Revelation 18 - Outline of Revelation (Book Notes menu page)
18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven,
having great power
{ie., authority}; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
after these things- ie., following the angel's explanation (in ch.17) of the mysteries
of the great whore, and of the beast that carried her, and of her destruction by the beast and his ten allied kings.
another {GK= allos, another of the same kind} angel- This is not Christ, but
an angel like those seen before, given great authority in God's service. cp. 14:8,15; 17:1
the earth was lightened {lit., made bright} with {GK= ek, out of} his glory.
The source of this light is the glory of God which permeates this messenger who has come from the presence of God (cp. Ex 34:29,30).
18:2 And 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
{ie., unclean} spirit,
and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
Babylon is fallen...- The destruction foretold upon Babylon (as a system) has come (Rev 14:8),
just as surely as it came upon the ancient city (Isa 13:19-22).
The repetition of her 'fallen' state is emphatic of the depth of her sin, and the severity, doubling (v.6) and permanence (v.21) of her judgment.
the habitation {GK= katoiketerion, the settled down dwelling place}-
The demons are comfortably at home in this system.
hold...cage...- the same word {GK=phulake, prison} is used for both words.
The home of the demons is also their prison, where they await God's final judgment.
The "wild beasts," of Isaiah ch.13 (above), are seen, here, to represent evil spiritual beings.
18:3 For 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.
Here is Commercial Babylon. Materialism has seductive popular appeal
which is parallel to the seductive errors of Religious Babylon. (cp. 17:1,2)
The religious, political and commercial sides of Babylon all promote idolatry.
However, the faces of the false gods differ...
  • In humanistic religion, false gods & false doctrine displace the True & Living God.
  • In humanistic government, the 'Dear Leader' displaces the Ruler over all.
  • In humanistic business, money & 'stuff' displaces the Giver of all good things.
    Commercial Babylon is addicted by "the abundance {GK= dunamis, might, power} of her delicacies {GK= strenos, insolent luxuries, wantonness}."
all nations have drunk of the wine... of the wrath... of her fornication.-
The people of the world, having eagerly indulged in the fleshly-satisfactions of the corrupt system, together with the kings and merchants, who enriched themselves through marketing ungodliness to the nations, will drink the wine of God's wrath to the full. Psa 75:8
18:4 And 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.
another voice- Christ speaks.
Come out of her, my people- Some interpreters attempt to place the Rapture of
the Church at this point, just prior to the final actions of the wrath of God.
However, in a strongly parallel passage (Jer 51:5-10,45), these words are a command to God's people, who live in the world, to separate themselves from the wickedness of the world.
The separation intended is...
  • first, spiritual and moral ("be not partakers of her sin")- cp. 1Cor 11:31,32; 2Cor 6:16-18
  • then, physical ("receive not of her plagues")- God's people are to distance themselves,
    as Lot fled from Sodom, to escape the fire and brimstone. cp. Jer 51:6,45
plagues- The word is used of the Bowl judgments (15:1; 16:9)
which are directed against great Babylon (16:19).
18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven,
This describes the enormity of her sin. cp. Jer 51:9
The phrase reminds us of Babel's tower "whose top may reach into heaven" (Gen 11:4).
and God hath remembered {ie., called to mind} her iniquities.
When God remembers sin, He acts in judgment. cp. Jer 14:10; Eze 21:24; Hos 9:9; cf. Psa 79:8
18:6 Reward {render to} her even as she rewarded {has rendered to} you,
and double unto her double according to her works:
in the cup which she hath filled
{mixed} fill {mix} to her double.
Who is the one offended? Who will give Babylon what she deserves?
It is the Lord: Jer 50:15,29.
double...- OT justice usually required one for one, 'an eye for an eye...'
But extreme sin requires extreme measures.
Therefore, just as Israel received double for her sins, so, the world system, which oppresses God's people and appropriates (steals) Israel's land, will receive double for its crimes. cp. Isa 40:2; Jer 16:18; 17:18
18:7 How much she hath glorified herself,
and lived deliciously
{GK= streniao, luxuriously, wantonly},
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.
