Peoples New Testament
Peoples New Testament, Revelation 18
The Doomed City
1 After these things. Those described in chapter 17.
2 And he cried ... Babylon the great is fallen. Compare this description with Isa 21:9 14:23 13:21. The fall of Babylon has been already declared, Re 16:19 17:16 but now it is developed. This picture is intended to portray her utter desolation.
3 For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath. Partaken with her in her sins.
4 Come out of her, my people. This invitation is given to the people of God yet in captivity, lest by remaining they should be involved in her destruction. As God once had a captive people in the old Mesopotamian Babylon, so he has a people in the spiritual Babylon. Ever since the Reformation began, his voice has called on them to come out of her. Nor can it be doubted that he has many true and earnest worshipers still who have found enough of Christ in the mazes of the Papacy to have given him their hearts. The condemnation of the great spiritual despotism is not a declaration that all whom she has enslaved are the children of the devil.
6 Reward her even as she rewarded you. This is addressed to those who have meted out her judgments. The divine principle of judgments is that every one shall be rewarded "according" to his works. What they sow, "that" shall they reap.
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment. The picture represents these mourners looking from a great distance, afraid to approach nearer.
11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her. All who had made gain in any way from the sins or the luxury of Babylon shall mourn. There follows, then, an enumeration of the articles in which there was traffic.
13 And bodies, and souls of men. The Greek reads, "the bodies and souls of men". The first seems to refer to the traffic in slaves, a common traffic until modern times and sanctioned by the Papacy. The latter expression seems to me to refer to a spiritual traffic. What is the whole system of masses for the dead, paid for out of the money drawn from mourning relatives, but a traffic in the souls of men?
15 The merchants of these things ... shall stand afar off. The lamentation of the kings over the fall of the city has been given in Re 18:9-14. The lamentation of the merchants is now given. They are also represented as standing afar off. With them join the shipmasters and mariners who have been engaged in her trade. These all mourn because their profits from her are brought to an end.
20 Rejoice over her, [thou] heaven, and [ye] holy apostles and prophets. While there are mourners, another company is called upon to rejoice. She had exalted herself against God. All who have been for God, and who have suffered from her, are called to rejoice.
21 And a mighty angel took up a stone. See Jer 51:61-64. This symbolical act implies an utter destruction. In Jeremiah the stone is cast into the Euphrates. Now it is cast into the sea, because another Babylon is designed.
22 And the voice of harpers. It is this third angel who declares the silence and desolation of the city now.
24 In her was found the blood of prophets, and of the saints. It is because she has slain the saints of the Most High that these judgments come upon her. As Jerusalem in the time of Christ filled up the measure of the sins of Israel (Mt 23:29,35,36 Lu 11:51 13:33), so the spiritual Babylon, the great persecutor, fills up the measure of the sins of the beast and false prophet, and is required to account for the blood of slaughtered prophets and saints of all ages.
The People's New Testament commentary by B.W. Johnson (1891), Public Domain
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