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Destruction of The Great City
Greed will Go To Outrageous Lengths ... Modern Day Babylon
Religious (Mystery) Babylon and Commercial Babylon
Summary and Conclusion
Destruction of The Great City. Chapter 18.
(1) After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. (2) And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, 'Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. (3) For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.' (4) I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; (5) for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (6) Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. (7) To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.' (8) For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong".
(9) And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, (10) standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.' (11) And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more-- (12) cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, (13) and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives. (14) The fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them.
(15) The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, (16) saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; (17) for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!' And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, (18) and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, 'What city is like the great city?' (19) And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, 'Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!' (Revelation 18:1-19 NASB)
Revelation chapter 18 describes an extremely rich merchant-city, that the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality with, while the merchants of the earth grew fat from trading with her. God's people are urged to come out of this "city", so that they may escape her final destruction at the hand of the Almighty. While the merchants mourn her end, all heaven is encouraged to rejoice that she will not be found any more.. because "in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth." (Vs. 24)
Greed will Go To Outrageous Lengths
For reasons discussed earlier, it is certain is that the "Babylon" spoken of here is not the literal city, but an economic, commercial system that is only concerned with indulging the self and material prosperity.. growing fat at the expense of many.
The long list of merchandise in Revelation 18:12-13 are not the staples or necessities of life, but virtually are all luxurious, extravagant items... gold, silver, precious stones, pearls, fine linens, silk and ivory to name a few. However it is the two last items listed... slaves and the souls of men, that brings home the point that greed always has, and always will, go to outrageous lengths. The succeeding verse in Revelation says...
The fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. (Revelation 18:14 NASB)
Modern Day Babylon
Rampant commercialism and blatant marketing ploys have become part and parcel of our daily lives. While a few consider this little more than an outrageous assault on the senses, most people seem to have become used to this flood of materialism because most consumers in today's so called civilized world seem to be bottomless pits of appetite for the latest, the shiniest, the biggest, and the most expensive... a covetousness which is nothing less than a form of idolatry. Our materialistic, godless system has made the almighty dollar more important than God Himself, His place in the hearts of men usurped by toys.
In our society it is becoming increasingly difficult to find businesses that are conducted by any ethical rules whatsoever. The bottom line seems to be all that matters, with scant regard to how favorable figures are achieved. Cases that immediately spring to mind are the modern day pharmaceutical companies that manufacture opioids, Du Pont (Watch, if you can Netflix’s The Devil We Know), Monsanto, the oil companies that and of course the hundred more like them.
We have apparently not learned any lessons from the Old Testament, that abounds with warnings from the Almighty Himself about the danger of letting luxury distract a person (or a society) from righteousness and goodness. For example, Israel's kings were warned against multiplying horses, gold, and silver and wives...
Moreover, he shall not multiply horses for himself, nor shall he cause the people to return to Egypt to multiply horses, since the Lord has said to you, 'You shall never again return that way.' "He shall not multiply wives for himself, or else his heart will turn away; nor shall he greatly increase silver and gold for himself. (Deuteronomy 17:16-17 NASB)
And Ezekiel 26-28 carries dire warning against the city of Tyre, saying in essence.. (Read all three chapters to see the close resemblance to end time Babylon).
By your great wisdom, by your trade You have increased your riches and your heart is lifted up because of your riches-- Therefore thus says the Lord God, 'Because you have made your heart Like the heart of God, Therefore, behold, I will bring strangers upon you, the most ruthless of the nations. And they will draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendor'. (Ezekiel 28:5-7 NASB)
Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; You corrupted your wisdom by reason of your splendor. I cast you to the ground; I put you before kings, That they may see you. By the multitude of your iniquities, In the unrighteousness of your trade You profaned your sanctuaries. Therefore I have brought fire from the midst of you; It has consumed you, And I have turned you to ashes on the earth In the eyes of all who see you. (Ezekiel 28:17-18 NASB)
Like Tyre, Babylon promotes the philosophy that happiness and fulfillment are attained by an abundance of material goods and possessions, a mindset that is already an integral part of America and many other countries. But, it does not last long. In one day death, and mourning, and famine come to Babylon, which is then utterly burned with fire.
This destruction of Babylon has a completely opposite effects on the two camps..
The kings of the earth will weep and wail "when they look upon the smoke of her burning", as will the merchants of the earth who mourn because no man will buy their merchandise any more and their source of income has dried up. Even the ship masters, and sailors who were made rich by Babylon's trade will cast dust on their heads and cry, weep, and mourn.
However, the heavens, saints, apostles, and prophets will rejoice at Babylon’s destruction.
Religious (Mystery) Babylon and Commercial Babylon
The 'Great City' spoken of in both chapters is not a literal city, but a figurative description of two systems... a religious system is outlined in chapter 17, and a political/commercial system is described in chapter 18.
While there are differences, the striking parallels between chapters 17 and 18 point to two systems that have much in common and have been responsible for much, if not most of the evil that has corrupted the earth from the beginning of man's existence. (Since neither chapter nor verse divisions existed in the original text, but were added later for convenience, chapters 17 and 18 form an unbroken narrative, which makes the similarities even more compelling).
