Chapters 18 and 19 should be read together to discover what Jesus is saying to us today through John, and to encourage us for the final outcome, which God has planned in minute detail. We need to understand what is meant by Babylon and the harlot church and to keep vigilant and accountable. We have already discussed both of these matters in previous chapters of Revelation, but now the time has come to look at them in a little more depth. God is dealing with the inhabitants of the earth and especially the Antichrist, together with the false prophet and all those who have deliberately chosen to follow them, through all their forms of deception on the earth.
We all worship something or somebody, but any worship other than to the One True God, as seen in Jesus Christ, is idolatry. Joshua, in Joshua 24:15, puts worship and service together and says that we must choose, as we cannot serve God and mammon. Jesus goes further by saying that if we try to serve money, we hate God, Matthew 6:24. What a challenge! Timothy says, “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs,” 1 Timothy 6:10. When we look at the cause and downfall of Babylon, it presents an opportune time to prayerfully consider our relationship with money.
Read Revelation 18:1-3
The light of our sun is brilliant, but its light can only shine on the part of the earth which faces it. Imagine the radiance and splendour of another angel who illuminates the entire earth, and that is just one angel, who comes from the Presence of God and reflects His Light! In 2 Corinthians 3:12-18 Msg, it points out that Moses wore a veil to hide God’s Glory, after he had spent time with Him, but now it is only Jesus Christ who can remove the veil of unbelief for the Jews. If we are born again there is “…Nothing between us and God, our faces shining with the brightness of His face. And so we are transfigured much like the Messiah, our lives gradually becoming brighter and more beautiful as God enters our lives and we become like Him.” We need to remember that it is God, “Who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us, spreads and makes evident everywhere the sweet fragrance of the knowledge of Him. 15 For we are the sweet fragrance of Christ [which ascends] to God, [discernible both] among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing;” 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 Amp. People can see when we have been with Jesus! But His reflected Light in us will be as nothing compared to being with Him in eternity, Revelation 18:1-3.
It has been given to this angel to announce the destruction of Babylon. This declaration comes marginally before the actual occurrence of her obliteration, and we can see this from the warning, which the next angel will give! The judgement on Babylon will be absolute. It will be so devastating that no living person will ever consider rebuilding in that place. But what is Babylon? Babylon is mighty (v2), depraved (v3), a habitat for everything that is loathsome, detestable (v2), immoral (v3) and the home of demons and evil spirits (v2). In other words, it is the most disreputable place imaginable! Even worse is the fact that every nation and businessman has become implicated. The entire world is heaving with immorality, as it embraces the power of Satan, which is no power at all, as they will discover! Sin is still sin, regardless of the way it is committed. The Antichrist and those whom he has persuaded to side with him have absolutely no intention of following God’s ways.
Babylon is a resort for demons – a place where they can go in comparative safety. It is described as a dungeon, a place that has become the ‘cesspit of the earth;’ filthy and created for a purpose. Babylon is also described as the centre of idolatry – the place where everything other than God is worshiped – a place of excess in everything; a place where the Antichrist is worshiped. All who base themselves in Babylon have become rich from immorality, unjust earnings and control. It has become a cistern for both wealth and corruption, for such is the goal of the world church. All who live there believe that they have succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, but they have disregarded those at whose expense they have become rich. Primarily, they have ignored God, Who has given men the power to attain wealth, but with the use of that wealth, He also requires an accounting – the law of reciprocity Deuteronomy 8:18. Babylon is certainly a place that will be annihilated, but it is also figuratively, the base of the world religious system. In both cases they will be judged, as will all the residents.
