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Babylon destroyed




Revelation 18:1-7


Revelation 18:1 - After these things...

In chapter 18 we continue with the interlude that describes more information about Babylon. Some try to argue that this interlude about Babylon covers one event - Babylon's destruction, from two different perspectives. But the phrase "after these things" shows that chapter 17 covers events that occur before the events in chapter 18.

In Revelation 17 we learned about the religious system centered in the city Babylon and in this chapter we will learn about the economic system centered in the same city and its destruction along with the city itself, three and one-half years after the religious system is destroyed. As discussed in Revelation 17:18 and shown in the table below, both systems are presented together, so we find many similarities between the religious system and the economic system, but each system is destroyed at different times and by different means:


Religious Babylon (Revelation 17) Economic Babylon (Revelation 18)
A great city A great city
Sits on many waters 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 (port city)
Arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls Clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls
Having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication 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
With whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication All the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her
I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!
And the ten horns (kings) which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire 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


Revelation 18:1 - ...I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.

At the beginning of the interlude about Babylon in Revelation 17, one of the seven angels who poured out the Bowl judgments showed John the judgment of the "great harlot":

Revelation 17:1 - Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot...."

After God judges the "great harlot," John sees "another" angel who proclaims judgment on the city in Revelation 18:2. The Greek word translated "another" means the same kind or of a similar type (source), which suggests that this angel is another one of the seven angels who poured out the Bowl judgments. In fact, it is the seventh angel who pours out his bowl at the time of Babylon's judgment. Perhaps the angel who announces the destruction of the city is the same angel who pours out the bowl that destroys the city:

Revelation 16:17-19 - Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.

We see "another angel" who proclaims Babylon's destruction in Revelation 14:8, supporting the notion that this is the same angel who pours out the seventh Bowl judgment on Babylon:

Revelation 14:8 - And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

John says that the angel comes down from Heaven with great authority and his glory illuminates the Earth. The angel's mighty proclamation against Babylon in the next verse supports the fact that this angel has great authority:

Revelation 18:2-3 - And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird! For all the 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."

John may have also known that this angel had great authority by his glorious appearance. Other than God Himself, Scripture shows only high-ranking cherubs as exuding glory or being illuminous:

Ezekiel 1:5-7, 9:3 - Also from within it came the likeness of four living creatures. And this was their appearance: they had the likeness of a man. Each one had four faces, and each one had four wings. Their legs were straight, and the soles of their feet were like the soles of calves' feet. They sparkled like the color of burnished bronze.... Now the glory of the God of Israel had gone up from the cherub, where it had been, to the threshold of the temple....

The "seraphim" are another type of living creature. The seraphim are apparently fiery in appearance as their name means "fiery ones," as discussed in Revelation 4:8. The glory of the Lord accompanies other angels, but they evidently do not put off an illuminating appearance of their own like the higher-ranking cherubim and seraphim:

Luke 2:9 - And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.
Acts 12:7 - Now behold, an angel of the Lord stood by him, and a light shone in the prison; and he struck Peter on the side and raised him up, saying, "Arise quickly!" And his chains fell off his hands.

Whether the glory accompanies an angel or an angel himself illuminates, the glory is of the Lord but the different brightness may show a difference in rank, as suggested above. The glory of the angel who proclaims Babylon's judgment is so great that it illuminates the earth like the glory of God when He returns to the earth, and in eternity in the New Jerusalem:

Habakkuk 3:3-4 - God came from Teman, the Holy One from Mount Paran. Selah. His glory covered the heavens, and the earth was full of His praise. His brightness was like the light; He had rays flashing from His hand, and there His power was hidden.
Ezekiel 43:2 - And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory.
Revelation 21:23 - The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light.

But this angel is not the Lord Himself, as John says he is "another" angel like the one who had one of the seven bowls who showed him the "great harlot" (Revelation 17:1). Nevertheless, this angel's glory will be so great that it will cut through the darkness caused by God's judgments on the earth, like volcanic ash, fires and other pollutants (Zephaniah 1:15, Joel 2:2, 30), and the darkness on the beast's kingdom (Revelation 16:10). It will be after this last judgment the angel proclaims on Babylon that a cosmic darkness will take over temporarily before the Lord Himself appears with "power and great glory":

Matthew 24:29-30 - "Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light; the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken. Then the sign of the Son of Man will appear in heaven, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory."

Revelation 18:2 - And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!"

The glorious angel who comes down from heaven with great authority proclaims mightily and with a loud voice Babylon's destruction as though it is already past, even though it is yet to happen. This grammar construct is called the "prophetic perfect tense," and is further defined as follows:

    "The prophetic perfect tense is a literary technique used in the Bible that describes future events that are so certain to happen that they are referred to in the past tense as if they already happened."

    "The perfect serves to express actions, events, or states, which the speaker wishes to represent from the point of view of completion, whether they belong to a determinate past time, or extend into the present, or while still future, are pictured as in their completed state."

    Source: Wikipedia

The double emphasis the angel makes about the destruction of Babylon shows two falls - either two falls of the physical city, or two different types of falls. In the case of two falls of the physical city, Babylon did fall to the Medes and Persians and decreased as a city, however, it was never completely destroyed nor made uninhabitable like Sodom and Gomorrah, showing that Isaiah's prophesied future fall of the city is drastically different that the past judgment, when it was merely conquered and not completely destroyed:

Isaiah 13:19-20 - And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there.

