The defeat of Babylon is one of the most important events in the Book of Revelation. It is the main subject in chapters 17 and 18, and the last event before Christ returns to defeat every evil force.
This angel (a special servant of God) seems to announce Babylonís defeat before it actually happens. The angel can do that because the defeat of Babylon is absolutely certain. God has made his judgement, and nothing can change that judgement. So the angel declares the defeat as if it has already happened.
Then, the angel gives the reason for the judgement against Babylon. Fire destroyed Sodom, at Godís command, because its people had become extremely wicked. What Babylon has done is much worse. Sodomís evil acts only affected the people near there. However, Babylonís evil acts have caused all the nations to act in the same wicked manner. Because of Babylon, the whole world opposes God.
The angel uses two word-pictures to describe Babylonís evil behaviour. It is like wrong sex, because Babylon has tempted the other nations to join it in its wicked acts. Also, it is like wine, in other words, like a drug. Too much alcohol causes a person to lose all control over himself. In the same manner, this evil behaviour causes all the nations to act wildly in their fierce anger against God.
The original city called Babylon once led the greatest and richest nation on earth (Daniel 2:37-38). The Book of Lamentations records how cruelly its army destroyed Jerusalem. After that, Babylon suffered a series of defeats and, by the time of John, it probably did not still exist. John uses Babylon as a word-picture for peopleís evil and selfish behaviour. Many of the most important systems in the world, for example its financial and trading systems, depend on that kind of behaviour. John teaches that God will destroy these powerful systems completely before the return of Christ (Haggai 2:6-7).
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© 2016, Keith Simons.