Revelation 18:2

Sunday, 6 June 2021

And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! Revelation 18:2

Chapter 18 opened with the note of the Angel (certainly a revelation of Jesus Christ) coming down from heaven having great authority and illuminating the earth with His glory. Of Him, it now says, “And he cried mightily with a loud voice.”

This is reminiscent of the cry of the Angel in Revelation 10 –

“He had a little book open in his hand. And he set his right foot on the sea and his left foot on the land, and cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars. When he cried out, seven thunders uttered their voices.” Revelation 10:2, 3

It is a distinct and assertive cry, “saying, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.’”

In the Greek, the double repetition is in the emphatic position and reads, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great.” These words now are the fulfilling of the words that anticipated this event in Chapter 14 –

“And another angel followed, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’” Revelation 14:8

Both accounts record substantially the same words, and it is certain that they are referring to the same event. Chapter 14 was spoken in anticipation of what is now recorded here in Chapter 18. This great Babylon is coming to its end, something that was typologically pictured by the fall of ancient Babylon. That was recorded in Isaiah 21 –

“And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!
Then he answered and said,
‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen!
And all the carved images of her gods
He has broken to the ground.’” Isaiah 21:9

Of Babylon the great, the Angel continues with His words, saying, “and has become a dwelling place of demons.”

This is a statement anticipating its final condition. In its falling, there is nothing left to allow human habitation. Thus, the thought is that of a desolate city, forsaken by humans, that has then been overtaken by haunting spirits. The Lord speaks of such a place in Matthew 12:43 –

“When an unclean spirit goes out of a man, he goes through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none.”

Not only is Babylon to be a dwelling place for demons, but it will also be “a prison for every foul spirit.”

The word translated as “prison” is phulaké. It signifies “a guarding.” Thus, this could either be a prison for the foul spirits, or it could be a place guarded by foul spirits. As it has become a dwelling place of demons, it appears that the latter is the intent here, unless the demons are guarding the foul spirits. However, one would think of them as being united in purpose. Finally, the Angel says, “and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!”

The same word just translated as “prison” is again used here and is now translated as “cage.” Rather than a prison and a cage, it seems that these should be translated as a “watch,” such as in Luke 12:38. In this, it would signify a place devoid of humans and left to only that which is foul and loathsome. That would then conform to the symbolism here which comes from Isaiah 13 –

“And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms,
The beauty of the Chaldeans’ pride,
Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
20 It will never be inhabited,
Nor will it be settled from generation to generation;
Nor will the Arabian pitch tents there,
Nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there.
21 But wild beasts of the desert will lie there,
And their houses will be full of owls;
Ostriches will dwell there,
And wild goats will caper there.
22 The hyenas will howl in their citadels,
And jackals in their pleasant palaces.
Her time is near to come,
And her days will not be prolonged.” Isaiah 13:19-22

In this 18th Chapter of Revelation, a connection to the 18th letter of the Hebrew aleph-bet is seen. The letter tsadde pictures a trail and has the meanings of trail, journey, chase, and hunt. The letter, however, speaks of righteousness, such as when God is known as tsaddik v’yashar, or Righteous and Upright, in Deuteronomy 32:4. The Lord is the righteous Judge, and He will bring an end to Babylon in due time. The word is written, and it shall come to pass.

Life application: The concept of Babylon being a place of spiritual opposition to God goes back to the earliest chapters of the Bible. Throughout the Bible, the two prominent cities of note are Jerusalem – the city which reflects right religion and fellowship with God, and Babylon – the city which reflects defiled religion, uncleanness, and enmity with God.

These two cities aren’t just physical locations, but are also spoken of as concepts of these things. Whereas Jerusalem will endure forever, as we will see in the coming chapter, Babylon will come to an end. This end will be with great destruction and carnage. Because these two cities are used both literally and symbolically, it is unknown what the destruction coming upon Babylon fully entails.

Will it be a worldwide destruction of all false religions simultaneously, or is it an actual location which, in the end times, is the symbol for all false religion? If the latter, several options have been suggested throughout the years. The first is that it is actually a political, social, and religious center in the location of Babylon in the Mideast – a rebuilt Babylon in the end times.

The second is that the location is Rome where the antichrist, false prophet, and one-world government are centered. And then of course there are those who have suggested New York, Jerusalem, or some other great city as well. What is certain is that Babylon is fallen – even though this is future to us. It is as certain as the ground under our feet. Babylon will be judged.

She is an abomination in the sight of God, and she must be completely removed before the pure and holy religion of the true God can come in its fullness. An end to all false religion will be replaced with worship that is pure and undefiled. In that day, the world will come before the King, God’s Messiah, and they will acknowledge that He rules. He is great. He is glorious. He is JESUS!

Lord, You have shown us what is right, what is pure, what is undefiled, and what is good. Help us to think on these things, talk about these things, and hold fast to them. Help us to fix our eyes on Jesus so that nothing impure or defiled enters our sight. Keep us safe from the wickedness of worldly things and from the doctrines of demons. Thank You for watching over us. Amen.