Moreover, the context of the following parallel passages about Babylon's fall supports two types of falls - a spiritual fall due to the city's spiritual fornication and idolatry and a physical fall in the literal destruction of the city that will effectively end global commerce. These two different types of "falls" cover both the religious and economic aspects in the interlude about Babylon:

Revelation 14:8 - And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
Isaiah 21:9 - "And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!" Then he answered and said, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods He has broken to the ground."

There was also a double emphasis on Babylon's fall when the Medes and the Persians took the city during the days of Daniel with the inscription "MENE" written twice. The kingdom physically fell to the enemy, but it was because Babylon had already spiritually fallen into idolatry first:

Daniel 5:1-5 - Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone. In the same hour the fingers of a man's hand appeared and wrote opposite the lampstand on the plaster of the wall of the king's palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.
Daniel 5:25-28 - "And this is the inscription that was written: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; TEKEL: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians."

The glorious angel goes on to explain that after Babylon is destroyed the region will become a dwelling place for demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird. However, the following passages that describe the future destruction of Babylon and Edom show that the areas become uninhabitable - even for birds:

Jeremiah 50:35, 50:40, 51:37 - "A sword is against the Chaldeans," says the LORD, "Against the inhabitants of Babylon, and against her princes and her wise men.... As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighbors," says the LORD, "So no one shall reside there, nor son of man dwell in it.... Babylon shall become a heap, a dwelling place for jackals, an astonishment and a hissing, without an inhabitant."
Isaiah 13:19-20 - And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there.
Isaiah 34:8-10 - For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, the year of recompense for the cause of Zion. Its streams shall be turned into pitch, and its dust into brimstone; its land shall become burning pitch. It shall not be quenched night or day; its smoke shall ascend forever. From generation to generation it shall lie waste; no one shall pass through it forever and ever.

These passages go on to describe various kinds of unclean animals and unclean birds:


Babylon
(Jeremiah 50:39 & 51:37)
Babylon
(Isaiah 13:21-22)
Edom
(Isaiah 34:11-15)
Wild desert beasts Wild beasts Wild beast of the desert
Jackals Jackals Jackals
Ostriches Ostriches Ostriches
- - - Owls Owl
- - - Wild goats or Satyr Wild goat or Satyr
- - - Hyenas Night creature
- - - - - - Pelican
- - - - - - Porcupine
- - - - - - Raven
- - - - - - Arrow snake

These unclean animals and birds all must represent demons or unclean spirits to explain how the areas of Babylon and Edom will become completely uninhabitable to all living creatures, yet become a prison to the demons or unclean spirits represented by them.

Incidentally, Satan himself will become imprisoned like the demons and unclean spirits, keeping Christ's millennial reign free of demonic activity until Satan is released from the bottomless pit at the end of the thousand years:

Revelation 20:1-3 - Then I saw an angel coming down from heaven, having the key to the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. He laid hold of the dragon, that serpent of old, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years; and he cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal on him, so that he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while.
Revelation 20:7-8 - Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea.

Revelation 18:3 - "For all the 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."

Recall that the angel that announces judgment on Babylon explains that God will pour out His wrath on Babylon because she made "all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication," which means that Babylon will corrupt the earth with her spiritual fornication:

Revelation 14:8 - And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."

As discussed in Revelation 17:2, drinking the wine of the wrath of Babylon's fornication means people will forsake God and lust after the material and fleshly luxuries the city has to offer. This is really another form of idolatry, or "covetousness," as defined by the Apostle Paul:

Colossians 3:5-6 - Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience....

To drink, or take the cup of the "wine of wrath" is a picture of suffering God's judgment:

Job 21:17-20 - "How often is the lamp of the wicked put out? How often does their destruction come upon them, the sorrows God distributes in His anger? They are like straw before the wind, and like chaff that a storm carries away. They say, 'God lays up one's iniquity for his children'; let Him recompense him, that he may know it. Let his eyes see his destruction, and let him drink of the wrath of the Almighty."
Psalms 75:7-20 - But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is fully mixed, and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down. But I will declare forever, I will sing praises to the God of Jacob. "All the horns of the wicked I will also cut off, but the horns of the righteous shall be exalted."

But the "great harlot" will make the nations "drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication," which means she will entice the nations to follow idols in spiritual harlotry, leading to global moral corruption or depravity that ends in God's judgment:

Revelation 19:1-3 - 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! 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." Again they said, "Alleluia! Her smoke rises up forever and ever!"

But Babylon's idolatry goes beyond the "great harlot" religion that God judges in the middle of the Tribulation. The ten kings who rule over the world in the first half of the Tribulation commit spiritual fornication with the "great harlot," but then they kill her and give the beast their power to rule over the world:

Revelation 17:16-17 - And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

The kings and the world will then worship the beast while continuing to revel in the material luxuries Babylon has to offer. The city will further prosper after the harlot's base of worship becomes the center of the beast's kingdom (Revelation 17:18), because global commerce will be tied to the worship of the beast:

Revelation 13:15-17 - He was granted power to give breath to the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak and cause as many as would not worship the image of the beast to be killed. He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

The merchants of the earth become wealthy due to the great abundance of merchandise they buy and sell through the city. John later says that the merchants are "the great men of the earth":

Revelation 18:23 - 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.

