Revelation Chapter 18: Babylon the Great - the identity and destiny of material, secular Babylon; the fall of Babylon; Babylon the Great, before she is destroyed by "fire," is not just the spiritual/religious center of the world, but is the political and economic center of the world.
18:1-3 (a) After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, (b) "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become (c) a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For (d) all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury."
a. Again, "after these things I saw" indicates a change in perspective, but not in time (cf. the commentary on 4:1). As we will clearly see, except for scope, the Babylon of Chapter 18 is exactly the same as the Babylon of Chapter 17. The only difference is that chapter 18 focuses on the material, secular aspect of Babylon whereas Chapter 17 focuses on the spiritual, religious aspect of Babylon. But, in actuality, although Babylonian spirituality is universal, religious and secular Babylon cannot be separated; they are indissolubly married, just as was religion and state in ancient Babylon. In fact, modern physical Babylon (the city-state/nation/empire) is the center and main purveyor of Babylonian spirituality/religion throughout the world.
b. Exactly the same name, "Babylon the Great," is used here as in 17:5. Chapter 18 just takes up where Chapter 17 left off, with the fall (burning) of "That Great city," Babylon the Great (cf. 17:18; 18:10; 16, 18, 19, 21).
c. This is total annihilation of all natural life!10 After Babylon is destroyed by fire (her first destruction), resulting in desolate desert conditions, no human can dwell there, only demons and evil spirits (cf. the commentary on 17:16; also Isaiah 13:19-21). After she is burned, Babylon is uninhabited by natural living things, but is still the kingdom and base of operations, so to speak, of Satan, the spiritual "king of Babylon" (Isaiah 14:4) and his evil spiritual horde.
d. As in Chapter 17, Babylon is the whore of Earth, but Chapter 18 focuses on her political whoredom with the rulers of the earth and her material whoredom with the merchants of the earth.
18:4-8 And I heard (a) another voice from heaven saying, (b) "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and (c) [Yahuah] has remembered her iniquities. (d) Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. In the measure that (e) she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, (f) `I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.' Therefore her plagues (g) will come in one day - death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for (h) strong is the Lord [Yahuah] who judges her.”
a. The voice of the Lord
b. As the Revelation is written to both the Jews and to the Followers of Yahushua, “come out of her” would seem to apply in a literal sense to Yahuah’s physical People the Jews who have not yet accepted Yahushua as their Redeemer and who remain on the earth throughout the Final Seven Years and into the Millennium, and in a spiritual sense to His People the Community of Believers in Yahushua who are taken to Heaven at the sounding of the “Last Trump” (1 Corinthians 15:52) on Yom Teruah at the end of the seven years, because the Believers in Yahushua are promised that, as long as they remain faithful, they will not have to endure the “last plagues”—the plagues of the Wrath of God (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:9; Revelation 15:1) or be subjected to His judgment (cf. John 5:24). But those “last plagues,” as well as the preceding “Great Tribulation” (Matthew 24:21; Revelation 7:14)—the wrath of Satan (12:12)—will the time of "Jacob's trouble" (Jeremiah 30:7) for those of Yahuah's People “true Israel” (cf. Romans 9:6) who believe in the coming Messiah but have not yet recognized that He is Yahushua. For proof that this command is directed to both Yahuah’s People the Jews and His People the Disciples of Yahushua, see the parallel commands in Jeremiah 50:8; 51:6, 45 and 2 Corinthians 6:17.11
c. Cf. 16:19
d. Babylon will reap what she has sowed, double: two separate judgments - the judgment by fire, destroying all natural life, and total physical annihilation (verse 21), destroying Satan's spiritual base of operations.
e. She is a proud, wealthy, luxurious nation.
f. She sees herself as the queen of those nations to whom she is illicitly married. A title of Ishtar, chief goddess of Babylon, was “Queen of Heaven.”
g. Repeating and elaborating on 17:16, she will be utterly destroyed by fire in a very short period of time, indicated by “one day” in this verse and by “one hour” in verses 10, 17, and 19.
h. Confirming that it is because of the judgment of the Lord and by His power, not by the power of the ten kings, that Babylon is destroyed.
18:9-17a The prophecy of the voice from Heaven continues: (a) "The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, `Alas, alas, (b) that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.' And (c) the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all. The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, `Alas, alas, (d) that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! (e) For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.'”
a. This confirms that Babylon is the political center of Earth: The kings of Earth weep and lament when their wealth is destroyed when Babylon is destroyed. Apparently, all the nations of Earth are actually client-states of Babylon and their rulers are kept in luxurious power by Babylon.
b. “That great city” is exactly the same designation as in 17:18.
c. Babylon is also the commercial center of the world; she is the main importer of the world’s commodities, making the merchants of the earth wealthy.
d. Again, same designation as in 17:18.
e. But the source of their wealth is destroyed in “one hour.”
