Revelation 18 Part 1

May 22, 2023 at 7:47 PM Leave a comment

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Revelation 18 focuses on the absolute and sure destruction of Babylon, both the system and the physical city, whatever it may be named during the Tribulation and will likely be the headquarters of Antichrist. This chapter breaks down as follows:

  • Lament over Babylon – vv 1-3
  • Warning to Escape Babylon’s Judgment – vv 4-8
  • Threefold Woe Over Babylon’s Fall – vv 9-20
  • Finality of Babylon’s Doom – vv 21-24

1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. 2 With a mighty voice he shouted: “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’ She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal. 3 For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”

In Revelation 18:1, we see a number of things that stand out to us. John’s attention turns to another scene happening on earth and he sees another angel of the same kind as the previous announced the next scene to John. This particular angel has great authority and glory. It is doubtful this is Jesus because John saw him as an angel and certainly knew who Jesus was in life. The angel’s tremendous “glory” probably means he has just come from God’s Presence, similar to what Moses looked like after he came down from Mt. Sinai and had to cover his face with a veil so the people of Israel could not see it fade.

Verse 2: The angel whom John sees declares Babylon is FALLEN twice, which likely means it is guarantees to happen. This is God’s prophetic way of stating that it WILL be accomplished before it is actually accomplished.

While Ancient Babylon fell to Cyrus (539 BC), this fall did not fulfill Old Testament prophecies about Babylon completely (Isa 47:11 and Jer 51:18). John describes the upcoming fall of Babylon through the eyes of those who live on earth.

Since Babylon’s creation, with beginnings back to the Tower of Babel, it has risen to heights of idolatry and luxury, which will reach its pinnacle during the coming Great Tribulation. Then, it will BE the center for false worship and economic prosperity. It will also become the actual prison for demons against their will (v 2; Isa 13:21-22; 34:11-17; Jer 51:37) and implies there is something physical about it. However, when God destroys it, it will become utterly desolate.

In verse 3, the view of Babylon here is of the political, economic and commercial system of the earth, which leaves God out and caters instead to evil. Babylon’s philosophy has influenced all nations to:

  • Act immorally
  • Grow rich
  • All at the expense of others

Ultimately, Babylon’s influence has been worldwide through political self-interest, and materialism. This is why so many corporations are increasingly trying to reach and include LGBTQIA+ and especially transgenders – it’s all about money.

4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say:

“‘Come out of her, my people,’
so that you will not share in her sins,
so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
5 for her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes.
6 Give back to her as she has given;
pay her back double for what she has done.
Pour her a double portion from her own cup.
7 Give her as much torment and grief
as the glory and luxury she gave herself.
In her heart she boasts,
‘I sit enthroned as queen.
I am not a widow;
I will never mourn.’
8 Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her:
death, mourning and famine.
She will be consumed by fire,
for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.

Verse 4 is the call for God’s people to leave Babylon’s system so that they will not be judged with Babylon. Any believers there should leave the physical city (whatever it is officially named), and forsake enticements of:

  • –Idolatry
  • –Self-sufficiency
  • Love of luxury and violence

This is all addressed to FAITHFUL believers during the Tribulation and separation from Babylon will mean protection from judgment, just as Lot was protected but he had to physically leave that area.

Revelation 18:5 notes that Babylon’s sins, like the bricks used to build Babel (Gen 11), have accumulated so much that they reach heaven and by this time during the Tribulation, Babylon will have completely exhausted God’s patience (Jer 51:9). God knows and remembers her sins and because He is righteous, He must judge them.

In verse 6, the angel announces that God will actually use God’s ENEMIES to pay Babylon back fully for its:

  • –Wicked deeds
  • Pride, and
  • Self-indulgent conduct

This is essentially God’s “law of retaliation” (Mt 7:2; Gal 6:7-8) and to pay back double is another way of saying to pay back FULLY. The Babylon system has persecuted and murdered saints and deserves judgment. This is not a prayer for personal vengeance but a divine response to cruelty committed by wicked people who have passed the point of no return morally. No repentance is possible for the wicked at this point.

In verse 7 we see a number of things of importance. Luxurious living is another reason for Babylon’s judgment and because of her wealth and power, Babylon believes herself to be superior and self-sufficient. This should also remind us of the problem with the Laodicean church of Revelation 3. Pride is the root of the problem and can affect anyone, believer or non-believer. Babylon’s “self-sufficiency” and “superiority” will come back on her as she thinks she will never see mourning and will be shocked to experience it. Like globalists who gloat over their plans, their riches, their power, they will be brought low.

Revelation 18:8 concludes this section of the chapter. Babylon’s wickedness is so egregious that her judgment will occur in a single day (literally), which includes:

  • Death
  • –Mourning
  • Famine
  • Completely burn up

This “single day” may also emphasize the suddenness of judgment. If this is literal (as we believe), then some sort of physical Babylon will exist during the Tribulation and will represent Babylon’s history of spiritual wickedness, deception and religious fraud. Because of judgment, Babylon will collapse suddenly, not gradually as many empires throughout history have done.

As Christians we need to make absolutely certain we are not Laodicean in mindset. We must set our minds on the things above, not on the things of this earth, which is passing away.

Next time, we will deal with Revelation 18:9-20 or as far as we can get up to that point.

Entry filed under: Atheism and religion, christianity, eternity, Religious - Christian - Prophecy. Tags: .

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