As discussed in Revelation 6:15, the "great men" are men who have great influence on people, but do not have an official ruling position (2 Kings 10:6). When God proclaimed judgment on the city Tyre for its spiritual harlotry and idolatry, He called the merchants "princes" and the "honorable of the earth":

Isaiah 23:8-9 - Who has taken this counsel against Tyre, the crowning city, whose merchants are princes, whose traders are the honorable of the earth? The LORD of hosts has purposed it, to bring to dishonor the pride of all glory, to bring into contempt all the honorable of the earth.
Isaiah 23:15-17 - Now it shall come to pass in that day that Tyre will be forgotten seventy years, according to the days of one king. At the end of seventy years it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the harlot: "Take a harp, go about the city, you forgotten harlot; make sweet melody, sing many songs, that you may be remembered." And it shall be, at the end of seventy years, that the LORD will deal with Tyre. She will return to her hire, and commit fornication with all the kingdoms of the world on the face of the earth.

The following commentary concisely explains the influence the merchants of the earth have over the ruling powers and how they help direct global affairs:

    "The merchants are "the great men of the earth" (Revelation 18:23), powerful magnates who use their great wealth to influence the affairs of the world to further their own power and interests. The city polluted the commercial realm. Throughout history, the boundary between kings and powerful merchants has been blurred. In our own day, perhaps more than in previous eras, wealthy heads of powerful multinational corporations may have greater influence over the affairs of the world than their publicly elected national counterparts (Isaiah 23:8). While kings wield political power, merchants wield great financial power. With rare exception, world leadership has generally been immersed in a tangled web of political, religious, and commercial interests which are impossible to isolate from one another."

    "Such international magnates and financiers constitute, more often than not, the power behind the throne. Kings and presidents often attain and keep their authority by sufferance of those who finance their undertakings. In turn, these great men of the earth receive land grants and trade monopolies and tax loopholes and innumerable other favors from those whom they establish in political power, all to enrich themselves still further."

    Source: SpiritandTruth.org


Revelation 18:4 - 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."

John hears "another voice" from heaven. The Greek word translated "another" is the same word John uses in Revelation 18:1 that means it is the same kind or of a similar type (source). The angel who just proclaimed Babylon's judgment had a "loud voice," and this voice that follows is similarly loud. But this "voice from heaven" is not an angel, because the next phrase "Come out of her, my people," shows that it is the Lord speaking.

God used the phrase "my people" in a prophecy in Hosea, where He said He would put Israel away for a time of judgment, but then later have mercy and redeem them as His people again:

Hosea 1:9-10 - Then God said: "Call his name Lo-Ammi, for you are not My people, and I will not be your God. "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured or numbered. And it shall come to pass in the place where it was said to them, 'You are not My people' there it shall be said to them, 'You are sons of the living God.'""
Hosea 2:23 - "Then I will sow her for Myself in the earth, and I will have mercy on her who had not obtained mercy; then I will say to those who were not My people, 'You are My people!' And they shall say, 'You are my God!'"

The passages below in Jeremiah show that God will redeem His people after He destroys Babylon:

Jeremiah 50:5-9 - They shall ask the way to Zion, with their faces toward it, saying, 'Come and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that will not be forgotten.' "My people have been lost sheep. Their shepherds have led them astray; they have turned them away on the mountains. They have gone from mountain to hill; they have forgotten their resting place. All who found them have devoured them; and their adversaries said, 'We have not offended, because they have sinned against the LORD, the habitation of justice, the LORD, the hope of their fathers.' "Move from the midst of Babylon, go out of the land of the Chaldeans; and be like the rams before the flocks. For behold, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country, and they shall array themselves against her; from there she shall be captured. Their arrows shall be like those of an expert warrior; none shall return in vain."
Jeremiah 51:5-6, 45, 49-50 - "For Israel is not forsaken, nor Judah, by his God, the LORD of hosts, though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel." Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; He shall recompense her.... "My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the LORD...." As Babylon has caused the slain of Israel to fall, so at Babylon the slain of all the earth shall fall. You who have escaped the sword, Get away! Do not stand still! Remember the LORD afar off, and let Jerusalem come to your mind.

God pleading with His people to come out of Babylon before He destroys it is reminiscent of other times that God told His people to separate themselves from those under imminent judgment:

Genesis 19:12-17 - Then the men said to Lot, "Have you anyone else here? Son-in-law, your sons, your daughters, and whomever you have in the city - take them out of this place! For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it." So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who had married his daughters, and said, "Get up, get out of this place; for the LORD will destroy this city!" But to his sons-in-law he seemed to be joking. When the morning dawned, the angels urged Lot to hurry, saying, "Arise, take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be consumed in the punishment of the city." And while he lingered, the men took hold of his hand, his wife's hand, and the hands of his two daughters, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. So it came to pass, when they had brought them outside, that he said, "Escape for your life! Do not look behind you nor stay anywhere in the plain. Escape to the mountains, lest you be destroyed."
Numbers 16:1-3, 19-26 - Now Korah the son of Izhar... took men; and they rose up before Moses with some of the children of Israel, two hundred and fifty leaders of the congregation, representatives of the congregation, men of renown. They gathered together against Moses and Aaron, and said to them, "You take too much upon yourselves, for all the congregation is holy, every one of them, and the LORD is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the LORD...?" And Korah gathered all the congregation against them at the door of the tabernacle of meeting. Then the glory of the LORD appeared to all the congregation. And the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, saying, "Separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I may consume them in a moment." Then they fell on their faces, and said, "O God, the God of the spirits of all flesh, shall one man sin, and You be angry with all the congregation?" So the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to the congregation, saying, 'Get away from the tents of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram.' " Then Moses rose and went to Dathan and Abiram, and the elders of Israel followed him. And he spoke to the congregation, saying, "Depart now from the tents of these wicked men! Touch nothing of theirs, lest you be consumed in all their sins."

