Summary: This chapter deals with the destruction of religious Babylon—the hub-city for the antichrist in the end time.
This is a long chapter and we need to try to look at it in its completeness so we will get right into it. PRAYER This chapter deals with the destruction of religious Babylon—the hub-city for the antichrist in the end time. In the end time, this city will be like any great capital city. It will be a great political center. It will be strong commercially, socially, and culturally.
Commentators have two views on this city called Babylon. Some believe it will be an actual city on earth. The city is said to be either Rome or else the city of Babylon that will be rebuilt close to where it existed in ancient history. Babylon sat somewhere on the Euphrates River at the head of the Persian Gulf.
Many commentators believe that the whole eastern area will become enormously wealthy with its rich oil reserves. They believe that the nations throughout the whole region will become nations of great commercial influence and power. The area has by far the largest population concentration in the world, a population that demands goods and a booming economy.
Other commentators believe that Babylon represents all the political, commercial, social, and cultural systems of the world. They believe that it symbolizes the godless and secular societies of this world. And really, Babylon could represent any great city of the world like Washington, New York, Tokyo, London, Moscow, or Paris.
These commentators believe that this chapter is picturing the great destruction of all the godless societies of the end time. They believe that Babylon is just a symbol of the destruction of the godless government and society all across the world.
Both of these positions make sense, and either could be true. Whatever the case, this chapter emphatically declares that Babylon is going to be destroyed. Note that God Himself will destroy Babylon. It is God who will pour out the cup of His wrath upon Babylon.
READ 1. After this, that is, after the bowl judgments have been poured out and religious Babylon (false religious) has been destroyed, we see the great angelic announcement from heaven. This angel is coming from God Himself, and he is coming with great authority and power. He is so glorious that the light of his glory blazes across the whole earth. This symbolizes that his message is meant for the whole earth.
READ 2-5. In these verses, we see the reasons why Babylon will be destroyed. Five reasons are given.
1. Babylon will be destroyed because of spiritual corruption. Because Babylon won’t look to God, it will become the place for devils and their worship. We are given a graphic picture of it all.
It will become the cage for every unclean and detestable bird. The morals and sins of Babylon will run so loose that the city will become a center for every evil and unclean spirit of the underworld. Every detestable sin you can think of will run wild in that day.
Immorality, sexual immorality, adultery, homosexuality, lying, stealing, cheating, magical arts, sorcery, devil worship, witchcraft, palm readers, fortune tellers, astrology, all will be included in the list. What a corrupt society.
2. The second reason Babylon will be destroyed is because the city corrupted nations, kings, and merchants. The word “adultery” in verse 3 means spiritually adultery—the rejection of God and turning to other gods. In the end time, man will worship himself and his secular society. His life will focus around technology instead of God, science instead of God, education, pleasures, recreation, comforts, instead of God.
Babylon will take the lead on all of these. It will have economic wealth and merchants of the world will grow rich because of its wealth. The point to it all is that Babylon will use its influence for evil. The city will manipulate the nations and leaders of the world to follow its own evil purposes.
The city will lead the nations to exterminate the Jews, Christian believers, and the faithful of all other religions who refuse to give their first loyalty to the state.
Even today, if all the nations of the Middle East could be united under one rule, the confederation of power could make enormous demands and manipulate the money of the nations of the world. How? Through its oil.
3. The third reason Babylon will be destroyed is because the city will corrupt people through secularism. One of the easiest things in the world is to become influenced by secularism. A secular society offers comfort, health, education. Possessions, pleasures, time, recreation, and art. It offers all that a person could ever want physically and mentally.
But it denies and rejects God. So secularism causes people to focus on the world and nothing else. Even though this life of luxury sounds tempting, when it happens, people go into eternity lost and doomed. Scripture tells us that God and eternity lie beyond this world, either an eternity of hell apart from God, or an eternity of life and reward with God.