Chapter eighteen begins by calling the rest of God’s people out of Babylon before the close of probation and the seven last plagues. The rest of the chapter describes God’s wrath against Mother Babylon and her daughters.
Verse 1: The World Is Enlightened
The message is given with “great power.” With God’s people empowered by the latter rain, the entire world is enlightened with this final message to repent. This will bring every human being to a final decision. They will either receive the seal of God or the mark of the beast.
Verse 2: All Must Decide
The symbolic angel cries with “a strong voice,” emphasizing the need for the hearer to decide. No longer can men and women continue to “halt between two opinions.” 1 Kings 18:21. Because it is proclaimed in a time of overwhelming apostasy similar to that of the days of Elijah, this final warning is called “the Elijah message.” It is given “in the spirit and power of Elijah.” See Malachi 4:5, 6; Luke 1:13–17.
Emphasizing Babylon’s fall: Twice Babylon is said to be “fallen.” This is done to emphasize the deepening apostasy of Babylon.
The fall of the nations: The nations fell because they drank the wine of Babylon. They accepted her false teachings and exercised the power of the state to support them.
The whole of Babylon: “Babylon the Great” includes the Church of Rome, the mother, and the various apostate churches and religions, the daughters.
Verses 4, 5: Come Out
The “voice from heaven” is the voice of Christ. He is calling them to be separated from the evils and corruptions of the world. See 2 Corinthians 6:14–18. There came a time when God’s people needed to leave the corrupting influences of Egypt. And certainly God’s people can no longer be a part of the apostate churches. Otherwise, they will not escape her plagues.
God is calling His people out of Babylon. Seven times the Scriptures record God’s call for His saints to separate from Babylon: Isaiah 48:20; 52:11; Jeremiah 50:8, 9; 51:6, 7; Zechariah 2:6, 7; 2 Corinthians 6:17, 18; Revelation 18:4–8. The seventh call will be the last call.
The announcement that “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen,” indicates that at one time they were in a better spiritual state. But over time they became more and more corrupt. They drifted further and further from Christ. There were churches that took part in the Reformation, but today are lukewarm and compromising.
Verses 6, 7: Justice
“Double” could mean that she will be punished twice as much as she punished others. Or, the term could refer to duplicity. In other words, she will be judged as she has judged others; she will be punished as she punished others. This latter meaning best fits the text.
Verses 7, 8: Babylon Feels Secure
As God’s true church unites with Jesus, the apostate churches unite with the state. Babylon feels like she is on top of the world and will remain there. But suddenly and unexpectantly she is brought to ruin.
When King Nebuchadnezzaar spoke his boastful words, immediately the judgments of God fell upon him. See Daniel 4. When King Belshazzar had his immoral banquet and had no fear of defeat, in one night his whole empire fell. See Daniel 5. Spiritual Babylon has the same attitude as ancient Babylon. She says, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.” “Therefore, shall her plagues come in one day.” “In one hour is thy judgment come,” is repeated three times. See verses 10, 17, 19.
Verses 9, 10: The Kings Mourn
The sudden fall of Babylon causes the kings of the earth to be in grief. They had trusted these religious leaders, they were deceived by these leaders, and now they are lost.
Verses 11–14: The God of Mammon
Spiritual Babylon is not only interested in controlling the state, but she studies how to gain wealth. She is more interested in gold than the golden rule. What better words could describe our day of unprecedented wealth. Money is the great idol of our time, and immoral sex is the great sin of our time.
Verses 15–17: Another Depression
The picture here is of a world-wide commercial depression which brings “weeping and wailing” on the part of the merchant princes of the earth.
Verses 17–19: Economic Collapse
In ancient times, the wealthiest nations had ships. In this worldwide economic collapse, every nation is included. The interdependence between them will prevent any nation from surviving on her own. The economic devastation will be so great that the wealthiest nations will lose their temporal prosperity.
Verse 20: Rejoicing
While the wicked mourn, the righteous and all of heaven rejoice. Long has Babylon oppressed the people of God, and now the tables are turned.
Verses 21–23: No More
Six times it is repeated that spiritual Babylon will “be found no more at all.” Remember, the number six is the number for Babylon.
Deceived by sorceries: Sorcery, witchcraft, and magic were born in ancient Babylon. See Isaiah 47:13–15. Spiritual Babylon has used deception from the beginning. Her deceptive ways made it easier for her to become a murderer of God’s people. Deception and hatred are often found together.
Verse 24: The True Martyrs
The martyrs of all the ages could be said to have their blood shed at the hands of Babylon. While we know that there was a literal ancient Babylon and a last-day spiritual Babylon, this mighty apostate city became the emblem of rebellion against God throughout the world’s history. This is true especially in the sense that most nations that followed Babel after the Flood had accepted in part or whole her false system of worship. Worse yet, they had accepted her spirit of rebellion.
The time has truly come for us to take up the banner of the Lord. We can no longer afford to support apostasy. If we do, we do so at the risk of our own soul’s salvation. If we do not proclaim the truth now, then when? Most people will wait until it is too late. They feel no urgency. The time is not convenient. The cost is too high. But time is short. Last day events are already set in motion. I do not know the day or hour of Christ’s return, but it is near. Remember, it is not insignificant me that is telling you to come out. It is God. He does not want you to be partakers of her plagues. He wants you to be with Him forever. I can only encourage you to know the truth for yourself, then act on that truth by the power of the Spirit. If you align yourself with the truth you will not persecute others, nor will you promote error.