Revelation Bible Prophecy

Bible Prophecy really can be understood

Revelation 1:3
“Blessed is he who reads and
those who hear the words of this
prophecy, and keep those things
which are written in it for the
time is near.”
Revelation 1:1-3

“The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to show unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: 2 Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of all things that he saw. 3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

Revelation Chapter 18

Revelation 18:1And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

After these things - This refers to the sequence that chapters 17 and 18 were revealed to John but not necessarily the sequence of events recorded. John does not mean that the events of chapter 18 take place subsequently to all of those referred to in chapter 17. See notes on Revelation 4:1.

Another angel - Not the angel of chapter 17. This angel unites with the third angel of Revelation 14:9-11 in the proclamation of God's final message to the world, and his message is a repetition of the second angel of Revelation 14:8.

From heaven - The angel is represented as having come from the presence of God on a special mission and was descending to earth at the time John saw him.

Power - Greek exousia - Meaning “authority.” (see notes on Revelation 17:13) This angel comes from the throne room of the universe and is commissioned to proclaim God's last message of mercy and to warn the inhabitants of earth of the imminent fate awaiting “Babylon the great.”

Lightened - Or “illuminated.” Despite satanic efforts to shroud the earth in darkness, God now sets it ablaze with the glorious light of saving truth. (John 1:4-5, 9)

Glory - Greek doxa. (John 1:14; Romans 3:23) The “glory” may be thought of as representing the character of God, (cf. Exodus 33:18-19; 34:6-7) particularly as revealed in the plan of salvation.

Revelation 18:2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

Cried mightily - In order that all might hear. The message of chapter 18 is to be proclaimed during the time of the loud cry of the third angel and merits careful study.

Babylon the great - See notes on Revelation 14:8; 17:5.

Is fallen - See notes on Revelation 14:8. Her spiritual fall is now to be demonstrated and confirmed and she is now to be punished. Compare Isaiah 13:21-22; 21:9; Jeremiah 51:8.

Devils - Literally “demons.” (Mark 1:23) “Babylon the great” is now wholly demon possessed. (see notes on Revelation 17:5-6, 14. cf. Matthew 12:43-45) Perhaps in a special sense reference is here made to modern spiritism. (see notes on Revelation 13:13; Revelation 13:13-14)

Foul spirit - Literally “unclean spirit.” (Mark 1:23)

Unclean and hateful bird - Metaphor is graphically added to metaphor to intensify the description of Babylon's utter perversion and apostasy. In literary form, chapter 18 reflects the structure of ancient Hebrew poetry.

Revelation 18:3For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

All nations - See notes on Revelation 17:2.

Wine of the wrath - See notes on Revelation 14:8.

Kings of the earth - See notes on Revelation 16:14; 17:2, 10, 12.

Committed fornication - See notes on Revelation 17:2.

Merchants - Greek emporoi - Literally “ones on a journey,” and thus “travelers,” or “merchants.” The highly figurative language of chapter 18 leaves it uncertain whether these “merchants” are literal or figurative. If figurative, these “merchants” would represent those who advocate the teachings and policies of “Babylon the great,” (cf. Isaiah 47:11-15) the goods she has for display and sale to the people of the world to deceive them. (see notes on Revelation 18:11)

Abundance - Greek dunamis - Meaning “power.” Probably in the sense of “influence” here. Compare on Revelation 5:12.

Delicacies - Greek strenos - Meaning “wantonness,” “idle luxury.” (cf. verse 7)

Revelation 18:4And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues.

Another voice - As the Greek implies, another angelic voice.

Come out of her - Almost till the very close of time, some or perhaps many of God's people have not heard the call to come out of mystical Babylon. Compare God's call to His people in ancient times to flee from literal Babylon. (see Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 50:8; 51:6, 45) As God's people formerly came out of literal Babylon in order that they might return to Jerusalem, so His people today are called out of mystical Babylon in order that they may be accounted worthy to enter the New Jerusalem. All who are truly His people will hear His voice and heed His call. (Matthew 7:21-27; cf. John 10:4-5) This “voice” repeats the call of the second angel of Revelation 14:8. The immediate reasons for this imperative call are stated in the last part of the verse.

