"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Sunday, December 27, 2020

The TTUF STUDY on The REVELATION of JESUS CHRIST – Chapter EIGHTEEN

~ by James Fire

Introduction: In the preceding chapter (REV 17) I had made the following statements:
Babylon from its origin, the city of Babel “gateway to the gods” (read that, ‘fallen angels’) has as its own destiny, the glory of man through the agency of Satan, who is seeking his own glory by bringing Babylon to the fore in these last days. He will use this abominable system as an instrument of his diabolical design, whereby he will receive worship from “the earth-dwellers”, the people of this fallen world for a brief time period (of just three and a half years – the latter half of the tribulation period of “Jacob’s Trouble” lasting a total of seven years).

Here in REVELATION 18 (and 17) we have the culmination of corruption with its ecumenical evils that promote man’s way of worship over GOD’s prescribed manner (JOHN 4:23), and whose very anti-Christ spirit is being judged by GOD. The justification of her judgment is based upon her being drunk with “the blood of the saints”.

This culminating judgment on Babylon is seen for her immediate offenses made against GOD in the last days prior to the coming of Christ, as well as all of her offenses observed, from antiquity to the near future: from start to finish.

On the subject of this chapter (18) Dr. Scofield comments
“Babylon, "confusion," is repeatedly used by the prophets in a symbolic sense (See Scofield Note: ISAIAH 13:2), note 2. Two "Babylons" are to be distinguished in the Revelation: ecclesiastical Babylon, which is apostate Christendom, headed up under the Papacy; and political Babylon, which is the Beast's confederated empire, the last form of Gentile world-dominion. Ecclesiastical Babylon is "the great whore" (REV 17:1) and is destroyed by political Babylon (REV 17:15-18) that the beast may be the alone object of worship (2 THESS 2:3,4; REV 13:15). The power of political Babylon is destroyed by the return of the Lord in glory. (See "Armageddon," REV 16:14; 19:17). The notion of a literal Babylon to be rebuilt on the site of ancient Babylon is in conflict with ISAIAH 13:19-22. But the language of REV 18:10,16,18 seems beyond question to identify "Babylon," the "city" of luxury and traffic, with "Babylon" the ecclesiastical centre, viz. Rome. The very kings who hate ecclesiastical Babylon deplore the destruction of commercial Babylon.”
Let us not forget that the judgment on Babylon as seen in ISAIAH 13; 14 as well as JER 50; 51 is something to keep in mind. The things mentioned here haven’t been witnessed in all of history, strongly suggesting that these are yet future!

So let’s get into the study!

REVELATION 18:1-2
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 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
.

As Dr. Scofield pointed out, there are two different aspects of ‘Babylon’ in view – the commercial/political and the ecclesiastical which, for a time, reins in the other aspect, until it turns on her, this whore, this Mother of Harlots and destroys her (leaving the commercial/political – for a time).

An angel of considerable power is in view here, to the extent that his very light is shone upon the entire Earth and he declares that “Babylon is fallen” (which was seen previously in REV 14:8; which is an encapsulation of various events, namely the gathering of the 144,000 on Mt. Zion, the evangelist angel declaring the “everlasting gospel”, and then the angel that pronounces the doom of Babylon, followed by a third that warns against taking the Mark of the Beast. Afterwards the LORD Jesus Christ is seen with His sickle, gathering the masses for judgement (“the great winepress of the wrath of GOD”).

Babylon has become a habitation of demons, every foul spirit and a “cage for every unclean and hateful bird”. Birds or “fowl” are almost always seen negatively in allegory and in examples given in Scripture (GEN 15:11; MARK 4:4). They represent satanic opposition, absolutely abhorrent and hateful to the Holy eyes of GOD and His saints!

Babylon, whether in the political or the ecclesiastical seems inundated with demonic influence, and no doubt that this is the case, for this is the reign of the Beast and the hour of darkness. Yet she is declared as fallen, and so these heinous influences will soon be stopped, and these unclean spirits consigned to hellfire.

