THE DESTRUCTION OF BABYLON
The destruction of Babylon the city that is mentioned at 17 and 18 as well as 16 refers to the same city.
Therefore, the final destruction of the city, several(?) days prior to Armageddon must be seen as different from the destruction described in chapter 17.
The language at 17:16 seems to be a SUMMARY of the destruction of the harlot entity at the midpoint of the 70th week. This would be the ecumenical religious system that helped the world ruler confirm the Covenant Experiment – the Middle East Peace and Tolerance Accord.
The destruction of this Ecumenical Babylonian system will be based on the attitude of hatred – total disdain and rejection.
At the beginning of the 70th week, the benevolent world ruler will use the Ecumenical Babylonian religious system to further his laudable intentions of establishing peace in the Middle East in the midst of unresolved warfare and terrorism.
It seems that the entire world will embrace this Covenant Experiment including many weak and uninformed Christians.
Informed Christians will recognize the covenant for what it is and begin preparing for the end times events that are described in the Bible.
But at the midpoint of the week, after being transformed by Satan into “the beast,” that ruler will express an intense hatred toward that Ecumenical Babylonian system. He will then need to remove it in order to make room for his own system of Babylonian evil - beast worship. And of course, the 10 nations will agree and follow him.
The vision then uses four words to describe this removal of the ecumenical Babylonian harlot.
Two words describe the destruction of Babylon’s function and influence.
(1)Desolate: loss of
And two words describe the PHYSICAL neutralization of ecumenical Babylon.
(1) Eat her flesh: this is certainly something physical, and probably refers to killing religious leaders and followers who will not accede to his demands at this time.
(2) Burn her with
fire: this also certainly speaks of some kind of physical ruin.
SIGNIFICANT in or about the city must undergo some kind of physical ruin. I
believe that this refers to the destruction of the Vatican – the seat and
power of Romanism.
At this point the
beast probably takes control of the city in order to use it as a base to
advance his economic control over the world and enforce beast worship on the
Walvoord writes, “The wealth originally collected through the influence of the apostate church is taken over by the political system in the great tribulation which with universal political power is able to exploit to the full its accumulation of wealth.” (commentary p260)
It is important to note that the beast absorbs the “Babylonian evil” nature of the harlot and inherits the judgment that is destined for that system, as well as the judgment that the beast system itself deserves. So the following pronouncement of judgment on Babylon is directed now to the beast system of worship.
And the term “Babylon
the great” now refers to the beast and his religious system, which will begin
at the midpoint of the week after the abomination of desolation, is placed in
There are THREE entities mentioned here. the great city (Jerusalem) the cities of the nations (the other cities of the world) Babylon the great (and specifically, the one DOMINANT city of the world). Some do not address the THREE entities, but mentions only two.
The NET sadly translates “So Babylon the great . . .” and is explained in the note# 63. "Here (kai) has been translated as so to indicate the implied result of Babylon's misdeeds (see Rev. 14:8)."
They have implied something and translated a simple connective (kai) based on that ASSUMPTION. This is not good translating, and in so doing they distort the meaning.
2. Many cities are called great, and many cities can be called “the great city.” The great city of New York; the great city of London; the great city of Rome. Even in the book of the Revelation, this designation does not require us to equate the two cities that are so described.
3. Babylon the great is DESTROYED. Jerusalem is NOT destroyed. Rev. 18:21, Babylon will be thrown down with violence and not be found any longer.
It is quite the opposite with Jerusalem. Zech. 12:8-9, Jerusalem is protected. Zech 14:2, “and half the city will be taken, but the rest of the people will not be cut off from the city.
4. THE MYSTERY. SOME of the characteristics that advocates of this theory mention can be seen in the history of Jerusalem to a DEGREE only. But there is only one city that can fit those descriptions FULLY and completely, and that is Rome. The fact that Jerusalem has done some of the things mentioned is NOT A MYSTERY.