Partakers - This is the first of two reasons given for hastening out of mystical Babylon. Those who partake of the sins of Babylon obviously have a share of responsibility for them. (cf. Jeremiah 51:6)

Her sins - In a general sense all the sins she leads men to commit but more specifically, the sins delineated in Revelation 17:2-6. (see notes on verse 6) In chapter 18 Babylon is arraigned before the bar of divine justice on five counts:

(1) pride and arrogance.
(2) materialism and luxury.
(3) adultery.
(4) deception.
(5) persecution. (see verses 2-3, 5, 7, 23-24)

Her plagues - The punishment about to be meted out to her in compliance with the “judgment,” or “sentence” of Revelation 17:1. (see notes on Revelation 16:19; 17:1, 17) The nature of these “plagues” is set forth briefly in Revelation 16:19; 17:16; 18:8, 21. Most of chapter 18 consists of a graphic but highly figurative and indirect description of these “plagues.” Whereas the first five of the seven last plagues are poured out primarily upon those who collaborate with Babylon and the rulers and the inhabitants of earth, (Revelation 17:1-2, 8, 12) the punishment of Babylon, the united apostate religious organizations of earth takes place under the seventh plague. (see notes on Revelation 16:19; 17:1, 5, 16) The sixth plague prepares the way for that punishment.

Revelation 18:5For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

Her sins - See notes on Revelation 18:4; cf. Jeremiah 50:14.

Reached - Greek kollao - Meaning literally “to glue together,” “to fasten firmly together.” The sins of Babylon are depicted figuratively as a mountainous mass reaching upward. Compact and glued together.

Unto heaven - Speaking of Babylon it is said, “For her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.” (Jeremiah 51:9) The meaning is not that the sins of this mystical Babylon were like a literal pile so high as to reach to heaven, but that it had become so prominent as to attract the attention of God. As this figurative mountain pierces the sky, so the criminal career of “Babylon the great” (see notes on Revelation 17:6) arises before God calling for retribution. (Revelation 16:19; cf. Genesis 11:4-5; 18:20-21; Ezra 9:6; Jeremiah 51:9; Daniel 5:26-27; Jonah 1:2) Perhaps there is an allusion here to the tower of Babel. (Genesis 11:4)

Remembered - God's long suffering is about to end and His judgment upon mystical Babylon is about to be executed. (see notes on Revelation 16:19) As applied to God, the word “remembered” commonly denotes that He is on the point of rewarding men for a particular course of action whether good or evil. (see Genesis 8:1; Exodus 2:24; Psalms 105:42; etc)

Her iniquities - Her wicked acts and their consequences. Most particularly the specific crimes charged against her in chapters 17 and 18. (see notes on Revelation 17:6; 18:6-7)

Revelation 18:6Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she has filled fill to her double.

Reward her - Literally “give her to the limit.” The harlot, the apostate organization “Babylon the great” (see notes on Revelation 14:8; 17:5) is to be repaid in full for her evil deeds. In absolute justice, Heaven does not withhold any part of the payment due. The reward to be meted out to Babylon is described briefly in Revelation 17:16-17 and greater length in chapter 18. Compare Jeremiah 51:6.

As she rewarded you - Literally “according to her deeds.” Her reward will be paid in kind. The punishment will fit the crime and be appropriate. Compare Isaiah 47:3; Jeremiah 50:15, 29; 51:24.

Double unto her double - Literally “double to her the double.” Mete to her a double measure. (cf. Isaiah 40:2; Jeremiah 16:18; 17:18)

Her works - Her treatment of others is to be the norm or standard by which God will deal with her.

