Revelation 18:1-24 Part 3

REVELATION 18:1-24 Part 3



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.”


The last time we assembled for worship and to hear God’s Word from The Revelation, we had almost finished looking at what John saw and heard – as recorded in verses one through three.

John was shown the coming Parousia of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords as He appears here in all His glory as the Commander of all the host of the heaven, shining the light of His Presence upon a city and a nation whose sin and iniquity are filled up.

The golden cup of the wine of her iniquity is filled to the brim (as we heard in chapter seventeen); and she is now ready for the judgment which had been warned and prophesied for over fifteen hundred years.  As the brightness of the dawn brings to the light all that was in darkness, His resplendent Presence manifests and exposes the hideous, the appalling – all that is lurid and loathsome and abominable.  And He proclaims her “fallen”.  Wherever the fall, there the eagles are gathered.


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

In contrast, remember what we’ve said here many times before, that Israel and the city of Jerusalem and the temple on the mount were to be the one place in all the creation where the glory of God was to be seen.  It was to be the replica of His tabernacle in the heaven!  And outside of this paradise on earth was described in Scripture as a wilderness in which roamed the demons and unclean spirits.

But now, Michael proclaims her “ready” for judgment, for the demons and unclean spirits have found a home… a “dwelling place” in Israel.  Jerusalem has become so evil and depraved and unclean that it’s more compatible with the nature of the unclean spirits!  It’s so much better for them than the wilderness; so they’ve all occupied it!

Remember Jesus’ teaching regarding the demons, as recorded in Matthew’s Gospel; one went out and brought back seven (a complete number)… all much worse than the first.

And we are also reminded that, when he was finding the lost sheep of the house of Jacob, He “reversed” the demon possession that had occurred… all of that in prophetic preparation for what we’re reading here in Revelation eighteen!

Later on we’ll find out how the Commander of all the hosts deals with all of these creatures that were cast down from the heaven, for their ideal “dwelling place” was about to be destroyed.

Second, the vultures of the desert places are gathered; and they are ready to feast on the rotting bodies.  You remember that we quoted Jesus from Matthew chapter twenty four, where He prophesied the “fall”, and where the “eagles” are gathered.  And here He pronounces Israel “fallen”.  And there was conversation in the second hour about “eagles” and whether they are detestable birds.

Reading from Leviticus chapter eleven, here’s what YAHVEH revealed to Moses at verse thirteen:  “And these you shall have in abomination among the birds; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the gier-eagle, and the osprey…”

These three are the first in a longer list of detestable birds - birds that have pinions (talons) and are considered “vultures”.  Others mentioned in the list are hawks and owls and ostriches.

I just mention this because Jesus, in His answer to the disciples question about His Parousia, goes back to the Law-word concerning the gathering of the “eagles”.  And since it is first in the list of the detestable birds in God’s Law, He subsumes all of them under the heading of the first one.  They all have talons; and they all rip and tear and eat dead things; therefore they are unclean.  And here in the second verse they are gathered for the feast; for Jerusalem, Michael says, is “fallen”.  She is “ready”.

Thirdly, the golden cup of the wine of her fornications with all the nations is full (verse three).  That’s a direct quote from the prophet Jeremiah concerning the greater Babylon to come; for over the entire period of her existence she has filled up the cup with her iniquities, having committed fornication with all the kings and merchants of the world while being covenanted (betrothed) to YAHVEH!  From God’s view of His history, it could be said that she actually joined – and even led - the nations in the attempt to cut off the “Seed” and overthrow the Kingdom of God’s Messiah/King!

Rather than being thankful to God for her birth and her care and her immense beauty and wealth – freely given to her, she chose instead to rebel against her Creator/Benefactor/Savior (breaking His covenant), and prostitute herself with all the nations.

And now, lastly (at the end of verse three), Michael proclaims that, “all of the merchants of the world have become rich from the power of her wantonness”.

