The Apocalypse – Chapter 18
In this Chapter we have an angel proclaiming the fall of Babylon, Rev. 18:1, 2. He gives the reasons of her fall, Rev. 18:3. And gives warning to all who belonged to God to come out of her (Rev. 18:4, 5). They are to assist in her destruction, Rev. 18:6-8. There is a great lamentation made for her by those who had been large sharers in her sinful pleasures and profits, Rev. 18:9-19. Finally at the sight of her ruin there is great joy Rev. 18:20-24.
No More Delay The angel I had seen standing On the sea and the land Swore by Him who lives forever Raising to heaven his right hand. It is the time of accomplishment The great and glorious day; The angel spoke and said “There will be no more delay”. So many have looked forward In joyful anticipation To the promised day of fulfillment For peoples of every nation. God is calling for a special people To proclaim the victory won. Those who will in faith Cast their lot with His Son. No one knows the hour or day When the last actor will leave the stage That is known only to God The coming of the end of the age. The day draws ever nearer so we must Live out the fullness of God’s word. What a responsibility we have then To spread abroad the things we’ve heard. For His own believing people - His church Jesus Christ will return to earth one day. It will be too late for unrepentant sinners When the angel says “there will be no more delay”. By the late Andrew Feakin [passed away 16th March 2019]
Keys – The Fall of Babylon the Great
- God’s people shall be called out of Babylon, and called effectually.
- When the sins of a people reach up to heaven, the wrath of God will reach down to the earth. His people will be involved in the pulling down of His enemies.
- The pleasures of sin are but for a season, and they will end in dismal sorrow. All those who rejoice in the success of the church’s enemies will share with them in their downfall.
- The church of God may fall for a time, but she shall rise again. But the fall of Babylon will be an utter overthrow, like that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Godly sorrow is some support under affliction, but mere worldly sorrow adds to the calamity.
- That which is matter of rejoicing to the servants of God in this world is a matter of rejoicing to the angels in heaven.
- God will avenge the cause of His people. They had committed their cause to Him to whom vengeance belongs and He will answer.
- This enemy shall one day be utterly destroyed and never molest them any more.
The Fall of Babylon the Great
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, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For 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.”
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “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 God has remembered her iniquities. 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 she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.
The World Mourns Babylon’s Fall
“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, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ “And 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.
In one hour riches came to nothing
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, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’
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 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, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’ “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”
Finality of Babylon’s Fall
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 by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”
Henry says – The downfall and destruction of Babylon are repeated as it is an event so fully determined in the counsels of God, and of such consequence to His interests and glory. Another angel was sent from heaven, attended with great power and lustre, Rev. 18:1. He had light in himself, to discern the truth of his own prediction. And also to inform and enlighten the world about that great event. He had light to discern it and power to accomplish it. This angel publishes the fall of Babylon, as a thing already come to pass. This he does with a mighty strong voice, that all might hear the cry.
Has fallen, has fallen
Here seems to be an allusion to the prediction of the fall of pagan Babylon (Isa. 21:9), where the word is repeated as it is here: has fallen, has fallen. Some have thought a double fall is hereby intended, first her apostasy, and then her ruin. The words immediately following confirm this; She has become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird, Rev. 18:2. But this is also borrowed from Isa. 21:9; and seems to describe her sin of entertaining idols (which are truly called devils) which has led to her punishment.
The wickedness of Babylon had been very great. She had not only forsaken the true God, and set up idols, but had with great art and industry drawn all sorts of men into this sin with her. A spiritual adultery which by her wealth and luxury had retained them for her interest. Fair warning is given to all that expect mercy from God, that they should not only come out of her, but be assisting in her destruction, Rev. 18:4, 5.
God’s people shall be called out
This shows that God may have a people even in Babylon, some who belong to the election of grace. God’s people shall be called out of Babylon, and called effectually. In order to escape the judgment that is to come those belonging to God are told to come out from all false religious systems and the false system of the Antichrist. We are to withdraw from her activities and to condemn all sinful practices. Even today we are to separate ourselves from all the wickedness of the world. In 2 Cor 6:14-17 we are told to ‘come out from them and be separate.. and I will receive you’ says the Lord.
