Revelation 18:1-24 Part 9

REVELATION 18:1-24 Part 9 


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.”


In the illimitable mind of God, the tabernacle in the heaven is a court of law; and there are many witnesses.  And the standard for judging is, of course, YAHVEH’s eternal Word.

Over the firmament of His creation sits the ultimate and final Tribunal of the heavens and the earth.  And just beneath the firmament sits the Mercy Seat with its four cherubs.  And underneath the Mercy Seat is the eternal lake of fire.

Around and beneath are a “cloud” of witnesses including the four cherubs, twenty four elder-creatures and a host of angelic messengers forming a “glory-cloud” beneath and around the tabernacle.

In The Revelation, the “defendant” in the case before the Tribunal of Father, Son and Spirit is Israel and its capitol city of Jerusalem.  It is called “the land”; and it was created by God as a heaven-and-earth paradise in the likeness of the original edenic paradise… both of which were created in the “likeness” of His glorious tabernacle, and both of which were prophetic “pre-cursors” of the Kingdom/Paradise to come in Christ Jesus.

But in both cases (that of Eden and Israel) rebellion and self-determination were chosen rather than faithfulness to the Creator of the heavens and the earth.

Both “Eden” and “the land” were to shine the light of the glory of YAHVEH to the entire world.  However, the first woman chose her own way; and heaven and earth were cursed by God… paradise lost.  And the second “heaven-and-earth” – Israel, chose her own way; and it was cursed by God… paradise lost.

The “seed” of the woman in the first paradise was “birthed” from her and kept by God for Himself, and it was so also in the second paradise; for Jesus and all who belonged to Him from the tribes of Jacob were birthed out of Israel and scattered into the nations.  He is the “Seed” of the woman and the Light of the world!

Chapter eighteen constitutes the witnesses in the trial of the harlot called “the greater Babylon”, because she (created to be the light of the world) instead seduced the nations with her beauty and riches.  And she caused the kings and merchants of the world to drink from the cup of the wine of her fornications… all in opposition to the promised “Savior of the world”!

Covenanted to YAHVEH as a bride-to-be is covenanted to her betrothed, Israel played the harlot with the nations and all their idols from the beginning.

YAHVEH had promised the nations and tribes and tongues of the earth to Abraham for a seed!  But Israel enticed and enchanted the nations to drink from the wine of her passions… in opposition to God’s covenant!  In effect, her opposition to the Christ when He arrived in Israel didn’t begin in 30AD.  She opposed Him from the beginning by seducing the nations that He was coming to save – as promised to Abraham!

And her trial was prophesied by all of God’s prophets from Moses to Malachi – all of whom are considered judges as they witness to Israel’s harlotry!


At the start of this chapter, the resurrected Seed of the woman appears as the Commander of the host of heaven and earth and pronounces Jerusalem “fallen”; and He declares her ready for judgment.

Right after that John hears the jealous rage of YAHVEH as He speaks the words directly from the prophet Ezekiel.  Israel had used all of the glory and beauty and perfections and wealth of paradise – NOT to glorify God in His tabernacle, but to enchant the kings and merchants and seamen of the nations to drink of the wine of her passions.

In all her self-determination, Israel was the queen of the world; Jerusalem was the “eternal city”.  And the prophets that said otherwise were persecuted and killed.  She had heeded her own prophets and astrologers and fortune-tellers.

And her harlotry with the kings and merchants wasn’t even a “normal” harlotry (if one could ever find it normal); for rather than being paid for her favors, she paid them!  And much of the wealth and beauty of this paradise land was used to erect idols of gold and wood and stone on all of the high places of Israel, and at all of the crossroads, and on the rooftops of the land.

But just as with the first paradise, all of it would be lost.  And John hears the words of God regarding the kings and merchants and seamen of the world.  They are Jerusalem’s lovers that she had taken during her betrothal!  They had all been perverted by her enchantments.  And all her lovers would stand afar and lament as they witness her destruction.  And it would be a desolation worse than the fire and brimstone poured out from the lake of fire upon Sodom and Gomorrah.  “Woe, the great city!”  “Is there another like her in all the world?”

You see, while covenanted to YAHVEH she was an open and brazen whore of the nations.  And she made them rich by her harlotry, for she enticed them; she enchanted them; and she paid them for their services.  And when the King arrived for the wedding, she hated Him; and she killed Him.  For all the nations had drunk of the wine of the passions of her fornication.  She had purposefully debased and undermined the covenant that had been made with the one she always called her forefather – Abraham. 

