Revelation 18 Bible Commentary

The Geneva Study Bible

(Read all of Revelation 18)
18:1 And 1 after these things I saw another 2 angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

(1) The second passage (as I said before) See Geneva of the history of Babylon, is of the woeful fall and ruin of that whore of Babylon. This historical prediction concerning her, is threefold. The first a plain and simple foretelling of her ruin, in three verses (Revelation 18:2,3). The second a figurative prediction by the circumstances, from there to (Revelation 18:4-20). The third, a confirmation of the same by sign or wonder, to the end of the chapter (Revelation 18:21-24). (2) Either Christ the eternal word of God the Father (as often elsewhere) or a created angel, and one deputed to this service, but thoroughly provided with greatness of power, and with light of glory, as the ensign of power.

18:2 3 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.

(3) The prediction of her ruin, containing both the fall of Babylon, in this verse, and the cause of it uttered by way of allegory concerning her spiritual and carnal wickedness, that is, her most great impiety and injustice, in (Revelation 18:3). Her fall is first declared by the angel, and then the greatness of it is shown here, by the events when he says it shall be the seat and habitation of devils, of wild beasts, and of cursed souls, as in (Isaiah 13:21) and often elsewhere.

18:4 4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, 5 Come out of her, my people, that ye 6 be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

(4) The second prediction, which is of the circumstances of the ruin of Babylon: of these there are two types: one going before it, as beforehand the godly are delivered, to the ninth verse (Revelation 18:5-9): the other following on her ruin, namely the lamentation of the wicked, and rejoicing of the godly, to the twentieth verse (Revelation 18:10-20). (5) Two circumstance going before the ruin, are commanded in this place: one is that the godly depart out of Babylon: as I mentioned in chapter twelve to have been done in time past, before the destruction of Jerusalem: this charge is given here and in the next verse. The other is, that every one of them occupy themselves in their own place, in executing the judgment of God, as it was commanded of the Levites in (Exodus 32:27) and that they sanctify their hands to the Lord. (6) Of this commandment there are two causes: to avoid the contamination of sin and to shun the participation of those punishments that belong to it.

18:5 For her sins have a reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

(a) He uses a word which signifies the following of sins one after another, and rising one of another in such sort, that they grow at length to such a heap, that they come up even to heaven.

18:6 7 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.

(7) The provocation of the godly, and the commandment of executing the judgment of God, stand on three causes which are here expressed: the unjust wickedness of the whore of Babylon, in this verse, her cursed pride opposing itself against God, which is the fountain of all evil actions, (Revelation 18:7) and her most just damnation by the sentence of God, (Revelation 18:8).

18:7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith b in her heart, I sit a queen, and am c no widow, and shall d see no sorrow.

(b) With herself.
(c) I am full of people and mighty.
(d) I shall taste of none.

18:8 Therefore shall her plagues come in e one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong [is] the Lord God who judgeth her.

(e) Shortly, and at one instant.

18:9 And 8 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,

(8) The circumstances following the fall of Babylon, or the consequences of it (as I distinguished them in) See Geneva are two. Namely the lamentation of the wicked to (Revelation 18:5-19) and the rejoicing of the godly in (Revelation 18:20). This sorrowful lamentation, according to those that lament, has three parts: the first of which is the mourning of the kings and mighty men of the earth, (Revelation 18:9,10): The second is, the lamentation of the merchants that trade by land, to the sixteenth verse: (Revelation 18:11-16). The third is, the wailing of those that trade by sea, in (Revelation 18:16-18). In each of those the cause and manner of their mourning is described in order, according to the condition of those that mourn, with observation of that which best agrees to them.

18:11 9 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

(9) The lamentation of those that trade by land, as I distinguished before.

18:14 10 And the f 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.

(10) An apostrophe, or turning of the speech by imitation, used for more vehemence, as if those merchants, as mourners, should in passionate speech speak to Babylon, though now utterly fallen and overthrown; (Isaiah 13:9) and in many other places.
(f) By this is meant that season which is before the fall of the leaf, at which time fruit ripens, and the word signifies such fruits as are longed for.

18:17 11 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,

(11) The manner of mourning used by them that trade by sea.

18:20 Rejoice over her, 12 [thou] heaven, and [ye] holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

(12) The other consequence on the ruin of Babylon, is the exultation or rejoicing of the godly in heaven and in earth as was noted in this verse.

18:21 13 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.

(13) The third prediction, as I said See Geneva based on a sign, and the interpretation of it: the interpretation of it is in two sorts, first by a simple proposal of the thing itself, in this verse, and then by declaration of the events, in the verses following.

18:22 14 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;

(14) The events are two, and one of them opposite to the other for amplification sake. There shall be no mirth nor joy at all in Babylon, he says in this and the next verse, (Revelation 18:23) but heavy and lamentable things, from the bloody slaughters of the righteous and the vengeance of God coming on it for this.

18:24 And in her was found the 15 blood of prophets, 16 and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

(15) That is shed by bloody massacres, and calling for vengeance.
(16) That is, proved and found out, as if God had appointed a just inquiry concerning the impiety, unnaturalness and injustice of these men.