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Bible Commentaries

Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation

Revelation 18

Verses 1-24

CHAPTER 18.

An angel proclaims the fall of Babylon--the city of confusion--of world-power--The fall of humanism (the belief that man can rule this world himself without God or obedience to God). Chapter 18 describes THE COMPLETENESS OF HER FALL.

The main thought of the chapter is that it teaches that man’s pride and belief that he can rule without God is the sin by which man has destroyed himself. Christians need to heed the call of verse 4. "Come out of her my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues."--As Lot was called out of Sodom, so Christians who are required to live in a corrupt and worldly society are called to be "IN the world but not OF the world." (John 17:15-16) "Be not confirmed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind." (Romans 12:2)--Christians should be different from the world, but are we? Chapter 18 describes the destruction of a civilisation built on worldliness. In verses 9-20 there is the lament of kings, merchants and sailors and the mourning of those whose profits have gone.

Then in verses 21-24 SIX TIMES, like a funeral knell the words "ANY MORE" or "NO MORE" are repeated. As we read these verses:

1. WE SEE THE END OF MUSIC.

Lonely sounds cannot go on when people have no harmony left in them. Where there is discord, where harmony is absent in a life, then music, (the sounds of harmony) drop into silence. John says that to a "city of worldliness" music comes "NO MORE" (verse 22). The ultimate end of a godless civilisation is that all harmony disappears from a person’s heart--and so music will be "NO MORE." What a world--NO MUSIC!

2. WE SEE THE END OF INDUSTRY.

(verse 22) The sound of "the millstone" (the symbol of all productive work is heard "NO MORE" and the sound of "the craftsman at work" is heard "NO MORE." For when sound good character ceases there is an ominous slowing down and stopping of industry.

3. AND THERE IS AN END OF ILLUMINATION.

(verse 23) "The light of a lamp shall shine in thee "NO MORE" The lamp makes a little bit of day in the midst of night. But deeds of selfish greed can put out the lights. There are Christians who go about this world lighting lamps. And there are those who go about this world putting out the lamps of truth and faith. Someday there will be no lighting of lamps in a sinful, greedy, selfish world and the complete darkness of the absence of moral principles will occur.

4. AND THERE IS AN END OF HAPPY WEDDINGS.

(verse 23) For when selfish worldliness and confusion controls there can be no happy homes.

Verses 20-24

III. MEDITATION--Revelation 17, 18, 19:1-10
--BABYLON AND ITS FALL

Visions of Babylon and its fall.

These chapters are confusing to ordinary readers but the general idea is clear.

THE BEAST referred to is the same as the beast described in chapter 13:1-10. He is WORLD POWER which is ANTAGONISTIC TO CHRIST.

John saw world powers as receiving a death wound at Calvary, but continuing in death throes to attack Christ’s people.

The WOMAN HARLOT is described as controlling and drawing sustenance from the worldly power. My interpretation is that BABYLON is the HARLOT who controls and draws sustenance from this city of worldliness and is the FALSE or NOMINAL church. Babylon, as described in Revelation chapters 17 and 18 is a symbol--not of any one literal city. past, present or future. The modern Babylon "City of Confusion" is here now.

Plainly man cannot run modern cities successfully without God and obedience to God’s laws. There is growing and utter confusion in the economic, social and political affairs of our cities. There is utter confusion as to how to put things right. There is confusion as how to correct inflation of currency--how to create employment--how to give social justice. John foretells the ultimate fall of all godless materialism in this vision of the fall of Babylon.

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Bibliographical Information
Norris, Harold. "Commentary on Revelation 18". "Norris' Commentary on the Book of Revelation". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/nor/revelation-18.html. 2021.