Revelation 18:1-24 Part 6

REVELATION 18:1-24 Part 6


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.”


Toward the end of the preaching last Lord’s Day we read the fearsome words of YAHVEH through the prophet Isaiah in chapter forty-seven, and we’ll read some of it again later this morning.  But his words were directed at the vain and prideful nation of Israel and its capitol city – Jerusalem.

John hears those same words here in verse seven of our text…. YAHVEH would unsheath His sword of indignation, and He would sharpen and polish it to kill; for He would repay Israel double – and double again – for her works!

It wasn’t that Israel had just mingled the golden cup in YAHVEH’s hand with all her abominations… and all the nations having drunk the wine of her fornications from that cup.  But, remember, she is shown to John as having the golden cup in her own hand – all filled up with abominable things; and she was holding it up high – flaunting it pridefully – while sitting atop the fourth beast of history!

And it wasn’t only that Israel polluted the entire land with the blood of sacrifices to idols; and it wasn’t only that she had persecuted and killed the prophets sent by God; and it wasn’t only that she had resorted to astrologers and enchanters and fortune tellers… but in it all – and at the base of it all - she was haughty and presumptuous, vain, and full of pride.

“I am; and I am wealthy; I have need of nothing; I am the queen of the world.  All of the kings and merchants of the nations come to me!  I’ll never be widowed; I’ll never mourn the loss of children.  I am secure; and I have everything I want.  And nobody sees me!”

In all of her self-satisfied pretension and self-love, she even claims that God isn’t watching!  He turns away (she thinks) from all of her indulgences because she’s his favorite!  He just “winks” at it. And all of the nations know that.  In all of her twisted understanding of the covenant relationship, she thinks the nations know that she’s God’s favorite.  After all, they can see it!

Besides, God promised.  And therefore she would always be the queen; she would never lose all her children; she would never mourn: she would never be widowed….  She WAS; and she IS!  After all, there was the promise!

But YAHVEH is the One Who had said:  “I AM” (Isaiah forty-three: “I, even I AM; [that’s what YAHVEH means], and there is no savior beside Me”).  And He does see her pride and hubris; and He sees her fornications; and He sees her idols and her astrologers and enchanters; and He sees His persecuted prophets!

And as He said in Jeremiah sixteen: “I will doubly repay her iniquity and her sin, because she has polluted My land”.  And again, in Jeremiah seventeen: “I will bring on her a day of disaster and crush her with twofold destruction.”

In the “day of YAHVEH” there will be multiple restitution (as reads the Law of God in Exodus chapters twenty one through twenty three.)  It would be the day of atonement in which the harlot will be repaid double – and double again, for her whoredoms and for her arrogant disdain for her own promise to obey, and her prideful disregard for YAHVEH and His Law-word, and her scorn for the coming Holy One of Israel - the promised Savior of the world.

Then… God would be satisfied.  Atonement would be made, and restitution would be paid.

Pride goes before the fall; and the Commander of the hosts of the heaven has proclaimed her “fallen” (verse two).  All the demons of the wilderness have taken up residence, and the vultures are circling; for the Day of YAHVEH is near as the prophetic Word reaches its fullness at the end of the age, and the sword is sharpened and polished to kill! 

The Words that the apostle John hears from the tabernacle in the heaven are the same as those spoken to Israel through the prophets of old.  She said: “I AM.  No matter what these so-called prophets say, I am the queen that sits on the throne.  I’m not some betrothed, virgin maiden.  They say I’m going to mourn in some future day of reckoning; but I’ll never mourn.  They say that one day I’ll be widowed; but that’s ridiculous. I’ll never be a widow… I am queen of the world!  I have a promise and a legacy; God has bound Himself to me! ... and because of this no matter what happens, there won’t be a day of reckoning.”

Without going into a sermon-length treatise on pride this morning, we do need to say something about it, because this is the essence of what John hears here in verse seven.  In one of his earlier letters to the Churches, he writes to them about “the pride of one’s life” (1 John 2:16).

That harkens back to the prophetic Word of YAHVEH to the prophet Jeremiah.  Chapter thirteen of his prophecy includes one of those instances in which the prophet – rather than delivering the spoken Word, is required by YAHVEH to actually act out the prophecy!  And the analogy that’s contained in what he is to do is extremely interesting.

