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In Revelation chapter 18 today we read about the fall of Babylon. This is one of those chapters in Revelation that can be interpreted in many ways by many different people - with the overriding question and interpretation revolving around who is Babylon that John is referring to here? Most commentaries that I have read suggest that John is referring to the Roman empire of the 1st century in this chapter. Much of Revelation is eschatological - end times prophecy - and some commentaries suggest that this chapter is too. But it seems that most commentaries look at this chapter as a prophecy toward the fall of the Roman empire - an empire that in John's time was a "cult of emperor worship". An empire that John wrote about here to warn the early Christian churches to be on guard against because it stood against God and His people. However - other commentaries do consider Babylon in this chapter to represent the political and religious system of the world in general under the rule of the antichrist. And some others see this chapter to be about a literal Babylon in Mesopotamia that is rebuilt and restored in the end times. Below is John Martin's "Fall of Babylon" from Illustrations from the Bible, 1835:
Since we're nearing the end of the book of Revelation, and in particular because of the questions this chapter 18 can bring up, this is probably a good time for me to re-post this information below about the book of Revelation - same info I posted up when we started Revelation chapter 1 on December 9th. There are basically 4 lines of thinking on how to interpret the book of Revelation, which I think are helpful to consider before diving into this book. I am editing these comments below from bible.org at this link: Please check out this link for more details on these 4 points below and the book of Revelation overall - these comments were edited on bible.org from M. C. Tenney, Interpreting Revelation.
"(1) The preterist approach believes that “Revelation is simply a sketch of the conditions of the empire in the first century.”
(2) The historicist view (or continuous-historicist view) “contends that Revelation is a symbolic presentation of the entire course of the history of the church from the close of the first century to the end of time.”
(3) The futurist approach usually argues that “all of the visions from Revelation 4:1 to the end of the book are yet to be fulfilled in the period immediately preceding and following the second advent of Christ.”
(4) In the idealist approach, “the Revelation represents the eternal conflict of good and evil which persists in every age, although here it may have particular application to the period of the church.”"
Below is art titled "The Angel with the Millstone" - a manuscript illumination from the year 1020 for chapter 18 verse 21 today: "Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a huge millstone. He threw it into the ocean and shouted, “Just like this, the great city Babylon will be thrown down with violence and will never be found again."
Bible.org's commentary on today's readings in Revelation chapter 18 titled "Destruction of Commercial Babylon" is at this link.
Worship Video: Today’s readings remind me of the fantastic song "Give This Christmas Away" by Matthew West and Amy Grant, with this terrific video featuring Franklin Graham's Samaritan's Purse’s Operation Christmas Child:
Did you give this Christmas away? Click here and give it all to Jesus!
Comments from you: What verses or insights stand out to you in today's readings? Please post up by clicking on the "Comments" link below!
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