God had promised Abraham a “seed” who would save the nations and tribes and tongues of the world; but Israel (on the other hand) defiled the world by her seduction of the kings and merchants and seamen of the nations.  In other words, she was in open opposition to, and defiance of, the promise made by God to her forefather Abraham!


Then John hears the mighty sound from above the tabernacle as God continues with the witnesses at this trial.  And they are (as we heard last Lord’s Day), all of the creatures in the heaven, all of the “holy ones” of history who have been persecuted (which includes those Who Jesus came to seek and to save), all of the prophets of God (as we’ve already heard), and the apostles of Jesus Christ… for they, too, were pursued and persecuted and killed.

They’re all witnesses and judges; for their prayers rise up into the nostrils of Almighty God; and their blood cries out to Him to avenge them.  And God comforts them, and assures them that His vengeance is “at hand”, and that they should all anticipate all that is about to happen, and rejoice and be glad.


Now, as recorded at verse twenty one, John then sees the mighty Archangel again – the One Who before had emblazoned the land with His glory… the One Who had declared Jerusalem “fallen”.  He is the resurrected, ascended, and crowned King of Kings, appearing as Commander of the host of the heaven.  And John hears Him pronounce the judgment that He, Himself, had previously prophesied!

And what John is shown – about to be at the coming Parousia (verse twenty one) - is our Lord Jesus Christ throwing a giant stone – as a millstone – into the depths of the sea!

First He illumines the entire paradise land (verse one) so that all its harlotry is exposed; and He then hears the Father’s recitation of Israel’s seduction of the nations and their lamentations over their loss (verses four through nineteen).  And then John hears Almighty God address all the witnesses of that seduction that have been persecuted and killed; and they are all Israel’s judges in the trial (verse twenty).  And now John is shown the Lord Jesus Christ casting this “millstone” into the depths of sea!

So we have to see why He about to do that, and what the connections are to His Own prophetic Word, and how it all relates to the harlotry of Israel and the covenantal promises to Abraham!

Stick with me now; don’t lose me… because I’m about to read from Matthew chapter eighteen where Jesus teaches His disciples about the rebirth into the “Second Adam” and what should happen to those who would “entrap” those who would be reborn into Him!

Here it is, so listen carefully:


1)    In that hour the disciples came to Jesus saying, “Who then is greater in the Kingdom of the Heavens?”

2)    And having summoned a babe He set it in the midst of them

3)    and said,

4)    ‘Amen I say to you, unless you be changed and become as the babes, in no way shall you enter into the Kingdom of the Heavens.

5)    Therefore whoever shall humble himself as this babe, this is the greater in the Kingdom of the Heavens.

6)    And whoever receives one such babe for My Name, he is receiving Me.

7)    And whoever entrap one of these little ones who are faithing in Me, it is better to him that a millstone of an ass had been hung around his neck and he had been cast into the depth of the sea.’


You see, Jesus Christ is referring to His Own words here; and we are driven to those words by what John is shown here in verse twenty one; for so the “great city” – the greater Babylon – will be violently cast and will “never be found again”.

In the Matthew eighteen passage, the disciples were hearing of the rebirth from Jesus; and the language used there is the same language that John hears from our Lord here in verse twenty one of our text! 

The disciples of Jesus were hearing there had to be a humiliation and mortification of the old humanity in Adam (who had been cursed in the original paradise) and a rebirth into the new humanity in Christ, the second Adam – the Seed of the woman!  The old, depraved humanity in Adam was judged and condemned; and the only acceptable humanity to God was the body of His Own Son! 

As the babies were newly born, mankind had to be born anew.  There had to be a new creation in Christ because the old man in Adam was repulsive to the holiness of God the Father!  All men born from Adam are born dead; and all men born from Christ (the Seed of the woman - the second Adam) are made alive.  One is the father of dead humanity (and the cause of the loss of paradise); but the second Adam (the second beginning of humanity and the beginning of a new paradise) is life!

And one must be re-birthed into the new humanity; he must become “as the babies” – i.e. brand new!  One can’t retain the nature of his seminal father – Adam – and enter into the Kingdom/Paradise.  He must be rebirthed into the Christ of God!  The old nature must be humiliated and mortified (as Christ was humiliated and mortified)!

So the “greater” in the Kingdom (which is the language of political power) is not the one who sits at the right or left of the king at the seat of earthly glory – as was the eschatological hope of the disciples (and all of Israel), but “the greater” is the one who has become, by grace through faith, a newly-born creation in Christ Jesus!

That’s why Jesus says, in verse five of Matthew thirteen, that one who receives one of these new babes is receiving Christ.  As is evidenced by the Communion bread and wine, there is such a union between Christ and His new-born creations, that if one of them is received – He is being received!


