Revelation 2020 - Lesson 18

Chapter 18

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  • Let’s return to the final bowl judgment of Tribulation

    • The seventh bowl judgment isn’t a single moment of destruction

      • Instead, think of it like a row of dominos set up on a table

      • As the final bowl is poured out, it’s as if the Lord’s finger pushes  over the first domino in that row

      • Triggering a cascade of falling dominos that play out over a period of days and weeks

    • Some of those dominos were set up by God in the earlier bowl judgments and now that everything is set, it’s time to knock them down 

      • As the final bowl judgment began, it started with an unimaginably destructive hailstorm and earthquake

      • They eliminated all mountains and islands, except the one on which Jerusalem stands

      • All the Gentile nations of the earth are destroyed

    • In particular, one Gentile city – the Great City, Babylon – will be utterly destroyed

      • While Babylon is an ancient ruin in our world today, in Tribulation the city will have been resurrected to its former glory

      • The Antichrist will make that city (or some new version of it) his world capital

      • So that as in ancient times, Babylon will once again be the seat of world power and the chief adversary of God’s people

    • Think back to the statue of Daniel 2, which the Lord gave to Nebuchadnezzar in a dream so that Daniel could interpret it

      • That statue represents a long age of history called the Age of the Gentiles, when Israel would fall under Gentile authority 

      • The beginning of that period corresponded to the head of the statue, representing Babylon’s king, Nebuchadnezzar 

      • He was the first to conquer Israel and rule the world

  • And the end of the statue represents the final Gentile authority to rule over Israel, and I told you that the end of the age will be much like the beginning 

    • Just as it started with one man ruling the world in absolute authority, so it will end with one man in control of the world

      • And just as it starts with the seat of world power centered in Babylon, so it will end the same way

      • And this is more than coincidence…this is God sending us a message about the real adversary of God’s people

    • Satan has always been our true enemy, and like any enemy he has a base of power and a place for his throne on earth

      • And that place is Babylon…Mesopotamia

      • Throughout the Bible, this region has been associated with God’s enemy and his efforts to undermine God’s people

      • Of course, as the population of the earth has spread out, the enemy’s demonic forces have followed 

      • But Satan’s headquarters has remained in the Middle East, in the plain of Shinar, in the historical area of Babylon

    • So in the final stages of Tribulation, the Lord is tearing down the enemy’s stronghold in preparation for the Lord’s Second Coming

      • His bowl judgments are the final series of blows to bring about the end

      • And there are two phases to His plan of destruction, the first of which we studied last time in Chapter 17

    • Chapter 17 described the destruction of spiritual Babylon

      • Spiritual Babylon is my term for the Kingdom that Satan has been trying to establish on earth in opposition to God

      • It takes the form primarily of false religious systems that Satan has created and promoted among the nations of the earth

  • While there are countless false religions on earth, they are truly just shades of the same color…they are inventions of Satan

    • And they all serve the same purpose…to distract humanity and lead them away from the truth of the Gospel

      • Collectively, they form an alternate Kingdom to the one God establishes for Christ

      • That false kingdom began, not coincidentally, in Babel with the tower and it continues to today

      • But those who come to the light and believe in Jesus are transferred by their faith from Satan’s kingdom to the true Kingdom

Col. 1:12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.
Col. 1:13 For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son,
Col. 1:14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
  • But at the end of the Age in preparation for Christ’s return, the Lord will systematically destroy the enemy’s Kingdom on earth

    • Chapter 17 opens with symbols that show us how the end of the Age of the Gentiles is connected to this destruction  

      • A woman riding a beast in Revelation 17 pictured how the rulers of the Age of the Gentiles support Satan’s Kingdom

      • The woman was the mother of all harlots, a picture of Satan’s Kingdom of counterfeit worship

      • And this harlot rides a seven-headed beast, representing the rulers of the Age of the Gentiles

    • So during the Age of Gentiles, Satan’s spiritual Kingdom will be supported by earthly kingdoms under his control starting (again) with Babylon

      • These empires prompted false religion and trap generations of humanity in their false claims

