Revelation 18:1-8

Sunday Morning Bible Study

June 24, 2001


This morning we’re going to look at the judgment of Babylon

What is “Babylon”?

We’ll talk more about this tonight, but throughout history, Babylon has been both a religious entity and a political entity.

The original Babylon was built after the Noah’s flood by Nimrod (Gen. 10:9-10). He seems to have established the world’s first “kingdom”. Under Nebuchadnezzar, Babylon became one of the world’s greatest empires. But even more than that, Nimrod and his wife Semiramis and their son Tammuz became the beginnings of the world’s first false religion, mystery religions that persist even today.
In Revelation 17, we’ll see the judgment and destruction of the “religious” part of Babylon, but in Revelation 18 we have the judgment and destruction of “political” Babylon.

To sum it up, “Babylon” is what we would call “the world”.

John warned us by writing,
(1 John 2:15-17 KJV) Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. {16} For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. {17} And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.
It is that system that is woven into our secular culture that does everything it can to take us away from God.

:1-8 Escaping the World



Three men escaped from prison. One was smart, one was creative, and one not overly bright. They ran for miles until they came upon an old barn where they decided to hide in the hayloft and rest. When they climbed up, they found three large gunnysacks and decided to climb into them for camouflage. About an hour later the sheriff and his deputy came into the barn. The sheriff told his deputy to go up and check out the hayloft. When he got up there the sheriff asked him what he saw and the deputy yelled back, “Just three gunnysacks.” The sheriff told him to find out what was in them, so the deputy kicked the first sack, which had the smart guy in it. He went, “Bow-wow,” so the deputy told the sheriff there was a dog in it. Then he kicked the sack with the creative guy in it. He went, “Meow,” so the deputy told the sheriff there was a cat in it. He then kicked the one with the dumb guy in it, and there was no sound at all. So he kicked it again, and finally the man said, “Potatoes.”

God wants us to “escape” the world.  He wants us to be smart about it too.

:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power;

come downkatabaino – to go down, come down, descend

powerexousia – power of choice, liberty of doing as one pleases; physical and mental power; the power of rule or government (the power of him whose will and commands must be submitted to by others and obeyed); authority

:1  and the earth was lightened with his glory.

was lightenedphotizo – to give light, to shine; to enlighten, light up, illumine; to bring to light, render evident

This is a hugely powerful and bright angel that lightens up the world with the glory that God has given to him.

:2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen

:2  and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

habitationkatoiketerion – an abode, a habitation

devilsdaimon – a god, a goddess; in the NT, an evil spirit

the hold … cagephulake – guard, watch; of the place where captives are kept, a prison

foulakathartos – not cleansed, unclean; in a moral sense: unclean in thought and life

There is a parallel with the previous fall of the original Babylon:

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.

This strong angel declares to the world that Babylon has fallen. As you read through the rest of the chapter, this “fall” sounds very much like a nuclear explosion. A great city is wiped out in “one hour”.

It is possible that the reason the “fallen” is repeated is because of the “dual” judgment against Babylon. Both the religious (Rev. 17) and the political (Rev. 18) aspects of Babylon are going to be wiped out. Also, in Rev. 18:6, Babylon receives “double” for her works.

: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 abundancedunamis – strength, power, ability

:3 the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

waxed richplouteo – to be rich, to have abundance; of outward possessions; metaph. to be richly supplied

delicaciesstrenos – excessive strength which longs to break forth, over strength; luxury; eager desire

the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy through the power of her luxuries

The whole world has had a “relationship” with this “Babylon”. The whole world has left the worship of the true God and has gone after the heresies of Babylon.

:4 Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

come out of - exerchomai - to go or come forth of; metaph. to go out of an assembly, i.e. forsake it; to go forth from one’s power, escape from it in safety

be … partakerssugkoinoneo – to become a partaker (share) together with others

receivelambano – to take; to receive (what is given), to gain, get, obtain, to get back

If God’s people take part in her sins, they will take part in her judgment.

Though 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.

If we get too close to the sinful 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.
One of the pictures in the Bible of this “world” system is the city of Sodom.
When you compare Abraham and Lot, you can see two different ways of dealing with the “world”.
Abraham and his nephew had come a long ways together, but they had prospered so much that they needed to split up their flocks and go their separate ways. Abraham allowed Lot to have the “first pick” as to where he would settle.

