CHAPTER EIGHTEEN



THE FALL OF BABYLON THE GREAT

1 "And after these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.

2 And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, 'Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a habitation of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird.

3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.

4 And I heard another voice from heaven saying, 'Come out of her, my people, lest you share of her plagues.

5 For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

6 Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix for her double.

7 As much as she has glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so much torment and sorrow give her; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.'

8 Therefore her plagues will come in one daydeath, mourning, and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her."

Revelation chapters 17 and 18 run together. We have noted that the final anti-Christ system will be double-sided: religious and temporal. Both will eventually fall and I think the duality aspect is brought out in verse 2 above by the double expression, "is fallen, is fallen". The first "is fallen" refers to the harlot --- the ecclesiastical structure of Roman Catholicism. Ironically, she falls at the hands of the anti-Christ who turns against Vatican City once he thinks the 'church' is no longer needed. (Rev. 17:16). The second "is fallen" refers to the politico-mercantile side of the final empire, which seems to be the more primary focus of this chapter.

In chapter 13 I spoke of the Opus Dei --- the "work of God" organization --- a group which likely represents the nuts-and-bolts of a global network designed to eventually have control of most of the world's commerce system. They are very secret today. Let's face it, if the objective is to control all "buying and selling", it makes good sense to keep things under cover until your 'machine' is in good working order. A design of this magnitude requires time and very careful planning. Remember, according to what is known, the training of Opus Dei members is both religious and temporal, with major emphasis on the latter. In the initial build-up (the first 3 1/2 years of the final 7 year period), the anti-Christ will need a prepared-people to work with. Since his ultimate plan is to reign over the masses, Opus-Dei-like organizations will fit perfectly into his strategy.

High-pressure commercialism is at the very core of humanism; and when all is said and done, humanism is at the root of all ungodliness. People have definite needs, but more important to consumerism is meeting people's obsessive craves. Whoever meets those demands at any given time will obviously exercise strong influence and control over the masses. I'm convinced this control will ultimately be in the hands of those in charge of the Holy Roman Empire. This may seem far-fetched right now. Many say "Well, it may come, but not in my lifetime." But I believe that most people living today will see it! Even now, you and I are already being prepared to accept the "Big Brother" concept as normal. Commodity-control is slipping away from the average person's influence. America (being one of God's primary "witnesses") will likely be the last nation to follow a true free-enterprise system. But even now we see it weakening every day.

Let me give you one, up-to-date example right out of my own life. I started writing today at 5 A.M., but first read yesterday's mail. One letter actually seemed appropriate and timely relative to this topic. Admittedly, the man was trying to sell me something but he made some very astute points. His reference was to the hundreds of large-scale optical chains on the drawing board of one major department store. According to him, this will eventually have a tremendous negative effect on me as a privately-practicing optometrist. He's right.

Actually this is not new, just another in a series of similar ventures which are already operating on a national scale. People are being duped with the brain-washing idea: "Equal Services at Lower Prices". The logic of these business movements goes something like this: "We must meet modern demands and the needs of people with modern technology. Therefore, we need a new 'delivery system' to meet those demands." This kind of lingo sounds good but underneath is often a host of out-right lies and deception. What is really happening is the control is being removed from individuals working together for the common good of all and put in the hands of a few, far-away, money-hungry, corporate managers who really couldn't care less about helping people. Their purpose is to line their own pockets while also appeasing their stockholders who want to make money without working for it.

In just 32 years of professionalism, my income has changed from almost all coming directly from individuals at first, to approximately 80% covered by 'third party' systems today. Now, that may not startle you. But can you see the devastating potential this scenario could have if it runs its natural course to completion? We are being mentally prepared today to accept a system of "buying and selling" which will eventually be in the hands of others, exclusively! I don't know about you but the idea makes me shudder. The only hands I want to have total control over me is the Lord God of creation, not his adversary, the devil, whose business is 'big business' control.

