The fall of Babylon
The Bible paints a horrific picture of the end of all false religion. One day, every belief system in the world that bypasses the Lord Jesus Christ will be utterly destroyed and will cease to exist. That will be a devastating day for the devil and his followers, but it will be a glorious day for the God of Heaven and for His Son, the Lord Jesus.
While Revelation chapter 17 reveals the demise of ecumenical Babylon, today’s reading from chapter 18, reveals the doom of economic Babylon. In verses 1 & 2, a mighty angel, shining with the glory of Heaven, appears on the scene. This angel comes to announce the condition and the condemnation of this world’s economic system. Man will not only be deprived of the religion of wealth he has created; he will also suffer the loss of the wealth he craves.
Nothing seems to devastate people more than destitution. Take away a man’s money and often you have taken away his reason for living. This was the case in 1929 when the US stock market crashed. October 29, 1929 became known as “Black Tuesday”. When that stock market crashed, the world was plunged into “The Great Depression”. Over the next few years the economic structure of the U.S. economy was nearly destroyed. Over 9,000 banks closed their doors between 1930 and 1933. Production in manufacturing plants ground to a halt, leaving millions unemployed. Many thousands lost their homes to foreclosure; many others lost their health to malnutrition.
People who lived through those dark and difficult days were changed forever by the hardships they suffered.
These verses in Revelation 18, tell us of an economic collapse that will make the stock market crash of 1929 seem like a Sunday-School picnic! This coming economic disaster will be worldwide in its scope and it will take away mans favourite idol: money! Not without significance does the US Dollar have the words “In God We Trust” printed or stamped on every piece. Yet for far too many, both there and here, the “god” that they trust in is that piece of paper money they hold in their hands.
In today’s study, we will consider the demise of the one world economic system that will dominate our world in future days. By the way, whether you realize it or not, the world’s economy is already headed toward being one vast system. A sharp fall in the stock markets worldwide can wipe millions of the value of collateral held by many individuals and governments alike. These verses talk about a day when the entire economic structure of the world will come crashing down in a moment of time – today, today we are living in the overture to that performance!
Let’s consider the facts in this chapter as they are revealed to us – God who is the judge of the economic system of this world. I want to take these verses and preach on The Fall Of Economic Babylon.
Firstly let us consider A SYSTEM CORRUPTED
Let me begin by explaining that at the core of the Babylonian Economic System is the idea of the NOTE?
Instead of the exchange of some valuable assets such as gold, silver, platinum or diamonds, we simply exchange a “promissory note” “I promise to pay the bearer – the sum of …” So that instead of having a pocket full of gold, you have a pocket full of notes, promises, or IOU’s?
If you thought you had great wealth in your Bank Account, – think again – all you have in your Bank Account are Promises, and promises worth only the paper they are written on. (and therein lies the corruption of the system)
In verse 2 we see The Spirit of this System – The angel tells us about the spirit behind the system. It is a system energized and controlled by devils demons and evil spirits. It is utterly vile and corrupt. We look at our world today and think that it can’t get much worse. What this verse describes is a world that has literally gone to the devil. Things can get worse and they will!
Verse 3 reveals The Seduction of this System – This Babylonian system has seduced the entire world. Kings, Queens Presidents and merchants all tie their futures to what happens in this economic structure. Millions will be made as the wealthy people of the earth give everything they have to get their hands on all they can get. We live in a world obsessed with money. How many of us have sat around and imagined what we would do if we had millions? How many are spending money they don’t have buying lottery tickets to try and get rich quick? How many always have some scheme cooking in their head that they think will make them rich? The love of money is the greatest corrupter of mankind ever conceived. 1 Timothy 6:v10 reminds us that Money in and of itself is not evil; but, when a person loves money to the point that it controls their life and lifestyle, it becomes a greedy and corrupting evil.
Then verses 4-8 reveal to us The Sentence of this System – The angel is preparing to pronounce God’s judgment upon this corrupt system. Before he does, he calls for God’s people to avoid being caught up in the wickedness of that hour. The angel calls
for the people of God to reject this system and the sins of this system. God expects His people to come out of this world’s system and to be different 2 Corinthians. 6:17 He expects us
to be motivated by a different set of values and priorities?