But those that are resolved to partake with wicked men in their sins must receive of their plagues. When the sins of a people reach up to heaven, the wrath of God will reach down to the earth. His people will be involved in the pulling down of His enemies, Rev. 18:6. The proportion of the punishment of sinners will be according to the measure of their wickedness, pride, and security, Rev. 18:7. When destruction comes suddenly, the surprise is a great aggravation of their misery, Rev. 18:8.
The pleasures of sin are but for a season
What follows is a lamentation made by Babylon’s friends for her fall. The mourners are those who had been bewitched by her fornication and been sharers in her sensual pleasures. They had been gainers by her wealth and trade—the kings and the merchants of the earth: the kings of the earth. She had flattered them into idolatry by allowing them to be arbitrary and tyrannical over their subjects, while they were subservient to her. The merchants who trafficked with her for indulgences and preferments mourned because by this craft they got their wealth.
They stood afar off and dared not come near her. Even Babylon’s friends will stand at a distance from her fall. Though they had been partakers with her in her sins, and in her sinful pleasures and profits, they were not willing to bear a share in her plagues. They made a grievous outcry: Alas! alas! that great city, Babylon, that mighty city! They wept, and cast dust upon their heads, Rev. 18:19. The pleasures of sin are but for a season, and they will end in dismal sorrow. All those who rejoice in the success of the church’s enemies will share with them in their downfall. Those who have most indulged themselves in pride and pleasure are the least able to bear calamities. Their sorrows will be as excessive as their pleasure was before.
The church of God shall rise again
The cause of their mourning was their punishment. They did not lament their fall into idolatry, and luxury, and persecution, but their fall into ruin—the loss of their traffic and of their wealth and power. The spirit of antichrist is a worldly spirit, and their sorrow is a mere worldly sorrow. They did not lament for the anger of God, that had now fallen upon them, but for the loss of their outward comfort.
We have a large schedule and inventory of the wealth and merchandise of this city, all of which was suddenly lost (Rev. 18:12, 13), and lost irrecoverably (Rev. 18:14). All things which were dainty and goodly have departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. The church of God may fall for a time, but she shall rise again. But the fall of Babylon will be an utter overthrow, like that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Godly sorrow is some support under affliction, but mere worldly sorrow adds to the calamity.
The servants of God shall rejoice
While the people of Babylon were bewailing her, the servants of God were called to rejoice over her, Rev. 18:20. This joy would be universal: heaven and earth, angels and saints, would join in it. That which is matter of rejoicing to the servants of God in this world is a matter of rejoicing to the angels in heaven. The fall of Babylon was an act of God’s vindictive justice. God was then avenging the cause of His people. They had committed their cause to Him to whom vengeance belongs. Now the year of recompence had come. Though they did not take pleasure in the miseries of any, yet they had reason to rejoice in the discoveries of the glorious justice of God. It was an irrecoverable ruin.
This enemy should never molest them any more, and of this they were assured by a remarkable token (Rev. 18:21): An angel from heaven took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, “Thus shall Babylon be thrown down with violence, and be found no more at all.” The place shall be no longer habitable by man, no work shall be done there, no comfort enjoyed, no light seen there, but utter darkness and desolation. The reward of her great wickedness, first in deceiving the nations with her sorceries, and secondly in destroying and murdering those whom she could not deceive,” Rev. 18:24. Such abominable sins deserved so great a ruin.
Adapted from the Matthew Henry Commentary
Prayer for the Day
Father, we come to You. We pray that any hint of Babylon be driven completely out of us. Show us where we need to repent and humble ourselves before you. May You teach us how to be trained for battle and be involved in the pulling down of Your and our enemies. May we withdraw from all pleasure that we may find in sin knowing that it will end in dismal sorrow. Thank You that Your church shall rise again and reign victorious. But the fall of Babylon will be an utter overthrow, like that of Sodom and Gomorrah.
May we be filled with Godly sorrow under any affliction and never participate in mere worldly sorrow. Thank You that You will avenge our cause, for vengeance belongs to You and You assure us that You will answer. We look forward to the day when the enemy shall be utterly destroyed and never molest us any more. In Jesus name. Amen.
The Fall of Babylon the Great
Read the rest of the study of Revelation here