Once the metaphorical woman of Chapter 17 has been identified as Babylon, John’s vision in Chapter 18 addresses her disunity from God and the resulting judgment of God against “the great city”:
“After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast. For all nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living’” (Rev 18:1-3).
Can a “great city” guilty of uncontrollable sexual immorality be a metaphorical reference to total of disunity from God? Could Babylon in our day represent the beyond-wealthy oligarchs of the world. An oligarchy is a form of government in which supreme power is vested in a small exclusive class. Today, they manipulate the world’s financial empires to their own benefit, and the Jeffrey Epstein’s and Ghislaine Maxwell’s of the world operate in the dark on private islands and unsecured borders by brutalizing young girls in sex trafficking, luring in influential people, condemning them to judgment by God.
This comparison makes some sense, as John now hears a plea to God’s people who are caught in Babylon:
“Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. Pay her back as she herself has paid back others, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double portion for her in the cup she mixed. As she glorified herself and lived in luxury, so give her a like measure of torment and mourning, since in her heart she says, “I sit as a queen, and I am no widow, and mourning I shall never see.” For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her’” (Rev 18:4-8).
Come out of her!
This is a warning from God, suggesting that some of God’s people are in Babylon intentionally, not just captives: get out while you still can, because the end will come very quickly. These children of God in Babylon now must make a choice between taking the good fork in the road to perfect unity with God or the bad fork that leads to judgment by God.
“And the kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they seek the smoke of her burning. They will stand far off, in fear of her torment, and say, ‘Alas! Alas! You great city, you mighty city, Babylon! For in a single hour your judgment has come’” (Rev 18:9-10).
Having grasped the evil of those in disunity from God within Babylon, the kings of the earth are wise enough to observe the catastrophe from a large distance away. And they are not the only ones.
Hurry back for Part 2 as the merchants from all over the earth mourn their loss of exorbitant profits – a global economic pandemic?