The Judgment of God Upon Babylon

Revelation

The Judgment of God Upon Babylon

February 24th, 1963 @ 10:50 AM

Revelation 18

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. 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, 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. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more: 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, 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. 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. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, 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! 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, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city! 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. Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all. And the 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 sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
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THE JUDGMENT OF GOD UPON BABYLON

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Revelation 18:1-24

2-24-63    10:50 a.m.

 

On the radio you are sharing the services of the First Baptist Church in Dallas.  This is the pastor bringing the 11:00 o’clock morning message from the eighteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation entitled The Judgment of God upon Babylon, the fall of Babylon, the call to come out of Babylon.  And I am so grateful that we have a full forty minutes in which to expound this chapter.  In our preaching through Bible, after these many, many years, we have come to the last and the climactic book, the Apocalypse, the unveiling of Christ, when the heavens depart as a scroll is rolled back [Revelation 6:14], and when the Lord is presented.  What are those days?  How shall they be?  “What is the sign of Thy coming, and of the end of the world?” [Matthew 24:3]. The Apocalypse, the unveiling of Christ, is the presentation of our Lord when God intervenes in human history.

Now for these two years and two months, we have been preaching through the Revelation and have come finally to the eighteenth chapter [Revelation 18:1-24].  The nineteenth chapter presents the second coming of our Lord [Revelation 19:11-21].  The twentieth chapter is the binding of Satan and the introduction of that long-prayed-for millennium [Revelation 20:1-6].  Then chapters 21 and 22 describe for us the new heaven, the new earth, the New Jerusalem, the new home of the soul [Revelation 21:1-22:21].  As the Revelation develops, as these things fall in a consecutive, chronological order, chapter 19, (describing the coming of Christ) [Revelation 19:11-21], should have immediately followed chapter 16, which describes the pouring out of the seven bowls of the wrath in which are filled up the judgments of God [Revelation 16:1-21].  But between chapter 16 and chapter 19 there is an interlude, there is a parenthesis, an intermission [Revelation 17:1-18:24].  And in these two chapters of 17 and 18 [Revelation 17-18], one of the seven angels in whose hands one of the cherubim place the bowls of the wrath of the judgment of God, one of those seven angels took John and said, “Come with me; and I will show thee the judgment of mystery Babylon, called the great whore, that sitteth upon many waters.  And I will show thee the judgment” [Revelation 17:1] of the city of Babylon, which epitomizes the culture and social life and commerce of a godless and Christ-rejecting world.

 So, in this interlude, in this parenthesis, there is uncovered to John the future of mystery Babylon, the ecclesiastical system that is described here as being a scarlet woman, as a great whore, and the judgment of God upon her [Revelation 17:3-5].  And that was the sermon last Sunday morning.  Then in the eighteenth chapter, the angel reveals to the seer the judgment of the Lord God upon the city Babylon, upon the great center of social, and political, and cultural, and commercial life of this globe [Revelation 18:1-24].

We have already twice been introduced to the ultimate destruction of Babylon.  In the fourteenth chapter and the eighth verse, there came a great announcement from heaven, borne in the voice of a angel messenger, crying, “Babylon epesen, epesen[Revelation 14:8].  In the sixteenth chapter and the nineteenth verse, when the seventh bowl of the judgment of the wrath of God is poured out upon this earth [Revelation 16:17], “Great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath” [Revelation 16:19].  Then in the eighteenth chapter this announcement by anticipation comes to pass:

After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lighted with his glory.

And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great epesen, epesen!

[Revelation 18:1-2]

You heard that before, that’s an aoristic verb.  When God destroys this great city, it will not be over a period of time, it will not be a continuous thing that lasts through weeks, or months, or years, but it shall come suddenly, like lightning cleaves the bosom of the livid sky.  It shall come instantaneously en mia hōra —repeated again and again in the eighteenth chapter—“in one hour,” en mia hōra, en mia hōra, and the thing is done [Revelation 18:10].  The judgment is poured out.  Sounds like an atomic explosion, when you read the destruction of this great city at the hands of God.