Let’s just mention a few things here that we’ve heard before regarding Israel’s wealth and beauty.  As is evidenced by the amounts of gold and jewels and linens that were required for the construction of the tabernacle in the desert, the twelve tribes had exited Egypt with much of its wealth.  And God had promised Israel the “land of milk and honey” – a promised paradise (all the way from the River Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt – now called the “Levant”) in which all the herds and vineyards and orchards and fields would produce in abundance.

And as you remember, the kings and queens of the nations had brought tons of gold and other precious items as gifts to the kings of Israel in order to win favor and make treaties.  So there was opulence and luxury and great prosperity as Israel thrived in the gifts that God had given her… not only from the kings of the nations, but also by way of the merchants that came to do business with her.

YAHVEH had made her the center of His creation!  She was to be the very reflection of His glory – bright and shining for all the world to see… a true edenic paradise in the midst of the nations of the world!  All the kings and merchants of the nations were to see Israel’s immense wealth and prosperity as gifts from God; and they were to see the fabulous temple on the mount and be impressed with what God had done for His people.  Jerusalem was to be the “light” of the world to the glory of God… the bright and shining “city on a hill”.

Israel and its great city was “the place”.  And they came.  The kings and princes of the nations came.  They came with gifts and tribute, and to make treaties and gain Israel’s favor.  And the merchants (producers) of the world came; from all over the world they came with their goods – their ships laden with the finest things, putting into all the ports of Israel.  Selling their goods in Israel meant wealth for the merchants and the ship owners and the pilots of the ships and all the mariners.  Jerusalem was to be the “light of the world” to them all!

However, the Scripture indicates that this priestly nation under covenant to YAHVEH wanted its own way rather than God’s way.  It wanted the way of the nations rather than to be a “betrothed” to God’s coming Messiah/King.  And it never became the “light” of YAHVEH to the nations.  Instead, it was a harlot to the kings of the nations and a purchaser of all the dainties of the world – including human souls… certainly slaves; but probably mostly girls; for the older wives were turned out while the harems were full.

And there were the idols of the nations built in all the high places of the land of paradise.  Israel used much of its wealth to build beautiful places of idol worship; and the blood of sacrifices was spilled all over the land.  And when God sent prophets to warn Israel, they were reveling in luxury, so they tortured and killed the prophets – all the while saying that God wouldn’t forsake them.  And they were sacrificing their own children to demons at the same time!  The temple was filled with idolatry on the inside; and outside in the courtyard the money-changers were making their fortunes by padding the exchange rate.  And the priests and scribes were busy re-writing God’s Law to their own benefits.

And the merchants of the world saw… NOT an Edenic paradise with its glorious city of God, but they saw a harlot reveling in its own beauty; they saw a place where they could become rich selling their wares.  They did NOT see the glory of God; but they DID participate in Israel’s harlotry (as the prophetic Word indicates).

Here in chapter eighteen, Israel’s sin is filled up.  She is fallen; and she is ready; and the appointed time is near.  At His Parousia, Jesus’ testimony is that she is “demon possessed”; her cup of iniquity is “full”; and the vultures are gathered!  It’s the prophesied “Day of YAHVEH”; it is the “last day” – the “end of the age”.  The paradise land of Israel and its “great city” would now meet its full end in the furnace of fire.

And you remember from the preaching through the Gospel of Matthew, that when Jesus began seeking and finding the lost sheep of the house of Jacob, He came preaching “the Kingdom”.  The Kingdom was “at hand”… the time had come.  And when John the baptizer came preaching, he preached the Kingdom at hand.  And when Jesus sent His disciples out to find the lost sheep, they were to preach the kingdom being “at hand”.

So here in our text, the Parousia of Jesus Christ is not only the “Day of YAHVEH”, but it is, at the same time, the dawning of a new day for all the nations of the world as the light of God’s Messiah/King arises on all peoples and tribes and tongues in the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.