The prosperity of ancient Babylon blinded her to the judgment of God. cp. Isa 47:1-10
So, commercial Babylon considers itself rich, self-sufficient, and secure.
It is business as usual, up to the closing day.
18:8 Therefore 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.
in one day- The GK word order is emphatic: Her plagues "in one day come."
[See other examples of swift judgment:
     Belshazzar (Dan 5:1-5,30), and the Rich Fool (Luk 12:19,20).]
The suddenness of this destruction (in one day, v.8; in one hour, v.10,17,19) may be due to fire and brimstone from the Lord (as upon Sodom & Gomorrah, cp. 16:17-21; Gen 19:24), and/or nuclear warfare, as suggested by Eze 39:6. According to the editor's understanding, Gog and Magog, will make two incursions into Israel: the first near the beginning of the seven year Tribulation period; the second near the end, at the battle of Armageddon. Ezekiel ch. 39 appears to describe the latter. Already in weakened condition, the forces of Magog (Russia) and of 'them that dwell carelessly in the isles {coastlands}' (ie., western powers, perhaps the U.S.A.) may resort to nuclear weapons.
[For more, see the Book Notes at Ezekiel ch. 39 (which will be displayed in this window).]
her plagues... death, mourning, and famine- are listed in reverse order for emphasis.
Death must come last. It is the end, to which each of these elements leads.
By whatever means, it is the Lord God who brings this swift and full destruction.
Reaction to this judgment is the subject of the remainder of ch 18.
  • On earth- mourning.
    Three distinct Lamentations of 'earth dwellers' are recorded in v.9-19.
  • In heaven- joy. (18:20; 19:1-6)
Lamentation #1 - from the kings of the earth (v. 9,10)
18:9 And the kings of the earth,
who have committed fornication and lived deliciously
{wantonly} with her,
shall bewail
{wail for} her, and lament {lit., beat their breasts} for her,
when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
The kings, who hated the Harlot, Ecclesiastical (religious) Babylon (17:16),
loved Commercial Babylon.
have committed fornication {ie., idolatry, adultery with false gods}-
To pursue money and materialism, they aligned themselves with the beast and gave themselves to follow the lie. Rev 13:16,17; 2Thes 2:8-12
     These kings (and the beast) had previously 'committed fornication' with the whore (the apostate church) for political advantage, because of her wide influence over earth's inhabitants (17:1,2). However, they hated her empty spirituality, and got rid of her to pursue their love of luxurious materialism under the blessing of the Beast.
18:10 Standing 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.
standing afar off- Though they love her, they are powerless to aid her.
alas, alas- GK= ouai, ouai. "Woe, woe."
Lamentation #2 - from the merchants of the earth (v. 11-17a)
18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her;
for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
The list of luxuries which had made the merchants wealthy (cp. v.3) follows:
18:12 The merchandise of
gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls,
{fine jewelry}
and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, {fine clothing}
and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, {fine furnishings}
and all manner vessels of most precious wood,
and of brass, and iron, and marble,
{fine houseware}
18:13 And cinnamon, and odours,
and ointments, and frankincense,
{costly spices, perfumes, cosmetics}
and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat,
{costly foods, cp. 6:5,6}
and beasts {GK=ktenos, cattle}, and sheep, and
horses, and chariots,
{costly conveyances}
and slaves {lit., bodies}, and souls of men.
{costly chattel, legalized human trafficking, including sex slaves}
18:14 And 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.
no more at all- These words form a sad refrain repeated 6x in v.22,23.
The final bell has rung over world markets.
The effect resounds, as does the lament:
18:15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her,
shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
The merchants were "the great men of the earth" (v.23).
Their prominence accounts for the extra space given to their lament.
18:16 And 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!
The description is almost identical to that of the Harlot (17:4). Therefore,
some see Religious & Commercial Babylon as occupying the same city.
However, if the harlot is destroyed at mid-Tribulation (see note at 17:16),
another city must be the center of commercial Babylon.
18:17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.
The bottom line, of the merchants' lament, is financial loss.