These examples show that God has called His people to physically remove themselves from impending judgment, but He would not have done so if they were not His people spiritually. In other words, God doesn't call ethnic Jews out of Babylon - He calls out believers. Considering the fact that the false prophet will require all who buy and sell to take the "mark of the beast," it is strange that believers would be dwelling in the heart of the beast's kingdom at the end of the Tribulation. This might be evidence of an underground black market run by a group of insurgents who successfully avoid taking the "mark of the beast," and at some point during the Tribulation, they become believers before God calls them out of Babylon.

Beyond a physical separation to protect God's people from harm, there is a spiritual implication in believers separating themselves from the worldly Babylonian system, whether they were believers throughout the Tribulation, or answering the last call for salvation before God's judgment on Babylon, as discussed in the following commentary:

    ""Come out of her, my people": God will call His own to disentangle themselves from this evil system. This may also be God's calling the elect to abandon the world system and come to faith in the Savior. In either case, the message is to abandon the system before it is destroyed (compare 2 Corinthians 6:17; 1 John 2:15). The judgment of God on that society living in sinful, arrogant self-indulgence can be avoided. Compare Isaiah's and Jeremiah's message to their people to leave Babylon (Isaiah 48:20; Jeremiah 50:8; 51:6-9, 45). In both cases, the message is to abandon the system."

    Source: Discover The Book of Revelation

Believers have to live in the world and the Lord's commission is for them to share the Gospel with the world, but we as believers should not love the things of the world (1 John 2:15-16), and we are held responsible to hold our brothers and sisters in Christ accountable to living holy lives separate from the world (1 Corinthians 5:9-11). Paul tells us not to unequally yoke by joining ourselves to unbelievers in close relationships:

2 Corinthians 6:14-18 - Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? And what accord has Christ with Belial? Or what part has a believer with an unbeliever? And what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For you are the temple of the living God. As God has said: "I will dwell in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they shall be My people." Therefore "Come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you." "I will be a Father to you, and you shall be My sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty."

The problem is that if we are unequally yoked, we tend to follow the ways of unbelievers instead of following the Holy Spirit:

1 Corinthians 15:33-34 - Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits." Awake to righteousness, and do not sin; for some do not have the knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.
Proverbs 12:26 - The righteous should choose his friends carefully, for the way of the wicked leads them astray.
Proverbs 13:20 - He who walks with wise men will be wise, but the companion of fools will be destroyed.
Psalms 1:1-2 - Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law he meditates day and night.

If believers do not separate themselves and stand up against rebellion against God, He will judge them along with the world - no more fence-sitting. If believers do not call out sin and stand up to it, they sin by association by accepting it, even if they do not commit the immoral acts themselves:

Romans 1:28-32 - And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting; being filled with all unrighteousness, sexual immorality, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, evil-mindedness; they are whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, violent, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, undiscerning, untrustworthy, unloving, unforgiving, unmerciful; who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.

So, beyond God calling His people to come out of Babylon to protect them from His imminent judgment, He also calls His people to separate themselves spiritually from the Babylonian system of rebellion, so they do not "share in her sins," thus become deserving of "receiving her plagues." The plagues God pours out on Babylon are "death and mourning and famine," and the city "utterly burned with fire":

Revelation 18:8 - 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.

Revelation 18:5 - For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

God is going to judge Babylon because her "sins have reached to Heaven." This imagery draws us back to the first rebellion in the same geographical region at Babel, when the people on the earth built a tower to the heavens:

Genesis 11:1-5 - Now the whole earth had one language and one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar, and they dwelt there. Then they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks and bake them thoroughly." They had brick for stone, and they had asphalt for mortar. And they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower whose top is in the heavens; let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth." But the LORD came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built.
Genesis 11:6-9 - And the LORD said, "Indeed the people are one and they all have one language, and this is what they begin to do; now nothing that they propose to do will be withheld from them. Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech." So the LORD scattered them abroad from there over the face of all the earth, and they ceased building the city. Therefore its name is called Babel, because there the LORD confused the language of all the earth; and from there the LORD scattered them abroad over the face of all the earth.

The Tower of Babel is a symbol of man's rebellion against God. It took time for the people to make brick and build a tower that reached to the heavens, just as it takes time for sin to pile up to Heaven - this is God's red line, where in His righteous justice He must judge sin. For example, God kept His people in Egypt for 400 years until the iniquity of the Amorites was complete and God judged them:

Genesis 15:13, 16 - Then He said to Abram: "Know certainly that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, and will serve them, and they will afflict them four hundred years.... But in the fourth generation they shall return here, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete."

At the end of the age, Babylon will once again symbolize man's rebellion with her sin reaching Heaven one last time before God judges her, along with the rest of the world who will become drunk with her wine of her fornication, first by destroying the harlot religion in the middle of the Tribulation (Revelation 17:2), and then the city itself at the end of the Tribulation (Revelation 14:8):

Jeremiah 51:6-9, 53 - Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; He shall recompense her. Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore the nations are deranged. Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed. Wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed. Forsake her, and let us go everyone to his own country; for her judgment reaches to heaven and is lifted up to the skies.... "Though Babylon were to mount up to heaven, and though she were to fortify the height of her strength, yet from Me plunderers would come to her," says the LORD.