(Gen 13:10-15 KJV) And Lot lifted up his eyes, and beheld all the plain of Jordan, that it was well watered every where, before the LORD destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, even as the garden of the LORD, like the land of Egypt, as thou comest unto Zoar. {11} Then Lot chose him all the plain of Jordan; and Lot journeyed east: and they separated themselves the one from the other. {12} Abram dwelled in the land of Canaan, and Lot dwelled in the cities of the plain, and pitched his tent toward Sodom. {13} But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly.

Lot made his decision based on where he put his eyes. Part of the world is the “lust of the eyes” (1Jo. 2:16), making your choices based on what looks good to you. Lot knows that Sodom is a wicked place, but he heads there anyway. This is going to get Lot into trouble.

{14} And the LORD said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: {15} For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.

Abraham uses his eyes too, but God is the one directing him where to look.

Later on, a type of judgment comes on Sodom when a group of kings decide to attack the city.

(Gen 14:11-12 KJV) And they took all the goods of Sodom and Gomorrah, and all their victuals, and went their way. {12} And they took Lot, Abram's brother's son, who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed.

Because Lot has relocated in downtown Sodom, when the Sodomites are attacked and taken captive by a group of kings from the east, Lot too is taken captive.

You can see the similarity of Lot’s condition with the warning of Revelation 18:4. He has gotten too close to Sodom, and now he’s paying a price for it.

Luckily for Lot, he has an uncle with his own personal army. Abraham takes his servants and fights the eastern kings, and rescues everyone from Sodom, including Lot.

(Gen 14:21-24 KJV) And the king of Sodom said unto Abram, Give me the persons, and take the goods to thyself. {22} And Abram said to the king of Sodom, I have lift up mine hand unto the LORD, the most high God, the possessor of heaven and earth, {23} That I will not take from a thread even to a shoelatchet, and that I will not take any thing that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich: {24} Save only that which the young men have eaten, and the portion of the men which went with me, Aner, Eshcol, and Mamre; let them take their portion.

(Gen 15:1 KJV) After these things the word of the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.

Abraham had found that true wealth was found in his relationship with God. Abraham found out that God Himself was his reward, not the things of Sodom.

This is not about having wealth.  Abraham was a wealthy man.  But God gave him his wealth.  He didn’t become wealthy by doing things the way the world does them, God gave his wealth to him.

Being “in the world” but not “of it”.
We can get the wrong idea if we’re not careful.  The point is not that we need to all run away to Oregon and join a commune so we don’t have to rub shoulders with “pagans”.
In fact, God wants us to rub shoulders with “pagan” people.  He wants us to love the people, but not their sin.  He wants us to be witnesses to the people.  He just doesn’t want us living our lives the way they do.  Here’s list of some of the things we need to be careful of:

(2 Tim 3:1-5 NLT)  You should also know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. {2} For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. {3} They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control; they will be cruel and have no interest in what is good. {4} They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. {5} They will act as if they are religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. You must stay away from people like that.

A scorpion, being a very poor swimmer, asked a turtle to carry him on its back across the river. “Are you mad?” exclaimed the turtle. “You’ll sting me while I’m swimming and I’ll drown.” “My dear turtle,” laughed the scorpion, “If I were to sting you, you would drown and I’d go down with you. Now where is the logic in that?” “You’re right,” cried the turtle. “Hop on.” The scorpion climbed aboard and halfway across the river gave the turtle a mighty sting. As they both sank to the bottom, the turtle, resigned, said, “Do you mind if I ask you something? You said there is no logic in your stinging me. Why did you do it?” “It has nothing to do with logic,” the drowning scorpion replied. “It’s just my nature.”
That’s the way it is for us when we decide to let the “world” and it’s ways hitch a ride in our lives. It’s going to sting us. It’s going to bring us down.

God wants us to be different than the “world”.  He wants us to be separate.

:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven

have reachedakoloutheo – to follow one who precedes, join him as his attendant, accompany him; to join one as a disciple, become or be his disciple; side with his party

To me, this speaks of God’s patience.

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

It is wonderful that God is so patient with us.