But… woe to the one who entraps one of these.  If one is dead to Adam and alive by grace in Christ (i.e. a “little one”), enticements to unbelief and idolatry and immorality bring the wrath and eternal judgment of God the Father! 

Entrapments are “inevitable”, says Jesus, but woe to the one through whom they come.  It would be better for him if he had never been born – it would be better for him to have suffered the most ignominious end – than to have provided one of these little ones with enticement away from the body of God’s Son!  Persecution, lust and temptations and fornication, idolatry, suffering, denouncement, separation, humiliation, great arguments and philosophies, entanglements in the world, false theology, errant preaching – all enticements and enchantments and temptations to fornication and idolatry and apostasy, and to a return to the thinking and practices of the old Adamic nature!  Woe to the world because of the entrapments of these “little ones” who would be reborn into the new humanity of Christ!

Woe to the one who seduces a babe in Christ.  Woe to the one who enchants and captivates one who would be covered by the blood of Christ.  Woe to the world when one of these is caused to suffer for the Name of Christ.

God loves His Son; and therefore He passionately loves all those who have been – or would be - born into Him.  And He burns with anger toward any who might deceive one of these “little ones” or pervert one of them with temptation and lust.  It would have been better for them – before the entrapment – had they been attached to a millstone and cast into the depths.


Now.  As I’ve so often said, the Word of God must be exegeted and expounded in its own context – otherwise the sense of the words is lost and the Gospel takes on a flat (non-dimensional) obscurity.

At the same time, God’s speech (having been understood contextually) must be the final authority for all of faith and life.  Therefore it (God’s Word) is the “ground” and “standard” by which all else is judged.  That’s the nature and force of the text here in John’s Revelation.

Therefore the “watchman” on the wall is to sound the alarm if there is danger approaching; and the “shepherd” is to attack with impunity whatever might hurt the flock; and the elder is to expose to the Light of God’s Word whatever might be an enticement to the “little ones” in Christ.  Therefore it has been necessary that I expose to the Light of God’s absolute Truth some “entrapments” – or enticements – to unbelief and apostasy.

We’ve uncovered false theology in the Churches; we’ve critiqued unBiblical economics, art, music, entertainment, philosophy, and politics; we’ve brought God’s Word to bear on the enchantments and enticements to lust and adultery and idolatry, and false religions and cults – all of which have to be exposed to the radiant glory of the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ.  Darkness must be exposed to the Light of the Son of God!

We must not be entrapped by these things!

At the same time, it must be said that the peoples of the world that Jesus came to save must not be entrapped by any of us!  The giant millstone that John observes here being cast into the depths of the sea is God’s paradise/heaven-and-earth nation of Israel; for she enticed the nations into fornication!

The one place in all the creation that was to emulate the tabernacle of God in the heaven – the one “paradise on earth” that was to shine the light of the glory of God to all the world, seduced the nations with the wine of her passions… nations that were promised to Abraham in Christ Jesus!  And the “mountain of God” was cast into the depths as a great millstone so that no longer would the great seductress of the nations, tribes and tongues of the earth be an “entrapment” to them!

Entrapments are inevitable, Jesus said; but woe to the one through whom the entrapments come.  In our text here in chapter eighteen we hear three “woes”… from the kings of the nations, from the merchants of the nations, and from the ship captains and seamen of the nations.  God puts words into their mouths – the very words that He spoke to His disciples – as they pronounce the “woes” upon the harlot that entrapped them by her seductions.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is the Light of the world; and He is the Savior of the world.  That’s why we pray for all men everywhere in the nations, tribes and tongues.  And that’s why we pray for our Lord’s Kingdom to be “as it is in heaven”.  It’s a promise, you see.

If, by self-determination, we become a law unto ourselves and live by our own standard rather than God’s law, then we exhibit a similarity to the harlot Israel, in that entrapments are brandished before the world that our Lord came to save.  And we become worthy of a millstone of an ass being hung around our necks and cast into the depths.

Not only are we to fiercely guard against being entrapped by this world order, but we are to guard against being entrapments to the world… a world that was promised by God to Abraham.

The numbers promised to him by YAHVEH rival the stars in the heavens and the sands on the seashore; and they belong to the King of Kings and Savior of the world Who shed His blood for them.  And if our words and deeds provoke them, or entice them, to lust after another standard, then we have put a trap and a snare along their paths.

So, let these things advise you as to how you appear to the world as a follower of Jesus Christ.  As our Lord said to His disciples, it would not be a good thing for you to be an entrapment to even one of them.

