free while helping to build churches and support pastors in Uganda.
Click here to learn more!
1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
Ver. 1. I saw another angel ] Some excellent and worthy man (saith Mr Brightman), such a one as should come suddenly before he be looked for, as those things do that slip down from heaven.
Having great power ] εξουσιαν , or authority; as having in hand a great business, viz. the denouncing of Rome’s utter ruin.
And the earth was lighted ] He delivered himself clearly and expressly, so as that all men may well understand his meaning. Ribera the Jesuit gives this note upon this text, that the judgment of Rome’s desolation shall be (not kept secret, but) made manifest to all men.
2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
Ver. 2. And he cried mightily ] So to awaken Babylon, that slept no less securely than that old Babylon, whose king Shesach was feasting and carousing in the bowls of the sanctuary, when the city was taken the same night. The people also did so little fear it, that it was three days after the city was taken by Cyrus ere some of them heard what was befallen them. (Herodot. Arist. Pol.)
Is fallen, is fallen ] Certo, cito, penitus, or, with a double fall. They have fallen culpably, and shall fall penally. This was also long since foretold by Sibylla in the eighth book of her oracles:
" Και συ θριαμβος εση κοσμω, και αοιδος απαντων ".
" Tota eris in cineres quasi nunquam Roma fuisses. "
Rome (during the Roman felicity) was never taken but by the Gauls; but since it became pontifical, it hath been made a prey to all barbarous nations, and never besieged by any that took it not. There yet stands, near at hand, a second Babylon (saith Petrarch), cito itidem casura, si essetis viri. This would soon be down, if you would but stand up as men.
The habitation of devils ] Which, by a sweet providence of God, for the good of mankind, are banished (as likewise fierce and wild beasts are) to deserts and unpopulated places. See Matthew 12:43 . (It is an allusion to Isaiah 13:20 ; Isaiah 14:23 ; Jer 50:39 ) Yet not so, but that, by Divine permission, they haunt and pester the greatest throngs of people, yea, the holiest assemblies. Some take the words in another sense, thus, it is become a habitation of devils, that is, of idols; and this hath wrought her ruin. In the year 610, Boniface IV instituted the feast of All Saints, after that he had begged of the emperor the Pantheon of Rome, which he consecrated to the honour of All Saints, and set up the Virgin Mary in the place of Cybele, the mother of the gods. (Alsted. Chron.)
3 For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
Ver. 3. For all nations ] All Roman Catholics.
The merchants of the earth ] καπηλευειν . The Popish emissaries that huckster the word and make merchandise of men’s souls, 2 Peter 2:3 , after they have taken them prisoners, and made prizes of them, 2 Timothy 3:6 , αιχμαλωτιζοντες .
Through the abundance of her delicacies ] στρηνους , or, of her insolencies. Proh pudor! haec res est tote notissima caelo, sang Petrarch 200 years since, speaking of the luxury and insolency of the court of Rome.
4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
Ver. 4. Another voice ] This was Christ’s voice, whether mediate or immediate it appears not. SeeJeremiah 51:45; Jeremiah 51:45 .
My people ] A people Christ had, and still hath, where Antichrist most prevaileth. There are thought to be no less than 20,000 Protestants in Seville itself, a chief city of Spain. Even in Italy there are full 4000 professed Protestants; but their paucity and obscurity (saith Sir Edw. Sands) shall enclose them in a cipher.
Partakers of her sins ] Esto procul Roma qui cupis esse pius. Roma, vale, vidi, satis est vidisse, &c. John Knox refused the bishopric offered him by King Edward VI, as having aliquid commune cum Antichristo, something in common with the Antichrist. Adam Damlip, martyr, had been a great Papist, and chaplain to Fisher, bishop of Rochester; after whose death he travelled to Rome, where he thought to have found all godliness and sincere religion. In the end he found there, as he said, such blaspheming of God, contempt of true religion, looseness of life, and abundance of all abominations, that he abhorred any longer there to abide; although he was greatly requested by Cardinal Pole there to continue, and to read three lectures a week in his house; for the which he offered him great entertainment. (Acts and Mon.) The like is recorded of Mr Rough, martyr, that being before Bonner, he affirmed that he had been twice at Rome, and there had seen plainly with his eyes that the pope was the very Antichrist; for there he saw him carried on men’s shoulders, and the falsely named sacrament borne before him; yet was there more reverence given to him than to that which they counted their God. Mr Ascham (schoolmaster to Queen Elizabeth) was wont to thank God that he was but nine days in Italy, wherein he saw in that one city of Venice more liberty to sin, than in London he ever heard of in nine years. (Mr Fuller’s Holy State, f. 159.)