But we need to remember that there’s a limit even to God’s patience.

:6 Reward her even as she rewarded you

rewardapodidomi – to deliver, to give away for one’s own profit what is one’s own, to sell; to pay off, discharge what is due; to requite, recompense in a good or a bad sense

:6   and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

doublediploo – to double

filled … fillkerannumi – to mix, mingle; to mix wine, water; to pour out for drinking.

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


You are judged in the same way you judge others.

(Mat 7:1-2 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.
(Mat 7:1-2 NLT)  "Stop judging others, and you will not be judged. {2} For others will treat you as you treat them. Whatever measure you use in judging others, it will be used to measure how you are judged.
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!
Do you want others to give you the “benefit of the doubt”?  Then give it to them.  Do you want others to be “merciful” to you?  Then be merciful to them.
Those who are most often critical of others will find themselves the subject of other people’s criticisms.

:7 How much she hath glorified herself

hath glorifieddoxazo – to praise, extol, magnify, or celebrate; to honour, hold in honour; to make glorious, clothe with splendour. All this Babylon lavished on herself.

:7 and lived deliciously

lived deliciouslystreniao – to be wanton, to live luxuriously. A form of the word translated “delicacies” in –

(Rev 18:3 KJV) 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.

It means to live proudly in luxury while others go without. It means to make possessions and pleasures the most important things in life, and to ignore the needs of others.

:7 so much torment and sorrow give her:

tormentbasanismos – to torture, a testing by the touchstone, which is a black siliceous stone used to test the purity of gold or silver by the colour of the streak produced on it by rubbing it with either metal; torment, torture; the act of tormenting; the state or condition of those tormented

:7 for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

sorrowpenthos – mourning

Because this city will be so prosperous and stable, nobody will see it coming.

This was what happened to the original Babylon, when Belshazzar was the king. He was so confident that the walls around Babylon would keep out its enemies, that he threw a huge party, even though Cyrus had his armies surrounding the city.

In the middle of this huge party,

(Dan 5:5-6 NLT) At that very moment they saw the fingers of a human hand writing on the plaster wall of the king's palace, near the lampstand. The king himself saw the hand as it wrote, {6} and his face turned pale with fear. Such terror gripped him that his knees knocked together and his legs gave way beneath him.
Daniel the prophet was called in to interpret the handwriting on the wall, and Belshazzar heard that God had judged his kingdom and was taking it away from him. That very night, Cyrus had his army stop the flow of the Euphrates River, and marched his army into the city, capturing Babylon without a fight.

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. Could something like this happen to the U.S.? Sure it could.


Watch out for pride

John said that part of the world was the “pride of life” (1John 2:16)
Pride is one of the fingerprints of Satan, who is the epitome of pride and self-glory.
The woman, Babylon, didn’t think she could ever fall. But Paul said,
(1 Cor 10:12 KJV) Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.
The best way to keep from being hurt in a fall is simply to stay “low”. If you have a habit of climbing ladders, the higher up you climb the harder you’ll fall. If you have a tendency towards stumbling, like Chevy Chase, then stay off of ladders!
I believe that one of God’s ways of keeping us in the proper place of humility is when we learn to serve others.
(Phil 2:3-11 KJV) Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. {4} Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. {5} Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: {6} Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: {7} But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: {8} And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. {9} Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: {10} That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; {11} And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus didn’t feel like He had to fight to maintain His reputation, but He willingly humbled Himself for us. He humbled Himself by being a servant.

You can see this on the night before He died as He humbly washed the feet of His disciples.

He humbled Himself to the point of dying on a cross to pay for our sins.

:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day

:8  death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

shall … comeheko – to have come, have arrived, be present

strongischuros – strong, mighty; strong, violent, forcibly uttered, firm, sure

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.


Conquer the world.

God doesn’t want you living under the control of this world system around us. He wants us to be a witness to those around us, but not to be controlled by the world.
God has provided a way of victory, a way to “conquer the world”.
(1 John 5:4-5 KJV) For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. {5} Who is he that overcometh the world, but he that believeth that Jesus is the Son of God?
It is your faith in Jesus Christ that can give you the victory over the world.
Only Jesus is strong enough to help you break free from the ungodly influences that the world wants to put on you.