Verse by Verse bible teaching on a weekly basis with Chris White and Mike Tater of the Revelations Radio Network. Influences include: David Guzik, Chuck Missler, Charles Spurgeon, Chuck Smith, Paul Washer, Dr. J. Vernon McGee.
Verse by Verse bible teaching on a weekly basis with Chris White and Mike Tater of the Revelations Radio Network. Influences include: David Guzik, Chuck Missler, Charles Spurgeon, Chuck Smith, Paul Washer, Dr. J. Vernon McGee.
Mystery Babylon Study – Part 8 – Rev 18:17-24
(Rev 18:17-18) 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, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
For in one hour so great riches is come to nought.
The suddenness of the cities destruction is expressed, here it is described as having occurred in one hour, although it is expressed as “one day” in other places in this chapter.
And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea,
A third group of onlookers, is here introduced, they are people who were on the sea for various reasons. We have already seen the kings and merchants doing basically this same thing, that is lamenting the cities destruction.
stood afar off,
This is mentioned several times, back In Rev 18:10 is seems to suggest that the reason they were standing far off is that they somehow feared they would be affected by the aftermath of the cities destruction.
And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning,
This is the part that leads some to suggest that Mystery Babylon must be a port city. But this is not necessary; all that is said is that the smoke of its burning can be seen by the ships at sea.
I would say that it is however necessary that the smoke from the burning of Mystery Babylon must be able to be seen from the sea in order to be consistent with this face value hermeneutic.
Jerusalem is only 34 miles from the Mediterranean coast, and its smoke could easily be seen from the sea. An example from modern times is that people reported being able to see the smoke and debris from the 911 attacks on the World Trade Center from 70 or more miles away.
This is a problem for those that insist that actual city of Babylon is Mystery Babylon because it is 300 miles from the nearest sea (the Persian Gulf), and a whopping 500 miles from the nearest coast of the Mediterranean. It would be impossible for this to be applied to the literal city of Babylon.
Rome, by the way is also not a port city, being about 15 miles from the coast. This does not conflict with the fact that sea merchants bring goods to it, we see sea merchants bringing goods to Jerusalem in several places, notably the 1 kings 10 passages referring to King Solomon which we have already covered in depth.
saying, What city is like unto this great city!
The sailors say this phrase that hearkens us back to the prophecies regarding the city of Tyrus or Tyre we will be talking about in depth in the next verse.
(Rev 18:19) 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.
This verse has some striking parallels to a passage in the Old Testament which is referring to the destruction of the merchant city of Tyrus. It says in Ezekiel 27:30-31:
And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes: And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for thee with bitterness of heart and bitter wailing. – Eze 27:30-31
This is especially interesting in light of the other parallels between the language of the fall of Tyrus or Tyre and Mystery Babylon, Some of which we covered in previous verses.
I have found it interesting that the bible seems to go out of its way at times to refer to the destruction of Tyrus, and to the destruction of Babylon in the passages about Mystery Babylon.
For instance in the passages about the destruction of literal Babylon in Jeremiah 51 there are phrases like
O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end
Mystery Babylon Study – Part 7 – Rev 18:8-16
(Rev 18:8) 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.
Therefore shall her plagues come in one day:
This therefore is here to connect this verse to the previous verse which showed the woman saying “and [I] shall see no sorrow. “
So it’s contrasting her belief that she will not see any sorrow, or her perceived security with her husband the beast, with the actual fact that she will be judged in just one day. This is also why it is said later for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her, it is saying that even though she thinks that no harm can come to her or the beast, God will do it very easily.
The idea that her destruction comes suddenly is a consistent one. We see this explicitly mentioned in various ways, phrases like “One day” or “one hour” are used to describe the suddenness of its judgment. We know from the last bowl judgment that an earthquake will be involved in splitting the city into three parts, so this would seem support the idea of a very quick judgment.
death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire:
These things will all play some role in her destruction as well. I think that the destruction has at least two phases. First, whatever the “10 kings” do, It says in Rev 17:16 that they will “eat her flesh and burn her with fire” and second, whatever is done to her via the last bowl judgment with the earthquake and great hail.