Now this city of Babylon is mentioned more times in the Bible than any other city except Jerusalem.  More than two hundred sixty times Babylon is referred to you in the Holy Scriptures.  For example, in the fiftieth and the fifty-first chapters of Jeremiah, Babylon is called by name thirty-seven times [Jeremiah 50-51].   It was the city of the great first monarch of the earth, the golden kingdom of Nebuchadnezzar [2 Kings 24:1].  It was the city of the king that destroyed Judea, that destroyed Jerusalem, that destroyed the Solomonic temple of God [Ezra 5:12].  It was the city of the great Babylonian captivity [1 Chronicles 9:1].  “By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept when we remembered Zion.  We hanged our harps upon the willow trees in the midst thereof” [Psalm 137:1-2].

Babylon, the great avenger of the sins of His people [Jeremiah 25:1-9]; but Babylon more vile, and more wicked, and more ruthless, and more merciless, than these whom God judged at her hands [Revelation 18:2-3].  “And the sins of Babylon came into remembrance before God” [Revelation 18:5].

It was the city of Nimrod, the grandson of Ham, who, on the great, vast plain of Shinar built Babel, by man’s strength and by man’s ingenuity, to reach up to heaven [Genesis 11:2-4].  And it was named Babel, Babylon, the city and the kingdom of Nimrod [Genesis 10:8-10].  And the city has a great part in prophecy.  For example, in the fifth chapter of the Book of Zechariah, beginning at the fifth verse and to the end of the chapter, there is the vision of the ephah [Zechariah 5:5-11].  An ephah was the largest measure common among Jewish people.  We would say a big bushel.  He saw in the fifth chapter a vision of a ephah.

And in the ephah, when a talent of lead covering it was lifted up by the angel, he saw a woman.  And the angel said, this woman is wickedness.  And in the vision, the prophet saw two women who had wings like a stork and the wind in their wings, and they lifted up that ephah between the earth and the sky.  And the prophet said to the angel, Whither do these bear the ephah?  And the angel replied, To build it an house in the land of Shinar: and it shall be established, and set there upon its own base.

[Zechariah 5:7-11] 

In Babylon there is set the center of the social, commercial life of this world, and it is to be judged by Almighty God [Revelation 17:1, 19:1-3].

Now do you notice that reference?  It is to be judged by God.  As you look at chapter 17 and chapter 18, there is a colossal, vast difference between the judgment that falls upon the great scarlet whore and the judgment that falls upon the social, commercial, political, cultural life of this earth in this great city of Babylon.  It is the hands of man that destroy the whore [Revelation 17:16].  It is the political power and governments of the world that hate her, that destroy her flesh, that burn her with fire, that make her naked, that confiscate all of her wealth and her property.  That is done by man.  That is, that is what God says will happen to this great ecclesiastical system, who has the golden cup in her hand [Revelation 17:4].

The kings of the earth—the seventeenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation says the kings of the earth, the governments of the earth will become weary of her pretenses, of her superstition, of her arrogance, of her parading in gold and scarlet and purple.  They will become weary of her financial burden, of supporting her endless institutions.  And finally, God’s Book says, the nations of the earth, the people of the earth—you won’t find God or you won’t find the intervention of heaven, it is something that man does—the people of the earth, the governments and political leaders of the earth finally grow weary of her, and they destroy her [Revelation 17:15-16].  Now, you look.  And when that comes to pass everybody’s glad.  Tired of it, weary of it, burdened by it.  Finally its monstrous and indescribable superstitions and inanities are more than common sense in political government is able to endure.  And when she is destroyed, the earth is glad to be rid of the last vestige of that scarlet whore.

The destruction of the city of Babylon is in an altogether different world.  It is God that destroys Babylon.  The beast isn’t mentioned, the ten kings are not mentioned, the governments of this earth in its destruction are not mentioned.  This is an intervention of God.  This is something that God does [Revelation 18:8].  And when Babylon is destroyed there is lamentation over this earth.  The kings of the earth lament, the merchants of the earth lament, the seamen of the merchant marines lament.  There is lamentation in the destruction of the city of Babylon [Revelation 18:9-11, 15-19].