It must be observed that where GOD is rejected, the enemy will exploit every opportunity to fill the void with evil. Turn off a light and the darkness invades. At this pinnacle of perdition, I can’t begin to imagine the absolute infestation of these demonic spirits and their horrid, baneful influence in this world!

I knew a pastor who visited Nepal as a missionary; his report on that land was that it was wholly given over to idolatry and so much so, that one could just about feel the presence of demonic spirits as they passed by!

REVELATION 18:3
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
.

Again, “all nations have drunk” (See JER 51:7-8) – in that there will be no nation that hasn’t come under the intoxicating and vile influence of Babylon, but at the same time, experienced luxurious gain by her.
This is the typical MO of Satan; he will offer all the pretty trinkets and treasures of this world but at too high a price: consider that he offered all the kingdoms of the world and their glory to Jesus our LORD, if He would only bow – no doubt he will make the same proposal to the Beast who will accept what Christ rejected. Yet he, like all others that accept ‘a deal with the devil’ will end up in absolute desolation and perdition!

Indeed, the result of receiving any ‘blessings’ from Satan is decay, destruction, and death: it is seen here with Babylon, it is seen among the kings that follow the Beast, it is seen among all those who accept the Mark of the Beast. Satan can’t impart life whatsoever, but only trade material and soulish things for the price of a soul’s life:

MATTHEW 16:25-26
25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. 26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

In chapter 17, the earth-dwellers drank of the wine of her fornication; in this chapter they are made to drink “the wine of the wrath [of GOD] of her fornication”

REVELATION 18:4-6
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. 5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. 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
.

Even at such a dark, gruesomely evil time as this, there will be some still within her that are GOD’s people! This astonishes me about as much as when I see churches today and professing Christians adopting New Age, Eastern religions, and pagan practices in the name of Christ, when they should be separated from all appearance of evil (1 THESS 5:22)!
These sort have not heeded the admonition to “beware of the leaven
 of which we are to remain separate and sanctified (MATT 13:33; 16:6; 1 COR 5:6-8) without compromise (GAL 5:9).

As the bride of Christ, we are to make ready ourselves for the marriage of the LAMB (REV 19:7), and part of that preparation involves purifying our lives (1 JOHN 3:2-3), that is, to allow Christ to do His work of sanctification in us by cooperating and yielding to the Spirit, hence – “coming out” from under the influences of this ungodly world (JUDE 1:15-18) with the Blessed Hope of the LORD’s return (TITUS 2:13) to catch us away to our Father’s House (JOHN 14:1-3)! 

Coming out from among them entails living holy lives, “unspotted from the world” (JAMES 1:27) even in the midst of a perverse and crooked generation (PHIL 2:15); yet here in this city, GOD declares that His people must not dwell “in the midst” but come out from among them (literally) because shining the light of GOD as a witness apparently will be ineffective upon these who have wholly given themselves over to this horror of Satanic glory. 
See the recent TTUF article (mentioned in the study of Ch. 17 as well): COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM – A Call To The Last Days Church for Sanctified War.  

