Revelation 17-18 The Destruction Of Babylon

I. Opening Video Data.

John Ankerberg Show. From Our Series “Through the Book of Revelation with Dr. Jimmy DeYoung (M. Div., Ph. D.) (1940 – 2021).

II. Introduction.

Dr. John F. Walvoord  (Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., 1910-2002), Revelation Commentary, 1974.

The Book of Revelation was written in order in which the truth was revealed to John, but the events described are not necessarily in chronological order. This is especially true of Rev 17, which probably occurred during the first half of the last seven years. Chapter 17 is the destruction of ecclesiastical Babylon, or Babylon as a religion. Chap 18 is the destruction of Babylon, as a city, and as an empire.

III. Scripture Text. Revelation 17-18. New American Standard Bible (NASB 1995). Pasted from Bible Gateway.

The Doom of Babylon

17. 1.Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of sexual immorality, and those who live on the earth became drunk with the wine of her sexual immorality.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls, holding in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her sexual immorality, and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery: “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.

“The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who live on the earth, whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was, and is not, and will come. Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains upon which the woman sits, 10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11 The beast which was, and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. 12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.

Victory for the Lamb

14 These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them because He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.”

15 And he *said to me, “The waters which you saw where the prostitute sits are peoples and multitudes, and nations and languages. 16 And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the prostitute and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. 18 The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”

Babylon Is Fallen

18 1. After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated from his glory. And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. For all the nations have fallen because of the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of sexual immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich from the excessive wealth of her luxury.”

I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive any of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her offenses. Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. To the extent that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, to the same extent give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.’ For this reason in one day her plagues will come, plague and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.

Grief over Babylon

“And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of sexual immorality and lived luxuriously with her, will weep and mourn over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’

11 “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargo any more— 12 cargo of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet; every kind of citron wood, every article of ivory, and every article made from very valuable wood, bronze, iron, and marble; 13 cinnamon, spice, incense, perfume, frankincense, wine, olive oil, fine flour, wheat, cattle, sheep, and cargo of horses, carriages, slaves, and human lives. 14 The fruit you long for has left you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and people will no longer find them. 15 The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16 saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold, precious stones, and pearls; 17 for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’ And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and all who make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, 18 and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like the great city?’ 19 And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich from her prosperity, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’ 20 Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”

21 Then a strong angel picked up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will never be found again. 22 And the sound of harpists, musicians, flute players, and trumpeters will never be heard in you again; and no craftsman of any craft will ever be found in you again; and the sound of a mill will never be heard in you again; 23 and the light of a lamp will never shine in you again; and the voice of the groom and bride will never be heard in you again; for your merchants were the powerful people of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your witchcraft. 24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all who have been slaughtered on the earth.”

IV. Revelation 17-18 Text Examination.

Dr. Charles C. Ryrie (Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D., 1925-2016). Ryrie Study Bible, 1986, 1995.

A. 17:1. Babylon is represented as a “whore” whose unfaithfulness affects many people and nations (the “waters.” as explained in v 15).

B. 17:3. “a scarlet beast.” A reference to Antichrist and his allies on whom Babylon sits (controls).

C. 17:5. In Chap. 17 Babylon represents the false religious system during the Tribulation. In Chap. 18 Babylon represents more the political and commercial aspect of the revived Roman Empire headed by Antichrist. Thus, the term stands both for a city and a system (religious and commercial). “MOTHER OF HARLOTS.” The family of false religions is unfaithful to the Lord and thus is described as a harlot (vv. 1, 15-16).

D. 17:8. This would place the events of this chapter in the first half of the Tribulation period before Antichrist comes out of the “abyss” at its midpoint (11:7; 13:11).

E. 17:10. In addition, the seven heads in verse 9 are seven kings, probably a selective list either of Roman emperors or world empires.

F. 17 :12. The 10-nation federation that will form in the West and will be headed by Antichrist. (See 13:1 and Dan 7:24). “one hour.” I.e., for one purpose (as in Luke 22:53).

