REVELATION 18

NOTES ON REVELATION 18

Introduction to the chapter
In chapter 17, the emphasis was on the relationship of a religious system, (symbolised by a woman), to the beast, or antichrist. In the last verse we learned that that woman was also to be thought of as a city, for that is where the centre of her influence lies. In 17:16 the ten kings associated with the beast burn the woman with fire, and it is this that is the subject of chapter 18.

It would be helpful to notice the things Zechariah saw in his visions, for they have a bearing on the chapter before us. Zechariah prophesied in Jerusalem soon after the return from captivity. He saw a series of visions all in one night as follows:

First vision, 1:7-17

Zechariah learns that it is because God is jealous for Jerusalem, and had “returned to it with mercies”, (meaning His judgement upon the city was over), that He had allowed the people to return to rebuild the city and the temple.

Second vision, 1:18-21

Zechariah saw four horns, the symbol of Gentile powers that had scattered Judah, Israel, and Jerusalem. Then four carpenters cast out the horns of the Gentiles. In other words, the hostile Gentile powers that took both Israel and Judah into captivity are cast out, and prevented from harming Israel now that they are back in the land.

Third vision, 2:1-13

A man with a measuring line measures Jerusalem, implying that it would be successfully rebuilt.

Fourth vision, 3:1-10

Joshua the high priest is cleansed and clothed, ready to function in the rebuilt temple, despite Satan’s opposition.

Fifth vision, 4:1-14

Zerubbabel would be enabled to finish the building of the temple, encouraged by God’s two anointed ones, the prophets Zechariah and Haggai.

Sixth vision, 5:1-4

Zechariah sees a flying roll or scroll which advertises God’s curse upon the thefts and deceit that pertained worldwide.

Seventh vision, 5:5-11

Instead of the rebuilding of Jerusalem, it is the building of a house in the land of Shinar that is in view.

Eighth vision, 6:1-8

The prophet sees four horses and chariots, which symbolise God’s angelic agents, that inform Him of the situation in different parts of earth. The quarter from which most trouble for Israel has come is quiet, signifying that the risk of attack is low.

We need to concentrate on the fifth and sixth visions.

Zechariah 5:1 Then I turned, and lifted up mine eyes, and looked, and behold a flying roll.

By flying roll is meant a scroll spread out like a banner, advertising God’s curses on conditions in the earth, especially to do with deceit and stealing. The fact that Zechariah turned indicates a change of mood in the visions. All the others tell of God’s dealings with Jerusalem; the two in this chapter speak of Satan’s city, and the basis upon which it shall prosper.

5:2 And he said unto me, What seest thou? And I answered, I see a flying roll; the length thereof is twenty cubits, and the breadth thereof ten cubits.

That the scroll can be measured indicates it is spread across the sky, its contents fully visible. The size is the same as the floor space in the Holy Place of the tabernacle in the wilderness. The holiness of God has been outraged by the behaviour of men, and this is God’s protest, and also His warning of the consequences.

5:3 Then said he unto me, This is the curse that goeth forth over the face of the whole earth: for every one that stealeth shall be cut off as on this side according to it; and every one that sweareth shall be cut off as on that side according to it.

Written on one side of the scroll was God’s curse on those in the earth who were guilty of stealing. On the other side were curses on those who swore.

5:4 I will bring it forth, saith the LORD of hosts, and it shall enter into the house of the thief, and into the house of him that sweareth falsely by my name: and it shall remain in the midst of his house, and shall consume it with the timber thereof and the stones thereof.

God assures the prophet that God will bring forth His curse, and it will enter into the house of the one who has stolen, and also the house of the one who has sworn falsely by His name. The curse will remain in the house and not go away, and shall consume the building entirely. The house may not simply be the dwelling-place of the sinner, but the house he has built up in a commercial sense by the use of stealing and swearing falsely. In verse 11 a house is built in Shinar in the same sense.

To swear falsely was to transgress against the law of God in such a way as demanded a trespass offering to be brought. There were seven kinds of transgression against God and one’s neighbour listed in Leviticus 6:1-8, as follows:

1. To lie about something delivered him to keep. This is carelessness with regard to another’s property, and the denial of the fault.

