1] After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. 2] And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place for demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! 3] For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury.”
4] And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. 5] For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6] Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her. 7] In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment will and sorrow; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and not see sorrow.’ 8] Therefore her plagues will come in one day – death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.
9] “The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, 10] standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’
11] “And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore: 12] merchandise of gold and silver, precious stones and pearls, silk and scarlet, every kind of citron wood, every kind of object of ivory, every kind of object of most precious wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13] and cinnamon and incense, fragrant oil and frankincense, wine and oil, fine flour and wheat, cattle, sheep, horses and chariots, and bodies and souls of men. 14] The fruit that your soul longed for has gone from you, and all that things which are rich and splendid have gone from you, and you shall find them no more at all. 15] The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 16] and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! 17] For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.’ Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance 18] and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What is like this great city?’
19] “They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.’
20] “Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!”
21] Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore. 22] The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore. 23] The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. 24] And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.”
19:1 After these things I heard a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying, “Alleluia! Salvation and glory and honor and power belong to the Lord our God! 2] For true and righteous are His judgments, because He has judged the great harlot who corrupted the earth with her fornication; and He has avenged on her the blood of His servants shed by her.” 3] Again they said, “Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!” 4] And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sat on the throne, saying, “Amen! Alleluia!” 5] Then a voice came form the throne, saying, “Praise our God, all you His servants and those who fear Him, both small and great!”
6] And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, as the sound of many waters and as the sound of mighty thunderings, saying, “Alleluia! For the Lord God Onmipotent reigns! 7] Let us be glad and rejoice and give Him glory, for the marriage of the Lamb has come, and His wife has made herself ready.” 8] And to her it was granted to be arrayed in fine linen, clean and bright, for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.
9] Then He said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb!” And he said to me, “These are the true sayings of God.” 10] And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
This might seem a strange title, but I think it’s borne out by the text we printed above, which has several different viewpoints in it. In verse 7, the woman says, “I sit as a queen and will see no sorrow.” When she’s judged, the kings of the earth weep and lament for her, v. 9. The merchants of the earth, who’ve been made rich by her – how much do you suppose it would cost to rebuild the Vatican? – lament at the blow to their bottom line. Read the list of things they no longer will be able to sell her. Most of them are luxuries. Expensive. The maritime world, with all its enormous cargo ships holding hundreds of shipping containers, is also devastated, v. 19.
The reaction in heaven?
“Rejoice over her…, v. 20.
The point is, we live in a time when there are no absolutes. There is no “objective reality.” For example, a biological man or woman can say they’re the other, and it is so – at least as far as the world is concerned, regardless of what they are genetically. Indeed, reality has become simply a subjective idea. It is what you or I think it is. We have become the Creator. And the idea that God might have something to say about anything is as far removed from most people’s thinking as the far side of the moon.
This was the hook Satan caught Adam and Eve with – “you will be like God, knowing good and evil,” Genesis 3:5.
“You don’t need God. You can decide for yourself what is good or evil.”
How has that worked out?
There are so many applications that could be made here, but we’ll leave it to the Holy Spirit in this case.
What does God say?