G. 17:15. The apostate church will be ecumenical, or worldwide.

H. 17:16. “these will hate the harlot.” The political power headed by Antichrist will overthrow the false church organization (probably at the mid-point of the Tribulation).

I. 18:2. “fallen.” A different event from 17:16, where the political power destroys religious Babylon in the middle of the Tribulation. 

J. 18:8. “in one day.” The judgment will be consummated in a single day.

K. 18:20. “God has pronounced judgment for you against her.” I.e., God has judged her for her treatment of you. Heaven and the martyrs may now rejoice.

L. 18:21. Babylon will sink into the sea like a rock.

M. 18:22-23. No happiness will be found in Babylon anymore.

V. Revelation 17-18 Text Examination Reinforcement. 

A.  Dr. Robert H. Mounce (Th. M., Ph. D., December 30, 1921 – January 24, 2019). The Book Of Revelation, The New International Commentary On The New Testament, 1977, p 306.

Chapters 17 and 18 portray the judgment of God upon the great harlot, that citadel of pagan opposition to the cause of Christ.

B. Dr. C.I. Scofield (D.D., 1843-1921). Scofield Study Bible. 1909, 1917, 1937, 1945, 1984, 1998, 2002, 2006 (Editor, C.I. Scofield, D.D., 1843-1921. Editorial Revision 1967 Committee Members: Charles L. Feinberg, Th. B., Th. M., Th. D., Ph. D.; John. F. Walvoord, Th. B., Th., M., Th. D.).

The name “Babylon,” in prophecy, is sometimes used in a larger sense than mere reference to the ancient city or nation. There are two forms which Babylon is to have in the end-time: political Babylon and ecclesiastical Babylon. Political Babylon is the beast’s confederate empire, the last form of Gentile world dominion. Ecclesiastical Babylon is all apostate Christendom. It may very well be that this union will embrace all the religions of the world. Ecclesiastical Babylon is the “great prostitute,” and is to be destroyed by political Babylon, so that the beast may alone be the object of worship. The power of political Babylon will be destroyed by the return of the Lord in Glory (see Rev 19:7).

C. Dr. John Phillips (D. Min; 1927-2010) John Phillips Revelation Commentary (p 165, 169, 170). 

Chapters 17 – 18 deal with the whole question of Babylon. In Chap 17, we have “the Babylonish system” to consider, in Chap 18, we have the “Babylonish city.” Thus, there are two Babylons, and the one grows out of the other. The Beast controls the first, and creates the second. The Babylonish system is both religious and political. The religious system paves the way for the political system. In the beginning, the religious system supports the political system, but in the end the political system supplants the political system. The religious system is symbolized in Rev 17 as the Babylonian mother; the political system is symbolized as the Babylonian monster.

D. Dr. J. Dwight Pentecost (Th. B., Th. D.; 1915-2014) Things To Come, 1958, p 364.

Rev 17 outlines the judgment on the great harlot, the apostate religious system, that exists in the tribulation period. The unbelieving professing church went into the tribulation period (Rev 2:22; 3:10), and a great religious system, under the domination of the great harlot, arose. In the campaign of Armageddon it has been seen how God judges the Gentile world powers and brings about their downfall. The northern confederacy was judged by God upon the mountains of Israel in the middle of the tribulation period. The kings of the East and their forces and the armies of the Beast were seen to be destroyed at the second advent of Christ to the earth. A fuller description of this judgment upon the Beast and his citadel is given in Rev 18. There, the political empire is seen to have been so closely united with the false religious empire that both are called by the same name. The destruction of the seat of the Beast’s power is accomplished by a divine visitation of judgment by fire (Rev 18:8). 

E. Dr. Daniel Green. (Th. M., D. Min.) The Moody Bible Commentary, 2014.

“17:1-18:24.” This part of John’s vision described the end for the city of Babylon on the Euphrates and the world of people that followed her ways. It highlighted the truth of the apostle’s earlier warning (1 Jn 2:15-17). All who loved the power, idolatry, and riches of the world so exemplified by the city would see their dreams destroyed before their eyes. This section does not describe more judgments beyond the seals, trumpets, and bowls, but highlights certain aspects of them. “17:5-6.” The word “mystery” describes the city. It is not “mysterious,” suggesting a symbolic interpretation, but rather is something that was not known previously. “MOTHER OF HARLOTS” indicates that restored Babylon would be the worst of all unfaithful cities in history.