      • The empires also oppress Israel and persecuted the saints

    • The beast had seven heads, representing various world rulers who come and go during the age

      • These heads serve as mile markers to mark the passage of time and tell us how close we are to the end of the Spiritual Babylon

      • By John’s day, only one world leader had not yet appeared, the Antichrist, and after he appears Satan’s Kingdom will come to an end

  • So Spiritual Babylon, the spiritual nature of Satan’s kingdom, will be set up for destruction first, beginning with the consolidation of all world religion  

    • At the midpoint of Tribulation, all objects and houses of false worship are destroyed as the world is directed to worship the Antichrist only

      • All world leaders give their allegiance to the Antichrist, and with the help of the false prophet, everyone worships him alone

      • It’s still a false system of worship, of course, but because it’s been condensed to one monolithic religion, it’s easier to destroy

    • In Chapter 17 we read:

Rev. 17:13 “These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.
Rev. 17:16 “And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire.
Rev. 17:17 “For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled.
  • So as we move now to Chapter 18, the Lord has set up the spiritual kingdom of Satan for destruction at the Lord’s return

    • So all that remains is for Satan, the Antichrist and the false prophet to be destroyed and the Lord will deal with them personally upon His return

      • Now our attention turns to the physical remnant of Babylon and its impact on the earth

      • This second judgment takes place as part of the campaign of the war of Armageddon 

    • The destruction of geographical Babylon is the subject of numerous prophecy in the Old Testament

      • To appreciate those prophecies, we need to examine passages from Isaiah and Jeremiah

      • We will move back and forth between Revelation, Isaiah and Jeremiah studying parts of them together

      • Also note that the events of Revelation 16-17 are the backdrop for the events of Revelation 18, so we will glance back at times

Rev. 18:1 After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory.
Rev. 18:2 And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.
Rev. 18:3 “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”
  • The chapter opens with our familiar phrase “After these things…” which in Greek is meta houte houtos

    • This phrase implies a cause-and-effect relationship so the events in Chapter 18 are the result of events described earlier

      • Those earlier events are the judgments poured out in Chapter 16, specifically the seventh bowl judgment

      • Remember, Chapter 17 was an interruption in the narrative of those judgments 

    • In the beginning of Chapter 17 John was carried away to see a vision of the Harlot being judged

      • In fact, glance back at the start of that chapter, and in vs.1-3 we see the movement is away from the earth and into heaven

      • So that chapter was backstory to explain how spiritual Babylon existed for millennia but in the end it will be destroyed

    • Now in Chapter 18 John returns to a literal description of the Great City being judged by the seventh bowl

      • Notice in v.1 the direction of movement is away from heaven and toward the earth as an angel comes down…

      • John describes the angel leaving heaven as having great authority, perhaps an archangel

      • His authority does indicate the importance of the mission and the announcement

    • The angel declares (twice for emphasis) that Babylon is fallen

      • What follows is God’s fulfillment of previous prophecy concerning Babylon

      • These prophecies are scattered among numerous Old Testament prophets

      • In particular, Isaiah and Jeremiah (and Ezekiel) spoke extensively on Babylon’s end

  • The angel declares that the city will be so utterly devastated that it will be left uninhabited forever

    • The only thing that will remain in that place are the demons that will be confined there during the Kingdom

      • In v.2 we’re told it will become a dwelling place only for demons and unclean spirits and unclean birds, meaning scavengers

      • The reference to scavenger birds is a way of saying that only dead things will dwell in this place

    • And the mention of animals associated with death is an allusion to the resting place of the dead, including demons held in confinement 

Is. 13:19 And Babylon, the beauty of kingdoms, the glory of the Chaldeans’ pride, 
Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
Is. 13:20 It will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation; 
Nor will the Arab pitch his tent there, 
Nor will shepherds make their flocks lie down there.
Is. 13:21 But desert creatures will lie down there, 
And their houses will be full of owls; 
Ostriches also will live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there.
Is. 13:22 Hyenas will howl in their fortified towers 
And jackals in their luxurious palaces. 
Her fateful time also will soon come 
And her days will not be prolonged.
  • Jeremiah says something similar