Words like Fire and burning as well as ideas like people seeing the smoke of her burning are mentioned several times in relation to Mystery Babylon’s destruction so I feel that fire is the primary agent of destruction, or at least it is the result of the judgment.
(Rev 18:9) 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,
And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her
I have already mentioned how this shows that although the kings of the earth commit the same religious fornication with her, it is the “AND lived deliciously” part that is the reason for they are mourning here. We will see the same lamenting coming from the merchants later who also are said to have lived “deliciously” with her.
when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
This phrase is more evidence that the 10 kings or 10 horns which the antichrist uses to burn Mystery Babylon are not necessarily the “kings of the earth” mentioned here. If they are the ones that burned her down, they probably would not be lamenting when they see her burning.
Standing afar off for the fear of her torment
This suggests that the cities destruction is not something people want to get too close to for some reason, It could be as simple as the fact that it is on fire but it could be something more significant we are not told.
saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
The Kings note again the quickness of her destruction, in happens “One hour” they say. Again this is contrasting their previous view of its perceived might and sustainability with its lightning fast destruction. What they thought was strong was in actuality, quite weak. They differ here from the previous similar statement from the voice from heaven in that they do not add to it that “God is strong”, they only are astonished that this event has happened to Mystery Babylon.
(Rev 18:11) And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
Ok so here we see the merchants are also upset about this. We are told why they are upset as well, That is that “no man buyeth
Mystery Babylon Study – Part 6 – Rev 18:1-7
(Rev 18:1) And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
And after these things:
“After these things” basically refers to the events of the previous chapter, chapter 17, where we see John’s vision and its interpretation by the angel. And this phrase “After these things” signals a new vision unit.
Chapter 17 declared the “judgment of the mystery Babylon.” And the objects of God’s judgment were also described (the woman and the beast she rides).
Chapter 18 will have somewhat similar themes, but it will spend a lot of extra time on the wealth of the city at the time of the antichrist’s rule.
I saw another angel come down from heaven:
So the angel that will be speaking at this point is not the same one that gave the interpretation of John’s vision in the previous chapter. The previous angel was one of the seven that poured out the last seven bowl judgments (17:1).
This angel is different in many ways. One notable way is that unlike the previous angel it does not speak to John directly but John basically overhears the declaration that the angel says and records it. The angel seems unconcerned or unaware that John is even present. This could either be a type of drama put on for John’s benefit, or perhaps John is overseeing actual events that will take place in the spiritual realm at the time of the harlot cities Judgment.
having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
This angel is described with some provocative language. It says it has great power. We are not told how John knows this, perhaps it is evident from its appearance or some other quality.
It is tempting to say this is a picture of Christ because of the idea of its glory lighting the earth but it is not necessary, as the idea of an angel having illuminating glory or dosa is mentioned in (Ezek 9:3 and Heb 9:5). In both cases a cherub is described. Cherubs spend their time in the throne room of God and so one theory could be that they are shining with the glory just like Moses face shone when he spent time on mount Sinai in the very near presence of God (Exo 34:29). So this could simply be a particularly high ranking angel or a cherub.
A point that strengthens this view is that in verse 4 we hear a separate voice from heaven saying “come out of her my people” which seems to be the voice of Christ (see verse 4 notes), which would mean that this angel is probably not Christ but a high ranking angel.
(Rev 18:2) 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.
An interesting note is that the last verse of the previous chapter (17: 18) was where the first angel concluded its interpretation of John’s vision by declaring that the woman was an actual city. And in Chapter 18 it now begins to refer to Mystery Babylon in this sense with a geographical location. Here it talks of it being a habitation of devils, later it will speak of merchants bringing goods to it.
While it continues to use the symbolic imagery of the harlot woman to describe Mystery Babylon (18:7) It much more frequently talks of Mystery Babylon as if the reader by now understands that it is a physical city on earth, just as the angel said it was.