2. To transgress in the matter of fellowship. This refers to agreements made, but broken. It is literally “putting the hand”, and is equivalent to our modern-day shaking hands on an agreement.

3. To take away anything by violence. This could include using the law to deprive another of his property rights.

4. To deceive one’s neighbour, perhaps over a business deal, making it appear other than it really is, and thus gaining an advantage.

5. To find something another has lost, and to lie about it, no doubt denying that it has been found, and thus keeping it illegally.

6. To swear falsely, making an agreement one has no intention of keeping.

All of these trespasses are prevalent in the modern business world, and will become increasingly so after the restraint offered by the Holy Spirit has gone during the Tribulation period. The mystery of lawlessness already works, but then will be unrestrained.

5:5 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth.

5:6 And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.

An ephah was a measure of about seven and a half gallons, and was used both for liquids and solids. It would represent therefore, the whole range of commerce, which depends on the measurement and weight of materials, whether it be wheat or gold.

The resemblance is the likeness. The word is literally “the eye”. So just as one can see one’s reflection in another’s eye, so what follows will be true of all in the commercial world of the future.

5:7 And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah.

A woman is often used as a metaphor for a religious system in Scripture. Seeing she is described as wickedness in the next verse, and the word is the feminine of lawlessness, the description given to the antichrist in 2 Thessalonians 2:xxx, (“that Wicked”), we can easily see that she represents the amalgamation of religious wickedness and commercial wickedness in the form of lawlessness, the transgression of the laws God has put in place for the regulation of life on earth. The woman sits in the midst of the ephah to signify she controls from the centre.

A talent is a hundredweight, but it may also be translated “round piece”, so we can see that it is a round and heavy piece of lead that fits closely around the top of the ephah-measure.

5:8 And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof.

The prophet learns that the woman represents wickedness, and she is confined in the ephah while it is transported to its destination. The heavy lead weight keeps her in.

5:9 Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven.

If the woman represents a religious system, then these two women must do also. We know from Revelation 17:5 that the harlot has daughters. The wind is in their wings, for they are storks, birds that rely on wind currents to carry them along. The word for wind and spirit is in many cases the same, so we have lawlessness being carried along by “the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience”, Ephesians 2:2. The women carry the basket between the earth and heaven; in other words, they soar high in the sky, just as storks are able to do.

5:10 Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah?

5:11 And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.

The prophet learns that the ephah is to be carried to the land of Shinar, where the men who had rebelled against God congregated at the beginning, and where the tower of Babel had been built, the centre for idolatry after the flood, Genesis 11:1-9. Satan will make Babylon his base at the end times, and antichrist will be King of Babylon, and the woman will be his queen, controlling the religion of the world. In the same way Semiramis, the wife of Nimrod, had instituted the idolatrous system of the mother and the child, with the child being the husband of the mother, but revived after having been killed.

It is interesting to notice that soon after he became United States President, Donald Trump addressed a large gathering of Arab leaders, and amongst other things said,”…the birthplace of civilisation is waiting to begin a new renaissance…great cities will be built on the ruins of shattered towns…”

Comparisons and contrasts between Old Testament prophecies concerning Babylon, and the references in the Book of Revelation:

The city is literal in both cases

Jeremiah 50:1 “The word that the Lord spake against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans by Jeremiah the prophet.”

Revelation 16:19 “and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath”. (Notice that the cities in the first part of the quotation are literal, so Babylon must be a literal city also).

Babylon is the centre for idolatry

Jeremiah 50:2 “Say, ‘Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces'”.

Revelation 17:5 “And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the great, the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth.” Abominations are idols.

Babylon has spread idolatry throughout the earth

Jeremiah 51:7 “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad”.

Revelation 17:2 “With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication”. Fornication is a metaphor for idolatry.

Both are described as golden

Isaiah 14:4 “That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, ‘How hath the oppressor ceased! The golden city ceased!'”

Revelation 18:16 “Alas, alas, that great city…decked with gold, and precious stones and pearls”.

Both are associated with a golden cup

Jeremiah 51:7 “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken”.