Here is some of it… from Jeremiah thirteen:


1)    Thus says YAHVEH to me, "Go and buy a linen loincloth and put it around your waist, and do not dip it in water."

2)    So I bought a loincloth according to the word of YAHVEH, and put it around my waist.

3)    And the word of YAHVEH came to me a second time,

4)    "Take the loincloth that you have bought, which is around your waist, and arise, go to the Euphrates and hide it there in a cleft of the rock."

5)    So I went and hid it by the Euphrates, as YAHVEH commanded me.

6)    And after many days YAHVEH said to me, "Arise, go to the Euphrates, and take from there the loincloth that I commanded you to hide there."

7)    Then I went to the Euphrates, and dug, and I took the loincloth from the place where I had hidden it. And behold, the loincloth was ruined; it was good for nothing.

8)    Then the word of YAHVEH came to me:

9)    "Thus says YAHVEH: Even so will I spoil the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem.

10) This evil people, who refuse to hear my words, who stubbornly follow their own heart and have gone after other gods to serve them and worship them, shall be like this loincloth, which is good for nothing.

11) For as the loincloth clings to the waist of a man, so I made the whole house of Israel and the whole house of Judah cling to me, declares the LORD, that they might be for me a people, a name, a praise, and a glory, but they would not hear.


A little later in that chapter we hear some very familiar words as YAHVEH continues His speech to Jeremiah.  Our Lord quoted from it – as recorded in Matthew twenty-three; and the apostle Paul quoted from it in his letter to the Churches in Rome in chapter nine.  Listen to it from Jeremiah.  YAHVEH says to him:


23) Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots?  Then you who are conformed to do evil; can you do good?

24) I will scatter you like chaff driven by the wind from the desert.

25) This is your alllotment, the portion I have measured out to you, declares YAHVEH, because you have forgotten me and trusted in lies.

26) I myself will lift up your skirts over your face, and your shame will be seen.

27) I have seen your abominations, your adulteries and neighings, your lewd whorings on the hills and in the field. Woe to you, O Jerusalem!  How long will it be before you are cleaned up?"


As we’ve heard now from six readings of this text, the “woes” are about to be placed in the mouths of the kings and merchants of the world as Jerusalem – the “greater Babylon” – is to be finally “cleaned up” as it burns into oblivion, and there is no more wealthy harlot with which they can do business.  We’ll hear all of that next Lord’s Day.

But it needs to be said that however the “pride of one’s life” is exhibited among men, it is always – first – with reference to God.  Whether it’s pride in one’s heritage or place in life; or pride in one’s looks; or pride in one’s possessions; or pride in one’s knowledge or abilities; or pride in one’s connections… the pride is always, first, with reference to God.  For it is God Who gives, and God Who takes away.

It is the very essence of pride in one’s life to refuse to acknowledge Him and submit to Him as Creator, Law-giver, and Savior of the world.  That’s where it begins.  And that pride then is manifest in many different ways in the lives of corrupt and sinful mankind.

As YAHVEH said through Jeremiah concerning Israel: “but they would not hear”.  That’s where it begins, you see.  “They would not hear.”  They refused to hear.  That IS the exhibition of the pride of one’s life!  Refusing to hear the Creator and Savior of man is the “core” of pride.  Cursed and depraved man says: “I am.  And I will think and do and say whatever I most want to think and do and say”.

Israel refused to hear; and the life of the nation was thereafter lived as an idolatrous whore of the world that caused the kings and merchants of the nations to drink from the cup of her fornications.

And like Israel, the pride of ones life always leads to dissipation.  God is Who He says He is.  And short of an acknowledgment of that, it’s all vain; and it’s empty and useless.  And it all just disintegrates.


“Because of this”, John hears (verse eight), “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.”

“In one day…”  It is “the day of YAHVEH” in which she will be utterly burned in fire.

I’m going to take you through the prophetic Scripture now – from the beginning to the end – concerning the “day” – the one day of YAHVEH.  So, once again we’ll see the continuity that exists in what God said through the prophets of old and what He says here to the last prophet – John.


From Isaiah chapter two:


6)    You have forsaken Your people the house of Jacob, because they are filled with customs from the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they strike hands with the children of foreigners….

