Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!

She Has Become a Home for Demons

18: 1-3

   DIG: Why will Babylon be so important to the antichrist? What two spots of perpetual desolation will there be during the millennial Kingdom? Why will they be judged so harshly? What happened to the wealth of the false religious system?

   REFLECT: If you were going to describe your life in terms of a city, what would you say? What kinds of cargoes are coming into it? What activities occur within its walls? How does it compare with Babylon? What would be a fitting name for your city? How do you keep the evils listed in this passage out of your city or life?

    At the very end of Revelation 17 we learned that Babylon will be the great city, that rules over the kings of the earth; it is the end-time capital of the godless worldwide empire of the antichrist. It will be the mother of all evil and all forms of false religion. Like Paris, France, she will represent a lifestyle of high culture. Like Jerusalem, she will be a crossroad of world religion. Like Washington, she will be teeming with political power. As a matter of fact, if you took all of the most powerful cities in the world and put them together, you’d have Babylon. She will be the nerve center of the antichrist’s final world system that opposes ADONAI and His people at every turn.

    But it won’t last. Actually, the moment Satan is thrown out of heaven he will know that his time is short (12:12). Before the antichrist has time to break all of his campaign promises, his empire begins to fall apart. Earlier in 14:8 we were forewarned of Babylon’s inevitable downfall: Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries. Like a helpless coastal city in the path of a giant tsunami, it is just a matter of time before she is reduced to nothing. Revelation 18 begins with the same pronouncement, but adds some more details.

    As it often does in the book of Revelation, the phrase after this marks the beginning of a new vision. While still discussing the general demise of the beast’s world empire, the Holy Spirit moves from the fall of religious Babylon to the fall of commercial/political Babylon. As the new vision began, John saw another angel. Some believe this angel is Messiah, however, the use of allos, which means another of the same kind, instead of heteros, or another of a different kind, points to the fact that he is an angel seen in 17:1. He may be the angel who had earlier predicted Babylon’s downfall in 14:8.

    There are three features that reveal this angel’s unusual power and importance. First, he came down from heaven with great authority (18:1a). He left the presence of the LORD with delegated authority to act on God’s behalf. Secondly, the whole earth was suddenly illuminated by the splendor of the angel (18:1b). Elsewhere in the Bible, ADONAI is pictured as dwelling in unapproachable light (First Timothy 6:16) and has wrapped Himself in light as with a garment (Psalm 104:2). Little wonder that those who come from His presence are marked by a lingering radiance like the face of Moses (Exodus 34:29-35). Thirdly, he cried out with a mighty voice. The angel’s message is summarized: Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great (18:2a)! The repetition of the verb fallen, found in the aorist tense, which speaks of a coming event as if it had already happened (Isaiah 21:9, 34:13-15).385

    The entire world will be fruitful and very productive during the millennial Kingdom. The whole earth will be beautiful. Yet, there will be two areas of perpetual desolation during the entire thousand years. The first of these two desolate areas, Babylon, will be the former commercial and political capital of the antichrist (see my commentary on Isaiah Dk – Babylon, the Jewel of Kingdoms, will be Overthrown). Throughout the thousand year millennial Kingdom, no man will even travel through the ruins of Babylon. How Babylon will be captured, the boast of the whole earth seized! What a horror Babylon will be among the nations! The sea will rise over Babylon; it’s roaring waves will cover her. Her towns will be desolate, a dry and desert land, a land where no one lives, through which no man travels (Jeremiah 51:62-64). Not only will Babylon be a desolate waste throughout the messianic Kingdom, it will also be a place of continual burning and smoke: The smoke from her goes up for ever and ever (19:3). The animals mentioned in Isaiah  (see my commentary on Isaiah Dk - Babylon, the Jewel of Kingdoms, will be Overthrown) and Jeremiah (see my commentary on Jeremiah Fd - The Devastation of Babyon According to the Divine Purpose of God)cannot be literal animals because they could not live in that environment. John explains what they really are: She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit, a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird (18:2b). It will be a place of confinement for many demons during the messianic Kingdom. The second desolate area in the Kingdom will be Edom (see my commentary on Isaiah Gi – Edom’s Streams Will Be Turned into Pitch).

    For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants, or those who travel around the earth, grew rich from her excessive luxuries (18:3). The wealth originally collected through the influence of the apostate church will then be taken over by the political system in the Great Tribulation, which, with universal political power is able to accumulate fabulous wealth.386 The graphic description of the fall of Babylon in Jeremiah 50 is followed by a more detailed description in Jeremiah 51 (see my commentary on Jeremiah Fh - The Fall of Babylon and Assurance to the Exiles). It will be Babylon’s influence on other nations that will cause God’s judgment to fall on her. Babylon was a gold cup in the hand of the LORD; she made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore, they have gone mad (Jeremiah 51:7).

    Having thrown off all restraint, sinners will indulge in a wild materialist orgy. Like King Belshazzar of ancient Babylon, they will be partying while their city is destroyed (Daniel 5:1-30). James, the brother of Jesus, who condemned the ruthless ways of the wealthy, could apply just as well to those in Babylon in the end times. Now listen, you rich people, weep and wail because of the misery that is coming upon you. Your wealth has rotted, and moths have eaten your clothes. Your gold and silver are corroded. Their corrosion will testify against you and eat your flesh like fire. You have hoarded wealth in the last days. Look! The wages you failed to pay the workmen who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of ADONAI, God of heaven’s armies. You have lived on earth in luxury and self-indulgence. You have fattened yourselves in the day of slaughter. You have condemned and murdered innocent men, who were not opposing you (James 5:1-5).

 

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