18:17b-19 The prophecy is fulfilled in John’s vision: (a) Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw (b) the smoke of her burning, saying, “What is like this great city?” They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, “Alas, alas, (c) that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in (d) one hour she is made desolate.”
a. Babylon is a land of major seaports.
b. The sailors see, from a distance, the smoke of Babylon burning. This confirms that Babylon’s destruction by fire is a literal event.
c. Again, clearly, for the third time in this chapter, this is the same “great city” as in 17:18 - spiritual, religious/material, secular Babylon.
d. This is the third time in this chapter that “one hour” is mentioned. Verse 8 states that it will occur in "one day." Apparently, the Lord is emphatically making a point: If the destruction of Babylon does not occur in literally one hour, it will occur very rapidly - in less than a day.
18:20-24 (a) "Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!" (b) Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore. The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore. The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for (c) by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And (d) in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth."
a. Let the celebration over the annihilation of all living things including the human inhabitants of Babylon begin!
b. But now, there is a second destruction! And the dilemma (cf. the commentary on 17:18) as to how Babylon can be destroyed both prior to the midpoint of the Final Seven Years and at the end of the seven years is solved: There are two destructions: (1) the destruction by fire of all natural life in Babylon prior to the midpoint of the seven years, which sets the stage for the ten kings and Antimessiah to take over the world (17:17), and (2) the physical destruction of Babylon by a giant millstone-like object, sinking her beneath the waves of the sea, never to be found anymore (cf. Jeremiah 51: 42, 55, 64), here at the end of the seven years. This apparently also alludes to the fact that revived Babylon (the "Revived Roman Empire"), the global kingdom of Satan/Antimessiah, of which the modern nation Babylon the Great is the precursor and prototype, is totally destroyed at the end of the Final Seven Years.
c. Satanic spiritual power, as in sorcery (witchcraft), is the reason for Babylon’s success, as the headquarters of Satan’s horde of evil spirit-beings, in dominating the world religiously, politically, and commercially, even after her destruction by fire. It is revealing that the Greek word translated “sorcery” in this verse is pharmakeia, from which the English word “pharmacy” is derived. The occult is heavily involved in drug use. Prescribed drugs, drugs in vaccinations, drugs in our food, and illegal drugs are perhaps the main means for opening the doors of our souls to evil Babylonian spiritual influences.
d. Of course, Babylon the Great herself does not literally kill all the prophets, saints, and others murdered on Earth. But, the same spirit of the devil (specifically, through Ishtar) which animated and energized ancient Babylon, all the false religions of the world which have descended from the religion of ancient Babylon, and which animates and energizes modern Babylon the Great, the modern "throne of Satan," before and after her destruction by fire, has been responsible for their deaths throughout history.
10As scientist and scholar Jeffrey Goodman has pointed out in his well-researched and thoroughly-documented book The Comets of God, it would be impossible for even thousands of simultaneously detonated nuclear bombs to annihilate all natural life in an area the size of modern Babylon (for a complete, irrefutable, Scriptural exposition of the identity of modern, prophesied Babylon, read Appendix 1 - Who is Modern Babylon?). But a comet less than a mile in diameter exploding in the atmosphere above a 10,000 square mile area would very quickly incincerate all living plants, animals and humans in that area, rendering it uninhabitable. Scientific studies of the sites of Sodom and Gomorrah have proven that those cities were destroyed by a comet fragment exploding in the atmosphere above them. Likewise, on June 30, 1908, at 7:15 a.m., a relatively small comet fragment approximately 100 meters (the length of a football field) in diameter exploded in the atmosphere above the Tunguska River Basin in Siberia, incinerating a 1,000 square mile forested area and several herds of reindeer below, and scorched the skin of eye witnesses 40 miles away (The Comets of God, pages 54-57 and 143-152). Also, computer simulations have shown that a comet just two miles in diameter exploding in Earth’s atmosphere will engulf the entire planet in flames. So, it is easy to see, is it not, how a comet exploding above modern Babylon the Great will very quickly annihilate all living plants and animals in that city-state/nation/empire?
11For a detailed explanation of who the People of Yahuah are, read Appendix 3 - Who are the People of Yahuah ("God")?
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