“After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.” Revelation 18:1.
Having seen that chapter 17 is concerned with the destruction of the super-church and other events that occurred in the first three and a half years of the tribulation, we now come to chapter 18 which deals with an event late in the second half of the tribulation.
The Apostle John tells us of the destruction of religious Babylon in the middle of the tribulation, portraying her as a harlot (prostitute).
“And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.” Revelation 17:16.
Then in Revelation 18:1, the apostle says this; “After these things”, indicating that the narrative of chapter 18 begins after the vision of the destruction of the super-church in the middle of the tribulation.
Notice also that the verse continues with the words, “I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.”
This shows plainly that this angel is sent by God and is not a fallen angel as in the verse below.
“Then the fifth angel sounded: And I saw a star [angel] fallen from heaven to the earth. And to him was given the key to the bottomless pit [to release a plague].” Revelation 9:1.
Fallen angels are of the demonic world, Satan’s domain, so it is important to discern what sort of an angel is bringing a message to a religious leader or perhaps even to you or I.
No angel sent from heaven will ever give a message that conflicts with Scripture, ever. No matter how beautiful they are, or how sweet, if they contradict the word of God they are fallen angels bringing doctrines of demons.
Speaking of some false apostles who had come in to the church the Apostle Paul said the following.
“For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.” 2 Corinthians 11:13-15.
“But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:8.
Having said all this let us move on.
While both chapters 17 and 18 speak of Babylon, the former speaks of a religious Babylon, and the latter is concerned with a commercial Babylon. The differences should become apparent as we go along.
As we have seen religious Babylon is very likely located in the city of Rome; while the commercial city may be located in Iraq.
Admittedly the present location of the original Babylon is little more than rubble with the nearby river Euphrates being navigable only by small draft boats.
For this reason many feel that commercial Babylon may be a code name for a large commercial center like, New York, London, or even Rome.
Many of the more liberal theologians discount this and claim that commercial Babylon is simply a metaphorical warning from God to His people to refrain from greed.
While there is merit to teaching people to refrain from seeking wealth to the exclusion of seeking the things which are above as Jesus has warned men.
“If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.” Colossians 3:1-4.
Jesus has this to say about riches.
“No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [riches].” Luke 16:13.
As we go along though you will see that the Biblical description of commercial Babylon in chapter 18 has the distinctive earmarks of a place, not a spiritual lesson, this is not a metaphor.
When people take things they do not understand or do not like and allegorize them they begin to lose sight of the fact that God has written and established this.
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16.
If we say that Babylon is not real, but rather a metaphor through which God is teaching Christians to avoid greed and commercialism, then we have to say that perhaps the seas being turned to blood, hundred pound hailstones, and horrific earthquakes must mean something else.
Is the worldwide flood of Noah real, did Eve eat of the forbidden fruit, was Jesus real or just a God concept? Do not give the devil a foothold with this kind of thinking; either God said what He meant and meant what He said, or He simply does not exist!
As for the idea of a large commercial or port city being called Babylon; it very well could be. Bearing in mind that it might be fairly easy to move a financial district like Wall Street to another location by simply moving computers around.
So if the beast were to set up Rome for instance as his capital, it might not be as difficult as it would seem.
Speaking of Rome, it is possible for the ten kings to destroy religious Babylon in Rome (see Revelation 17:9-18 posted on 10-12-22 and 10-15-22) without devastating the city.
The reason is this, if the identification of the Roman Church as the harlot is correct, then all they would have to do is destroy Vatican City which is a sovereign city state within Rome and most of Mystery Babylon would be destroyed in short order.
Vatican City State is ruled by the Pope, it is 0.17 square miles, about 110 acres, and by comparison Disneyland in California is about 160 to 180 acres, it is indeed a very small place. So such a thing could happen and the city would suffer little effect, leaving plenty of room for Rome to become a world capital.
However, there is nothing keeping the city from being located on the old site of Babylon. As stated in another place in this study, the tribulation does not begin with the rapture of the church; it begins with the signing of a seven year treaty by Israel with the Antichrist (Daniel 9:27).
“Then he [Antichrist] shall confirm a covenant with many [Israel] for one week [7 years]; but in the middle of the week [3 ½ years] he shall bring an end to sacrifice and offering [see Revelation 13:11-18].” Daniel 9:27a.
The Antichrist/beast will break this treaty in the middle of the seven years and begin severe persecution of Israel, a period known as the time of Jacob’s trouble.
This being the case, the time period between the rapture and the signing of the treaty may be months, even years.
If this is so, the rebuilding of Babylon in Iraq could be accomplished quickly, with the determination of the beast, modern building methods, unlimited cash, materials, and heavy equipment.
Add to this the dredging of the Euphrates to facilitate navigation by large ships and you have a world class city.
For your consideration though I have just found out that the Euphrates River is as of August 2022 drying up due to severe drought conditions in that area, and it is possible that the several dams constructed on the river do not help.
Some folks are saying this is the fulfillment of the prophecy of the drying up of the river Euphrates given in Revelation 16:12, this is not possible since that event takes place near the end of the 7 year tribulation period.
“Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared.” Revelation 16:12.
While it is quite possible that the return of the rains and snow packs could return the river to its former flow since it is not completely dried up, it may also be possible that the river will not completely return to its former glory.
However the description in Revelation 16:12 does not seem to allow for a half dried up river.
For some reason this is Satan’s city, perhaps because it has always signified open rebellion against God. God’s instructions to mankind after the flood waters abated and they exited the ark were to multiply and fill the earth.
“And as for you, be fruitful and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth and multiply in it.” Genesis 9:7.
But they defied God’s instructions and decided to locate in one place.
“And they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth.’” Genesis 11:4.
Symbolically this would make sense to return to the place where men first decided to live as one world.
Today, once again mankind wants to return to one world through a One World Government which we also know as the New World Order. What better place to locate its seat of government than where it all began.
So it is possible that the devil will egg the world on as they clamor for the opportunity to rebuild Babylon.
Revelation 18:1, Part 1 taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 2-27-17, updated on 10-19-22.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.