What is the mystery? The mystery is HOW Babylonian evil will manifest itself in the years subsequent to the first century. The mystery is how ROME became the TRUE HARLOT of Christianity by adulterating all of the truths of the bible. Not only that, the advocates of this theory do not have an adequate answer for the DETAILED descriptions of Babylon that simply cannot apply to Jerusalem.
(1) Rev. 18:3
This is a proclamation that recognizes a more FINAL destruction of the religious system with specific focus on the city - "fallen, fallen."
There is a more final destruction of the city that will occur after the physical descent of Jesus to the earth. But that destruction will happen from the huge earthquake caused by Christ’s standing on the Mount of Olives, and not at the hands of the beast. This judgment is introduced by the 7th bowl, which is poured out toward the end of the 30 day extension after the sounding of the 7th trumpet (Dan. 12:11). “And Babylon the great was remembered before God to give her the wine of the passionate wrath of His anger.” Revelation 16:18-19.
After this pronouncement from the 7th bowl, John is shown the details of that judgment in chapters 17-18. However, the visions in these chapters actually give a synopsis of Babylon’s “religious” history before, throughout, and after the 70th week, culminating in the total destruction of the city through the earthquake at Christ’s descent to the Mount of Olives.
This gives a general warning for "my people" to get out of the city and out of the system. It is given upon the occasion of the beast taking the mantle of Babylonian evil at the beginning of his oppressive reign, but covers the period from that inception to just before the city is totally destroyed when Jesus stands on the Mount of Olives.
So the focus is on the beast’s Babylonian system in whatever area it has extended.
I believe that this
warning has specific reference to the unbelieving Jews who are in the
Babylonian system because of the Covenant Experiment. It basically warns to
get out of the system and out of the city. This will be heeded by -
The warning is not given to Christians.
Christians are certainly warned to flee from the beast, but that is to avoid death at the hands of the beast as per Revelation 13:15.
It is NOT warning to escape the judgment and plagues that are destined to fall upon the Babylonian system and upon Rome. Those judgments are destined for those who worship the beast and take the mark. God will not allow Christians to take the mark. If any Christian “attempts” to take the mark, God will apply ultimate divine discipline and remove that believer from this life.
The Jews, even in unbelief, are still God’s chosen people, “my people.” And He has special care and plans for them.
The “woman” at Revelation 12:6, 13-16, is given special protection by God to escape the persecution from the beast for 42 months, but they are still in unbelief. That is, they have not as yet accepted Jesus as their savior and Messiah. They flee because of the persecution from the beast.
If they were believers at this time, we would not see them as a separate group from the Christians mentioned in verse 17, “the rest of her offspring who keep the commandments of God and hold to the testimony of Jesus.”
Furthermore, if they were believers, they would not need to be protected for the 42 months, but would be raptured at the arrival of Jesus in the clouds of the sky several months before the end of the 42 months.
However, most if not all of these, will accept Jesus as their Messiah/savior after His arrival in the clouds of the sky which is portrayed at the 6th seal of Revelation 6, and AFTER the 144,000 bond servants are saved.
Some think that it is these who are in the wilderness who make up the number of the 144,000 who are saved after the 6th seal. But the 144,000 are “bond servants” and thus, have a specific service function to perform, which would not be done if they are isolated in the protected wilderness where they are taken. The “bond servant” function refers to evangelism. These will be the first-fruit converts after the rapture and will have the primary function of proclaiming the gospel throughout the world. This is indicated at Revelation 14:6-7 where we are shown the angel who has the everlasting gospel to proclaim to the earth-dwellers. I don’t believe it is the “angel” who does the proclaiming, but the 144,000 bond servants who are the “first fruits” to be purchased (saved) after the rapture.
So, the warning is
basically to disassociate from the Babylonian system that they are involved
in, so as to not share in her judgment.
