Revelation 18

Lament Over Fallen Babylon

1 After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.
2 With a mighty voice he shouted: “ ‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!’[a]She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.
3 For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”

Warning to Escape Babylon’s Judgment

4 Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “ ‘Come out of her, my people,’[b]so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues;
5 for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes.
6 Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her own cup.
7 Give her as much torment and grief as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow;[c]I will never mourn.’
8 Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.

Threefold Woe Over Babylon’s Fall

9 “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her.
10 Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “ ‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, you mighty city of Babylon! In one hour your doom has come!’
11 “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore—
12 cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble;
13 cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.
14 “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your luxury and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.’
15 The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn
16 and cry out: “ ‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!
17 In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!’ “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off.
18 When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?’
19 They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: “ ‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!’
20 “Rejoice over her, you heavens! Rejoice, you people of God! Rejoice, apostles and prophets! For God has judged her with the judgment she imposed on you.”

The Finality of Babylon’s Doom

21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.
22 The music of harpists and musicians, pipers and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No worker of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again.
23 The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world’s important people. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray.
24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of God’s holy people, of all who have been slaughtered on the 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 61

  • 1. Revelation 17:1
  • 2. Revelation 10:1; Revelation 20:1
  • 3. Ezekiel 43:2
  • 4. S Revelation 14:8
  • 5. Revelation 16:13
  • 6. Isaiah 13:21,22; Isaiah 34:11,13-15; Jeremiah 50:39; Jeremiah 51:37; Zephaniah 2:14,15
  • 7. S Revelation 14:8
  • 8. Revelation 17:2
  • 9. ver 11,15,23; Ezekiel 27:9-25
  • 10. ver 7,9
  • 11. Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 50:8; Jeremiah 51:6,9,45; 2 Corinthians 6:17
  • 12. Genesis 19:15
  • 13. 2 Chronicles 28:9; Ezra 9:6; Jeremiah 51:9
  • 14. Revelation 16:19
  • 15. Psalms 137:8; Jeremiah 50:15,29
  • 16. Isaiah 40:2
  • 17. Revelation 14:10; Revelation 16:19; Revelation 17:4
  • 18. Ezekiel 28:2-8
  • 19. Psalms 10:6; Isaiah 47:7,8; Zephaniah 2:15
  • 20. ver 10; Isaiah 9:14; Isaiah 47:9; Jeremiah 50:31,32
  • 21. Revelation 17:16
  • 22. ver 3; Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:2,4
  • 23. ver 3,7
  • 24. ver 18; Revelation 14:11; Revelation 19:3
  • 25. Jeremiah 51:8; Ezekiel 26:17,18
  • 26. ver 15,17
  • 27. ver 16,19
  • 28. ver 17; Revelation 17:12
  • 29. Ezekiel 27:27
  • 30. ver 15,19; Ezekiel 27:31
  • 31. S ver 3
  • 32. Ezekiel 27:12-22; Revelation 17:4
  • 33. Ezekiel 27:13; 1 Timothy 1:10
  • 34. S ver 3
  • 35. ver 10,17
  • 36. ver 11,19; Ezekiel 27:31
  • 37. ver 10,19
  • 38. Revelation 17:4
  • 39. ver 10; Revelation 17:12
  • 40. Revelation 17:16
  • 41. Ezekiel 27:28-30
  • 42. ver 10,15
  • 43. ver 9; Revelation 19:3
  • 44. S Revelation 17:18
  • 45. Ezekiel 27:32; Revelation 13:4
  • 46. Joshua 7:6; Lamentations 2:10; Ezekiel 27:30
  • 47. ver 11,15; Ezekiel 27:31
  • 48. ver 10,16; Revelation 17:18
  • 49. Revelation 17:16
  • 50. Jeremiah 51:48; S Revelation 12:12
  • 51. Revelation 19:2
  • 52. Revelation 5:2; Revelation 10:1
  • 53. Jeremiah 51:63
  • 54. S Revelation 17:18
  • 55. Isaiah 24:8; Ezekiel 26:13
  • 56. Jeremiah 25:10
  • 57. Jeremiah 7:34; Jeremiah 16:9; Jeremiah 25:10
  • 58. ver 3; Isaiah 23:8
  • 59. Nahum 3:4
  • 60. Revelation 16:6; Revelation 17:6
  • 61. Jeremiah 51:49; Matthew 23:35

Footnotes 3

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO REVELATION 18

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