F. Dr. Robert L. Thomas (Th. M., Th. D.; 1928-2017) Revelation Commentary, 1992.

The “seven hills” can, and probably does, have a nonliteral meaning as the end of v. 9 shows. The woman sits upon seven kings or kingdoms, as subsequent discussion will explain. The other alleged evidence for a Roman reference (to Babylon) is too general to be decisive. The references to “many waters” in v.1, and to the “wilderness” or “desert” in v. 3 are inapplicable to Rome, but fit quite well with Babylon on the Euphrates.

VI. My note. Revelation 17:5 Examination.

A. Translation Comparisons. “MYSTERY, BABYLON,” vs “a mystery, Babylon.”

1. KJV. “And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon The Great, The Mother Of Harlots And Abominations Of The Earth.”  


3. CSV. “On her forehead was written a name, a mystery: Babylon the Great, the Mother of Prostitutes and of the Detestable Things of the Earth.”

4. ESV. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.”

5. NASB. “and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.”

6. NET. “On her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the Great, the Mother of prostitutes and of the detestable things of the earth.”

7. NLT. “A mysterious name was written on her forehead: “Babylon the Great, Mother of All Prostitutes and Obscenities in the World.”

B. Dr. William D. Mounce (B.A., M. A., Ph. D.). Mounce Reverse Interlinear New Testament (Pasted from Bible Gateway).

5 And on her forehead was written a name, a mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth.”

1. Rev 17:5 tells of a mystery, which is about Babylon, and does not tell about, “MYSTERY BABYLON,” (per KJV and NKJV).

2. The KJV and NKJV translations of “Mystery, Babylon,” are confusing and wrong.

3. Babylon means Babylon, and does not mean Rome (See above comments of Green and Thomas, and the closing video of Woods).

VII. Closing Video. This video has a duration of 29:31. It is a must for instruction, and is a keeper.

Closing Video Data. 

Andrew M. Woods (Th.M., J.D., Ph.D.)

Revelation (Crash Course) Part IX: Chapter 17-19. Oct 11, 2019. 29:31.
Unravelations. Dr. Andy Woods teaches 10 sessions of 30 minutes covering the entire Book of Revelation. These presentations were featured on the College of Biblical Studies’ TV program entitled “Up With the Son.

“VIII.  My Bucket List shows the references, of people and documents, that I use when I write my articles.

IX. My Websites To Follow. Equipping The Saints Web Site Israel Web Site Israel, History And Prophecy Eternity


Author: Equipping

The Church is the Church, and Israel is Israel. The Church did not replace Israel, and is not spiritual Israel. In the New Testament, “church” and “Israel” are mentioned as being separate entities. In the New Testament “church” is mentioned 112 times; Israel is mentioned 79 times; both are mentioned as being separate entities The Kingdom “has not yet come,” and will not come until the Jewish bloodline of Israel accepts God’s chosen king (Deuteronomy 17:15), which will take place at the end of the Tribulation when the nation of Israel faces decimation and calls on Messiah, Christ, in faith, to save them (Zechariah 12:10). Individual salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22), and comes through Christ (John 14:6). Things are discussed in this website that relate to God’s creation, from “eternity to eternity,” and all that is addressed within those parameters. Consider Isaiah 43:13, “Even from eternity I am He, And there is no one who can rescue from My hand; I act, and who can reverse it?” The Moody Study Bible adds a comment: “God is the ruler of all, and there is nothing that can stand against Him. His will is irresistible. The Bible Knowledge Commentary adds this thought: “No one can reverse what God puts into action or thwart His plans.” The articles that are found in this site may relate to anything that is found in the Bible, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation22.21, as well as anything else that may relate to the Bible.

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