The ecumenical “Babylonian” system will probably be formed prior to the establishment of The Covenant Experiment that starts the 70th week of Daniel.
The Jewish community as a whole will have embraced the covenant and basically accepted the terms that the ecumenical system had established. They will thus be associated with the Babylonian system both in Jerusalem and in Rome, as well as many other cities.
If they fail to heed the warning and instead accept beast worship and take the mark of the beast, they will become recipients of the judgments and plagues that are destined to be meted out against the Babylonian system as a whole, and the city of Rome specifically.
So the need to separate from that system will be from the time of its inception at the midpoint of the week to the time just before the city’s final destruction.
Any Jew who is in the Roman system at the onset of the beast’s reign is warned to get out of the system and out of the city. If anyone is part of the system and/or in the city, they will partake of the judgments.
However, even though disassociation from the SYSTEM is inherently part of the warning, the primary focus is really on the city of “Babylon” (Rome) itself. They need to get out of that city in order to avoid being killed through the destruction of the city.
It is a literal city
that is the focus in Revelation 18:10 and context.
Since the warning includes the entire Babylonian system it will have application everywhere the beast’s control has reached, and especially in Judea and Jerusalem since that is the homeland of the Jews and where the abomination of desolation is located.
The announcement of the warning is shown to John in the vision. But in actuality, it is probably included in the evangelistic message of the church before Christ’s arrival in the clouds of the sky (Isaiah 52:6-7).
Likewise it would be
included in the message of the 144 thousand Jewish bond servants (evangelists)
who will minister after the arrival of Jesus (Isaiah 52:8-9).
“Fear God and give Him glory, and worship Him who made the heavens and earth and sea and springs of water, because the hour of His judgment has come.” And that message intrinsically includes rejecting one’s current belief system in order to accept Christ.
However, even though they will not trust in Christ at this time, there is special protection offered to any Jew who resists beast worship and follows God’s guidance to the wilderness sanctuary. Those who heed the warning are specifically viewed at Revelation 12:13-16 as the woman (Jewish people) who flees into the wilderness and is given protection by God (Isaiah 52:11-12). This is probably the wilderness area East and South of Jerusalem, which are parts of Edom, Moab and Ammon as these areas are stated to be “off limits” to the King of the West, and probably the other armies as well. Daniel 11:41.
But there will be
many of the Jews in Jerusalem who choose not to leave or are unable to leave.
These will be forced into beast worship or death, or are forced to go into
hiding to avoid the persecution. The resisters who successfully avoid taking
the mark of the beast are designated as “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” at
Zechariah 12, who come out of hiding at sometime after Christ's arrival in the
clouds of the sky. These may very well be included in the large group of
people who trust in Christ upon the death of the two witnesses. Rev. 11:13.
The voice from heaven continues with pronouncement of judgment.
"Pay her back double" is probably an expression of intensity.
This is portrayed at the 7th bowl judgment of Revelation 16:17-21.
It is after the armies have moved into Palestine, as portrayed in the 6th trumpet and the 6th bowl, when the huge earthquake occurs.
Because the trumpet
and earlier bowl judgments will have seriously impeded the beast’s ability to
provide the promised resources of operation 666, these armies will have
rebelled against the beast and started to move against him with their armies.
Many armies will
have invaded Palestine, to fight against the beast (Zech. 14:2). But it seems
that only the king of the North and allies will
capture it and oppress the beast-worshipping population (Ezek 38). This
will occur before Jesus physically descends to the earth as portrayed at
This is a visible return that will give hope to the refugees who have been protected in the wilderness. The men of Judah from among this group will rush back to Jerusalem in anticipation of the Messiah’s coming victory. Thus, we later find them, “the clans of Judah,” fighting to help the “inhabitants of Jerusalem” defeat the invaders. Zech. 12:5, 14.
He will first go to
as indicated at Isaiah 34:1-6; 63:1-6; Hab. 3:3-7).