Jer. 51:35  “May the violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon,” 
The inhabitant of Zion will say; 
And, “May my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,” 
Jerusalem will say.
Jer. 51:36 Therefore thus says the LORD, 
“Behold, I am going to plead your case 
And exact full vengeance for you; 
And I will dry up her sea 
And make her fountain dry.
Jer. 51:37 “Babylon will become a heap of ruins, a haunt of jackals, 
An object of horror and hissing, without inhabitants.
  • The destruction of Babylon the Great will result in the place forever remaining uninhabited except by unclean animals

    • These descriptions preclude the possibility that the prophets were talking about the overthrow of Babylon by Medo-Persia

      • During that event, the nation of Babylon was not destroyed and it continued to be inhabited even to this day

      • Secondly, the conquest of Babylon in that day happened very differently than the way described here

    • In fact, the conquest of Babylon by the Medo-Persians was largely a bloodless affair

      • The city of Babylon was protected by high walls no one could successfully assault

      • The river Euphrates ran under the wall, but iron gates block anyone from swimming under the opening

    • Cyrus the Great invaded Babylon by diverting the Euphrates river upstream

      • Then when the river level dropped, his troops marched in the river bed undetected

      • They then destroyed the gates over the riverbed and entered the city under the wall

      • At the time, Babylon was sleeping off a night of feasting, so there was virtually no fighting during the capture of the city

  • So this must reference a future time of destruction, something that has yet to happen

    • Isaiah lists animals that will inhabit Babylon instead of people, but it’s an odd list of animals

      • Back to Revelation 18, the chapter says nothing about animals, yet it does talk about unclean spirits or demons

      • So we understand that Isaiah’s description of animals is a picture of demons, which is a typical pattern in scripture

    • Animals like goats and birds of prey are associated with sorcery, satanism or other cultic practices

      • Meaning that only the demonic realm will exist in this place after the destruction of the bowl judgment 

      • We’ll see a similar description later when we read about the destruction of Edom in Isaiah 37 and Ezekiel 34

    • In v.3 we have the three reasons for her destruction

      • First, the nations have become drunk by her immorality

      • This statement sounds like the judgment of the previous chapter, that of the Harlot and Spiritual Babylon

      • But Chapter 18 is focused on physical Babylon, the city of the Antichrist that reigns over the world

      • So this first indictment refers to the city’s corrupting influence on the world of that day…specifically the world’s worship of beast

    • Secondly, the kings of the earth will commit acts of immorality with Babylon the Great

      • Babylon controls all political and military authority and causes all kings to do the Antichrist’s bidding

      • In Chapter 17:13 we heard how the kings of the earth give their authority to the Beast

      • So this is the second charge against the city…it is the seat of power of all corrupt government in that day

    • Finally, the merchants of the world have profited from the Antichrist’s rule in Babylon

      • Since the Antichrist regulates all commerce by the mark of the beast, his city becomes unbelievably rich

      • And his material wealth and financial control becomes another way of oppressing and controlling people

      • So the world’s corrupt economy also depends on Babylon

  • So now comes time to end all of that…

Rev. 18:4  I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues;
Rev. 18:5 for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.
Rev. 18:6 “Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her.
Rev. 18:7 “To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I SIT as A QUEEN AND I AM NOT A WIDOW, and will never see mourning.’
Rev. 18:8 “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
  • In v.4, a voice from heaven calls to those who belong to God to leave the city so they might escape the city’s corrupting influence and her coming judgment

    • Remember we said that the plagues have come upon the entire world except for the Jews and believers and except for Jerusalem

      • And so God will call from heaven for His people to leave Babylon before the city’s judgment

      • Because if the people remain in the city, they will surely experience the judgment with the city

    • This is a consistent pattern in the Bible, that the Lord is always discriminating between those who are His and those who aren’t

2Pet. 2:9 then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from temptation, and to keep the unrighteous under punishment for the day of judgment,
2Pet. 2:10 and especially those who indulge the flesh in its corrupt desires and despise authority. 
  • There is a principle in the Bible that when God pours out judgment, He protects those who are His

