Revelation 18

1A mighty angel declareth the fall of Babylon. 4God's people commanded to depart out of her. 8Her judgment. 9The kings of the earth, 11and the merchants, 17and mariners, lament over her. 20The saints are excited to rejoice over her. 21A millstone cast into the sea denoteth her irrecoverable fall.

1AND 1after these things I saw 2another angel come down from heaven, 3having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

1 That is, after the preceding angel had ended his words of the description of the great whore.

2 Some understand this of Christ Himself, and of His coming to judgment, when He shall utterly abolish the antichrist, 2 Thes. 2:8. But since that in verse 9 and afterwards is treated in detail of the mourning of the kings, merchants and seamen, which they would yet make after this fall of this great Babylon, it is more probable that here is spoken of the fall of this Babylon and the destruction of her throne, which at first shall yet come to pass as an example of God’s righteous judgment throughout the entire world; as also appears from this, that God in verse 4 commands His people to depart out of her, in order that they may not be partakers of their sins and plagues; which cannot be well applied to the last day; of which the last vengeance upon the beast and the false prophet shall be first spoken in Rev. 19:20, 21.

3 These two properties of great power and glory are also ascribed to created angels, Psalm 103:20; Luke 2:9; Acts 12:7. The reason why these titles are here given to this angel, is because great power and glory were requisite to destroy this mighty throne of the antichrist in the world.

2And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, 4Babylona the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become 5theb habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.c

4 These words are also uttered by an angel in Rev. 14:8; but are there understood of the beginning of the fall of this great Babylon in the hearts of many in the world, as is noted there; which has begun to be done a great while ago, and is done yet daily. But here they are understood of the utter destruction of the throne of this beast, or of this great Romish Babylon. These words are taken out of Isa. 21:9; Jer. 51:8, which words are foretold by the prophets above an hundred years before the destruction of the city and kingdom of the Assyrian Babylon, and were fulfilled afterward.

a Isa. 21:9; Jer. 51:8; Rev. 14:8.

5 Namely, which for the most part kept themselves in solitary and desolate places with the unclean birds, as experience and Christ Himself testify, Mat. 12:43, where they are kept by the Providence of God, as in a preservation, till God in His righteous judgment lets them loose to tempt men anew. Similar words are also used of the desolation of the Assyrian Babylon; Isa. 13:21, 22; Jer. 50:39, etc.

b Isa. 13:21; 34:14; Jer. 50:39.

c Isa. 34:11.

3For all nations have drunk of the wined of the wrath of her 6fornication, ande the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and 7the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

d Rev. 14:8.

6 That is, idolatry. See hereof the annotations on Rev. 14:8 and 17:2.

e Rev. 17:2.

7 Though this applies in all parts of the world to the properly called merchants, who have become rich and powerful through luxury, which goes on in the antichristian realm or in this great city of Babylon, as is further explained in verse 11 and so on, nevertheless this may be very suitably applied to the ecclesiastical merchandise which is commonly done in their religion and in the sale of ecclesiastical benefices and offices, since everything is on sale for money. And more so, since also the souls of men are counted among these commodities and merchandise, verse 13, and it is said in verse 23 that the great men of the earth were these merchants, among whom may especially be understood the cardinals, patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, abbots and other prelates, who drive such a trade with them.

4And I heard 8another voice from heaven, saying, 9Comef out of her, my people, 10that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

8 This voice seems not to have been the voice of a created angel, but the voice of God or of Christ, proceeding from the throne of heaven, forasmuch as this voice calls believers, His people, which only belong to God or Christ, Mat. 1:21; Acts 18:9, 10.

9 Similar words are also used by God, Isa. 48:20; Jer. 50:8; 51:6; Zech. 2:7, for a warning to the people of God to beware of the ruin of the Assyrian Babylon, that they might in time provide for themselves, and depart out of it; which are here, concerning spiritual Babylon, spoken to all true believers; of which the reasons follow in the text.

f Gen. 19:12; Isa. 48:20; 52:11; Jer. 51:6, 45; 2 Cor. 6:17.

10 Namely, being either enticed thereto by daily association with her, or being forced thereto by her through fear and persecution. Whereupon follows the community of punishments. Thus Christ exhorts His own, Mat. 24:16.

