Revelation 18:1
After this I saw another angel descending from heaven with great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his glory.
Sermons
BabylonR. Green.Revelation 18:1-8
National RuinT. De Witt Talmage.Revelation 18:1-8
The Degenerate ChurchW. Milligan, D D.Revelation 18:1-8
The Fall of Corrupt SocietyD. Thomas, D. D.Revelation 18:1-8
The Fall of Corrupt SocietyD. Thomas Revelation 18:1-8
The Habitation of DemonsWm. M'Kay.Revelation 18:1-8
The Influence of the Apostate BabylonG. S. Rowe.Revelation 18:1-8
The Overthrow of WickednessS. Conway, B. A.Revelation 18:1-8
The Rule of RetributionHomilistRevelation 18:1-8
The Overthrow of WickednessS. Conway Revelation 18:1-24


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:

1. Righteous.

2. Blessed.

3. Divine.

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.







Babylon the great is fallen.
I. A GLORIOUS ANGEL PROCLAIMS THIS (cf. ver. 1 as to this angel). Then such overthrow must be —

1. Righteous.

2. Blessed.

3. Divine. Had it been possible for men to effect 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.

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.

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 nothing 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 "some out of her, that we be not," etc. (ver. 4).

(S. Conway, B. A.)

I. THE DESCRIPTION OF BABYLON.

1. Its corrupt character. As before the prophets were "false" and the spirits were "unclean," and stood opposed to God; so now harlotry, fornication, drunkenness, blasphemy, abominations, luxury, persecuting, violence, sorcery, submission to the beast, warring against the Lamb, are the terms employed to describe or indicate the excessive foulness and corruption of the faithless city. This is "the woman" having in her hand "a golden cup full of abominations, even the unclean things of her fornication." This the "Babylon the great," which is become "a habitation of devils, a hold of every unclean spirit and a hold of every unclean and hateful bird."

2. Virulent antagonism to the good, even to the loftiest ideals of goodness. "War against the Lamb"; "blasphemed the God of heaven"; "gather together unto the war of the great day of God"; "poured out the blood of saints and prophets"; in such terms is the antipathy to all righteousness declared.

3. Occasion of all evil, seen in the corruption of life, the deceitfulness of iniquity, the loss of the blessings of righteousness, degradation in sin, to which the "peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues" are reduced "where the harlot sitteth"; and the judgments and consequent sufferings in which they are involved.

4. The widespread, universal character of the desolation caused. In every aspect this vision is "great and marvellous." It is "Babylon the great." The harlot "sitteth upon many waters," which waters are "peoples and multitudes, and nations and tongues." "And the woman is the great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth"; "by the wine of the wrath of her fornication all the nations are fallen." "What city is like the great city," with whose "sorcery were all nations deceived"? "In her was found the blood of all that have been slain upon the earth." This is the universal kingdom of evil, whose "sins reached unto heaven." This great kingdom shall come to an end. Such is the ever-recurring promise of this book.

II. ITS DESTRUCTION IS COMPLETE. The "harlot" is made "desolate and naked"; hated by all over whom she sat as a queen; they shall "eat her flesh, and burn her utterly with fire." "Woe, woe!" is pronounced against the great city, Babylon; "for in one hour is thy judgment come." "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great." "In one day shall her plagues come, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire; for strong is the Lord God which judgeth her." "The Lamb shall overcome," and thus shall they also overcome that are with Him. "And a strong angel took up a stone as it were a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with a mighty fall shall Babylon, the great city, be east down, and shall be found no more at all." Then shall the kings of the earth that committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth who were made rich by her, and every shipmaster and mariner, and all that were made rich by her, weep and mourn and lament; while to heaven a sweet song of joy and thankfulness shall rise from them who with the Lamb have overcome — who are called, and chosen, and faithful.

(R. Green.)

The fall of corrupt society is —

I. DIVINELY PROCLAIMED. As there is a law of disintegration in the material universe, that so separates the hugest mountains that they ultimately disappear, so there is in the moral a law of retribution, which will ultimately break into pieces the world of corrupt society.

II. MANIFESTLY DESERVED. As in the ruins of old cities, the cormorant, the screech-owl, the vulture, and other hideous creatures are found, so in this moral Babylon are found the most horrible and detestable of all existences. The utter extermination, or rather extinction, of such objects is urgently required.