    • We remember how the Lord removed Lot and his family before the coming judgment in Sodom

    • And He removes the Church from the earth before the coming judgment of Tribulation 

  • And now He calls for believers in Tribulation to leave the city prior to the judgment on Babylon 

    • God spoke of this warning to leave Babylon before judgment in Jeremiah

Jer. 51:5 For neither Israel nor Judah has been forsaken 
By his God, the LORD of hosts, 
Although their land is full of guilt 
Before the Holy One of Israel.
Jer. 51:6 Flee from the midst of Babylon, 
And each of you save his life! 
Do not be destroyed in her punishment, 
For this is the LORD’S time of vengeance; 
He is going to render recompense to her.
Jer. 51:7  Babylon has been a golden cup in the hand of the LORD, 
Intoxicating all the earth. 
The nations have drunk of her wine; 
Therefore the nations are going mad.
Jer. 51:8  Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; 
Wail over her! 
Bring balm for her pain; 
Perhaps she may be healed.
Jer. 51:9  We applied healing to Babylon, but she was not healed; 
Forsake her and let us each go to his own country, 
For her judgment has reached to heaven 
And towers up to the very skies.
  • The Jews still living in Babylon (and any who haven’t taken the mark of the beast) will flee the city in response to God’s warning

    • God’s warning to leave Babylon is similar to the one Christ gave believers concerning Jerusalem in the Olivet Discourse

    • He told those in Jerusalem to flee to the mountains when they see the armies surrounding the city

    • Only those who heard and believed God’s word would respond to the call to flee

  • Similarly, those Jews who hear and believe the call from Heaven will flee, only those who do not have the mark of the Beast

    • By their departure, they will save their lives and give opportunity for eventual salvation

    • But where will the Jews who flee Babylon go?

    • They go to the only other city remaining on earth: Jerusalem

Jer. 51:10 The LORD has brought about our vindication; 
Come and let us recount in Zion 
The work of the LORD our God!
Jer. 51:49  Indeed Babylon is to fall for the slain of Israel, 
As also for Babylon the slain of all the earth have fallen.
Jer. 51:50 You who have escaped the sword, 
Depart! Do not stay! 
Remember the LORD from afar, 
And let Jerusalem come to your mind.
  • When they arrive in Jerusalem, these refugees from Babylon share the news with the other Jews that the city was destroyed

    • That the news comes only by messenger reminds us the world is so utterly devastated that all other communication is gone

      • And back in v.6-8 the angel declares that this judgment is recompense for Israel

      • In particular, Babylon is held responsible for her mistreatment of Israel during the invasion of Jerusalem under Nebuchadnezzar

Psa. 137:1 By the rivers of Babylon, 
There we sat down and wept, 
When we remembered Zion.
Psa. 137:2  Upon the willows in the midst of it 
We hung our harps.
Psa. 137:3  For there our captors demanded of us songs, 
And our tormentors mirth, saying, 
“Sing us one of the songs of Zion.”
Psa. 137:4 How can we sing the LORD’S song 
In a foreign land?
Psa. 137:5  If I forget you, O Jerusalem, 
May my right hand forget her skill.
Psa. 137:6  May my tongue cling to the roof of my mouth 
If I do not remember you, 
If I do not exalt Jerusalem 
Above my chief joy.
Psa. 137:7 Remember, O LORD, against the sons of Edom 
The day of Jerusalem, 
Who said, “Raze it, raze it 
To its very foundation.”
Psa. 137:8 O daughter of Babylon, you devastated one, 
How blessed will be the one who repays you 
With the recompense with which you have repaid us.
Psa. 137:9  How blessed will be the one who seizes and dashes your little ones 
Against the rock.
  • In v.7 the psalmist asks the Lord to remember the day Babylon ordered that Jerusalem be razed to its very foundation and judge her

    • And in Revelation 8:7, the angel quotes from Isaiah 47, a lament against Babylon 

    • Then he goes on to say how blessed is the one who repays Babylon

  • Historically, we could credit the Medo-Persian empire for accomplishing that revenge against Babylon but only in a limited sense

