THE DEMISE OF BABYLON
REVELATION CHAPTERS 17-18
I. The centrality of Babylon in the history of Israel.
Thinking back through the Old Testament, what were the key events in the history of israel?
A. Key events in the history of Old Testament Israel.
1. Call of Abraham.
2. Exodus from Egypt.
3. Entrance into Canaan.
4. David the King.
5. Babylon, Captivity, Restoration.
6. The Messiah and Herod's Temple.
7. The Temple destroyed, AD 70.
B. Babylon the oppressor of God's people Israel.
1. Babylon was the enemy and oppressor of Israel and Judah.
2. The oppression and captivity was the result of their sin and rebellion against God.
C. Babylon in the New Testament.
1. Matthew 1:17. Matthew recognizes the Babylonian conquest of Jerusalem as a key event.
2. In Revelation, God uses the name Babylon as a symbol for the ruling authority that oppresses the people of God. In this case, however, the people of God are oppressed even though they are faithful to Him.
II. Babylon in the book of Revelation.
A. Revelation 14:8. The fall of Babylon is announced along with the Judgement of God upon the followers of the beast in a passage that is clearly describing the return of Jesus.
B. Revelation 16:19. Again, God's wrath upon Babylon is announced in conjunction with the return of Jesus and the day of judgement.
C. Revelation 17:3-6. Mystery Babylon is introduced.
1. Mother of prostitutes.
2. Mother of the abominations of the earth.
3. She kills the saints, God's people.
D. Revelation 17:7-9,18. The mystery of Babylon is explained.
1. It is very important that we put ourselves in the place of those to whom the book was originally written, the Christians in the seven churches living in about 90 AD. There is no question in my mind that they would recognize Babylon as Rome.
2. "The seven heads are seven hills upon which the woman sits" (v.9). This is an unmistakable reference to Rome.
3. "The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth." (v.18). Another reference to Rome.
4. Rome represents the Roman Empire, which was the great oppressor and enemy of the Church at the end of the first century, just as the Babylonian empire oppressed Israel in the Old Testament.
5. Rome also represents all of the evil governments and empires that have oppressed the church throughout this age.
6. Rome may also represent the final evil world system that will be in power when Jesus returns.
III. The details of Babylon's evil and her fall. Jesus through John now gives us details about what Babylon is and why she falls.
A. An Angel with great authority cries out: "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!"
1. A home for demons.
2. A haunt for every unclean spirit.
3. A haunt (or cage) for every unclean, detestable bird.
4. The nations have drunk the maddening wine of her immorality.
5. The kings of the earth have committed adultery with her - spiritually speaking, worshiping Babylon instead of God.
6. The merchants of the earth have become rich by the power of her luxury. This phrase reminds me of the United States. The merchants of the earth are getting rich as they cash in on the economic power of the American consumer economy. Notice that it is the merchants who become wealthy, not their workers!
B. Another voice: "Come out of her, My people"
We are living in the world, but we are not to participate in its sins and rebellion.
1. This means do not be a part of the evil, don't participate.
2. Payback time v.5-7.
C. Those who are under her spell.
1. The kings of the earth.
Committed adultery with her and shared her luxury: Worshiped luxury instead of God.
Terrified at her torment.
City of power.
2. The merchants of the earth.
Gold, silver. Precious stones - The mineral kingdom.
Plant and animal kingdoms:
Materials to make luxurious containers and Idols.
Spices, herbs, perfumes, etc.
The best food and drink.
Bodies and souls of men: slavery - The human kingdom.
These are all the things of luxury.
3. The Captains, passengers (businessmen), sailors, and all others who made their living by the sea. All who had ships on the sea became rich because of Babylon and her luxury. Their only concern was their wealth.
D. The suddenness and quickness of her demise.
1. "In one day her plagues will come" (v.8).
2. "In one hour your judgement has come" (v.10).
3. "In one hour such great wealth has been laid waste" (v.17).
4. "In one hour she has been laid waste" (v.19).
THE TWO RESPONSES:
E. The response of those who reject God and follow Babylon.
1. Lamenting, weeping, mourning.
F. The response of heaven and those who are faithful to God.
1. Rejoice over her, because God has pronounced judgement.
2. Who rejoices? Heaven, saints, apostles, prophets.
THE FINALITY OF THIS JUDGEMENT:
G. The millstone thrown into the sea: Absolute, permanent destruction, out of the sight of God and his people.
1. Thrown: not just dropped.
2. Into the depths of the sea.
3. Never again. This phrase is used 6 times in verses 21-23.
The city itself is gone permanently.
Music - Never again!
Trades and workmen - Never again!
Millstone (processing of food) - Never again!
Light - Never again! (Absence of God).
Compare 16:10-11, the fifth bowl: darkness on the kingdom of the beast.
Bridegroom and bride (symbolic of love) - Never again.
H. "In her was found the blood of prophets and of the saints, and of all who have been killed on the earth." Rev 18:24 (NIV)
1. Babylon was responsible for the persecution of God's people.
2. Their blood is on her hands. She is responsible.
I. Close: 19:1-2.