I don't want to leave the impression that corporate structures and large business concerns are inherently evil. Some big business executives have sincere, good intentions relative to the their customers. Any business, small or large, is only as good as the character of the people in it. However, it's possible for something which begins with great motivation, even with a 'form of godliness' in it, to end up being Satan's stronghold. Indeed, we shall see later in this chapter that's exactly what eventually happens to most of the world's commercial industry. But Christians must be alerted to the insidious nature and the awesome power of the 'Commercial Beast'.

The root of this problem is right in our own individual tendencies towards greed. We are materialistic by nature; (i.e., our fallen nature). Most don't like to admit that that 'bent' is in us. The problem is a continual struggle for most of us. It is for this reason that the apostle Paul said, "And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition." 1 Tim. 6:8&9). Compare this language to the "beast" which goes into "perdition" as described in Rev. 17:8. "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition ...".



Here both Paul and John link lust-for-riches and material things to an eventual destination of death in hell. This kind of thirst eats away at all the human race --- and, unfortunately, does not exclude Christians. Now, let's get back to Revelation 18 and note just how the whole scene will finally end.

Thus, "Babylon The Great", in its last state, will be a combination of fallen-religion 'married' to the unified forces of a greedy, world-wide, politico-mercantile-social system. All of it will be under the control of the revived Roman Empire, which has at its head the False Prophet (including the papacy and all its subsidiaries) and the anti-Christ (the ruling temporal 'emperor'). Although the final image is not yet fully clear, things will soon come into focus --- to the alert.

Now re-read verses 1 - 8. Verse 2 tells us when the two "falls" occur, this organization will have become the "habitation of demons", "foul spirits" and "unclean and hated birds". As the old saying goes, 'birds of a feather stick together'. So, we should not be surprised to find "demons" (fallen angels) and "unclean birds" (unrepentant mankind) together in the same structure. Remember, Satan has his angelic heirarchy as well as certain human agencies all tied together to do his will. Getting full control of politics, commerce, etc., is necessary in order to be successful at tying the whole world together under one banner. So, at the top of the commercial ladder, we would expect to see many 'great' minds working together.

However, in verse 4 we see that there are also some Godly people within "Babylon The Great". Note that God will say to them, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins and lest you receive of her plagues." Now, this can't refer to the rapture, as some say, for that will have already occurred prior to what we are now discussing. God's Wrath against the final "Babylon" comes at the end of the final seven year period. Nevertheless, we see here God calling his people out of this "den of thieves".

Note: I don't wish to give anyone a spirit of fear but any true believer caught in any faction of what will eventually be a part of the anti-Christ system as described thus far, would do well to get out now! I feel we are rapidly approaching the time of our redemption and I believe there are better places for Christians to be than participating in an organization that is in process of becoming a "habitation of demons".

(But, if you, dear brother or sister in Christ, are within the Catholic Church, and are becoming aware of its gross heretical teaching and practices, but feel your personal ministry is to remain and win lost souls to Christ, more power to you, my friends. Hang in there! But when the Lord tells you to come out --- COME OUT!)

Verse 7 is very revealing. Here, it is obviously referring to the "harlot" aspect of the system, the adulterous "church". She says in her heart, 'I sit as queen, and am no widow'... To understand this, we must see its logical base. Christ is not yet with His true Church, physically speaking. We await that now. The coming 'family reunion' of all believers joining Christ has been the hope of every Christian generation. Jesus is betrothed to us and will some day receive His Bride to Himself. Now hold on to that thought.

Next, note the harlot (the false church) described in this passage, says she is "no widow". The Catholic Church has always given more emphasis to Jesus hanging on the cross (portraying death) than in the power of His resurrection. However, the fact does give a clue to help us understand this passage. Well, what does it mean when the "harlot" says she is a "queen" and "no widow"? I think it could have two explanations:

First, to be a queen infers the harlot will have achieved full religious authority, therefore she would not need a 'husband', most certainly not a dead one, i.e., referring to Jesus' death on the cross.

But there is a second possible explanation. Babylon saying she is no "widow" could be telling us she will then be 'married' to the alive 'other king --- 'the one Jesus predicted would "come in his own name --- "the anti-Christ. (See John 5:43).

