When her judgment finally comes, it will be swift and decisive (Isa. Isa. 47:9, Isa. 47:11; Rev. Rev. 18:9+, Rev. 18:10+, Rev. 18:17+, Rev. 18:19+). See Babylons Predicted Destruction.
The suddenness and completeness of Babylons judgment and disappearance from the face of the earth is the one prominent feature of this prophecy: and it effectually proves that it has not yet taken place. For Jehovahs prophecies are far too accurate and particular for this suddenness and completeness to be fulfilled by the gradual decay of old Babylon, the site and ruins and remains of which are still to be seen in the land of Shinar.1
She shall be burned with fire (ἐν πυρὶ κατακαυθήσεταὶ [en pyri katakauthēsetai] ) corresponds closely to the κατακαύσουσιν ἐν πυρί [katakausousin en pyri] of Rev. Rev. 17:16+ and must be the same destruction.2she will be utterly burned with fire
Like Sodom and Gomorrah, Babylon will be destroyed by fire (Isa. Isa. 13:19-20; Isa. 47:14; Jer. Jer. 50:40; Jer. 51:58; Rev. Rev. 18:9+). Her burning is complete and final: Her smoke rises up forever and ever! (Rev. Rev. 19:3+). The Beast and the ten kings of the end will assist in her destruction (Rev. Rev. 17:16+). See The Destruction of Babylon.
for strong is the Lord God who judges her
Thus says the LORD of hosts: The children of Israel were oppressed, along with the children of Judah; all who took them captive have held them fast; they have refused to let them go.
the kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament
Will lament is κόψονται [kopsontai] , they themselves will beat their breasts in anguish and mourning. Interpreters who take The Great Harlot as being different from the city Babylon take the destruction of the city described here as a separate destruction from that of the Harlot in the previous chapter (Rev. Rev. 17:16+). They understand the remorse of the kings of the earth described here as denoting the kings who give their authority to the Beast:
These are the seven kings who have co-reigned with the Antichrist and submitted their authority to the Antichrist, the king of Babylon. Whatever power or authority they held, was held by the grace of Babylon. Seeing their authority waning with Babylons destruction, they will lament the swiftness of the judgment. They will be able to see the smoke of Babylon afar off, for they will see it from the Valley of Jezreel in Israel.1We believe the distinction between The Great Harlot and the city to be arbitrary and that the text identifies the Harlot as the city. See One or Two Babylons?. Since Scripture records that the city will be hated and made desolate by the Beast and his kings (Rev. Rev. 17:16-18+), the kings who bemoan her destruction are not those allied with the beast, but other kings of the earth which Scripture mentions at the time of the end (Rev. Rev. 16:12-14+; Rev. 17:2+; Rev. 18:3+, Rev. 18:7+; Rev. 19:18-19+).2
We have before noted that the ten kings are never seen apart from the Beast; and the kings of the earth are never seen apart from Babylon. It is the former who hate and burn Babylon; it is the latter who weep and wail over her. In both chapters (Rev. Rev. 17:1+ and Rev. 18:1+) the city is called Babylon the great. God and man both so call her. This great city cannot be separated from her own corrupt religion. They must be connected together, just as chapters Rev. 17:1+ and Rev. 18:1+ are connected; and yet distinguished as they are there distinguished.3See commentary on Revelation 17:16.
when they see the smoke of her burning
Since they will weep and lament at the time of her destruction, these are kings which exist at the time of the end (see above). Her destruction is permanent: Her smoke rises up forever and ever! (Rev. Rev. 19:3+ cf. Isa. Isa. 34:10; Jer. Jer. 51:32).
2 Morris holds to the two-destructions view: The kings of the earth had burned Mystery Babylon, the harlot religious system, with fire, but these same kings mourn the burning of commercial Babylon (Rev. Rev. 17:16+; Rev. 18:9+), so obviously these are not the same burnings.Henry Morris, The Revelation Record (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1983), Rev. 18:8. His premise is incorrect. It is not the kings of the earth who destroy the harlot, but the ten kings with the Beast (Rev. Rev. 17:16+). Therefore, the mourning of the kings of the earth over the destruction of Babylon does not provide evidence for a different destruction of the city subsequent to that of the Harlot.Jer. 50:33-34) [emphasis added]