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					Antichrist and the End Times

   AET-071 and 072: Babylon’s
            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• In Chapter 18 the destruction of the great
  prostitute/Babylon the Great in 17:16 is now
  expanded into a full-fledged vision, further
  fulfilling the promise of the angel in 17:1 that
  he would "Show [John] the judgment of the
  great prostitute."
• The overarching theme of this section is the
  judgment on Babylon for its economic
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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• 1After these things I saw another angel descending
  from heaven, having great authority, and the earth
  was illumined with his glory. 2And he cried out with
  a strong voice "Fallen, fallen, is Babylon the Great.
  It has become a home for demons,a prison for
  every unclean spirit and a prison for every unclean
  and hateful bird.
• For all the nations have fallen because of the wine
  that leads to passion for her immorality. The kings
  of the earth have committed adultery with her, and
  the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy
  because of the power of her luxuries."
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• 4Then I heard another voice from heaven
  saying, "Come out from her, my people,lest
  you share in her sins, lest you receive her
  plagues,5because her sins have reached to
  heaven, and God has remembered her
  crimes.6Give back to her as she has given.In
  fact, pay her back double according to her
  deeds; give her a double portion in the cup
  she has mixed.

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• 7To the degree that she has glorified herself and
  lived in sensuous luxury,to the same degree give
  her torment and sorrow. For in her heart she said,‘I
  sit as a queen,I am not a widow,I will never see
  grief.’ 8Because of this her plagues will come in one
  day, pestilence and grief and famine,and she will
  be burned with fire, because mighty is the Lord God
  who has judged her. 9Then the kings of the earth
  who committed adultery and lived in sensuous
  luxury with her will weep and wail over her when
  they see the smoke of her burning.
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              Revelation 18 - Babylon
•   10Theystand far off because they are afraid
  of being tormented with her and say, 'Woe,
  woe, great city, Babylon, mighty city,
  because in one hour your judgment has
• 11The merchants of the earth weep and
  mourn over her, because no one will buy
  their cargo any longer:

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              Revelation 18 - Babylon
•   12cargo   of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls;
    of fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet fabrics; of
    every kind of citron wood, every type of ivory
    product, every type of costly wood, bronze, iron,
    and marble; 13of cinnamon, spice, incense, myrrh,
    and frankincense; of wine, olive oil, fine flour, and
    wheat; of cattle, sheep, horses, and carriages; of
    bodies, that is, human souls. 14典he fruit you lusted
    after has gone away from you. All the expensive
    and beautiful things have disappeared from you.
    They will no longer be found."
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              Revelation 18 - Babylon
•   15These merchants who have become wealthy from
  her will stand far off because they are afraid of
  being tormented with her, weeping and mourning
  16and saying, 'Woe, woe, great city, clothed in fine

  linen, purple, and scarlet, and glittering with gold,
  precious stones, and pearls; 17for in one hour all
  this wealth has been made desolate."
• Every sea captain and everyone who sails to a
  place, the sailors and as many as make their living
  from the sea, stand far off 18and cry out when they
  see the smoke of her burning, saying, "Who is like
  this great city?"
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              Revelation 18 - Babylon
•   19They   throw dust on their heads and cry out,
    weeping and mourning, saying, "Woe, woe, great
    city where all those who had ships in the sea
    became rich because of her wealth, in one hour
    you have been made desolate." 20"Rejoice over
    her, heaven, and the saints, apostles, and
    prophets, for God has judged her for the way she
    judged you." 21Then a mighty angel took a stone
    like a large millstone and cast it into the sea,
    saying, "In this way Babylon, the great city, will be
    cast down with sudden violence, Never to be found
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              Revelation 18 - Babylon
•   22The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and
    trumpeters will never be heard in you again. No
    craftsman of any trade will ever be found in you
    again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard
    in you again. 23The light of a lamp will never shine
    in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will
    never be heard in you again. Your merchants were
    the great men of the earth; all the nations were
    deceived by your sorcery. 24In her was found the
    blood of the prophets and saints and of all who
    have been killed on the earth."
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Here "Another angel" (after the angel of chap. 17)
  is seen καταβαίνοντα ἐκ τοῦ οὐρανοῦ (katabainonta
  ek tou ouranou, descending from heaven—another
  present tense participle dynamically stressing the
  action), probably in contrast to the beast
  "Ascending from the abyss" in 17:8.
• Also in contrast to the beast, this angel has two
• First, he possesses ἐξουσίαν μεγάλην (exousian
  megalēn, great authority), compared to the derived
  authority of the beast (from the dragon, 13:2, and
  from God, 13:5).
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Second, the earth was illumined with his
  glory), while the members of the false trinity
  do not possess "Glory" in the Apocalypse.
• In fact, no celestial being, angelic or
  demonic, has "Glory" in the book except
• Therefore, it is likely that the angel reflects
  the glory of God, implying he has come
  directly from the divine presence.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• In 10:1 the "Mighty angel" who also "Ascended
  from heaven" was "Clothed in a cloud, and a
  rainbow was upon his head. His face was like the
  sun, and his legs were like fiery pillars."
• Both there and here, the angels reflect the power
  and splendor of God, especially his authority over
  earthly affairs (in 10:2 he "Placed his right foot on
  the sea and his left on the land," indicating control
  over this world).
• Also, in both places some scholars believe we have
  Christ rather than an angel.

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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• But as stated at 10:1, there is too little evidence
  that language used of angels in the Apocalypse
  ever refers to Christ; it is more likely that it always
  refers to celestial beings.
• Most agree that Ezek. 43:2 is echoed here, "The
  land was radiant with his glory."
• In Ezek. 43 the measurements of the temple have
  been completed (42:15–20), and now a solemn
  procession occurs as Yahweh enters the restored
  temple through the east gate (43:1).

