In Revelation eighteen we have the description of the fall of the woman or as she is called, “Babylon the Great.”
The Prediction of the Fall of Babylon
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendour. With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great! She has become a home for demons and a haunt for ever evil spirit, a haunt for ever unclean and detestable bird. For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth have committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”
The appearance and authority of this angel is a clear indication that God Himself is announcing His judgement upon Babylon. The description given here reminds us of previous prophecies about the destruction of the Babylonian Empire as given to us in Isaiah 13-14 and Jeremiah 50-51. Babylon was once a world empire, and it was destroyed, never to be inhabited again. The mystery side of Babylon, both political and religious, has continued throughout history and will culminate in the tribulation period with a world government, and a world religious system, both of which will fall by the judgement of God Himself. This false religious system has seduced world leaders to kill true believers throughout history. Moreover, this system has been engaged in many commercial enterprises which have made her rich and so have the people who have taken part in her commercial schemes.
The Plea to God’s People
Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “Come out of her, My people, so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.”
The command for God’s people to “come out of her” comes from Jeremiah’s prophecies to the people of Israel to get out of ancient Babylon according to Jeremiahs 50:8-10 and Jeremiah 51:45. It is clear from these two passages that God desires to protect His people and that He desires to punish Babylon. God’s protection of His people demands their withdrawal from Mystical Babylon. This assumes that true believers will be caught within this religious system. Otherwise, there is no need for such an appeal. Separation from apostate Christianity has always been the requirement of God. God will judge her for her sins. She seduced the nations and the leaders of the world and God will pour out His wrath on her according to Revelation 16:19.
The Payment Babylon will Receive
“Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Mix her a double portion from her own cup. Give her as much torture and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, “I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never mourn.” Therefore, in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.”
God’s vengeance will be revealed even against false religion in whose name and under whose influence millions have suffered and died. God’s judgement will fall and vindicate His people according to Deuteronomy 32:35, Romans 12:19 and Revelation 6:10-11. The principle “what we sow we will reap” is applied here. In the case of this religious system she will receive a double portion of God’s wrath because of the enormity of her sins. This religious system boasts that she will never experience sorrow or torment for her lifestyle and luxurious living. But God sees her differently in that He sees her as a widow for He has forsaken her as the prophet Isaiah describes in Isaiah 47:8-11. God will use the nations of the world to judge her and those who have followed her.
The People affected by Babylon’s Fall
When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her. Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, city of power! In one hour your doom has come!” The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys her cargoes any more – cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind of made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and bodies and souls of men. They will say, “The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your riches and splendour have vanished, never to be recovered. The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn and cry out: “Woe! Woe, O great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls! In one hour such great wealth had been brought to ruin! Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off. When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, “Was there ever a city like this great city?” They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: “Woe! Woe, O great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin.”
In the name of religion many people have become prosperous. The fall of the religious system causes many people on the earth to weep and mourn. This shows us how vitally connected religion is to the economic systems of this world. The kings are aware that the day of God’s wrath has come and they weep and mourn over the destruction of this system even though they hate her. They are the very ones who will be involved at the battle of Armageddon when they too will experience the wrath of God and be killed by the sword of the coming King of kings and Lord of lords according to Revelation 19:19-21.
The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over the destruction of this system because they will lose their business. Please note that among their goods are mentioned the bodies and souls of men. No doubt, this will have included the sex slave trade of girls as well as boys, which is such a terrible practice through which people earn much money.The desire for achievement and accumulation of wealth is a dominant factor in people’s lives. But judgement day is coming. The merchants of the world together with the kings of the earth will mourn the sudden destruction of the system which has helped them become prosperous.
Religion has often been guilty of material goals. It has deceived people into believing that material prosperity is a sign of God’s approval. It has encouraged the “profit motive” and has seduced the nations of the world because of it. John next focuses on those who make their living from the sea for they too will lose their livelihood. That makes sense, for products need to be transported via ships, and when the economic system is judged, then there will be no more products to be transported.
The Praise of the Believers
Rejoice over her, O heaven! Rejoice, saints and apostles and prophets! God has judged has for the way she has treated you.
The long-standing question about the suffering of the righteous and prosperity of the sinful has now been settled. God’s judgement on this system, under whose influence multitudes of believers have suffered and died, will cause rejoicing in the hearts of all true believers.
The Pronouncement of Babylon’s Fall
Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said, “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again. The music of harpists and musicians, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No workman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again. The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world’s great men. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray. In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth.”
Jeremiah’s pronouncement of judgement on ancient Babylon in Jeremiah 51:63-64 closely parallels the angel’s pronouncement in Revelation 18:21-24. Just as ancient Babylon was destroyed, so Mystery Babylon will be destroyed. God will put out the lights of Babylon for good.
This system is overthrown by God because she has deceived the nations of the world to carry out her evil plans to eliminate the people of God. She has used the governments of the world to accomplish her purposes. Furthermore, she is inspired by satan himself who works all kinds of miracles through her leaders, and finally, through the false prophet. God will bring her to an end. She will not be found again.