It may be that both explanations are correct.

Verse 8 tells us that God makes short work of destroying Babylon The Great. It comes in "an hour". Again, it is doubtful that this means a literal hour. I think the emphasis here is on the brevity of time the harlot will be reigning as "queen" of all international, religious authority. It is also very difficult to say if God has in mind a particular place where the final "burning" occurs. One thinks of many world trade centers such as New York, Tokyo, Hong Kong, Paris, Mexico City, Rome, Brussels... It's hard to be dogmatic here. It could mean a certain city, or it could mean all of them combined. Knowing the absolute truth of this right now is really not all that important.

There are basically three parts in this chapter: Center-stage is "Babylon The Great".

1. First is her fall, which was just discussed.

2. Next comes the world's view of her fall.

3. The final picture.

Let's now move on to Part 2.

THE WORLD MOURNS BABYLON'S FALL

9 "And the kings of the earth who have committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning,

10 standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'

11 And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore:

12 merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble;

13 and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle and sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men.

14 And the fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all the things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all.

15 The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,

16 and saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls!

17 'For in one hour such great riches have come to nothing.' And every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance

18 and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What is like this great city!'

19 And they threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, "Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.

20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her."

That's quite a large portion of Scripture to consume at one time. However, you'll note it's just one, cohesive statement. In it is named virtually everything which can be bought and sold, including even the "bodies and souls of men"!

As already noted, today we are moving in the direction when all manufactured items will be at the disposal of one single organization. This has been fallen man's destiny since the tower of Babel --- man's first Babylon. The 'Babylonish-Syndrome' has been in man's complex from then until now. In the above verses, God is simply showing us the 'nth' degree of the tendency, here called Babylon The Great. There's really nothing all that new in the final Babylon. She's just more widespread and at last under one roof. Inspired by Satan. Built by man.

Three times in the above verses we hear the cry, 'Alas, alas', followed by a comment that judgment will come quickly upon Babylon. This dual expression implies a two-sided personality of Babylon The Great.

Ships are mentioned several times here, making one think the 'home office' of this final regime is by the sea. This narrows the possibilities down a bit. Perhaps it will involve many port cities around the world, not just one. After all, most importation and exportation occurs at seaport cities. It's important to note in this passage that God is bringing this judgment. It is not merely a breakdown brought on by human conflict.

I think of my neighboring city, San Francisco, for example. To me, it's the most beautiful city in the world and I like visiting there just to take in the sights. And yet, every time I go anymore, I'm repulsed by the everywhere-evident, gross sinfulness. S. F. is America's capitol of the AIDS epidemic, brought about by hundreds of thousands of practicing sodomites. I'm reminded of the 'buying-and-selling' as I look at the numerous skyscrapers which house hundreds of home offices of mass merchandisers, most bent upon getting rich and delivering huge amounts of goods to feed the apetites of thirsty and greedy Americans. You can also see the 'spirit' of this in the beautifully-decorated and well-stocked stores.

Most of us are already far-past reasonable purchases of needed goods. Everyone wants more-more-more...of everything. It seems as if there is no end to how far man will go to create and meet the demands of selfish people. And nowhere is it more manifest than right here in my own backyard in the city by the baySan Francisco. I can't help believing that this city pictures (if not indeed fulfills) the prophetic forecast given here in Revelation 18.





"REJOICE PROPHETS"

True prophets of God have always cried out against greediness. Particularly against those who perpetrate it, knowing their actions were responsible for devouring men's souls. The passage here confirms this. So, no wonder God says in verse 20, "Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her." Christians, who yearn to see true repentance in the lost world around them, often don't get to see it actually accomplished. This has always been true, whether in the Christian era or during Old Testament days. Anointed people of God see the inherent evil underlying out-of-balance materialism. Jesus made the point abundantly clear when He said, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money." Matt. 6:24.

FINALITY OF BABYLON'S FALL

21 "And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, 'Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.

22 And the sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. And no craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore. And the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore.

