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Revelation 18 Commentary, Part 2 (verses 9-19)
By Brother Mike (8-28-13, 55
 minutes) 


Before continuing our verse by verse commentary where we had left off from Revelation 18, part 1 last time, I want to answer the question: How do we know that Revelation 18, the fall of Babylon the Great, is talking about Judgment Day which began on May 21 2011? The reason we know this is when we take a look historically as to when Babylon actually fell which was a picture of Babylon falling on May 21, 2011, we discover that she fell on the very last day of the 70 year period of judgment and tribulation upon Judah from 609 BC to 539 BC. Now because we know that this 70 year period was a type of the 23 year tribulation of our day from May 21, 1988 to May 21, 2011, we know that because Babylon fell on the last day of the tribulation in 539 BC as a picture of how things would work out in our day, so also must she have fallen on the last day of the Great Tribulation in our day, which we know according to the biblical calendar with
many proofs was on May 21, 2011. To put it another way, just like the Medes and Persians wiped out Babylon in one night on the last day of their Great Tribulation in 539 BC (Daniel 5), so also did Christ who was represented by king Cyrus of the Medes and Persians spiritually destroy Babylon (the world) on the last day of the Great Tribulation of our day, which was on May 21, 2011. So we can say with complete confidence that fall, fall did Babylon the Great on May 21, 2011, and this means that everything in Revelation 18 which is discussing the fall of Babylon has to do with Judgment Day which began on May 21, 2011 just like it was represented in Revelation 18, part 1 verses 1-8 in our last study, and now in Revelation 18, part 2, which we will begin with verse 9. 


Verse 9: 

And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning ...

We already had learned that the kings of the earth are God's people because only these kings of the earth see (perceive) the smoke of her burning after Judgment Day on May 21, 2011. That is, God's people understand that the world has come under the spiritual wrath of God - they see the smoke of her burning. Obviously, this doesn't mean that they literally see the smoke of her burning, but they see it spiritually in what they have learned from God's Word.

Next, because God's people realize that the world has come under the wrath of God, we read that they shall bewail her, and lament for her. It is not difficult to understand why this is: It's because God's people now realize that their unsaved family members, friends, loved ones, and everyone else who is unsaved no longer have any hope to be saved. This is an incredibly sorrowful time, especially for God's people. Before May 21, 2011 there was always some hope that this one or that one might come to repentance, but now as we see the people we know actually drift off further into the darkness of sin, we bewail her, and lament for her like never before in history. Without a doubt, Judgment Day is a time of great mourning and sorrow. 

Furthermore, we are told in this verse that the kings of the earth have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her. The word deliciously is the same word used back in verse 7 that we translated luxuriously, and which is presumed to be derived from the word luxury in the phrase the power of her luxury (delicacies) back in verse 3. Now that the kings of the earth . . . lived deliciously with her means they lived luxuriously with her. That is, through the power of her luxury, which manifests itself through her various luxuries in the world such as radio, telecommunications, television, computers, internet, and so on, the kings of the earth, just like the merchants of the earth back in verse 3, lived luxuriously with her because it was through these things that God's people were made spiritually rich in being able to access so many Bible teachings and programs. As one example, just think of all the spiritual riches that God's people received through Family Radio. Indeed, God's people lived luxuriously with her. 

But not only did the kings of the earth (God's people) live luxuriously with her, but they committed fornication with her. Somewhere along the way, God's people committed spiritual fornication with the world; that is, they sinned. It could be that this is referring to the fact that each of God's elect have sinned at various times after having been saved, or it could be referring to a time when God's people sinned together as a whole. If it's referring to when God's people sinned as a whole, this would likely have been when God's people were still remaining in the church even though it was already ruled over by Satan. Remember, Satan began to rule all the churches on May 21, 1988, but most of God's people didn't come out of the church until about the year 2000. It was during this period from May 21, 1988 to 2000, or until God's people came out of the church, that God's people were still supporting the churches with tithes, and remaining under the authority structure of the church even though this was all in support and submission to Satan Himself who then ruled the church. In fact, during this time, many of God's people were still holding to false doctrines of the church such as eternal conscious punishment, that our own faith is somehow involved in our salvation, and more. So it is not difficult to realize that God's people went through a period of time together when they committed fornication as a whole with Babylon the Great (the church). 