We will never win the world by being like them! We will impact the world the most when we separate from their ways and allow them to see Jesus living and working in and through our lives!
Let’s listen in as the Lord’s sentence is passed on the Babylonian economic system.
v. 5 mentions Her Deeds – The sins of this system have “reached unto heaven”. The word “reached” (ak-olou-theo in the Greek) means “to glue, to cement, to fasten together”. The ancient tower of Babel failed to reach the heavens, but the sins of this Babylonian system have succeeded in reaching the throne of God. God, in His patience, has held back His judgment. But now, the sins of Babylon come up in the remembrance of God and the day of His judgment has arrived. Praise the Lord that those who are in Jesus do not have to worry about their sins being remembered. Consider the wonderful promise of Isaiah 43:25, “I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins.”
v. 6 He highlights Her Doom – The word “reward” here means “to pay a debt; to give back that which is due”. Babylon has sinned much and she is about to be punished much! Her sins have been doubled and her punishment will be doubled too!
You never get away with sin! Gal. 6:7 tells us that we will always reap what we sow. The problem with this sowing and reaping business is that we sometimes reap more than we sow and later than we sow. Many people think they are getting away with sin, but they aren’t! There will come a reaping day and a reaping which may far exceed the sowing!
v. 7 reveals Her Deception – This system glorifies itself. It thinks it is so powerful and so necessary that it is above scrutiny and judgment; but the Babylonian system is about to learn a harsh lesson.
Lots of people have this same attitude about their lives. They think that they are safe and that they will never be judged. God has a word for people with that attitude, in 1 Thes. 5:3, “For when they shall say, Peace and Safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail cometh upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”
Verse 8 then warns of Her Destruction – Her power, her glory and her pride will not stave off the judgment of the Lord. Her destruction will be swift and sure. In one day (24 hours)
all that man has built over thousands of years will be brought to nothing, and brought down. Judgment will come and there will be no escape. It is settled in heaven! Her Destroyer – God Almighty – makes promises and not threats. This system has defied His Word and defiled His Ways. He will come in judgment and none will be able to stay His hand nor stop
So we have seen A System Corrupted
Now let us look at v. 9-20 – A SYSTEM CONSIDERED
When the Babylonian economic system is judged, the entire world is plunged into grief. The world cries “Alas, Alas” as they realize that their wealth and powerful influence is gone. Notice here how the different groups react to the fall of Babylon.
v. 9-10 show that The Monarchs Of The Earth Consider Her – All the leaders of the nations of the earth who have risen to power and prosperity on the back of this system now mourn over her destruction. Every economy of every nation on the earth will crash to the ground in a moment of time. They weep and mourn because no one has any money with which to buy their goods, v. 12. All of a sudden all their goods, which were worth so much, v. 13-14, are worth nothing! Verse 12 tells us that the luxuries of life are out of reach. Houses, cars, jewellery, and other fine things of life will be unobtainable. Verse 13 tells us that the basic necessities of life will be impossible to obtain. Milk, bread, meat and others foods will be out of the reach of every man. Verse 14 tells us that the exotic things that men long for will be taken away too. Notice this list. The first item is “gold”, verse 12. The last item is “the souls of men”, v. 13. This reveals where the world system places its priorities. It elevates profits over people. (none can argue with that – we can see it every day)
This system has built its power and gained its prosperity through oppression and enslavement of the common man –
but Those Days are over!
Verse 15-17 shows the formerly wealthy merchants weeping over the destruction of the city. They have witnessed the devastation of the word’s economic system and they are shattered by what they have seen. We live in an hour when anything we want is readily available, and most people in our society seem able to afford just about anything they want….. If not, they buy now and pay later! People talk about the economic downturn in Ireland, but we can still see thousands shopping on Sundays? Some People still have plenty of money. That will change one day! The money of the world will become – worth nothing. Good’s will cease to be available. The world will be brought to its knees by the destruction of economic Babylon…. It’s in the BOOK!
