The World Mourns Babylon’s Fall

She owns a string of hotels. She owns the Empire State Building. She is a billionaire. Yet, in September 1989 Leona Mindy Rosenthal Helmsley was convicted of 33 counts of tax evasion, for which she faces the possibility of being sent to prison for 100 years. According to Time mag … More


The fall of commercial Babylon is covered in this passage. The context of chapter 18 with its many references to the kings and merchants and commerce shows that, in this setting, Babylon is viewed in her political, economic, and commercial character, rather than in her religious role (vv. 11-19). It is a place of much wealth and luxury. Because of greed, the more they had the more they wanted to hold on to it.

The angel’s message is that “Babylon the great is fallen” (v. 2). This will bring a loud protest from the earth’s political and economic powers. The kings of the world were grieved because of the lifestyle they had lost (vv. 9-10) and the merchants (vv. 11-16) and ship masters (vv. 17-19) lamented about the city’s downfall since they would no longer be able to carry on commerce with the city. All of this will happen within one hour (vv. 10, 17, 19). It is interesting to note that neither the kings, merchants nor ship masters stretch out their hand to help Babylon in her last agony. They never really had any love for her; the only real interest they had was the luxury she provided and the trade it brought them. Babylon symbolizes the harlot and the whole godless world system that caters to the appetites of sinful men and women. It is apparent that Babylon was a place of great luxury and wealth. This differs greatly from the previous chapter which was a religious situation rather than the economic and political situation that we have here (v. 3). Slavery will return (v. 13).


This shows that when we are financially secure like the people of Babylon it is easy to become complacent and deluded by the myth of self-sufficiency. Lord, help me to not depend on what I have but on who you are? “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world.” I John 2:15-16.

Revelation 18:9-19 (English Standard Version)

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