Read Revelation 18:4-6
God is the amazing loving God and as we have discovered time and time again, during our study of Revelation, He is not willing that any should perish. Accordingly, He has sent this angel to warn of the impending doom, followed by another angel being sent to caution all of His people who live in Babylon, to leave prior to the destruction, Revelation 18:4 Amp. God has continuously delivered His people from the predicaments in which they have become embroiled, especially from mixing with those who were not His chosen. Starting with Adam in the Garden of Eden, who became ensnared by Satan and his conniving plans, through to the Exodus, when He took His people out of Egypt and led them into the Promised Land. Then through the period of the Judges, when they again went their own way, were oppressed by their enemies, then delivered by God through a series of Judges, to when He finally sent Jesus – to pay the ultimate price for our freedom – Himself. He has gone to considerable lengths to explain to us that light does not mix with darkness and that His desire is for His people to live according to His Light, especially found in His Word, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path,” Psalm 119:105.
Paul wrote of this to the Believers at Corinth. They were involved in practices, which they needed to shun; similarly, we are often in the same position today. We need to fully understand that God yearns to give us His very best, so we should not be satisfied with our own second best, 2 Corinthians 6:14-18 Amp. It is so easy to justify becoming involved with the world, but the world will squeeze us into its mold. Should we permit this, by yielding to the temptation, it is often as easy as becoming sexually or commercially involved with an unbeliever. This is not to suggest that this is about being associated with unbelievers in terms of buying and selling, but it is talking about being engaged with them in business as directors of companies with equal authority. How can a Christian make a Godly decision, when there is an ungodly person wanting to go in a different direction? Likewise, how can we as Believers, marry someone who is adamantly atheist, with not the slightest desire to follow God, and who is regrettably heading for a completely different outcome to life and eternity?
Imagine your life in the light of this reading of Revelation! Here we see how God is yet again giving His people another chance to turn to Him, while there is still time. One day soon, He will call down the final curtain on the Antichrist and his operation and He promises that it will not be pleasant for anyone, who is found to be dabbling in Satan’s ways. The challenge is to put an end to our trade-offs, for the oxymoron is that what we compromise to keep, we will lose!
The Life Application notes give some suggestions for how we can keep away from the evil system.
1. People must always be more important than products.
2. Avoid pride in your own plans and successes.
3. Remember that God’s Will and Word must never be compromised.
4. People must always be considered above the making of money.
5. Do what is right, no matter what the cost.
6. Be involved in businesses that provide worthwhile products or services – not just things that feed the world’s desires.
Babylon’s reward for what she has done to others will be twice all the evil she has unleashed on her people, so the consequences of her actions will be doubly self-inflicted. To us, having read of these horrors, it is hard, if not impossible to imagine the ramifications.
Read Revelation 18:7-8
How is this judgement going to unfold? It will be instantaneous and disastrous! When Jesus speaks about how God measures out His “giving” in the Gospels, Luke 6:38, He uses examples to explain the spiritual principle. This principle of reciprocity works in two ways. We have always looked at this from a ‘positive’ perspective. As an example, when we give to the poor, or to someone we know who will benefit from our help, we know that God promises to return to us more than we have given. God is no man’s debtor! Conversely, from a ‘negative’ point of view, the same can be said when people give bad things. They too will reap a reward, which will be more than what they have initially given. Here, in Revelation, we can see that promise in action on the world religious system, as God visits suffering, sorrow, plagues and calamities, together with pestilence, anguish, sorrow and famine, all in one day. Satan’s scheme is temporary, restricted by God, but God’s plan is eternal and unrestricted!
Read Revelation 18:9-10
Utter destruction and devastation is coming to the world religious system and the way of the Antichrist, which is nothing to what has been prepared for Satan and his demons! People will look in horror, as all their security disappears in one day. The world is not opposed to religion; it is just opposed to Christianity in its truest sense. Jesus said, “I am The Way, The Truth and The Life; no man comes to the Father except through Me!” John 14:6. As a result, the world loathes Him and anyone who agrees with His teachings. This hatred stems from the fact that the world cannot do as it desires, as the flesh screams for its own dark way. It cannot face the Light of Christ to justify its compromise, so it tries to rid the source of its problem – Jesus, the Author of Life.