Verse 10:  

10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come .

In this verse, we find the kings of the earth standing afar off for the fear of her torment. To stand afar off literally means to stand a great distance from such as we see in the following verses: 

Mr 11:13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet

Lu 22:54 Then took they him, and led him, and brought him into the high priest�s house. And Peter followed afar off

But, to stand afar off, spiritually, means something more as we can discover in the following two verses: 

Lu 16:23 And in hell he [the rich man] lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom

Lu 18:13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner .  

Notice that in the first verse Abraham is afar off from the rich man because the rich man is in hell under the wrath of God while Abraham and Lazarus are obviously presumed to be saved in heaven. So, spiritually, to be afar off from the wrath of God is to be saved as were Abraham and Lazarus. This is also true in the reverse as seen in the second verse. The publican is said to stand afar off from heaven because he was not yet saved. The point being that to be unsaved, which is under the wrath of God, is to be, spiritually, in a state afar off from heaven. So the notion of being afar off from heaven is to be unsaved while the notion of being afar off from the wrath of God is to be saved. 

Now we can understand our verse in question. It says that the kings of the earth are standing afar off for the fear of her torment. As we just learned, to stand afar off spiritually from her who is under the wrath of God means to stand in the condition of being saved. What this is saying, then, is that the kings of the earth who are standing afar off from the judgment of the Great whore means that these kings of the earth are saved. We had already concluded previously that they were saved, but here we have further support for the kings of the earth being God's saved people as well. They are said to be standing afar off from her wrath because they are saved. 

But we read that the reason why the kings of the earth are standing afar off is for fear of her torment. Since her torment has to do with there no longer being any possibility for salvation after May 21, 2011, this is saying that the kings of the earth (God's people) stand afar off (in salvation) thru the fear of NOT being able to be saved. In other words, God's people became saved thru the fear of knowing that May 21, 2011 would end any possibility for salvation, and this drove them to cry out for mercy out of fear before it was too late, and the Lord saved His elect from the torment of no more salvation, which would begin on May 21, 2011, Judgment Day. This is why it could be said of God's people that they are standing afar off for the fear of her torment

Next, the kings of the earth are saying,

"Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come ." 

The word for alas is almost always translated as woe, except six times here in Revelation 18, so we will translate it as woe to be consistent. It now becomes, 

" Woe, woe, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour is thy judgment come ." 

The word woe is an exclamation of great grief toward whatever or whoever is being addressed. In this case, great grief is being directed toward that great city Babylon as it is represented by the corporate church and the entire world (the kingdom of Satan). This is why there are two woes pronounced: one toward the corporate church and the other toward the entire world. And, why are these pronouncements of grief made? We are told, For in one hour is thy judgment come. The one hour period refers to the entire great tribulation period from May 21, 1988 to May 21, 2011 (23 years) as we realized in Revelation 17 . Remember what it states: 

12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast

This is referring to the complete rule (symbolized by ten kings) of Satan for one hour, which in the context of Revelation 17 refers to the Great Tribulation period from May 21, 1988 to May 21, 2011 when the corporate church came under the spiritual judgment of God. Therefore, by saying of Babylon, for in one hour is they judgment come, it's the same as saying, for in 23 years from May 21, 1988, which is May 21, 2011, is they judgment come. Yes, on May 21, 2011 spiritual judgment came upon the entire world (the kingdom of Satan). This is the same spiritual judgment which first came upon the corporate church on May 21, 1988, but has now expanded to include the entire world. And, as we have learned, the nature of this spiritual judgment is that the door to heaven has been closed with no possibility any longer for the salvation of the unsaved, for the earth has, ever since May 21, 2011, become a habitation of every unclean (unsaved) and having been hated bird (person). No unsaved person shall ever be saved again! 