The cup - See notes on Revelation 14:10; 17:4.

Fill - Literally “mix.” In the same cup in which she had mixed an evil potion for others to drink, God will now mix a terrible mixture and compel her to drink it. (Revelation 14:8; 17:4; cf. Jeremiah 50:15, 29)

Revelation 18:7How much she has glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

How much - Measure for measure, the punishment will fit the crime. Her suffering and mourning will be in proportion to her former boasting and dissipation.

Glorified herself, and lived deliciously - The first part of verse 7 reads literally, “so many things have glorified her and made her wanton.” So many things have contributed to her pride and wantonness. Arrogant self confidence has made her confident of the ultimate success of her plot to obliterate God's remnant people and to reign supreme over the earth. She is proud of her wealth, popularity and power. Compare Isaiah 47:6-10; Ezekiel 28:2, 4-5, 16.

Torment - See notes on Revelation 17:16; 18:4.

Sorrow - Or “mourning,” that is, as a result of the “plagues” (verse 4) that “torture” her. Compare the lamentation of the “kings” and “merchants.” (verses 9, 11)

Saith in her heart - Or “is saying in her mind.” At the time the angel of verse 4 delivers his message of warning prior to the close of probation, and later during the sixth plague. (see notes on Revelation 17:1) Inordinate conceit has spawned utter confidence in her evil scheme to rule the world. The attempt to deceive others has resulted in absolute self deception. Not only has she made others “drunk,” she herself is in a state of intoxication. (see notes on Revelation 17:2, 6)

I sit a queen - Note the present tense. (see above on “saith in her heart”) The true church is represented in Scripture as a “chaste virgin,” (2 Corinthians 11:2) Christ's bride. (Ephesians 5:23-32; cf. Revelation 12:1; 19:7-8) The great harlot impersonates Christ's bride before the inhabitants of earth over whom she claims dominion in His name. But she is a counterfeit “queen.” (cf. Isaiah 47:6-10) She is a harlot who has never had a legal husband, yet is able to boast of her conquests. Do not the “kings” and “great men” of the earth wait upon her? (Revelation 18:9, 23) Are they not captive to her will and dedicated instruments of her nefarious schemes? (see notes on Revelation 17:2)

No widow - As a “widow” she would have no legal status or claim upon the allegiance of the people of earth. Compare Isaiah 47:8, 10.

Sorrow - What she least expects is certain to come upon her. (Isaiah 47:11)

Revelation 18:8Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

Therefore - Because of her haughty boasting, proud self exaltation, abandoned wantonness, unscrupulous lust for power and supremacy and daring opposition to the revealed will of God.

Her plagues - See notes on verse 4.

One day - Some take this to be prophetic time and hence one literal year. Others consider that the angel here either stresses the suddenness and unexpectedness of the “plagues” upon mystical Babylon, particularly in view of her false sense of security, (verse 7) or speaks of an indefinite period of time. In view of the fact that the same event is also said to take place in “one hour,” (verses 10, 17, 19) the second explanation appears preferable. (see notes on Revelation 17:12; cf. Jeremiah 50:29, 31) Furthermore, the Greek form of the words here translated “day” and “hour” (Revelation 18:10) suggest a point rather than a period of time, and thus appear to stress suddenness and unexpectedness rather than duration. Compare Isaiah 47:9, 11; 50:31; 51:8.

Death - The final result of “her plagues” is stated first. (see notes on verse 21)

Mourning - See notes on verse 7.

Famine - There is a literal famine under the fourth plague (Revelation 16:8-9) experienced by the adherents of Babylon. (cf. verses 1-2) However, the judgment of Babylon as an organization takes place under the seventh plague, (verses 18-19) and the famine here referred to is no doubt figurative as would naturally be the case with a figurative entity such as mystical Babylon, and in keeping with the highly poetic and figurative character of the entire chapter.

