SUMMARY.--The Fall of Babylon Decreed.
The People of God Commanded to Come out of Her.
The Kings of the Earth Lament Over Her Fall.
The Merchants and Traffickers Also Lament.
The Millstone Cast into the Sea.
The fall of the great city, Babylon, otherwise represented as the woman
who sat upon the beast, has been symbolized in the pouring out of the
seven vials. The
describes her, shows her general character, points out the sources of
her support, and how these shall finally become her destroyers. The
borrows language and imagery from the destruction of the ancient
Babylon, the oppressor of Israel, especially from the prophets Isaiah
and Jeremiah, in order to describe the overthrow of the spiritual
Babylon. Since in
it is shown that the horns of the beast upon which the woman sat have
been turned upon her, the present chapter refers to a period of
desolation which shall precede her final overthrow. The Papacy is to
exist for a period after the support of the 
secular power is withdrawn. How strikingly the state portrayed in
chapter 18 is fulfilled in the lamentations over evil times that are
found in all the encyclical letters of Pope Pius IX. and Leo XIII!
1-3. After these things. Those described in
Another angel. Some have urged that this is Christ. There is no
proof of their correctness.
Having great power. There was assigned to him great authority.
And the earth was lightened with his glory. This was a proof of
power proceeding from God.
2. And he cried . . . Babylon the great is fallen.
Compare this description with
Isaiah 21:9; 14:23 and 13:21.
The fall of Babylon has been already declared
but now it is developed. This picture is intended to portray her utter
3. For all the nations have drunk. Partaken with her in her
Fornication. See note on
Merchants of the earth are waxed rich. Her luxurious living had
made great markets.
4-8. Come out of her, my people. This invitation is given to the
people of God yet in captivity, lest by remaining they should be
involved in her destruction. As God once had a captive people in the
old Mesopotamian Babylon, so he has a people in the spiritual Babylon.
Ever since the Reformation began his voice has called on them to come
out of her. Nor can it be doubted that he has many true and earnest
worshipers still who have found enough of Christ in the mazes of the
Papacy to have given him their hearts. The condemnation of the great
spiritual despotism is not a declaration that all whom she has enslaved
are the children of the devil.
5. Her sins have reached unto heaven. They call therefore for
God's remembrance of her iniquities in judgments.
6. Reward her even as she has rewarded you. This is addressed to
those who have meted out her judgments. The divine principle of 
judgments is that every one shall be rewarded according to his
works. What they sow, that shall they reap.
This power shall have returned upon it in double portion what it has
meted out to others.
7. I sit as a queen. This verse describes her former pride.
8. Therefore shall her plagues come. Notwithstanding her pride
Burned with fire. See
When an ancient city was taken and destroyed it was burned with
9-14. The kings . . . shall bewail her. There will be
mourners. Those who have sinned with her, or profited by her will
bewail her fall.
10. Standing afar off. The picture represents these mourners
looking from a great distance, afraid to approach nearer.
For in one hour is thy judgment come. It has come suddenly.
11. And the merchants of the earth shall weep. All who had made
gain in any way from the sins or the luxury of Babylon shall mourn.
There follows, then, an enumeration of the articles in which there was
13. Slaves and souls of men. The Greek reads, "the bodies and
souls of men." The first seems to refer to the traffic in slaves, a
common traffic until modern times and sanctioned by the Papacy. The
latter expression seems to me to refer to a spiritual traffic. What is
the whole system of masses for the dead, paid for out of the money
drawn from mourning relatives, but a traffic in the souls of men?
14. The fruits. These things for which Babylon so lusted are all
gone from her forever. 
15-19. The merchants of these things . . . shall stand
afar off. The lamentation of the kings over the fall of the city
has been given in
The lamentation of the merchants is now given. They are also
represented as standing afar off. With them join the shipmasters and
mariners who have been engaged in her trade. These all mourn because
their profits from her are brought to an end.
20. Rejoice over her, thou heaven. While there are mourners,
another company is called upon to rejoice. She had exalted herself
against God. All who have been for God, and who have suffered from her,
are called to rejoice.
21-24. And a strong angel took up a millstone. See
This symbolical act implies an utter destruction. In Jeremiah the stone
is cast into the Euphrates. Now it is cast into the sea, because
another Babylon is designed.
22. And the voice of harpers. It is this third angel who
declares the silence and desolation of the city now.
And the sound of the millstone. In the mills grinding food for
the people. The mills were hand-mills, usually worked by women as a
23. For with thy sorcery were all the nations deceived.
This accounts for the fact that all nations poured their treasures into
24. And in her was found the blood of the prophets. It is
because she has slain the saints of the Most High that these judgments
come upon 
her. As Jerusalem in the time of Christ filled up the measure of the
sins of Israel (see
Matt. 23:29, 35, 36;
Luke 11:51; 13:33),
so the spiritual Babylon, the great persecutor, fills up the measure of
the sins of the beast and false prophet, and is required to account for
the blood of slaughtered prophets and saints of all ages.