Revelation 18

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

October 1, 1997


Last week we were introduced this "woman" who rode a scarlet beast.

Her name was "Mystery Babylon".

We talked about how Babylon, from it’s very start, was a source for the false religious systems of the world.

We also talked about the uncanny similarities between this "Babylon" and the Roman Catholic Church –

1) Sitteth on many waters (vs.1,15), the Catholic church spans many continents, many people.

2) kings … fornication (vs.2), the influence that the Catholic church has had on European government.

3) purple and scarlet colors (vs.4), the main colors of the Catholic hierarchy.

4) gold, precious stones, pearls, etc. (vs.4), the wealth of the Catholic church.

5) "Mystery Babylon" (vs.5), we talked about the connections with ancient Babylonian worship, which eventually migrated to Pergamum, practices which eventually found their way into the Catholic church (fish shaped hats, pontifex maximus, pagan holidays, etc.)

6) drunken with the blood of the saints (vs.6), no other organization in the world has been killing more believers than the RCC.

7) Seven hills/mountains on which she sits (vs.9), traditionally a description of Rome, the city of seven hills.

8) Relationship with the ten kings (vs.12), which we understand as a revived Roman Empire, all centered around the base of the RCC.

If "Babylon" isn’t the Roman Catholic Church, it will be something very similar to it in nature.

Some have suggested that it might even be a joining of the Roman Catholic Church and the other religions of the world.

In this light, it’s interesting to note that the current Pope has done things like invited leaders of Islam, Judaism, Hinduism, and Buddhism to come to Rome to pray together.

We started to see this destruction of Babylon back in –

(Rev 16:19 KJV) And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.

We left off in the last chapter with the ten kings of the revived Roman empire turning on the "woman" (17:16f).

The idea being that the political empire that the woman "sits" upon, would turn on her, and destroy her.

Revelation 18

:2 Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen

or, "fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great"

This repeating of the phrase like this is also found in:

Isa 21:9 And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, [with] a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.

Why is it repeated?

Perhaps it’s because it’s something that is both sure to happen, as well as something that is going to happen quickly.

When Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream –

Ge 41:32 "Now as for the repeating of the dream to Pharaoh twice, [it means] that the matter is determined by God, and God will quickly bring it about.

This fits with other scriptures regarding the fall of Babylon.

Jer 51:8 Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.

:2 is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit

It’s kind of interesting to see who Isaiah says is the actual "ruler" of Babylon, in conjunction with the fall of Babylon –

(Isa 14:12-16 KJV) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! {13} For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: {14} I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. {15} Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. {16} They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

:2 is become … a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

I’m curious about the translation here.

The phrase "is become" is actually a past tense form of the word "to become". Sometimes words are translated with a futuristic spin on it, but it could be easily, and maybe more accurately translated "became".

In other words, maybe rather than seeing the "habitation of devils" and other things be a result of the judgment on Babylon, perhaps it’s part of the reason for the judgment.

This idea came from Chuck Missler, and the more I look at it, the more it makes sense.

Look at an obscure prophesy by Zechariah –

Zechariah ministered to the Jews turned to Babylon to rebuild the temple. His ministry was after the fall of Babylon to the Persians.

Zec 5:5-11 Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. {6} And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth. {7} And, behold, there was lifted up a talent of lead: and this is a woman that sitteth in the midst of the ephah. {8} And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. {9} Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heaven. {10} Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? {11} And he said unto me, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon her own base.

the wings of a stork – a stork is one of the "unclean" birds (Le 11:19 And the stork, the heron after her kind …)

in the land of Shinar – this is the land of Babylon. Shinar is the plain that Babylon was built on.

Putting it together

Some have seen this chapter as a picture of the destruction of a great commercial city, as separate from chapter 17, the religious system.

To that extent, they have suggested cities like Hong Kong, Tokyo, London, Rome, even Washington D.C.

