Revelation 18

Listen to Revelation 18

The Fall of Babylon

1 After this I saw 1another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and 2the earth was made bright with his glory.
2 And he called out with a mighty voice, 3"Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become 4a dwelling place for demons, a haunt 5for every unclean spirit, a haunt 6for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
3 For all nations have drunk[a] 7the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and 8the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and 9the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living."
4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, 10"Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;
5 for 11her sins are heaped high as heaven, and 12God has remembered her iniquities.
6 13Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her 14double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her 15in the cup she mixed.
7 16As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, 17'I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.'
8 For this reason her plagues will come 18in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and 19she will be burned up with fire; for 20mighty is the Lord God who has judged her."
9 And 21the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, 22will weep and wail over her 23when they see the smoke of her burning.
10 24They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, "Alas! Alas! 25You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For 26in a single hour your judgment has come."
11 And 27the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore,
12 cargo of gold, silver, jewels, pearls, fine linen, purple cloth, silk, scarlet cloth, all kinds of scented wood, all kinds of articles of ivory, all kinds of articles of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble,
13 cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and slaves, that is, human souls.[b]
14 "The fruit for which your soul longed has gone from you, and all your delicacies and your splendors are lost to you, never to be found again!"
15 28The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, 29will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,
16 "Alas, alas, for the great city 30that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls!
17 For 31in a single hour all this wealth 32has been laid waste."And 33all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off
18 and 34cried out 35as they saw the smoke of her burning, 36"What city was like the great city?"
19 And they threw 37dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, "Alas, alas, for the great city 38where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For 39in a single hour she has been laid waste.
20 40Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and 41apostles and prophets, for 42God has given judgment for you against her!"
21 Then 43a mighty angel 44took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "So will Babylon 45the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more;
22 and 46the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and 47the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more,
23 and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and 48the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for 49your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived 50by your sorcery.
24 And 51in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of 52all who have been slain on earth."

Revelation 18 Commentary

Chapter 18

Another angel from heaven proclaims the fall of mystical Babylon. (1-3) A voice from heaven admonishes the people of God, lest they partake of her plagues. (4-8) The lamentations over her. (9-19) The church called upon to rejoice in her utter ruin. (20-24)

Verses 1-8 The downfal and destruction of the mystical Babylon are determined in the counsels of God. Another angel comes from heaven. This seems to be Christ himself, coming to destroy his enemies, and to shed abroad the light of his gospel through all nations. The wickedness of this Babylon was very great; she had forsaken the true God, and set up idols, and had drawn all sorts of men into spiritual adultery, and by her wealth and luxury kept them in her interest. The spiritual merchandise, by which multitudes have wickedly lived in wealth, by the sins and follies of mankind, seems principally intended. Fair warning is given to all that expect mercy from God, that they should not only come out of this Babylon, but assist in her destruction. God may have a people even in Babylon. But God's people shall be called out of Babylon, and called effectually, while those that partake with wicked men in their sins, must receive of their plagues.

Verses 9-19 The mourners had shared Babylon's sensual pleasures, and gained by her wealth and trade. The kings of the earth, whom she flattered into idolatry, allowing them to be tyrannical over their subjects, while obedient to her; and the merchants, those who trafficked for her indulgences, pardons, and honours; these mourn. Babylon's friends partook her sinful pleasures and profits, but are not willing to share her plagues. The spirit of antichrist is a worldly spirit, and that sorrow is a mere worldly sorrow; they do not lament for the anger of God, but for the loss of outward comforts. The magnificence and riches of the ungodly will avail them nothing, but will render the vengeance harder to be borne. The spiritual merchandise is here alluded to, when not only slaves, but the souls of men, are mentioned as articles of commerce, to the destroying the souls of millions. Nor has this been peculiar to the Roman antichrist, and only her guilt. But let prosperous traders learn, with all their gains, to get the unsearchable riches of Christ; otherwise; even in this life, they may have to mourn that riches make to themselves wings and fly away, and that all the fruits their souls lusted after, are departed from them. Death, at any rate, will soon end their commerce, and all the riches of the ungodly will be exchanged, not only for the coffin and the worm, but for the fire that cannot be quenched.

Verses 20-24 That which is matter of rejoicing to the servants of God on earth, is matter of rejoicing to the angels in heaven. The apostles, who are honoured and daily worshipped at Rome in an idolatrous manner, will rejoice in her fall. The fall of Babylon was an act of God's justice. And because it was a final ruin, this enemy should never molest them any more; of this they were assured by a sign. Let us take warning from the things which brought others to destruction, and let us set our affections on things above, when we consider the changeable nature of earthly things.