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Here the glory of God once more returns to
  the temple (43:2–9) and illumines the whole
  earth (43:2).
• In that narration, Israel is reminded of the
  past and warned of future judgments if she
  persists in her sin (43:3, 7–9).
• The twin motifs of Yahweh’s glorious
  presence and the warnings of judgment are
  also present here, and it is likely that John
  intended these parallels to Ezek. 43.
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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• The angel in 18:2 cries out in ἰσχυρᾷ φωνῇ (ischyra
  phōnē, a strong voice—found only here but
  compare "A great voice" in 5:2; 10:3; 16:1; etc.) in
  keeping with his authoritative pronouncement and
  repeats the message of the second angelic herald
  in 14:8, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great" (with
  the aorist emphasizing the certainty of the event).
• As stated there, this alludes to Isa. 21:9a, where
  Isaiah prophesied the destruction of Babylon via a
  messenger in a chariot who cries, "Babylon has
  fallen, has fallen," followed by "All the images of its
  gods lie shattered on the ground" (21:29b).
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Thus, the judgment on the empire includes
  the destruction of its idols, specifically the
  Antichrist, who has set up an idol of himself
  (Rev. 13:14–15).
• Moreover, it is not seen as a new
  announcement but one foretold by Isaiah
  himself, grounded in God’s eternal decree.
• The absolute desolation of Babylon … is
  then described in three parallel poetic lines.
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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Mounce (1998: 324) notes that "A major poetic
  feature in this section is the repeated sets of three
• This is the first of several.
• The depiction of it as a deserted city inhabited by
  demons and unclean birds is taken from Isa.
  13:21–22 (Babylon); 34:11–14 (Edom); Jer. 50:39;
  51:37 (both Babylon); Zeph. 2:14–15 (Assyria).
• All these depict the destruction of those cities that
  have flaunted God’s laws and fallen under his

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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• First, Babylon is κατοικητήριον δαιμονίων
  (katoikētērion daimoniōn, a home for demons;
  δαιμονίων is a subjective genitive meaning demons
  now "Make their home" there), the direct opposite
  of the only other place the term occurs in the NT,
  Eph. 2:22, where Christians are "Dwelling places of
• Often in biblical literature, demons live in deserts or
  lonely places (Isa. 34:14; Tob. 8:3; Matt. 12:43

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• The meaning of this is expanded in the next
  two lines, where Babylon is transformed into
  a phylakē, (prison), an unusual term for "Lair,
  haunt," derived from the ancient view of "The
  underworld as the prison of evil spirits"
  (Kratz, EDNT 3:441).
• First, it becomes the prison house of "Every
  unclean spirit," the basic term in Jewish
  literature for demons as detestable
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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Second, it is the prison house of "Every unclean
  and hateful bird," building on the presence of
  scavenger birds in Isa. 13:21 and preparing for the
  carrion birds of Rev. 19:17–18, 21 who will feast on
  the bodies of the Antichrist’s army.
• The reason (ὅτι, hoti, for) for this terrible judgment
  in 18:3 is the sins of the wicked, again found in
  three lines, with the three groups anticipating the
  three of verses 9–19 but with "Nations" instead of
  "Sea captains."
• The first line is drawn from 14:8 and 17:2 but alters
  the "Made to drink the wine" of 14:8.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• First, the angel announces the "Fall" of
  Babylon and then proclaims that "All the
  nations have fallen because of the wine that
  leads to passion for her immorality".
• In other words, the nations will be destroyed
  along with the evil empire because they have
  freely participated in her debauchery.
• She is "The mother of prostitutes and
  abominations," leading her offspring, the
  nations, to fall into the same depravity.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Now they are both destroyed because of those evil
  acts. In a wonderful play on words, "Drinking the
  wine that leads to passion (τοῦ θυμοῦ) for her
  immorality" in 14:8 results in "Drinking the wine of
  the wrath (τοῦ θυμοῦ) of God" in 14:10.
• The results of this divine wrath are now displayed.
  As in 14:10, this probably alludes to Jer. 25:15–18,
  27–28; Isa. 51:17; and Zech. 12:2, where God
  commands that the nations get drunk on his wrath
  after drinking the cup of sin.

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• As throughout Revelation, "Immorality" refers to
  both sexual immorality and religious apostasy (esp.
• The second line virtually repeats the first: the
  "Kings" of the nations have led their people in
  immorality and idolatry.
• Some (Beale 1999: 895; Aune 1998b: 988) believe
  that this line alludes to Isa. 23:17 (where Tyre is
  condemned as a "Prostitute" selling herself to "All
  the kingdoms of the earth" for profit, a commercial
  rather than a religious metaphor) and that therefore
  this is more a commercial than a religious image.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• These were wholesale dealers (EDNT 1:446)
  who traveled all over the Roman world
  selling merchandise in huge quantities.
• They “Have grown wealthy" from all the trade
  (see also 18:15, 23).
• C. Smith (1990c: 30) says these merchants
  engaged in “Unrestrained debauchery," by
  which he means excess consumption of
  goods, with gross ostentation the order of the
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Much of the material in chapter 18 relates to
  Ezek. 27, a lament for Tyre.
• As Block (1998: 51) says, “This island city,
  renowned for maritime commercial
  enterprises, is imagined as a magnificent
  merchant ship loaded with the products of
  the world, only to be shipwrecked on the high
  seas." Thus, it is a perfect type of [Babylon]
  and a perfect picture for the destruction of
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Ezekiel 27:12–25 centers mostly on the trade of
  Tyre, and 27:12 is close to the text here, “Tarshish
  did business with you because of your great wealth
  of goods."
• Here the merchants grow rich because of the
  power of her luxuries.
• [Babylon] seduced the nations due to her incredible
  wealth and the luxurious living it purchased.

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• This bound them to [Babylon] more securely by far
  than its armies could, for wealth brought them into
  the [Babylonian] fold willingly.
• Edgar (1982: 338) believes that Babylon the Great
  is not a religious but an economic symbol, as seen
  in the merchants who symbolize the kings of the
  earth (18:23).
• Thus, chapter 18 focuses on the economic sins of
  [Babylon] and the luxurious ostentation that brings
  about the wrath of God.