I tried to illustrate that at the 8:15 o’clock service this morning.  What is that thing that God describes here?  Well, I can say it exactly.  If, within thirty minutes I were to announce over this radio, and this radio were carried in a network over the entire face of the earth, if I were to announce as a messenger of God that within thirty minutes, within thirty minutes the heavens shall roll apart, and Christ shall descend, and the end of this age is come, if I were to announce that within thirty minutes, it would be just as it is here in the eighteenth chapter of the Book of the Revelation.  And there was universal lamentation and weeping and crying and wringing of hands [Revelation 18:9-11, 15-19].

But, beginning at the twentieth verse, “Rejoice ye saints, and ye holy apostles and prophets, and rejoice in heaven!” [Revelation 18:20].  And you would find that this very moment, if I were to make that great announcement in thirty minutes.  But God’s children would be so glad, they would be so happy; our Lord is coming!

Oh, joy!  oh, delight!  should we go without dying,

No sickness, no sadness, no dread and no crying.

Caught up thro’ the clouds with our Lord into glory,

When Jesus receives His own.

[from “Christ Returneth,” H.L. Turner, 1878]

That would be God’s people.  They would be rejoicing.

But! but the great mass of this world would lament and cry, for their hearts and their lives, their visions, and their hopes are all in this world.  “What about my mortgages?  What about my stocks?  What about my bonds?  What about my treasures?  What about my wealth?  What about my possessions?  What about all of these things?”

When God intervenes in history, it will be exactly as you find it here in the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation of John.  There was lamentation on the part of those who had everything they had in Babylon [Revelation 18:9-11, 15-19].  But there was rejoicing on the part of the saints and the hosts of heaven [Revelation 18:20].

Now, why the judgment of God upon Babylon?  And what does she represent?  First of all, there are many scholars who believe that this Babylon is to be an actual rebuilt city on the banks of the Euphrates River, on the great level plain of Shinar, at the head of the Persian Gulf.  They believe that India, and Asia, and Malaya, and Indonesia, and all of the vast East will rise to stupendous power.  They believe that the great possibilities of irrigation in damming up the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers will make that Mesopotamian Valley like the garden of God east of Eden [Genesis 3:24].  And they believe that there in the very center of the continents of the earth, with Europe to the north and the west, with Africa due west, with the vast hordes and multitudes of Asia east, and with the Australian continent south, and with the Americas beyond, they believe that there is going to be re-built in that place this vast world center of commerce and social life and political government.  There are many scholars who believe this Babylon refers to a re-built city in the heart of the earth.

Then, there are other scholars who believe that this Babylon represents a system of life and of culture whose basic essential principle is alienation from God, and that it is epitomized, it is symbolized by this great world city.  It could be a great world city in America, a great world city in England, a great world city in Europe.

Then there are those who believe that this Babylon represents that social, cultural, political, commercial life of the end time, of the ultimate denouement of this age, and that it is symbolized, it is summarized, epitomized in one great world city called Babylon.

Now, as I studied, as I have thought, as I have asked God to give me the mind of the Holy Spirit, I have come to the conclusion all three of them can be true, and maybe all three of them are true.  This Babylon may be an ultimate great world city built there at the head of the Persian Gulf, where the oil of the world mostly is found, where the teeming masses of these continents go to the right and left, north and south.  That could be.  It certainly represents that system of commerce and social life and culture that alienates the soul from God, whether of that age, this age, whether then or now, epitomized by these great and godless centers.  And of course, it certainly represents the age when Christ shall come, for it is the direct intervention and appearing of Christ Himself that destroys this great world system and world city [2 Thessalonians 2:7-12].

Now why is it that God’s judgment falls upon this city?  Whether it is a city in our country or abroad, or whether it is that particular city, built on the plain of Shinar, what is God’s judgment upon it?  He says, first, “For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities [Revelation 18:5].”

In the first Babel, that tower was built block by block, brick by brick, up and up and up and up until Nimrod proposed to reach heaven with it [Genesis 11:4].  That same kind of a thing God says has come before His remembrance [Revelation 16:19]; the sins of that wicked and godless city, building up, building up, building up, storing for itself like water behind a mighty dam, the remembrance and the judgment of God upon their godlessness, upon their materialism, and their secularism, and their denial of Christ.  That’s one thing.  Her sins have reached unto heaven like the tower of Babel, and “God hath remembered her iniquities” [Revelation 18:5].