Revelation 17:4 “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:” The Cup of Semiramis, Nimrod’s wife, was a well-known feature of Babylonish ceremonies. It would be filled with wine which contained substances that induced those who drank it to enter a fresh level of consciousness, by which they were enabled to understand things hidden from normal mortals. It is said that when Cyrus the Persian entered Babylon after overthrowing Belshazzar, he discovered the Cup, which was very large. We know from Daniel 5 that the king was drinking wine with his guests that night. Ancient coins from Babylon depict a woman holding a cup in a distinctive way.

The fall of the city is sudden in both passages

Jeremiah 51:8 “Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.”

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 announcement of the fall in the same

Isaiah 21:9 “And he answered and said, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground'”.

Revelation 14:8 “And there followed another angel saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all the nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication'”.

The destruction of the city is in the Day of the Lord

Isaiah 13:1,6,10 “The burden of Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see…Howl ye, for the Day of the Lord is at hand…the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine…”

Jeremiah 51:6 “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; He will render unto her a recompense.”

Revelation 6:17 “for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

God’s people are called to go out of the city

Jeremiah 51:45 “My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord.”

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.”

Both are said to sit on many waters

Jeremiah 51:13 “O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.”

Revelation 17:1 “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, ‘Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:'”

Both are burned with fire

Jeremiah 51:30 “The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women: they have burned her dwellingplaces; her bars are broken”.

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 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 destruction is likened to being thrown into the water

Jeremiah 51:63,64 “And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates: And thou shalt say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary’. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.”

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.

The destruction is complete and final

Jeremiah 50:39 “Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.”

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.'”

Her fall is the cause of much rejoicing

Jeremiah 51:48 “Then the heaven and the earth, and all that is therein, shall sing for Babylon: for the spoilers shall come unto her from the north, saith the Lord.”

Revelation 18:20 “Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.”

Revelation 19:1-4 “And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are His judgements: for He hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of His servants at her hand. And again they said, Alleluia. And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four beasts fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia.”

With this background information in mind, we turn now to Revelation 18, where the things foretold of old time are shown in their fulfilment.

Structure of the chapter

(a) Verses 1-3 The finality of the fall of Babylon
(b) Verses 4, 5 The appeal to God’s people before the fall of Babylon
(c) Verses 6-8 The justice of the fall of Babylon
(d) Verses 9-19 The mourning for the fall of Babylon
(e) Verse 20 The rejoicing of heaven over the fall of Babylon
(f) Verses 21-23 The violence of the fall of Babylon
(g) Verse 24 The greatness of the guilt of Babylon

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION CHAPTER 18, VERSES 1 TO 8:

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.

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.

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.

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.

18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

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.

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.

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.

(a) Verses 1-3 The finality of the fall of Babylon

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.

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven- some think the expression “after these things” serves to distinguish the Babylon of chapter 17 from the Babylon of this chapter. The phrase occurs ten times in the Book of Revelation, on seven occasions John tells us that he saw something after the things previously mentioned, and this is one of those seven occasions. The other three references occur in 1:19, 4:1, and 9:12, where the expression “after these things” does signify an important break in the sequence of the events in the book. Here, however, there is a continuation of the previous chapter, but the change of emphasis warrants the expression “after these things I saw”.
Having great power- we must remember that Babylon is the centre of Satan’s power, and that the nations of the world are protected by evil angels. We learn from Daniel 10:12-11:1 that the angel Gabriel was not able to withstand the angel-prince of Persia until Michael, the prince that stands for the nation of Israel, came to help him. So mighty evil angels protect the interests of the empire of the antichrist. We know from chapter 12 that Satan and his hosts will by now have been expelled from heaven, but they still operate on earth, as is seen in 12:13-17. This is why a strong angel comes to announce the downfall of Babylon, for the voice from heaven in verse 8 will say, “Strong is the Lord God who judgeth her”. The angel has the resources of the strong Lord God at his disposal.
And the earth was lightened with his glory- we should not forget that under the fifth seal the kingdom of the beast became full of darkness. How dramatic will be the effect of a mighty angel coming down from heaven and shedding his glory over the scene. The Lord Jesus spoke of the glory of the angels, Luke 9:26.

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.

