Episode #256. Today we’ll read Revelation chapter 18 together: The Fall of Babylon the Great.
Joy: You’re listening to the Lifting Her Voice podcast, Episode #256. Today we’ll read Revelation chapter 18 together: The Fall of Babylon the Great.
Welcome to the Lifting Her Voice podcast. I’m your host, Joy Miller, and I invite you to grab your Bible and join me as we simply read God’s word together. Some things require discipline and sometimes that’s just not easy to muster by yourself, no matter how badly you want to do it or how much you know you should. It’s just easier to do it with a friend. So refill your coffee or tea, get comfortable in your favorite chair and follow along as I read aloud. I’m so glad you’re here!
It’s been foggy at our house lately. There is often fog during the winter over the Great Central Valley in California, and during the day it tends to raise up a thousand feet or so…and settles right down on our home and our hill, which sits at just over 1,600 feet. Often, you can only see a hundred feet or so.
Some people find this to be all too depressing: dark and gloomy, and oh-so-cold. But I find it comforting. It forces me to nestle down with a blanket, sit by the fire with a warm mug of coffee and focus on my home and my family.
It is especially nice during the holidays, with the house and the tree all lit up with Christmas decorations. There are years that I look forward to taking down the tree and boxing up the ornaments and the nativity scene and the little village on the landing upstairs. I look forward to reclaiming my home and getting back to “normal”.
But not so this year. In fact, this holiday season is the most normal thing that has happened in a year filled with difficult and distressing situations, as you all know. So I’m grateful for the opportunity to forget the outside world for a time and just enjoy being alive and warm and at home with my family and my God.
Not in a Hurry This Year
So, I am not in a hurry to take down the decorations. It will happen soon enough, a day or two after the New Year. And I hope that next year, when we pull out our dusty boxes of Christmas decorations, the world is in a lot better shape than it is today.
Revelation Chapter 18
The Fall of Babylon the Great
After this I saw another angel with great authority coming down from heaven, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor. He called out in a mighty voice:
It has fallen,
Babylon the Great has fallen!
She has become a home for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
and a haunt for every unclean and despicable beast.
For all the nations have drunk
the wine of her sexual immorality,
which brings wrath.
The kings of the earth
have committed sexual immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth
have grown wealthy from her sensuality and excess.
Then I heard another voice from heaven:
Come out of her, my people,
so that you will not share in her sins
or receive any of her plagues.
For her sins are piled up to heaven,
and God has remembered her crimes.
Pay her back the way she also paid,
and double it according to her works.
In the cup in which she mixed,
mix a double portion for her.
As much as she glorified herself and indulged her sensual and excessive ways,
give her that much torment and grief.
For she says in her heart,
“I sit as a queen;
I am not a widow,
and I will never see grief.”
For this reason her plagues will come in just one day —
death and grief and famine.
She will be burned up with fire,
because the Lord God who judges her is mighty.
The World Mourns Babylon’s Fall
The kings of the earth who have committed sexual immorality and shared her sensual and excessive ways will weep and mourn over her when they see the smoke from her burning. They will stand far off in fear of her torment, saying,
Woe, woe, the great city,
Babylon, the mighty city!
For in a single hour
your judgment has come.
The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargo any longer — cargo of gold, silver, jewels, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet; all kinds of fragrant wood products; objects of ivory; objects of expensive wood, brass, iron, and marble; cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, and frankincense; wine, olive oil, fine flour, and grain; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and slaves — human lives.
The fruit you craved has left you.
All your splendid and glamorous things are gone;
they will never find them again.
The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand far off in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, saying,
Woe, woe, the great city,
dressed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet,
adorned with gold, jewels, and pearls;
for in a single hour
such fabulous wealth was destroyed!
They Threw Dust on Their Heads
And every shipmaster, seafarer, the sailors, and all who do business by sea, stood far off as they watched the smoke from her burning and kept crying out, “Who was like the great city?” They threw dust on their heads and kept crying out, weeping, and mourning,
Woe, woe, the great city,
where all those who have ships on the sea
became rich from her wealth;
for in a single hour she was destroyed.
Rejoice over her, heaven,
and you saints, apostles, and prophets,
because God has pronounced on her the judgment she passed on you!
The Finality of Babylon’s Fall
Then a mighty angel picked up a stone like a large millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,
In this way, Babylon the great city
will be thrown down violently
and never be found again.
The sound of harpists, musicians,
flutists, and trumpeters
will never be heard in you again;
no craftsman of any trade
will ever be found in you again;
the sound of a mill
will never be heard in you again;
the light of a lamp
will never shine in you again;
and the voice of a groom and bride
will never be heard in you again.
All this will happen
because your merchants
were the nobility of the earth,
because all the nations were deceived
by your sorcery.
In her was found the blood of prophets and saints,
and of all those slaughtered on the earth.
I mentioned David Guzick and his Bible commentary website Enduring Word to you a few chapters ago. My husband has a great deal of respect for the work of David Guzick and uses his website extensively for researching difficult Bible passages. And the Book of Revelation is certainly full of difficult passages!
According to Pastor Guzick, Revelation chapters 17 and 18 are similar in that they each discuss “Babylon”; however, he proposes that the Babylon in chapter 17 is a “Religious” Babylon while the Babylon in chapter 18 is a “commercial” or material Babylon.
Both Babylons have much in common: they are under the control of the Antichrist; they despise and persecute Christians; and both are filled with blasphemy, to name just a few. But there are also some significant differences.
“Religious” Babylon has as its symbol a harlot; it is identified with Rome and it is guilty of religious abominations. “Commercial” Babylon is identified with a great port city, a marketplace where goods are bought and sold, and is guilty of greed and self-indulgence.
Two Versions Intertwined
These two versions of Babylon can certainly be intertwined. But Pastor Guzick proposes that “Religious” Babylon is destroyed mid-way through the Great Tribulation; while “Commercial” Babylon is destroyed at the end of the Great Tribulation. And it is unknown whether “Commercial” Babylon refers to a single great city…such as Rome…or if it is symbolic of the corrupt commercial system of the world that is destroyed.
Also lending to this theory is that in verses 4 and 5, a voice from heaven calls the saints out of the city, meaning there are people who are saved living in “Commercial” Babylon…this would definitely not be the case with “Religious” Babylon.
I think this theory of a religious and a commercial Babylon is fascinating, and it helps to explain the similarities and the differences between these two chapters. I thank God for people like David Guzick and John MacArthur who go before us and make the difficult much easier to understand! And that can be said about my pastor, too…how about yours? Let’s pray.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your prophetic word. Thank You for letting us know that no matter how evil this world becomes, we can know that You are still in control, that You have a plan and that it will all turn out the way You have prophesied in Your word. Amen.
Thank you for joining me here today. I pray God will grow in you what has been planted and watered here. In this time of unprecedented struggle worldwide, we can look to God for guidance and comfort. Be sensitive to those in your circle of influence who need a word of encouragement and invite them to join us. If you like this show, it would be great if you give it a five-star review. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you get your podcasts. See you right here tomorrow. Be well!
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible(r), Copyright (c) 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible(r) and CSB(r) are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.
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