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Heavenly Voice Commands Believers to Leave
• The other “Voices from heaven" have occurred in
  10:4, 8 and 14:2, 13, and refer to a direct message
  from the throne itself (God or Christ;6 see 10:4).
• This voice commands, Come out from her, my
• Only here and in 21:3 are believers called God’s
  “People," a semi-technical term in the OT and NT
  indicating a special [Jewish] relationship with God.

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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• The command to separate oneself from depraved
  society is frequent in the OT (Isa. 48:20; 52:11; Jer.
  50:8; 51:45, 50; Ezek. 20:41) and NT (e.g., 2 Cor.
  6:14, 17).
• In the narrative picture of Rev. 18, it means to get
  out of the city lest they be destroyed with the
• In Jer. 50:8–9 the people of God are commanded
  to “Flee out of Babylon" because God was about to
  destroy her; and in 51:45 they are told to “Run for
  your lives! Run from the fierce anger of the Lord"
  soon to fall on Babylon.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Basis of Judgment (18:5)
• Callahan (1999: 58–59) says that 18:4b is
  the divine command, with 18:5 the author’s
  interpretation explaining why the [Jews] must
  distance themselves or be implicated in the
  judgment (modeled on Jer. 51:45).
• The reason for this danger (ὅτι, hoti,
  because) is that the sins of Babylon the
  Great have reached to heaven.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Therefore, God has remembered her crimes.
• Normally this verb commands the people of God to
  “Remember" their past relations with God (see Rev.
  2:5; 3:3), but here it is God “Remembering" the
  transgressions of Babylon.
• When God “Remembers," he acts (part of the
  meaning of the verb).
• When he remembers his people, he works on their
  behalf (Ps. 105:8–11; 111:5–6; Ezek. 16:60); when
  he remembers sin (Ps. 109:14; Jer. 14:10; Hos.
  8:13; 9:9), he acts in judgment.

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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• In Rev. 16:19 “God remembered Babylon the Great
  and gave her the cup of wine, namely his furious
• The term for sin here, τὰ ἀδικήματα, refers to
  “Unrighteous deeds" or “Crimes."
• While there is definitely a religious aspect here, in
  Acts 18:14 and 24:20 (the only other NT
  occurrences of the term) it has a legal connotation
  of criminal activity, and that is probably the primary
  thrust here as well. The wrath of God is a judicial
  response to the “Crimes" of wicked humanity.

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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Just Judgment Explained (18:6–8)
• This section is dominated by the lex talionis (law of
  retribution) theme.
• Since the sins of Babylon have “Piled up to the
  heavens," God will pay them back in kind.
• The whole scene could be likened to a universal
  courtroom, in which a class-action suit takes place.
  Plaintiffs in this suit are [Tribulation Believers]
  together with all those killed on earth (18:24); the
  defendant is Babylon/Rome, who is charged with
  murder in the interest of power, [money] and
  idolatry; and the presiding judge is God.

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• As announced previously in 14:8, Babylon has lost
  the lawsuit and therefore its associates break out in
  lamentation and mourning, while the heavenly court
  and [Believers] rejoice over the justice they have
• God pronounces a legal sentence on Babylon in
  18:6–8, perhaps given to the heavenly bailiff (see
  further the additional note on 18:6) who is to carry
  out the sentence.
• It contains both the sentence and the legal basis for
  the verdict, all expressed in terms of the Roman
  (and biblical) “Law of retribution."
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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• First, the severity of the sentence is described
• The heavenly bailiff must “Pay her back as she has
  paid back [to others]").
• There can be no better definition of lex talionis than
• It is likely that this is taken from Jer. 50:29, where
  the judgment of Babylon is stated in similar terms,
  “Repay her for her deeds; do to her as she has

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Yet there is a rich and varied history behind this.
  Jeremiah could well have been alluding to Ps.
  137:8, which says of Babylon, “Happy is he who
  repays you for what you have done to us."
• As Aune (1998b: 993) points out, there are many
  examples of “The retributive justice proverb, ‘each
  will be repaid " in accordance with his or her
  works’ " (Ps. 28:4; Prov. 24:12; Isa. 3:11; Lam.
  3:64; Sir. 16:12, 14; Ps. Sol. 2.34; 17.8; 1 Macc.
  2:68; Rom. 2:6; 2 Cor. 11:15; 2 Tim. 4:14; 2 Clem.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Strand (1982a: 56) adds that this may well also
  allude to “The law of malicious witness" from Deut.
  19:16–19, in which those who bear false witness
  (Babylon) will suffer the very penalty their slander
  has forced on others.
• More difficult is the next command, “Pay her back
  double according to her deeds."
• At first glance, this seems overly harsh, as if God
  has gone overboard in his vengeance, and justice
  has been forsaken.

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• In this sense, it means that God will pay them back
  fully for all they have done, in keeping with 14:10,
  which speaks of the “Wine of the wrath of God that
  has been poured full strength into the cup of his
• Yet at the same time, the idea of double the penalty
  was a common theme.
• In Exod. 22:4, 7, 9 certain transgressions
  demanded a double payment (a stolen animal,
  stealing, illegal possession of an animal), and the
  prophets did emphasize double retaliation (Isa.
  40:2; Jer. 16:18; 17:18).
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• In Exod. 22 the double penalty for theft would
  be especially apt in light of the economic
  exploitation that is central to this chapter (so
  Callahan 1999: 59).
• Thus, this could be a call for a double portion
  of judgment due to the severity of the sins of
  the nations (see Chilton 1987: 450).