This probably refers to the two types of judgment that Jesus will bring when He leaves Edom and arrives in Jerusalem. The context is still "God comes from Teman" as at verse 3.
BEFORE HIM: The use of the preposition, lepenay, indicates either physical presence (as, “in front of”) or a chronological factor.
In this case, in connection with AT HIS FEET (after Him), the idea presented to us is that the LORD will bring both pestilence and plague to the armies that have invaded Jerusalem.
The armies will not be intimidated by the physical descent of Jesus ONTO the earth as they will already have seen His initial arrival and experienced the many judgments from the trumpets and bowls. These armies will continue to advance into Palestine, as they are still under the deceptive influence from the demons of the 6th bowl (Rev. 16:12-16).
At Edom, He will destroy the Edomites who caused many Jews to be turned over to the beast (Ezek. 35:5). He will then severely judge the entire region of Edom (Isaiah 34:5-10; Ezek. 35:1-15).
The surviving Jews in this area will leave the area before it is decimated, in fact, probably when they see Jesus descend from the sky, and probably go to Judah to join “the clans of Judah” as they help “the inhabitants of Jerusalem” to fight off the invading armies.
After His victory at
the battle of Edom, Christ will go to Jerusalem and stand on the Mount of
Olives, causing a very great earthquake that will split the mountain down the
middle, divide the city into three parts and have a world-wide effect.
(1) The great city (Jerusalem) is split into three parts.
This is the SECOND physical damage directed against Jerusalem during the Day-of-the-Lord judgments. The first was the earthquake at Rev. 11:13 when a tenth of the city was ruined and 7,000 people were killed.
This one is also severe, and it will greatly weaken the armies that have
captured the city.
(2) The cities of
the nations fall.
Prior to this, some of those
nations not aligned with the king of the North will have suffered severe ruin
through the advance of the king of the north against them. Jeremiah 25:15-38.
Revelation 18:8 continues with four factors involved with the destruction of the beast’s headquarters in “the great city Babylon (verse 10).” That destruction will include “pestilence (death) and mourning and famine, and she shall be burned with fire.”
While the armies are still gathering and fighting in Palestine, the rest of the world’s leaders will stand at a distance from this destroyed city, weeping and mourning after the PHYSICAL destruction occurred.
“standing at a distance” simply communicates observation from afar. This will
be fulfilled through televised reporting of the destruction.
Revelation 18:11-19 portrays the reaction of the rest of the people, who mourn the loss of their access to material resources.
These are the people living in the homelands and not in the armies. The destruction of this city will of course be televised all over the world and elicit immediate response from the world’s population.
As seen earlier, there will be many earthquakes and the great hail storm (Rev. 16:20-21) occurring around the world, with the result that the people will continue to blame and blaspheme God.
Here we have the command for all the believers in heaven to rejoice at the fall of Babylon.
Here we have the proclamation that declares the total destruction and abandonment of this city. It will be desolate and empty for the duration of earth’s history. This finally fulfills the Old Testament prophecies at Isaiah 13:19-22 and Jeremiah 50:39-40.
The degree of judgment described here has not, to date,
been totally fulfilled.
The angels and believers in heaven fulfill the command to rejoice.
Recognition that the bride has been rewarded and prepared for the wedding feast, that will occur about 45 days after Christ completes His earthly warfare at Armageddon and begins His 1000 year earthly reign.
This vision backs up in the chronology and initiates the judgment shown to John at Revelation 14:17-20 and portrayed at the 7th bowl of Revelation 16:17-21.
Although it is more probable that this
new vision of 19:11-16 restates the initial arrival of Jesus; skips over
everything that happened after that; and continues in verse 17 with the
final confrontation at Armageddon.
physical descent of Jesus to the earth is not in view here, but the details
are found in the Old Testament.
©Ron Wallace, http://www.biblefragrances.com.
Anyone is free to reproduce this material and distribute it,