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen- the strength of the angel is displayed by his mighty cry with a strong voice. In fact, the word for “strong” angel, and the word for “loud” voice is the same. His voice is an expression of his power. Isaiah speaks of horsemen coming to bring news of the overthrow of Babylon, and they say, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen”, Isaiah 21:9. In Revelation 18 the message comes from an angel. The city is called Babylon the great because it will have been the capital city of the antichrist, the centre of a great rebellion against God. The repetition of “is fallen” indicates the certainty and finality of the fall, for it shall never rise again.
We should notice that nearly identical words are used in Isaiah as are used here. But in Isaiah the reference is to a literal city, so that shows the same is true here, unless we are given any indication otherwise, which we are not. It is true that the woman is described as a city in 17:18, but that is the point. It is the woman that is like the city, not the other way round. The city is so identified with the woman’s influence that the two are, in a sense, interchangeable, but it is still a literal city that can be burned with fire.
And is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird- not only is the finality of the fall indicated by the language, but also by the description now given. Jeremiah prophesied that when Babylon was destroyed, “Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever”, Jeremiah 50:39. Our passage goes further, however, and speaks of Babylon becoming not only the cage of every unclean and hateful bird, (birds like the vulture which is both unclean and loathsome to look upon), but also the habitation of evil spirits. These evil beings are called devils because they are allied to the Devil himself. They are called foul because of their vile influence, both spiritually and morally.

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.

For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication- the word fornication occurs seven times in connection with Babylon in these chapters, thus emphasising the particular sin, both moral and spiritual, that marked her, no doubt under the influence of the foul spirits of the previous verse. Jeremiah said that “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed”, Jeremiah 51:7,8. And again Jeremiah said, “For thus said the Lord God of Israel unto me; ‘Take the wine cup of this fury at My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send thee, to drink it. And they shall drink, and be moved, and be mad, because of the sword that I will send among them’. Then took I the cup at the Lord’s hand, and made all the nations to drink, unto whom the Lord had sent me”. So not only do the kings of the nations drink of the woman’s cup, 17:4, so that they are initiated into her mysteries and obey her dictates, but they also find that the Lord turns that cup into a cup of wrath, and they are made to drink to their destruction. In 16:19 we read “and great Babylon came into remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath”.
And the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her- when men are drunk with wine they often act in an immoral way. Here the immorality is of a spiritual kind, as the kings of the earth ally themselves with her. Notice the city is spoken of in female terms, because it is the representation of the woman of chapter 17. In the same way the bride of Christ is a city in 21:9,10.
And the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies- so not only is Babylon the religious centre of world religion, and the political centre for antichrist, but it is also the commercial centre, for these three things are inter-related.

(b) Verses 4, 5 The appeal to God’s people before the fall of Babylon

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.

And I heard another voice from heaven- the first voice is of a strong angel, whose voice was strong and his cry was mighty, for he is announcing judgement. Here the angel is making an appeal on behalf of God to His people.
Saying, Come out of her, My people- when the city of Jerusalem is overrun by the forces of antichrist at the start of the Great Tribulation, (for it is to be trodden down of the Gentiles for forty-two months, Revelation 11:2), the Jews will be “led away captive into all nations”, Luke 21:24. It is to those who are taken to Babylon that the appeal comes to remove themselves from the city. The Lord called Israel through Zechariah to separate themselves from Babylon, “Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon”, Zechariah 2:7. At present, the nation of Israel cannot be called the people of God, Hosea 1:9, but individuals from among the nation can be so described. Jeremiah also spoke of this need to flee. He wrote, “Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; He will render unto her a recompense”, Jeremiah 51:6.
There is a practical lesson here for today, for believers are called to separate in every way from religious evil. They refuse to do so at their spiritual peril, as the next phrase would indicate.
That ye be not partakers of her sins- those who choose not to separate from the world’s religious system are reckoned to agree with its doctrines, which are Christ-dishonouring and Christ-denying.
As the apostle Paul wrote, “Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be My sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty”, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18.
And that ye receive not of her plagues- it was under the seventh angel, (and remember the seven angels had “the seven plagues”, 15:6), that “great Babylon came into remembrance before God”, 16:19. The plagues are listed for us in verse 8, being death, mourning, famine, and the burning of the city. If God’s people wish to avoid these, they must flee from the city.