Both groups are called the "Great City" identified as "Babylon". Both chapters tell us that this "city" is in bed with and reigns over the kings of the earth. Both are adorned in almost exactly the same finery. Both are guilty of fornication and are responsible for the deaths of countless numbers of faithful.
Finally, although both groups are two sides of the same coin that imagine they can continue operating outside of God's will indefinitely, this is not to be. We are not told whether they are brought down at the same time, or consecutively but, what is certain is that both will come to a dramatic end.
The following parallels were outlined in Dr. Thomas L. Constable's Notes on Revelation 2008 Edition). [All Emphasis Added]
17:5 and upon her forehead a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of The Harlots and Of The Abominations Of The Earth.
18:2 And he cried with a mighty voice, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, and is become a habitation of demons, and a hold of every unclean spirit, and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird.
17:18 And the woman whom thou sawest is the great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
18:10 standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication,
18:6, 16 Render unto her even as she rendered, and double unto her the double according to her works: in the cup which she mingled, mingle unto her double.... saying, Woe, woe, the great city, she that was arrayed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stone and pearl!
17:2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and they that dwell in the earth were made drunken with the wine of her fornication.
18:3 For by the wine of the wrath of her fornication all the nations are fallen; and the kings of the earth committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth waxed rich by the power of her wantonness.
17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I wondered with a great wonder.
18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all that have been slain upon the earth.
17:16-17 And the ten horns which thou sawest, and the beast, these shall hate the harlot, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and shall burn her utterly with fire. For God did put in their hearts to do his mind, and to come to one mind, and to give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished.
18:8 Therefore in one day shall her plagues come, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judged her.
Compare Jeremiah 51:58.. "Thus says the Lord of hosts, The broad wall of Babylon will be completely razed And her high gates will be set on fire; So the peoples will toil for nothing, And the nations become exhausted only for fire." (NASB)
Summary and Conclusion
At Christ's return everything will come crashing down and be swept away simply because this is not God's world. It is not based on His values, laws or way of life. In fact, everything we have built and established over the years has been founded on values that are antithetical to Him. Because a new building cannot successfully be built on the rotting foundation of a faulty structure everything, including our government, our education system, the political and economic system, the media, our so called entertainment has to be done away with.
It seems quite clear that the entire largely corrupt, greedy, power hungry, or simply false religious and commercial world systems, are personified in Revelation 17 and 18. And, as said in the beginning of this article, these chapters are a crucial warning to God's people, or anyone who has an ear to listen.
However, before we point a finger at false religions, atheism, Hollywood, Wall Street, or even other nations, we had better remember that, although it is true that in the Old Testament pagan nations were accused of 'harlotry', the term "harlot" was most often used in a metaphorical sense to depict a nation that had a binding covenant with God, but repeatedly rejected God's path.
Like Israel of old, huge numbers of so called Christians are unfaithful, repeatedly breaking the terms of their covenant with, and commitment to, the Father Himself. In other words, the church which is also supposed to be in a covenant relationship with God, has deviated far from it's intended path. In fact, it is at an all time low... pretty much scraping the bottom of the barrel with apostate leaders and a Biblically illiterate population.
Not only were apostasy, and spiritual unfaithfulness called 'harlotry', but consorting in any way with the occult brought down the wrath of God.
'As for the person who turns to mediums and to spiritists, to play the harlot after them, I will also set My face against that person and will cut him off from among his people. [Leviticus 20:6 NASB]
What then is to become of a church that has altered God's message beyond all recognition, preaching any number of false doctrines, but has also adopted practices that are directly derived from the occult. [See Doctrines of Demons] Worse! One has to wonder whether certain factions in the church will also be responsible for spilling the blood of the saints and witnesses of Christ. See Dominionism
Numerous Christians think the Lord wants us to be rich... that He wants us to prosper materially in this lifetime, in spite of the fact that the Bible says "But those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a snare and many foolish and harmful desires which plunge men into ruin and destruction" (1 Timothy 6:9). The messages of being all you can be, achieving all you can achieve, and getting all you can get, seem to resonate with millions of Christians across the globe... the bigger and more expensive usually erroneously taken to mean an abundance of God's blessings.
They seem to be dangerously unaware of the fact that the principles of the Word-Faith movement being trumpeted from pulpits across the land, not only stems from the same occult sources as the spiritual movement known as New Thought, but uses exactly the same terminology and techniques. [See The Prosperity Gospel and The Word of Faith Movement]
This world's corrupt economic, commercial system, only concerned with material prosperity and indulging the self, has grown fat at the expense of many, and her judgment will be severe beyond belief. As Revelation 18 says... "Therefore in one day shall her plagues come, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God who judged her". Those Christians who have jumped on the never ending desire for material goods bandwagon of secular humankind, will share in the same fate.
Sadly, few Christians seem to realize that the Bible commands them to separate themselves from those who teach, and practice, false doctrine [See Fraternizing With The Enemy]
The warning is unambiguous....
I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (Revelation 18:4-5 NASB)