And the undying anticipation of all of His people is to be that His work will be completed as all the nations and tongues and tribes bow and acknowledge that He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

As we complete verse three now, I’m going to read several passages of Scripture for you that have direct prophetic reference to the power of Israel’s wantonness  (as found here at the end of verse three), and to the kings and merchants that did business with her and participated in her harlotry.

First, listen again to Isaiah at chapter one:


21) How is the faithful city become a harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.

22) Your silver is become dross, your wine mixed with water:

23) Your princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loves gifts and follows after rewards: they judge not the fatherless; neither does the cause of the widow come unto them.

24) Therefore says YAHVEH LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel: “Ah, I will ease Me of My adversaries, and avenge Me of My enemies:

25) And I will turn My hand upon you, and purely purge away your dross, and take away all your tin….


And from Jeremiah chapter two:


20) For of old I have broken your yoke and burst your bonds; and you said, now I will not transgress… when upon every high hill and under every green tree you wandered, playing the harlot.

21) Yet I had planted you a noble vine, wholly a right seed.  How then are you turned into Me the degenerate plant of a strange vine?

22) For though you wash yourself with lye, and use much soap, yet your iniquity is marked before me, says YAHVEH.

23) How can you say, I am not polluted, I have not gone after the baals?  Look at your way in the valley, know what you have done: you are a swift camel going back and forth in her ways –

24) a wild ass used to the wilderness – that snuffs up the wind at her pleasure.  In her heat who can turn her away?  All they that seek her won’t get weary looking for her; in her month they shall find her.

25) Withhold your foot from being unshod, and your throat from thirst: but you said, there is no hope: no; for I have loved strangers, and I will go after them.

26) As the thief is ashamed when he is caught, so is the house of Israel shamed; they, their kings, their princes, and their priests, and their prophets.

27) Saying to a tree, ‘you are my father’; and to a stone, ‘you have brought me forth’.  They have turned their back to me, and not their face.  But in the time of their trouble they will say, ‘arise, and save us!’

28) But where are your gods that you made for yourselves?  Let them arise if they can save you in the time of your trouble; for according to the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah.


And from Ezekiel chapter sixteen:


1)    Again the word of YAHVEH came unto me, saying,

2)    Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations,

3)    And say, thus says YAHVEH unto Jerusalem; your birth and your nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother a Hittite.

4)    And as for your nativity, in the day you were born thy navel was not cut, neither were you washed in water to clean you; you were not salted at all, nor swaddled at all.

5)    No eye pitied you to do any of these unto you, to have compassion upon you; but you were cast out in the open field, to the loathing of your person, in the day that you were born.

6)    And when I passed by you, and saw you polluted in your own blood, I said unto you when you were in your blood: ‘Live!’  Yea, I said unto you when you were in your blood: ‘Live!’

7)    I have caused you to multiply as the bud of the field, and you have increased and waxed great, and you are grown up to excellent adornment.  Your breasts were fashioned, and your hair is grown, whereas before, you were naked and bare.

8)    Now when I passed by you, and looked upon you, behold, your age was the time of love; and I spread the corner of my garment over you, and covered your nakedness: yea, I swore unto you, and entered into a covenant with you, says YAHVEH; and you became mine.

9)    Then I washed you with water; yea, I washed away your blood completely from you; and I anointed you with oil.

10) I also clothed you with broidered work, and shod you with badgers' skin, and I girded you about with fine linen, and I covered you with silk.

11) I also bedecked you with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon your hands, and a chain on your neck.

12) And I put a jewel on thy forehead, and earrings on your ears, and a beautiful crown upon your head.

13) Thus were you bedecked with gold and silver; and your raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; you did eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and you were exceedingly beautiful, and you did prosper into a kingdom.

14) And your renown went forth among the heathen for your beauty: for it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon you, says YAHVEH.

15) But you did trust in your own beauty, and played the harlot because of your renown, and poured out your fornications on every one that passed by; his it was.

16) And of your garments you did take, and bedecked your high places with divers colours, and played the harlot thereupon: the like things shall not come, neither shall it be so.