    • In effect, the Persians just became Babylon as they conquered and assimilated Babylon

    • The true and ultimate destruction of Babylon awaits Tribulation when the Lord once and forever destroys it

    • And that’s the destruction that Jeremiah is describing here

  • So the city will be destroyed as punishment for the history of the city and its people in opposing Israel and corrupting the world

    • The destruction of physical Babylon is actually a two-part process, with both parts orchestrated by God

      • The first part is accomplished at the hands of men and directed against the citizens of the city

      • The second part is accomplished supernaturally by God alone and directed against the structures of the city

    • Revelation 18 only summarizes the outcome of both, so we need to go outside the chapter to find details on each part individually

      • Let’s study the destruction of Babylon at the hands of men, starting in Isaiah 13

Is. 13:1  The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.
Is. 13:2   Lift up a standard on the bare hill, 
Raise your voice to them, 
Wave the hand that they may enter the doors of the nobles.
Is. 13:3  I have commanded My consecrated ones, 
I have even called My mighty warriors, 
My proudly exulting ones, 
To execute My anger.
Is. 13:4  A sound of tumult on the mountains, 
Like that of many people! 
A sound of the uproar of kingdoms, 
Of nations gathered together! 
The LORD of hosts is mustering the army for battle.
Is. 13:5  They are coming from a far country, 
From the farthest horizons, 
The LORD and His instruments of indignation, 
To destroy the whole land.
  • Isaiah delivers an oracle or word against Babylon and in vs.2-3, God describes how He will destroy the city

    • First, the Lord will command His mighty warriors to execute His anger against Babylon

      • These warriors are God’s “consecrated” ones commanded to attack Babylon

      • The word for consecrated is qadash in Hebrew

      • The word can mean holy, but it can also mean simply “set apart” or “appointed for God's purpose”

    • God’s call is followed by the sound of an army, many people, numerous nations gathered together to muster for battle

      • They come from a far away country as God’s instruments of indignation to destroy the whole land of Babylon

      • So God sends some armies to destroy Babylon but what army is there to oppose the Antichrist?

    • Jeremiah describes it

Jer. 50:46 At the shout, “Babylon has been seized!” the earth is shaken, and an outcry is heard among the nations.
Jer. 51:1 Thus says the LORD: 
“Behold, I am going to arouse against Babylon 
And against the inhabitants of Leb-kamai 
The spirit of a destroyer.
Jer. 51:2 “I will dispatch foreigners to Babylon that they may winnow her 
And may devastate her land; 
For on every side they will be opposed to her 
In the day of her calamity.
Jer. 51:3  “Let not him who bends his bow bend it, 
Nor let him rise up in his scale-armor; 
So do not spare her young men; 
Devote all her army to destruction.
Jer. 51:4  “They will fall down slain in the land of the Chaldeans, 
And pierced through in their streets.”
  • This is a prophecy about the ultimate destruction of Babylon, and again it can’t be a description of the Medo-Persian conquest because that was bloodless

    • This is a description of the Tribulation destruction of Babylon, when God promises to raise up the spirit of the destroyer against Babylon

      • The translation of the phrase “spirit of the destroyer” is a poor choice

      • A more literal translation would be a “destroying wind” because this is not a reference to a spirit

      • The invading army is compared to a violent windstorm that blows in from the north and destroys the city

    • The invading army attacks the people in the city using hand-to-hand combat and simple weaponry 

      • With the result that all the citizens of the city are killed…all of them

      • Remember, no one inhabits the city again

    • And the Lord says this attack will also be against leb-kamai

      • Leb-kamai means “heart of my adversaries” which is an ancient term for Chaldea or Mesopotamia

      • It conveys a sense similar to the phrase “mother of harlots"

      • It means that Mesopotamia is the heart or source of all God’s adversaries and that corrupting source will be destroyed 

  • Who will conduct this attack upon the Antichrist’s headquarters?