18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

For her sins have reached unto heaven- at the beginning of this city’s history, the men of Shinar, (called Sumerians by archaeologists), built a tower, “whose top may reach unto heaven”, Genesis 11:4. They were not so stupid as to think they could reach the stars physically. What they were doing was stretching out to the host of heaven to worship them. The ziggurats still to be found in Iraq, (and for that matter the pyramids of Egypt and South America), were built in the interests of worshipping the host of heaven. So it is that when men built their tower, God came down to see it, Genesis 11:7. Here, however, He does not need to come down, for it is not the tower that reaches to heaven now, but their sins.
And God hath remembered her iniquities- all down through the centuries God has been remembering the sins instigated by the Babylonian religious system. Just as He remembers the spiritual exercises of His people, and records them in the book of remembrance that is “written before Him”, Malachi 3:16, so He records the sins of men. At the time of His choosing He remembers those sins, in the sense that the record is consulted. We read in 16:19 that “great Babylon came in remembrance before God”, for the time to judge the sins recorded in His book had come. He does not need the book in case He forgets, but so as to show His judgement is strictly in accordance with the facts. David had an official known as a recorder, which comes from the word to remember, 2 Samuel 8:16. He was the remembrancer, making a record to be consulted later.

(c) Verses 6-8 The justice of the fall of Babylon

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.

Reward her even as she rewarded you- this shows how far back God’s memory of Babylon’s dealings goes. Jeremiah, when speaking of Babylon writes, “The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go”, Jeremiah 51:33. So what happened when Israel, (the ten-tribed part of the nation), went into captivity by the Assyrians, and when Judah, (the two-tribed part), were taken captive to Babylon, has not been forgotten by God, even though one took place in BC 723, and the other in BC 606.
And double unto her double according to her works- not only has Babylon been responsible for taking Israel captive, but it has done evil in the world sphere also, hence she deserves double punishment. The works that Babylon is guilty of are manifold and evil. How much intrigue, plotting, overthrowing, has taken place in the political sphere through this system is yet to be told in its fulness, but God knows every detail. And then in the religious sphere, how much evil doctrine and wicked machination there has been, fomented in our day by the Jesuits, whose main task from the Pope is to undermine the truth of God and set up devilish error in its place.
The reason why God is so against Babylon is because it was responsible for the destruction of the temple in Jerusalem. Said Jeremiah, “Woe unto them! For their day is come, the time of their visitation. The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of His temple”, Jeremiah 50:27,28.
In the cup which she hath filled fill to her double- the woman’s cup of 17:4 was full of abominations and filthiness. Now it is to be filled with the “wine of the fierceness of His wrath”, 16:19. And because she sinned in a double way, she must drink the cup twice over. There is the temporary misery of losing all, and then the eternal misery in the Lake of Fire.

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.

How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously- The list in verses 12 and 13 of items of merchandise traded in Babylon, give insight into how they were living deliciously, meaning in luxury.
So much torment and sorrow give her- as the city lived thus, it was priding itself on its success and trading skills, not knowing that the degree of the self-glorying would be the degree of the sorrowing. Instead of glory there would be torment; instead of luxury there would be misery.
For she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow- Isaiah describes Babylon before her fall with the words, “Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, ‘I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:’ but these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood”, Isaiah 47:8,9. Notice the phrase “given to pleasures”, which is the same description in our chapter. Then she claims “I am, and none else beside me”, as if her position is unassailable. This is a blasphemous parody of the words of the Lord Himself, “I am the Lord, and there is none else”, Isaiah 45:5, and “For I am God, and there is none else”, 46:9. As we shall see from the next verse, she must be destroyed to make way for the one who will claim to be god.

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.

Therefore shall her plagues come in one day- the reason why Babylon shall be destroyed suddenly is that her sins were so great that she will not be allowed time to repent. In the verse from Isaiah just quoted, the judgment would come “in a moment in one day”.
Death, and mourning, and famine- no doubt the agencies for these judgements are the ten kings allied to the beast who shall turn on her at the end of the Great Tribulation, as the previous chapter describes, “And the ten horns that thou sawest on the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. 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”, 17:16,17. This will need to happen so that all power, religious and political, is centred in the beast, so there is no rival system to his, and he can claim to be god.
Death will come to those who have not heeded the warning to escape out of this city. Those who survive the first few hours will be overcome with mourning for those taken from them. And then there will be famine. But we usually think of famine as coming after a drawn-out period. This famine is different, for it is as if the effects of a long-drawn out famine are felt in one day.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION CHAPTER 18, VERSES 9 TO 19:

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,

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.