And that ye receive not of her plagues ] Muscult ruinis imminentibus proemigrant, et aranei cum telis primi cadunt, saith Pliny: Mice will haste out of a house that is ready to drop on their heads, and spiders with their webs will fall before the house falleth. Cerinthus the heretic coming into the bath where St John was washing, the apostle εξηλατο του βαλανειου , sprang or leapt out of the bath, saith Eusebius (lib. iv. 14); as fearing, lest being found in his company he should partake of his plagues. It is dangerous conversing with wicked men, 1. For infection of sin; 2. For infliction of punishment. Ambrose, closing up the story of Ahab and Jezebel’s fearful end, fitly saith thus: Fuge ergo, dives, huiusmodi exitum, sed fugies huiusmodi exitum, si fugeris huiusmodi flagitium: Flee therefore, O rich man, such an end as Ahab had, by shunning such evils as Ahab did. (Amb. de Nab. Jezreel, c. xi.)
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
Ver. 5. For her sins have reached ] Gr. ηκολουθησαν , have followed thick or been thwacked one upon another, thick and threefold, as they say: there hath been a concatenation, or a continued series of them, εκολληθησαν . Others read, Her sins are glued and soldered together; or they cleave and are glued to heaven. Matthew Paris speaking of the court of Rome, saith, Huius foetor usque ad nubes fumum teterrimum exhalabat: Her filthiness hath sent up a most noisome stench to the very clouds of heaven, as Sodom’s did; therefore shall Babel (the glory of kingdoms) be as the destruction of God in Sodom and Gomorrha,Isaiah 13:19; Isaiah 13:19 .
6 Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.
Ver. 6. Double unto her double ] This is spoken to the good kings that shall sack Rome, that they do the Lord’s work thoroughly, not sparing Agag, as Saul did to the loss of his kingdom, nor dismissing Benhadad, as Ahab did to the loss of his own life.
7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.
Ver. 7. She hath glorified herself ] As mother of Churches, queen of nations. Steuchus (one of her parasites) saith, That kings have but the use and administration of their kingdoms; the right and property belongs to her. Pope Boniface wrote thus to Philip the Fair, king of France: Volumus te scire te in temporali et spirituali nobis subiacere, &c. Contra sentientes pro insanis habemus: We would ye should know, that ye are to be subject unto us both in temporals and spirituals; and that none that are in their right minds can be otherwise minded. The king thus answered him again, Sciat tua maxima fatuitas, &c., I would your singular foolishness should know that I acknowledge no such subjection, &c. (Alsted. Chron.) It was tartly and trimly replied by one Leonard to Rustandus the pope’s envoy, claiming all the churches here in England to be the pope’s, Omnes Ecclesias Papae esse, tuitione non fruitione, defensione non dissipatione; That if the pope had such right to all the churches, it was to defend them, not to devour them. (Jac. Rev. de Vit. Pontif., p. 178.)
So much torment, &c. ] Thus the sinner’s cup of honey endeth in the dregs of gall; as Herodotus writeth of the river Hypanis, that the first day’s journey from the fountain and head of it the water is sweet and wholesome; but after that, exceeding bitter. Pleasure and pain are tied together with chains of adamant. Oh, how short is the wicked man’s Hilary term! a
a humorous. to keep Hilary term: to maintain hilarity, be cheerful or merry. Obs. ŒD
8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
Ver. 8. Therefore shall her plagues ] Security ushereth in destruction, God shall shoot at such with an arrow suddenly, and fetch them off, as he did the rich fool, Luk 12:16-21
Come in one day ] To confute their fond conceit of an eternal empire. See the like, Isaiah 48:9 . When the war began in Germany, A. D. 1619, it was reported, that a great brass image of the Apostle Peter (that had Tu es Petrus, &c., Thou art Peter, and upon this rock will I build my Church, engraven about it) standing in St Peter’s church at Rome, there was a great and massive stone fell down upon it, and so shattered it to pieces, that not a letter of that sentence was left legible, save these words, Aedificabo Ecclesiam meam, I will build my Church. This was ominous to that tottering title of Rome, and might have taught the popelings, that God is about to build his Church upon the ruins of their worm eaten title. The Lord thereby seemed to say the same unto them, that once he did to Israel by Ezekiel, "An end is come, the end is come, it watcheth for this, behold it is come," Ezekiel 7:6 . Sed surdis fabulam. This hath been long and loud rung in their ears, but they will not be warned.
