Revelation 18:1-24 Part 2

REVELATION 18:1-24 Part 1



1)    After those I saw another messenger, one having great authority, come down from the heaven; and the land was emblazoned by His glory.

2)    And He did cry out in a mighty sound, saying “she has fallen!  Babylon the Great has fallen!  She has become a dwelling place of demons and a haunt of every unclean spirit and a gathering of every unclean and detestable bird.

3)    All the nations drank from the wine of the passion of her fornication; for the kings did fornicate with her, and the merchants of the earth became rich from the power of her wantonness.”

4)    Then I heard another sound from the heaven, saying “come out of her My people that you not participate in her sins and receive her plagues;

5)    for her sins are heaped up unto the heaven and God remembered her iniquities.

6)    Repay her just as she meted out; and double double according to her works!  Mingle her double in the cup that she mingled!

7)    As much as she appeared glorious but waxed wanton, give her that much torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I am the sitting queen, I am not a widow, and I will never see mourning’.

8)    Because of this, in one day her plagues will come: death and mourning and famine, and she will be utterly burned in fire; for mighty is the Lord God Who judged her.

9)    When they look upon the smoke of her burning, the kings of the earth who fornicated and reveled with her will weep and lament over her,

10) having stood at a distance in awe of her torment, saying ‘woe, woe the great city’, Babylon the mighty city, for your judgment came in one hour.

11) And the merchants of the earth weep and sorrow over her because there is no longer anyone buying their cargo -

12) cargoes of gold and silver and precious stone and pearl and fine linen and purple and silk and crimson; and all kinds of scented wood, and every kind of ivory vessel, and every kind of costly wood, bronze, iron and marble articles;

13) cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh, frankincense; wine, oil, fine flour, wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and chariots; and slaves…… human souls!

14) And the fruit of your soul’s lusts has gone away from you; all – the dainty and the bright – have gone away from you; and you will never find them again;

15) These merchants who had been enriched from her shall stand at a distance weeping and mourning at the awesomeness of her torment,

16) saying ‘woe, woe the great city’, arrayed with fine linen and purple and scarlet, adorned with gold and precious stone and pearls, for in one hour so much wealth is made desolate.

17) And every shipmaster and all sailing to the place and mariners and all who trade by sea did stand at a distance

18) and cry out when seeing the smoke of her burning, saying ‘any likeness of the great city?’

19) Weeping and mourning they cast dust upon their heads, saying ‘woe, woe the great city’ by which all that had ships in the sea did abound from her great worth, for in one hour she was made desolate.

20) Be gladdened over her heaven and holy ones and apostles and prophets! for from your lawsuit God did pass judgment on her.”

21) Then the one mighty messenger raised a stone as a great millstone and cast it into the sea, saying “so with violence Babylon the great city shall be cast and shall never again be found.

22) The sound of harpers and musicians and pipers and trumpeters shall never be heard in you again; and no craftsman of any craft shall ever be found in you again; and the sound of a millstone shall never be heard in you again;

23) and the light of a candle shall never shine in you again; and the voice of the bridegroom and the bride shall never be heard in you again; for your merchants were the princes of the earth, and by your enchantment all the nations of the earth were seduced.

24) And the blood of the prophets was found in her, and that of every one of the holy ones ever slain upon the land.”


After those (verse one), after those messengers that were sent out from the tabernacle, all being of the same “kind”, and all having been given authority, there now comes another One (this one of a different “kind”).  And this Messenger isn’t “given” authority; and He isn’t “sent” from the tabernacle!

This One has great authority (John is very specific in his language here)!  And of His Own accord He “comes down” from the heaven… He isn’t “sent”!

And as He comes down from the heaven, His glory – glory that belongs to Him – emblazoned the land!  This isn’t the “reflected” glory of God in His creatures.  It is the personal glory of God the Son as He appears, as before, as “Michael” – Archangel, Arch-Messenger – the One, the only One, Who has been given all authority over all the creatures in the heaven, and on the earth and in the abyss.

There can be only one Arch-messenger, you see.  If there were several, then none of them would be the Arch-messenger.  There can’t be more than one.  There can’t be two or more.  “Arch” means “preeminent” or “foremost”.  So if there were two (or more) then all of the arch-messengers would have all authority over all the others!  So there’s only one; and He is the chief, the leader, the “commander” of all of the others.