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• The “Portion in the cup" refers back to the
  cup “Filled with abominations, namely, the
  impurities of [the great harlot’s] immorality" in
  17:4, which itself referred back to the cup
  with which she "Made all the nations drink of
  the wine that leads to passion for her
  immorality" in 14:8.
• Thus, since she seduced the world into
  drinking the cup of sin, she must drink the
  cup of God’s wrath “Full strength" (14:10).
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• The next two verses (18:7–8) give examples of this
  cup of sin and the full recompense that follows.
• The format means “To the degree that " to the
  same degree (BAGD 586).
• Her sins are twofold here.
• First, she has “Glorified herself" rather than God.
• Such arrogance is frequently derided in Scripture.
  Luke 14:11 says, “Those who exalt themselves will
  be humbled" (cf. 2 Sam. 22:28; Job 40:11; Prov.
  3:34; 29:23; Isa. 2:12, 17; 5:15; 1 Pet. 5:6).
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Those who seek their own glory will not only lose all
  glory in the life to come but also face the judgment
  of God.
• One of the major themes of this book is that glory
  belongs only to God (see the introduction to 4:1–
  16:21), and all who refuse to acknowledge him will
  face his wrath.
• Second, she has lived in sensuous luxury, a term
  that means both sensual and luxurious living (both
  aspects are probably present here).

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Their sensuality is expressed not only in immorality
  but in opulent living.
• This is another primary theme of the chapter, for
  both sensuality and materialism flow out of a self-
  centered greed that is the antithesis of holiness.
• Due to this sensual lifestyle, the avenging angel is
  to “Give" (a cognate of “Pay her back" in 18:6) her
  torment and sorrow.

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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• In Revelation the first term occurs six times (9:5
  [twice]; 14:11; 18:7, 10, 15) and its cognate verb
  five times (9:5; 11:10; 12:2; 14:10; 20:10), always
  of the “Torment" awaiting those who stand against
• Five of the six times “Sorrow" occurs (18:7, 8, 11,
  15, 19; 21:4) are in this chapter, describing the
  “Grief" that will attend the judgment of Babylon.
• Grief" is obviously the result of the “Torment," but it
  is too late.

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• The judgment on this hubris is found in 47:9–11,
  “These will overtake you on a single day" .
• They will come upon you in full measure."
• The parallels between these Isaianic themes and
  the rest of Rev. 18 are obvious (note the full
  recompense in 18:6, “One hour" in 18:10, 17, 19).
• Her pride and security will be revealed in all its
  delusion, and the “Grief" (the second use of πένθος
  in this verse) she swore she would never “See" is
  soon to fall upon her.
• All such boasting will come to naught.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Because of this arrogant boasting, her plagues will
  come upon her (18:8), the same “Plagues" that in
  18:4 led to the call to believers to flee.
• Moreover, they will come in one day, again
  echoing Isa. 47:9, where the judgment of Babylon
  was also to come “In a single day."
• [The type for this occurred] when Darius killed
  Belshazzaar and destroyed Babylon in a single day
  (Dan. 5:30).

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• As stated in Rev. 17:17, it is God who is in control,
  and he causes the depravity of Babylon the Great
  to turn upon her and destroy her.
• All these images of war function as they did in 6:1–
  8; lust for conquest and power must come full circle
  and self-destruct.
• That has been the history of sinful humankind from
  the beginning.
• Thus, the final point of this section is the ultimate
  cause: because mighty is the Lord God who has
  judged her.
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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• It is not the beast or his allies who are "Mighty" but
  God alone, and this is proven in the virtually
  instantaneous destruction of the evil empire.
• While God is not called ἰσχυρός elsewhere in the
  Apocalypse (though his angels are in 5:2; 10:1), he
  is called "Mighty" often in the LXX (2 Sam. 22:31–
  32, 48; Neh. 1:5; 9:31, 32; Job 36:22, 26; Ps. 7:12;
  Jer. 27:34 [50:34 MT]; 39:18 [32:18 MT]; Dan. 9:4;
  2 Macc. 1:24), and there is a direct contrast with
  the pretentious "Mighty city" of 18:10.

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• Three Laments Over Babylon the Great(18:9–19)
• The three funeral dirges are sung by three groups
  who profited most greatly from the largesse of
  Babylon: the kings who grew rich from her, the
  merchants who shared her expanding markets, and
  the shipping people who carried her cargo all over
  the world.
• Now they see her destruction and weep at the
  same time that they “Stand far off" so they do not
  have to participate in her judgment.
• In other words, those who grew fat on her wealth
  now desert her in her time of agony.
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• Aune (1998b: 978–79) points to four form-critical
  elements that the three laments have in common:
  each “Stands far off"; each “Weeps and wails";
  each begins the lament with “Woe, woe"; each
  exclaims on the suddenness (“In one hour") of the
• These laments are again built on Ezek. 27, the
  lament over Tyre, the great maritime and
  commercial giant of Ezekiel’s day.
• Many of the details come from there, like the three
  groups of mourners themselves, their fear and
  sorrow, the list of cargo, and details in the
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• The purpose is to show the final end of those who
  participate in evil, the deep mourning for all that will
  be lost.
• Yet in this as well is the terrible hardness that
  depravity produces.
• None of these groups mourns their sin, only all the
  luxurious living they have lost.
• In other words, they remain self-centered to the
  bitter end.
• There is no true sorrow for Babylon, only sorrow for
  all they have lost.

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• Lament of Kings of the Earth (18:9–10)
• The reason “The kings of the earth"12 weep over
  Babylon is twofold. First, they have committed
  adultery with her, referring to the immorality and
  idolatry they have shared with [her] in 14:8; 17:2, 4;
  18:3 (cf. 2:14, 20–21.
• They have lost their paramour and are bereft.
• Second, they have lived in sensuous luxury with
  her, a reference back to the “Sensuous luxury"
  condemned in 18:7.

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• There had never been such extravagance as
  developed during the [End Times], and the kings of
  the earth share in all this wealth gathered at the
  expense of the common people.
• As said in Ezek. 27:33, the “Great wealth" of
  Babylon “Enriched the kings of the earth."
• Much of the rest of the chapter will focus on this
• The kings see the smoke of her burning.

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• In this book there is a contrast between smoke as
  incense and prayer (8:2–3) and smoke as a symbol
  of fiery judgment (9:17–18; 18:9, 18).
• The two aspects are combined in 14:11, where the
  “Smoke of their torment rises [to God as incense]
  forever and ever."
• This is part of the motif that says the judgment of
  the sinners is God’s answer to the prayers of his
  saints for vengeance and vindication.