These passages show other examples in Scripture where outcry over sin "reached up" to God in Heaven and God responded to the wickedness with judgment:

Genesis 4:10-12 - And He said, "What have you done? The voice of your brother's blood cries out to Me from the ground. So now you are cursed from the earth, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother's blood from your hand. When you till the ground, it shall no longer yield its strength to you. A fugitive and a vagabond you shall be on the earth."
Genesis 18:20-21, 19:1, 13 - And the LORD said, "Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know...." Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom.... "For we will destroy this place, because the outcry against them has grown great before the face of the LORD, and the LORD has sent us to destroy it."
2 Chronicles 28:9-11 - But a prophet of the LORD was there, whose name was Oded; and he went out before the army that came to Samaria, and said to them: "Look, because the LORD God of your fathers was angry with Judah, He has delivered them into your hand; but you have killed them in a rage that reaches up to heaven. And now you propose to force the children of Judah and Jerusalem to be your male and female slaves; but are you not also guilty before the LORD your God? Now hear me, therefore, and return the captives, whom you have taken captive from your brethren, for the fierce wrath of the LORD is upon you."
Jonah 1:1-2 - Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me."
Ezra 9:6, 15 - And I said: "O my God, I am too ashamed and humiliated to lift up my face to You, my God; for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has grown up to the heavens.... O LORD God of Israel, You are righteous, for we are left as a remnant, as it is this day. Here we are before You, in our guilt, though no one can stand before You because of this!"

Once Babylon's sin reaches Heaven, God "remembers her iniquities." We see similar wording in the following description of Babylon's destruction in the seventh Bowl judgment:

Revelation 16:17-19 - Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" And there were noises and thunderings and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such a mighty and great earthquake as had not occurred since men were on the earth. Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.

The Greek word translated "remembered" means to call to mind or recount things that have happened. God allows rebellion and sin to run its course, but it eventually reaches to Heaven and God must deal with it as a righteous judge, as discussed earlier. In a court of law, a judge decides on a verdict based on the evidence in the case brought before him. Likewise, God calls to mind all Babylon's transgressions that have reached to Heaven and decides that the verdict is guilty and the sentence is destruction of the religious system and the city.

The fact that God waits to judge until sin and rebellion have reached Heaven is evidence of His longsuffering and desire that all come to repentance (2 Peter 3:9). It may seem at times that God will never judge the wicked, but He always does.

Throughout history, God has dealt with nations corporately in judgment when their rebellion reaches to Heaven. Even under the Mosaic Law, God dealt with Israel in judgment because they broke His covenant He made with them by turning toward false gods:

Jeremiah 14:10-12 - Thus says the LORD to this people: "Thus they have loved to wander; they have not restrained their feet. Therefore the LORD does not accept them; He will remember their iniquity now, and punish their sins." Then the LORD said to me, "Do not pray for this people, for their good. When they fast, I will not hear their cry; and when they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I will not accept them. But I will consume them by the sword, by the famine, and by the pestilence."
Ezekiel 16:59 - For thus says the Lord GOD: "I will deal with you as you have done, who despised the oath by breaking the covenant. Nevertheless I will remember My covenant with you in the days of your youth, and I will establish an everlasting covenant with you."
Hosea 8:11-14, 9:9 - "Because Ephraim has made many altars for sin, they have become for him altars for sinning. I have written for him the great things of My law, but they were considered a strange thing. For the sacrifices of My offerings they sacrifice flesh and eat it, but the LORD does not accept them. Now He will remember their iniquity and punish their sins. They shall return to Egypt. "For Israel has forgotten his Maker, and has built temples; Judah also has multiplied fortified cities; but I will send fire upon his cities, and it shall devour his palaces...." They are deeply corrupted, as in the days of Gibeah. He will remember their iniquity; He will punish their sins.

But God was always ready to forgive Israel of their sin if they would repent as a nation:

Psalms 25:6-7 - Remember, O LORD, Your tender mercies and Your lovingkindnesses, for they are from of old. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my transgressions; according to Your mercy remember me, for Your goodness' sake, O LORD.
Psalms 79:8-9 - Oh, do not remember former iniquities against us! Let Your tender mercies come speedily to meet us, for we have been brought very low. Help us, O God of our salvation, for the glory of Your name; and deliver us, and provide atonement for our sins, for Your name's sake!
Isaiah 43:25-26 - "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake; and I will not remember your sins. Put Me in remembrance; let us contend together; state your case, that you may be acquitted."

In contrast, under the "new covenant" God made through Christ (Matthew 26:28, Mark 14:24, Luke 22:20, 1 Corinthians 11:25) God deals with each person individually instead of corporately, where if one accepts this "new covenant" God says He "will remember no more" their sin and forgive them. Jeremiah's prophecy in the following passage about the "new covenant" is also quoted in Hebrews 8:10-12 & 10:16-17:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 - "Behold, the days are coming, says the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah - not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the LORD. But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

God still judges nations corporately on the just and the unjust (Matthew 5:45). But when the just stand before the judgment seat of Christ in Heaven, the Lord will not remember or recount their sin like the unjust who will receive eternal judgment (Revelation 20:12), because He forgave believers' sin at the cross:

1 Peter 3:18 - For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit...
Colossians 2:13-14 - And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross.

Revelation 18:6 - 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.

Retribution, or rendering what is rendered goes back to the Old Testament Law, where punishment matched the crime as determined by a judge (Deuteronomy 16:18-19):

Exodus 21:23-25 - But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.
Leviticus 24:19-21 - 'If a man causes disfigurement of his neighbor, as he has done, so shall it be done to him - fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth; as he has caused disfigurement of a man, so shall it be done to him. And whoever kills an animal shall restore it; but whoever kills a man shall be put to death.'

