Revelation 18 Commentary
Summary: Read Revelation 18 KJV along with a helpful commentary.
 
 

Revelation 18 KJV

Commentary

1And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

3For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

18:1-3 God Calls His People out of Babylon: Just before probation closes and the seven last plagues are poured out, “another angel” cries “mightily” and “the earth” is “lightened with his glory.” This angel represents a gracious message of salvation. It is the final and most powerful warning given to the world. It is so strong that every person on earth is forced to choose sides in the conflict between Christ and Satan. God’s people, energized by the Holy Spirit, take this message to the world with “great power.”

They provide a marvelous demonstration of God’s character of self-sacrificing love as they plead with the people to choose God and “worship Him,” reinforcing the first angel’s message of Revelation 14:6-7. They give the warning that “Babylon the great is fallen” repeating the second angel’s message of Revelation 14:8. They fervently implore God’s people who are still in Babylon to “come out of her” (vs. 4) and “be not partakers of her sins.” She has chosen to reject God, and her time of punishment is at hand when she will “drink of the wine of the wrath of God,” which is the third angel’s message of Revelation 14:9-11.

When this angel gives his loud cry, the “Christian” churches of the world have joined themselves to Babylon. The angel declares that they have “fallen,” and describes them as “the habitation of devils,” “the hold of every foul spirit” and as “a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” They have become spiritually, morally and doctrinally corrupt. They have rejected the Holy Spirit and embraced the most vile sins, chosen false doctrines over pure Biblical truth and have turned to spiritualism for wisdom and advice. Evil angels, posing as the spirits of dead loved ones, lead them astray; Satan himself appears as an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:14), even going so far as to impersonate Christ. Thus, the churches will have cast aside their Biblical foundations are deceived.

4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

6Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

7How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

8Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

18:4-8 The mighty call, “Come out of her my people,” strengthens as Babylon is reaching the height of her power, the time when she has the universal support of the kings of the earth. In contrast of God’s people who are showing His character of love to the world, the churches of Babylon have begun to persecute God’s commandment-keeping people. They demand the strict enforcement of the Sunday law and call for a death decree upon those who will not obey this man-made edict rather than God’s commandment. God’s people, who are still scattered among many denominations, see the contrast between those who give this message and those who persecute them. They recognize the voice of their Saviour as He calls them out of Babylon.

In Daniel’s time, after seventy years of captivity, God’s people were called to leave their comfortable homes, come out of Babylon and return to Israel. Jeremiah 51:6. When the call is given to come out of spiritual Babylon, God’s people who are in churches will reject Bible truth and approve of sin must give up their comfortable traditions and unBiblical doctrines and come out. Christ says, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” John 10:27.

Babylon views herself as a “queen” ruling over the kings of the earth and no longer powerless. She says I “am no widow;” she sees her rise to power and deems herself secure in heaven’s favor, but her “sins have reached unto heaven.” It is time for God’s judgments to fall.

The seven last plagues now fall on Babylon, the great city, and on all its inhabitants, those who have received the mark of the beast. See Revelation 16. The terms “one hour” (vss. 10, 17, 19) and “one day” (vs. 8) indicate that the plagues are sudden and only last a relatively short time before Babylon is completely destroyed.

9And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,

10Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

11And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

12The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,

13And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

14And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.

15The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,

16And saying, Alas, alas that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

17For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

18And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

19And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

20Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

21And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

22And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

23And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

24And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

18:9-24 In the rest of the chapter the angel depicts the destruction of Babylon in an allegorical manner, borrowing most of his imagery from portions of Isaiah 47, Jeremiah 50-51, and Ezekiel 26, 27.

The “Kings” and governments of the earth thought Babylon would establish God’s kingdom on this earth and solve the problems facing the world. Now they see all that they have worked for destroyed. They “lament” that his dream of an earthly utopia, which would not require dependence on God but only on an external display of surface piety, will never become reality.

The merchants watch the world crash down around them and their riches go up in smoke. They “weep and mourn” and destruction of the financial system which has provided them with riches and luxury at the expense of the less fortunate. The silver and gold, the grand houses and treasure—the gain of a lifetime has all become worthless. A righteous and upright character is the true treasure obtained in this life. The merchants have scorned as worthless the gold of a righteous character, and they have esteemed as priceless the material treasures of this world. Now they are left with nothing.

The multitudes see that they have been deluded by the religious leaders and rulers and taken advantage of by those in control of business. The glory, the glitter, and the promise of ease and luxury have faded to bitter disappointment. The splendor of this glorious new world under the combined power of church and state is seen to mask an inner evil and decay. When the people realize that the leaders they trusted have deceived them, and that they are now eternally lost, they “shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate…and burn her with fire.” Revelation 17:16.

“With violence” Babylon is “thrown down;” its destruction is complete. The sights and sounds of life are gone. She has been punished for her deceptions, for the souls she has lured to destruction, and for all the pain, misery, and suffering she has inflicted on the “prophets” and the “saints.”

Ahead to Revelation 19

This commentary is adapted from Amazing Prophecies, © 2010 Family Heritage Books.

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