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• The kings, however, lament the destruction of their
  “Gravy train."
• Thus, they 努eep and wail over her," a sign of
  mourning and sorrow. This alludes to Ezek. 27:35,
  in which the kings “Shudder with horror, and their
  faces are distorted with fear" at the destruction of
• Yet at the same time, they are standing far off in
  18:10, meaning that they distance themselves “Far
  away" from the burning city.

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• This is not out of respect but out of self-serving
• They want nothing to do with the judgment
  “Because of fear of her torment"), with the objective
  genitive and a genitive of accompaniment,
  respectively: “They were afraid of being tormented
  with her.”
• They too were guilty of the same sins and so tried
  to remove themselves as much as possible from
  the scene of devastation, for they were terrified that
  they were next (they were right!).

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• The rulers of the earth have been seduced by the
  earthly power and might of [Babylon] and have
  ignored the evidence showing the temporary and
  partial nature of all such worldly splendor (note the
  emphatic repetition of the connection between “On
  the throne" and “Who lives forever and ever" in
• Beale (1999: 907) notes the background behind the
  suddenness of the judgment in one hour in Dan.
  4:17a, 19 LXX.

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• There Nebuchadnezzar is told that God would
  make him temporarily deranged so that people
  might “Know that the Most High is sovereign over
  the kingdoms of men."
• Like [Babylon], Nebuchadnezzar in Dan. 4
  arrogantly set himself up as a god and “Refused to
  acknowledge God’s sovereignty."
• Therefore, the “Judgment" of Babylon has arrived
• This is the judicial act of the "Mighty " Lord " who
  judges" in 18:8.

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• This is the third of four times κρίσις (krisis,
  judgment) occurs: the angel in 14:7
  announces, “The hour of his judgment has
  come," and in 16:7 “One from the altar" says,
  “Your judgments are true and just" (repeated
  verbatim in 19:2).
• It is interesting that it is the kings who decry
  the “Judgment" of Babylon, for it is they who
  have been the judges in this earthly sphere.

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• Lament of Merchants (18:11–17a)
• Now the "Merchants," wholesale dealers made rich
  through [Babylonian] trade (see v. 3), “Weep and
  mourn" over the destruction of Babylon.
• While the kings weep and “Wail," the merchants
  and seamen weep and πενθοῦσιν14 (penthousin,
  mourn) over her, focusing on the “Grief" (note the
  noun cognate in 18:7–8) they felt.
• This alludes to Ezek. 27:27, where the merchants
  and all on board the great ship Tyre “Sink into the
  heart of the sea," and “Hiss" at the destruction, "An
  expression of intense grief" (Block 1998: 84
  n. 190).
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• The reason for their sorrow again has no
  connection with love for [Babylon] but rather is
  entirely focused on the loss of trade.
• As Bauckham (1993b: 373) points out, the
  merchants were usually citizens of the exporting
  cities and may even include the shipowners who
  sold cargoes at the ports (they are missing from the
  list in 18:17b).
• These merchants did not have high social status
  (the nobility did not sell but instead controlled the
  profits) but became quite wealthy.

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• The purpose here is to show why God’s wrath has
  descended on them—ostentatious, self-centered
• Provan (1996: 87–88) argues that this reflects not
  only the economic exploitation of Ezek. 27 but also
  the sin of luxurious living exemplified by Solomon.
• The list is arranged in groups of four to six, with six
  categories of goods: precious stones and metals,
  luxurious fabrics, expensive wood and building
  materials, spices and perfumes, food items,
  animals and slaves.
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• In 18:14 we hear the voice of the merchants
  summarizing the list and mourning the passing of
  all these luxuries.
• While it is unusual for there to be no introductory
  formula, this is probably because the list of cargo
  (vv. 12–13) is a parenthesis, and verse 14
  continues the idea from verse 11 of the merchants
  “Weeping and mourning" over the loss of cargo and
  then lamenting it directly.
• It is presented as a poetic lament with three lines,
  and the absence of the formula heightens the
  rhetorical force of the lament.
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• First, they mourn the disappearance of "Your fruit,
  the desire of your soul".
• The "Fruit" is obviously the list of luxuries (the
  "Good things" life has to offer; so Louw and Nida
  1988: 1:33) and staples in 18:12–13.
• In apposition is “The desire of your soul,"
  undoubtedly meaning “The fruit you lusted after."
• It has all “Gone away."

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• Second, in a poetic alliteration, (all the expensive
  and beautiful things) have “Disappeared"16 ἀπὸ
  σοῦ (apo sou, from you; repeated in both lines for
• The first noun stresses the cost of the extravagant
  luxuries, the second the “Bright, glittering" appeal of
  them to the senses.
• The result is that these luxuries “Will no longer be
  found," combining the emphatic future negative οὐ
  μὴ (ou mē, never) with the negative particle οὐκέτι
  (ouketi, no longer) to mean "Will never be found
  any longer."
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• They are gone forever, a warning to those in our
  society who have given themselves over to the folly
  of conspicuous consumption (which describes most
  of us).
• As Jesus said in Matt. 6:19–20, seek “Treasures in
  heaven" rather than “Treasures on earth."
• In 18:15 we now return to the merchants of 18:11,
  and they are described as having “Become wealthy
  from her," certainly true in light of the vast numbers
  of wealthy merchants, some of the richest people in
  the whole empire.

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• But this also means that they share the guilt of
  [Babylon], for they have not only been a major
  cause of the ostentation but have also participated
  in it themselves.
• The rest of the verse repeats the litany of the kings
  in 18:9–10.
• They “Stand far off" to distance themselves from
  the fate of the [Babylonian] empire.
• Then they "Are afraid of being tormented with her".
• There is no actual sympathy but a self-centered
  sorrow at all they have lost and a terror of suffering
  the same fate (which they will).
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• Their "Mourning" in 18:16 (see 18:11) is now
  expressed in a similar lament to that uttered by the
• The opening cry, “Woe, woe, great city," found in
  18:10, 16, 19, expresses the horror of those who
  see the destruction occur.
• The “Great city" has become a wasteland (see
  18:2, 22–23).
• The description of Babylon in the rest of the verse
  adds "Fine linen" to a nearly verbatim copy of the
  description of the great prostitute in 17:4, “Clothed
  in purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold,
  precious stones, and pearls."
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• The kings mourn the loss of her power (18:10), the
  merchants the loss of her wealth.
• Finally (18:17a), the merchants decry the sudden
  (“In one hour") desolation of the “Great wealth,"
  using the same term (ἠρημώθη, ērēmōthē, make
  desolate) as used in 17:16.
• In the same way that a city is left in ruins, so the
  wealth of Babylon is stripped away, leaving it all a
  wasteland (the verb is the cognate of ἔρημος,
  erēmos, desert).