    • Like Isaiah, Jeremiah give us an answer…to a degree

Jer. 50:1  The word which the LORD spoke concerning Babylon, the land of the Chaldeans, through Jeremiah the prophet: 
Jer. 50:2 “Declare and proclaim among the nations. 
Proclaim it and lift up a standard. 
Do not conceal it but say, 
‘Babylon has been captured, 
Bel has been put to shame, Marduk has been  shattered; 
Her images have been put to shame, her idols have been shattered.’ 
Jer. 50:3 “For a nation has come up against her out of the north; it will make her land an object of horror, and there will be no inhabitant in it. Both man and beast have wandered off, they have gone away! 
Jer. 50:9 “For behold, I am going to  arouse and bring up against Babylon 
A horde of great nations from the land of the north, 
And they will draw up their battle lines against her; 
From there she will be taken captive. 
Their arrows will be like an expert warrior 
Who does not return empty-handed. 
Jer. 50:41  “Behold, a people is coming from the north, 
And a great nation and many kings 
Will be aroused from the remote parts of the earth. 
Jer. 50:42 “They seize their bow and javelin; 
They are cruel and have no mercy. 
Their voice roars like the sea; 
And they ride on horses, 
Marshalled like a man for the battle 
Against you, O daughter of Babylon.
  • Jeremiah tells us the attack will come from the north and consist of a great nation and many kings

    • And it will involve peoples from all parts of the earth

    • Later Jeremiah identities the northern nations involved

Jer. 51:27   Lift up a signal in the land, 
Blow a trumpet among the nations! 
Consecrate the nations against her, 
Summon against her the kingdoms of  Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz; 
Appoint a marshal against her, 
Bring up the horses like bristly locusts. 
Jer. 51:28 Consecrate the nations against her, 
The kings of the Medes, 
Their governors and all their prefects, 
And every land of their dominion. 
  • Jeremiah names God’s consecrated as the kingdoms of Ararat (Turkey), Minni (Armenia), Ashkenaz (southern Russia/Black Sea), and the Medes

    • We know that in the time of Tribulation, the political map will look very different than it does today

      • There will only be ten kingdoms and ten rulers and then later just one ruler for all ten kingdoms

      • North of Babylon today, you find the nations of Iran (Persia), Turkey, Armenia and Russia 

      • Perhaps these will all become part of a common kingdom and together they attack as Jeremiah describes 

  • So God’s judgment on Babylon starts in very ordinary ways…an army invading the city to destroy it 

    • But why would an army dare to attack the Antichrist’s headquarters in Tribulation?

      • Let’s revisit the story from the earlier stages of the War of Armageddon

      • First, at the release of the sixth bowl judgment, the Euphrates was dried up

      • This made it possible for the Antichrist’s armies to leave Babylon to engage in the great war against God

      • His armies gather in Northern Israel in preparation to invade the city

    • Secondly, we heard in Chapter 17 that God caused the kings of the earth to give their allegiance to the beast

Rev. 17:17 “For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. 
  • Notice v.17 says they will give their kingdoms to the beast only until the words of God are fulfilled

    • The phrase at the end of the verse suggests that the kings will change their mind at some point during Tribulation

    • They follow the Beast only until it’s time for the word of God concerning Babylon to be fulfilled

    • That’s a reference to Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50-51

  • So once God is ready to judge Babylon, he causes His consecrated ones (i.e., the kings of the earth) to turn against the Antichrist

    • Because the Antichrist has left his city unprotected, Babylon becomes an easy target, emboldening the nations of the north to attack

      • Those kings attempt a coup by destroying the Antichrist’s city while the Antichrist is away 

      • We can suppose that the motivation for the kings to attack is to take it for themselves and to topple the Antichrist’s rule

      • But in reality God is using them to do His will in destroying the the city and its people

  • So to review, Phase II of the Battle of Armageddon is the destruction of Babylon

    • That destruction is accomplished in two steps, beginning with an invading army sent by God to destroy the city left unprotected

      • These armies defeat the city but they do not hold the ground for very long

      • Following this manmade attack, the Lord will utterly destroy the the physical city supernaturally

    • That supernatural destruction was described in Chapter 16 as part of the bowl judgments

      • And all of this physical destruction is part of putting spiritual Babylon to an end, as described in Chapter 17

      • And the effect of that supernatural destruction is described in the rest of Revelation 18