23 And the light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore. And the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.

24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth."

"MYSTERY BABYLON" covers a lot of territory. In real life and Biblically. First mentioned in chapter 14, her destruction was stated this way: "is fallen, is fallen". The expression "is fallen" indicates past tense, and yet the next four chapters spell out the future, unfolding a long story of how she falls, building up to the climax described in the above 4 verses.

To demonstrate for John how the final "hour" would come, a "mighty angel" tossed a huge "millstone" in the sea, telling him the end of Babylon would come in like manner. What are we to get out of this? Think about it. If one were to literally throw a large stone into the ocean, the obvious thing that would first happen is a big splash, followed by disturbances in the surrounding waters. The stone would immediately sink, the waves would soon subside and things would quickly return to normal. Before long it would look as if nothing ever happened. It appears that's the way it will be when God finally does away with the whole religious-temporal power structure which man (and Satan) have been putting together for centuries. God is very patient. However, in the end He will make dramatic, even violent, short work of Babylon's destruction.







NO CRAFTSMAN

Working men from all fields of endeavor have given their allegiance to "MYSTERY BABYLON". Man's skills to produce art-work or useful items eventually end up in the hands of merchandisers. There is nothing inherently evil about buying and selling, but unfortunately, underlying much of it is a foundation based on greed. The collective unification of all those who do these things for evil purposes is what's in view in Biblical "Babylon The Great". We see here the evil power that's behind the scenes, seducing and deceiving people who innocently give over the works of their hands to the evildoers. But God tells us in the above Scriptures that a day is coming (soon I believe) when all deception involving the fruits of man's labor will end. He will then separate (forever) honest providers from those who deceive them. What a great hope!

NO MUSICIANS

Music is a wonderful, universal language. Everybody loves some type of music. Music follows ryhthmic patterns, just as does the very nature of man. Even our heartbeat implies music. It's "in our blood". On the bad side, probably no medium has been used more than music to advance the cause of evil practices. You hear music at work, in the super-markets, in department stores, in your home, in your car, on the telephone when you're 'on hold', etc. Verse 22 says all this will end. This doesn't mean music shall end. But music designed to advance the "Babylonish-complex" shall someday end.

Surely God designed music. But man (with Satanic influence) has perverted it in many ways. That's what we see in the above passage. God will one day take away the Godly-gifted musician from "Babylon".

NO LAMP. NO BRIDEGROOM. NO BRIDE.

What does this mean? The terms are Biblically-defined for us. God's Word is a "lamp unto our feet", the Scriptures say. As the modern tower of MYSTERY BABYLON has been under construction, God's Word has always been right there in the middle of the process. God has been merciful to man in many ways but no way so great as the gift of His written message to lost mankind --- the Holy Bible. It's still the "best seller". We must praise God for this!

Throughout history's turbulent struggles, God's Word has been there to draw men, to save men, to nourish men, and to give men hope. The Bible is man's greatest earthly asset. But the above Scripture says a day is coming when this will be removed from Babylon. No longer will there be this wonderful healing light in her which gives strength to those who grasp it. Unaware-Babylon has benefitted through Godly men who were nurtured by the 'light' of the lamp. But this too will end.

The "bridegroom" is, of course, a reference to Jesus Christ. He is THE CENTER of what we find in the "lamp" of God's Word. It is He Who upholds "all things by the word of His power" (Heb. 1:3). Think of that. Everything that is, is held together by the word of the Word that was made flesh, Jesus of Nazareth. He keeps all atoms and molecules functioning, even those in MYSTERY BABYLON! (This does not mean Jesus is the author of evil. He allows it; He doesn't cause it.) Today, the administrator of God's action in this world is the Holy Spirit. He is the "Restrainer", the One who holds evil in check. He allows it to go only so far --- as far as the sovereignty of God permits. Just as Babylon has benefitted from the other Godly manifestations within her, she has also gained from the presence of the "bridegroom" in her; in fact, moreso than any other. Of course, she, in her blindness, does not recognize this.