God instituted these laws and gave authority to the judges to uphold these laws, but vengeance always belongs to the Lord:

Proverbs 20:22 - Do not say, "I will recompense evil"; wait for the LORD, and He will save you.
Isaiah 59:18 - According to their deeds, accordingly He will repay, fury to His adversaries, recompense to His enemies; the coastlands He will fully repay.
Ezekiel 11:21 - "But as for those whose hearts follow the desire for their detestable things and their abominations, I will recompense their deeds on their own heads," says the Lord GOD.
Romans 12:19-20 - Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay," says the Lord. Therefore "If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head."

God will avenge His people by destroying Babylon:

Revelation 18:20, 24 - "Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her...! And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth."
Revelation 19:2 - "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."
Jeremiah 51:6, 11, 35-36, 56 - Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; He shall recompense her.... Make the arrows bright! Gather the shields! The LORD has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes. For His plan is against Babylon to destroy it, because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance for His temple.... "Let the violence done to me and my flesh be upon Babylon," The inhabitant of Zion will say; "And my blood be upon the inhabitants of Chaldea!" Jerusalem will say. Therefore thus says the LORD: "Behold, I will plead your case and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry...." Because the plunderer comes against her, against Babylon, and her mighty men are taken. Every one of their bows is broken; for the LORD is the God of recompense, He will surely repay.

The Lord is still addressing His people here after telling them to come out of Babylon in Revelation 18:4 and He tells them to make retribution for all she did to them. In other words, God will take vengeance on Babylon through His people, whom he sends as His agents to destroy the city. In fact, all through Scripture we see that God appoints angels and humans as agents, or ministers, giving them authority to "execute wrath on him who practices evil":

Romans 13:3-4 - For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God's minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God's minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

In this passage, Paul addresses rulers to judge day-to-day affairs in their nation, but God also uses nations to judge other nations. For example, God will use Israel as His weapon to execute His judgment on the nations who neighbor her in the "Great Middle East War" near the beginning of the Tribulation:

Zechariah 9:13 - "For I have bent Judah, My bow, fitted the bow with Ephraim, and raised up your sons, O Zion, against your sons, O Greece, and made you like the sword of a mighty man."

Similarly, when God judged Babylon in the past for the evil they did to Israel, He sent "a people from the north," the Medes, whom God called "archers" that He used as weapons of judgment:

Jeremiah 50:14-15, 25, 29, 41-42 - "Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around, all you who bend the bow; shoot at her, spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD. Shout against her all around; she has given her hand, her foundations have fallen, her walls are thrown down; for it is the vengeance of the LORD. Take vengeance on her. As she has done, so do to her.... The LORD has opened His armory, and has brought out the weapons of His indignation; for this is the work of the Lord GOD of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.... Call together the archers against Babylon. All you who bend the bow, encamp against it all around; let none of them escape. Repay her according to her work; according to all she has done, do to her; for she has been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel.... Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation and many kings shall be raised up from the ends of the earth. They shall hold the bow and the lance; they are cruel and shall not show mercy. Their voice shall roar like the sea; they shall ride on horses, set in array, like a man for the battle, against you, O daughter of Babylon."

God will once again use the descendants of the Medes to mete out His judgment on Babylon at the end of the Tribulation:

Jeremiah 51:2-3, 11, 28-29, 56 - And I will send winnowers to Babylon, who shall winnow her and empty her land. For in the day of doom they shall be against her all around. Against her let the archer bend his bow, and lift himself up against her in his armor. Do not spare her young men; utterly destroy all her army.... Make the arrows bright! Gather the shields! The LORD has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes. For His plan is against Babylon to destroy it, because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance for His temple.... Prepare against her the nations, with the kings of the Medes, its governors and all its rulers, all the land of his dominion. And the land will tremble and sorrow; for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitant.... Because the plunderer comes against her, against Babylon, and her mighty men are taken. Every one of their bows is broken; for the LORD is the God of recompense, He will surely repay....
Isaiah 13:17-19 - "Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not regard silver; and as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah."

So as discussed earlier, the agents God sends to destroy Babylon are His people, but God says He is going to use the Medes to destroy Babylon, as we saw in the passages above, which means there are believers among the Medes who destroy Babylon. God tells His people to repay Babylon "double according to her works." Works are deeds or actions done for or against someone. The following passages show that everything done for or against someone is also done for or against the Lord. In other words, every offence is always against two parties and thus requires double the punishment:

1 Corinthians 8:12 - But when you thus sin against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ.
Matthew 25:40, 45 - And the King will answer and say to them, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me....' Then He will answer them, saying, 'Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.'

God's punishment is double, but His reward, or restoration is also double:

Exodus 22:4, 8-9 - If the theft is certainly found alive in his hand, whether it is an ox or donkey or sheep, he shall restore double.... If the thief is not found, then the master of the house shall be brought to the judges to see whether he has put his hand into his neighbor's goods. "For any kind of trespass, whether it concerns an ox, a donkey, a sheep, or clothing, or for any kind of lost thing which another claims to be his, the cause of both parties shall come before the judges; and whomever the judges condemn shall pay double to his neighbor."
Isaiah 40:2 - "Speak comfort to Jerusalem, and cry out to her, that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned; for she has received from the LORD's hand double for all her sins."
Isaiah 61:7-8 - Instead of your shame you shall have double honor, and instead of confusion they shall rejoice in their portion. Therefore in their land they shall possess double; everlasting joy shall be theirs. "For I, the LORD, love justice; I hate robbery for burnt offering; I will direct their work in truth, and will make with them an everlasting covenant."
Jeremiah 16:18 - "And first I will repay double for their iniquity and their sin, because they have defiled My land; they have filled My inheritance with the carcasses of their detestable and abominable idols."
Jeremiah 17:18 - Let them be ashamed who persecute me, but do not let me be put to shame; let them be dismayed, but do not let me be dismayed. Bring on them the day of doom, and destroy them with double destruction!
Zechariah 9:12 - Return to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope. Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.

