Revelation 17 detailed the history and fall of religious Babylon. Revelation 18 details the history and the fall of commercial Babylon. The similarities are obvious in Revelation 18 – they are both guilty of spiritual adultery, both cause the kings of the earth to come under her influence, both are to be burned with fire and become an utter desolation, both are adorned in fine apparel and jewels and both are responsible for killing the followers of God. However, a different aspect of this city is in view in Revelation 18.
Greed and prosperity will be the order of the day for both the religious and political powers during the last half of the Tribulation. In Revelation 17 we saw how the religious system in Babylon was destroyed by the political system. Now we will see the decline and ultimate destruction of the political system in Babylon. With the final destruction of the Anti-Christ’s empire, he can only gather what army he has left and make war with the Lord Jesus Christ and His army.
In Revelation18:1, John observed an angel coming down from Heaven to announce and describe the fall of Babylon. The first result will be that demons take over what is left of Babylon. Foul spirits, unclean birds and hateful birds taking up residence in Babylon demonstrate the desolation of the city.
In Revelation 18:3 the nations, the kings and merchants are mentioned as ones who joined with Babylon to commit spiritual adultery and become rich as a result of their alliance with her. Believers are warned to come out of the city and not partake in her sinful acts in order to avoid the plagues about to come upon Babylon.
The destruction of Babylon is sure and to the same degree that she lived a life of luxury and ignored God and glorified herself and thought herself to be above all, God will give back to her double the sorrow and torment that she gave to others. This will be a political system that preys on the people of the earth, taking at will what they want and deceiving the world into thinking that the Anti-Christ is the messiah come to bring peace and prosperity. However, in one day, she will be utterly destroyed by the Lord.
Revelation 18:9-19, tells of the effects of this destruction upon the kings and the merchants. Kings effectively lose their power and kingdoms. The merchants lose their most profitable market. No one will be left to buy their goods. Both the kings and the merchants will be careful to distant themselves from Babylon fearing their own destruction.
The kings and the merchants will weep over her destruction. When Babylon falls the kings (rulers) of the earth lose their power and the merchants of the world lose a good customer. No one will be left to buy their merchandise. The merchants of jewelry, of clothing, of costly woods, of bronze, of iron, of marble, of spices, of fragrances, of wine, of oil, of food, of animals and of slaves will stand afar off and lament the loss of the source of their great wealth.
In contrast, those in Heaven will rejoice when Babylon falls because God has avenged the deaths of believers who were killed by her religious and political systems. God will utterly wipe Babylon from the face of the earth, forever. No one will be left in that city – musicians, craftsmen, brides, bridegrooms will all vanish. The reason for this destruction is described in Revelation 18:24.
Religion has always been anti-God while claiming to be His representative here on earth. Religion is man’s feeble attempt to gain God’s approbation or approval by human effort. Religion is Satan’s greatest counterfeit of the truth of God and his followers come disguised as “ministers of righteousness” and “angels of light.” In reality Satan’s followers are apostate teachers and their followers who exhibit the spirit of anti-Christ. We see this spirit of anti-Christ in Babylon described in Revelation 18:7.
False teachers have deliberate motives, which include monetary greed, sensual pleasures, luxurious lifestyles, power, and fame. They actually train themselves in the art of greed and lust. The Bible says that they use fabricated words of flattery with promises of prosperity in order to extort money and material possessions. They are members of the “mutual admiration society,” pretending to admire certain people in order to gain acceptance. They literally make merchandise, the Greek word “emporeuomai”, of the unsuspecting, unstable, unbeliever and the spiritually weak believer. (II Peter 2:3,14,15,18; Jude 11,16,18)
The Bible says that these false teachers live a lifestyle of the “rich and famous,” while turning the grace of God into lasciviousness (a license to sin). They are arrogant souls, in love with themselves, in love with money and love to brag about it. Conceited, unholy, lovers of sensual pleasures, they cannot be appeased. They are rash in their speech, lack self-control, especially over their emotions, and cannot be trusted. With everything they have accumulated they are nevertheless ungrateful and callous to human affection, they do not honor their parents and are haters of anything good. We are commanded to avoid these blasphemers of truth. (II Timothy 3:2-5; II Peter 2:2,12, 13,14,19; Jude 8,16,18)
The followers of the apostate teachers are those who allow themselves to be seduced. They are those who reject truth and believe the fabricated lies of the false teachers. Peter tells us that many will follow their evil ways, so it should come as no surprise when these ministers of Satan “pack the pews.” The pivot (remnant according to grace) has always been a small elite group of believers who refuse to compromise accurate Bible teaching. The others who follow after the “about to” ministers (God’s about to do this or that, but never seems to get around to doing it), have become enemies of the cross of Christ and partakers in satanic activity. They have been enticed by words of flattery, which promise wealth and physical healing from a “fairy god mother” type of god. (II Timothy 3:6, 4:3-4; II Peter 2:2,3,14,18; Jude 12,16)
As a result of being seduced, they become slaves to the idea that God is going to bless them with houses, cars, money, the perfect job, family harmony and healing of the body. Failure to seek truth from the Word of God leaves them with only Human Viewpoint Thinking and its resultant misery and bewilderment. They cannot understand how God can allow them to suffer so much and why He doesn’t wave His “magic wand” and fix all their problems. (II Peter 3:19)
This is the religious activity we see in Babylon, where they glorify themselves, live in luxury, display enormous egos and believe they are invincible. God, of course, will show them that are not invincible by sending plagues to destroy them. And, as we have seen, those who follow after this religious system will be destroyed with it.
On the other hand, God has given the believer a power system so that he can execute His plan, purpose and will while living in Satan’s cosmic system. It is an encapsulated environment in which the believer can choose to live, and it affords the believer all the necessary tools for a successful life as a Christian. Jesus Christ pioneered and proved this power system for us and now sits at the right hand of God the Father as a testimony to its effectiveness. As believers, we have been given the same power system that was given to Christ, which enabled Him to live a sinless life. Though we cannot live a sinless life, we can live a life pleasing to God when we reside in God’s encapsulated environment and utilize His power system. (II Timothy 1:7)
Only by residing in God’s system can the believer overcome the craftiness and deceit of the devil. Satan is the great counterfeiter and will do everything in his power to stop the unbeliever from trusting Christ as Savior and to stop the believer from executing God’s plan. As we said, Satan uses his power and genius to present himself and his followers as ministers of righteousness, while leading the unsuspecting and duped believer into a life of self-righteous arrogance or lascivious lawlessness.
However, no one has an excuse when it comes to Satan’s ploys. We all possess volition and we choose to reside in either God’s system or Satan’s system.
“But be ye doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.” (James 1:22)
The only way that the Word of God is going to be able to deliver you from any negative circumstance in life is if you apply it. This is what is meant by being, “a doer of the Word and not a hearer only.”
But be ye doers is “ginomai” plus “poietes” in Greek and means to become a doer. The Word is the Greek word “logos” and is a reference to the Word of God. A doer is an applier of the Word of God. If it goes no further than hearing, it is useless. Where does application take place? It takes place in your thinking.
The Greek word for hearers is “akroates” and it means to listen. The meaning should be clear. Listening to God’s Word is not enough. The last phrase of this verse, deceiving your own selves, means to defraud yourselves. The Greek word for deceive is “paralogizomai” and it means to defraud or to self-deceive in one’s mind.
The believer who fails to go all the way with God’s Word, from study, to belief and to application is defrauding himself of the opportunity to have a victorious Christian life. If the Word of God is not changing your thoughts and actions, then you are not applying it.