Besides, the Word of God knows no other Arch-messenger than the One Who was given all authority over all the creatures in the heaven and on the earth and under the earth.  He is the Son of God/Son of Man Who has arisen out of death and ascended to the Right of the Father; and Who appears to Daniel and to John as The Overcomer and Prince of His people!

The Hebrew name means “As God”.  The prophet Daniel, you remember, was visited by Michael (and is called there: “the Prince of His people”); and Daniel described His glory (just as John does here in our text). 

Back in chapter twelve of John’s letter, the apostle is shown Satanos – the dragon – having been cast down from the glory cloud to the earth by Michael.  And as you remember, there was no contest!

So, what we see here is the third occasion in Scripture in which God the Son (The Word of God) appears as Michael… the first being to cast Satan from the heaven; the second to inform Daniel of that which would take place in “the last days”; and the third being the thunderous testimony which we find written in verses two and three.  In His glorious Parousia (bringing all to light), He sets the stage, and He states the case against the harlot – Jerusalem (and all Israel) - here at the end of the age.  And His testimony is that all is ready!


But great authority was His.  And His glory was such that the land was emblazoned, illumined, made manifest. He “shone” in all His glory… as He had prophesied!

Here’s what He said to His disciples before His crucifixion:


“For just as the brightness comes out from dawnings and shines until settings, so will be the Parousia of the Son of Man.

Wherever be the fall, there the eagles shall be gathered.

And immediately with the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

And the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven will then be manifested; and then all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory….”


Just as the light of the sun emblazons the whole land at the dawning of a new day, so was the Parousia of the Son of Man at Israel’s judgment day.  That’s what John is shown here in our text.  And it is exactly what Jesus promised to His disciples, isn’t it?

It reminds us that the whole creation is fashioned by its Creator in such a way that it glorifies God the Son in all His work.  Just as the rocks and the mountains and the trees and the clouds and the rain and the oceans all remind us of His divine purpose, so the dawning of a new day ought to remind us of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ at His Parousia.

This creation was made the way it is in order to reflect that.  And even now, having “dawned” once upon the land, He is the Light of the world; for the judgment of the harlot at His Parousia meant that the Light (the glory) would be shone upon all the nations.

And it’s no coincidence whatsoever that we find the same language in Ezekiel chapter forty-three; for at that time, all Israel is in captivity – in Babylon!  And the subject of God’s Word through this prophet is the final destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the end-of-the-age Parousia of the coming Christ of God!

In Ezekiel’s prophecy, because of her harlotry, the nation and the city and the desecrated temple have been destroyed by the first beast of God’s world history.  And Ezekiel is to write to the enslaved nation and show them the difference between their desecrated temple and the new temple in the coming Savior of the world.  (We’ll hear of the new Israel and the new Jerusalem and the new temple right here in the later chapters).

But listen to the words recorded by Ezekiel and compare them to what Jesus told His disciples, and to what John sees here at the beginning of chapter eighteen:


1)    Afterward he brought me to the gate, even the gate that faces the east.

2)    And, lo, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east: and his voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with his glory.

3)    And it was according to the appearance of the vision which I saw, even according to the vision that I saw when He came to destroy the city (Jerusalem); and the visions were like the vision that I saw by the river Chebar; and I fell upon my face.

4)    And the glory of YAHVEH came into the house by the way of the gate whose face is toward the east (just as the dawning of the sun).


And listen to the language once again from Matthew twenty-four:


“For just as the brightness comes out from dawnings (from the East) and shines until settings, so will be the Parousia of the Son of Man.  Wherever be the fall, there the eagles shall be gathered” (Matthew 24).


And again from verse one of our text:


“After those I saw another messenger, one having great authority, come down from the heaven; and the land was emblazoned by His glory. And He did cry out in a mighty sound, saying “she has fallen!  Babylon the Great has fallen!”  (John’s words here at the beginning of chapter eighteen).


At the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple and the ensuing captivity in Babylon, Ezekiel was sent to captive Israel to show them the Parousia of the Christ of God in the final destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem at the end of the age; and to show them His new temple which has no unclean things in it; and which shall never be desecrated or destroyed.

So, once again we see the Word of God in all of its perfections as the Lord of all of the host of the heaven exposes the land to His glorious Person – this time (as the rest of the chapter says) in the final destruction of the harlot city and the desecrated temple, and to reveal His “new temple” (which we’ll see in the following chapters), and all of it prophesied in Ezekiel forty-three.