Utterly burned - Or “burned up.” The figurative woman Babylon would of course be “burned up” with figurative fire. (cf. Ephesians 6:16; 1 Peter 4:12; see notes on Revelation 17:16) Her fate is described by an altogether different figure in Revelation 18:21.

Fire - Compare Jeremiah 50:32; 51:24-25, 37.

Strong - Fully able to carry out His will upon Babylon. (cf. Revelation 17:17)

Judgeth her - Textual evidence attests the reading “has judged.” The judgment pronounced upon Babylon is so certain that the angel speaks of it as already accomplished. See notes on Revelation 16:19; 17:1, 17; 19:2. What befalls her is not an accident but a deliberate act of God.

Revelation 18:9And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,

Kings of the earth - See notes on Revelation 16:14, 16; 17:2, 12-14.

Committed fornication - See notes on Revelation Revelation 17:2.

Lived deliciously - See notes on verse 7.

Bewail her - Or “mourn for her,” “sob on account of her,” in loud unrestrained wailing. Anticipating their own impending fate, the hapless “kings” and “merchants” (verse 11) of earth join in a dirge of death for haughty Babylon, now in torment upon her blazing funeral pyre. The dramatic effect of verses 9-20, which describe the doom of the great harlot is heightened by their exotic oriental literary form, poetic diffuseness highlighted by graphic imagery. The appeal of chapter 18 is primarily emotional but that appeal is reinforced by incisive logic: For those who respond to God's call to flee from the wrath to come, (verse 4) there is still respite from her impending doom.

The symbolism of the chapter is drawn almost entirely from the Old Testament as a comparison of the many cross references cited makes evident. A careful study of these Old Testament parallels in connection with the historical incidents alluded to greatly clarifies the highly symbolic imagery of this chapter. In Revelation 17:16 it is the kings of the earth (cf. verse 12) who set Babylon a fire. They are pictured here mourning the results of that deed. Perhaps in the sad realization that they must soon share Babylon's fate. (cf. Isaiah 47:13-15)

Lament - Greek kopto - Literally “to beat one's breast,” “to cut one's body” in grief.

Smoke of her burning - Compare Isaiah 13:19; Jeremiah 50:32; see notes on Revelation 14:10, 11; 17:16; 18:6.

Revelation 18:10Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is your judgment come.

Afar off - No doubt in the realization that recently they had collaborated with Babylon, (see verse 3) were involved in her “sins,” and were accordingly destined to share in her “plagues.” (verse 4) They realize that their own fate is inescapably bound up with hers. They had not heeded God's call to “come out of her” (verse 4) and must soon share her fate. Compare Ezekiel 27:33, 35.

Alas, alas - They had expected to “receive power” (see notes on Revelation 17:12) permanently with their paramour mystical Babylon. She had assured them that she was enthroned a “queen” forever and that should they cast their lot with her, they too would enjoy endless dominion. (see notes on Revelation 17:2) Realizing too late the futility of such a scheme, they now give way to utter remorse.

Great city - See notes on Revelation 14:8; 17:5, 18; 18:7. In the Greek the ascription of former greatness and power to mystical Babylon is most emphatic. The emptiness of her claims is now fully apparent for “strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.” (verse 8)

Babylon - See notes on Revelation 17:5, 18.

One hour - See notes on Revelation 17:12; 18:8.

Judgment - Greek krisis - The “act of judging,” or “execution of judgment,” in contrast with krima - meaning the “sentence of judgment.” (see notes on Revelation 17:1) Whereas chapter 17 deals primarily with the sentence against Babylon, chapter 18 is concerned with the execution of that sentence.

Revelation 18:11And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

Merchants - According to one interpretation, these “merchants” are the literal commercial and business leaders of earth whose financial and material support have contributed so much to the luxury, splendor, and success of Babylon the great. (see notes on verses 7, 12-15) According to another interpretation, these are figurative “merchants,” representative of the peddlers of the spiritual merchandise of Babylon being those who have sold her doctrines and policies to the kings and peoples of earth. (see notes on Revelation 16:13-14; 17:2, 4; see below on “merchandise”) In Revelation 18:23 these “merchants” are said to be “the great men of the earth.” Compare Isaiah 23:2, 8, 17-18; 47:13, 15.

