Bavel Has Fallen

Revelation 18:1-3
The End Times

In my last post, we continue to focus on The Mystery Expounded by looking at Revelation 17:12-18. In this post, we read Revelation 18:1-3 ~ Bavel Has Fallen.

After these things, I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, the earth was lit up by his splendor. 2 He cried out in a strong voice, ‘She has fallen! She has fallen! Bavel the Great! She has become a home for demons, a prison for every unclean spirit, a prison for every unclean, hated bird. 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of God’s fury caused by her whoring — yes, the kings of the earth went whoring with her, and from her unrestrained love of luxury the world’s businessmen have grown rich.’”  ~ Revelation 18:1-3 (CJB)

Babylon, the ancient city on the Euphrates, whose Hanging Gardens were one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was the city that had taken God’s people captive from Israel. So God uses it as the name of the world power that would make most of the earth’s inhabitants captive. Yochanan names the Euphrates, under both the sixth trumpet and the sixth bowl, as the land from which the enemies of God will come.

The announcement of chapter 18 coming so closely after the destruction of the harlot in chapter 17 has, however, raised a question as to whether the two are the same event.

There are some reasons for believing that chapter 18 is a subsequent event, though described in similar terms. The woman who is destroyed in chapter 17 is made desolate, naked, and burned with fire by the beast with the ten horns. From this, it may be concluded that the destruction of the harlot in chapter 17 is the fall of Bavel in its ecclesiastical or religious sense and that it probably occurs when the beast assumes the role of God at the beginning of the Great Tribulation. The world church is destroyed in favor of a world religion honoring the political dictator, the beast out of the sea of chapter 13.

After these things, I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, the earth was lit up by his splendor.  The chapter begins with another angel being given the assignment to destroy Bavel. Angels are not all the same; they vary in rank, level of importance, and power. However, it would appear that all angels are mighty (2 Thessalonians 1:7; 2 Peter 2:11). All angels seem to respond to orders, and once their assignment is finished, they return to their former station. Again, the angel spoken of here has been given the task to destroy Bavel. The fact that the earth was lit up by his splendor causes one to wonder if maybe this angel isn’t Yeshua Himself.

Oliver Greene has this to say: [1]

Personally, I believe the angel here is none other than the Lord Jesus Christ ~ the same angel of whom we studied in Revelation 8:3 and 10:1. Christ—the Angel—Priest—on behalf of His suffering remnant (chapter 8) will no doubt be the one to mete out final judgment to Bavel. Christ—the Angel—Redeemer—is seen taking possession of His rightful inheritance, the earth, and the sea, in chapter 10. Christ—the Angel—Avenger of His people—is here (chapter 18) seen taking vengeance on the most deadly enemies God’s people ever had… the system of Bavel during the last half of the Tribulation.

“He cried out in a strong voice, ‘She has fallen! She has fallen! Bavel the Great! She has become a home for demons, a prison for every unclean spirit, a prison for every unclean, hated bird. 3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of God’s fury caused by her whoring — yes, the kings of the earth went whoring with her, and from her unrestrained love of luxury the world’s businessmen have grown rich.’”   The root of Bavel’s sin is economics at any cost; the “dollar first” attitude is obvious in this passage. Religion is nothing more than a means to an end. Bavel becomes the enticer of nations and peoples, drawing them into her web. Let’s not forget, For the love of money is a root of all the evils; because of this craving, some people have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves to the heart with many pains.” ~ 1 Timothy 6:10 (CJB)

Tim LaHaye comments on how all of this could happen: [2]

What all of this means is not too difficult to grasp. The one-world government, the one-world religion, and the one-world banking system that make possible the commerce of the world are already gathering momentum. It is just a matter of time before they decide to locate in a single spot. That spot will be Bavel. Recently, one of the delegates at the United Nations made a strong appeal to that body that it move its facilities out of Manhattan Island because of crowded conditions, the high cost of living, and discrimination against some of the delegates. His suggestion was that the U.N. move to Geneva which is the headquarters for the international banking institutions of the world. Having been in Switzerland on three occasions, even I can see, as lovely as it is, that it is just too small to become the headquarters of Satan during the Tribulation. Besides, the Bible teaches us that Bavel will have the dubious honor. Instead, this suggestion to the U.N. will gather momentum in view of the difficulties of life in New York—economics, racial, and moral—until eventually such a suggestion will be favorably received. By that time the religion under the leadership of Rome will have consumed the World Council of churches and its ecumenical movement and will be rapidly moving toward amalgamating the major religions of the world under the headship of the one who bears the title “Pontifex Maximus.” The world bankers will be more than happy to finance the re-building of Bavel as the greatest city of the world to accommodate the headquarters of this one-world government and one-world religion. The fact that Iraq is the most oil-rich country in the world will guarantee their investment, which, as usual, will return them a handsome profit. Railroads, river bottoms dredged to provide harbor facilities, and transatlantic air routes will make Bavel the strategic center of the world. And, like ancient Bavel in its day, it will be “the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldean’s excellency.” Unless the Lord raptures His church soon, we can expect to see the foundation laid for the greatest city in all the world’s history.

Special Comparative Note on Chapter 18:1-3 [3]

Historicist Approach:

Historicists believe that the phrase she has fallen is sufficiently imminent to justify the use of the prophetic past tense. They also say the expression she has become a home for demons, a prison for every unclean spirit, a prison for every unclean, hated bird is a spiritualized allusion to Isaiah 13:19-22 which speaks of the fall of ancient Bavel in Mesopotamia. For all the nations have drunk of the wine of God’s fury caused by her whoring harkens back to Jeremiah 51:7. [If nothing else, we can say that Yochanan knew his scriptures.]

Preterist Approach:

Recall that Preterists interpret the fall of Bavel as either that of Rome in 476 CE or Jerusalem in 70 CE. Those who favor Jerusalem make the argument that the activity of evil spirits during and after Yeshua’s ministry demonstrate the conditions in verse 2 which did not occur regarding Rome.  However, verse 3 seems to fit Rome better than Jerusalem.

Futurist Approach:

Opinions of Futurists differ as to whether the identity of the angel in verse 1 is Yeshua or merely an important created being, e.g. Gavri’el.

Idealist Approach:

Idealists point out that the angel has recently come from the “Presence that in passing he flings a broad belt of light across the dark earth.”

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 18:4-8 ~ Come Out of Her.

Click here for PDF version.

 

[1] A Layman’s Commentary on Revelation by Don Jones.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Material in this post is taken from “Revelation: Four Views, Revised & Updated” by Steve Gregg. Notations in brackets, if any, are my comments.

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