Could it be possible that just as the wicked sorceries of Babylon migrated from Babylon to Pergamum, then on to Rome, that there will be a day soon when they will go back to Babylon? Carried in a basket?

Could it be that we’ll see some kind of relationship built between the Vatican and the Muslim world, in particular with Babylon?

Just a thought, possibly a way out conjecture.

There have been some scholars that have for years suggested that this Babylon is none other than the ancient city in modern Iraq.

They said it must be rebuilt to fulfill the prophesies.

And Saddam Hussein is doing just that.

:3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication

It might be better to say "the nations have drunk of the passionate wine of her fornication"

The idea being that they’ve drunk her wine, become intoxicated, and have committed fornication with her.

:3 the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her

They’ve left the true worship of God to go after the heresies of Babylon.

:4 Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins

partakerssugkoinoneo – to have fellowship with, to become a partaker together with others

This is probably being spoken to those living on the earth at these very moments, but the principles still apply to us.


Don’t get caught in the world’s sins.

If we get too close to the things of the world, it’s going to affect us.

(Gal 6:7-8 KJV) Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. {8} For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.


Sampson (Judges 13-16)

God has called us to a ministry (as a judge, to deliver God's people from the Philistines), He has given us great abilities (as his strength), He has even set us apart to be holy (as a Nazirite).

Yet if we go messing around in the world (Solomon messed with s and women he shouldn't have been with) one day we might wake up and not realize that our strength is gone.

:4 that ye receive not of her plagues.


Don’t get caught in the world’s judgment.

This kind of reminds us of what Lot went through.

He slowly began to get closer and closer to Sodom, until one day he was living in it.

But the day came when God had to bring His judgment on Sodom, and if Lot hadn’t left …

(Gen 19:17 KJV) And it came to pass, when they had brought them forth abroad, that he said, Escape for thy life; look not behind thee, neither stay thou in all the plain; escape to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.

:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven

To me, this speaks of God’s patience.

When God says, "I’ve had it up to HERE", the "here" is up to heaven!

:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you

She is going to be judged with the same measure she judged others.


You’re judged in the same way you judge others.

(Mat 7:1-6 KJV) Judge not, that ye be not judged. {2} For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. {3} And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? {4} Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull out the mote out of thine eye; and, behold, a beam is in thine own eye? {5} Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye.


The story is told of Mr. Jones who picked up the wrong umbrella in a hotel lobby and was about to walk out when the rightful owner called attention to his mistake. Embarrassed, he offered his apologies. Finding his own, he went on his way.

The incident, however, reminded him that he had promised to buy both his wife and daughter an umbrella. To his delight he found that a local store nearby had them on sale, so he bought two. Just as he was getting into his car with his unwrapped purchases, he saw the man he had encountered earlier. He was eyeing him suspiciously. Seeing the three umbrellas hooked over his arm, the stranger exclaimed sarcastically, "I see you had a good day after all!" Although Mr. Jones blushed, he was not guilty of any wrongdoing.

Things are not always what they appear to be on the surface. Beware of the sin of misjudging others!

So be merciful

:7 How much she hath glorified herself


Don’t take God’s glory.

This is one of the fingerprints of Satan, who is the epitome of pride and self-glory.


Corrie Ten Boom used to tell the story about a proud woodpecker who was tapping away at a dead tree when the sky unexpectedly turned black and the thunder began to roll. Undaunted, he went right on working. Suddenly a bolt of lightning struck the old tree, splintering it into hundreds of pieces. Startled but unhurt, the haughty bird flew off, screeching to his feathered friends, "Hey, everyone, look what I did! Look what I did!"


I love what Corrie ten Boom once taught me. She said, "Jill, people thank me so much, and it used to worry me because I didn't want to get a big head. So I began to collect those compliments like flowers. 'Thank you,' I'd say. 'Thank you, thank you, thank you.' Then at the end of the day I'd kneel down and I'd say, 'Here You are Jesus, they're all Yours.'"

