Revelation 17:1-18:24 Reading the Passage

Come Out of “Babylon” – Revelation 17:1-18:24

17 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute, who sits upon many waters. (2) With her the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her immorality.”

(3) Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting upon a scarlet-colored beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. (4) The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold and precious gem stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, full of abominable things, namely, the filthy things of her immorality. (5) A mysterious title was written on her forehead: BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE PROSTITUTES AND OF THE DETESTABLE THINGS OF THE EARTH. (6) I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who have been martyred for Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly perplexed.

(7) Then the angel said to me, “Why are you perplexed? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, the one that has seven heads and ten horns. (8) The beast, which you saw, once was, presently is not, but will come up out of the abyss and will go into perdition. Those who dwell on the earth, those whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world, will be amazed when they see the beast, how he once was, presently is not, but yet shall come. (9) This calls for a mind of wisdom. The seven heads represent seven hills upon which the woman sits. (10) They also represent seven kings: five have fallen, one is presently reigning, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must reign for a little while. (11) The beast that once was, but at present is not, is also an eighth head. He belongs to the seven, and he will go into perdition. (12) The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they will receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. (13) They will be of one mind and will submit their power and authority to the beast. (14) They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb shall overcome them, because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and those who are with him shall also overcome, those who are called and chosen and faithful.”

(15) Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, represent peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. (16) The ten horns that you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and strip her naked; they will eat her flesh and totally consume her with fire. (17) God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to surrender their kingdom to the beast, until God’s words are fulfilled. (18) The woman whom you saw represents the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”

18 After this I saw another angel coming down out of heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory. (2) With a mighty voice he shouted, “Fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen! She has become a habitation for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit,* a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird. (3) By the wine of the passion of her immorality all the nations have fallen. The kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth became wealthy by means of the power of her wantonness.”

(4) Then I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, so that you have no fellowship with her sins and that you do not receive the plagues that will come upon her. (5) Her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. (6) Give back to her as she has given; pay her back what she deserves for what she has done. In the very cup which she mixed, mix the same** for her. (7) To the degree that she has glorified herself and cast off restraint, give her an equal measure of torment and sorrow. In her heart she boasted, ‘I sit as queen; I am not a widow, and I will never experience sorrow.’ (8) Therefore, in one day her plagues will come: death and sorrow and famine. She shall be utterly consumed with fire, for the Lord God who judges her is strong.”

(9) When the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality with her and lived wantonly with her, see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and wail over her. (10) Standing at a great distance, being terrified at her torment, they will cry, “Woe! Woe, O great city, O Babylon, the strong city! In just one hour your judgment has come!” (11) And the merchants of the world weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their merchandise any more—(12) merchandise consisting of gold and silver, precious gems and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk, and scarlet cloth; every kind of citron wood; and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly stone, bronze, iron, and marble; (13) merchandise consisting of cinnamon and spice; incense, myrrh and frankincense; wine and olive oil; fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and chariots; slaves and the souls of men. (14) They will say, “The fruits for which you lusted have departed from you. All your delicacies and sumptuous fare have vanished, never to be recovered.” (15) The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her, will stand at a great distance, terrified at her torment. Weeping and mourning, (16) they will cry out, “Woe! Woe, O great city, once dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and decked with gold, precious gems and pearls! (17) In just one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!” Every sea captain, and all who sail, and the mariners, all who earn their living from the sea, stood at a great distance (18) and cried out as they watched the smoke of her burning. They said, “Was there ever a city like this great city?” (19) They threw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning, they cried out, “Woe! Woe, O great city, by which all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In just one hour she has been brought to ruin!”

(20) Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, for God has judged her for the way she treated you! (21) Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone, and hurled it into the sea, saying, “With such violence shall Babylon, the great city, be thrown down, never to be found again!” (22) The music of harpists and minstrels, flute players and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again. No craftsman of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of the millstone grinding will never be heard in you again. (23) The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of the bridegroom and the bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the great men of the world. By your sorcery all the nations were deceived. (24) In her was found the blood of prophets and of saints, and the blood of all those who were killed on the earth.

*Literally, “unclean spirits”

**Literally, “double”

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.