Again, from the notes of Dr. Scofield we have the following:
(1) Separation in Scripture is twofold: "from" whatever is contrary to the mind of God; and "unto" God Himself. The underlying principle is that in a moral universe it is impossible for God to fully bless and use His children who are in compromise or complicity with evil. The unequal yoke is anything which unites a child of God and an unbeliever in a common purpose (DEUT 22:10).
(2) Separation from evil implies (a) separation in desire, motive, and act, from the world, in the ethically bad sense of this present world-system. (See Scofield "Revelation 13:8")  and (b) separation from believers, especially false teachers, who are "vessels unto dishonour" (2 TIM 2:20,21; 2 JOHN 1:9-11)
(3) Separation is not from contact with evil in the world or the church, but from complicity with and conformity to (JOHN 17:15; 2 COR 6:14-18; GAL 6:1)
(4) The reward of separation is the full manifestation of the divine fatherhood (2 COR 6:17,18) unhindered communion and worship (HEB 13:13-15) and fruitful service (2 TIM 2:21) as world-conformity involves the loss of these, though not of salvation. Here, as in all else, Christ is the model. He was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners" (HEB 7:26) and yet in such contact with them for their salvation that the Pharisees, who illustrate the mechanical and ascetic conception of separation (See Scofield "MATT 3:7"),  judged Him as having lost His Nazarite character. (LUKE 7:39 Cf; 1 COR 9:19-23; 10:27).
REVELATION 18:7-9
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. 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. 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
, (See ISAIAH 47:7-12)

Do you sense the pompous pride and arrogant gloating over the riches that this ‘whore’ relishes? Do you hear it in her boast, “I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.”? She has “glorified herself” and I see in her self-exaltation the same spirit as Lucifer when he said in his own heart:

ISAIAH 14:13-14
13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High
.

And yet GOD declared over Lucifer his inevitable ruin for he has chosen evil:

ISAIAH 14:15-19
15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. 16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; 17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners? 18 All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, everyone in his own house. 19 But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet
.

And the LORD’s judgment over this Babylon, Mother of harlots is just as severe:

REVELATION 18:8
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
(JER 50:34-35; HEB 10:31).

The kings of the earth shall mourn over her destruction, for they had devoted themselves to her for the luxuries she afforded them for their adulation of her. In MATT 6:21 the LORD stated, “For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” and these Kings are broken-hearted, for their treasures are destroyed by the Judgment of GOD, with no recourse to obtain more. It is utter foolishness to dedicate one’s life to the pursuit of pleasure and affluence to the neglect and even the disdain of eternal life through Christ (LUKE 12:20; 1 TIM 6:9-11).

REVELATION 18:10-16
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. 11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 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, 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. 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. 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, 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!

* See Scofield’s notes on ISAIAH 13 that in some part, coincides with this passage about Babylon.  
Babylon is mentioned in these two chapters (17,18) as “a city” ten times. There are those who view America as “Babylon” and certainly not without justification. Others see the Roman Catholic church as “Babylon” – again, not without a lot of justification, given her history.
Yet this is not a nation nor is it a religious system described, but a city. So on some level, I expect this is addressing a literal city and not an allegory for something else.

Also something to consider – this city is a major producer of the various items described, and these days, Tokyo would rank highest in their GDP, followed by New York, LA, Seoul, London, and others among the top ten
Note also that this time frame falls within the parameters of the 70th week of Daniel (DAN 9), and this is yet future – the global economy is already a network wherein economics can shift, ebb and flow practically overnight. Who can tell which will be the actual “city” that this refers to? Could it be in fact, NYC? Or Rome? Or some other – perhaps even a ‘resurrected’ Babylon (in Iraq) raised up to her former glory? Time will tell.

In any event, since the ecclesiastical Babylon will be global in its causes and effects, it’s reasonable to assume that the commercial/political Babylon will also be, in broad terms global, not localized. Hence a global economy and religious system, as prophecy indicates: a Babylon spirit that will (and does) govern all the world.

Something that I find intriguing are the following two commodities listed last: “…slaves, and souls of men.” One might presume that mankind in his ‘ever evolving state of sophisticated enlightenment’ would have been above this sort of thing, speaking of slavery. The Gnostic philosophy touts “the brotherhood of man” and yet for all the promises for equality and ‘social justice’ this world system will endorse slavery in these last days. 

What form this will take, we don’t know. It’s possible with depleted economies across the globe that many will be forced into indentured servitude where they will work for food and shelter, but without wages.

Then there is the second of these two commodities: the souls of men. What this entails we can only guess at; but considering the ecclesiastical aspect of Babylon, I think it’s safe to assume that these souls are devoted in a religious sense to Babylon – perhaps in the form of a priesthood of sorts.

