Summary: Week 39 in a Wednesday evening study through the book of Revelation
The Destruction of Babylon
Date: May 28, 2003
Place: Allendale Baptist Church
Text: Revelation 18:1-24
Last week and the previous week we looked at the destruction of the “harlot” or the false church during the tribulation. We studied during chapter 17 that during the seven year period of the tribulation there will appear a unified church that will turn away from sound doctrine and the things of God.
This “harlot”, this false church, will tolerate and accept all teachings except the one true doctrine. Christianity will not be accepted.
During the middle part of the tribulation this false church will be totally destroyed.
There will also come on the scene at the beginning of the tribulation a one world government, ruled by the Antichrist or the “beast”.
Here in chapter 18, Babylon represents this world system of the beast, particularly its economic and political aspects.
But also John calls Babylon a “city” at least 8 times in the book of Revelation.
Old Testament prophecy seems to make clear that the city itself will not be rebuilt.
Some equate Babylon with Rome, since the “harlot” and the “beast” cooperate during the first half of the Tribulation.
In chapter 18 John, heard 4 voices that gave four important announcements.
I. The Voice of Condemnation.
“Another angel coming down from heaven."
This should remind us that everything that takes place especially during the time of the tribulation is in the total control of Almighty God.
This announcement is in reference to Jeremiah 51-52, where the prophet saw the fall of historical Babylon.
Here John sees the destruction of spiritual Babylon, the world system organized by the ‘beast”.
“And the earth was illuminated with his glory”
This seems to be not an ordinary angel that makes the announcement, because he has great power and a glory that radiates through the whole earth.
But also remember the fifth bowl judgment in chapter 16 has darkened the world.
“Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen”
Some suggest that this is referring to a dual judgment.
Babylon the ‘harlot” false church has fallen in chapter 17 and now here in chapter 18 the economic/ political system is destroyed.
This thought is amplified in Revelation 18:6 when God announces that Babylon will receive double for her many sins.
This judgment has come because the Babylonian system has polluted the whole world.
This world system will intoxicate the people of the world with all the riches and pleasures it had to offer.
This world system of religion, economics and politics will oppose Christ and offer temporal pleasure but its final outcome will be destruction.
II. The Voice of Separation.
In all ages God’s true people have had to separate themselves from all that is worldly and opposed of God.
God called Abraham, and told him to get out of his country.
God separated the Israelites out of Egypt and told them not to go back.
Today the church is called to separate itself from that which is ungodly.
John offers 2 reasons for God’s people to separate themselves from this demonic world system. 1.) That they would avoid pollution, becoming “partakers of her sins.” Some say there is might in numbers but we must remember true unity of the Spirit exists among believers and believers should never compromise and join forces with anything or anyone that opposes Christ. 2.) Is that God’s people might be spared the terrible plagues He will send on Babylon.
God does not remember the sins of His people, but He does remember the sins of those who reject Christ their sins will be remembered and judged.
III. The Voice of Lamentation.
Verses 9-19 describe the morning of the kings and merchants that have profited from this world system.
Business and government are so intertwined during this time that what affects one affects the other.
The word weep in the original Greek means to sob openly.
God has brought an end to their life of luxury and wealth.
In these next verses, John gives an inventory of some of the commodities that has brought wealth to these kings and merchants.
Precious, metals leads the list; then costly garments; imported spices.
Last mentioned on this list are “bodies and souls of men.”
Some interrupt this in a literal sense that the buy and sell of human life will once again appear in this diabolic world system.
“Threw dust on their heads.”
This is an ancient expression of grief; of covering themselves with the filth and dirtiness of the word.
“For in one hour she is made desolate.”