18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

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,

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.

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.

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,

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!

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,

18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

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.

(d) Verses 9-19 The mourning for the fall of Babylon

The mourning of the kings of the earth- “Alas, alas that great city Babylon”.

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,

And the kings of the earth- we read in 17:18 that the woman “reigneth over the kings of the earth”, holding them under her sway. No doubt blackmailing them with the prospect of eternal punishment if they did not own allegiance to her and do her bidding. Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain is required to dress in black when she meets the Pope as an act of penance for the dissolution of the monasteries by her ancestor, Henry VIII. This is just a small indication of the power the Popes try to wield over the monarchs of earth. And who knows what is whispered in their ear in secret?
Who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her- the prophets used sexual sin as a metaphor for idolatry, and that is what this Babylon system is. It is based on the hellish teachings of the ancient priests, which resulted in men being under the sway of spirit-forces. The idolatry was but a front for demon-worship. In exchange for their attentions in this way, these kings were given all they wanted in terms of a life of luxury and ease as they co-habited with her.
Shall bewail her, and lament for her- they lament for her, but only because of their loss of power and influence. Heaven will rejoice over her fall in the next chapter. These kings are out of touch with heaven.
When they shall see the smoke of her burning- the physical burning of the city of Babylon is a sign of the destruction of the system itself, for we read that it is the ten kings who shall burn her, (that is, the woman) with fire, 17:16.

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 judgement come.

Standing afar off for the fear of her torment- such will be the intensity of the burning that the kings shall not be able to endure the heat, and will stand afar off.
Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! Notice the change from “her” torment to “great city”. The city and the religious system are bound up together, just as at Babel when men rebelled against God and idolatry began. For then there was a city, and also a tower at whose top the worship of the host of heaven would have been carried out.
For in one hour is thy judgement come- God had foretold that the judgement would be like this, “Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: And mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: And desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know”, Isaiah 47:11.

The mourning of the merchants- “Alas, alas, that great city”.

18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her- Babylon wil be the great commercial centre of the end times, as well as the seat of the antichrist and the centre of godless religion. The businessmen of the world will converge there to make money. Now their headquarters is burnt with fire, with the consequent disruption of their profit-making enterprises.
For no man buyeth their merchandise any more- their profit-motive was uppermost in their minds. They made a convenience of the religion. That there is no alternative centre of business reminds us that buying and selling will be rigorously controlled by the beast. Only those who have his mark will be able to do it, 13:16,17. They cannot transfer their business elsewhere and be able to trade again.

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,

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.

The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones- the finance facilities.
And of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet- the finery.
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- the furniture and fittings.
And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense- the fragrances.
And wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep- the foodstuffs.
And horses, and chariots- the facilities for sport.
And slaves- these goods will need an army of unskilled workers to handle them, and there will be no concern about the welfare of the workforce, so that they will be virtually slaves, as in John’s day.
And bodies and souls of men- this is the most sinister item of all, for the corporations will demand that their workers give their lives for the firm, no matter what strain it puts upon them physically, nor what the cost to them as people. The King of Sodom came to Abraham, and said “Give me the persons (souls), and take the goods to thyself”, Genesis 14:21. And this is the demand that businesses put on their workforce already, which will clearly intensify in a day to come.

Apart from the last three, these are all the luxury goods that may be found in high class shopping malls even today, and in full measure in the ultimate shopping mall of the city of Babylon.

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.

And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee- the apostle Paul wrote of “fruit that may abound to your account”, Philippians 4:17. By this he meant profit credited to the believers for giving to further the work of the Lord through him. Instead of losing by giving, they gained and made a spiritual profit. The men of Babylon shall indeed make a profit, but they will not gain by it, for it will all be destroyed. This is true of all things that men seek to accumulate, for they will not take them into eternity. “For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out”, 1 Timothy 6:7.
And all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee- those luxury items they had purchased for themselves from previous profits, they were gone too. Past gains and prospective ones were alike gone.
And thou shalt find them no more at all- they would never see either their profits or their possessions. They would be deprived of them for ever in their totality.