So, you see, the 586BC destruction of Jerusalem and the temple was a prophetic revelation of what was to be in the last days at the Parousia of The Christ.  The language found in the Ezekiel passage is the same language found in the words of Jesus to His disciples just before His crucifixion; and it’s the same language found here in verse one of chapter eighteen.

The brightness of His glory was the dawning of a new day in the judgment of the harlot; and it was the “Light” of the nations.  Jerusalem is worse – much worse – than the first beast.  Therefore she is called “the greater Babylon”!  And at her “fall” (Jesus said in Matthew 24), the birds of prey will gather (as we’ll see shortly in verse two).


Now.  Since Israel IS called the “greater Babylon”; and since there is a law-suit pending against her, before we proceed with verses two and three, let’s just mention once again that this is a lawsuit that was begun at Sinai.  And, here in the Revelation, John is hearing the adjudication (judgment) of that Lawsuit – verses one and two being the testimony of readiness by God the Son at His Parousia.

YAHVEH had cut a “covenant” with Israel at Sinai (similar in some ways to a “birth” out of Egypt; and also similar to a “betrothal”, as is found in Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast in Matthew chapter twenty-two.)

That covenant was made with a “chosen people”, among whom was a promised “seed” – from which would come God’s Messiah/King, the Savior of the world.  And please remember that the Savior of this creation was revealed long before Israel was freed from Egypt and constituted a nation.

But that covenant included God’s requirement for holiness and obedience from the ones who He had chosen from among all the peoples on the earth.

And when God covenanted with this chosen people, the coming Christ of God – the “Holy One of Israel” – was revealed in great detail; and all Israel was to anticipate Him and rejoice in Him and prepare for His coming!  And they were to emulate Him, for He was the Word of YAHVEH… His character, His obedience, His righteousness, His submission to the Father….

All Israel was to hear Him and obey Him and submit to Him and to await His arrival with great anticipation.  Israel was constituted a nation by the spoken Word of God to Moses that was written in a document.  It was God’s Law-word.  It was the Revelation of His holiness, you see.

However, what happens when fallen and cursed mankind is exposed to God’s righteousness – His holiness – His perfections?  As the apostle Paul says in the first seven chapters of his letter to the Churches in Rome, there is immediate alienation and rebellion – and a spiral downward into degradation.  The nature of man is “provoked” by God’s Law, and he revolts against it.

And, along with the apostle, might I say that that was God’s purpose for the covenantal Law-word to Israel… that there would be a fifteen hundred year law-suit against her (the judgment and sentencing for which is right here in chapter eighteen of John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ).

And the reason for God doing that?  It was to glorify Himself in His keeping for Himself those of the promised seed!  He would keep for Himself those of the promise – even though they were among those who were the worst of the worst!

If I can use an analogy here of my own, the written Law-word of God to Israel was like a magnifying glass to expose the sinfulness of sin!  Israel’s fifteen hundred years of wicked rebellion against YAHVEH and His Anointed King was the abject antithesis to God’s revealed holiness.  She was provoked by His Law-word.  The Revelation of His Holiness promoted enmity and hostility in a cursed and condemned people.

And that was its purpose; for the conditions in which God preserved His Own promised seed were the very worst!  And Israel was worse than all the surrounding nations, for hers was YAHVEH’s Law-word!  And God was glorified – in that not only was there enmity between the dragon and the promised seed; but that the promised seed was preserved amidst the harlot of all the nations!

And she became the harlot of all the nations because of her fallen and depraved hatred of God’s Law-word and His promised King – the Holy One of Israel!  And it’s exactly why there was murderous hostility toward the Christ when He was manifest in Israel!

Once again… Israel became the harlot of all the kings and merchants of the world because of the Revelation of God’s righteousness – His Law-word.  And her rage against that Law-word is exemplified in her indignation toward the Holy One of Israel when He arrived at the appointed time.  He was God-man, the Law-giver and perfect Law-keeper; and He arrived in the midst of the worst of the Law-breakers!  And He was Savior of the promised seed (the lost sheep of the house of Jacob) who had been kept by God from the beginning; and He was the Savior of the world (which included the Gentile nations and people – who had NOT been given the Law!); and Israel hated Him.


And now, while we’re here, let’s just say a few things about the abiding nature of God’s Law-word under the reign and rule of Christ the King.