Jesus said there is no "light" in Satan; and yet he was a prime creation of God. No one created was more beautiful or more intelligent than he but wickedness was found in him. Since then, Satan has no real understanding of what God is building all around him. Such is the case with MYSTERY BABYLON and the "bridegroom". She (Babylon) is a mighty fortress; she has light all around her, including the "bridegroom" Himself, and doesn't even know it! But, eventually this too will end.

The "bride" is the true Church. Jesus said He would build His Church and that the "gates of hell would not prevail against it". There are many "gates" to hell. They are found in false philosophies, false religions, perverted Christianity, cults, etc. But no gate is so wide as BABYLON. Actually, it encompasses all the other "gates" listed above, plus some. Babylon sends out the invitation, "Come One, Come All!". But in spite of all the temptations Satan and Babylon put in front of potential believers, Jesus said, "I will build My Church...". He has been doing it for nearly 2,000 years. And, in spite of the 'Babylonish fever', Jesus will victoriously complete His Church.

Of all the benefactors in her midst, Babylon has had none greater than the "bride" of Christ, His Church. Since I've already discussed Jesus as the "bridegroom" you are probably asking how I can say such a thing, knowing surely He is more valuable than we. Well, that's certainly true, spiritually speaking. But the "bride" is what's right out in the open. We are the physical, flesh-and-bones that Babylon sees. She can reach out and touch us. It is in this sense that we represent the "body of Christ". We are that tangible outworking of God on earth, in the here-and-now. Babylon The Great has been greatly "rewarded" (undeservingly) by the bride's presence. Just by our being here, she gains in reputation. But, this too will end.

GODLY BLOOD IS IN BABYLON'S BODY!

Godly blood flows through Babylon's body. "Preposterous!", you say! Well, I didn't say that. Verse 24 does: "...in her was found the blood of prophets and saints...". What does this mean? Well, throughout this last section I have pointed out several Godly features which have infiltrated Babylon. Verse 24 is merely giving us a picture of the sum-total of all the Godly influences which have been at the disposal of Babylon. Therefore, once she is "dead", within her body will be found the "blood" of various Godly people Babylon has 'eaten'. They will have sacrificed their lives for the sustenance of Babylon's life.

That sounds "gross" and cruel, but from God's long-range perspective, it has been His way of drawing others to Himself. In one way or another, God's people have always had to give their lives to assist in the building of His kingdom here on earth right among the evildoers. No where is this more evident than in the giving of His Own Son Jesus at Calvary.

God Himself is the ultimate sacrificer. Since true Godly people take on the very nature of God, it should not surprise us when we see Godly "saints and prophets" giving their lives to Babylon. In Jesus' day, Babylon was exemplified by the Roman Empire, which would take the very name of Jesus and use it to their own selfish-advantage throughout the whole Christian era. (Remember Constantine and all that transpired after that.) It will be similar in our day, as the modern Roman Empire continues its restoration; in its final stages many more Christians ("saints and prophets") will again give their lives to Babylon. But, praise God, this will be the last one!



SUMMARY

Revelation 18, if it had a title, might be: "It's All Over But The Shouting!", which is true as we'll see in the next chapter.

In Glory, when we have complete and perfect understanding, "MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT" may actually mean more and be somewhat different than what I have conveyed. However, I think the main thoughts here are Scripturally accurate. Also, the added concepts seem to line up with both history and current events. Surely we can all agree that since the first Babylon (the tower of Babel) was destroyed, man has been in the process of building another. However, this one is of a more 'spiritual' nature which is being spread throughout the world rather than being localized as a single city.

As of now (1994), I'm convinced it's almost finished. And just as certain as the first Babel was destroyed, so also shall be the last one. Today, other than the written account, there is little (if any) trace of the real ancient tower of Babel. Likewise, one day there will not be a trace of modern Babylon The Great. All of man's efforts to build earthly kingdoms are heady and self-serving. But a day will come when Christ will put all things under His feet. Babylon The Great will be one of the last. "Even so, Come, Lord Jesus!"