Death ] That is, war, that deadly evil, called an evil, κατ αντονομασιαν , Isaiah 45:7 ; "I make peace, and create evil," that is, war: a woeful evil that hews its way through a wood of men, in a minute of time, from the mouth of a murderingpiece, and causeth thousands to exhale their breath without so much as "Lord, have mercy upon us." Hence the poet:
" Omega nostrorum mors est, Mars Alpha malorum. "
And mourning ] πενθος . For the loss of dead friends.
And famine ] The usual concomitant of war, in sieges especially. See Trapp on " Rev 6:5 "
For strong is the Lord ] Full able to effect it, seem it to Babel’s brats never so improbable or impossible.
9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
Ver. 9. Shall bewail her and lament ] κοψουσι , As with the "voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts," Nahum 2:7 . The chief of these mourners shall be the Spaniard likely; who yet hath no such great cause, if he look well about him; for he is yearly excommunicated by the pope, for detaining him from the kingdom of Sicily, as Baronius witnesseth. (In Respon. Apol. ad Card. Colum.) It were to be wished that he would imitate his predecessor Charles V, who upon a displeasure conceived against Pope Clement VIII, abolished the pope’s authority throughout all Spain, Exemplo ab Hispanis ipsis posteritati relicto, posse Ecclesiasticam disciplinam citra nominis Pontificii authoritatem conservari, saith mine author, i.e. The Spaniards themselves setting forth to the world that the Church may be governed without the pope’s authority. (Scultet. Annul. Decad. ii. p. 2.) But this Charles did in a passion only, and not from a settled resolution. For after this, when Pope Clement and his cardinals were imprisoned by the duke of Bourbon’s men in St Angelo, Caesar in Spain forbade all interludes to be played; and pageants prepared for the joy of the birth of his son Prince Philip to be pulled down. In France, by the court of Parliament, the duke of Bourbon was condemned of treason, his name and memorial accursed, his arms pulled down, his lands and goods confiscated. Neither would King Henry of England answer the emperor’s letters, whereby he excused himself from having any hand in the action. (Speed, 1012.)
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
Ver. 10. Standing afar off ] As fearing their own safety, they will not venture themselves for an old withered harlot, that is now (Lais-like) ready to be extinct in the last act of her uncleanness, Λαις τελευτωσ ’ απεθανε βινουμενη . (Athenaeus, xiii.)
For in one hour ] God will make short work of it when once he begins, Romans 9:28 . This should be an encouragement to Christian princes and states, to set upon the service. The pirates’ war was incredibili celeritate et temporis brevitate confectum, saith Austin, soon despatched; so shall this. Papists vaunt now of their temporal felicity, as a note of their Church, and make catalogues of the strange victories that the Catholics have had. Bellarmine brags, that vix unquam fuerunt haeretici superiores quando iusto proelio dimicatum est (tom. ii. lib. 4, cap. 14), the heretics scarcely ever had the day when it came to be tried in a just battle. But if all this had been true (as it is not), yet at last, in one hour shall their judgment come. See Revelation 18:19 ; Revelation 18:22 . See Trapp on " Rev 18:19 " See Trapp on " Rev 18:22 "
11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
Ver. 11. And the merchants of the earth ] The pope’s indulgencers, and other officers of his exchequer. What huge sums of money did Tecelius and his companions rake together out of Germany. The pope had yearly out of England above nine tons of gold; Polydore Virgil was his collector of the Peter’s pence here. Otto (one of the pope’s muscipulatores , mice catchers, as the story calls him) departing hence, left not so much money in the whole kingdom as he either carried with him or sent to Rome before him. (Job. Manl., loc. com., p. 492.) It was truly and trimly said by Pope Innocent IV, Vere enim hortus deliciarum Papis fuit tum Anglia, et puteus inexhaustus, England was then a gallant garden to the pope, and a wellspring of wealth that could not be drawn dry. (Speed, 1027.) Cardinal Wolsey emptied the land of two hundred and forty thousand pounds, to relieve and ransom Pope Clement VII, imprisoned by the Duke of Bourbon. And being himseff sent ambassador beyond sea for the pope’s release, and coming through Canterbury toward Dover, he was seen to weep tenderly at mass for the pope’s calamity.
