THE FALL OF COMMERCIAL BABYLON
Revelation 18:1-24 (NKJV)
The Fall of Babylon the Great
18 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 7 In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ 8 Therefore her plagues will come in one day—death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.
The World Mourns Babylon’s Fall
9 “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’
11 “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: 12 merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13 and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. 14 The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all. 15 The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16 and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! 17 For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance 18 and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’
19 “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’
20 “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”
Finality of Babylon’s Fall
21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore. 22 The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore. 23 The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”
In chapter 17, we witnessed the fall of the great worldwide religion that will place the world in idolatry and cultism. In this chapter (chapter 18), we will witness the fall of commercial Babylon.
In the days of the tribulation period, men will build an economic empire never equaled in this world. There will be astounding wealth and affluence. However, it will all come to a violent end.
In chp. 17, we saw the Babylonian system fall, now we will see the city itself fall. God Himself will judge their wickedness. We will see God put forth a demonstration of His great power and we will see four groups react to what the Lord has done.
I. v.1-8 THE ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE FALL OF BABYLON
A. v.1 The Heavenly Communicator – Filled with light and Glory. (Ill. The contrast!)
B. v.2-3 Her Corruption – Ill. Religious corruption. (Ill Ancient Babylon was the home of soothsayers, magicians and seerers – Dan. 2:2
1. Demonism – This city will be filled with evil and demon infestation. (Ill. A glimpse at the way modern government is empowered, perhaps?)
2. Drunkenness – The entire world is smitten by her charms. They are made drunk by her allurements. The world is held captive under her intoxicating spell. She offers them immorality and sin without fear of religious oppression. Ill. Speaks of a time of unbridled wickedness and lustful abandon. (Ill. God will deal with them!)
C. v.4-8 Her Condition
1. v.4 There is a call to God’s people to separate. (Ill. Abraham and Lot – 2 Cor. 6:17)
2. v.5 Babel’s tower did not reach Heaven, but her sins have! (Ill. God is patient and longsuffering, but He has a limit. (Final Judgment must come!)
3. v.6 Double payment is required for her sins. Ill. Ancient Babylonian atrocities and Jewish calls for punishment – Psa. 137:8-9; Ex. 21:22-25! God will require double payment!
4. v.7 Pride has filled her and she defiantly believes that she shall see no punishment!
5. v.8 Judgment WILL fall and will fall swiftly! Her desolation will come in a single day! God is powerful and He will dispense justice!
II. v.9-20 THE ATTITUDES TOWARD THE FALL OF BABYLON
(Ill. Alas, Alas – A cry of mourning rises for fallen Babylon – There are four reactions to the fall of the city.)
A. v.9-10 The Monarchs – The kings who have prospered because of Babylon.
B. v.11-16 The Merchants – They weep for all the money and business they have lost. (Ill. All the items – Gold (GOLD) is first and souls are last!) (Ill. Depends on where your treasure is! Matt. 6:20-21)(Ill. People will be trapped by materialism – Body and soul – Ill. Modern politics – If a man promises prosperity and plenty he is elected. Where is the moral vote?) Ill. v.14 A picture of Hell – ungratified desires!
C. v.17-19 The Mariners – Men will learn too late that materialism will lead to nothing – Mark 8:36-37.
D. v.20 The Heavenly Multitude – There will be rejoicing in Heaven over the fall of a God hating world! God has avenged the blood and the honor of His servants.
III. v.21-24 ACCOMPLISHING THE FALL OF BABYLON
(Ill. A Millstone throne into the sea – A complete and catastrophic judgment. – Jer. 51:42) Ill. No more compassion!
A. v.21 Babylon and all she stood for is no more.
B. v.22a Music without God – No more!
C. v.22b All industry and craftsmen – No more!
D. v.23a All appearance of Habitation – No more!
E. v.23b All weddings – No more! (Ill. No joy and happiness!)
F. v.23c -24 Babylon represents all the sin and murder of all time. Judgment falls from the Lord to ultimately destroy all those who have opposed God.
Brothers and sisters, wake up!