Revelation #30 Revelation 18: 1-24 End Times: The Fall of Babylon


Revelation #30 Revelation 18: 1-24 End Times: The Fall of Babylon


We’ve been told that Babylon has come to its end.  Revelation 14:8 reveals Babylon has fallen.  Revelation 16:9 reveals the great city lies in ruins.  Revelation 17 depicts the Beast devouring Babylon.  Babylon represents the entirety of culture that is opposed to God.  Her downfall happens in the 7th event. John’s original readers would understand that this is a reference to Rome and all that Roman culture represents. For believers, it is the center of evil.  In chapter 18 John sees details of Babylon’s destruction. As we explore this chapter, we once again need to be reminded that if we go looking in the pages of history for the fall of Rome, or if we assume that sometime in the future the city of Rome is going to be devastated, we are missing the meaning of John’s words. For the Kingdom to be Consummated everything and everyone that is not aligned with God is removed. In the End, anti-Christ culture will cease to exist. Evil must be destroyed. In this chapter, John is telling us of the anti-Christ culture’s demise in graphic detail.


Elsewhere in scripture, Babylon is referred to as the world. 

1 John 2:15-17 (MSG)

Don't love the world's ways. Don't love the world's goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.


“The “world” … is the [self]-centered way of life which ignores God… The philosophy of the world says that the only important thing is “this life.” The principles of the world are force, greed, selfishness, ambition, and pleasure. The “world” … is a system of values that comprises a way of life which is exciting and colorful and seductive and sweet and wonderful—and as a result, we are constantly in danger of getting wrapped up in it, and in danger of giving spiritual values second place.” ( , )


Babylon is sensualism, materialism, and egoism. In the End, no unrighteousness can be left.

Revelation 18:1-3 (MSG)

Following this I saw another Angel descend from Heaven. His authority was immense, his glory flooded earth with brightness, his voice thunderous:


Ruined, ruined, Great Babylon, ruined!

A ghost town for demons is all that's left!

A garrison of carrion spirits,

garrison of loathsome, carrion birds.


3 All nations drank the wild wine of her whoring;

 kings of the earth went whoring with her;

 entrepreneurs made millions exploiting her.


The “Following this” is what happened to Babylon in Chapter 17.  “…the ten horns you saw, together with the Beast, will turn on the Whore—they'll hate her, violate her, strip her naked, rip her apart with their teeth, then set fire to her” (Rev 17:16 (MSG).  Evil always turns in upon itself, evil always self-destructs. The Angel announces the results.


The boom town has gone bust. It has been emptied, and now is inhabited by dust and demons.  Ghosts of what was and is no longer, and will never be again blow through the deserted streets.  The whoring, the grabbing for, the chasing after sensualism, materialism, and egoism, that day is gone forever.  Babylon has caved in upon itself.


Revelation 18:4 (MSG)

Just then I heard another shout out of Heaven:

Get out, my people, as fast as you can, so you don't get mixed up in her sins, so you don't get caught in her doom.


The voice speaks on behalf of God to God’s people.  Here’s another of John’s temporal distortions, Babylon has already been judged and ruined.  Yet the Voice warns the faithful to separate themselves from her.  It’s just the way visions work.  It can be confusing, but the message is clear. “We must continuously refuse to be guided by the world’s standards of right and wrong. … We must disassociate ourselves from the value system of the world, and its preoccupation with pleasure and wealth and power” ( , ), or we will get sucked down into the same cataclysm of destruction.


The Voice continues shouting out Babylon’s list of crimes.


Revelation 18:5-8 (MSG)

Her sins stink to high Heaven; God has remembered every evil she's done.


Give her back what she's given, double what she's doubled in her works, double the recipe in the cup she mixed; Bring her flaunting and wild ways to torment and tears. Because she gloated, "I'm queen overall, and no widow, never a tear on my face,"


In one day, disasters will crush her—death, heartbreak, and famine—Then she'll be burned by fire, because God, the Strong God who judges her, has had enough.


Giving her double comes from the Jewish culture.  “Anyone responsible for loss or damage and to repay it twice over” (Exodus 22:4, 7, 9—Barclay's Daily Study Bible (NT).  Not only has Babylon seduced people from God, but she has also killed the prophets and saints with such delightful indulgence in the slaughter that she was drunk with their blood. Now she is drinking the vintage of God’s judgment. She’s getting double what she put out in suffering.


She never sees it coming. Pride will blind your eyes to the disaster ahead. Pride can convince you that you have it made and nothing is ever going to stop you. Prov 16:18 (MSG) warns: “First pride, then the crash—the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.” Pride magnifies our strengths, diminishes our weaknesses, devalues the input of others, makes us believe we have all the answers, excuses mistakes, inflates self-importance and makes us believe that we are unstoppable. Pride makes it impossible to see the smackdown coming. Be filled with pride and like Bablyon in just one day disaster can crush you.


In this judgment, we also see the law of reaping and sowing.

Galatians 6:7-8 (NLT)

Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature.