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• The third group that “Stands far off" is all those who
  have profited from [Babylon’s] sea trade.
• The list builds on Ezek. 27:29 ("All who handle the
  oars " the mariners and all the seamen") but with a
  different list of personnel.
• The list is the most extensive of the three in this
  chapter, with four groups: (1) the sea captain, the
  person who commands or pilots the ship rather
  than its “Owner" (2) 兎veryone who sails to a
  place,"17 the passengers (most) or merchants (3)
  the sailors; and (4) those who "Make their living
  from the sea.
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• Like the kings (18:9), they “See the smoke of her
  burning" in 18:18, but this group exclaims, Who is
  like this great city?.
• This parallels 13:4, “Who is like the beast?" and
  has the same obvious answer, “No one."
• Behind this is Ezek. 27:32b, “Who is like Tyre,
  surrounded by the sea?"
• All who center on earthly wealth without
  consideration of God are doomed to destruction,
  like Babylon, Tyre, Rome, and the final evil empire
  of the beast.
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• This group demonstrated their sorrow even more
  visibly in 18:19, throwing “Dust on their heads" as a
  sign of mourning (Josh. 7:6; 1 Sam. 4:12; 2 Sam.
  13:19; 15:32; Job 2:12), echoing Ezek. 27:30,
  where the seamen also “Sprinkle dust on their
  heads" at the destruction of Tyre.
• Their lament begins similarly to those in 18:10, 16,
  “Woe, woe, great city," but then focuses explicitly
  on the fact that "All those who had ships on the sea
  became rich because of [causal ἐκ, ek] her wealth,"
  a reference now to the ship owners (see 18:17b)
  who profited from the “Rich" sea trade.
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• They have participated in the economic sins of
  Babylon and so share her fate.
• The cry regarding the suddenness of her
  destruction (“In one hour you have been made
  desolate") follows closely the wording of 18:17b.
• All the glory, the magnificence, and the
  extravagance are gone forever, and the seamen
  realize their future has gone with it.
• As Michaels (1997: 207) says, “They do not know it
  yet, but before long the sea itself will be gone" (cf.
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• Call for the Heavens and Saints to Rejoice
• At first glance, this verse seems out of place in a
  section focusing on the effects of the destruction of
  Babylon on her followers, but the jarring effect is
• While those who participated in the sins of Babylon
  mourn her passing, those who were faithful to God
  rejoice that the name of God has triumphed and his
  people have been vindicated.
• Thus, both heaven and the believers are enjoined
  to Rejoice.
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• Again, while a call to rejoice over the destruction of
  a whole group seems strange and offensive at first
  glance, we must realize that the overriding concern
  in the book is to defend the justice of God and
  vindicate the suffering saints.
• The rejoicing occurs because divine justice is being
  served and because the oppressors of God’s
  people are finally receiving what their evil deeds
  deserve, as the last line says (“God has judged her
  for the way she judged you”).

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• As in 12:12, two groups are called on to
  rejoice, building on Ps. 96:11; Isa. 49:13; and
  Jer. 51:48, in which heaven and earth are
  called on to rejoice in God’s righteous deeds.
• Jeremiah is especially behind this, for there
  too the heavens and earth rejoice over the
  destruction of Babylon.
• In this passage, the “Heaven-dwellers" of
  12:12 are specified as the saints, apostles,
  and prophets.
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• The reason for the rejoicing (ὅτι, hoti, because, for)
  is that God has judged her for the way she judged
  you; lit., “God has judged the judgment of you
  [objective genitive] from her").
• This theme of lex talionis recurs throughout the
  Apocalypse (most recently 18:6, “Give back to her
  as she has given"; cf. also 2:23; 6:9–11; 11:5, 18;
  14:8, 10; 16:5–7; 19:2; 20:12–13).
• It is justice that is being celebrated, not …the
  punishment itself.

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• Similar to verse 6, this is a legal scene, and the
  spectators at the trial are rejoicing as the just
  sentence is handed down and the just penalty
  imposed on the guilty.
• Babylon has condemned the saints in their
  courtroom, so they in turn have been condemned in
  God’s courtroom.
• Since they have murdered the saints, apostles, and
  prophets (Rev. 6:9; 7:14; 11:7; 13:7, 15; 14:13;
  17:6; 18:24; 19:2), God has justly destroyed them.

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• Therefore, the same ones who suffered under her
  repression and persecution are the ones who
  rejoice over her destruction (see Krodel 1989: 306;
  Mounce 1998: 336).
• As Beale (1999: 916–17) says, “The rejoicing does
  not arrive out of a selfish spirit of revenge but out of
  a fulfilled hope that God has defended the honor of
  his just name by not leaving sin unpunished and by
  showing his people to have been in the right and
  the verdict rendered by the ungodly world against
  his saints to be wrong."
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• Destruction of Babylon (18:21–24)
• This is the third and last time an ἄγγελος ἰσχυρός
  (angelos ischyros, mighty angel) appears in the
• In 5:2 the "Might" was seen in the portentous
  message regarding the one worthy to open the
  seals, and in 10:1–2 it was seen in the authority the
  angel wielded over earth and sea.
• In both cases, the "Mighty angel" was the herald
  who held the great “Scroll" detailing the end of the

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• Here the sentence depicted in that scroll is
  carried out, and his "Might" is seen as he
  picks up "A stone like a large millstone."
• This millstone is not the small stone used by
  women “Grinding [grain] with a hand mill"
  (Matt. 24:41) but the “Large millstone" of
  Mark 9:42 (and par.), a stone so large it had
  to be driven by a donkey.