Read Revelation 18:11-20
So when the destruction of the world religious system takes place, the world finally has to face the unpalatable truth that it has been completely wrong! The rulers of the earth and the leaders will stare in abject terror, as they realise that they have been impolitic and as a result, they have now become totally impotent. They have already lost all their riches, so all they can do is pathetically wail and moan about the ruins! Revelation 18:11-15.
It won’t just be the rulers and leaders who bemoan the loss of the religious monolith; it will be everyone who made a profit out of it! Every kind of luxurious living is affected including the trading in human slavery. The rich will, in one day, become paupers. There will be no market for their finery and baubles. Gold, silver and precious stones will be devalued immediately. Transport and shipping will be brought to a standstill and all semblance of order will utterly break down.
Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed because of their debauchery and the smoke of their burning could be seen for miles in every direction, but that will be nothing compared to the physical destruction of Babylon. Even those who stood a long way off from Babylon, but traded with her, will be filled with absolute terror as they realise that their rich and varied self-centered lives, under the rule of the Antichrist, have been completely destroyed. They will begin to fret about how to manage to scrape together enough to eat and to feed their families. Surely judgement has begun? Still people will fail to turn their lives over to God, even in these last of the last days, preferring instead to believe the hideous lies of the Antichrist, who has by now, lost total control of all he sought to gain, except for his armies, Revelation 18:19. Contrast the response of those coming to terms with their impending ruination with that of the saints – the people of God and those few Believers who are still alive at this time, Revelation 18:20. Mourning versus Joy! For the followers of the false religion – their happiness turns to sorrow and despair. Conversely, for those who love God, what appeared outwardly to the world system, as the ashes of their lives, now suddenly become transformed into crowns of Beauty, Isaiah 61:1-3
Our responsibility now is to proclaim the Good News of Salvation, so that no one we know will have to face going through this period of Tribulation. We have the answer and yet how often do we keep silent? As Believers, we know the uniqueness of Christ. Someone once said that ‘Every human has emerged from history, but Jesus is the only one who has ever come into history! He came out of the everywhere, into here, in order to lead us from the here to everywhere! The Son of God became the Son of Man in order that the sons of men might become sons of God and because Jesus came out of eternity, He alone is able to lead us into eternity.’ What glorious news; news too wonderful to keep to ourselves! Churches have been likened to God’s surgery, so how can we sit in churches expecting hurting people to come in to receive the prescription they need – the amazing Word of Truth – as they will never hear the healing Word of the Lord, unless we tell them! “17 So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ,” Romans 10:17 NLT.
Sadly, our churches are full of the ‘frozen chosen;’ those who believe, but who have not asked and received Jesus into their hearts. Often, they erroneously believe that they are already Christians, who will automatically go to heaven, either because they were born that way, or because they earned the right by doing good works and religiously attending Church. People are without excuse however; Jesus made it clear on how to become a Christian and also whose responsibility it is to ensure that they come to faith, Matthew 28:18-20. Unless we dare to share, the majority will never hear the Word of the Lord. Jesus gave us His authority and anointing to tell people, and as He left to be with His Father, He sent the promised Holy Spirit, His Presence, to be with us, as our counselor. There’s no better gift we can give others than the hope of heaven! So, with prayer and in the Name, and on the Authority of Jesus, may we not be silenced – let us GO!
Read Revelation 18:21-24
Having described the fall of Babylon, John now describes how events unfold. A mighty angel picks up a huge boulder the size of a millstone and throws it into the sea. He compares God’s judgement of the violence and total destruction of the city, together with its worldwide religious system, to its ending, which is absolute and eternal. There will be no more memories of happy times in Babylon for everything will be erased. All that Satan has laboured so hard to achieve by deceiving the people, will be gone forever. The false religious system will have been known for its beautiful music and artistry – the envy of the entire world. The rich houses in that city will be brought to nothing and elite men and women, who in the eyes of the world had everything, will be exposed for who and what they really are. This is a holocaust like never seen before. The power and riches they all had enjoyed had been built on pure delusion. The time has been transitory lasting less than seven years, and now it is all over. Gone is the power, gone the wealth, gone the human and religious authority and in its place is left poverty, hardship and a realisation that the promises of the false prophet and the Antichrist were mere facade – empty shells of plans.
