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Bible Commentaries

Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books
Revelation 18

 

 

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Verse 1

After the vision of chapter 17, John saw another angel with great authority to carry out his mission. The brightness surrounding him shows his greatness and the greatness of his task.


Verse 2-3

That angel announced the certainity of the wicked city"s doom. She would become a place inhabited by unclean spirits and foul, hateful birds. This would be because she led others into spiritual fornication by teaching them to love the things of this world.


Verse 4

-5 Christians, or God"s people, are told by a great voice to come out from such worldly pursuits lest they participate not only in the pleasures of sin but also its terrible rewards. (2 Corinthians 6:17-18; 2 Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 5:11) Like pieces of paper glued together to form a roll, the sins of Babylon are so numerous that they stretch to heaven. Thus, they have reached an intolerable state, and God will reward them.


Verse 6

To whome is the voice directing these remards? Perhaps the kings of Revelation 17:16-17. In any case, it will be God doing the rewarding, even if it is through the agency of some other. Since Babylon is to be rewarded in exactly the same way she delivered, it seems she must have delivered a double portion of misery and would now receive the same.


Verse 7

Many scriptures warn of the dangers of pride. (2 Samuel 22:28; Provers 11:2; 16:18; 29:23) The wicked city, like her ancient counterpart (Isaiah 47:7-8), boasted of her high position, the fact that she was no widow and would see no sorrow. Of course she was a queen of wickedness and, like allharlots, could not be a widow, but the end of her reigh and beginning of her sorrow was upon her.


Verse 8

In one swift movement, the queen, who boasted of being seated as in a perpetual reign, would be dead. She would be brought to mourning, just like a widow mourns, and famine would cause her real sorrow. She had overlooked her most powerful enemy, the Lord.


Verse 9

-10 Even though they killed her (Revelation 17:16-17), the kings cry loudly and beat the breasts in grief, or bewail and lament. Their sorrow is for their own loss, it would seem, more than the harlots death. They would not dare to go close out of fear and expressed regret over her sudden end.


Verses 11-13

The merchants, or wholesalers, also weep over the death of the harlot for a selfish reason, there is no one left to buy. Purpole and scarlet were the colors of royalty and the wealthy. It will be remembered that the harlot wore these colors. (Revelation 17:4) Silk came from the Far East, so the trade of the wicked city was far-reaching. Hailey says, "Thyine wood was an aromatic wood of beautiful texture, imported from North Africa and prized for its aroma and as a resource for making fine furniture." Hendriksen tells that it was also used as incense. Wine, oil and fine flour would be used by the wealthy in their feasts. Hendriksen also writes, "These wicked people trade in bodies and souls of slaves as if they constituted mere articles of merchandise."


Verse 14

All the ripe fruits and costly treats she had developed a taste for would be forever withdrawn.


Verses 15-17

a There was nothing the merchants could do but stand fearfully in the distance and mourn their own loss of a great customer. Like the prodigal who had many friends while the money lasted (Luke 15:13-16), the harlot finds no one to help her when sin"s rewards come crashing down upon her. Agian, we note her end came in a sudden and very brief period of time. Verses 17b-18 Shipmasters (pilots or captains), passengers, seamen and all others who make their living from the sea (ship builders, fishermen, divers, exporters and importers) also bewailed their loss as they watched her burn.


Verse 19

Dust upon the head is a symbol of grief. (Job 2:12; Ezekiel 27:30) They grieve over the collapse of their trade and fortune, not the death of the harlot.


Verse 20

God"s people, in contrast to the worldly minded, are told to rejoice over the punishment of sin. Just so, the readers of the book could rejoice because the ultimate victory of good and righteousness had been assured. Remember, the wicked had earlier celebrated the death of the two witnesses. (Revelation 11:10)


Verse 21

Here we have a symbolic representation of the harlot"s destruction. A great millstone would be the one turned by animals in contrast to one women turned by hand. A mighty angel (Compare Revelation 5:2; Revelation 10:1) casting such a stone into the sea would clearly demonstrate the finality of Babylon"s judgment. Once it had been cast into the sea, such a stone would not be seen again. This is very similar to Jeremiah 51:61-64. This is the second occurrance of the expression "no more at all." (verse 14) It will occur four times in the next two verses to verify the finality of this judgment.


Verses 22-24

As Harkrider says, "There will "no more" be the amusement life, business life, or even the home life which existed in the arrogant, rebellious" city of John"s revelation. The reason all this comes to an end is threefold. The merchants of the wicked, worldly city had made profit their sole ambition, the nations of the earth were deceived by her worldly ways and slew God"s spokesmen.

 


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Bibliography Information
Hampton, Gary. "Commentary on Revelation 18:4". "Gary Hampton Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ghc/revelation-18.html. 2014.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, December 11th, 2019
the Second Week of Advent
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