Revelation Study Chapter 18, part 1
ONE DOWN, ONE MORE TO GO
We have just gotten a glimpse of the destruction of religious Babylon. Now, in this chapter, we will see how the commercial Babylon will be destroyed. Not only will we see the destruction of this center of the world’s wealth and prosperity, but we will also witness the reaction of the traders, politicians, the wealthy, ship’s captains, and merchants who did business in this great, yet evil city. We will see two different reactions to this event. One reaction is from those men of business and politics. They will react with great anxiety and anguish over this very deep tragedy. It means total bankruptcy of big business. We could relate this as being even greater than a total collapse of our stock market.
The second viewpoint is the reaction of heaven. This reaction will be one of joy that the holiness of God wins. It means the end of man’s sin on the earth. This is the end of the great tribulation period.
Let’s look at our scripture and see what happens after all the destruction has taken place.
18:1 After this, I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.
“After this”, or “after these things” – what things? After the series of sevens, or after the judgment of religious and commercial Babylon. Here again, John “saw” – he’s still watching this panorama take place. He has a seat front and center. He now sees “another angel”. This takes us back to chapter 14 where a series of 6 angels are mentioned in connection with the 7 bowls of wrath. This tells us that an angel with great authority “lit up the earth” with his splendor. OH, MY, wouldn’t you love to witness that!! God’s glory is like that. Ezekiel 43:2 tells us “And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory.
The fact that this angel had the same type of splendor as God indicates that he has a superior rank to the other angels mentioned. And he is bringing a very important message with him. This angel actually prophesied the destruction of another Babylon back in chapter 14. This powerful angel announces the judgment upon this city called Babylon (whether it be the original Babylon, or Rome, or New York City. Regardless of its location.)
2.With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt
for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.”
This shout is a sign of destruction of cataclysmic proportions. When the angels say “is fallen” twice, it indicates two stages of the fall. We saw the first stage in the fall of the religious system. Now we are prepared to witness the second stage, the location of the commercial and governmental system.
Now follow me closely on what I am about to say next. Remember, the first announcement of the fall of Babylon back in 14:8 also said Babylon is fallen twice. Now the second “is fallen” and the words,” has become” is what they call in the Greek the “prophetic aorist” tense. That means that it speaks of coming events as if they have already happened. When God says something is going to happen, IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN. No doubt about it. It is done.
This city that Revelation refers to, will be the wealthiest, most affluent city the world has ever known. The destruction of this city is brought on by the hand of God. In one hours’, time, almost like an explosion. It is reduced to ashes in 60 minutes flat. While this city is rich and powerful, it is also wicked and sinful. It is the crime center of the world, as well as the center of heathen worship of idols, as well as luxuries, pleasure, riches, sexual perversion, and “every detestable thing”.
And just look at how wicked this city that is like ancient Babylon, really is. It is “a habitation of demons”. This indicates that this Babylon is where the headquarters of the demon spirit
world is located. But there is something else here that I want you to see. “a cage of every unclean spirit and a cage of every unclean and hated bird.” This indicates that this location will be the holding place of everything that is unclean and hated during the millennium.
Look at Isaiah 13:19-22 (this is speaking of the first Babylon that was destroyed)
19. “And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
20. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; Nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there.
21. But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls (or howling creatures) Ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will caper there.
22. The hyenas will howl in their citadels, and jackals in their pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come. And her days will not be prolonged.
The Babylon of Revelation 18 will be just like the one described here in Isaiah. There is another scripture you can read that says almost the same thing about this first city of Babylon. You can read it in the book of Jeremiah
You can see by these scriptures that Babylon has been the place of rebellion down through the years and so will this new
Babylon whether it be Rome or Vatican City or some new place we’ve yet to learn about.
Now let’s move on. v.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.
This is God’s judgment on big business which denies God’s authority. This is the unholy alliance between government and business, just as the last chapter showed us the result of the unholy alliance between government and religion. We are seeing this today in our world. When government tells you what you can buy or sell and at what price; when government tells you who to worship or how you will worship it
becomes an unholy alliance. In many countries today, it is a crime punishable by death to be a Christian. We have witnessed our own government recently shut down churches because of a pandemic which some believe was unleashed upon the world for sinister reasons. We have also seen commerce and businesses shut down, some permanently, because of the mass closings of some forms of business here in our own cities.
