Revelation Chapter 18
In our previous blog we discussed the religious “Babylon” in chapter 17. This chapter also deals with “Babylon”. The Babylon of chapter 18 is not the same as the Babylon of chapter 17. In fact this chapter begins with the phrase “after these things.” Anytime a verse begins by saying “after these things” you should stop and ask yourself, “after what things?” In this case it is after the destruction of the religious Babylon in chapter 17.
Then if mystical Babylon was destroyed in the previous chapter she cannot be the same as the Babylon in this chapter. Therefore the city here described must be a literal city called Babylon, and as there is no city today by that name it must be referring to some future city of Babylon. I have stated on numerous occasions that it is clear Babylon will be rebuilt and play an important role in the latter days.
History of Babylon
The ancient city of Babylon from the days of Nimrod grew in size and importance century after century until it reached its peak of great glory in the days of Nebuchadnezzar in B. C. 604-562.
Babylon was an exact square of 15 miles on a side or 60 miles around, and was surrounded by a brick wall 87 feet thick, and 350 feet high. On the wall were 250 towers and the top of the wall was wide enough for 6 chariots to drive abreast. The city was divided into two equal parts by the river Euphrates that flowed diagonally through it. At each end of the river was a palace. Near one of the palaces stood the Tower of Bel, or Babel. It is said that Babylon was probably one of the most magnificent cities the world has ever known, and its fall reveals what a city may become when it forsakes God and He sends His judgment upon it.
It is no coincidence that the book of the Bible that speaks the most about Babylon is the book of Daniel. Since Revelation is an extension of Daniel this city plays an important role once again.
Many do not believe that this city will be one day rebuilt. Both the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah speak of the destruction of Babylon. Some claim that the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah are completely fulfilled, therefore leaving nothing to be fulfilled in a future Babylon. Therefore they conclude that this chapter is symbolical and must not refer to a literal city.
To see if that is true we must consider what the prophets said about Babylon. The following is said of this city:
“It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.” Isaiah 13:20
“Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.” Jeremiah 51:43
“And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be desolate forever, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 51:26
While Babylon does not stand today, that land is not desolate. Further still one must remember the specific statement made by Isaiah concerning the time in which this destruction was to happen.
“Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.” Isaiah 13:9, 10
Nothing like this happened when Cyrus took Babylon. In fact Cyrus made Babylon his capital, he did not destroy it. Xerxes plundered Babylon, but did not destroy it. Alexander the Great wanted to make it his capital, not destroy it. Babylon, while suffering much through history, was not destroyed. Peter even visited Babylon according to 1 Peter.
We are also told in chapter 18 that the city will be destroyed by fire, which is in perfect harmony with the prophecy of Isaiah.
“And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.” Isaiah 13:19
“As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbor cities thereof, saith the Lord; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.” Jeremiah 50:40
The destruction of Sodom was not prolonged through many centuries; their glory was destroyed in a few hours. Just as Babylon was not destroyed this way is further proof that this must be referring to some future destruction of Babylon. This fits perfectly both the description given to us in chapter 18, and also the description of the destruction mentioned once the 7th vial was poured out in chapter 16.
It would appear that since the city of Sodom was first set on fire and then destroyed by an earthquake, Babylon will be set on fire, and as Babylon is under laid with asphalt, that an earthquake will break up the crust of the earth and send the city into a lake of fire. The city will sink below the surface of the earth as into the sea.
The city will be swallowed up, making it impossible to take her stones for building, and the land will become a wilderness where no man shall ever dwell.
Babylon’s Roll in End Times
There is a remarkable prophecy recorded by Zechariah that has a meaning in these verses.
The "Ephah" which the prophet saw, is the largest of Hebrew dry measures, and is often a symbol of commerce and its resemblance or going forth through all the earth is a symbol of a universal commercialism.
In this prophecy Zechariah saw a woman called wickedness. This woman attempted to rise but the angel thrust her back and replaced the lid made of a "talent of lead." After this we see two women with the wings of a stork lift up the Ephah and carry it into the "Land of Shinar."
The land of Shinar was the place where the tower of Babel was built on the ancient site of Babylon.
If the Ephah stands for commerce, and the occupant of the Ephah is called wickedness, it reveals the fact that the commercialism of the time of the vision will be characterized by all manner of dishonest methods. The fact that the woman is thrust back and a lead lid placed on her, tells us that the dishonest schemes are to be hid and kept out of sight.
In the Old Testament the stork is an unclean bird, which is characteristic of this day. This prophecy is further proof that the city of Babylon will be rebuilt and become the commercial center of the world. It will be from Babylon that the Antichrist will rule and reign.
It will not take long to rebuild this city with the wealth of the world and the command of Capitalist. Once the lid is lifted off the “Ephah” the wickedness will reveal itself and no man will be able to buy or sell, but he who has the mark of the beast.
You may be asking yourself the question, how can you say that you are expecting Jesus to come at any moment if the city of Babylon must be rebuilt before He can come? There is not a word in the scriptures that say that Babylon must be rebuilt before Jesus can come. The church may be taken out of this world several years before the city is built.
This future city will be the greatest commercial city of the world. It will be a market for gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, or silk, scarlet and costly wools. It will be a place of high fashion for the people will be clothed in the most costly raiment and decked with costly jewels. Their homes will be of the finest wood, brass, iron, marble and the richest of draperies and rugs.
Babylon Finally Destroyed
The destruction of the city will be sudden and without warning. A storm will sweep over the city, lightning and thundering will come. The city will be set on fire and a great earthquake will shake it from its center. The tall office buildings will begin to collapse and the whole city will sink as a milestone.
As the city sinks into a lake of burning asphalt, the smoke will come like a furnace. The burning city, and the river Euphrates will generate steam. The steam will reflect off the burning city. When night comes the illuminated clouds will reflect the light of the burning city. People will be able to see the lights from the burning city for miles.
The kings of the earth, the merchants, the shipmasters and sailors and all who profited by the city will stand afar off and cry. While the earth cries the heavens will rejoice for God will have rewarded her according to her works and Babylon will be no more.
Today Babylon is in the process of being rebuilt. A simply Google search will reveal that the Iraqi people are in the process of rebuilding the ancient ruins of Babylon. Today a museum has been built in Babylon with future plans to make the city a thriving tourist attraction. The people believe that rebuilding Babylon will boost the economy. Little do they know that the economy will soon be boosted, and Babylon will play a huge roll. In fact Babylon will play such a huge roll that it will become the economic capital of the world.