And he cried mightily with a strong voice
The second angel is said to have a strong voice or “megas phone” in the Greek. Earlier in Revelation chapter 5 another angel is described by John with this same phrase “magas phone” when he is having a vision of the throne room of God:
And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is w
Mystery Babylon Study – Part 5 – Rev 17:12-18
See the bottom of this post for notes and appendixes.
Rev 17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
Let’s first back and read up to this point so we can refresh our memories, and get the context for our current passage.
The angel in the section we studied last time had been giving the interpretation john’s vision of the beast that the the woman is riding, We know from Revelation 13 as well as other verses in this chapter that the beast she is riding is the antichrist.
This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. – Rev 17:9-11
We talked about the description of the antichrist here which has seven heads; John says that the seven heads are seven kings. In the last study we talked about why it’s more likely that John means what he says here, that is that these heads are different kings and not kingdoms as some suppose.
So we talked about how 5 times this spirit of antichrist had manifested itself in the form of a king in John’s past, one king currently was living at the time, and one future manifestation of the antichrist was yet to come, this is the one that we believe will have the mortal wound and yet live.
Speaking of that idea of a resurrection of the antichrist, many people asked me about that last time, Does Satan have the power to raise people from the dead?, I do not believe that he does, but I do think the antichrist is really raised from the deas. For more on this question I will put together an appendix audio on this question very question and you can find it in the notes, there is also a scholarly article on this point called:
Can Satan Raise The Dead? Toward A Biblical View Of The Beast’s Wound by Gregory H. Harris, a Professor of Bible Exposition that I recommend if you are interested, I agree with its overall premise but would probably disagree on some of the finer points.
So in our verse we see the beast has seven heads, but also 10 horns, we are not told exactly how theses horns are distributed on the seven heads or if they are even on the seven heads at all. We don’t know if 6 of the heads have 1 horn and the seventh has 4 horns or if they have some other arrangement.
I think when we consider the following passages we will find that these 10 horns have a job working with the final head, so if I were to make a guess these horns are either all on one head, the seventh one, or not on the heads at all but some other part of the body.
I also say that because the fourth beast of Daniel 7 7-8 also has ten horns, that beast is widely considered to be associated with the antichrist.
So let’s consider this symbolism so we can get our bearings in this difficult passage. The seven heads of the beast are seven kings. And now we are told that the horns of this beast are also kings. So what is this talking about. Lets read ahead so we can get the context and find the relationship of these kings to the antichrist according to the angel, this will help us make an informed decision about this.
And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and
Mystery Babylon Study – Part 4 – Answers to Critical Questions
Mystery Babylon Study – Part 4 – Answers to Critical Questions from Chris White on Vimeo.
In part four of this study I wanted to take a break from the verse by verse format and discuss some of the common objections to the interpretation of Mystery Babylon being the eschatological city of Jerusalem, in other words, the Jerusalem that embraces the Antichrist in the end times.
I was planning on waiting until I got to the relevant verses to discuss the usual objections that come up, but some of these points don’t come up until very late in chapter 18, and I wanted to address these issues before that, and in a comprehensive manner.
Part of my goal here is to prevent anyone from not continuing in this verse by verse study because they think that I haven’t considered the best arguments against this theory .
The arguments I will be covering are as follows:
How can Mystery Babylon be the eschatological city of Jerusalem if it is said to be “found no more” in Rev 18:21 , and we know that Jerusalem is a big part of the millennial reign and the eternal kingdom.
When speaking of the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem Ezekiel 5:9 states: “And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again” Does this mean that Jerusalem will not be judged again?
Is there a future judgment of Jerusalem in scripture?
Is this anti-Semitic somehow?, How does this effect out views toward Israel if any.
One of the best arguments against the theory is rooted in the following verse:
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. – Rev 18:21
The argument is that Jerusalem can’t be Mystery Babylon because it says that it shall be found “no more at all” and we know that Jerusalem is in the millennial reign. We also see the so called “New Jerusalem” in the eternal kingdom. This is a very good argument, and it requires a very good answer. How can I say on one hand Jerusalem will be destroyed and be found no more and on the other hand say that it will be around forever.
