Bible Study with Jairus – Revelation 18
Babylon the Great
Revelation 18 talks about Babylon the Great, an evil system established by various evil spirits and sinners under the hands of Satan, the beast, and the false prophets.
What is the fall of Babylon the Great? Over the ages, this question has led to many arguments and much confusion. I believe that Babylon the Great is a system jointly established by the evil spirits and sinful people under the influence of Satan, beasts, and false prophets.
Why did I say so? I believe that when reading the book of Revelation, we should read the ending before the beginning. Revelation 21-22 mentions the New Jerusalem (new heaven and earth). In Revelation 20, Satan was finally cast into the lake of fire (20:10), after he incited Gog and Magog to rebel (20:8). Satan was locked in the bottomless pit for a thousand years, unable to escape (20:2-7). Before the end of Revelation 19, the beast and the false prophet were thrown into the lake of fire (19:20), along with the kings and armies who they deceived into waging war at Armageddon (19:11-18).
Rebellious spirits always work together with rebellious people. The beast and the false prophet work together with kings and their armies. Their opponents are the riders on white horses, who are Jesus’ soldiers, the victorious bride of Christ. Continuing to work backward from the end of Revelation, we read about the marriage between Jesus Christ and His bride (19:7-9). Before this, we read about the heavenly celebration of the judgment of the great prostitute (19:1-3).
Who is this great prostitute, Babylon the Great? We need to approach this question from two aspects. Two forces work against the Bride of Christ (the church): evil people who do not belong to God, and evil spirits. At the end of Revelation, God deals with Satan, the beast, and the false prophet. Earlier, he deals with the various evil spirits who are the servants under these leaders. (The leaders are Satan, the beast, and the false prophet, a counterfeit Trinity).
Reading Revelation in chronological order reminds us of cutting down a big tree. You must first cut off the luxuriant leaves and branches, and then cut down the trunk and roots, one step at a time. Therefore, whether we start our reasoning from the beginning or the end of the book of Revelation, Babylon the Great must be a web or system of evil spirits and evil people working together with these evil spirits. This evil system is like the branches and leaves of a big tree. The branches must be cut down first, before cutting down the trunk (the beast and the false prophet), and finally the root (Satan). Thus, Babylon the Great is an evil system and web built by various evil spirits and sinful people under Satan, the beast, and the false prophet. It’s like a spider web of evil that has killed prophets, saints, and martyrs throughout the ages. It’s a prostitute who constantly lures people into committing sin and idolatry.
Is Roman Catholicism Babylon the Great?
From this illumination, it seems that Christian scholars’ belief that Roman Catholicism is Babylon the Great is inadequate. John used pictorial language when he wrote the Book of Revelation. We must spiritually understand these images. Many of John’s statements in Revelation 17 seem to suggest that the prostitute is Roman Catholicism. For instance, the seven mountains mentioned in 17:9 seem to indicate Rome, which was built on seven hills. Protestant exegetical writings are full of these allusions.
Perhaps the Catholic Church is a part of this metaphorical prostitute, but I believe that the prostitute itself is much bigger than Roman Catholicism. Not only will the Catholic Church fall, but other churches will also fall. In addition to the fall of the church, our political and economic systems will also crumble. These fallen systems are a united system established by evil spirits. Evil spirits take advantage of our sinfulness to establish these systems. They also take advantage of fallen systems such as politics, economics, and religion. They organize these factors into a big net, killing God’s prophets and chosen people, and trapping the world, like a spider in a web. (A prostitute also similarly entraps passersby.) This web entraps people in sin.
I call this system the “Evil Spirit-Man.” I coined this term to express the collaboration between evil spirits and people. This union exists not only in the field of religion but in all areas of life. The kings of the earth committed adultery with the prostitute in order to gain power. For example, the leaders of many countries are superstitious, consulting mediums and false gods in hopes of gaining power. Even people in Hollywood have resorted to worshiping Satan in order to gain power and become famous. There are numerous reports of this on the Internet.
Babylon the Great is the lair of the evil spirits
Revelation 18:2 says, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird.” Babylon the Great is the lair of demons, of every unclean spirit, and of every unclean and detestable bird. The detestable birds must refer to the evil spirits in the air.
