|Angel proclaims Babylon has fallen
General): The old Babylon has been laying dormant for centuries when the New Babylon comes. However, it was never dead. The New Babylon rose quickly and, as you will see, will fall even more quickly. Now the words "that was, and is not, and yet is" will make more sense. Babylon will experience, as the rest of the world, the sores, bloody waters, intense heat and battering hail. Now John sees the scene from which the angel had taken him. The seven plagues are now complete. There was a giant earthquake that destroyed the cities of the earth and leveled mountains and islands s (Rev. 16:18, 20).
v 1-2:Chapter 17 described the destruction of the Babylon anti-god religious system. The apostate church was destroyed by the Antichrist and his own system.
Now a mighty, glorified angel (not one of the plague angels) comes to show John the ruination of this great metropolis. In the fifth bowl (Rev. 16:10), the land was made dark. However, now the power and glory of the angel brightened everything with its presence. It appears Babylon (as well as Jerusalem) was not destroyed with the earthquakes. Maybe it was the geographic location (protected by being in a plain with the dried up Tigris and Euphrates or, perhaps, it was divine plan. Babylon is apparently being saved for something special. This destruction will be absolute destruction of inhabitants and visual residue, forever (Isa. 13:19-22).
The pronouncement is again proleptic (speaks of future event as if it has already happened). See References. The angel cries out strongly that Babylon has fallen. It has become the center of devils, every foul spirit, and a "home" for every unclean and hateful person. In the middle of the tribulation, the cries of fallen Babylon was a warning (Rev. 14:8). Perhaps it was not as obvious then as it is now.
The language of the Isaiah references are all similar to the ancient Babylonian empire. But the Revelation experience is a different Babylonian empire. See the References and the Babylonian paper for details. The ancient Babylonians were annihilated by the Medes and the Persians around 536 to 539. The "satyrs" probably denote devils. The "dragon" may be evil spirits. In summary, the Isaiah scripture says Babylon became a heap of ruins and can never be inhabited again. It is nothing but the habitation of devils. It is a cage of every unclean and hateful bird is probably reflecting on the vultures, etc. now feeding on the bodies left in Babylon.
v 3: All nations and Kings have been involved with accepting the corruption and wrath of her fornication (specifically, political and religious unfaithfulness). The merchants have prospered with this political and religious system (loving the Antichrist and Satan rather than God). Wine can affect the mind, thinking processes, and emotions. It silently rids people of the God-ward righteous inclinations. They want things they should not desire. That is what this Satanic system has done. All this is Babylon: religious and political -- The System. (Rev. 14:8; 17:2)
The religious part has been destroyed by the 10 kings and the horns of the beast. The political system still lives. All the economic principals: bankers, stock brokers, merchants, marketeers, etc. are all happy for the Babylon central. There are the plagues, shortages, and inflation; but the sharp financiers know how to turn even bad times into money. However, that will not be for long (James 5:1-3).
Even Zecharia prophesied the system would move to Babylon and go through great turmoil (Zech. 5:5-11). This is a very difficult passage to understand. In his passage, ephah, which is a unit of dry measure approximately equal to a bushel, is used as a symbol of commerce in the ancient world. Zecharia sees a woman in the ephah sealing its mouth in the lead weight. Covetousness is idolatry, both of which were in Babylon. After the Babylonian captivity the Jews dropped their affinity to the Babylonian idolatry; but, they did have a better idea of how to handle mercantilism and covetousness. This was symbolized by the woman in the ephah (the angel called "the Wickedness"). The fall of Babylon after the captivity caused much of the commerce to move to other places. Then two women with wings like storks (they are not angels because angels are not depicted as female on the Bible) lifted the ephah between the earth and heaven. The women want to know where to put the ephah. Since these are not angels, they are normally understood to be evil and, in addition, they are considered as unclean of impure. Why? The stork is considered unclean. The reason a woman was used to symbolize international commerce is similar to by a woman is used to symbolize Babylon, to depict birth.
v4-5: This appears to be a call from God/Christ for believers to come out of Babylon (before the plagues). Therefore, this appears to be at the start of the Great Tribulation. This appears to be a command to have the believers come out of any "hiding" or apathy and do not partake of the evils. Some writers believe today some believers remain in churches which would be "condemned" (see John's letters Rev 1-3) with some false pretenses of doing good. So we should make sure we know what is being taught and assure in our own minds (after thought and prayers) the teachings are of God and from the Bible. A parallel scripture in Jeremiah records God's warning to the Hebrews (Jer. 51:45).