8)    Their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, that which their own fingers have made….

11) Their lofty looks shall be brought low, and their haughtiness shall be bowed down, and YAHVEH alone shall be exalted in that day.

12) For there shall be a day of YAHVEH of Hosts upon all that is proud and haughty, and upon all that is lifted up; and it shall be brought low.


Isaiah chapter thirteen:

6)    Wail; for the day of YAHVEH is at hand; as destruction from the Almighty shall it come.

7)    Therefore shall all hands be feeble, and every heart of man shall melt:

8)    and they shall be dismayed; pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman in travail: they shall look in amazement one at another; their faces shall be faces of flame.

9)    Behold, the day of YAHVEH comes….. cruel, with wrath and fierce anger, to make the land a desolation, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it.


From Jeremiah forty six:

10) For that day is a day of YAHVEH, YAHVEH OF HOSTS, a day of vengeance, that he may avenge him of His adversaries: and the sword shall devour and be satisfied, and shall drink its fill of their blood….


In Ezekiel thirteen God rails at Israel and her false prophets:

4)    O Israel, YOUR prophets have been like foxes in the waste places.

5)    You have not gone up into the gaps, neither built up the wall for the house of Israel, to the end that you can stand in the battle in the day of YAHVEH.


From Joel chapter one:

15) Alas for the day! for the day of YAHVEH is at hand, and as a destruction from the Almighty shall it come.


And from Joel chapter two:

1)    Blow the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble: for the day of YAHVEH comes, and it is nigh at hand;

2)    A day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains: a great people and a strong there has not been ever the like, neither shall be any more after it, even to the years of many generations.

3)    A fire devours before them; and behind them a flame burns; the land is as the garden of Eden before them, and behind them a desolate wilderness; yea, and nothing shall escape them.

4)    The appearance of them is as the appearance of horses; and as horsemen, so shall they run.

5)    Like the noise of chariots on the tops of mountains shall they leap, like the noise of a flame of fire that devours the stubble, as a strong people set in battle array.

6)    Before their face the people shall be much pained: all faces shall gather blackness.

7)    They shall run like mighty men; they shall climb the wall like men of war; and they shall march every one on his ways, and they shall not break their ranks:

8)    Neither shall one thrust another; they shall walk every one in his path: and when they fall upon the sword, they shall not be wounded.

9)    They shall run to and fro in the city; they shall run upon the wall, they shall climb up upon the houses; they shall enter in at the windows like a thief.

10) The earth shall quake before them; the heavens shall tremble: the sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining:

11) And YAHVEH shall utter his voice before his army: for his camp is very great; for he is strong that executes his word: for the day of YAHVEH will be great and very terrible; and who can abide it?


From the prophecy of Obadiah:

12) But don’t look down on your brother in the day of his disaster, or rejoice over the children of Judah in the day of their destruction; nor speak proudly in the day of their distress.

13) Don’t enter into the gate of my people in the day of their calamity; yea, don’t look on their affliction in the day of their calamity, and don’t lay hands on their substance in the day of their calamity.

14) And don’t stand in the byway to cut off those of his that escape; and don’t deliver (don’t save) those of his that remain in the day of distress.

15) For the day of YAHVEH is near upon all the nations. As you have done, it shall be done unto you; your dealing shall return upon your own head.


From Zephaniah chapter one:

14) The great day of YAHVEH is near, it is near and hastens greatly – even the sound of the day of YAHVEH; the mighty man cries there bitterly.

15) That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of waste and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness,

16) a day of the trumpet and alarm against the fortified cities and against the high battlements.

17) And I will bring distress upon men – that they shall walk like blind men, because they have sinned against YAHVEH; and their blood shall be poured out as dust and their flesh as dung.

18) Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them in the day of YAHVEH's wrath; but the whole land shall be devoured by the fire of his jealousy: for he will make an end – yea, a terrible end of all them that dwell in the land.


And from the fourteenth chapter of Zechariah:

1)    Behold, the day of YAHVEH comes, and your spoil shall be divided in the midst of you.

2)    For I will gather all nations against Jerusalem to battle; and the city shall be taken….


And from Malachi chapter four:

1)    For, behold, the day comes, it will burn as a furnace; and all the proud, and all that work wickedness, shall be stubble; and the day that comes shall burn them up, says YAHVEH OF HOSTS, that it shall leave them neither root nor branch.

