Fornicators Lament; Apostles and Prophets Avenged

Revelation 18:9-24
The End Times

In my last post, we explored Revelation 18:4-8 ~ Come Out of Her. In this post, we continue in Revelation 18 to examine Fornicators Lament; Apostles and Prophets Avenged in verses 9-24.

“The kings of the earth who went whoring with her and shared her luxury will sob and wail over her when they see the smoke as she burns. 10 Standing at a distance, for fear of her torment, they will say, ‘Oh no! The great city! Bavel, the mighty city! In a single hour your judgment has come!’11 The world’s businessmen weep and mourn over her, because no one is buying their merchandise any more — 12 stocks of gold and silver, gems and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, all rare woods, all ivory goods, all kinds of things made of scented wood, brass, iron and marble; 13 cinnamon, cardamom, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, flour, grain, cattle, sheep, horses, chariots — and bodies — and people’s souls. 14 The fruits you lusted for with all your heart have gone! All the luxury and flashiness have been destroyed, never to return! 15 The sellers of these things, who got rich from her, will stand at a distance, for fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16 and saying, ‘Oh no! The great city used to wear fine linen, purple and scarlet! She glittered with gold, precious stones and pearls! 17 Such great wealth — in a single hour, ruined!’ All the ship masters, passengers, sailors and everyone making his living from the sea stood at a distance 18 and cried out when they saw the smoke as she burned, ‘What city was like the great city?’ 19 And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, saying, ‘Oh no! The great city! The abundance of her wealth made all the ship owners rich! In a single hour she is ruined!’ 20 Rejoice over her, heaven! Rejoice, people of God, emissaries and prophets! For in judging her, God has vindicated you. 21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a great millstone, and hurled it into the sea, saying, ‘With violence like this will the great city Bavel be hurled down, never to be found again! 22 The sound of harpists and musicians, flute-players and trumpeters will never again be heard in you. No worker of any trade will ever again be found in you, the sound of a mill will never again be heard in you, 23 the light of a lamp will never again shine in you, the voice of bridegroom and bride will never again be heard in you. For your businessmen were the most powerful on earth, all the nations were deceived by your magic spell. 24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of God’s people, indeed, of all who have ever been slaughtered on earth!’”  ~ Revelation 18:9-24 (CJB)

The Results of Bavel’s Fall

The kings of the earth who went whoring with her and shared her luxury will sob and wail over her when they see the smoke as she burns. 10 Standing at a distance, for fear of her torment, they will say, ‘Oh no! The great city! Bavel, the mighty city! In a single hour your judgment has come! This is the first of three groups that bewail the destruction of Bavel, and they are referred to as the kings of the earth. They represent the political world, and their power comes from the Beast. With the world under global attack, they have to be wondering who will be the next ruling king. Their interest at this point is strictly self-serving. Finis Dake writes about these verses: [1]

What a contrast to the results and destruction of the Bavel in Rev. 17:16-17! Such language is too literal for me to mistake the reference as being anything else than to a material city, for the inhabitants of it, as well as others, will lament over its destruction. The kings are to be the instruments of the destruction of Mystical Bavel and vent their wrath on her freely. If there were no other proof that the two Bavels will be different, this one would be sufficient. These kings will commit fornication and live in luxury with literal Bavel right up to the time of her destruction, while, as seen in the other chapter, they will tire of Mystical Bavel before her destruction and rejoice over her fall. This certainly is a literal city for its burning is an object of sight by the whole world in that vicinity, for they “see” her burning, Revelation 18:9-19. People are to stand afar “off.”

The world’s businessmen weep and mourn over her, because no one is buying their merchandise any more — 12 stocks of gold and silver, gems and pearls, fine linen and purple, silk and scarlet, all rare woods, all ivory goods, all kinds of things made of scented wood, brass, iron and marble; 13 cinnamon, cardamom, incense, myrrh, frankincense, wine, oil, flour, grain, cattle, sheep, horses, chariots — and bodies — and people’s souls. 14 The fruits you lusted for with all your heart have gone! All the luxury and flashiness have been destroyed, never to return! 15 The sellers of these things, who got rich from her, will stand at a distance, for fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16 and saying, ‘Oh no! The great city used to wear fine linen, purple and scarlet! She glittered with gold, precious stones, and pearls! 17 Such great wealth — in a single hour, ruined!’

The second group that bewails the destruction of Bavel are those businessmen who have been made wealthy by their international trade. In this passage is a list of thirty different kinds of merchandise that can be sold or bought in Bavel. The most disturbing thing in this long list of merchandise has to be and bodies — and people’s souls. Even in the day in which we live the value of a human life continues to depreciate. Slave trade is practiced in many parts of our third world countries today, so one can only imagine what it will be like in the final days of the Great Tribulation.