Let’s look at another passage that mentions birds in a metaphorical sense. Daniel 4 records the second dream of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. Daniel warned King Nebuchadnezzar about this dream, “Break off your sins by practicing righteousness, and your iniquities by showing mercy to the oppressed, that there may perhaps be a lengthening of your prosperity.” (Daniel 4:27). But Nebuchadnezzar did not heed Daniel’s advice. His heart became arrogant, so he was driven away from civilization to eat grass like an ox for 7 periods of time. Later, King Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses and praised God.
His dream was a warning dream from God. This dream mentioned one detail, “Its leaves were beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in it was food for all. The beasts of the field found shade under it, and the birds of the heavens lived in its branches, and all flesh was fed from it.” (Daniel 4:12). In verse 22, Daniel explained that this tree was King Nebuchadnezzar. And because of his power, he was like a big tree, with birds living in its branches. The birds here provide clarity about the birds in Revelation 18:2. Both are referring to the evil spirits. In other words, because King Nebuchadnezzar was arrogant, he worshipped idols and evil spirits and became their tool. Instead of giving glory to God, he lived in pride. Therefore, God commanded, “Chop down the tree and lop off its branches, strip off its leaves and scatter its fruit. Let the beasts flee from under it and the birds from its branches.” (Daniel 4:14) The beasts and birds mentioned here must be referring to evil spirits.
The Lord Jesus told the parable of the mustard seed. He said, “This is the smallest of the hundred seeds, but when it grew up, it became larger than the others, and became a tree, so that the birds of the sky came to perch on its branches.” (Matthew 13:32). People have different interpretations of this passage. Some believe that the mustard seed represents our faith. Others believe that this parable represents the changing nature of the church. Even the birds (evil spirits) come to live among its branches.
Here is an illustration of this concept. After the Roman Empire adopted Christianity as the state religion, many false believers joined the church and Catholicism mushroomed into a huge, spreading tree. Even the birds (evil spirits) came to live among its branches. But the true church continued to be persecuted. Keeping in mind Revelation 18 and Daniel 4, I think it is more acceptable to interpret the birds in the parable as evil spirits. The Lord Jesus’ parable of the mustard seed may have signaled a change in the church’s nature as it morphed into a combination of evil spirits and a sinful religious system. This evil religious system is of course only part of Babylon the Great.
The evil spirits are weaving webs at all places and in all realms
We know that one-third of the angels followed Satan and rebelled against God. These evil spirits are not idle. They are busy. They each have different hierarchies. They govern different regions or areas. For example, Daniel 10 tells us that the prince of the kingdom of Persia hindered the angel from delivering a message to Daniel for 21 days. Only after the angel Michael came to help him was he able to reach Daniel. From this verse, we can see that there may be powerful evil spirits that rule a certain area. They may also manage other subordinate spirits. Even if we do not know about them, there are evil spirits in various regions: the United States, China, Africa, Japan, etc. There may be higher-ranking spirits that govern other evil spirits in a certain area.
In addition to evil spirits in different regions, there may be different kinds of evil spirits in different areas of life. For example, the false god Baal may be animated by a spirit of immorality. Hosea specifically compares faithless Israel to a prostitute and God compares Himself to a husband. Hosea 2:16 says, “And in that day, declares the Lord, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal’.” This passage seems to indicate that Baal may be a spirit of immorality who deceives Israel, God’s wife. Other evil spirits may be especially involved in child sacrifice. For example, the Bible says that the Israelites must not follow the sin of the Canaanites, who burn their sons and daughters in the fire and give them to Molech. (Deuteronomy 12:31, Leviticus 20:2). Similarly, there may be evil spirits who encourage families to resort to abortion. Within Satanism and many other cults, child sacrifice is rampant. There may also be a Jezebel spirit, a false prophet-like spirit who specifically kills and persecutes true prophets.