For no man buyeth their merchandise ] Men shall see further into their fopperies and knaveries than to endure to be any longer gulled and cheated. William of Malmesbury began to groan long since under the grievance. Romani hodie (saith he) auro trutinant iustitiam, pretio venditant canonum regulam: The Romans today sell justice, sacraments, masses, dispensations, benefices, all. Mantuan comes after, and cries out,
--" venalia nobis
Templa, sacerdotes, altaria, sacra, coronae,
Ignis, thura, preces, caelum est venale, Deusque. "
"Temples, priests, altars, rites (I tell no tale),
Crowns, sacrifices, heaven, and God, are set to sale."
The leaguers here for the liberty of the kingdom in the days of King John, drove Martin, the pope’s publican, out of the land; the king also cursed him grievously at parting, with Diabolus te ad inferos ducat et perducat. (Jac. Revius, lib. iii., de Pont. Rom., cap. xxi.) But now much more than ever these merchants want chapmen, a as Bellarmine sadly complains; their markets are well fallen, their Euphrates much dried up.
a A man whose business is buying and selling; a merchant, trader, dealer. Obs. or arch. ŒD
12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
Ver. 12. The merchandise of gold ] All this is taken out of Ezekiel 27:22 . All countries have catered and purveyed for the pope, who hath had it either in money or other commodity; but money answered all things.
Thyine wood ] A wild kind of cedar, very sweet and sound; for it will not easily rot.
13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
Ver. 13. And cinnamon ] Galen writes that in his time cinnamon was very rare, and hard to be found, except in the storehouses of great princes. And Pliny reports, that a pound of cinnamon was worth 1000 denarii, that is, 150 crowns of our money.
And chariots ] Or sedans, a as we call them.
And slaves ] Gr. σωματα , bodies, so slaves are called, because their master’s commands reach only to their bodies, and not to their souls.
And the souls of men ] Tecelius, the pope’s pardon monger, persuaded the people in Germany, that whosoever would give ten shillings should at his pleasure deliver one soul out of the pains of purgatory; and as soon as the money rang in the basin, that soul was set at liberty. But if it were one jot less than ten shillings, it would profit them nothing. This gainful gullery Luther decried with all his might, and so marred the market. This gave occasion to that saying of Erasmus, whom when the Elector of Saxony asked, why Luther was so generally hated? He answered, For two faults especially; he hath been too busy with the pope’s crown and the monks’ paunches. (Scultet. Annal. dec. i.)
a A closed vehicle to seat one person, borne on two poles by two bearers, one in front and one behind. In fashionable use during the 17th, 18th, and early 19th cent. ŒD
14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
Ver. 14. And the fruits ] Those first ripe fruits, Micah 7:1 , greedily desired and bought up at any rate by the richer and daintier sort of people.
Which were dainty and goodly ] Gr. λιπαρα και λαμπρα , fat and fair-liking, pleasant to the eye as well as to the taste, confections, suckers, deserts, second and third services.
15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
Ver. 15. Which were made rich by her ] By their fat benefices, commendams, a golden prebendaries, b some one yielding ten or twenty thousand by the year. The archbishopric of Toledo is worth a hundred thousand pounds a year; which is a greater revenue than some kings have had. (Spec. Europ.) What a vast estate had Wolsey gotten. So that rich and wretched Cardinal Henry Beaufort, bishop of Winchester, and Chancellor of England in the reign of Henry VI, who asked, Why should I die being so rich? (Acts and Mon.)
a The custody of an ecclesiastical benefice in the absence of a regular incumbent; the tenure or enjoyment of the revenues of a benefice held as above. ŒD
b The holder of a prebend; a canon of a cathedral or collegiate church who holds a prebend. Originally, each canon had a praebenda or share in the funds of the church to which the clergy house was attached; in later times when the custom grew up of assigning a particular estate for the support of a particular canon, the latter received also the designation of prebendary from the estate so assigned, e.g. ‘Canon of St. Paul’s and Prebendary of Finsbury’. ŒD
16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
Ver. 16. With gold and precious stones ] All these avail not in the day of wrath. Neither need we envy wicked men their plenty; it is their portion, all they are like to have. The whole Turkish empire is nothing else, saith Luther, nisi panis mica, quam dives paterfamilias proiecit canibus, a crust cast to the dogs, by God the great householder. I have no stronger argument (said the same Luther) against the pope’s kingdom, quam quod sine cruce regnat, than this, that he suffered nothing. Surely there is the more behind, there will be bitterness in the end, no doubt.
