And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.…
This, in symbolic form, is the real subject of this chapter. Wickedness shall be utterly and forever destroyed.
I. A GLORIOUS ANGEL PROCLAIMS THIS. (Cf. ver. 1 as to this angel.) Then such overthrow must be:
Had it been possible for men to affect this, it would have been done long since.
II. GOD'S PEOPLE RECEIVE COMMAND.
1. To separate themselves from sin. From which we learn:
(1) That God's people may have to dwell in the midst of sin.
(2) That though where wickedness is, they are not to be partakers of it.
(3) That they shall one day be effectually separated from it.
2. To avenge themselves upon it. Resentment and wrath are passions given us by God. Our peril and propensity is lest we turn them in a wrong direction. We do so when we use them for private revenge. This is what our Lord forbids. But against the forces of sin they may, they should, be used. This the command here.
III. THE FRIENDS OF WICKEDNESS LAMENT.
1. Wickedness has friends. Those who find delight in it, who "live deliciously" in it (ver. 9). Those who make profit out of it. The merchants, etc. (ver. 11). And:
2. Their lament is loud and long. They weep, mourn, wail; say, "Alas, alas!" cast dust on their heads, etc. (vers. 11, 15, 16, 19).
3. But the lament is utterly selfish. They mourn not because of the wickedness; that does not trouble them. Nor even for Babylon's sufferings. But because the hope of their gain is gone (ver. 19).
4. And they do not go to her help (ver. 15). They stand afar off for the fear of her torment. Look well at these friends, for such are they that sin and sinners call friends. "There is a Friend that sticketh closer than a brother," but such Babylon never gets.
IV. ALL HEAVEN, ANGELS AND SAINTS, REJOICE. When we read over the subject of their joy, we find that:
1. It is not because in this Babylon there was noticing innocent or good. There was much. Vers. 22, 23 tell of what was lawful and right in any community. In the worst of men there is good. None are utterly bad. But:
2. That the main characteristic of her life was evil. And, therefore, her destruction was a matter of joy. She deceived all nations. She slew God's saints. Thus:
3. Justice was done. And:
4. It was completely done. See the symbol of the angel with the millstone (ver. 21). Nothing like this has ever been accomplished yet, but this prophecy is a sure promise that it will be. "Who shall live when the Lord doeth this?" Amongst whom shall we be found? Let us now "come out of her, that we be not," etc. (ver. 4). - S.C.
Parallel VersesKJV: And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.