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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

Week - 31 A Requiem for the Final World Empire Revelation 18:1-24

Updated: Dec 15, 2021

Authored by Jerry Marshall It seems hard to believe, but the death of Diana, Princess of Wales happened twenty three ago. As you may recall, she died in a terrible auto wreck in Paris, France. This is one of those riveting events in world history akin to others, such as the assassination of President Kennedy, the attack on Pearl Harbor, or the infamous events of “Nine Eleven.”

During the week that she lay in state, the people of Great Britain, and from all over the world, gave an outpouring of grief seldom seen. Mountains of flowers were stacked in front of her palace. People simply stood in the streets overcome with grief. And then there was the funeral. As her casket was slowly driven to Westminster Abbey, people along the way tossed flowers at the Hearst carrying her coffin, while muffled bells tolled in the background.

The funeral service was filled with touching eulogies, a moving musical tribute, which became the world’s best-selling recording. Cameras would frequently turn their focus on two motherless princes grieving over their enormous loss as their uncle; their mother’s brother gave a very emotional eulogy. Who could have even imagined that this beautiful young princess would be cut down in the prime of her life? At one moment, she had been full of hope and dreams, apparently on the verge of beginning a whole new life when suddenly, in the blink of an eye, disaster fell, and she was gone. Never would the world behold her again.

In Revelation 18, we have a record of the sudden and shocking death of the capitol city of the world’s final empire, which is described in this chapter as a queen. Like Diana, the death of this royal city was unexpected and catastrophic. And like the funeral of Princess Diana, this event will capture the attention of the entire world. We will see in this chapter, a record of the Lord’s judgment of the commercial and political aspects of the final world empire. It is communicated to us in the form of a funeral dirge using four different voices.

1. The Voice of Judgment (Revelation 18:1-3)

A. The vision of an angel (1)

After this I saw another angel. The phrase after this (NIV) after these things (NASB), introduces a new vision seen by the Apostle John from heaven. Having been shown the punishment and the destruction of the religious aspect of the empire of the Antichrist, John would now behold the complete destruction of the political and commercial aspect of the kingdom of the Antichrist.

John beholds another angel who is different from the one who showed him the punishment of the great harlot of chapter 17. The word another is a translation of the Greek word “allos,” which means another of the same kind. Some commentators believe that this angel is really Christ because of his place of origin, the authority he bears and the brilliance of his appearance. However, the word allos would indicate that this angel is like the angels previously seen by John. Having come from the very presence of God, he comes on the scene with certainty and authority as he issues his pronouncement of judgment upon the final evil empire.

Following the fifth bowl judgment, the kingdom of the Antichrist was plunged into darkness (16:10). This darkness will serve as the backdrop for this dramatic appearance of the angel whose glory will illuminate the earth. Such brilliance will no doubt terrify those who inhabit the earth.

B. The voice of the angel (2-3)

1. A shout of Judgment (2a)

With a mighty voice he shouted: “Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!” This shining angel will be seen by all and heard by all, for he will give a mighty shout of judgment as he declares with certainty, the fall of the mighty capitol city of the final world empire. And with its destruction, all of the empire will crumble, opening the way for the establishment of the government of God on earth. What was prophetically predicted in Revelation 14:8 will now become a reality. Babylon the great will soon be history!

2. The source of judgment (2b-3)

Why is such judgment being pronounced against this Great city of the final world empire? She has become a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit. These are the demons that had been released earlier from the abyss, along with those that had been cast down to the earth along with Satan in their battle with Michael and his angels, as well as those demonic beings who had already been on earth. All of these fallen creatures will now reside in the capital city of this Satanic Empire.

The word “home” in the original language suggests where they live, whereas the word “haunt” or “prison” is phulake { foo-lak-ay’} refers to a place where every evil spirit will be kept as in prison. They are kept against their wills. All of the demons will be centrally located in one city, corralled in one area. But in addition to the demons, the city of Babylon will also be a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. The KJV translates this section of the passage as a cage for every unclean and hateful bird. This is a reference to scavenger birds that are awaiting a feast of flesh as a result of the almost instant death and destruction of this city’s occupants.

This passage once again highlights the far-reaching influence of this evil empire. All the nations and every nation will have become intoxicated with the maddening wine of her adulteries (i.e., spiritual unfaithfulness to the true and living God as expressed by the willingness of the nations to worship the Antichrist).

The political leaders will join in this spiritual orgy and the merchants will enjoy the profits from the excessive appetites of the final world’s system. This city will be the hub of the economy and the excessive indulgences in the luxuries and pleasures of this fallen world. Therefore, we hear the voice of a mighty angel proclaiming God’s judgment upon this capitol city and the evil empire it represents.

II. The voice of exhortation (Revelation 18:4-8)

A. A call for separation (4-5)

The voice from heaven is that of another angel who is speaking in the name of God. It is an exhortation for the people of God (i.e., Tribulation Saints), to separate themselves from this evil city and its corrupting ways; to flee and disentangle themselves from this final expression of the fallen world system.

As I mentioned in previous studies of this book, during the time of the Tribulation, the world will experience the greatest harvest of souls in the history of the world. The Gospel will be proclaimed by 144000 Jewish evangelists; two very powerful prophets whom the world will see resurrected and ascended into heaven after being killed by the Antichrist. There will even be an angel, flying across the sky proclaiming the eternal gospel. Many of those who come to Christ during these dark and difficult days will be martyred because of their relationship with Christ and their willingness to compromise and renounce Him as the master of their lives. However, in the final days of the Great Tribulation, some will still be alive.