Just as in all things that are built on falsehood and fallacy, the truth will be exposed. For Babylon and her religious system, which the world has applauded for so long, a shocking truth will now confront the former inhabitants and worshipers. The blood of Prophets and Believers, together with all those ever massacred on the earth, can be laid squarely at the door of this systematization. For this practice has been established ever since iniquity was found in Lucifer, the angel who led the praise of God, whose position ‘on the sides of the North’ he gave up, because he was jealous! He coveted God’s place and all the honour and praise, which he desired for himself. For such an horrific crime, he was judged and condemned to eternal destruction in the Lake of Fire, along with all his short-sighted and gullible followers.
“How have you fallen from heaven, O light-bringer and day star, son of the morning! How you have been cut down to the ground, you who weakened and laid low the nations [O blasphemous, satanic king of Babylon!] 13 And you said in your heart, I will ascend to heaven; I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will sit upon the mount of assembly in the uttermost north. 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High. 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol (Hades), to the innermost recesses of the pit (the region of the dead). 16 Those who see you will gaze at you and consider you, saying, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, who shook kingdoms?’ ” Isaiah 14:12-16. Imagine our undoubted reaction in the future, when we are looking down on Satan! ‘Is this the one, who had me so bound, and whose lies I believed so often? Is he really the one who stole so much from me?’ Let us take our rightful authority over him today; the authority for which Jesus Christ paid such an inconceivably high price!
As Christians we have chosen to follow Jesus Christ, to know Him as our Lord and Saviour and to walk by the power of His Spirit. He has given us everything we need for life and godliness; we just have to put our faith into action and ‘do it.’ We will not be here to see this amazing downfall, but it should fill us with such a heartfelt urgency to tell every man, woman and child of His love and care, of His power and authority, His grace and Truth, so all can share in the eternal Life bought for us by Christ’s Precious Blood. This is why He saved us; to enjoy intimate fellowship with Him, on a daily basis, and then to live with Him forever, in Glory.
Remember the early description of the place, which is lit by the Light and Presence of the Living God, where His Presence brings Life “for ever and ever,” Revelation 1:12-18. We will continue to praise Him and to love Him for all He has done for us, but chiefly because God the Father sent His beloved Son to die in our place, so that we did not have to suffer what we deserved, but instead, we could reach out and cross over the bridge of His death into Heaven itself. How truly awesome is His Grace and Mercy, but we cannot keep this wonderful gift to ourselves – gifts are for sharing!
30 Revelation 18 – The Destruction of Babylon – Challenge Questions.
It is suggested that you answer all the questions in your homework but only do those marked with ‘*’ in your group to save time and give more time to prayer.
1. *Read the Notes and the Bible Verses referred to in them. Highlight the points that ‘speak’ to you and be prepared to share with your group.
2. *Think about our relationship with money – do we worship and serve money and things? What is the Holy Spirit challenging us about at this time?
3. Read 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, what challenge do you receive from this advice from Paul and how do you see this relevant to your situation today?
4. Can you think of anyway that the fall of Babylon will be a worse Holocaust than the one against the Jews during WWII?
Read Revelation 19:1-21Amp.
5. *What impresses you about the Hallelujah party? What is the effect on the elders? Have you ever been in a time of praise like this? Describe it.
6. What does the Word say is the reason that Judgement comes to the harlot?
7. *Describe the wedding supper of the Lamb. How does the Bride prepare herself?
8. What does John do wrong?
9. What do you think the meaning is of ‘For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy?’
10. *Describe what John sees in Revelation 19:11-15. Who does he see? What is the specific name of the rider?
11. What name was written on his robe and on his thigh?
12. *What was the second great supper of God?
13. *What happened to the Beast and the false prophet? What happened to the rest and how?
14. What encouragement do you get from this chapter?