-- Jill Briscoe

:7 and lived deliciously

streniao – to live sensually, to live luxuriously

:7 so much torment and sorrow give her

Because of her attitude, she will be given much torment and sorrow.

:7 I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

Because the city was so prosperous and stable, nobody saw it coming.

We live in a world that ought to be taking notice of these hard warnings.

Just a few years ago, the U.S.S.R. was a leading world super-power. No more.

:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day,

Babylon’s destruction will come quick and strong.

There are some interesting Old Testament Prophecies that parallel this chapter as well.

(Jer 51:8 KJV) Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.

(Isa 13:19-20 KJV) And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. {20} It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.

These couldn’t be talking about the first fall of Babylon, because it was a gradual wasting away.

The Persians took over from the Babylonians, and the Greeks followed after that. It wasn’t until about A.D. 400 that the city kind of just melted into the sands of Iraq. Now being rebuilt.

:9 the kings of the earth … lament for her

That is, the all the kings except the ten kings of the antichrist’s kingdom.

Those ten will have a hand in bringing the destruction.

(Rev 17:16-17 KJV) And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the , and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. {17} For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

If God is choosing to use human means to bring about this judgment, could it be that the European nations will launch a nuclear attack?

The description of the quick suddenness of the destruction sure fits.

:10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment

These kings don’t want to get too close as they watch the city burn. They don’t want to get burned too!

:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep

Here’s the second group of people bummed at Babylon’s fall.

:13 … wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and

As you look at this list of "merchandise", it just seems that this is something more than just the Roman Catholic Church.

:13 slaves, and

slavessoma – the body both of men or animals

Part of the merchandise was "bodies".

:13 souls of men.

Here’s an interesting piece of merchandise.

Buying the souls of men? Selling the souls of men?

:15 The merchants … shall stand afar off … weeping and wailing,

Here’s the second group of people who will mourn over Babylon’s fall.

First were the kings, the governments that had been tangled up with her.

Now those made wealthy by her are sad.


How far to make a buck?

As far as getting into the wrong things?

(1 Tim 6:9-10 KJV) But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition. {10} For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

Part of "Babylon’s" deception is the lie that "more" is better.

:16 that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet …

Compare this with the description of the woman back in:

(Rev 17:4 KJV) And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

This is another good reason to not separate chapter 17 & 18 as two different Babylons. It’s the same gal.

:17 every shipmaster …

Here’s the third group that will be sad at Babylon’s fall.

It’s the guys in shipping.

It’s the UPS guys. J (Don’t tell Dave!)

:19 wherein were made rich all that had ships

Want a "Get Rich Quick" scheme?

Go into shipping during the tribulation, but only for 6 years.

:20 God hath avenged you on her.

Lit., "God has judged with your judgment".

God has finally taken care of the injustices done to His people.


Let God take care of it.

(Rom 12:19-21 NLT) Dear friends, never avenge yourselves. Leave that to God. For it is written, "I will take vengeance; I will repay those who deserve it," says the Lord. {20} Instead, do what the Scriptures say: "If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink, and they will be ashamed of what they have done to you." {21} Don't let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.

:21 a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying,

It’s possible this could be a reference to –

(Jer 51:63-64 KJV) And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates: {64} And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.

:21 Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down

violencehormema – a rush, impulse

:22 … and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

These are the sounds of a city.


Craftsmen ("technicians")

Manufacturing (grinding wheat)

:23 the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee

You won’t even be able to say, "The lights are on but nobody’s home".

There won’t be any lights on in the city.

:23 and the voice of the bridegroom …

No family life.

:23 for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

sorceriespharmakeia – the use or the administering of drugs; poisoning; sorcery, magical arts

It might be understood just as that, sorcery, but it could also be speaking of the deception of drugs.

:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints

Last week we saw –

(Rev 17:6 KJV) And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.