The word “merchants” literally means those who travel, not those who produce goods, or those who manufacture goods. It speaks of the brokers, who run up the price before it gets to the consumer. Nothing should hinder the businesses from bringing
goods and services to the public. Just recently we have seen food prices skyrocket in price because of anticipated shortages. Some higher prices came from the suppliers and some from the businesses, but all because of the “fear” that there “might be” a shortage.
Business is also the biggest excuse for having no time for God. When I was growing up (I won’t say how long ago), all business was closed on Sunday. Nothing was opened except for a very few necessary stores. This left employers and employees alike free to attend worship services. Then, gradually we witnessed a few more stores beginning to open around one o’clock on Sunday afternoon, still leaving time for church attendance. Now shopping malls, as well as every type of business is open. No time for God.
When my husband and I opened our first drug store, we promised God that we would not be open on Sunday mornings. It was not long before our faithful customers knew not to expect us to be there before 1:pm on Sunday. Then one Sunday morning one of the men who had been our adviser and benefactor, came by to check on the business and realized we were closed. He waited for us and when we got there at One, o’clock he came in and stood around for a few moments. I went up to him to be polite and he looked at me and said “didn’t know you were closed this morning. Why?” I told him that we go to church first, to which he replied, “Well I don’t feel like I need God anymore since I’ve got it made without Him.”
I guess the shocked look on my face made him realize what he had just said, because he looked away and, under his breath, murmured, “guess I shouldn’t have said that”. I just walked away without another word. But that is how many people feel about it but won’t voice it out loud.
THIS IS COMMERCIALISM
v.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 share in any of her plagues
God will have His people on earth during this time. It won’t be the church, however. Remember the 144,000 Jewish evangelist which were sealed at the beginning of the Tribulation? Will they all be able to last? Of course, they will…. To the very end.
But will they remain faithful to Christ? You bet they will. God started with 144,000 and He will end with the same. Not a single one of His sheep will be lost. The voice that is heard here in this verse is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ. He is calling His people out of Babylon before the judgement comes. This is a repeat of the call to Lot in Sodom just before God destroyed that city. In Genesis, Lot was warned to get out of Sodom to escape the fire that was coming. You can read about it in Genesis 19. There is a wonderful promise that God made to His faithful ones that also applies to the faithful of today. Deuteronomy 4;30-31 says this: “When you are in destress, and all these things come upon you in the latter days, when you turn to the Lord your God and obey His voice” (for the Lord your God is a merciful God), “He will not forsake you nor destroy you, nor forget the covenant He made with your fathers, which He swore to them.”
Also, God warned the Israelites in Jeremiah 51: 5, 6, and 45 and in 4:20 in a twofold warning:
1. They were to have nothing to do with the sins of Babylon.
2. They were to flee before judgment fell.
What were the sins of Babylon? They were many. Idol worship and sexual perversion were the most prominent and many others centered around those two. This also can be applied to us, today. It warns us that God wants us to be separate from worldly ways and walk by the Spirit; not to indulge in the old sinful nature; keep away from idols such as money, success, and self-gratification. We are to avoid the sexual sins such as adultery, fornication, homosexuality, and pornography. Either we deal with our sins here and now, or Christ will deal with them at the judgment seat of Christ.
1 Corinthians 11:31-32
For if we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened by the Lord, that we may not be condemned with the world.
How can we judge our own sins?
1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
To “confess” means to say the same thing that God says about it. It means to take God’s viewpoint and say “You’re right, God. What I did is sin.” If we refuse to call it sin, then we will be judged by God.
v. 5 “For her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.”
The sins of Babylon have piled on top of each other like the tower of Babel. Babylon has a long history of accumulated sins, and God has a record. Nothing has escaped God’s ears or eyes.
6 Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup.
7. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit as a queen; I am no widow, and I will not mourn’
Obadiah 1:15 For the day of the Lord upon all the nations is near. As you have done, it shall be done to you; Your reprisal shall return upon your own head.
WOW. If this isn’t a warning for us today, I don’t know what is. I truly believe that the Day of the Lord’s return is so near, I can almost hear the angels tuning up their trumpets.
Next week, we will finish this chapter with a word about a different reaction, this one from heaven’s point of view. But before we get to that, the scripture has a little more to say about the conditions in Babylon as the hammer of the Lord falls. Don’t miss it friends. It’s later than you think. Much love and prayers, friends. Pray for our lost friends, neighbors and loved ones. Better yet, go talk to them, they may get a little angry but it’s worth it in order to win them for Jesus. Pray for me as I continue witnessing to my friend, So far, he has seemed interested but to a point. His name is David.