And the great city was divided into three parts By which is meant not Christendom, distinguished into Protestants, Papists, and neutrals, which has been long the case; nor the city of Jerusalem, as inhabited by Christians, Jews, and Turks; nor the city of Rome itself, the seat of the beast, which will have suffered under the fifth vial; but the whole Romish jurisdiction, which is the great city, that reigns over the kings of the earth, as it will now be; though some think the Turkish empire is meant, which they suppose was only afflicted under the preceding vial, but will now be divided into three parts, and afterwards into six, ( Ezekiel 39:1 Ezekiel 39:2 ) and so come to ruin; and others are of opinion that it is included in this great city at least; and doubtless the remains of it are to be taken into this account, and probably are considered in the following clause; wherefore it is better to understand this of the Romish jurisdiction, so often called the great city in this book, ( Revelation 11:8 ) ( 14:8 ) ( 17:18 ) and its division into three parts is either in reference to the three heads of it, the dragon, beast, and false prophet, or to the three unclean spirits that come out of them, which will lead on to this ruin; though the allusion seems rather to be to the destruction of Jerusalem, ( Ezekiel 5:2 Ezekiel 5:12 ) and denotes the utter ruin of the Romish antichrist, in all its branches and remains; a tenth part of this city will fall towards the close of the sixth trumpet, ( Revelation 11:13 ) and now all the other nine parts will fall, a threefold division will be made of the city, each division containing three parts: the Jews F5 have a prophecy, that upon an appearance of a star at Rome, which they suppose will be when the Messiah comes, the three upper walls of that city will fall, and the great temple, or church (St. Peter's), will fall, and the governor of that city (the pope) will die:
and the cities of the nations fell;
of the Pagans and Mahometaus; or as there will be an utter extirpation of the Papacy, so of Paganism and Mahometanism, in the several nations where they have obtained, and where there will be now any remains of them;
and great Babylon came in remembrance before God;
not Constantinople, as Brightman thinks, because that Rome, the seat of the beast, is affected under the fifth vial, and the great city under this; but since no other is called Babylon in this book but the Romish antichristian state, it must be meant here; see ( Revelation 14:8 ) ( Revelation 17:5 ) ( Revelation 18:2 Revelation 18:10 Revelation 18:21 ) for many hundreds of years Babylon seemed to be forgotten by God, no notice being taken of her sins and iniquities in a judicial way; but now God will remember her sins, ( Revelation 18:5 ) and inflict deserved punishment upon her:
to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath;
as a just retaliation for the wine of her fornication, with which she has intoxicated the kings and inhabitants of the earth; the wrath of God is sometimes signified in the Old Testament by a cup, a wine cup, a wine cup of fury, see ( Psalms 75:8 ) ( Jeremiah 25:15 ) and here the exceeding greatness of his wrath is expressed by the phrases used, and intends the pouring out of all his vengeance, to the utter ruin of the Romish antichrist.
F5 Zohar in Numb. fol. 86. 1.