All right, the second reason for the judgment of God: in the seventh verse, “How much she hath glorified herself and lived deliciously; for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow [Revelation 18:7], I am immortal and invincible.”  And in her arrogance and self-conceit and empty glorification, she boasts of her atheism, and of her blasphemy, and of her infidelity, and of her Christ-rejection.  To her there is not any God, there is not any Christ, there’s not any Holy Spirit.  And she proposes for herself a dominance of the history of the future that shall last forever, for there’s no God to judge her.  “I sit as a queen and I have glorified myself.”  We will bury these people who believe in God, and who worship the Lord, and who have churches and religion.

Why, bless you, if I were to read that thing in today’s newspaper headline, it would be no more pertinent and no more fresh than as I read it here in the eighteenth chapter of the Book of Revelation: the false, vain self-glorification and the empty boasting of Babylon who defies God Himself.

Third: for the judgment of God; in verses 12 and 13 are listed twenty-eight articles of merchandise [Revelation 18:12-13].  Now you look at that closely.  It starts off with gold.  Then it’s got all kinds of thyine wood, and vessels, and brass, and marble, and the souls of men! [Revelation 18:13].  Think of that!  Just like you’d traffic in freight, crate it up, ship it out, drop it from a boom; so the lives and the souls of men!  Wouldn’t you have thought, after these thousands of years of civilization—wouldn’t you have thought that after the philosophers have philosophized, and the metaphysicians have “metaphysicized,” and the teachers have taught, and the preachers have preached, and the people have said, and the books that been written, wouldn’t you have thought that by now we would reach that great apex when men looked upon the value of the human life as being the most pristinely important of all of the things in the earth?  Wouldn’t you?

God says it is just the opposite; that as we increase in our culture, as we probe further into our scientific achievements, as we philosophize, and as a civilization and culture grows, God says it becomes more merciless, and it becomes more cruel, and it becomes more ruthless, and it becomes more blasphemous and God-dishonoring.  Is it any different as you read it in the newspapers and the magazines of our day?  Why, bless you, practically the majority of the millions of the populations of this earth live under a government that believes that the human soul and the human life is nothing but merchandise!  “Destroy it, waste it, bury it, shoot it down, feed it into the maw of cannons.”

Like Lenin said, “What would it matter if two-thirds of this earth were destroyed, if one-third of it that remained were still communist?”  Did you ever think what that might mean?  How many people are in this earth?  There are approaching 3 billion people.  What would it matter, they say, if we were to destroy 2 billion people.  Can you think of that?

The population of the United States of America now is about 185 or 190 million—185 or 190 million.  The population of Canada up there may be 30 million, population of Mexico down there maybe 30 million.  Put us all together on this entire North American continent and we come to say, oh, 300 million maybe.   And then stick all of South America, and all of us together, maybe, amount to half a billion, half a billion.  And yet that man who glorifies and is looked upon as the very god and whose writings are the very bible, if that man says, “What would it matter if we were to destroy 2 billion of the people of this earth, if just those that remain were communists?”  A trafficking in the souls of men! [Revelation 18:13].  It’s nothing for a man if he’s dead, nothing for a nation if it is destroyed, nothing for a family if they are tortured on the rack, starved to death, shot by the firing squad, thrown into the incinerator.  For when you lose the concept of God, no longer is a man anything but an animal!

Where did you get the idea that a man was worth something anyway?  Where were you persuaded that a man’s soul was worth something anyway?  I tell you exactly where you got that idea.  You got that idea, not from Hitler; you didn’t learn that idea from Nebuchadnezzar; you never got that idea from a philosopher.  You learned that idea from God who told the story, in His blessed Son, of the one lost sheep [Luke 15:3-7], and the one lost coin [Luke 15:8-10], and the one lost boy [Luke 15:11-32]; that a man, that his life, that his soul was worth something, that there is a dignity, that there is an innate congenital God-given endowment that belongs to every creature into whose face God has placed a light of intelligence, and whose soul was made in the image of God [Genesis 1:27], and whose very body is the temple of the Holy Spirit from heaven [1 Corinthians 6:19-20].  You learn that from the Lord!

And when we depart from the Lord, and when we depart from those teachings, and when we say “no” to those things, there’s nothing left but the emptiness of the persuasion that a man’s life is like that of any other animal.  He’s a dog.  He’s a donkey.  He’s a beast.  He’s an animal.  And when you slay him, you do no more than cut down all of the like animal life in the earth.