All the ship masters, passengers, sailors and everyone making his living from the sea stood at a distance 18 and cried out when they saw the smoke as she burned, ‘What city was like the great city?’ 19 And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, saying, ‘Oh no! The great city! The abundance of her wealth made all the ship owners rich! In a single hour, she is ruined!’  The third group that bewails the destruction of Bavel are the ship masters, captains, and sailors. All three of these groups (the kings, the businessman, and the ship masters) are all upset, not over the destruction of Bavel, but because of the effect, it will have on their economic lives. Every last one of them is self-serving in his attitude, which is a form of pride.

The Destruction of Political Bavel

Rejoice over her, heaven! Rejoice, people of God, emissaries, and prophets! For in judging her, God has vindicated you. This is the first time in Revelation the admonition to celebrate or to rejoice is given. The cause for this celebration is the destruction of Bavel and God’s judgment upon this entire planet (Revelation 16:17-21). Warren Wiersbe adds these words: [2]

In contrast to the lament of the kings and merchants is the rejoicing of heaven’s inhabitants that Bavel has fallen. How important it is that God’s people look at events from God’s point of view. In fact, we are commanded to rejoice at the overthrow of Bavel, because in this judgment God will vindicate His servants who were martyred (see Revelation 6:9-11).

Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a great millstone, and hurled it into the sea, saying, ‘With violence like this will the great city Bavel be hurled down, never to be found again! 22 The sound of harpists and musicians, flute-players and trumpeters will never again be heard in you. No worker of any trade will ever again be found in you, the sound of a mill will never again be heard in you, 23 the light of a lamp will never again shine in you, the voice of bridegroom and bride will never again be heard in you. For your businessmen were the most powerful on earth, all the nations were deceived by your magic spell. 24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of God’s people, indeed, of all who have ever been slaughtered on earth!

David Stern comments on the size of a great millstone: [3]

The name Gat-Sh’manim (Gethsemane) means “oil press,” that is, a stone mill for grinding olives into pulp for their oil. Until quite recently the Arabs in the villages here in Israel used such presses for the same purpose, and many of the millstones are still around. They are circular with a hole in the center about 9 inches square; diameter averages about five feet, thickness a foot and weight well over a ton.

Take the time to read Jeremiah 51:61-64 and note the similarities between that passage and this one. These verses add more evidence to the belief that the city of Bavel will be rebuilt. This prophecy has never been fulfilled and for it to be filled Bavel must first be re-built! Civilization had its beginning in Shinar after the flood, and from there came a westward migration. Now in the closing days of this dispensation things are moving back toward the east once again. Bavel is HaSatan’s capital, just as Jerusalem is God’s capital. Thus, it seems fitting that Satan’s final hour will be back in his hometown. Jerry Falwell comments on this passage:[4]

A mighty angel casts a great millstone into the sea, representing the final fall of Bavel. A dead silence arises from the now-destroyed city. No more merriment, no more wedding celebrations, for the great harlot Bavel is at last destroyed forever. Joyless, dark, and silent, Bavel stands out as a monument to the utmost vengeance of God. Wickedness had sat enthroned in the midst of that professedly bearing the Name of Christ; but at last, when she had filled to the full her cup of iniquity, God rises in His fierce anger, His indignation burns, and Bavel falls to rise no more. Her destruction is irremediable.

Special Comparative Note on Chapter 18:9-24 [5]

 Historicist Approach:

Historicists believe much of the imagery in this passage comes from passages in Ezekiel 27 and 28 referring to the fall of the city of Tyre. Papal Rome is likened to Tyre concerning pride, luxury, and economic strength. The burning of the city is taken as the downfall of the papal power. The imagery of casting a millstone is reminiscent of Jeremiah 51:63-64.

Preterist Approach:

For Preterists, the events of this passage fit with the assumption that Bavel is either Rome or Jerusalem.

Futurist Approach:

Several Futurists believe that ancient Bavel in modern Iraq will be rebuilt in the End Times, ala Tim LaHaye’s Left Behind series.

Idealist Approach:

Idealists seem to align with the Historicists position above.

In my next post, we’ll examine Revelation 19:1-10 ~ The Marriage of the Lamb Has Come.

Click here for PDF version.

 

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

[2] Ibid.

[3] Jewish New Testament Commentary by David Stern.

[4] Ibid.

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

3 thoughts on “Fornicators Lament; Apostles and Prophets Avenged

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s