5For her sins have 11reached unto heaven, and God hath 12rememberedg her iniquities.

11 A manner of speech, when the measure of sins, which God has endured long in His patience, is filled up, so that there is nothing left anymore save the punishment. See similar phrase in Gen. 15:16; 18:20, 21; Rom. 2:5.

12 As God is said to forget or not to remember men’s sins, Jer. 31:34, and elsewhere, when He pardons them unto believers and penitent persons, and does not punish the sins in them, so is He said to remember them, or to be mindful of them, when He has decreed to punish them. See Rev. 16:19.

g Rev. 16:19.

613Reward her even as she rewarded you, and 14double unto her double according to her works: in the cup whichh she hath filled fill to her double.

13 This must not be understood of any revenge of self, which Christ expressly forbids His people, Mat. 5:39; Rom. 12:19, but either of God’s secret government in His entire work, whereby God will raise up certain instruments who shall execute, even ignorantly, this public vengeance, according to the will of God, as is said of the Medes and Persians against the Babylonians, Jer. 50:9 and 51:11; or, also of those princes and kings, who, after they were brought to the knowledge of the truth, shall defend and protect the people of God, and being moved by a godly zeal against the injustice, tyranny and idolatry of this great Babylon, shall also execute God’s judgments upon her; which do well agree with Rev. 17:16 and Rev. 17:17. See similarly in Exod. 32:27.

14 This is said not in respect of her iniquity and tyranny, which God neither can inflict, nor will have inflicted to any, but of the trouble and anguish which she has unjustly procured and offered unto the godly, which here God will have her to suffer justly, as the following words declare.

h Rev. 14:10.

7How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously,i so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, 15Ij sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

i luxuriously

15 This is one’s own boasting of him who sits in the temple of God, as if he were God, and who exalts himself in the secular realm above all kings and princes, and in the ecclesiastical realm above all councils, bishops and prelates, who as a mother and queen of all churches cannot fail, nor err, whose seat cannot go to ruin; and more of such similar proud titles, which she herself and her ministers do generally give in their writings.

j Isa. 47:8.

8Thereforek shall her plagues come 16in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned withl fire: 17for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.

k 2 Thes. 2:8.

16 That is, in a short time, which God has appointed upon her.

l Rev. 17:16.

17 Namely, and therefore no worldly power shall be able to hinder His mighty arm from executing this His judgment upon her.

9Andm the kings of the earth, 18who have committed fornication and lived deliciouslyn with her, shall 19bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see theo smoke of her burning,

m verse 3; Rev. 17:2.

18 Namely, till the time of her fall and destruction. From which it appears that some princes and kings will yet always side with her to establish her state and superstitions, who shall seek to stop and hinder this her ruin, and when this shall have already come to pass, shall seriously, but in vain, lament and bemoan her.

n luxuriously

19 Gr. smite themselves, etc. namely, upon the breast for grief.

o verse 18.

1020Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas,p alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for 21in one hour is thy judgment come.

20 Namely, without being able to help her.

p Isa. 21:9; Jer. 51:1; Rev. 14:8.

21 As verse 8, in one day, that is, in a short time.

11And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth 22their merchandise any more:

22 Gr. their freight or cargo, because their vanity and deceit is known.

12The 23merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all 24thyine wood, and all mannerq vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,

23 These words, with some of the following verses, are for the most taken out of Ezekiel 27, where the same is foretold of the fall of the merchant city Tyrus. And though, as was said before, this antichristian Tyrus enriches also many merchants from all parts of the world, by buying and employing these commodities, in all their stateliness and adornments of temples, images, buildings and outward worships throughout all her dominion, yet it may also be most properly understood of the ecclesiastical merchandise, which they and their great ones zealously drive among men, as was pointed to in verse 3.

24 Or, sweet smelling wood; see 1 Kings 10:11.

q kind, sort*

13And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and 25chariots, and 26slaves, and soulsr of men.

25 Or, coaches.

26 That is, making the bodies of the living to be their slaves; and selling the souls of the dead, to be delivered out of their devised purgatory by indulgences, pardons, pilgrimages, and sacrifices for the dead, and the like; wherein the profit of these merchants does greatly consist.

r Ezek. 27:13.