Ah, and God looks upon that; its arrogance, its conceit, its blasphemy. God looks upon that, and it is God who judges it.

I have another prediction to make here that, to me, is plain from the Word of God.  We are not going to be able to eradicate this earth of that hellish doctrine.  That thing is here for us to contend with, and to battle with, and to war against to the end of the age!  That’s why I think our people ought to prepare themselves and set themselves, and all of these sweet, little dilettante words: “Sugar and spice and things nice,” and “Getting better,” and “By and by it’ll wash itself out,” and “You just wait a while; everything will be, oh, just rosy and good.”  I saw a sign on a fellow’s bumper as I followed behind him in my automobile.  On the left side it said, “Don’t worry.”  And then on the right side it said, “They’re still ninety miles away.”  Man a living!  Man a living!  Ah!  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we get the statesmen and the politicians of the world to read the Bible?  Wouldn’t it be a marvelous thing if we could persuade them to listen to the voice of God?  God says that thing is here, and it grows and it grows!  God says His saints are going to have to contend with it to the end of the age [2 Thessalonians 2:7-8].  This is godlessness—this is Babylon!

Well, we’ve got to go on fast.  God is judging this city.  One, I said, He is judging Babylon because her sins have reached up and towered to heaven, and God remembers every one of them [Revelation 18:5].  Two, because of her conceit and arrogance, she says, “I am invincible.  The wave of the future belongs to me.  I sit a queen” [Revelation 18:7].  And third, because she traffics in the souls of men [Revelation 18:13] as though men were naught, like beasts and animals.  Now the fourth one here: “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth,” in Babylon [Revelation 18:24].

You know, that’s a strange thing to say.  I wish I had time to expatiate upon that, “In her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.”  You know, it would be a marvelous thing if some of these things God reveals to us could ever get into our hearts and heads and minds where we could understand them.  And this thing about sin, and the accountability of sin, and the judgment of God upon sin is one of those great principles by which God governs our destiny, and yet we hardly realize it at all.

And whether I finish or not, let me pause to expiate on that a minute.  Do you remember in the twenty-third chapter of the Book of Matthew when the Lord is condemning the scribes and the Pharisees? [Matthew 23:1-34].  He says that upon this city of Jerusalem “may come all of the blood shed since the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachias, whom you slew between the altar and the Holy Place” [Matthew 23:35].  That upon that generation, upon that city might come all of the blood of all of the prophets and of the saints that was ever shed from the days of Abel to the death of Zechariah the prophet of God, whom they slew by the side of the altar.

Well, how in the earth could that be?  How could that be, that on that generation they would be accused of all of the blood that was ever shed? [Matthew 23:35-36].  Well, that’s one of the things that God principles, just like He mentions here, “For in Babylon was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon this earth” [Revelation 18:24].  Well, here’s exactly what that means.  It’s a very simple thing, and it applies to us as it applies to them.  You don’t have to go out here and murder all of the prophets to be guilty of all of the prophets’ blood.  You don’t have to go out here and kill all of the saints in order to be guilty of all of the blood of the saints.  You don’t have to go out here and sin every sin of the Decalogue in order to be judged by God.  For the Lord judges like this: you don’t have to commit many sins, just one.  For it is the tendency of sin that God judges [Jeremiah 17:9-10].

Now in earth, you three judges there sitting on that bench; in earth, you judge a man for his acts, what he does.  See here, he struck that man, and you judge him because he slew that man.  But in heaven, God judges that man for the spirit of murder that was in his heart!  And up there, God looks at the tendency of his sin.  God looks at the spirit of his sin.  And the act of murder is just one act down in the earth, but up there in heaven, it’s the tendency of the man to destroy, and to kill, and to waste, and to slay.  And God judges him.

Let me say it like James said it.  James said, “He that breaks the law in one part is guilty of all of it” [James 2:10].  Just like a chain, you don’t have to break every [link] in order for the chandelier to fall.  Just break one link and the whole thing falls.  So it is our sins.  When a man sins in one transgression, God sees the tendency of that thing [Jeremiah 17:9-10].  And he’ll still do it again.  He will do it again, and if you lived a thousand years, you’d still be doing it!