The first thing that needs to be said is that, over and above the purpose for which it was revealed, in exhaustive detail, to the covenanted nation of Israel, God’s Law-word IS the revelation of His righteousness.  Therefore it has abiding validity.  Not one iota of His righteousness has been abrogated.  (An “iota” is the smallest mark in the Hebrew language, by the way).  So not one bit of the Revelation of God’s holy Person has passed away!

Secondly, the holiness and righteousness of our Triune God, as revealed in His Law-word, continues (as always) to excite hatred and animosity among depraved mankind.  And rebellion is kindled and inflamed in the hearts and minds and bodies of cursed and fallen creatures.  God’s Law-word arouses those who are dead in sin, and provokes them to more – and further – degradation.

The creation, itself, reveals the power and the glory of its Creator, leaving all mankind without excuse; but God’s Law-word piques and quickens man’s defiance and drives him to deeper and deeper perversity.

Thirdly, by the shed blood of the Law-Giver and perfect Law-Keeper, all of the ones rebirthed into Him have access to all of His virtues and perfection; and because He is the perfect law-keeper, they are confronted with the Righteousness of God in His Law; and they mourn their sin and turn from it – finding in His Law the love and grace and mercy of a holy God; and coveting the faithfulness to Him that’s required there.

And they all can then say with the Psalmist: “O how I love Thy Law, O God”.  And they can say that because it’s the Revelation of His righteousness!

You see, God’s Revelation of His Own holiness – His Law-word – becomes the original model for our faithfulness; for there’s nothing more important for one who is IN CHRIST than to reflect the righteousness of our God – to His glory.

And I say to you that God’s Law-word is loving; and His love is lawful.  This is an irrefutable truth to those who are In Christ.  On the other hand, those who proclaim that the Old Testament is one of Law, but the new testament is one of love and grace, are doing so in order to excuse themselves for their unfaithfulness. 

The Law-word of God makes sin exceedingly sinful!  That’s purposeful, you see.  But to those In Christ the Revelation of His glorious nature (in His Law) is precious indeed; for it convicts us and turns us and arouses us to repentance and stirs us to obedience and faithfulness.  Because of His Law, we desire to emulate The Christ to Whom we belong, and to reflect God’s holiness and righteousness!

The purpose of the Revelation of God’s righteousness (His Law-word) is, at the same time, to manifest the ungodly and to manifest those who belong to the Christ; for the re-born in Him are the ones given the right to be Sons of God in faithful obedience.

Remember what was said earlier here in the Revelation: that those who are being manifest as His people are those who are “holding the testimony of Jesus and keeping His Commandments”.


One last thing here… a nation whose leaders refuse to lead by the revealed righteousness of God in His Law, will surely descend into lawlessness.  And chaos will not be far behind; for an ungodly and perverse people will inevitably descend into libertine corruption and lawless anarchy.

A godly magistrate provides justice and order and peace and prosperity for all those in his keeping; but one that is hostile to God’s Law cultivates and nurtures disorder and barbarity and deviance and poverty and hardship and turmoil.

We don’t yet know what our immediate state is going to be in this nation; but we can be certain of one thing: that God will always do what is right!  And those of the promise will always be manifest.  We know that because that’s what He’s always done.  And the King of Kings will glorify His Father by keeping all of His Own, for He is the Overcomer!


In verse two the One Whose glorious brightness lit up the entire land in His Parousia shouts in a mighty sound: “She has fallen; Babylon the great has fallen” – echoing His Own prophetic Word to His disciples (as recorded by Matthew in chapter twenty four).

Here it is again:


“For just as the brightness comes out from dawnings and shines until settings, so will be the Parousia of the Son of Man.

Wherever be the fall, there the eagles shall be gathered.

And immediately with the tribulation of those days, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from the heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.

And the sign of the Son of Man in Heaven will then be manifested; and then all the tribes of the land will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory….”


And here in verse two He cries out: “she has fallen! …  She has become a dwelling place of demons and a haunt of every unclean spirit and a gathering of every unclean and detestable bird.

Listen to the prophet Jeremiah… first at chapter sixteen and verse four:


“They shall die grievous deaths: they shall not be lamented, neither shall they be buried; they shall be as dung upon the face of the ground; and they shall be consumed by the sword, and by famine; and their dead bodies shall be food for the birds of the heavens….”


And from Jeremiah nineteen at verse seven:


“And I will make void the counsel of Judah and Jerusalem in this place; and I will cause them to fall by the sword before their enemies, and by the hand of them that seek their life: and their dead bodies will I give to be food for the birds of the heavens….”