What Babylon dished out, comes back to her double.


Revelation 18:9-10 (NLT)

And the kings of the world who committed adultery with her and enjoyed her great luxury will mourn for her as they see the smoke rising from her charred remains. They will stand at a distance, terrified by her great torment. They will cry out, “How terrible, how terrible for you, O Babylon, you great city! In a single                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  moment, God’s judgment came on you.”


These kings of the world are not the 10 Kings that back the Beast, rather they represent everyone who grew rich in commerce with Rome.  Pull this out of time and it could be Athens, Venice, Genoa, Amsterdam, London, New York, with Beijing on the rise. Oh the money, “they have committed fornication with the harlot and lived voluptuously with her, now their fortunes have changed” (Mounce, p. 328). The whole economic system has come crashing down.


Revelation 18:11-14 (MSG)

"The traders will cry and carry on because the bottom dropped out of business, no more market for their goods: gold, silver, precious gems, pearls; fabrics of fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet; perfumed wood and vessels of ivory, precious woods, bronze, iron, and marble; cinnamon and spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine and oil, flour and wheat; cattle, sheep, horses, and chariots. And slaves—their terrible traffic in human lives.


14 Everything you've lived for, gone! All delicate and delectable luxury, lost! Not a scrap, not a thread to be found!


Revelation 18:15-17 (MSG)

"The traders who made millions off her kept their distance for fear of getting burned, and cried and carried on all the more: Doom, doom, the great city doomed! Dressed in the latest fashions, adorned with the finest jewels, in one hour such wealth wiped out!


Revelation 18:17-19 (MSG)

"All the ship captains and travelers by sea, sailors and toilers of the sea, stood off at a distance and cried their lament when they saw the smoke from her burning: 'Oh, what a city! There was never a city like her!' They threw dust on their heads and cried as if the world had come to an end:


Doom, doom, the great city doomed! All who owned ships or did business by sea Got rich on her getting and spending. And now it's over—wiped out in one hour!


If you look at the destruction of Babylon from a certain perspective it's tragic.  If you pause and think of all the good that could have been accomplished if the culture hadn’t fallen under the influence of the Dragon, it’s just sad.  What a responsibility we have to use our gifts, our talents, and our experience for the glory of God (Eller, p 171).  But evil intent cannot produce good.


Those that aligned with Babylon, with the world, lament.  Those who have bent their knee to the Lordship of Christ can rejoice. All the heavenly hosts who have been witness to the devouring of Babylon join in.


Revelation 18:20 (MSG)

 "O Heaven, celebrate! And join in, saints, apostles, and prophets! God has judged her; every wrong you suffered from her has been judged."


What comfort to hear that justice has prevailed. “Every wrong you suffered” Babylon has been held in account, sentenced, and executed. This villain can no longer trouble the faithful.


Revelation 18:21-24 (MSG)

A strong Angel reached for a boulder—huge, like a millstone—and heaved it into the sea, saying,


Heaved and sunk, the great city Babylon, sunk in the sea, not a sign of her ever again. Silent the music of harpists and singers—you'll never hear flutes and trumpets again. Artisans of every kind—gone; you'll never see their likes again. The voice of a millstone grinding falls dumb; you'll never hear that sound again. The light from lamps, never again; never again laughter of bride and groom. Her traders robbed the whole earth blind, and by black-magic arts deceived the nations. The only thing left of Babylon is blood—the blood of saints and prophets, the murdered and the martyred.  


The millstone reminds us of the words of Jesus.


Luke 17:2 (MSG)

Better to wear a millstone necklace and take a swim in the deep blue sea than give even one of these dear little ones a hard time!


A millstone could weigh as little as 88 pounds and as much as 330 pounds.


The millstone sinking Babylon is a picture from the Prophet Jeremiah.  Jeremiah is writing about the Babylonians who sacked Jerusalem.  He tells his servant:


"When you've finished reading the page, tie a stone to it, throw it into the River Euphrates, and watch it sink. Then say, 'That's how Babylon will sink to the bottom and stay there after the disaster I'm going to bring upon her.' "

Jer 51:63-64 (MSG)


God’s reckoning with the Great City leaves it desolate, with only the blood of saints and prophets, the murdered and martyred remembered (Revelation 18:24).


In verse 4 we are told to “get out of it, don’t get mixed up with her sins.” 


We have read of the demise of Babylon, the culture that defied God, ignored His invitation for salvation, murdered His Children, and destroyed itself.  Babylon “does not value persons. It uses them; it consumes, exploits, and manipulates people for the sake of the ‘higher values’ of gold and silver, jewels and pearls…The splendor of the world…is bought at the expense of the people of the world… Babylon eats people” (Eller, p.171). Now Babylon herself has been eaten by the evil she promoted.


John reveals to his original audience that the way things are will not last. The lifestyle of opulence and exploitation will devour itself and nothing of it will be left.


This calls for contemplation. Are you free of Babylon’s grip? Sensualism, materialism, egoism, and pride are her hooks. Get out while you can.


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