III. A REASON FOR QUITTING IT.

1. The possibility of good men living in this moral Babylon. The depravities of our contemporaries and neighbours are no justification for our defects.

2. Good men, unless they quit this corrupt society, will be involved in its guilt and fate.

IV. A DEVELOPMENT OF RETRIBUTION. The ruin comes, not as a casual event, nor as a positive infliction, but as the result of the eternal law of retribution: a law silent in its operation, resistless in its force, and inevitable in its issues (Galatians 6:7).

V. AN OVERWHELMING CATASTROPHE. When full judgment comes upon a corrupt community the horrors involved not only transcend description, but even imagination. What is lost? Friendship gives way to fiendish battlings; peace gives way to furious storms; hope gives way to black despair and terrible apprehensions: liberty gives way to a crushing thraldom, to which every faculty of the soul is bound in chains of darkness. All the lights of the soul are quenched, and the whole heavens are mantled in a starless midnight.

(D. Thomas, D. D.)

The habitation of devils.
I. EVERY BABEL-LIKE CITY OR SYSTEM, IS DOOMED TO DESTRUCTION, AND WILL FALL INTO AN ABYSS OF FEARFUL DEGRADATION. This is the lesson of all history from the beginning of the world. We see it in the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah, of the Assyrian and Babylonian kingdoms, and of the Greek and Roman Empires. Wherever we find a nation that is supremely devoted to the things of sense, we have Babel-like adolaters, who are destined to a certain fall and degradation. Such is the appointed end of every political or religious system that ignores God and His truth, and seek after material power and prosperity as the chief objects of life. Let a nation lose her faith in God — let her drive truth, virtue, love, and righteousness from her heart and life, and what will she become? Can she become anything else than a habitation of devils? Can she become anything else but the seat and prey of demon-like passions?

II. OBSERVE HOW DIABOLICAL THE PASSIONS OF MEN MAY BECOME. "The most terrible physical calamity that can be imagined," says one, "has no terror to compare with that of fiends let loose from hell and taking possession of human hearts and hands. A ship sinking in a tempest with its hundreds of helpless passengers; a Lisbon overwhelmed by sudden earthquake; a Pompeii buried alive beneath the lava and ashes of Vesuvius are very terrible to hear of, and to think of, but they are nothing to what Paris has lately seen. Her streets have been flooded with the worst passions of which human nature, satanically inspired, is capable. Men, women, and even children, born in the same streets, neighbours all their life long, who have traded and danced and sung together, pursuing each other to death with the ferocity of tigers, and inflicting all manner of dishonour and indignity on the mangled remains of the dead — and all this in the most polished and beautiful city in the world — what can it all mean, except it be an eruption of demons from the bottomless pit?"

III. WE SEE WHAT SOCIETY HAS TO EXPECT FROM THE APOSTLES OF INFIDELITY AND ATHEISM. When men have destroyed the idea of a God in their own minds, is it not natural to think that they will enter on a career of destruction in reference to other and smaller things? If they hesitate not to destroy the idea of a God — the fountain of right and wrong — will they shrink from destroying human life or property? If the idea of a God be not a sacred idea to such persons, do you think that the idea of the value of human life or property will be a sacred idea to them? No. Society has everything to lose and nothing to gain from such apostles of atheism and infidelity. Not from them, but from other and higher sources, would we look for the salvation of men.

IV. ALL MEN ARE IN DANGER OF FALLING INTO A BABEL-LIKE SPIRIT AND LIFE. For all are only too prone to put faith in the things of sense, and to forget the things that are unseen and eternal. The Babylonian spirit is not dead. Every man to some extent is a little Babel. We have faith in the powers of nature. We have faith in the sun, in the moon, in the star, in the coal, and in the seed that we cast into the ground. Do we believe also in God? Have we a real and lasting faith in Him? Have we such a faith in love, truth, virtue, and righteousness, as in the things that we see with the eye of our body and touch with our hands?

(Wm. M'Kay.)