Then verses 17-19 show us that The Mariners Of The Earth Consider Her – All the people who made a fortune carrying the goods produced by this system mourn while they see its destruction. Their source of wealth is taken away and they are left destitute. All hope of profit and prosperity are taken away in an instant.
But in v. 20 surprisingly, The Multitudes Of Heaven Consider Her – While earth weeps over the fall of Babylon, Heaven worships! This system has been responsible for the death and destruction of many of God’s people. Now, this system is judged and Heaven is filled with joy. It is interesting to observe Heaven’s perspective concerning the events of earth. What brings sadness to the hearts of earthly men brings shouting to the hearts of heavenly men. One day we will all have a heavenly perspective, we should pray that God would give us some of
This then is A System Corrupted & A System Considered
Finally in v. 21-24 we examine A SYSTEM CONDEMNED
These last few verses bring the judgment of economic Babylon to a conclusion… lets see how this evil system will be condemned?
In v. 21 Her Condemnation is Characterized – A mighty angel casts a millstone into the sea. A millstone was a huge, round stone used to grind grain. A typical millstone was around six to eight feet in diameter and about 2 foot thick. A stone of that magnitude and mass would sink to the bottom of the sea and it would not ever float back to the surface.
This stone is used to illustrate the judgment that is coming upon Babylon. Babylon will be destroyed and it will not rise to power ever again. This is what Jeremiah prophesied many years ago. Jeremiah 51:64, “And thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.”
The judgment of Babylon will be sudden, swift and sure. It is also a judgment that is forever settled; there can be no reprieve
and no return!
In v. 22-23 Her Condemnation is Completed – When Babylon is judged and ceases to exist, her passing will also signal the passing of life as the world knows it.
There will be no more music, verse 22. Music has always been associated with happiness and joy. There will be no more reason for rejoicing. Music will cease.
There will be no more manufacturing, verse 22. People have always been industrious. Man has always found a way to work with his hands and provide for his family. Man works because he has a hope for the future, but when Babylon falls, all hope for the future vanishes with her.
There will be no more merriment, verse 23. The “light of a candle” mentioned here – speaks of habitation and home. A light in the window of a home suggest happiness, hope, family and home. All these are taken away when Babylon falls.
The homes of the world will be plunged into darkness and despair!
There will be no more marriages, verse 23. No longer will love bring a hopeful couple to an altar to exchange their vows. There will be no more beautiful brides in their white dresses. There will be no more nervous grooms in their tuxedos. There will be no flower girls, ring bearers and wedding bells. Weddings are times filled with hope and happiness. A couple meet at the altar with their hearts full of love and hope for the future. They begin their relationship with great expectations. When Babylon falls, there will be no more love, no more marriages and no more hope for happy days ahead!
Finally, in v. 23-24 Her Condemnation is Contemplated –
This system is judged because she stood for everything God was against. This system was domineering. A few got rich while the rest suffered, v. 23. It still happens in Fake or False Religion?
This system is deceptive. People are lead to believe that salvation is in achieving riches and success. That is the lie of the devil!
It is better to have none of this world’s goods, than for this world’s goods to have you. Listen to the Word of God: from Proverbs 11:4, “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.” and Proverbs 11:28,
says “He that trusteth in his riches shall fall: but the
righteous shall flourish as a branch.”
This system was deadly, v. 24. The Babylonian system has been responsible for the deaths of many of God’s precious people down through the ages. In fact, most of the faithful martyrs that have been killed – have been sacrificed on the altar of power and profit.
Greed is the Creed that you don’t need!
NOW THIS FINAL WORD
This Book warns us that our worlds economic system that has caused so much pleasure for some, and so much pain for others is going to be destroyed one day soon. My advice to you is to be sure that your treasure is in the right place. Jesus taught us in Matthew 6:19-21, to “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
If you place the eggs of your life in the basket of this world,
they will all be broken one day!
The most precious and valuable thing you possess is your soul, make sure that you have entrusted it to the care of the Saviour, make sure you have given your heart, your love and your life to Him, and … if you’ve never done it, then do it now.
God Bless You – Amen