Weep and mourn - See notes on verse 9.

No man buyeth - The kings and peoples of earth are disillusioned and refuse to have anything to do with Babylon. Compare Isaiah 23:14; Ezekiel 26:15-18.

Merchandise - Greek gomos - Meaning the “lading,” or “load,” of a ship or a beast of burden and thus “merchandise.” According to the first interpretation mentioned above, this would be literal articles of manufacture and trade, and according to the second or figurative interpretation, the doctrines and policies of mystical Babylon elsewhere spoken of as her “wine.” (see notes on Revelation 17:2) The highly figurative character of chapter 18 (see notes on verse 9) tends to favor the latter interpretation. (see above on “merchants”) With the destruction of Babylon there is an end to the flow of corrupt goods that have been sold and distributed in her name and by which she has deceived the world.

Revelation 18:12The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,

Merchandise of gold - Attempts to classify the items of trade listed in verses 12-13 and to draw some hidden meaning from them are without exegetical value. The highly diffuse and poetic character of chapter 18 suggests that the purpose of the list given here is to highlight the extensive commercial interests of Babylon, if the first interpretation mentioned in comment on verse 11 be accepted or according to the second, to stress the comprehensiveness of her corrupt doctrines and policies. (see notes on Revelation 16:13-14; 17:2, 4) For a similar list of “merchandise” see Ezekiel 27:3-25, 33.

Thyine wood - Literally “scented wood,” that is, odoriferous wood used for incense.

Brass - Rather, “bronze.” (Exodus 25:3)

Revelation 18:13And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

Odours - Rather “incense.” Textual evidence favors the addition of amomon, a “spice” extracted from a fragrant plant that grows in India.

Ointments - Greek muron - Meaning “myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)

Frankincense - See Matthew 2:11.

Wine - Textual evidence may be cited for the omission of this word.

Beasts - Greek ktene - Meaning domesticated animals such as cattle and beasts of burden. Here probably cattle alone are meant.

Chariots - Greek rhedai - A loan word from the Gallic, or Celtic introduced into Asia Minor by the Gauls who became the Galatians. Rhedai really does not mean chariots but four wheeled travel coaches. The use of this word in Revelation suggests that the author had lived in Asia Minor and had acquired a term familiar in that area.

Slaves - Literally “bodies.” (cf. Romans 8:11; etc) As an item of trade, this would mean “slaves.”

And souls of men - Rather “that is, human beings.” In the Bible the word “soul” often means “human being” or “person.” (Psalms 16:10; Matthew 10:28) Compare “of men an hundred thousand,” (1 Chronicles 5:21) literally “of the souls of men an hundred thousand”; “they traded the persons of men,” (Ezekiel 27:13) literally “they traded the souls of men.” Some have considered “souls of men” here to be a reference to the spiritual nature of the human beings under consideration.

Revelation 18:14And the fruits that your soul lusted after are departed from you, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from you, and you shall find them no more at all.

Fruits - Greek apora - Meaning “fruits,” or more specifically, “the season of ripe fruits,” in late summer or early autumn. Figuratively, reference here may be to the time to which the great harlot looked forward when she could enjoy to the full the fruits of her lust. (see notes on Revelation 17:4, 6; 18:7)

Thy soul lusted after - Literally “of the desire of thy soul,” meaning, “of your desire.” The word “soul” is often equivalent to the personal pronoun. (Psalms 16:10; Matthew 10:28; Revelation 18:13)

Dainty and goodly - Literally “the fat things and the splendid things.” Everything that contributed to her life of luxury and wantonness. (see notes on verse 7)

Find them no more at all - The finality of the fate that has overtaken Babylon is repeated in similar words six times in verses 21-23. Babylon now descends into the “perdition” described in Revelation 17:8, 11 never to rise again. Compare Jeremiah 51:26; Ezekiel 26:21; 27:36; 28:19.