Come out of her
When the great apostate power named Babylon comes, as hero sot forth, to utter destruction, it is seen how wide and how deep its malign influence had been. The whole fabric of the world's commerce is shattered by its fall; for all human industries and traffic and all the markets of the world had come to be diverted from the service of God, and directed and controlled by the corrupt principles and unhallowed delights of the vast apostasy. Even though the identity of this mystic Babylon be left unfixed, the warning reaches us with no lack of distinctness and urgency. We need not wait until we can precisely define and allocate the form and system of wrong which is here denounced before we determine to hold ourselves clear of all wrong, by doing that only which is right, by acknowledging and serving God alone in all particulars and interests of our daily fife, at home and in the world.

(G. S. Rowe.)

In the cup which she hath filled fill to her double
Homilist.
I. This rule COMMENDS ITSELF TO OUR SENSE OF JUSTICE. That those of the wicked who in this world live in affluence, and have more than heart can wish, possess abundant opportunities for intellectual and moral improvement, and means of doing good, should in future retribution fare alike with those who have none of these blessings or advantages, would be an outrage on our sense of right. Justice requires a balancing of human affairs, a kind of compensation for existing discrepancies, and this mankind will have in the great retributive future.

II. This rule ANSWERS TO BIBLICAL TEACHING. Throughout the whole Scripture record it is taught that sinners, after they have passed through their probationary period, will be dealt with according to the mercies they have abused, the opportunities they have neglected, and the advantages they have wasted. "He that knoweth his Master's will and doeth it not," etc. "It will be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah," etc. "Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime didst receive," etc.

III. This rule AGREES WITH UNIVERSAL EXPERIENCE. Conscious contrast between a propitious past and a distressing present is and must ever be an element in mental suffering.

(Homilist.)

She hath glorified herself
Called to prepare men for the second coming of the Lord, and to teach them to live, not for the present, but the future, she becomes herself the victim of the present. She forgets that, in the absence of the Bridegroom, her days are days of fasting. She fails to realise the fact that until her Lord comes again her state is one of widowhood. And, instead of mourning, she. sits as a queen, at ease and satisfied, proud of her pomp and jewellery.

(W. Milligan, D D.)

Therefore shall her plagues come
Our scientific friends find yellow bricks still impressed with the name of Nebuchadnezzar, and they go back to the sarcophagus of a monarchy buried more than two thousand years ago. But is it possible that that is all that remains of Babylon? a city once five times larger than London and twelve times larger than New York? Wall three hundred and seventy-three feet high and ninety-three feet thick. Twenty-five burnished gates on each side, with streets running clear through to corresponding gates on the other side. Six hundred and twenty-five squares. More pomp and wealth and splendour and sins than could be found in any five modern cities combined. A city of palaces and temples. Great capital of the ages! But one night, while honest citizens were asleep, but all the saloons of saturnalia were in full blast, and at the king's castle they had filled the tankards for the tenth time, and reeling and guffawing and hiccoughing around the state table were the rulers of the land. General Cyrus ordered his besieging army to take shovels and spades, and they diverted the river from its usual channel into another direction, so that the forsaken bed of the river became the path on which the besieging party entered. When the morning dawned the conquerors were inside the city walls. Babylon had fallen. But do nations die? Oh, yes, there is great mortality among monarchies and republics. They are like individuals in the fact that they are born, they have a middle life, they have a decease, they have a cradle and a grave. Some of them are assassinated, some destroyed by their own hand.

1. One evil threatening the destruction of American institutions is the solidifying of the sections against each other. This country cannot exist unless it exists as one body — the national capital, the heart, sending out through all the arteries of communication warmth and life to the very extremities.

2. Another evil threatening the destruction of our American institutions is the low state of public morals. What killed Babylon of my text? What killed Phoenicia? What killed Rome? Their own depravity; and the fraud and the drunkenness, and the immorality which have destroyed other nations will destroy ours, unless a merciful God prevent.

(T. De Witt Talmage.)

Links
Revelation 18:1 NIV
Revelation 18:1 NLT
Revelation 18:1 ESV
Revelation 18:1 NASB
Revelation 18:1 KJV

Revelation 18:1 Bible Apps
Revelation 18:1 Parallel
Revelation 18:1 Biblia Paralela
Revelation 18:1 Chinese Bible
Revelation 18:1 French Bible
Revelation 18:1 German Bible

Revelation 18:1 Commentaries

Bible Hub
Revelation 17:18
Top of Page
Top of Page