The merchants are no longer recipients of the wealthy commerce generated by this city; they witness with mourning and angst her destruction which happens in one hour. In both Hebrew and Greek when ever you see “a day” or “an hour” without any numeric, it could be used in a general sense, of a period of unspecified time, denoting an era.
Even in English, we use such expressions as “the Day of Space Exploration” or “the Day of Industrialization”. 

Yet when a numeric is employed (again, in either Hebrew or Greek) with a year or an hour, then it’s specific to that number. This is most readily acknowledged during the creation week. “first day”, “second day”, “third day”, are all specific to “a day, as in a twenty four hour period”.
So, here we see “…for in one hour is thy judgment come … [and the merchants] shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment…”.

This is some sort of cataclysmic event that will happen in a single hour – a nuclear strike? An asteroid or comet? The holy fire of GOD Himself? Scripture doesn’t specify the means, but ultimately, it is most certainly the judgment of GOD upon her! We see “one hour” again, twice in the next verse:

REVELATION 18:17-17-19
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, 18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 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
.

That which causes weeping among these earth-dwellers: the merchants, the shipmasters and sailors brings about rejoicing among the saints of heaven for the justice GOD renders upon the whore. He has avenged them, which tells us what we learned earlier, that this Babylon was “drunk with the blood of the saints”. 

When one considers that Babylon has been guilty of shedding the blood of GOD’s righteous ones for millennia, and her ultimate judgment won’t happen until this point, we learn: it’s of vital importance that we become patient in tribulation and continue in prayer (ROM 12:2).

REVELATION 18:20-21
20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. 21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone
[JER 51:63-64], 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 (See JER 51:48; ISAIAH 44:23; REV 12:12).

Saints and sinners belong to two distinct and polar-opposite kingdoms; what is virtuous and good in the one is blasphemous and vile in the other. There is no middle ground, no gray area, no compromise between them, but Satan desires to have it so, so that his intention to corrupt and defile will be realized. He cannot tolerate righteousness and goodness, integrity, and virtue – not in a church, not in a nation. He cannot rest until he has corrupted anything and everything dear, precious, and beloved to the LORD. 

Since man is created in the image of GOD, since life is accounted precious to the LORD (especially children and the unborn), since marriage is a holy institution as well as the family, Satan must desecrate and defile these, causing a marring and a miasma on mankind and all that this entails. 

He promotes evolution that brings man down to the level of animals, and no longer as the image of GOD. He exalts Socialism that denies parental authority over their own children. He parades homosexuality to deny the blessed union of man and wife. He pushes the envelope of abortion, delighting in the slaughter of innocent life. 

This is why saints and sinners have two completely contrary mindsets, because we belong to two different kingdoms that promote their own ideologies; in the case of saints – the Word of GOD; in the case of sinners – the philosophies of mere men.

For an excellent teaching on this, check out Frank Peretti’s presentation simply entitled “The Chair” 







REVELATION 18:22-24
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; 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. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth
.

The LORD’s delays in answering the prayers of the saints results in the greater blessing for them, but also the greater judgment for the lost, unless they repent. As early as chapter 6, we hear the imploring martyrs of the LORD crying out to the LORD for His enactment of justice – and we are only seeing it culminate here. Yet what a heavy, severe, and all-consuming judgment with the white-hot fury of a Holy GOD we see!

As I’ve said it so often, “GOD drags His feet to bring judgment, but He sprints to deliver His mercy!

The next chapter (19) is when we finally get a sense of holy gratification, for that which was declared back in chapter 11 is coming to fruition in this fallen world that is about to be taken over by NEW MANAGEMENT – the LORD JESUS CHRIST WHO WILL OUST SATAN FROM HIS VILE DOMAIN OVER THE EARTH!

REVELATION 11:15
And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever
.

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