These faithful saints will be under great pressure to compromise their commitment to Christ and His word. I am sure that lost family members might pressure them to take the mark of the beast in order to spare them from martyrdom, as well as to be able to purchase the necessities of life. No doubt, there will be a certain attraction to the opulence and plenty that this final world will offer.

“Come out of her” has always been God’s call to His people. Salvation results in separation from sin and what the bible refers to as “The World” (cf. 2 Corinthians 6:4-18; Romans 12:2; James 4:4; 1 John 2:15-17). The word “saint” means a set apart one. And the word “church” in the original language, refers to a community of called out ones. They are called out from this world of sin and set apart to God and His will.

“The World” is used frequently in the N.T. to describe that ordered system of thought that flows from fallen and unredeemed minds, creating various worldviews, theological premises and moral positions that enable them to satisfy the appetites of their fallen nature.

When professing believers love this world, they lose their value for the things of God (2 Timothy 4:9-10).

The biblical truth that believers are not to entangle themselves in the world system will take on a new urgency as this sinful and corrupting system is about to breathe its last breath. It’s judgment time, for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. The ancient city of Babel attempted to build a tower in order to reach up to heaven itself. The future city of Babylon will have piled up their sins to heaven like a new tower of Babel.

B. A cry for vengeance (6-8)

This cry for vengeance is similar to the one recorded in Revelation 6:9-10. It is based upon the law of retaliation. “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth” (Matthew 5:38; Exodus 21:23-24). It’s important to note that believers are never to take their own revenge upon those who wrong them (Romans 12:19).

However, it is appropriate to cry out to God to take upon our cause and deal with those who have wronged us in accordance with His perfect justice (cf. 1 Peter 2:21-23). Take note of the cry of this angel (v.6-7).

There are three specific sins that call for such judgment. Note Revelation 18:7.

"To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, `I SIT as A QUEEN AND I AM NOT A WIDOW and will never see mourning.'

-Self glorification

-Self gratification

-Self sufficiency

This city is personified as thinking of itself as being invincible.

III. The voice of mourning (Revelation 18:9-19)

A. The first mourners: The kings of the earth (9-10)

The kings of the earth will lament at the destruction of this city because this will mean the end of their political influence, and all the benefits accorded to them. The fierceness of the instant destruction of this city will force them to stand at a distance in terror as they watch their political power, and its trappings go up in smoke.

B. The second mourners: The merchants of the earth (11-17a)

The merchants of the world will mourn over this city because with its destruction, their market will also be destroyed. The insatiable appetite for their merchandise and the immense financial benefits will evaporate in an instant. In the exercise of the judgment of God, He will bankrupt the entire system. This will make the crash of 1929 seem like a slow day on the stock exchange in comparison.

C. The third mourners: The merchants of the sea (17b-19)

Although there will be great mourning on the earth with a terrifying shock and amazement at the quick destruction of this central city of the final world empire, there will be a different response in heaven.

IV. The voice of rejoicing (Revelation 18:20-24)

A. The cause of joy (20)

The cause for such joy is that the long-awaited moment of vindication, retribution, and vengeance, which was requested by the Tribulation saints, will finally arrive. God has judged her for the way she treated the people of God.

B. The cause of judgment (21-24)

The swift and complete destruction of Babylon is illustrated by a mighty angel who picks up a boulder, the size of a large millstone and throws it into the sea. A great millstone is about four to five feet in diameter, a foot thick and very heavy. In one moment, as that stone disappeared into the sea, Babylon will disappear.

So thorough will be the destruction of this city, that none of the normal activities of a large metropolis will ever take place in it again (vv. 22-23a).

There are two reasons given as to the cause of such swift judgment. One is found in the last part of verse 23.

“By your sorcery all the nations were led astray.”

“Sorcery” is a translation of the Greek word, “pharmakei,” which is the word from which we get our modern word Pharmacy. It is descriptive of the use of mind-altering herbs or drugs used for the purpose of lowering the inhibitions of those involved in cultic worship. It was used to dull the sensibilities of those who would enter into the perverted rituals associated with such pagan and immoral worship.

Babylon’s hold on the world will not be entirely due to military and economic power, it will also have an occult influence as well.

The second reason is given in v.24.

“In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saint, and all who have been killed on the earth.” The capitol city was instantly judged and destroyed because of her murderous slaughter of God’s people.

Practical Implications

1. Our supreme affection belongs solely to God and must never be given to the world and its system of thought which is openly hostile to God and His word

(1 John 2:15-17, 2 Timothy 4:9-10).

2. When professing believers are in an unholy alliance with this fallen world system, they subject themselves to the backwash of such an association. For example, a believer today may buy into the worldly notion that money, power, and possessions are the source of true meaning in life and suffer the loss of important relationships in pursuit of them, as well as the cooling of their relationship with the Lord. For Demas, it was the priorities of God that became the causality of his new love relationship with the world. Eternal treasures were traded for temporal toys.

3. The world corrupts people in several different ways.

It causes people to assume that true security, as well as significance and meaning are rooted in financial prosperity, positions of power and influence, and the accumulation of worldly possessions.

It promotes the idea of self-indulgence as a worthy value, and self-gratification as primary priorities of life.

It allows the formulation of one’s “spirituality”, to be based upon subjective assumptions and speculations, rather than the word of God.

It gives permission to indulge in those things that God condemns.

It provides a worldview which gives liberty to gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature.


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