Cross References 52

  • 1. Revelation 17:1, 7
  • 2. Ezekiel 43:2
  • 3. See Revelation 14:8
  • 4. Isaiah 13:21; Isaiah 34:14; Jeremiah 50:39; Jeremiah 51:37; [Zephaniah 2:14, 15]
  • 5. Revelation 16:13
  • 6. Isaiah 14:23; Isaiah 34:11
  • 7. Revelation 14:8
  • 8. ver. 9; Revelation 17:2
  • 9. ver. 11, 15; Ezekiel 27:33
  • 10. [2 Corinthians 6:17]; See Isaiah 48:20
  • 11. Jeremiah 51:9; [Genesis 18:20, 21; Ezra 9:6; Jonah 1:2]
  • 12. Revelation 16:19
  • 13. Psalms 137:8; Jeremiah 50:15, 29; Jeremiah 51:24, 49
  • 14. Jeremiah 16:18
  • 15. [Revelation 14:10; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:4]
  • 16. [Ezekiel 28:2-8]
  • 17. Isaiah 47:7, 8; Zephaniah 2:15; [Revelation 3:17]
  • 18. Isaiah 47:9; [ver. 10]
  • 19. Revelation 17:16
  • 20. Jeremiah 50:34
  • 21. ver. 3; Revelation 17:2; [Ezekiel 26:16, 17]
  • 22. [Jeremiah 50:46]
  • 23. ver. 18; Revelation 19:3
  • 24. ver. 15, 17
  • 25. See Revelation 14:8
  • 26. ver. 17, 19; [ver. 8]
  • 27. ver. 3, 15; [Ezekiel 27:36]
  • 28. ver. 3, 11
  • 29. ver. 10
  • 30. Revelation 17:4
  • 31. ver. 10, 19
  • 32. Revelation 17:16
  • 33. Ezekiel 27:28, 29
  • 34. Ezekiel 27:30
  • 35. ver. 9
  • 36. Ezekiel 27:32; [Revelation 13:4]
  • 37. See Joshua 7:6; Job 2:12
  • 38. ver. 3, 15
  • 39. ver. 10, 17
  • 40. Deuteronomy 32:43; Jeremiah 51:48; See Revelation 12:12
  • 41. Luke 11:49, 50
  • 42. Revelation 19:2
  • 43. Revelation 5:2; Revelation 10:1
  • 44. [Jeremiah 51:63, 64]
  • 45. ver. 10
  • 46. Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 24:8; Ezekiel 26:13
  • 47. Ecclesiastes 12:4; Jeremiah 25:10
  • 48. Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9; Jeremiah 33:11
  • 49. Isaiah 23:8
  • 50. Nahum 3:4
  • 51. Revelation 17:6; [Matthew 23:35, 36]
  • 52. [Jeremiah 51:49]

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Some manuscripts fallen by
  • [b]. Or and slaves, and human lives

Chapter Summary


This chapter gives an account of the fall of Babylon, and of the lamentation of many, and of the joy of others, by reason of it; which account is published by several angels: the first that declares her fall is described by his original, descending from heaven; by the great power he had; by his resplendent glory, and by his mighty cry in publishing her destruction; which is illustrated by the desolate condition she will be in upon her fall; the reasons of which are given, became the nations and kings of the earth had committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth were enriched by her luxury, Re 18:1-3. Another voice is heard from heaven, calling upon the people of God, first to come out of her, lest partaking of her sins they should share in her plagues, seeing her iniquities had reached to heaven, and were remembered before God; and next to take full vengeance on her, because she had glorified herself, lived deliciously, and in great security, Re 18:4-7. And then follows a continuation of the account of her destruction, what her plagues would be, death, mourning, famine, and fire; and which would be sudden, in one hour, and certain, from the power and justice of God, Re 18:8. Next follow the lamentations of the kings, merchants, and masters of ships, because of her greatness, riches, and merchandise, which are all come to nothing, Re 18:9-19. And then the church; the saints, apostles, and prophets, are called upon to rejoice at the vengeance taken on her, Re 18:20 upon which a mighty angel appears, who by an action signifies the manner of her destruction, and the irrecoverableness of her state and condition, Re 18:21 and declares her utter ruin, by affirming that nothing that was either delightful or profitable, or necessary or comfortable, should any more be found in her; giving the reasons of it, because of her luxury, idolatry, and bloodshed, Re 18:22-24.

Revelation 18 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.