Revelation 18:15The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,

Merchants - See notes on verse 11.

These things - See verses 12-13.

Made rich by her - Partnership with Babylon had been mutually beneficial. (cf. Ezekiel 27:33)

Stand afar off - See notes on verse 10.

Weeping and wailing - See notes on verse 9.

Revelation 18:16And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

Alas, alas - See notes on verse 10.

That great city - See notes on verse 10.

Clothed - See notes on Revelation 17:4.

Fine linen - Compare on Revelation 19:8.

Purple, and scarlet - See notes on Revelation 17:4.

Decked - See notes on Revelation 17:4.

Revelation 18:17For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

One hour - See notes on Revelation 17:12; 18:8.

So great riches - Or “all this wealth.” (see notes on verses 7, 11-14)

Is come to nought - Literally “has been made desolate.” (see notes on Revelation 17:16)

Shipmaster - Greek kubernetes - Meaning “helmsman,” meaning the officer in charge of navigating a ship, whether or not he does the actual steering. (cf. Acts 27:11) In highly figurative language (see notes on Revelation 18:9) John proceeds to develop the picture suggested by the “merchants” and their trade. (verses 11-15)

All the company in ships - Or “everyone sailing for a place,” presumably to engage in trade. This may be taken in apposition with “shipmaster.” The two expressions thus reading, “every ship's captain, that is, everyone sailing for a place.” The picture is of a ship's captain taking his ship from one port to another to engage in trade.

Trade by sea - Literally “work the sea,” To obtain a living from the sea in contrast with those who do so by working the land. This would include such occupations as shipbuilding, fishing, pearl diving and gathering the shellfish from which purple dye was extracted. (Luke 16:19) Compare Ezekiel 26:17; 27:26-32.

Stood afar off - See notes on verse 10.

Revelation 18:18And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

Cried - Or “cried out,” or “continued to shout.” There was a veritable babel of voices as the persons mentioned in verse 17 kept shouting back and forth.

Smoke of her burning - See notes on verse 9.

What city - Ancient Babylon was unique. Compare Ezekiel 27:32.

This great city - See notes on Revelation 14:8; 17:5, 18; 18:10.

Revelation 18:19And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

Cast dust - A sign of extreme shame or grief, here the latter. (see notes on verse 9) Compare Ezekiel 27:30; Joshua 7:6.

Cried - See notes on verse 18.

Weeping and wailing - See notes on verse 9.

Alas, alas - See notes on verse 10.

Made rich - See notes on verse 15.

All that had ships - See notes on verse 17.

By reason of her costliness - Literally “from her expansiveness.” Babylon's extravagant requirements brought wealth to those who traded in the goods in which she was interested.

One hour - See notes on Revelation 17:12; 18:8.

Made desolate - See notes on Revelation 17:16. Compare Isaiah 13:19-22; 47:11; Jeremiah 50:13, 40; 51:26, 29; Ezekiel 26:17, 19.

Revelation 18:20Rejoice over her, you heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets; for God has avenged you on her.

Rejoice - Or “keep on exulting.” The summary desolation of Babylon brings victory and joy to all righteous beings throughout the universe. The anthem of victory over Babylon is recorded in Revelation 19:1-6 and the feast celebrating the deliverance of God's people is alluded to in verses 7-9.

Heaven - The inhabitants of heaven are first to rejoice in the triumph of Christ and His church.

Holy apostles - Textual evidence favors the reading “saints and apostles.” The “apostles” would be the leaders of New Testament times whereas “saints” would refer to the general church membership.

