This chapter reveals an angel coming down from Heaven and giving the news that Babylon has fallen. It speaks of the vile abominations that the nations have committed with Babylon and issues a directive to the people of God to come out of her.
We will also see that this Babylon is called a city and that it had a great influence on the nations of the world. We will also see its destruction.
Revelation 18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
Revelation 18:2 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.
Revelation 18:3 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.
Now keep in mind that the woman that sits on the beast is Babylon, Babylon is not the beast. The woman is the religious system that has the control of everything including the economic system.
We saw that the ten kings (horns) of Revelation chapter 17 will hate the woman and rise up against her.
Revelation 17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
Revelation 17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.
Together the beast and the kings will destroy the woman thereby fulfilling God’s will for Babylon. There is a principle here that I do not want you to miss. God will use non believers to accomplish His will and the non believers will not have a clue that they are carrying out the will of God.
God can use any means that He desires to accomplish His will because He is not limited by what we think He can do. Our thoughts are not His thoughts.
Isaiah 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
Isaiah 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.
We see here in verse 1 that the angel who John sees coming from Heaven has great authority, and I take this to mean that he might be one of the higher ranking or order of angels. We also see that the earth is illuminated by the glory of this angel which helps me to believe that this is indeed a powerful angel with great authority.
The angel brings a message that the great Babylon is fallen and that she had become the dwelling place of all manner of evil. and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
We see that all the nations of the world have been corrupted with the religious system and with the political system of the woman, Babylon. In our own state of Washington we have seen people invest millions of their own dollars to gain a political position of power in the nation’s government.
We also see some of the same people trying to pass legislation that restricts the right of a parent to correct a child or to hide an abortion of their daughter from them. We have seen these people tell lies about what they have done. They seem to believe that they can get away with anything because somehow they become above the law. If you do not think so, then all you have to do is look at the last presidents administration, the scandals, the impeachment, the blue dress.
The believers left at this time are commanded to come out of her.
Revelation 18:4 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.
Revelation 18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
The people of God are commanded to reject the world’s system, to withdraw from it because destruction is coming and it will be violent and quick.
Look at the wording of verse 5, does this remind you of the tower of Babel?
The tower was built so that the people could reach up to Heaven under their own power and strength and God said no. We can only come to God His way, because He calls us, not our way because we think we can build a tower or do some mighty work that will make God want us.
Jesus the Christ said John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
I believe that verse 5 is our clue as to when the events of the book of Revelation will occur. Now I am not setting any dates of times but if we just think about this verse I believe we will see the clear meaning residing in the verse.
For her sins have reached unto heaven. This is the clue, God is waiting until the iniquity of the world is full before bringing the events of the book to pass. There are still a few strongholds against sin in the world. The Church of the Lord Jesus is still here and the restrainer (God the Holy Spirit) indwelling His Church, restraining the evil that will eventually consume the world.
When God sees that the sin and debauchery have come to a climax, He will take the Church out of the world and the lawless reign of the antichrist will begin.
We saw this in the Old Testament book of Genesis where God is conversing with Abram and gives him a word about the Amorites;
Genesis 15:13 And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years;
Genesis 15:14 And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.
Genesis 15:15 And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age.
Genesis 15:16 But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.
God was waiting for the Amorites who dwelled in the land of Canaan to totally corrupt themselves before bringing judgment, and I believe that He is waiting now in our day for the sin of the world to be so prevalent that He says it is enough. God will not wink over the sin of His created people, He will bring judgment.
This judgment will be quite severe as we see in the following verse.
Revelation 18:6 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.
God says that the woman will be paid back double according to her works. How many people have been led astray by the woman? How many lives have been ruined by her? How many souls will suffer the lake of fire because of her evil influence? She will be paid back double for every one that has been corrupted.
Revelation 18:7 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.
This is a picture of arrogance and conceit and self love. She thinks that she is a queen and therefore above reproach for her actions or any accountability for her actions. Sounds like some of the politicians of our day. But God says that He will repay her for everything in like manner as she corrupted others. She says that she will never see mourning but God says, Oh yes you will, just wait until your iniquity is full.
Revelation 18:8 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.
The judgment will be swift and sure, her plagues, pestilence, mourning and famine. In one day the fire of judgment will come because it is the Lord God Himself who judges and He is strong. God will always judge between good and evil with righteous judgment and His justice will be swift.
Look now at the ones that will mourn for the loss of the woman.
Revelation 18:9 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,
Revelation 18:10 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.
Revelation 18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
We can count them off as the kings of the earth, that is the rulers of the nations. The merchants, traders, shop keepers, salesmen will all mourn because their business will be ruined. They will all be bankrupt.
There is no longer anyone to purchase what they sell, and they will weep and mourn over the destruction of the world’s system. In one hour the destruction comes, quick and sure, everything destroyed and the merchant seamen will see the burning of the city also.
Revelation 18:12 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,
Revelation 18:13 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.
Revelation 18:14 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.
Revelation 18:15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
Revelation 18:16 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!
Revelation 18:17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
Revelation 18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
Revelation 18:19 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.
The destruction will be complete, nothing will be left so that all weep over her demise.
First the luxuries will be destroyed, gold, silver, jewels and then edible commodities like cinnamon, spice, flour, wine, olive oil, wheat and cattle. Things of vanity like incense, perfume and frankincense. Things of transportation such as horses and chariots and lastly human souls pictured here as slavery where human life is now of little importance, just another commodity. Sudden destruction will fall upon all who reject God and trust in their own selves and in their own righteousness.
Now, look at this verse for there will also be rejoicing.
Revelation 18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
The heavens and the saints along with the apostles and prophets will rejoice because the judgment has finally come. Back in Revelation chapter 6 verse 10 the saints asked how long until they would be recompensed.
Revelation 6:10 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?
We see here in verse 20 that the time has come. We talked about this before. God would not wait forever before bringing judgment. The words for God hath avenged you on her held my interest. This judgment was to satisfy the crimes against God’s people, and they are told that now is the time for them to rejoice.
May I say that we will all rejoice when the people of God are vindicated, but we will also weep for those that would not believe.
Now the final verses in this chapter.
Revelation 18:21 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.
Revelation 18:22 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;
Revelation 18:23 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.
Revelation 18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
We have here the depiction of the way Babylon will be destroyed. The mighty angel now picks up a great stone symbolized by a great millstone and throws it into the sea.
Imagine if you will the splash that would make as it impacted the water. I am reminded of the American astronauts in that little space capsule. If you were tuned in to the news and the live feed of the day, you would have witnessed the capsule impact the ocean water with a great force. The splash or spray of the impact was sent upward almost 50 feet on every side and this will give us a picture of this millstone crashing into the sea.
The difference in the picture we have of the rock like a millstone is that the rock would not have reemerged from the water, and the splash would have been greater because of the deep penetration and great weight of the stone. What we see here is the violence of the destruction and the quickness of it as it will only take one hour as we saw in verse 17.
Everything that the world is trusting in will be destroyed. The music is gone, there are no longer any craftsmen to make the idols, no more bakeries to make the bread, no more light, but what is now revealed is why God brought the judgment.
Revelation 18:24 The only thing left of Babylon is blood– the blood of saints and prophets, the murdered and the martyred. (Message bible)
Their blood has now been avenged, the system is destroyed and we will see the culmination of the destruction in the following chapter. This has been the precursor to the great battle of Armageddon that we will see in Revelation chapter 19.
May God richly bless you as you study His Word.