Since the cities of the world appeared to lost God, some would say God "forgot". God does not forget. Remember, He gave Satan a specific period of time to do his damage. However, NOW is the time for God's judgment.
v 6-8: God will "reward" the aggressors with more than adequate judgments for their transgressions. The wicked system has lived gloriously for a time. The transgressors were high and saw no end or sorrows. The empire could not see the ruination of themselves. Therefore, the plagues (referring to the Bowls) will come in one day with death, mourning, and famine; the burned - FOR GOD SO JUDGED! The word "double" is used to designate the judgments will be greater than the previous judgments. This increase of judgments is not a new idea (Isa. 40:2).
Babylon lived in glory and was very proud, boastful, arrogant, self righteous, and glorifying herself. She, Babylon, lived "deliciously" means offensively luxurious and sensuous. This "prayer" is to inflict much torment or torture and physical pain for the terrible things Babylon inflicted on others. Babylon felt "in her heart" (sincerely what Babylon thought of herself) that she was not depressed or mourning. As a matter of fact, Babylon "see no sorrow" means she is essentially afraid of nothing. She thinks she is all powerful and has total control even after the judgments.
The plagues for Babylon will come in one day, with the death and mourning and famine so great it can not be tolerated. She will be burned to the ground. It is not stated in the Bible how the fire would be impressed, but, it will not be normal. The walls and buildings of the new Babylon would normally have been made "fire proof". However, the city will crumble under the heat of God. The great earthquake of the seventh plague. Perhaps the earthquake will open sub surface infernals that will do the burning. The Lord God is strong who judges Babylon. The seven plagues on inflicted onto Babylon with all power. It appears the destruction was supernatural (by God) because of the statement "Strong is the Lord God who judgeth her."
v 9-10: The outpouring of, especially, the 7th Bowl before Armageddon destroys the city. The wicked people see the destruction and they are devastated. They just can only stand afar and watch with shock as God brings His sudden fury. However, even with all this devastation, the leaders STILL believe they can, with their power, strength, and supernatural abilities, bring Babylon back. They STILL have not learned of God's power.
Alas, alas in Greek uses the same word "ouai" for Woe. How about that reference? The end of Babylon was another Sodom so God again rained fire and brimstone, so to speak. The "kings" of the earth had placed all their hopes for time and eternity on the beast and the dragon. The "one hour" means the judgment will be fast and total.
How is there so much fire? By accident? Supernatural? Earthquakes? Nuclear?
Unexpected and FAST will be the destruction of Babylon.
The merchants of the more precious and expensive materials such as gold, silver, linen, silk, ivory, perfumes, wine, oils, work animals, and so many other commodities are now gone. All of the fine and expensive materials do no exist anymore. Over and over again scripture says that the merchants will weep and wail because of the loss of their products.
As in Rev 18:10, the Alas -> Woe also fits. Woe, woe the great city of Babylon that at one time was clothed in the best is now nothing.
Interlude note: You may see translations with only one Alas. In a standard translation presently kept in Rome and translated in the 8th and 9th manuscripts, there is only one Alas. However, in 4th century manuscripts, there are two releases. I would believe the older (4th) to be more authentic. Most authorities do also. Somehow it was left out. This is, in this case, insignificant. Even though this happens in many ancient documents, the New Testament appears to have stayed more accurate than any other book from the ancient world.
v 17-19: For the shipmasters and sailors of the time, all they can do is watch also from afar. It happens so quickly (one hour). There are scientists who say, if a critical crack opened because of an earthquake, in one hour we COULD lose the world as we know it. All the riches are gone now. They also cry when they see the smoke from the burning. Another Alas, alas.(Matt. 6:19). Babylon is not only in ruins; it is ashes.