14And 27the 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.

27 Gr. the fruits of autumn, harvest, or tree-fruit, that is, all manner of fair or pleasant fruits, sweet meats and delicate dishes, which you lust after, and whereof you shall have abundance.

1528The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off 29for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,

28 Namely, the ecclesiastical merchants, who depend on this Babylon, and therefore are made honorable and mighty. See before this place the annotation at Rev. 18 on verse 3.

29 Namely, because they are in danger also of receiving their part in it, or at least of losing their profit and respect in the world.

16And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, thats was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and 30decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

s Rev. 17:4.

30 Gr. golded, or gilded, as also in Rev. 17:4.

17For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And 31every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and 32sailors, and 33as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

31 Hereby may be understood somewhat the steersmen and mariners properly so-called, who also made profit by this Babylon by means of the bringing of abundance of these goods from all parts of the world, as is related of the steersmen and mariners of Tyrus, Ezek. 27:9, 25 and so forth. But this is also figuratively understood by many of those who are members or have the administration of the ecclesiastical courts, abbeys, cloister and such like ecclesiastical goods, who shall also hereby lose their profit and respect; which conventions are also compared to waters and rivers, Rev. 16:4.

32 Or, boatmen.

33 That is, those who build the sea.

18And cried when they saw thet smoke of her burning, saying, Whatucity is like unto this great city!

t verse 9; Isa. 34:10.

u Rev. 13:4.

19And 34they 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.

34 Namely, unto a special sign of great sorrow and grief for their loss, as was usual among the ancient, 1 Sam. 4:12; Job 2:12, and is also said of the steersmen and mariners of Tyrus, Ezek. 27:30, 31; howbeit this their mourning is not for their sins and superstitious worships, wherein they were hardened, but only for their loss and damage.

2035Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye 36holy apostles and prophets; 37for God hath avenged you onv her.

35 That is, ye inhabitants of heaven, angels and holy martyrs; who have also prayed for this execution of God’s judgments, for the justifying of their cause, Rev. 6:10; whose number is now daily filled up. Which, notwithstanding, is not so to be understood, as if the heavenly creatures, or the church of God, ought to rejoice at anyone’s injury, but at the execution of God’s justice, and at the manifestation of the justness of the cause for which believers here do suffer.

36 Hereby are meant not only the apostles and prophets properly so called, who, as members of one body and having one common cause, would also rejoice about it; but also the ministers and teachers of succeeding times, to whom all the same would happen according to the example of the former.

37 Or, for God hath judged your judgment.

v Rev. 19:2.

21And 38a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thusw with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

38 This sign is added to the promises and threatenings for the sake of confirmation, as appears throughout by the prophets, and especially of the fall of old Babylon, Jer. 51:63.

w Jer. 51:64.

22Andx39the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the 40sound of a millstone shall be heard noy more at all in thee;

x Jer. 25:10; Ezek. 26:13.

39 Under such similar phrases as this, the most utter ruin or injury is also prophesied to them of Tyrus, Ezek. 26:13.

40 Namely, to prepare food for the inhabitants, requisite for the sustentation of this life.

y Jer. 25:10.

23And 41the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; andz42the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for 43thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for 44by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

41 This added thereto, either because such light is necessary for a great part of man’s life, in the evening and in the night time; or because weddings (whereof follows in the next words) were in former time kept in the evening, and especially at night time, for which purpose these candles and torches were used. See Mat. 25:1.

z Jer. 7:34; 16:9; 25:10.

42 Namely, which is not only a time of joy, but also a means whereby the inhabitants of this Babylon might be able to increase and multiply again.

43 See the annotation on verse 3.

44 That is, idolatry and enticement of your embellished religion, as often before.

24And 45in her was found theaa blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

45 That is, she is found to have been the cause of shedding the blood of the prophets and saints, as well because she herself has slain a great multitude of them, and caused them throughout her whole dominion, by her severe decrees and inquisitions, to be put to death, as also because she has by this her practice furthered and applauded the tyranny of others who have done the same. See similar words of Christ, Mat. 23:34, 35, 36.

aa Rev. 17:6.