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,

The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her- they were made rich by trading in the materials listed, but they were made rich really by association with the woman. It is only because they have surrendered their wills to her that they are able to prosper.
Shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing- this is why they weep, for they will never recover their position, for the one who has been their facilitator of riches is destroyed.

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!

And saying, Alas, alas that great city- like Lot’s wife, they look back longingly at the ruin of the city and regret its destruction. They have no thought that it is the judgement of God that is taking place. Babylon has always been noted for its greatness, as Nebuchadnezzar said, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30.
That was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! We read “And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls”, 17:4. So the city is so identified with the woman that it is said to wear the same clothes and jewellery as she does. Note that these merchants only think of greatness in terms of riches and extravagance. Being deficient in spiritual appreciation, the spiritual riches the Christian has are alien to them.

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,

For in one hour so great riches is come to nought- they thought they were secure well into the future, like the rich fool who said to his soul, “Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat drink and be merry”, Luke 12:19. Fortunes can easily be lost in an hour.

The mourning of the shipmasters, “Alas, alas, that great city”

And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off- attention now turns to the shipping magnates who profited from the transport of Babylon’s luxury goods to and fro. There are the heads of the shipping lines, “every shipmaster”; those who run the ships, “all the company in ships”; those who steer the ships, “the sailors”; and the on-shore exporters and their office personnel, “as many as trade by sea”. All these lament the destruction by burning of the great city of Babylon, for it was the means of their livelihood and riches. All this seems to imply that the Euphrates will be deepened so that ships may sail up to the city, unless there is a port constructed at the mouth of the river.

18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! Babylon presented unparalleled opportunities to ply their trade, for none could buy or sell without the mark of the beast, and trade will be concentrated in the beasts capital city, the coming capital city of the world.

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.

And they cast dust on their heads- this is the characteristic eastern way of expressing deep sorrow. They have become obsessed with riches, so that the loss of them is like the loss of a loved one. As the apostle Paul wrote, “For the love of money is the root of all evil”, 1 Timothy 6:10.
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! They join the kings and the merchants in their lament at the fall of Babylon. It was the love of extravagance that promoted the accumulation of riches. When men came from other parts of the world and saw the luxury of the city and its inhabitants, they coveted the same.
For in one hour is she made desolate- again, the suddenness of the destruction is emphasised. In the previous chapter the angel told John that the ten kings would “make her desolate”, referring to the woman, 17:16. So again there is the mention of the woman and the city as if they are synonymous, which, in a very real sense, they are. The bride of Christ shall never be desolate, for she will be at the side of her Beloved for all eternity. She was not attracted to Him by His earthly riches, for He became poor, but His precious blood has purchased her.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION CHAPTER 18, VERSES 20 TO 24:

18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

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.

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;

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.

18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

(e) Verse 20 The rejoicing of heaven over the fall of Babylon

18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

Rejoice over her, thou heaven- in contrast to the weeping of those who profited by Babylon, there is a call for great rejoicing on the part of both believers and angels in heaven. The two view-points expressed in these verses are totally opposed. It is the responsibility of believers now to note this, and not be infected by the Babylon-spirit which is in the world already.
And ye holy apostles and prophets- there is always in the background the thought that the city of Babylon will be, and has been, the centre of the religious opposition to God represented by idolatry. As Jeremiah said, “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine, therefore the nations are mad”, Jeremiah 51:7. It is an undoubted fact that the form of religion represented at the moment by the Roman Catholic system spread throughout the earth from the city of Babel, following the confusion of tongues. Everywhere in the world the same basic ideas are held, centred on the idea of the mother and the child, with the child being the reincarnated husband of the mother. So it is that when the truth of God is presented in such an environment, there is opposition, for the Babylonish religion is ultimately driven by the forces of evil, so that Satan is worshipped. The holy apostles are those of this age who promoted the truth of Christianity, either personally, or through their writings. The prophets did a similar thing in the Old Testament era, setting forth the mind of God before Christ came.
For God hath avenged you on her- in the Old Testament, it was the responsibility of the nearest kinsman to come to the rescue of his relative who was in some trouble. He was also charged with the task of avenging any wrong that had been done to him. Christ is presented in the Book of Revelation not only as the Kinsman Redeemer of His people, but also their Kinsman Avenger. The saints down through the ages have been badly wronged by the Babylonish system, and now the time of recompense has come. It is said that fifty million of God’s saints in this age alone have been killed for their faith by Roman Catholic agents.