17) You have also taken the excellent jewels – of my gold and of my silver, which I had given you, and made to yourself images of men, and did commit whoredom with them,

18) and took your broidered garments and covered them: and you have set my oil and my incense before them.

19) My meat also which I gave you, fine flour, and oil, and honey, wherewith I fed you, you have even set it before them for a sweet savour: and thus it was, says YAHVEH.

20) Moreover you have taken your sons and your daughters who you have borne unto me, and these you have sacrificed unto them to be devoured. Is this of your whoredoms a small matter,

21) that you have slain my children, and delivered them and to cause them to pass through the fire for them?

22) And in all your abominations and your whoredoms you have not remembered the days of your youth when you were naked and bare, and were polluted in your blood.

23) And it came to pass after all your wickedness (woe, woe unto you! says YAHVEH),

24) That YOU have also built unto you an eminent place, and have made for yourself a high place in every street.

25) You have built your high place at every head of the way, and have made your beauty to be abhorred, and have opened your feet to every one that passed by, and multiplied your whoredoms.

26) You have also committed fornication with your neighbors the Egyptians, great of flesh, and have increased your whoredoms to provoke me to anger.

27) Behold, therefore I have stretched out my hand over you, and have diminished your ordinary food, and delivered you unto the will of them that hate you, the daughters of the Philistines, which are ashamed of your lewd way.

28) You have played the whore also with the Assyrians, because you were insatiable; yea, you have played the harlot with them, and still could not be satisfied.

29) You have moreover multiplied your fornication in the land of Canaan – even unto Chaldea; and yet you were not satisfied therewith.

30) How weak is your heart, says YAHVEH, seeing you do all these things, the work of an imperious whorish woman;

31) in that you build your eminent place in the head of every way, and make your high place in every street; and have not been as a harlot, in that you scorn hire!

32) But as a wife that commits adultery, one which takes strangers instead of her husband!

33) They give gifts to all whores! … but you give your gifts to all your lovers, and hire them, that they may come unto you on every side for your whoredom.

34) And the contrary is in you (in comparison to other women) in your whoredoms, whereas none follow you to commit whoredoms: and in that you give a reward, and no reward is given unto you; therefore you are contrary.

35) Wherefore, O harlot, hear the word of YAHVEH.

36) Thus says YAHVEH: Because your filthiness was poured out, and your nakedness discovered through your whoredoms with your lovers, and with all the idols of your abominations, and by the blood of your children which you did give unto them,

37) behold, therefore I will gather all your lovers with whom you have taken pleasure, and all them that you have loved, with all them that you have hated; I will even gather them round about against you, and will expose your nakedness unto them, that they may see all your nakedness.

38) And I will judge you as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give you blood in fury and jealousy.

39) And I will also give you into their hand, and they shall throw down your eminent place, and shall break down your high places; they shall strip you also of your clothes, and shall take your fair jewels, and leave you naked and bare.

40) They shall also bring up a company against you, and they shall stone you with stones, and thrust you through with their swords.

41) And they shall burn your houses with fire, and execute judgments upon you in the sight of many women.  And I will cause you to cease from playing the harlot, and you also shall give no hire any more.


Now, I know that was lengthy; but it is one of the greatest analogies of Scripture in which a Sovereign God covenantally betrothed a people unto Himself and endowed her with every beautiful and glorious thing imaginable, only to have that great dowry used to build high and eminent places to the strange gods of the foreigners in every location, and to prostitute herself with them.  Her great beauty and wealth, given to her by YAHVEH, is what is meant here in verse three of our text by the “power of her wantonness”.

And all of the producers and merchants of the earth became rich because of that power, for she used her beauty and great wealth to acquire the finest things made on earth in order to bedeck all of those places of idolatry that she built on every high place and under the beautiful oaks and at the head of every road in Israel.

She became worse than Babylon – the first beast of world history, that made all the nations drink from the cup of the wine of its fornication; she became worse than Nineveh – the wicked city that repented at the preaching of Jonah; she became worse than Sodom and Gomorrah – the places known for sexual perversity; she became worse than Egypt – the nation that had enslaved her; she became worse than Tyre and Sidon – the ports through which the kings and merchants shipped the dainties that she so desired and that she acquired by her harlotry.