A thought provoking question is whether God ever planned giant cities in which people will live. The general thought of scripture is that God wanted man to replenish or fill the earth (Gen. 1:28) by tilling the ground and enjoying God's abundance and creation. After the flood, God again gave a command to fill the earth (Gen. 9:10). Have giant mercantile cities fulfilled God's plan? Are giant cities able to fulfill God's plan?
This is the final verse of the lamentation of Scripture (Rev. 18:9-19). In all the verses, their is crying and wailing for the losses of the kings and merchants of the world, especially now Babylon. Scripture brings out some of the details of the types of products and merchants. There were many more; ALL merchants and kings were affected. This was so quick a time to lose all. It will be unbelievable.
v 20-24: Jesus said long ago (Luke 15:10) that there is joy in heaven over one sinner repenting. BUT, if sinners become hardened and unrepenting, especially leading others into evil, there is a different type of rejoicing in heaven. The sinners are brought to judgment so they will never harm another. Rejoicing and joyfulness are different terms. Joy is happiness. No one could say there is "happiness" in heaven to have people put to eternal damnation. There is, though, rejoicing that the righteousness of God has prevailed. (Ezek. 33:11; Prov. 11:10). There is great rejoicing which at last the unrepentant murderers and others who thrived on iniquity come to rightful justice. Now the martyrs are happy as well as all "the church" in heaven.
The word "holy" in Greek is hagios. It is the same as "saint". It means a persons "set apart" or "consecrate". Many manuscripts include a "ye saints" ("ye saints and ye apostles and ye prophets" - NASB; or "ye apostles and ye prophets" - KJV). Although all in heaven are rejoicing, there ore special people that experience special joy. These people have borne a special ministry for God on earth and suffered heavy persecutions (the saints/believers, the apostles, and the prophets). Now the heavy burdens are lifted and their testimonies have be brought to fruition: Babylon Has Fallen! Since the apostles and prophets were also saints in God's eyes, adding saints may seem redundant. As a matter of fact, all one needs here is "saints". that would cover all. The emphases on the apostles and prophets, I am sure, was the reason to spell out the two.
Babylon will be gone forever; much as a giant millstone hitting water. The stone will hit with a giant splash but in a moment be gone forever! All the things normally associated with earthly joy will be gone, with the millstone. The merchants, by their deceit and trickery, were the controllers, the great men of the earth. NO MORE!
Christ said in the Matt 23 (below) Reference that when the Messiah and Savior were rejected in the Jerusalem of His time, the rejectors were actually morally accepting those who in past generations slew the innocent, holy, and righteous prophets of God. So with Babylon. Those who embraced the unholy "system" were rejecting God.
The city of Babylon was well known for its finest of everything. Verse 22 makes note of the music of the times (we can assume because of the times that much of it was very sexual and sensual); she had the finest craftsmen no matter what the craft was. These examples show Babylon had every earthly thing one could imagine or desire. There will be no more light; no more social affairs; no more rich weddings; etc. All of what was in Babylon will be lost as a millstone dropped in the sea.
In conclusion, in Babylon was found all the roots of the blood of prophets and saints. All the people slain on earth can be focused onto the evil city of Babylon.
BABYLON HAS FALLEN!!
Jer. 15:8; 50:1-3,39-46; 51:7,26,37,44,57,64; Isa. 13:17-22; 21:9; 53; Rev. 14:8-11; 16:16-19; 18:5; 2 Cor. 6:14-7:1; Gen. 4:10; 19:12-25; Psa. 2:2; Ezek. 26; 27; John 2:15-17; Eccl. 5:10-17; 2:1-11; ROM 12:19; Jeer 50:15; Judges 9:53; Luke 17:2; Matt 23:29-38; 24:37-39
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