Rev. 18:9  “And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived  sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 
Rev. 18:10  standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ 
Rev. 18:11  “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more — 
Rev. 18:12 cargoes of gold and silver and precious stones and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet, and every kind of citron wood and every article of ivory and every article made from very costly wood and bronze and iron and marble, 
Rev. 18:13 and cinnamon and spice and incense and perfume and frankincense and wine and olive oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep, and cargoes of horses and chariots and slaves and human lives. 
Rev. 18:14 “The fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. 
Rev. 18:15 “The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 
Rev. 18:16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; 
Rev. 18:17 for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’ And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea,  stood at a distance, 
Rev. 18:18 and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’ 
Rev. 18:19 “And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’ 
Rev. 18:20 “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.” 
  • God’s destruction reduces the city to ruins

    • The city is burning and everything in her has been laid waste

      • Her ruin is complete, and all three classes of society mentioned in v.3 are shown mourning for her

      • In v.9 the kings of the earth mourn for the loss of their important city and the political power that came from controlling her

      • In v.11 the merchants mourn the loss of trade and wealth associated with her

      • In vs. 15 & 17 the working class that profited from the city mourned

    • Notice that the destruction comes very quickly, reflecting the supernatural desertion 

      • Three times we’re told that the destruction of the city comes in an hour

      • This is not a description of the invading armies described earlier

      • In fact, the kings who led that invasion are most likely the same kings shown mourning here

    • Notice that the kings and merchants and laborers are described as standing at a distance from the city

      • They are at a distance because they fear her torment, as they experienced the judgment of the bowl judgment 

      • We saw that judgment mentioned briefly earlier in this chapter in v.8 

      • And back in Chapter 16:9 we were told that this judgment resulted in the city being split

Rev. 16:19 The great city was split into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.
  • Jeremiah provides a nice two-verse summary of both parts of God’s judgment against the city

Jer. 51:28 Consecrate the nations against her, 
The kings of the Medes, 
Their governors and all their prefects, 
And every land of their dominion. 
Jer. 51:29 So the land quakes and writhes, 
For the purposes of the LORD against Babylon stand, 
To make the land of Babylon 
A desolation without inhabitants. 
  • Jeremiah says nations rise up against her while the land quakes and writhes

    • The nations rose up against Babylon and then the Lord destroyed the city supernaturally through the bowl judgments

  • Finally, the city receives a brief eulogy

Rev. 18:21  Then a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and  will not be found any longer. 
Rev. 18:22 “And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer; 
Rev. 18:23 and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery. 
Rev. 18:24 “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.” 
  • An angel takes a great millstone and throws it into the sea, and obviously, a large stone will sink and never be found again

    • This is the image the Lord wants His people to have in their minds when they think of Babylon’s future

      • The enemy and all his power and work on earth is going to be completely vanquished and forgotten

      • And that day is coming soon

    • As a final footnote, what do you suppose the Antichrist thinks of all this as it’s happening while he’s sitting in the Jezreel Valley?

      • Jeremiah tells us that as well….

Jer. 51:31 One courier runs to meet another, 
And one messenger to meet another, 
To tell the king of Babylon 
That his city has been captured from end to end;
Jer. 50:43 “The king of Babylon has heard the report about them, 
And his hands hang limp; 
Distress has gripped him, 
Agony like a woman in childbirth. 
  • Messenger after messenger transfers the news of his city’s fall (notice again the rudimentary form of communication)

    • When the Antichrist hears the news that his city is gone, he is distressed and in agony

    • Now he and his armies have no choice but to attack Jerusalem, for Jerusalem is the last city standing on the earth

    • And destroying the Jews is the enemy’s last hope for rescuing himself

  • The Lord baited him into leaving his city unprotected, and now the Lord has given him no reason to return 

    • The Lord is moving the Antichrist steadily toward his own destruction in Jerusalem at the Lord’s return

    • The Lord is whittling away at the world leaving the Antichrist cornered and right where He wants him

    • So the second stage of the War of Armageddon is complete and stage three sets the stage for the Lord’s return in Chapter 19