And she is called by their names!  She is called “Egypt”; she is called “Sodom” and “Gomorrah”; she is called “Tyre”; and she is called “Babylon”, for she exceeded them all – for she was betrothed of YAHVEH and given a magnificent dowry.  And He gave her His Law-word and placed a replica of His glory right in her midst!  And He promised her a Messiah King.

God called her by these names in His prophetic Word!  She is the greater Babylon; she is the greater Tyre and Sidon; she is the greater Egypt; and she is the greater Sodom and Gomorrah!  She exceeded them all; and the cup of the wine of her fornication is filled to the brim.  And the merchants of the earth have become rich from the power of her wantonness.

Listen to the language of God as he speaks to Ezekiel at chapter twenty seven… it’s the very same language as we find here in chapter eighteen of The Revelation.  God proclaims Israel the whore of the world, for the merchants of the nations have become rich by trading on her wantonness.  Here it is:


27) Your riches, your wares, your merchandise, your mariners and your pilots, your caulkers, your dealers in merchandise, and all your men of war who are in you, with all your crew that is in your midst, sink into the heart of the seas on the day of your fall.

28) At the sound of the cry of your pilots the countryside shakes;

29) and down from their ships come all who handle the oar.  The mariners and all the pilots of the sea stand on the land

30) and shout aloud over you and cry out bitterly.  They cast dust on their heads and wallow in ashes;

31) they make themselves bald for you and put sackcloth on their waist, and they weep over you in bitterness of soul, with bitter mourning.

32) In their wailing they raise a lamentation for you and lament over you who is like Tyre, like one destroyed in the midst of the sea.

33) When your wares came from the seas, you satisfied many peoples; with your abundant wealth and merchandise you enriched the kings of the earth.

34) Now you are wrecked by the seas, in the depths of the waters; your merchandise and all your crew in your midst have sunk with you.

35) All the inhabitants of the coastlands are appalled at you, and the hair of their kings bristles with horror; their faces are convulsed.

36) The merchants among the peoples hiss at you; you have come to a dreadful end and shall be no more forever.


We’ll hear much more of this language of God as we move through the chapter.  But lastly, as we finish verse three, let’s just define wantonness and then read what God said about it through the prophet Isaiah.

Wantonness has to do with abandoning the standards that God has set for His people.  It is libertine shamelessness.  It is profligate and lewd behavior.  Wantonness is being uncontrolled, unprincipled and unrestrained.  The kings of the earth and the merchants of the nations (verse three) became rich due to Israel’s wantonness.  And the Commander of the hosts of the heavens says that by her wantonness, Israel’s final judgment is ready.  She is “fallen”.

One of the many passages having to do with her wantonness is found in Isaiah chapter three.  As we close, listen to it:


16) Moreover YAHVEH says: "Because the daughters of Zion are haughty, walking with heads held high and wanton eyes, walking and prancing as they go – making a tinkling with their feet,

17) therefore YAHVEH will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and YAHVEH will expose their secret parts."

18) In that day YAHVEH will take away their finery: their tinkling ornaments about their feet, their hair nets and their crescent ornaments (like the moon),

19) the chains and the bracelets and the spangled ornaments,

20) the headdresses and the ornaments of the legs, and the amulets and the sashes and the earrings,

21) the rings and nose jewels,

22) the festive robes and the mantles and the shawls and the purses,

23) the mirrors and the fine linen, and the hoods and the veils.

24) And it shall come to pass that instead of perfumes there shall be stench; and instead of a belt, a rope; and instead of well-styled hair, baldness; and instead of a sash, a girding of sackcloth; and branding instead of beauty.

25) Your men shall fall by the sword, and your mighty ones in the war.

26) And her gates shall lament and mourn; and she, being desolate, shall sit upon the ground.