And from Jeremiah thirty-four, verse twenty:


“I will even give them into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of them that seek their life; and their dead bodies shall be for food unto the birds of the heavens….”


And in chapter seven at verse thirty-three:


“And the dead bodies of this people shall be food for the birds of the heavens, and for the beasts of the earth; and none shall frighten them away.”


As the pronouncement of justice begins in this law-suit, it is at the Parousia of the Christ as He brings His holy Word against the harlot.  Jeremiah is by no means the only prophet to prophesy the birds; but Michael refers to His Own words to His disciples (which we read from Matthew twenty four – the gathering of the “eagles”).

No matter how we in this country revere the great eagle as our national bird, these creatures are huge, mighty birds of prey; and they feast on carrion.

And as the sentencing of the harlot commences here in verse two, the “fall” of Babylon the greater will result in heaps and mounds of dead and decaying bodies upon which the gathered vultures of the wilderness will feast for weeks and months.  They’ve been “gathered” in Jerusalem for that purpose.  Jesus proclaims them as having been “gathered” right here in verse two!  It’s all been made ready, He says!  Eventually they will “clean up” the land of the pollution of the harlot by consuming her flesh.

Michael cries out, too, that Jerusalem is full of demons and unclean spirits.  And this, too, is a reference to His Own prophetic Word in Matthew chapter twelve:


“Now when the unclean spirit is gone out from the man, it passes through waterless (desert) places seeking a place of rest and does not find it.

Then it says, ‘I will go back in my house whence I came out.’  And having come it finds it standing empty, having been swept clean and set in order.

Then it goes and takes with itself seven other spirits more evil than itself, and upon entering it takes up dwelling there; and the last state of that man, it is worse than the first.  So it will be also with this evil generation.”


As Moses was warning Israel to keep God’s covenant (Deuteronomy chapter thirty-two), the nation had already begun sacrificing to demons – burning strange fire that didn’t originate from the tabernacle in the heaven.  Listen to Moses:


16) They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger.

17) They sacrificed to demons that were no gods, to gods they had never known, to new gods that had come recently, which your fathers had never dreaded.

18) You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth.

19) "YAHVEH saw it and spurned them, because of the provocation of his sons and his daughters.

20) And he said, 'I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, For they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.


This chosen people had already allowed demons and unclean spirits into their midst – even in the desert of Sinai!  And, as Jesus said to the pharisees of Israel, although they had been swept clean numbers of times throughout Israel’s history, they were allowed in by a measure of “seven-fold”, and even worse than before!

And this (Jesus said) is the evil generation; for Jerusalem was now the dwelling place of demons!  It was the place where they lived!

“She has become a dwelling place of demons and a haunt of every unclean spirit and a gathering of every unclean and detestable bird.”  Jesus “lights it all up” with His glory; and the light exposes the fullness of Jerusalem’s sin.  It is “filled up”; and she’s ready for judgment!

Jesus completes His pronouncement of her readiness in verse three (which we’ll see much more about at the next time we meet).  But listen to the Word of God through the prophet Jeremiah at chapter fifty-one:

6)    Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of YAHVEH's vengeance; He will render unto her a recompence.

7)    Babylon hath been a golden cup in YAHVEH's hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunk of her wine; therefore the nations are made mad.

8)    Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.

9)    We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reaches unto the heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.


Jeremiah’s IS the prophecy of the greater Babylon.  All the nations have drunk of the wine of her fornications.  And as we saw in chapter seventeen, she sits atop the beast with that golden cup that’s filled up with her iniquity.

So, Michael – having emblazoned the land in His glorious Parousia, lights it up like the dawn so all can see; and He announces that all is ready:

Jerusalem – worse than all the surrounding nations – is now the “dwelling place”, the home, for the demons and unclean spirits.

All of the vultures of the desert places are gathered; and they are ready to feast on the rotting bodies.

The golden cup of the wine of her fornications with all the nations is full.


Israel’s sin is filled up, she is ready; and the appointed time is near.  It’s the prophesied “Day of YAHVEH”; it is the “last day” – the “end of the age” and the dawning of a new day for all the nations of the world as the light shines on all peoples and tribes and tongues in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

His Kingdom is from the heaven; and it is over all of God’s creation.  And when His work is complete, all of it will reflect the glory of God.