The answer I believe lies in the last 8 chapters of the book of Ezekiel. There you will find one of the most intricate detailed building plans for the Israel of the millennium. It contains chapters and chapters of technical details regarding how Israel will be divided, about the new temple complex, and about Jerusalem and its surrounding areas.
To say it is different than what we currently know is a bit of an understatement.
There are those that have taken all the technical specifications of things like the division of the land in the millennial reign and plotted it all on a map. The twelve tribes of Israel are given parallel rectangular allotments of land, one on top of the other, from the north border of Israel to the south, and each tribe’s allotment extends the entire east / west border of Israel. It really helps to see this all on a map to visualize what I’m saying.
In the middle of these allotments of land is a rectangular portion that Ezekiel calls the “Holy Portion.” The priests and Levites that service the temple, equally divide this land, there is some debate as to where exactly the temple is in this section, some say it is in the middle of this land others say that it is just north of the city, but it doesn’t appear to actually be in the city itself which is very different in and of itself.
The city Jerusalem is also very different in the millennium, including most likely its physical location, which we will talk about in more detail later. For starters it is perfectly square; it is about 9 times larger than the old city of Jerusalem is today. It has twelve gates, 3 on each side, it sits on a high plateau , it has a two rivers tha
Mystery Babylon Study – Part 3 – Rev 17: 7-11
Mystery Babylon Study – Part 3 – Rev 17:7-11 from Chris White on Vimeo.
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. Rev 17:7
And the angel said unto me
The angel is going to tell John what it is he has been seeing so far. There are many examples in scripture of a prophet seeing a vision that they did not fully understand until an angel interprets the vision for them. We find examples of this in Daniel, Zechariah and several times in the book of Revelation.
I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
It is so important to keep in mind that there are two distinct characters in this vision, the woman known as Mystery Babylon and the seven headed, ten horned beast that she rides.
Mystery Babylon which the angel will later say is a city, is riding the seven headed ten horned beast, which is the antichrist, this seven headed, ten horned beast will later turn on her and kill her. Rev 17:12-16. I emphasize that these two are distinct because some folks, when studying the passages we will be talking about today forget this distinction, and failing to see that can cause and incorrect understanding of this prophecy.
Moving on to verse 8:
The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. – Rev 17:8
So the angel begins to talk to John about the seven headed 10 horned beast that it mentioned in the previous verse.
Let’s also go back to the beginning of this particular vision in Rev 17, so we can see the full description John gives to this seven headed ten horned beast:
…scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. – Rev 17:3b
Here we also pick up the additional information that this seven headed ten horned beast was also scarlet and was “full of names of blasphemy”
This is the same description given to the beast four chapters earlier in Revelation chapter 13, which is about the antichrist. The beast in that chapter also has seven heads, ten horns, and has “names of blasphemy”
This is not coincidental, nor is it the only time in our verse, Revelation 17:8, that there is an explicit reference to Revelation 13 (about the antichrist beast.)
In fact, I intend to show that almost no new information is given by the angel in this verse, The new information from the angel about this beast will come after this verse, but verse 8 here almost serves as a very long re-introduction to the antichrist beast of Revelation 13 using titles and descriptions of him already clearly established.
Take for example the part of this verse that says that those that “dwell on the earth”, or the earth dwellers, which is kind of a technical term for those that are unsaved, as it clarifies here by adding that “their names are not written in the book of life,” These earth dwellers will worship the beast that was and is not and yet is.
This was not new information to John in Revelation 17 because he wrote the exact same description of the beast in Revelation 13 using identical language. For example:
And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. – Rev 13:8
The Angel back in our verse is calling to remembrance the beast that John has already seen with these exact phrases and descriptions. We will see that even the little things like the earth dwellers “wondering“ in 17: 8, is also a reference to them “wondering” at the beast in ch