Verse 11: 

11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more

We already learned back in Revelation 18, part 1 verse 3 that the merchants of the earth are those who send forth the gospel (the teachings of the Bible) into the world. Here we find that the merchants of the earth are weeping and mourning (present tense not future tense) over her; for no man buys their merchandise any more. And, what is their merchandise? Well, it's the spiritual things of salvation and the kingdom of heaven which are taught in the Bible. Remember what it says in Matthew 13? It states, 

45 Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls :
46
Who, when he had found one pearl of great price [salvation thru Jesus Christ], went and sold all that he had, and bought it

In this parable we see that the merchandise is being symbolized by pearls. The pearls represent the teachings of the Bible. And when he had found one pearl of great price, [he] went and sold all that he had, and bought it. This pearl of great price is the Bible teaching of salvation thru Jesus Christ alone. And, what we find is that when he had found it, he went and sold all that he had, and bought it. This is a picture of the man becoming saved thru the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Although the parable makes it sound like the man bought his salvation, this is just a figure of speech to indicate that the man became saved. In actuality, we know that salvation cannot be bought, but it is a gift of God as we can see in the following two verses: 

Eph. 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God :
9
Not of works, lest any man should boast

Ac 8:20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money

Now what we need to glean from all of this is that the figure of buying the things of salvation and the kingdom of heaven is a picture of becoming saved. With this knowledge, we can then return to our verse which says, 

"And the merchants of the earth are weeping and mourning over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more . . ." 

Can you now begin to see what it means that no man buyeth their merchandise any more? It means that no one is becoming saved any more because no one is buying the merchandise of salvation and the kingdom of heaven any more. This is in perfect agreement with what we have already learned, namely that, ever since Judgment Day began on May 21, 2011, salvation has come to an end. So it is impossible for anyone to become saved any longer. This is why the merchants of the earth (God's people) are weeping and mourning. They are doing so on an ongoing basis because they realize that their unsaved family members, relatives, friends, and everyone else who is unsaved have no more hope for eternal salvation. They are simply living their lives out in a muck of sin, and then they will die. And, if the Lord should happen to return before their lives expire, then they will die even sooner only to be annihilated into nonexistence forevermore. Yes, it is a sad thing to watch the people you know drift deeper and deeper into the abyss of sin when there is no longer any rope that you can throw them that they might grab a hold and climb out from the darkness into the light. It is, without a doubt, sadness and a sorrow to be living in the Day of Judgment. 


Verse 12-13:

12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble ,
13
And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men  

In the previous verse 11, we found that the merchants of the earth are weeping and mourning because no one buys their merchandise. What we found this meant was God's people who are the merchants of the earth are weeping and mourning ever since Judgment Day on may 21, 2011 because no one can be saved through their merchandise; that is, no one can be saved through their things of salvation and the kingdom of heaven any longer. Now, in verses 12-13, we are given a list of things which are the merchandise of God's people. Each of these things in some way represents the things of salvation and the kingdom of heaven. For instance, the merchandise of gold, silver, and precious stones represents those who are saved. We can see this, for example, in 1Corinthians 3 where we read, 

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon .
11
For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ
12 Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble ;
13 Every man's work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man's work of what sort it is

These verses are painting a picture of the local church during the church age, and saying that within the church (or temple) there are saved people as represented by the gold, silver and precious stones who came to be in the temple by the work of a person or people, and there are unsaved people as represented by the wood, hay, and stubble who came to be in the temple by the work of a person or someone. Just whose work will stand; that is, whether one's work was that unto salvation or not, will be revealed by the fire of Judgment, for the wood, hay, and stubble (the unsaved) will be burned up, but the gold, silver, and precious stones (the saved) will not be burned up. So what we see is that the gold, silver, and precious stones have to do with the things of salvation and the kingdom of heaven (the merchandise of God's people). 

Now we could go through each piece of merchandise in verses 12-13 to show how it relates to the things of salvation and the kingdom of God, but that is not the purpose of this study. My goal was simply to show that when the scripture says that no one buys the merchandise of the kings of the earth (God's people) any longer, it means that no one is becoming saved any longer after May 21, 2011. God has abandoned the human race to their sins, and the Holy Spirit is no longer empowering any one unto salvation. It is the Day of Judgment!   


Verse 14: 

14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all

First we read that the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee. The word for fruits (plural) is actually a singular word which is found only here, so we really have little to go on in so far as its proper translation. It can mean the early fall season, or the ripe fruit on trees, so it can be translated as fruit (singular not plural) with the understanding that this is the ripe fruit on trees which one should see at the very end of the growing season from late summer to early fall. 