Lamentation #3 - from the shipmasters of the sea (v. 17b-19)
And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors,
and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
The economy of Babylon fueled the transportation industry.
18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying,
What [city is] like unto this great city!
18:19 And 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.
made desolate- lit., desolated with desolation, or, ruined with ruin.
Would it break your heart if all your earthly luxuries went up in smoke?
Upon what is your affection set? Col 3:1-4; Mat 6:19-21
"One needs to see the awful contrast described in these verses. [v.18 & v.19]
A once great city, prosperous, gorgeous to behold, glittering in the sun, influential around the world, suddenly comes to utter ruin in a single hour. Against the sky are billows of smoke. Intense heat keeps the onlookers at a distance. Nothing can be rescued. All must perish. A complete desolation is wrought. One would wish that all living, now, and then, would turn to the God of heaven in penitence and plead His mercy to escape the 'anger of His wrath.' "
[J.O.Yoder, editor of JBSmith's work on Rev.]
Rejoicing in heaven -
18:20 Rejoice over her, [thou] heaven,
and [ye] holy
{ie., ye saints, and} apostles and prophets;
for God hath avenged you on her.
The death throes of worldly wickedness are reason for joy to the righteous.
God has avenged- lit., 'God has judged your judgment (your case) against her.'
God remembers the patience of the saints. (13:10; 14:12)
An angelic Dirge over Babylon (v. 21-24):
18:21 And 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.
stone...into the sea- This speaks of the certainty & the finality of this judgment.
God's judgment of the final great humanistic system called Babylon, is as certain as His historic judgment on the ancient Babylonian empire. Jer 51:63,64
with violence- or, with a rush. Like a stone that makes a big splash,
but then disappears forever beneath the waves. [McGee]
no more at all- The repetition of this refrain emphasizes the finality of judgment.
18:22 And 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
{lit., no more at all} in thee;
and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
18:23 And 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:
Seven specific sounds are silenced. These can be categorized as the sounds-
  • of entertainment (the music of Babylon), (first half of v.22).
  • of industry (the bustle of business), (second half of v.22).
  • of homelife (bride & groom), (first half of v.23).
The city is quiet. The lights have gone out. Permanently.
for thy merchants were the great men of the earth;
for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints,
and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Judgment falls on Commercial Babylon because:
  • The great men (the responsible authorities) were profit seekers (cp. v.15).
  • Their sorceries had deceived the nations.
    Sorceries {GK= pharmakeia} - This word signifies the deceptive use of medicines, drugs, and enchantments by occult practioners. eg., Gal 5:20 'witchcraft'; Isa 47:9,12 'sorceries' (in LXX)
    • Medicinal deception - Man must cure the ills of God's Creation.
      • Genetically Modified foods.
      • Medicines marketed for invented ailments.
      • Mandatory vaccines, promoted through fear of some engineered pandemic, and administered with the 'mark of the beast,' for the profit of 'big pharma' (the pharmaceutical industry).
    • Mesmerizing illusion - Man conceives and controls his own reality.
      • The 'virtual reality,' marketed by big business, intentionally deceives those who are willingly distracted from the real issues of life and death. Through today's video games and other forms of electronic entertainment, participants spend their lives in simulated worlds. Similar technology will promote the lie that loyalty to the beast and his image is essential to human life and well-being... until the hour when the screens go dark, to boot-up 'no more at all.'
      • The 'actual reality,' addressed by the Word of Life (and proclaimed by saints and true prophets), is discarded as unprofitable for business and harmful to society.
  • Their policies had promoted bloodshed, through...
    • the untimely, unnecessary deaths of earth's unsuspecting multitudes, by means of wars, famines, disease, and direct judgments from God.
    • the martyrdom of the saints, through direct persecution and through economic exclusion of believers. Rev 13:14-17
As Babylon, the kingdom of earthly confusion, sinks mournfully into oblivion beneath God's judgment, the joy of heaven's citizens (v.20) rises to new heights in the next chapter.

Click here to continue the study in Revelation 19
Return to Revelation - MENU page.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from

Go to The Book opening page.