These evil spirits use people’s sins to weave a huge web. Evil spirits use evil people to infiltrate politics (for example, Jesus called Herod a fox), religion (Judaism, Catholicism, Protestantism), and other areas of life. In this way, they kill prophets. In addition to using Islam, Buddhism, and other religions to stop people from knowing the true Savior, they also use the economy, culture, and educational systems to enslave people. Even our Savior Jesus Christ was crucified by an alliance between the evil Roman Empire and fallen Judaism. It may seem like Paul and other religious figures in Judaism were the ones who killed Stephen, but their actions were motivated by evil spirits working in and through them. No wonder Stephen prayed for the Israelites who killed him, saying they didn’t know what they were doing.
These evil spirits obey Satan. The Lord Jesus said that Satan has been a murderer from the beginning (John 8:44). Satan, the dragon, gave his authority to the beast (Revelation 13:4), and the beast gave authority to the false prophet (another beast, Revelation 13:11). Babylon the Great, which is a union between evil spirits and evil people, is a prostitute that seeks to seduce people away from marriage with Christ. The Prostitute is a counterfeit Bride of Christ.
The church will judge angels
Paul said that the mission of the church and our mission as Christians is “to judge angels” (1 Corinthians 6:3). As we’ve mentioned, Babylon the Great is a prostitute, the counterfeit Bride of Christ. She unites with evil spirits like pimps unite with prostitutes. This union creates an “Evil Spirit-Man”, which corresponds to the God-Man. The evil angels and sinners will be judged in one fell swoop by the Lord Jesus Christ (the bridegroom) and His bride (the body of Christ).
God wants us to repent and break our association with evil spirits so that we are not judged along with them. We must repent of being used by evil spirits. For example, the Apostle Paul left his slavery to evil spirits. People who do not repent will be thrown into the lake of fire prepared for Satan and the evil spirits (Revelation 20:11-15).
We are not sure if we are now in the last days – the time when God will get rid of all evil spirits from Babylon the Great. But we may be very close to that moment. God may be starting to remove the power of evil spirits from all areas of life. Darkness seems to prevail, but this is simply evidence of the madness and fear of the evil spirits who know they are about to be destroyed. They are launching a great attack on God and His chosen people.
Before God finally judges Babylon the Great, His children must be called out of the various segments and systems which comprise Babylon the Great. Revelation 18:4 says, “Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues.” The word “her” refers to the system that controls us. We cannot comprehend it entirely from the material realm. It doesn’t mean that Christians living in Rome should move out. Or that those who work on Wall Street in New York should not go to work. Rather, it means that we must clear out the sins that make us a part of Babylon the Great. We must reflect on whether there is idolatry or love for the world within us. If there is, we are in the Babylonian system. We must cleanse ourselves, deal with our sins, and return to our first love of God. In this way, we free ourselves from Babylon the Great. If you work on Wall Street, but your heart is loyal to the Lord, you are not part of Babylon the Great. But if not, you may be part of it.
Chapter 18, verses 5-10 describe God’s judgment on Babylon the Great. Verses 11-19 describe people wailing over the judgment of Babylon the Great. The apostle John said, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15). Many of us love the world and the things in it. We know how hard it is to overcome the world. It is very painful to give up the world. That is why people wail (verses 11-19). Verse 11 says, “The merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore”. The word “cargo” includes all kinds of items and even human souls (verse 13). Even human souls can be sold. Imagine how many Hollywood stars have not only sold their bodies, but have even signed contracts with Satan in order to become famous?
Verse 20 describes saints, apostles, and prophets rejoicing because God has avenged them. This verse indicates that religious Babylon may have been a very important part of the Babylonian system, since it killed many saints, apostles, and prophets throughout the ages.
Verse 21 says that the angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying that Babylon the Great would also be thrown down the same way. Verse 23 says, “And the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.” Babylon the Great had deceived many people. But God would no longer allow them to deceive anyone.
Today, God is judging Babylon the Great and calling His children out
May you have ears to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying today through Revelation 18. As children of God, we should free ourselves from Babylon the Great, from idolatry, and from the things of the world. We should completely free ourselves from these systems and their influence on us. God is calling us to be a part of His bride. We are destined to reign with Christ, as well judge angels and evil men. If you become part of Babylon the Great, you will face nothing but destruction. Don’t love the world or money. If you spend your whole life working only for money and the world, you are building a part of Babylon the Great.
 All Scripture quotations are taken from the English Standard Version unless otherwise noted.