2)    But unto you that fear my name shall the sun of righteousness arise with healing in its wings; and you shall go forth, and frolic as calves of the stall.

3)    And you shall tread down the wicked; for they shall be ashes under the soles of your feet in the day that I make, says YAHVEH OF HOSTS.

4)    Remember the law of Moses my servant, which I commanded unto him in Horeb for all Israel, even statutes and ordinances.

5)    Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of YAHVEH comes.


The apostle Peter quotes directly from the prophecy of Joel, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles – chapter two:

19) And I will show wonders in the heavens above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke:

20) The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and terrible day of the Lord comes….


The apostle Paul warned the Church in Corinth (1 Corinthians 5) that they hadn’t dealt with a fornicator in the Church… one who didn’t belong.  He was “old leaven” one of “souring” – one who came out of the harlot, but didn’t belong.  And Paul wrote:


7)    Purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, even as you are unleavened. For our passover has been sacrificed, even Christ Jesus.


5)    … deliver such a one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit be saved in the day of Kurios – the Lord Jesus.



And Paul writes to the Church in Thessalonica (1 Thessalonians 5):

1)    But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write to you.

2)    For you yourselves well know that the day of the Lord  (the day of Kurios) so comes as a thief in the night.

3)    When they are saying, “peace and safety”, then sudden destruction will come upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall in no wise escape.


And the apostle Peter in the third chapter of his second letter to the Churches, writes:

9)    the Lord is not slow in regard to the promise, as certain ones count slowness, but is long-suffering to us, not counseling any to be lost but all to pass on to reformation,

10) and it will come -- the day of Kurios -- as a thief in the night, in which the heavens with a rushing noise will pass away, and the elements with burning heat be dissolved, and the land and the works in it shall be burnt up.

11) All of this, then, being destroyed, what kind of persons does it behoove you to be in holy behaviours and pious acts?

12) waiting for and hasting to the parousia – the day of God, by which the heavens, being on fire, shall be dissolved, and the elements melt with burning heat;

13) for we do wait for new heavens and a new earth according to His promise, in which righteousness dwells….


The apostle Peter, having been taught by The Christ, and under influence of Holy Spirit, writes to the Churches at some point before the Day of God; and he knows all of those prophetic passages that we just read.

And just like the seven messages that our Lord sent to the Churches, as recorded in the first three chapters of John’s Revelation, Peter is quick to remind them of the coming Day of God… that they shouldn’t doubt the prophets – that they shouldn’t doubt the promise of God.  He promised, and He’s not being “slow” in fulfilling that promise!


In one day it will come.  In that day in which all of the lost sheep of the house of Jacob have been delivered, it will come.  And the very words of Almighty God to John here in verses six, seven and eight are directly from Isaiah forty-seven.

As we conclude this morning, listen to the prophet once more – seven hundred years before the birth of the Christ:

8)    Now therefore hear this, you that are given to pleasures, that sits securely, that says in your heart, ‘I am, and there is none else besides me; I will not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children’;

9)    but these two things shall come upon you in a moment - in one day: the loss of children, and widowhood; in their full measure shall they come upon you, in the multitude of thy sorceries, and the great abundance of your enchantments.

10) For you have trusted in your wickedness; you have said, ‘no one sees me’  Your wisdom and your knowledge, it has perverted you, and you have said in your heart, ‘I am, and there is none else besides me’.

11) Therefore shall evil come upon you; you shall not know the dawning thereof.  And mischief shall fall upon you; you shall not be able to put it away; and desolation shall come upon you suddenly, which you know not.

12) Stand now with your enchantments, and with the multitude of your sorceries, wherein you have labored from your youth; maybe you will be able to profit, maybe you will prevail.

13) You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels.  So, now let the astrologers, the star-gazers, the monthly fortune tellers, stand up and save you from the things that shall come upon you.

14) Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire will burn them; they won’t even be able to deliver themselves from the power of the flame…!


We’ve done all we’re going to do with verses six, seven and eight now.  Next Lord’s Day we’ll take up the next eleven verses, the three “woes” to come – from the kings and the merchants and the mariners; for they will bemoan the loss of the “great city” by which they had all become rich.