But what does the fruit that thy soul lusted after refer to spiritually? When we think of fruit spiritually, the first thing which pops to mind is the fruit of the Holy Spirit. These fruits are listed in Galatians 5: 

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith ,
23
Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law

Some more fruit of the spirit is listed in Ephesians: 

Eph 5:9 (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth; )  

So the spiritual fruit that Great Babylon (the church; the world) lusted after are such things as love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, righteousness and truth. But, unfortunately, we read that these things are departed from her. Why? Because beginning on May 21, 1988, the Holy Spirit who imparts this fruit to people through salvation was removed from the corporate church, and then on May 21, 2011, the Holy Spirit was removed from the entire world. So we can say that beginning on May 21, 1988 and then completely on May 21, 2011, this fruit of the Holy Spirit that Babylon the Great lusted for is departed for her.

But not only has the fruit of the spirit departed from her because the Holy Spirit who brings about salvation and the fruit of the spirit has departed from her, but all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee. The word for dainty is only found here in the Bible, so we don't get much help in attempting to understand its meaning, but the word for goodly is found in several places of the Bible. It is translated just as commonly as white, which carries with it the meaning of purity in having one's sins completely cleansed. For instance, in Psalm 51 we read,

Ps 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow .  

And, again in Isaiah 1: 

Isa 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool

So in that all things which were . . . goodly (white) are departed from thee means that all things which have to do with purifying from sin are departed from thee. And, since we know that it is the Holy Spirit who purifies from sin to make one white, we know that this is once again revealing to us that ever since the beginning of Judgment Day on May 21, 2011, the Holy Spirit has departed from the world, for He brings about all those things which are dainty and white to the world, but which now, ever since May 21, 2011, have departed because He, the Holy Spirit, has departed. And, just how long are all these things which were dainty and goodly departed from Great Babylon (the world; the church)? Why the verse says, and thou shalt find them no more at all. Wow! What a statement: never again will the things of salvation ever be available to the world. The things of salvation have departed completely from the world ever since May 21, 2011, and this is because the Holy Spirit has departed from them forevermore. We are now in the Day of Judgment!


Verse 15:

15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing . . . 

We already had learned that the merchants are God's people (see Revelation 18, part 1 verse 3 and verse 11 above) who were busy sending the teachings of the Bible into the world until May 21, 2011 when no one would buy their merchandise any longer, which merchandise are the things of salvation and the kingdom of heaven, because the Holy Spirit departed from the world, and so salvation came to an end. But now we are told that the merchants of these things; that is, the merchants of the things of salvation and the kingdom of heaven, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing. We had already learned how she was made rich through Babylon the Great ( Revelation 18, part 1 verse 3), and now we are told that these same merchants shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing. This is almost exactly what we read about the kings of the earth back in verses 9 and 10 of Revelation 18. Remember what it said back there. It said, 

And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning ,
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come

Notice that both the kings of the earth and the merchants are grieving about the fall of Babylon the Great, and they are both said to stand afar off for the fear of her torment. Yes, it is becoming more and more obvious that the kings of the earth and the merchants are the exact same people, namely the saved people of God. 

But let's review what it meant to stand afar off for the fear of her torment. Remember what it meant back in verse 10 in reference to the kings of the earth? To stand afar off spiritually from someone or something that is under the wrath of God like Babylon the Great meant to be saved. We discovered this, for instance, in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, which states,

Lu 16:23 And in hell he [the rich man] lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom .

Notice that because Abraham and Lazarus were saved, they are said to have been afar off from the rich man who was unsaved and in hell (the grave). O yes, afar off also could mean that Abraham and Lazarus just appeared to be a long distance from Abraham, but we are looking for the spiritual meaning of afar off, and, in this respect, we can see that in this parable, to be afar off from the wrath of God is to be saved and under the blessing of God. Therefore, we know that the merchants are saved, and must be God's people just like we had previously discovered that the kings of the earth are saved, and must be God's people as well. 