So the Lord calls this city in judgment for all of the blood of the prophets, though they slew just some of them, and for all of the blood of the saints though they slew just some of them, and of all that were slain upon the earth though they just slew some of them [Revelation 18:24].

Sin is sin, and the tendency of it violates everything of God’s nature.  And the Lord judges us for the tendency of it [Jeremiah 17:10].  And when a city slays a prophet of God, though they may not have slain but that one prophet; when a city slays a prophet of God, God judges the city as though they had slain every prophet that ever stood up to testify against the sins of the city, because the sin and the tendency of that sin to destroy God’s messenger—God judges the tendency.  And it just happens to be one man or a thousand men, but it is the tendency that God judges.  It is the thing in the man’s heart [Proverbs 15:11].  It is the thing in the city that destroys the prophet of God that cries against it.

You just think of the judgment of some of the nations and cities of this world who have slain God’s people and who have exiled God’s witnesses.  And then just think of that in your own life; “O Lord!  All of these transgressions in my life point to other transgressions, and all of the sins in my life are but typical of other sins in my life.  And Lord, they heap up and they mount up until, O God, nothing but the blood of Jesus could wash such stain and such sin away” [1 John 1:9].

Well, for a moment to conclude, because these sermons are all written down, and I must try to put in them the exposition of the text.  Now you listen just as rapidly as you can.

The judgment of God upon Babylon: one, “After these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory” [Revelation 18:1].  And Babylon in the light of the glory of God, Babylon was “a habitation of demons, a prison of every foul spirit and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird” [Revelation 18:2].  In the light of the glory of God from heaven, the city looked cheap and tawdry.  And what seemed to be so glorious was nothing but the depths of iniquity, the scum and the corruption and the sewer of iniquity, in every vile and unclean thing.

Oh, in these cities that we think are so glorious today, when the light of the judgment of God falls upon them, how ugly and how bestial they are going to appear!  That’s the judgment of God upon Babylon.

And look again.  “For in one hour, en mia hōra, for in one hour is thy judgment come” [Revelation 18:10].  And it is repeated in the chapter, en mia hōra, en mia hōra, mia hora “in one hour,” God does it away [Revelation 18:19].

And then here, and this is a recapitulation of the great prophecy of Jeremiah: “And a mighty angel took a stone like a millstone, and cast it into the sea, and saying, ‘Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down’” [Revelation 18:21].  That is to be found in Jeremiah and in his fifty-first chapter [Jeremiah 51:64].

And then this last, “And there shall be found no more” [Revelation 18:21-23], and then six times that, ou mē, “not not” in Greek, “naught naught”—the strongest way they could say “not at all,” and six times it is repeated there closing the chapter.  It sounds like the repetition of a funeral, the tolling of a funeral bell, of a death knell.

And then the cry, which was the subject of the sermon: “I heard another voice, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her crime, that ye receive not of her plagues” [Revelation 18:4].  God says, “I am going to judge this world, and if you put your life in the world, when it is destroyed, you are destroyed” [1 John 2:15-17].  God says, “I judge Satan” [John 16:11].  When you link your life to Satan, when God destroys Satan, you are destroyed.  God says, “I judge sin, and I judge death, and I judge rejection and blasphemy and unbelief” [Revelation 20:14].  And when these are judged, and you are with it, judgment falls upon you.  God says, “I judge Babylon” [Revelation 18:10].  And when we are in the city of Babylon and link our lives and make our souls common with Babylon, when God judges Babylon, He judges us.  And that’s why the call, “Come out.  Come out.  Come out from among them, My people” [Revelation 18:4].  That’s why I had you read the passage of our Scripture today, “’Wherefore, come out from among them, and be ye separate,’ saith the Lord.  And I will be to you a Father, and you will be to Me a son’” [2 Corinthians 6:17-18].

You’re not going to escape death; don’t you think you will.  You’re not going to escape the judgment of God; don’t you think you will.  We have a confrontation, we have an appearance to make, a rendezvous before God someday [1 Peter 4:5].  And, O Lord, what of my sins?  And what of the depravities of my life?  Lord, what?  I need God.  I need a Savior, I need an Advocate.  I need a Pleader.  I need Somebody.  O Lord, I need Jesus.  I’m not equal for these things.  And that’s why this service, and why this sermon, and why this appeal, and why this song, and why this invitation now.

