedelic drug. He will be that powerful.  We certainly need to pray for our loved one's to find Jesus now, because if we are close to the end, and, if they enter the tribulation period, it will be extremely hard not to cave into the spell of the anti-Christ.


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