Well, just as we saw God's people as represented in the kings of the earth weep and mourn over the fall of Babylon the Great, so we see God's people as represented in the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over the fall of Babylon the Great (the world). And why not? After all, they do represent the same people. And we can't talk too much about the great pain and sorrow that God's people are enduring ever since May 21, 2011. They are highly sensitive to their loved ones, family members and friends. They are watching to see if they can see any fruits as evidence that they might have been saved on or before May 21, 2011, but when they see no fruits, and especially more sin, it can be completely overwhelming painful, especially if they are the only ones saved in their immediate family or circle of influence. Whatever the case, it is not difficult to understand why God's people are said to be weeping and wailing.


Verse 16:

16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls

Here the merchants who in the last verse were weeping and wailing are now saying, alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls. Once again, this is similar language to what the kings of the earth had said back in verse 10 where they said, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! These similarities help confirm even once again that the kings of the earth and the merchants of the earth are the same people; that is, they are God's people. 

Now as we had learned previously, the word alas is most often translated as woe, and it is a great expression of grief. It is said two times - woe, woe - because one is directed toward the corporate church as being that great city Babylon while the other is directed toward the world as being that great city Babylon. Remember that each one of them can be called Babylon the Great, and on May 21, 2011 Babylon the Great as a whole, fell; she came under the wrath of God. 

Next, we are told what that great city was clothed in: fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls. All of these things are normally identified with God's people in the Bible. But here that great city Babylon is clothed with these things, which means that in outward appearance she, at least, looks just like God's true people. This could be none other than the corporate church, for she was originally meant to be the outward representation of God's people in this world. In outward appearance, you couldn't tell the difference between her and God's true people.


Verse 17:

17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off . .

This verse is a continuation of what was being said, namely, woe, woe, that great city . . . for in one hour so great riches is come to nought. The verb here translated as is come to nought is in the aorist tense and passive voice, and means to make desolate. Therefore, it can be translated in its proper tense and voice as were desolated. The verse then reads, for in one hour so great riches were desolated. We already learned that the one hour refers to the 23 year period of God's judgment (the Great Tribulation) upon the corporate church from May 21, 1988 to Judgment Day on May 21, 2011, so this verse is saying that in one hour; that is, in 23 years from May 21, 1988, so great riches were desolated by May 21, 2011. Not only were the riches of the corporate church desolated on May 21, 1988, but so also were the riches of the world on May 21, 2011. And, what were the great riches of the corporate church and the world? Why it was as we had previously learned salvation through the Holy Spirit. But beginning on May 21, 1988 for the corporate church and on May 21, 2011 for the world, the Holy Spirit was removed so that salvation is now impossible for anyone in the entire world (the kingdom of Satan) including the church, for in one hour so great riches were desolated

Next, we read, And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off. From the phrase stood afar off we know that this is talking about God's saved people once again. Just as this similar phrase was used in connection to the kings of the earth and the merchants of the earth and meant that they were God's saved people (verse 10 and 15), so also here the phrase must mean that every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea are God's saved people. Knowing this helps greatly in the interpretation of this verse. First of all, we are told that God's people are as many as trade by sea. The sea represents the world or the unsaved (wicked) in the world as we can see in the following two verses: 

Ps 98:7 Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein .  

Isa 57:20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt

Therefore, the trading that God's people are said to do is in the world. Actually, the word for trade in the phrase as many as trade by sea is normally translated as are working, so God's people are as many as are working by sea. And, what kind of spiritual work would they be doing in the world? The answer should be obvious: the work they do is to get the gospel out into the world. This is what God's people were doing before May 21, 2011 by the droves. Now we can understand that all the company in ships, and sailors are a picture of God's people working in groups represented by ships to get the gospel out into the world. The shipmasters are those who lead a particular group such as pastors, and teachers, and leaders. One huge example of all this was Family Radio and its listeners before May 21, 2011. Family Radio was the shipmaster and the listeners were all the sailors. They worked together to get the gospel out to the entire world on one huge ship known as Family Radio. Of course, there were many smaller ships with shipmasters as well which branched off from Family Radio, but the main point is that all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea refers to God's people getting the gospel out into the world. 