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• It was used to grind large amounts of grain and
  weighed several tons.
• The angel “Cast [this stone] into the sea"—another
  prophetic, acted parable (see 10:8, 10; 11:1–2),
  which looks back to Jer. 51:63–64, where Jeremiah
  is told to “Tie a stone to the scroll" and throw it into
  the Euphrates, saying, “So will Babylon sink to rise
  no more."
• Echoing the Jeremiah passage, this angel says, “In
  this way Babylon the great city will be cast down
  with sudden violence."

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• Chapters 17–18 in this sense celebrate, 1) the
  judicial verdict, with, 2) the sentence imminent.
• In both cases, the key terms function to heighten
  the rhetorical power of the judgment.
• Babylon will first be “Judged" and then “Cast down"
  for slandering God’s name and murdering the
• The same violence that occurred when the huge
  boulder was “Cast" into the water will occur when
  God’s wrath “Casts down" the empire of the beast.

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• The extent of the destruction is introduced in
  18:21b and then amplified in 18:22–23.
• The city will “never be found again”, continuing the
  future orientation of the action.
• When a millstone sinks into the oceanic depths, it is
  never seen again.
• Thus also Babylon is cast down by God, “Never to
  be found again."

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• This last phrase (“Never to be found") becomes the
  model for the next five lines, all of which utilize the
  [same] format and detail what “Will never be again"
  after God’s wrath falls on Babylon.
• These five losses expand on the merchants’ lament
  of 18:14, “All the expensive and beautiful things
  have disappeared from you. “They will no longer be
• First, the “Sound of harpists, musicians (μουσικῶν,
  mousikōn), flutists, and trumpeters will never be
  heard in you again.”

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• These are the artists who brighten everyday life
  and make the simple moments joyous.
• Any city without them would be desolate indeed.
• This builds on Isaiah’s bleak picture in 24:8 (“The
  gaiety of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the
  revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent"; and
  on Ezekiel’s diatribe in 26:13, “I will put an end to
  your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will
  be heard no more."

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• Music has always been the special provenance of
  the wealthy class, and so this is an economic
  judgment as well.
• As Beale (1999: 919) says, "Babylon’s economic
  system persecuted Christian communities by
  ostracizing from the various trade guilds those who
  did not conform to worship of the guilds’ patron
• Thus, Babylon has now lost the very thing they
  used against the Christians.
• This leads to the second deprivation: “No craftsman
  of any trade will ever be found in you again."
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• Cities in the ancient world were subdivided so that
  different sections of the town would belong to the
  various trades (see the introduction to the letter to
  Thyatira, 2:18–29).
• The removal of the craftsmen means the
  abandoning of the city itself.
• Without them there would be no economy, and
  here we see the fulfillment of 18:6–7, the “Double
  portion" that God would return upon Babylon for the
  “Glory" and “Sensuous luxury" she heaped on
• She lived for her material pleasures, and so God
  has now taken them all away.
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• Not only is there to be no economy, there will not
  even be food.
• That primary staple of life in the ancient world,
  grain, will also disappear forever, for there “The
  sound of a millstone will never be heard in you
• In light of the centrality of economics in this
  chapter, however, the broadest interpretation is
  better, namely, the production of food for the
  populace with the “Large millstone."

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• The last three items of this list are probably taken
  from Jer. 25:10, where in his prophecy of the
  seventy-year captivity, he presents them in slightly
  different order: “I will banish from them the sounds
  of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and
  bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of
  the lamp."
• Again, the judgment theme from Jeremiah comes
  to the fore.

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• The fourth deprivation is “The light of a lamp."
• While the millstone was heard during the day, the
  lamp was seen at night.
• These are not the torches that lit the way for groups
  traveling at night (there were no street lamps in the
  ancient world) but rather the small lamps of the
  home (see Thomas 1995: 346, building on Swete
  and R. Charles).
• Thus, these are pictures of everyday life, those
  elements that define normal existence. They are to
  be seen no more.

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• Finally, “The voice of bridegroom and bride" will be
  “Heard no more."
• There is no stronger metaphor for “Joy and
  gladness" (Jer. 25:10, where the “Voice of the
  bridegroom and the voice of the bride" is placed
  first as the primary example of joy; see also Jer.
  7:34; 16:9; 33:11) than the wedding, so the stilling
  of such sounds of joy has a special poignancy.
  Also, note the contrast: The nations will never again
  know the joy of a wedding, while the church will
  become the “Bride" of Christ (Rev. 19:7–8; 21:2, 9).
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• In the ancient law court, the crimes were always
  read as the sentence was carried out.
• Thus, in addition to the other lists of her crimes in
  18:2–3, 7, one final enumeration is given.
• In summary there are three primary sins: economic
  tyranny, sorcery, and murder.
• First, the merchants are described as the great
  men of the earth). This sums up all the emphases
  on wealth, luxury, and greed in the chapter.

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• This line refers back to Isa. 23:8 in the prophecy
  against Tyre, “Whose merchants are princes,
  whose traders are renowned in the earth."
• In other words, like Tyre the merchants have
  exalted themselves as the “Rulers of the earth" and
  left God out of the picture.
• Beale (1999: 921) calls this self-glorification
  “Economic self-idolatry," linking it also with
  Ezekiel’s condemnation of “The prince of Tyre" in
  Ezek. 28:1–9 for “Lifting [his heart] up because of
  your riches," which in effect was saying, “I am a
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• The second judicial basis for judgment is that "All
  the nations were deceived” by your sorcery.
• “Sorcery" or "Magic potions" is listed as one of the
  vices in 9:21; 21:8; 22:15, but here the term is
• While magic was a major problem in Israel,
  Judaism, and the early church (Deut. 18:10; Isa.
  47:9, 12; Nah. 3:4; Mal. 3:5; Acts 8:9–13; 13:6–11;
  19:13–20; Gal. 5:20;), this text uses “Sorcery" as a
  figure of speech (though some see a literal “drug”
  interpretation) for the demonic deception of the
  nations by Babylon.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Elsewhere in Revelation they were deceived
  speaks of Jezebel’s “Teaching" and
  “Seducing" believers into immorality and
  idolatry (2:20) and the false trinity’s
  “Deceiving" the nations (12:9; 13:14; 19:20;
  20:3, 8, 10) into worshiping the beast.
• Thus, idolatry and immorality are clearly
  connoted in the concept (in 21:8 and 22:15 it
  is connected with both vices).