17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
Ver. 17. So great riches come to nought ] Gr. ηρημωθη , is desolated, or become a wilderness. Petrarch writeth, that in the treasury of Pope John XXII were found by his heirs two hundred and fifty tons of gold. And of Boniface VIII it is recorded that he was able to show more money than all the kings in Christendom.
And every ship master ] i.e. Cardinal, patriarch, archbishop, though but titular and imaginary, without jurisdiction, as are the patriarchs of Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem, and Alexandria, which the pope successively consecrates, ever since the Holy Land and the provinces about it were in the hands of Christian princes, A.D. 1100, so loth is the pope to lose the remembrance of any superiority or title that he hath once compassed. (Spec. Europ.)
And all the company ] The cardinals and archbishops’ train and retinue, those in office especially. What a pompous family kept Wolsey, consisting of one earl, nine barons, very many knights and esquires, and others, to the number of four hundred. (Rex Platen., p. 26.)
And sailors ] Bishops, abbots, priors, &c. In a parliament holden here at Leicester, A.D. 1413, in the reign of Henry V, a complaint was exhibited against the Popish clergy’s excess. This bill (saith E. Hall the chronicler) made the fat abbots to sweat, the proud priors to frown, the poor friars to curse, the silly nuns to weep, and all her merchants to fear that Babel would then down. But God’s time was not yet.
And as many as trade by the sea ] All the clergy, the Jesuits especially, without whose lusty help (saith Mr Brightman) St Peter’s fishing boat had stuck in the sand, and had rushed against the rocks long since.
18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
Ver. 18. What city is like unto this ] q.d. Who would have ever thought we should ever have seen this dismal day of Rome’s destruction? It was wont to be said, Roma cladibus animosior, Rome is unconquerable. The pope wrote once to the Turk that threatened him,
" Niteris incassum Petri submergere navem;
Fluctuat, at nunquam mergitur ills ratis. "
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
Ver. 19. And they cast dust ] As men willing to be as far underground as now they were above ground. Having lost their livelihood, they had little joy of their lives.
All that had ships in the sea ] All churchmen, i.e. all, for the most part; some of them have little enough. Sanders was starved. Stapleton was made a professor of a petty university, scarcely as good as one of our free schools. On Harding his Holiness bestowed a prebend a of Gaunt, or (to speak more properly) a Gaunt prebend. Allin was commonly called the starveling cardinal.
a The portion of the revenues of a cathedral or collegiate church granted to a canon or member of the chapter as his stipend. ŒD
20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
Ver. 20. Thou heaven ] i.e. The Church on earth.
And ye holy apostles, &c. ] i.e. Ye pastors and teachers, who as ye have been most shot at by her, so now you are especially called to triumph over her, Psalms 58:11 .
21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
Ver. 21. And a mighty angel ] For further assurance a sign is added, and an allusion made toJeremiah 51:63; Jeremiah 51:63 . And here it is easy to observe a notable gradation, an angel, a strong angel, taketh a stone, and a great stone, even a millstone, which he letteth not barely fall, but casteth, and with impetuous force thrusteth into the bottom of the sea, whence it cannot be buoyed up. Thus is set forth to the eye also the irreparable ruin of Rome.
22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be , shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
Ver. 22. And the voice of harpers, &c. ] Thine organs and sackbuts, thy chanting and churchmusic, shall cease.
And the sound of a millstone ] Anciently they used handmills, which did make a great noise in the cities, as Diodate here noteth.
23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
Ver. 23. And the light of a candle ] The candle of the wicked shall be put out, they that here love darkness better than light shall hereafter be thrust into σκοτος εξωτερον , outer darkness, where they shall never see the light again till they see all the world on a light fire.
For thy merchants were the great men ] The pope creates his cardinals by these words, Estote fratres nostri et principes mundi, Be ye brethren to us, and princes of the world. They hold themselves the king’s companions.
24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Ver. 24. And in her was found ] Rome hath ever been the slaughter house of the saints, as Jerusalem was before her, Matthew 23:34-39 .
And of all that were slain ] For she hath a hand in all the wars of Europe, besides all the Christian blood shed by her instigation, in those holy wars, as they called them, for the recovery of the land of Canaan.
These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Revelation 18". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/
the Week of Proper 24 / Ordinary 29