Verse 18:
 

18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city

Here we are told that every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea (God's people) cried (in grief) when they saw the smoke of her burning. This is almost exactly what was said of the kings of the earth back in verse 9 where it states, And the kings of the earth . . . shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning. That they grieved when they saw the smoke of her burning means they must be the people of God because it is only they who perceive that spiritual judgment has come upon the entire world and grieve because of it. To put it another way, only God's people can see the smoke of her burning, which phrase is simply a figure of speech to indicate that Babylon the Great (the entire world) has come under the wrath of God, which we know began with all the churches and denominations beginning May 21, 1988, and then expanded to include the entire world on May 21, 2011. Yes, it should be obvious by now that the kings of the earth, the merchants of the earth, and every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea are all referring to the same people; that is, the people of God. God simply uses different word pictures throughout Revelation 18 to describe the same thing; each time revealing a little more about His people and the things surrounding them. 

Now we find in this verse that God's people cried (in grief), saying, What city is like unto this great city! This is a great exclamation of grief both for the corporate church as represented by the great city, and for the world as also represented by the great city because by May 21, 2011 both the church and the world had come under the judgment of God with no further hope for salvation ever again. We will read more of this grief in the next verse. 


Verse 19:

19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate .   

In this verse the grief of God's people is continued. We read, they cast dust on their heads . . . weeping and wailing. Actually, a more accurate translation would read, they did cast dust on their heads . . . weeping and wailing. This does not mean that they literally did cast dust on their heads, but this is a figure of speech to indicate how grieved the people of God are that Great Babylon (the world and the church) have been judged by the removal of salvation from them beginning on May 21, 1988 for the church, and beginning on May 21, 2011 for the entire world. They are so grieved for their unsaved family, friends, relatives, and even the unsaved people of the world, it is as if they did reach down in grief to grab the dirt, and throw it into the air only to come falling upon their heads. The dirt represents the earth, so it is as if God's people are asking the earth to cover them because of their so great grief. 

Next, we read, And they . . . cried . . . saying, Alas, alas, that great city . . . for in one hour is she made desolate. As we had previously learned, the word alas is better translated as woe, and there are two woes mentioned - woe, woe - because one woe is an expression of grief toward that great city Babylon as represented by the corporate church while the other woe is an expression of grief toward that great city Babylon as represented by the world. And, why did God's people cry, woe, woe, that great city? We are told the answer, for in one hour is she made desolate. Actually, the verb here is in the aorist tense and passive voice, and so it should be translated, for in one hour was she made desolate. Again, the one hour represents the 23 year period of God's judgment upon the corporate church from May 21, 1988 to May 21, 2011. So the verse is actually saying that that great city, Babylon the Great, was made desolate within 23 years when judgment first began with the house of God, the corporate church, on May 21, 1988, and ended beginning on May 21, 2011 when that same spiritual judgment on the church expanded to include the entire world. So, in one hour was she made desolate. To be made desolate means to be left without God. This is what happened to all the churches and denominations which became Babylon beginning on May 21, 1988: God, the Holy Spirit, left them so that salvation was no longer possible in the corporate church, and then on May 21, 2011 God also left the world, which already was Babylon, so that salvation is now no longer possible for anyone in the world who was not already saved on or before May 21, 2011.  

Now before leaving this verse, we should consider that it says, woe, woe, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! We already learned that the ships in the sea represent groups of God's people who are sending out the gospel into the world, but what does it mean, then, that great city, wherein were made rich all groups of God's people who were sending out the gospel into the world by reason of her costliness? This question was actually answered back in verse 3 of Revelation 18, part 1 . If you will remember, it was through the power of her luxury that the merchants of the earth (God's people) were made spiritually rich. This power of her luxury was manifested in the world through such luxury things as telecommunications, television, radio, internet, and so on, which became huge platforms for sending the gospel into the world. These platforms such as Family Radio made God's people, who were around the world, rich in salvation and the teachings of the Bible before May 21, 2011. So when the scripture says that God's people were made rich by reason of her costliness, this is what it is referring to. Babylon the Great's costliness (value) comes through the power of her luxury, whereby all the great platforms for sending the teachings of the Bible into the whole world came about.


Now may the " LORD bless thee, and keep thee: The LORD make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: The LORD lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace." 

Click here for Part 1, and click here for part 3.

Part 1 
Part 2  
Part 3 

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