Interestingly, Jeremiah called Babylon "Merathaim," which means "double rebellion" in the following prophecy that speaks of Babylon's sin against both the Lord and His people:

Jeremiah 50:14-15, 17-18, 21 - "Put yourselves in array against Babylon all around, all you who bend the bow; shoot at her, spare no arrows, for she has sinned against the LORD. Shout against her all around; she has given her hand, her foundations have fallen, her walls are thrown down; for it is the vengeance of the LORD. Take vengeance on her. As she has done, so do to her.... Israel is like scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away. First the king of Assyria devoured him; now at last this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon has broken his bones." Therefore thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.... Go up against the land of Merathaim, against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod. Waste and utterly destroy them," says the LORD, "And do according to all that I have commanded you."

God continues to tell His agents of wrath to "mix double for her" in the "cup which she has mixed." Recall that Babylon's cup was full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

Revelation 14:8 - And another angel followed, saying, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication."
Revelation 17:4 - The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.

Drinking the wine of Babylon's fornication means people will forsake God and covet the material and fleshly luxuries the city has to offer, which is really another form of idolatry (Colossians 3:5-6). As discussed in Revelation 17:5, sinful behavior designated as abominations in Scripture include sexual immorality, sacrificing without a heart for God, or sacrificing to idols or demons, witchcraft or sorcery, defiling the temple, child and human sacrifice, stealing, murder or violence, or swearing falsely (Leviticus 18, Deuteronomy 18, Isaiah 66, Jeremiah 7, Ezekiel 8). God told Israel that these abominations pollute the land making it unclean, which requires that the occupants be evicted in order to cleanse it (Leviticus 18:26-28, Ezra 9:10-11).

The "great harlot" will make the inhabitants of the earth drunk with her contaminated wine full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication, thus God must judge the world and evict its inhabitants to cleanse the land, and He will do so by making Babylon drink the wrath from His cup, which is proportionate in punishment to the wrath of Babylon's fornication she made the nations drink:

Psalms 75:7-8 - But God is the Judge: He puts down one, and exalts another. For in the hand of the LORD there is a cup, and the wine is red; it is fully mixed, and He pours it out; surely its dregs shall all the wicked of the earth drain and drink down.
Jeremiah 51:6-8 - Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; He shall recompense her. Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore the nations are deranged. Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed. Wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed.

Then, after the Lord destroys Babylon, He will evict the inhabitants and make the land perpetually desolate:

Jeremiah 25:12-16, 27-28 - "'Then it will come to pass, when seventy years are completed, that I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity,' says the LORD; 'and I will make it a perpetual desolation. So I will bring on that land all My words which I have pronounced against it, all that is written in this book, which Jeremiah has prophesied concerning all the nations. (For many nations and great kings shall be served by them also; and I will repay them according to their deeds and according to the works of their own hands.)' " For thus says the LORD God of Israel to me: "Take this wine cup of fury from My hand, and cause all the nations, to whom I send you, to drink it. And they will drink and stagger and go mad because of the sword that I will send among them.... Therefore you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: "Drink, be drunk, and vomit! Fall and rise no more, because of the sword which I will send among you." 'And it shall be, if they refuse to take the cup from your hand to drink, then you shall say to them, 'Thus says the LORD of hosts: "You shall certainly drink!"'

Revelation 18:7 - In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.'

Just as Babylon made the nations deranged with drunkenness from her cup of abominations and fornication (Jeremiah 51:7), she herself is deranged, trusting in her own knowledge and wisdom instead of glorifying God. Like other nations who did not glorify God and professed themselves wise, God will turn Babylon over to a debased mind before He judges her (Romans 1:18-32). Isaiah expands on Babylon's sins of self-indulgence and pride that lead to her destruction:

Isaiah 47:5-7 - "Sit in silence, and go into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; for you shall no longer be called The Lady of Kingdoms. I was angry with My people; I have profaned My inheritance, and given them into your hand. You showed them no mercy; on the elderly you laid your yoke very heavily. And you said, 'I shall be a lady forever,' so that you did not take these things to heart, nor remember the latter end of them."
Isaiah 47:8-10 - "Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures, who dwell securely, who say in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, nor shall I know the loss of children'; but these two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day: The loss of children, and widowhood. They shall come upon you in their fullness because of the multitude of your sorceries, for the great abundance of your enchantments. "For you have trusted in your wickedness; you have said, 'No one sees me'; your wisdom and your knowledge have warped you; and you have said in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one else besides me.'"
Isaiah 47:11-15 - Therefore evil shall come upon you; you shall not know from where it arises. And trouble shall fall upon you; you will not be able to put it off. And desolation shall come upon you suddenly, which you shall not know. "Stand now with your enchantments and the multitude of your sorceries, in which you have labored from your youth - perhaps you will be able to profit, perhaps you will prevail. You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels; let now the astrologers, the stargazers, and the monthly prognosticators stand up and save you from what shall come upon you. Behold, they shall be as stubble, the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame; it shall not be a coal to be warmed by, nor a fire to sit before! Thus shall they be to you with whom you have labored, your merchants from your youth; they shall wander each one to his quarter. No one shall save you."