You, give your heart to God.  Give your heart to the Lord.  Give your heart to Jesus.  Come, come.  “Preacher, in the humblest way I know how, here I am.  In the believingest way that I’m capable of, here I am and here I come.  I’m giving my heart in trust to Jesus today, and here I am.  I’m coming oh, as the Lord shall say the word.”  Make it now.  Make it now.  “Preacher, here’s my wife and our children, we are all coming today.”  Or a couple of you, “We’re both coming today.”  Or one somebody you, “I’m coming today.  And I’m making it now.  Here I am.  Here I come, preacher.”  On the first note of this first stanza, down one of those stairways, on this lower floor and into the aisle and to the front, “Here’s my hand, preacher.  I’ve given my heart to God.”  As the Spirit of the Lord shall lead in the way, make it this morning, make it now, make it now, while we stand and while we sing.

THE JUDGMENT OF GOD UPON BABYLON

Dr. W. A. Criswell

Revelation 18:1-24

2-24-63

I.          Identification

A.  Two Babylons in chapters 17, 18

1.  Mystery Babylon, an ecclesiastical system called “the great whore”, the scarlet woman, and the judgment of God upon her

2. The city Babylon, epitomizes culture, social, and commerce of a godless and Christ-rejecting world, and the Lord’s judgment upon it

B. Introduced twice to destruction of Babylon(Revelation 14:8, 16:19, 18:1-2, 10)

C.  Babylon named more times in Bible than any other city, except Jerusalem

1.  In Jeremiah 50-51 named thirty-seven times

2.  The city of Nebuchadnezzar

3. City of Babylonian captivity(Psalm 137:1-2)

4.  Founded by Nimrod; site of Babel (Genesis 11:4)

5. Has a great part in prophecy (Zechariah 5:5-11)

II.         Vast difference between the judgments

A.  It is the hands of man that destroy the whore (Revelation 17:15-16)

1.  The earth is glad to be rid of her

B.  The city Babylon is destroyed by God(Revelation 18:8)

1.  There is lamentation over the earth (Revelation 18:9-11, 15-19)

2.  God’s children would rejoice at the Lord’s coming (Revelation 18:20)

a. Poem, “Christ Returneth”

III.        What does she represent?

A.  Many scholars believe Babylon to be an actual rebuilt city

B.  Others believe she represents a system of life and culture whose basic principle is alienation from God, symbolized by this great world city

C.  Some believe she represents the social, cultural, political and commercial life of the end time, symbolized in one great world city

D.  I have concluded all three could be true

IV.       Why the judgment of God upon Babylon?

A.  Her sins have reached unto heaven (Revelation 18:5)

1.  Like the tower of Babel(Genesis 11:4, Revelation 16:19)

B.  In arrogance, conceit and self-glorification she boasts of her atheism, infidelity and Christ-rejection (Revelation 18:7)

C.  Twenty-eight articles of merchandise include trafficking in souls of men(Revelation 18:12-13)

1. As we increase in our culture, scientific achievements, it becomes more merciless, cruel – human life is nothing but merchandise

2. Lenin – “What would it matter if two-thirds were destroyed…”

3. We learn from God the value of a man’s soul (Luke 15:3-32, Genesis 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:19)

D.  The blood of the prophets who witnessed against her(Revelation 18:24)

1.  All required of Jerusalem, so of Babylon (Matthew 23:34-36)

2.  God judges the tendency, spirit of sin(James 2:10)

V.        The judgment of destruction

A.  In the light of the glory of God from heaven, Babylon’s glory was nothing but the depths of iniquity, every vile and unclean thing (Revelation 18:1-2)

B.  Destroyed en miahora, in one hour (Revelation 18:9-10)

C.  With violence thrown down (Revelation 18:21, Jeremiah 51:60-64)

D.  Shall be found no more(Revelation 18:21-23)

VI.       The call to separation

A.  If you put your life in this world, when it is destroyed, you are destroyed(Revelation 18:4)

B.  Not merely a warning in a coming day, but for all – God calls us to come out from among them(2 Corinthians 6:17-18)