"And [the shipmasters and sailors] threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out, 'Alas, alas, for the great city [Babylon] where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth! For in a single hour she has been laid waste. Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints, apostles, and prophets, for God has given judgment for you against her!'" - Revelation 18:19-20
In this chapter, two angels (vv. 1, 21) and another voice from heaven (v. 4) proclaim God's judgment upon Babylon the great (v. 2). She has led astray the nations of the earth in sexual immorality and luxurious living (v. 3). It is difficult to know who or what the city represents. Is she a literal city, like Babylon, Rome, London, or New York? Or does she represent the world economic system as a whole? Another question is whether the Babylon of ch. 17 is the same as the Babylon of ch. 18. Some have supposed that the Babylon of ch. 17 is a world religious system, while the Babylon of ch. 18 is a world economic system.
The truth repeated throughout the chapter is that this Babylon, whatever she represents, will be destroyed in single day, which will shock all the inhabitants of the earth. The biblical view of the end times is that things will not always go on as they do now. There will come a day when God will intervene in an unmistakeable way. Babylon will be destroyed based on what she has done to believers, and they will rightly rejoice at her destruction.
Father, may we as believers "come out of Babylon" and be separate (v. 4). May we not take part in her sins, especially sexual immorality and luxurious living (v. 3). May we not give in to the attractiveness and power of the world economic system. Instead, may we be content with what we have, trusting that you will provide for us. May we have full faith in your future divine intervention into our world, to right every wrong. Thank you for your justice, Father. In Jesus' name, amen.
- Jeff Coleman