Okay… so, now our Lord (appearing as Archangel of the host of the heaven) has declared Jerusalem “fallen” and ready for judgment; and the Father lists all of the witness/judges; and the charges having been brought against Israel as being a “seductress” of the nations that Jesus came to save; and the millstone having been seen by John as thrown into the depths – signifying a complete and violent end in inundation, the Word of God made flesh now quotes from the prophetic Word of God.

Verses twenty-two and twenty three contain five different quotes from the prophets concerning the totality of the judgment to come.  And at the end of twenty-three the reason is restated, isn’t it?… that reason being, that Jerusalem has seduced the nations into fornication with her… all in opposition to the salvation of the nations as promised to Abraham!

And let’s be clear here once again.  There can be no question as to who the defendant is in this trial.  It is Jerusalem, the capitol city of God’s heaven-and-earth paradise that was created as a reflection of His glory to all the world.

And there can be no question as to the totality of her inundation in the wrath of God… nor can there be any issues with regard to when that was to occur.

And the witnesses before the throne of God here in the text make it clear beyond contention that Israel traced its self-determined eternality back to its descendency from Abraham – all the while opposing the salvation of the Gentiles as promised to Abraham!  And in all of her lustful pride she seduced the nations in boastful pride and arrogance against God’s Savior of the world – all while being betrothed to Him!

Our Lord found and rebirthed for Himself a remnant of the seminal offspring of Abraham and scattered them into the nations to preach and teach the Gospel so that the Gentile nations might also be rebirthed into Him… all while the harlot Israel was working against Him – laying traps and snares in full compliance with the beast!

And our text makes it clear what the complete inundation in the full wrath of God meant for Israel; for Jesus quotes the Word of God through the prophets as to the absolute finality of God’s paradise land of Israel; and I’m going to read those prophetic words for you.

After Jesus refers to His former words concerning the “millstone”, He says that the great city – the paradise of God – will never be found again, for she will be cast into the depths.  Then John hears five components of the paradise that God had created for Himself that will never be seen or heard in her again (for she will never be found again!)

And they are the sights and sounds of paradise: the music of paradise, the artistry and craftsmanship, industry, light, and the joy and anticipation of bridegrooms and their virgin brides.

Listen to the prophets as they spoke and wrote what YAHVEH said.  Here’s Ezekiel from chapter twenty-six:


13) And I will cause the sound of your songs to cease; and the sound of your harps shall no more be heard.


And then from Hosea chapter thirteen:


2)    And now they sin more and more, and have made for themselves molten images of their silver - idols according to their own understanding, all of them the work of artisans (craftsmen)…

3)    Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the dew that passes away early, and as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind off of the threshing-floor, and as smoke out of the chimney.


And then from Jeremiah twenty-five:


10) I will take from them the sound of mirth, and the sound of gladness, the voices of the bridegroom and the bride, the sound of the millstone, and the light of the candle.

11) And this whole land shall be a desolate ruin and an astonishment….


Just as is spoken through the prophets, John hears these same words from the Commander of the Hosts; for none of these things will ever be seen or heard again in the Greater Babylon.  She has fallen.  The paradise land of Israel and the great city have fallen.  And she – as a giant millstone – is about to be cast into the abyss; and she will never be found again.

And then our Lord restates the reasons (last part of verse twenty three and verse twenty four).  All of the witnesses have judged her “guilty”; and the Tribunal over the tabernacle has passed sentence.  For the cosmic creation called “heaven-and-earth”, the Paradise of God, the earthly image of His tabernacle in the heaven, the Land of Promise called Israel has enchanted all the nations of the earth with her seductive fornications.  And the ones sent by YAHVEH to call her to repentance were persecuted and killed.  And she had poured out on the land the blood of all the holy ones in history.

These words remind us of Jesus’ answer to His disciples just before His crucifixion when He said that He would hold this generation responsible for all the blood of the holy ones from Able to the present!

Able was the first son of Adam and Eve!  How could Jesus hold this generation accountable for his blood?

It’s because he was the “seed” of the woman!  And Israel had been persecuting and killing the seed of the woman (the holy ones) all through history!

Jesus told the priests and pharisees and scribes and elders of Israel: “you are of your father the devil”.  They were “vipers”.  They were the seed of the serpent; and from the beginning there was enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent.

And this generation were the sons of their forefathers.  They admitted it!  And, as Jesus said, they had spilled the blood of the righteous from Eden to the present.

And here in our text they had seduced the peoples and tongues and tribes of the nations – the seed promised to Abraham… seduced them to fornication… seduced them in order to cut off the Kingdom of the “Seed” of the woman.

They are the seed of the serpent; and the head of the serpent would be crushed – and Jerusalem (its capital city) cast into the depths of the abyss.