Revelation 14:8

Babylon
Here is the first mention of Babylon found in this book. Some suggest that “Babylon” should not be understood in a literal sense, but as denoting a spiritual location describing the centers of commercial success and sin attending each age of history (Rev. Rev. 17:5+). Some see “Babylon” as a code word for the city of Rome. Some believe “Babylon” means Jerusalem. Others are unsure what it means, or that its identification is important. It is our view that “Babylon” describes the literal city of history on the banks of the Euphrates River, originating with the kingdom of Babel established by Nimrod (Gen. Gen. 10:8-10). The city has had great influence throughout history, both in political and religious realms, and is to be rebuilt in the time of the end and to ultimately suffer God’s wrath. See The Identity of Babylon. See #5 - Five Fallen Kings. is fallen, is fallen
Ἔπεσεν ἔπεσεν [Epesen epesen] , prophetic aorist verbs. The judgment of Babylon has not yet occurred, but it is so certain that it is stated as a past event (Rev. Rev. 16:19+; Rev. 18:2-3+). When her destruction comes, it will be sudden (Jer. Jer. 51:8), “in one hour” (Rev. Rev. 18:10+), “in one hour she is made desolate” (Rev. Rev. 18:18+), “her plagues will come in one day” (Rev. Rev. 18:8+). Isaiah made the same declaration when he foresaw Babylon’s ultimate destruction at God’s threshing floor at the end of the age (Isa. Isa. 21:9-10). Jer. 30:5-7), the Great Tribulation, when Babylon, . . . will be destroyed by the Lion of the tribe of Judah at His second advent.”1 This is a preview and declaration of the final destruction of Babylon to follow (Rev. Rev. 18:2+). See The Destruction of Babylon. that great city
Babylon of the time of the end will be a great city, also called the Harlot. “And the woman which you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” [emphasis added] (Rev. Rev. 17:18+ cf. Rev. Rev. 18:10+, Rev. 18:18+, Rev. 18:16+, Rev. 18:18-19+, Rev. 18:21+). See The Great Harlot. The phrase “great city” emphasizes the arrogance of humanism in its pride of accomplishment apart from God. Nebuchadnezzar’s declaration—followed by his judgment of seven years living as a beast—is a typological preview of this final week.

The king spoke, saying, “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for a royal dwelling by my mighty power and for the honor of my majesty?” While the word was still in the king’s mouth, a voice fell from heaven: “King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you! And they shall drive you from men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field. They shall make you eat grass like oxen; and seven times shall pass over you, until you know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomever He chooses.” That very hour the word was fulfilled concerning Nebuchadnezzar; he was driven from men and ate grass like oxen; his body was wet with the dew of heaven till his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers and his nails like birds’ claws. (Dan. Dan. 4:30-33) [emphasis added]

At the height of his arrogant independence, Nebuchadnezzar was made like unto a beast. So too, at the time of the end, the Beast, the final representative of the rule of man apart from God, rises to the apex of arrogance and blasphemy (see commentary on Revelation 13:5 ). When he makes a 7-year covenant with Israel (Dan. Dan. 9:27), God’s response is to usher in the Tribulation bringing seven years of intense judgment upon the realm of those who follow the Beast. Jerusalem is also called a “great city” (Rev. Rev. 11:8+; Rev. 16:19+)2 as is the New Jerusalem (Rev. Rev. 21:10+). she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication
There is a close relationship between the nations and the intoxicating drink which Babylon offers: “I will show you the judgment of the great harlot, who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication” (Rev. Rev. 17:1-2+); “He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication” (Rev. Rev. 19:2+); “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” (Rev. Rev. 18:3+). It is called “the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Although it primarily intoxicates the nations to participate in her fornication (Rev. Rev. 17:4+), it is also brings them under God’s wrath for their participation. See commentary on Revelation 16:19. Although fornication emphasizes her spiritual idolatry, it also includes commercial aspects as is recorded for the city of Tyre: “And it shall be, at the end of seventy years, that the Lord will deal with Tyre. She will return to her hire, and commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth” (Isa. Isa. 23:17). See Her Harlotry. In the same way that God gives up the godless who refuse to acknowledge Him as Creator (Rom. Rom. 1:18-24), so too in His sovereign permission, He uses Babylon to promote the drunkenness of the nations which already rage against Him (Ps. Ps. 2:1): “Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore the nations are deranged” (Jer. Jer. 51:7). Because Babylon has made all nations drink her wine, God will make her drink His wine (see commentary on Revelation 14:10).

The mass hysteria, or drunkenness which permitted mobs to give themselves to such men as Hitler, Stalin and Mussolini, will head up in that mass-drunkenness which will bow to the image of the Antichrist and accept a brand upon the forehead or hand as a sign of subservience to him. To all such, God will give another wine to drink.3


Notes

1 Merrill F. Unger, Unger’s Commentary on the Old Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2002), Jer. 21:10.

2 Interpreters are divided as to whether Rev. Rev. 16:19+ describes two categories of cities (Babylon and the cities of the nations) or three (Jerusalem, the cities of the Gentile nations, and Babylon).

3 Donald Grey Barnhouse, Revelation (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1971), Rev. 14:9.

Read Revelation 14:8