Not long before the triumphal return of Jesus Christ, a great economic superpower is judged for its evil deeds and destroyed.
VERSE 1. After these things, I saw another angel coming down out of the sky, having great authority. The earth was illuminated with his glory.
earth was illuminated with his glory. The splendor of this one solitary angel illuminates the entire planet.
This was not said of any other angel thus far.
VERSE 2. He cried with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and she has become a habitation of demons, a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird!
Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great. This is great news!
VERSE 3. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her sexual immorality, the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from the abundance of her luxury.”
all the nations. Babylon the Great had infected every nation. No nation was immune to its wickedness.
VERSE 4. I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that you have no participation in her sins, and that you don’t receive of her plagues,
Come out of her, my people. Sometimes God calls people to leave a particular religious system. They are to shake its dust from their feet and move on.
Isaiah 52:11. Depart! Depart! Go out from there! Touch no unclean thing! Go out from among her! Cleanse yourselves, you who carry the LORD’s vessels.
2 Corinthians 6:17. Therefore “‘Come out from among them, and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing. I will receive you.”
Revelation 18:4. I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that you have no participation in her sins, and that you don’t receive of her plagues,
that you have no participation in her sins. Some religious organizations have become so corrupt. The only way to not be infected by their filth is to leave.
Otherwise, you yourself will be corrupted by their filth.
her sins have reached to the sky. That is a lot of sins!
VERSE 6. Return to her just as she returned, and repay her double as she did, and according to her works. In the cup which she mixed, mix to her double.
repay her double as she did. The LORD God places most of us under the law of grace. He gives us grace and grace and grace.
However, he places certain people (and certain denominations and nations) under the the law of sowing and reaping. They get what they deserve.
There is a law of “sowing and reaping” throughout the Bible. We don’t know how to fully reconcile it with grace and mercy. Here are the verses we’ve found »
VERSE 7. However much she glorified herself, and grew wanton, so much give her of torment and mourning. For she says in her heart, ‘I sit a queen, and am no widow, and will in no way see mourning.’
VERSE 8. Therefore in one day her plagues will come: death, mourning, and famine; and she will be utterly burned with fire; for the Lord God who has judged her is strong.
her plagues will come. There are quite a few plagues in store for Babylon the Great: death, grief, famine, and fire. She will be burned up with fire.
VERSE 9. The kings of the earth who committed sexual immorality and lived wantonly with her will weep and wail over her, when they look at the smoke of her burning,
will weep and wail over her. Seeing the smoke from Babylon the Great, the leaders of the nations cry.
We imagine they had been receiving all sorts of illegal bribes and hidden kickbacks from it. Now their illegal profit is over.
when they look at the smoke of her burning. Only Babylon the Great is destroyed by fire. The nations of the world are not.
However, the nations are able to behold the smoke of its burning.
VERSE 10. standing far away for the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For your judgment has come in one hour.’
your judgment has come in one hour. Whether this is a literal “hour” or a figurative one, the sense is quickness. The annihilation of Babylon the Great takes place very quickly. See verse 17, below.
VERSE 11. The merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise any more:
the merchants of the earth. Almost everybody is involved in commerce, in one way or other.
Even laborers in a factory depend on their company’s ability to sell the products they produce.
no one buys their merchandise any more. Perhaps the destruction of Babylon the Great has triggered a global recession.
VERSE 12. merchandise of gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linen, purple, silk, scarlet, all expensive wood, every vessel of ivory, every vessel made of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble;
VERSE 13. and cinnamon, incense, perfume, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, sheep, horses, chariots, and people’s bodies and souls.
and people’s bodies and souls. One would hope that in this futuristic timeframe, human slavery would have been eliminated.
However, sadly, it still exists.
VERSE 14. The fruits which your soul lusted after have been lost to you. All things that were dainty and sumptuous have perished from you, and you will find them no more at all.
you will find them no more at all. Their former riches will never again be recovered or experienced. This is experienced as a devastating loss.
VERSE 15. The merchants of these things, who were made rich by her, will stand far away for the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning,
merchants … will stand far away. With the destruction of Babylon the Great, the merchants throughout the world see that their financial status has been destroyed.
They are terrified.
VERSE 16. saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was dressed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls!
Woe, woe, the great city. The merchants are wailing with grief.
VERSE 17. For in an hour such great riches are made desolate.’ Every ship master, and everyone who sails anywhere, and mariners, and as many as gain their living by sea, stood far away,
in an hour. The destruction took place in just one hour, as we saw in verse 10 above.
gain their living by sea. A lot of people make their living from the sea. And they can all watch the destruction happen.
VERSE 18. and cried out as they looked at the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like the great city?’
What is like the great city? They had a great esteem for Babylon the Great. Now it is destroyed. They feel a great sense of loss.
VERSE 19. They cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had their ships in the sea were made rich by reason of her great wealth!’ For she is made desolate in one hour.
in which all … were made rich. This gives a hint as to the identity of Babylon the Great.
It is a great economic superpower. For that reason, many people assert that Babylon the Great is the United States.
That interpretation is dubious. What if, for example, these events are delayed for ten thousand years?
In ten thousand years, the nation-states of the world will be altogether different from now.
VERSE 20. “Rejoice over her, O heaven, you saints, apostles, and prophets; for God has judged your judgment on her.”
God has judged your judgment on her. Babylon the Great had persecuted and killed believers. This was the greatest of her evils. See verse 24, below.
Jeremiah 51:48. Then the heavens and the earth, and all that is therein, will sing for joy over Babylon; for the destroyers will come to her from the north,” says the LORD.
VERSE 21. A mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down, and will be found no more at all.
A mighty angel. The word “mighty” is interesting.
Given that angels have seemingly limitless strength, what is it that distinguishes this particular angel as “strong” compared with all the other angels?
took up a stone like a great millstone. Essentially, a rock.
Jesus Christ is the Rock Foundation. Are you building your life on the solid rock of Jesus Christ? Read more »
VERSE 22. The voice of harpists, minstrels, flute players, and trumpeters will be heard no more at all in you. No craftsman, of whatever craft, will be found any more at all in you. The sound of a mill will be heard no more at all in you.
no more at all in you. That is, never again. The annihilation of Babylon the Great is total. And it is permanent
VERSE 23. The light of a lamp will shine no more at all in you. The voice of the bridegroom and of the bride will be heard no more at all in you; for your merchants were the princes of the earth; for with your sorcery all the nations were deceived.
VERSE 24. In her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slain on the earth.”
In her was found the blood of prophets and of saints. Babylon the Great had persecuted and killed believers, as we saw in verse 20 above.
Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.