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Coming out of Babylon (Revelation 17,18)

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Revelation 18

The fall of Babylon
After these things I saw another angel coming down out of heaven, having great authority; and the earth was lit with his glory. 2 And he cried with a mighty voice, saying: Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the great, and has become a habitation of demons, a refuge of every unclean spirit, and a refuge of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 For by the wine of the anger of her fornication all the nations are fallen; for the kings of the earth had committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich by the power of her greed.
   4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying: Come out of her My people, lest you take part in her sins, and partake of her plagues. 5 For her sins have reached even to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 Give to her even as she gave, and repay her double according to her deeds. In the cup in which she mixed, mix for her a double portion. 7 As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says: I sit as a queen, I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see. 8 Therefore in one day shall her plagues come, death and mourning and famine; and she shall be completely burned with fire. For strong is the Lord God who judges her.
   9 And the kings of the earth, who committed fornication and lived wantonly with her, shall weep and wail over her, when they look upon the smoke of her burning, 10 standing far away for the fear of her torment, saying: Woe, woe, the great city! Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour does your judgment come.
   11 And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise any more. 12 Merchandise of gold and silver and precious stone and pearls and fine linen and purple and silk and scarlet and all kinds of scented wood, and every vessel of ivory and every vessel made of most precious wood and of brass and iron and marble, 13 and cinnamon and spice and incense and ointment and frankincense and wine and oil and fine flour and wheat and cattle and sheep and horses and chariots and slaves and the souls of men. 14 And the fruits which your soul lusted after are gone from you, and all things that were dainty and sumptuous are lost to you, never to be found again! 15 The merchants of these things who were made rich by her shall stand far away, for the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16 saying: Woe, woe, the great city! She that was dressed in fine linen and purple and scarlet and decked with gold and precious stone and pearl! 17 For in an hour so many great riches are laid waste. And every shipmaster and everyone that sails anywhere, and mariners, and as many as gain their living at sea, stood far away, 18 and cried out as they looked upon the smoke of her burning, saying: What city is like the great city? 19 And they cast dust on their heads and cried, weeping and mourning, saying: Woe, woe, the great city, wherein all that had their ships in the sea were made rich by reason of her expense! For in one hour she is made desolate.
   20 Rejoice over her, you heaven, and you saints, and you apostles, and you prophets. For God has judged your judgment on her. 21 And a strong angel took up a stone, as it were a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying: Thus with a mighty fall shall Babylon, the great city, be cast down, and shall never be found again. 22 And the voice of harpers and minstrels and flute players and trumpeters shall never be heard again in you, and no craftsman of whatever craft shall ever be found again in you, and the voice of a mill shall never be heard again in you. 23 The light of a lamp shall never shine again in you, and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall never be heard again in you. For your merchants were the princes of the earth; and with your sorcery were all the nations deceived.
   24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that have been slain upon the earth.


18:4 To leave the system of the world in the last days will be difficult and painful, just as it was for the Jews to respond to the initial historical call to leave Babylon and return to rebuild the ruins of Judah. Many of them were doing well in Babylon and preferred to remain there; the same temptation will occur for the believers in latter day, symbolic Babylon.

18:6 To be given a cup of wine to drink from God is a double symbol- both of condemnation and of blessing (1 Cor. 10:16). This is why when we take the cup of wine at the breaking of bread meeting, we must examine ourselves- for we drink either blessing or condemnation to ourselves (1 Cor. 11:28,29). This makes the breaking of bread an intense experience, as we face up to the only two possible destinies which we face.

18:21 This figure of a millstone being cast into the sea is used by Jesus to describe the fate of those who cause His little ones to stumble (Mt. 18:6). To do this means that we are just as bad as Babylon with all her apparently more gross sins. Those who do this will be “condemned with the world” (1 Cor. 11:32), i.e. they will be resurrected, judged, and sent back into ‘Babylon’ to share her judgment.