The Book of Revelation-Chapter 18

This chapter deals with the “Babylonian” economic system that goes as far back as Genesis 10.8-10 and Genesis 11. The harlot and false religious system of Rev 17 is what is used to deceive the world, the economic system of Rev 18 is what is used to control it. All worldly systems and governments have their root in Babylon.
1) After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory (in 1 Tim 6.9-10, Paul says that the love of money results in other sins. This is what is judged in this chapter).
2) And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon (this is mentioned twice because it is written in the aorist tense in Greek which speaks of a coming event as if it has already happened) the great! And she has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird (birds are idioms for spiritual entities/forces).
3) For all the nations have drunk (learned) of the wine (teaching) of the passion of her immorality (for material gain; notice it is fornication, not adultery, because the Lord “never knew” them resulting in “marriage”), and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her (the system), and the merchants of the earth (businessmen) have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality (misuse of money, wealth and power).”
4) And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her my people (like the Lord called Lot out of Sodom, where he did business, before it was destroyed), that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues (like Lot’s wife, looking back and staying too close to the polluted city);
5) for her sins have piled up (accumulated) as high as heaven (“God notices”), and God has remembered her iniquities.
6) Pay her back, even as she has paid (with delusion), and give back to her double (idiom for “complete satisfaction”) according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her.
7) To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning (here we have another case of “midah kneged midah” or “measure for measure”); for she says in her heart, “I sit as a queen (replacing the Shekinah, who is also described as a queen in Hebrew thought, connected to power) and I am not a widow (helpless, powerless), and will never see mourning (a false security).”
8) For this reason, in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire (the punishment for an adulterous daughter of a priest was burning); for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
9) And the kings of the earth who committed acts of immorality (for material gain) and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke (evidence) of her burning (having ignored the warnings and advice found in Matt 6.19-21),
10) standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment (by God’s mercy to them, just like in Num 16.1 when the Lord had advised others to stand aside and watch the judgment on the arrogant Korah), saying, “Woe, woe (lamentation), the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.”
11) And the merchants of the earth (businessmen) weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore; cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble,
13) and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives (the material and people misused by Babylon can be compared to the materials used for the Godly purpose of building the Mishkan in Exo 35.20-29).
14) And the fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them.
15) The merchants of these things who became rich from her will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment (see v 10), weeping and mourning (they saw the lesson but didn’t learn it)
16) saying, “Woe, woe (lamentation), the great city, she was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls;
17) for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!” And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor. and as many as make their living by the sea stood at a distance,
18) and were crying out as they saw the smoke (evidence) of her burning, saying “What is like the great city (very similar to the description of the false messiah in Rev 13.4)?”
19) And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe (lamentation), the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’
20) Rejoice over her (her fall), O heaven, and you saints (who prayed for it) and apostles (sent to talk about it) and prophets (saw it coming), because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”
21) And a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer (“disappear”, to show a picture of Babylon’s destruction and what happens to those who reject salvation and seduce others-Mark 9.42).
22) And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer;
23) and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and the bride (idiom for “joy”) will not be heard in you any longer, for your merchants were the great men of the earth (there are three main reasons Babylon is judged. First, men using their wealth to gain power, fame and authority-James 2.6), because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery (Secondly, the Greek word here is “pharamekia” where we get “pharmacy” from. It is an idiom meaning “magic” and “occult practices” meaning Babylon had a “magic spell” over others).
24) And in her was found the blood of the prophets and saints and all who have been slain on the earth (Third, her slaughter of God’s people who observed Torah. She is the mother of persecution, after anyone who was not deceived and corrupt. She pursued anyone who did not go along with her deception. All world governments and systems have their root in Babylon).”

Posted in Idioms, Phrases and Concepts, Prophecy/Eschatology, Understanding the New Testament, Verse-by-Verse Bible Studies

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