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• This makes sense, because Scripture
  frequently links idolatry with demonic
  influence (Deut. 32:16–17; Ps. 106:35–37; 1
  Cor. 10:20), and idolatry often included
  immorality as part of the pagan rites (e.g.,
  sacred, or cultic, prostitution).
• Finally, Babylon/Rome/the empire of the
  beast stands condemned by God because
  she murdered the saints.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• This last reason is given special emphasis because
  the ὅτι is not repeated (as in the first two reasons)
  and because the tone shifts from the second-
  person style of 18:22–23 back to the third-person
  style of 18:1–20.
• Thus, this becomes not only the third reason but a
  separate indictment on its own, summarizing the
  emphasis on Babylon’s martyrdom of the saints
  (6:9–11; 7:14; 11:7; 13:7, 15; 14:13; 16:6; 17:6;

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Yet there are two groups here. There are “The
  prophets and saints," probably an adaptation of the
  list in 18:20, “Saints, apostles, and prophets," and
  reversing the order of 16:6, “Shed the blood of your
  saints and prophets."
• There is a close connection between 18:20 and
  18:24. The “Prophets and saints" rejoice (v. 20)
  because God is vindicating them against those who
  shed their “Blood" (v. 24).

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             Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Then there are also "All who have been killed on
  the earth," most likely meaning not just the saints
  but all, believer and unbeliever alike, who have
  died at the hands of the evil empire.
• Jer. 51:49, "Babylon must fall because of Israel’s
  slain, just as the slain in all the earth have fallen
  because of Babylon."
• This is similar to Rev. 11:18, where the elders
  praise God that the time has come “To destroy
  those who destroy the earth.”

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             Revelation 19 - Rejoicing
• Rev 19
• In 18:20 the heavens and the saints are told to
  rejoice at God’s judgment of Babylon the Great.
• That call to celebration is now expanded into a
  series of “Hallelujah" choruses sung by the
  heavenly multitude (19:1–3) and the elders and
  living creatures (19:4), and finally by an invitation to
  those “Servants" on earth to participate in the joy
  and praise of God.
• Only here in the NT does the word Ἁλληλουϊά
  (Hallēlouia, Hallelujah = praise Yahweh) occur, and
  it governs 19:1–8.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• There could be no greater contrast than the
  mournful laments of the three groups most
  affected by Babylon’s demise (18:9–19) and
  the great joy of these who were most hurt by
  the murderous policies of the evil empire
  (18:20; 19:1–5).
• The interconnecting series of hymns reminds
  one of chapters 4–5 and the great praises to
  God and the Lamb there (see also 7:10–12;
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• 1After this I heard as it were a loud voice of a
  great multitude in heaven saying, “Hallelujah!
  Salvation, glory, and power belong to our
  God, for his judgments are true and just, 2for
  he has judged the great prostitute who
  corrupted the earth by her immorality, and he
  has avenged the blood of his slaves shed by
  her hand." 3Then they said a second time, 滴
  allelujah! The smoke of her torment is going
  to ascend forever and ever."

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Praise for God’s Just Judgment (19:1–2)
• “After this" (namely the destruction of
  Babylon in chaps. 17–18), John has another
  auditory vision and “Hears" a “Loud voice,"
  namely, the praise of the heavenly multitude.
• The only other occurrence of the great
  multitude is in 7:9, where the group stands
  before the throne and praises God for his
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• The reason (ὅτι, hoti, because, for) for this
  celebration is a virtual quotation of 16:7, “His
  judgments are true and just" (the order is reversed
  in 15:3, “Just and true are your ways").
• God’s justice is “True" because it is based on his
  own covenant faithfulness and “Just" because it is
  based on his holy character.
• In other words, his judgments are both morally true
  and legally just (see on 15:3; 16:7). Babylon is
  being destroyed because her evil deeds demand
  such an extreme punishment.
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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• The legal basis of the judgment is that she
  corrupted the earth by her immorality.
• Babylon has not only “Corrupted" the earth
  but “Destroyed" it, as seen in the persecution
  mentioned in the next line.

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• The corrupting presence of the evil empire is
  stressed in 14:8 ("Made all the nations drink of the
  wine that leads to passion for her immorality"); 17:2
  (“The inhabitants of the earth were drunk with the
  wine of adultery with her"; cf. 17:4); 18:3 (“All the
  nations have fallen because of the wine that leads
  to passion for immorality"); and 18:9 (“The kings of
  the earth who committed adultery and lived in
  sensuous luxury with her").

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• In each of these, we see how the great prostitute
  has seduced the nations by utilizing Satan’s great
  weapon, “Deception" (12:9; 20:3, 8, 10). Now she
  must pay the price for her evil folly.
• The final reason is God’s response to the
  imprecatory prayers of the saints for “Vengeance"
  (ἐκδικεῖς ekdikeis) in 6:10.
• Now we see that the destruction of the great
  prostitute is another answer to those prayers, as
  God has avenged the blood of his slaves [see
  11:18 on this term] shed by her hand).2

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            Revelation 18 - Babylon
• Since God’s slaves were martyred “By the hand of"
  persecution, the perpetrators will shed their own
  blood in return.
• The OT states that God “Will avenge the blood of
  his servants" (Deut. 32:43; 2 Kings 9:7; cf. Ps.
  79:10; 94:1), and this is an extension of that
  covenant promise [to Israel].
• [The Great City of Economic, “Religious”, Drug,
  Commerce, Luxury and Murder has now been
  destroyed by God’s Justice.]

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