(f) Verses 21-23 The violence of the fall of Babylon

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.

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea- the following quotation is from the prophecy of Jeremiah: “The word which Jeremiah the prophet commanded Seraiah the son of Neriah, the son of Maaseiah, when he went with Zedekiah the king of Judah into Babylon in the fourth year of his reign. And this Seraiah was a quiet prince. So Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon, even all these words that are written against Babylon. And Jeremiah said to Seraiah, When thou comest to Babylon, and shalt see, and shalt read all these words; Then shalt thou say, O Lord, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate for ever. And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates: And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah. Jeremiah 51:59-64.
So in Jeremiah’s time, it was the book containing the prophecy which had a stone bound to it, and was then thrown into the Euphrates river. Here Jeremiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled, and the angel depicts this by his action; but it is not the book, but a stone as large as a millstone, (representing the great city of Babylon), that is flung into the sea.
Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all- this is not to say that the city will be thrown into the sea. Rather, that its destruction will be so thorough as when a large stone is drowned in the ocean, and no trace of iit is found any more.

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;

And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee- all categories of people will be affected by Babylon’s destruction. Here it is the musicians who entertained the inhabitants at their concerts. It was one of the features of the world of Cain’s day that there was music, for we read of one of Lamech’s sons, Jubal, that “he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ”, Genesis 4:21. This is probably the origin of the word “jubilation”. Satan has many ways to distract men from thinking about God and eternity, and music is one of them. The word “amusement” consists of the word “muse”, to think deeply, and the negative “a”. Amusements are designed to stop us thinking.
And no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee- then there are the trades-people and skilled craftsmen of every sort, who enable life in the city to proceed without inconvenience.
And the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee- such a population of wealthy people will demand food of the finest and most varied sorts, but one day the mill-stones will be charred and burnt, with none to turn them.

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.

And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee- the beautiful chandeliers that graced their dwellings and ballrooms have no one to cause them to shine. And in the houses, all will be in darkness.
And the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee- either the man and his bride cannot be heard saying their vows, or their new life together has been disrupted. Either way, the simple joys of a normal society will cease for ever in the city. The Lord Jesus prophesied “For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be”, Matthew 24:39. Since there will also be a disdain for marriage as in Sodom before it was destroyed, perhaps the marriages here are for social reasons, to make an impression upon others, and to make an excuse for lavish entertainments and parties. They will use marriage as an pretext to show off to their friends, seeking to outdo one another in the extravagance of the spending.
For thy merchants were the great men of the earth- in that day those who have been successful in business and made themselves fortunes will be looked up to as great men. As the psalmist said, “And men will praise thee when thou doest well to thyself”, Psalm 49:18.
For by thy sorceries were all nations deceived- the word used for sorcery gives us the English word “pharaceuticals”, or drugs. The golden cup in the woman’s hand would have wine mixed with hallucinatory drugs, enabling those who drank from it to be put into such a state as would enable them to see beyond the natural, to view the infernal. Those who were initiated into the mysteries of the heathen mysteries would affect others, so that the whole world would be deceived. This process began at Babel, and was accelerated by the dispersion that took place as a result of the confounding of the language.

(g)   Verse 24   The greatness of the guilt of Babylon.

18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints- all who have been martyred for their faith, whether in the Old Testament times or the New, have been the victims of the religious ideology represented by Babylon. Satan has only had one religion for men, based on rejection of the word of God. It has taken many forms, but at heart is the denial of the Father and the Son, for the apostle John defined an antichrist as one “that denieth the Father and the Son”, 1 John 2:22.
And of all that were slain upon the earth- it is not too much to say this. When we think of the religious element in most if not all wars down the centuries, and the rejection of God that leads to murder, then we can easily see that the angel is right in what he says to John here.

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