Babylon glorified herself by trying to elevate herself through pride and arrogance, claiming to sit as queen and discrediting the warning of God's impending judgment:

Jeremiah 50:29-32 - "Call together the archers against Babylon. All you who bend the bow, encamp against it all around; let none of them escape. Repay her according to her work; according to all she has done, do to her; for she has been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel. Therefore her young men shall fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day," says the LORD. "Behold, I am against you, O most haughty one!" says the Lord GOD of hosts; "For your day has come, the time that I will punish you. The most proud shall stumble and fall, and no one will raise him up; I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it will devour all around him."

Babylon boasts that she will not see the sorrow of widowhood. The following commentary explains what widowhood means for Babylon:

    "Jerusalem is called 'the city of our God' in Psalm 48:1. However, when Babylon's army destroyed it, its people suffered greatly. They compared Jerusalem then to a widow who wept bitterly (Lamentations 1:1-2). The loss of Jerusalem's people was like a widow whose children had died (Isaiah 51:17-20)."

    "However, God would bring back Jerusalem's people from Babylon with great joy (Psalm 126; Isaiah 54:1-3). No longer would Jerusalem be like a widow; instead God will declare himself to be Jerusalem's husband (Isaiah 54:4-8). He will rebuild the city with great beauty, to be his always (Isaiah 54:9-12; compare the description of the New Jerusalem in Revelation 21)."

    "On the other hand, Babylon's punishment will be truly awful. Isaiah 47:11 describes a sudden, terrible punishment that nothing, either in this world or the spirit world, can prevent. Babylon then will become like a widow that has lost her children in a very terrible manner (Psalm 137:8-9). It can never recover, because that is God's judgement against it."

    Source: Useful Bible

Despite Babylon's delusion, widowhood and loss of children or citizens is exactly what God's judgment on them will be:

Isaiah 47:8-9 - "Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures, who dwell securely, who say in your heart, 'I am, and there is no one else besides me; I shall not sit as a widow, nor shall I know the loss of children'; but these two things shall come to you in a moment, in one day: The loss of children, and widowhood. They shall come upon you in their fullness because of the multitude of your sorceries, for the great abundance of your enchantments."

Pride can lead to denial that man is subject to God and His judgment. Like Israel, they are delusional to believe they are independent of God's authority and immune from His judgment:

Amos 9:8-10 - "Behold, the eyes of the Lord GOD are on the sinful kingdom, and I will destroy it from the face of the earth; yet I will not utterly destroy the house of Jacob," Says the LORD. "For surely I will command, and will sift the house of Israel among all nations, as grain is sifted in a sieve; yet not the smallest grain shall fall to the ground. All the sinners of My people shall die by the sword, who say, 'The calamity shall not overtake nor confront us.'"

Similarly, Lucifer's pride made him believe he was above God's authority:

Isaiah 14:12-15 - "How you are fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are cut down to the ground, you who weakened the nations! For you have said in your heart: 'I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God; I will also sit on the mount of the congregation on the farthest sides of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.' Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the lowest depths of the Pit."

Babylon calls herself "queen," alluding to her title "queen of heaven" (Jeremiah 7:18, 44:18-19, 25), being the matriarch goddess and mother of "harlots," or all false religions, as discussed in Revelation 17:5. Babylon elevates herself above God and glorifies herself instead of God like Satan did. Glorifying oneself instead of God is "humanism":

    "The spirit of humanism first expressed at Babel has permeated human history ever since. Unshakably optimistic despite centuries of war, slaughter, injustice, and cruelty, people still seek a utopia, to be brought about by humanity's upward scientific progress. Having taken control (so they think) of their own destiny through science, sinners have no use for God and haughtily replace Him as self-styled gods devoted to their own sovereignty."

    Source: Bible Study Tools

But the arrogance and pride of humanism always leads to destruction:

Proverbs 15:25 - The LORD will destroy the house of the proud, but He will establish the boundary of the widow.
Proverbs 16:18 - Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
Luke 14:11 - "For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted."
1 Corinthians 10:12 - Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall.

God tells His agents of destruction to give Babylon "torment and sorrow" in the same measure as she "glorified and lived luxuriously." She glorifies herself above God and lives "luxuriously," which means she indulges in sensual, lustful behavior without self-control or restraint in revelry (source), similar to Belshazzar, who used God's sacred vessels from the temple in a wild feast of debauchery, giving praise to false gods:

Daniel 5:1-4 - Belshazzar the king made a great feast for a thousand of his lords, and drank wine in the presence of the thousand. While he tasted the wine, Belshazzar gave the command to bring the gold and silver vessels which his father Nebuchadnezzar had taken from the temple which had been in Jerusalem, that the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines might drink from them. Then they brought the gold vessels that had been taken from the temple of the house of God which had been in Jerusalem; and the king and his lords, his wives, and his concubines drank from them. They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold and silver, bronze and iron, wood and stone.

The "same measure" of judgment is God's vengeance, or retribution, where punishment matches the crime, as discussed in Revelation 18:6. God will judge Babylon by the measure of her "covetousness" of lusting after material possessions:

Jeremiah 51:12-13 - Set up the standard on the walls of Babylon; make the guard strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes. For the LORD has both devised and done what He spoke against the inhabitants of Babylon. O you who dwell by many waters, abundant in treasures, your end has come, the measure of your covetousness.

In the next three sections, we will look at God's specific judgments on Babylon for glorifying herself above God and living licentiously, particularly in the spiritual sense through religious harlotry:

Revelation 18:8-10 - 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. "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, 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.'"
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