Prophets - Perhaps prophets generally. Though more likely here those of Old Testament times. (Ephesians 2:20)

Avenged you - Literally “judged your judgment,” meaning “executed your sentence.” She had decreed the death of God's people, (see Revelation 13:15; see notes on Revelation 17:6) but now suffers the very fate to which she had consigned them. Compare the fate of Haman. (Esther 7:10) For the means by which the divine sentence upon Babylon is to be executed see notes on Revelation 17:1, 16-17. This event takes place under the seventh plague. (Revelation 16:19; cf. Revelation 19:2)

Revelation 18:21And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

A mighty angel - Literally “one strong angel.”

A great millstone - A millstone of such a size as was anciently turned by an animal, in contrast with small millstones that were turned by hand.

Cast it into the sea - Compare Jeremiah's illustration of the fate of ancient Babylon. (Jeremiah 51:63-64; Isaiah 13:19; Revelation 14:8) For a Biblical explanation of the symbol of inundation see Isaiah 8:7-8; Jeremiah 50:9; 51:27, 42; Ezekiel 26:3-4.

With violence - Literally “with a rush,” “with a shock.” This word is used by classical Greek writers of the shock of battle and of a surging flood. In Acts 14:5 a cognate word is rendered “assault.” With one tremendous throw the millstone is hurled into the depths of the sea. Thus with finality, (see notes on Revelation 18:14) Babylon will sink into oblivion or “perdition.” (Revelation 17:8) Compare Jeremiah 51:42, 64; Ezekiel 26:3, 19; 27:32, 34.

Found no more at all - See notes on verse 14. John's description of the desolate state of ancient Babylon (verses 21-23) must have been particularly impressive to the people of his day, in view of the fact that it was within their lifetime that the hapless city finally became an uninhabited waste. (Isaiah 13:19)

Revelation 18:22And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in you; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in you; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in you;

Voice - Or “sound.” Verses 22-23 constitute a vivid and highly figurative description of the desolate state of Babylon. (see notes on verse 19) Compare Isaiah 24:8; Ezekiel 26:13.

Harpers - Greek kithrarodoi - Musician singers who played the kithara, “cithara,” as accompaniment to their songs and thus “minstrels.” The cithara was a stringed instrument with a wooden sounding box and closely resembled a lyre.

Pipers - Rather “flute players.”

Heard no more at all - The arts and merry making have ceased. See notes on Revelation 18:14; cf. Ezekiel 26:13.

Craftsman - The artisans, mechanics and skilled workmen have all gone. Manufacture has ceased.

Revelation 18:23And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in you; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in you: for your merchants were the great men of the earth; for by your sorceries were all nations deceived.

Candle - Literally “lamp.” (see notes on Revelation 1:12) The utter blackness of night vividly portrays the absence of all life.

Bridegroom - All social and family life have come to an end. (cf. Jeremiah 25:10)

Thy merchants - See notes on verse 11.

Great men of the earth - Compare Isaiah 23:8; Ezekiel 26:17; 27:8; Revelation 6:15.

Sorceries - The deceptions practiced by Babylon to secure the allegiance of the inhabitants of earth. See Revelation 13:14; 16:14; 19:20; see notes on Revelation 17:2; cf. Isaiah 47:9, 12-13.

Revelation 18:24And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

Blood - See notes on Revelation 16:6; 17:6.

Prophets - See notes on verse 20.

All that were slain - Mystical Babylon represents apostate religion since the beginning of time. (see notes on Revelation 14:8; 17:5, 13) However, chapters 13 to 18 are concerned most particularly with the culmination of apostasy at the end of time. Thus in a general sense, “all that were slain” may properly include the martyrs of all time, but emphasis here is no doubt on those who lay down their lives in the closing struggle of the great controversy between good and evil, and probably also those whom Babylon purposes to slay but is prevented from slaying, by divine intervention. (see notes on Revelation 17:6; cf. Isaiah 47:6; Jeremiah 51:47-49)

Revelation Bible Prophecy Chapter 19...