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18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
ND after these things I saw another angel come down
power to the beast, “until the words of 17th chapter. In the 18th is conGod shall be fulfilled," i. e., the words tained an account of the judgment of God in regard to the reign of the of the woman, promised in xvii. 1. beast. He was to continue only for The plan of this chapter seems to a time, signified by the “forty and be as follows: two months." When this time was 1. The time for the judgment of fulfilled, then the kings would with- Rome is represented as being come; draw their support from the empire, verses 1, 2. and hate the woman or city of Rome,
2. Reasons for it are given; ver. 3. and its downfall would come.
3. The Christians are called upon 18. The woman is that great city.
to come out of her, to avoid the The woman is the city — the great impending calamities; verses 4–8. city; and Rome was then the mistress 4. The lamentation over the city in of the world. She reigned over the the next place occurs, viz., 1st, of kings of the earth, as has been shown; the friendly kings; verses 9, 10; 2d, for they acknowledged for a time her of the merchants; verses 11–16; supremacy, although afterward they 3d, of the seamen; verses 17—19. hated her.
5. Heaven is called on to rejoice, The revelator having thus been with all the holy apostles and prophets, shown that the destruction of Rome for that which the worldly-minded was at hand, we shall find that in the mourn to see; ver. 20. next chapter the fall of that great city 6. The judgment comes, as deis more particularly described. scribed, verses 21–24.
1. Another angel come down from CHAPTER XVIII.
heaven. — One angel having described
the woman and the beast, another Preliminary Remarks. - In the last angel is introduced, in the arrangechapter we saw the city of Rome inent of the scene, to describe the described under the metaphor of a judgment. For aught that appears woman, sitting upon a scarlet-colored the revelator is still under the guidbeast. She appeared in great mag- ance of “one of the seven angels," nificence. She was arrayed in purple mentioned xvii. 1, who, after showing and scarlet, the imperial colors; and him the woman and the beast, shows was decked with gold, and precious him, in the next place, another mighty stones, and pearls. “The woman angel coming down from heaven, to which thou sawest (said the angel to declare and carry forward the judgthe revelator) is that great city, which ments. Such was probably the plan reigneth over the kings of the earth ;" of the revelator's imagery. The chap. xvii., last verse. The 18th angel came down from heaven; he chapter forms a part of the vision was a messenger from God, and was promised to the revelator, xvii. 1: clothed with power to fulfil the divine “Come hither; I will show unto thee will. [ Lightened with his glory. the judgment of the great whore.” The He was all glorious too; the earth woman is first_seen riding on the was lightened with his glory. This beast;
xvii. 3. The beast is described is a sublime metaphor — the earth as representing the empire, and the made radiant with the glory of the woman as representing the city. So angel's presence. But it is no flight much of the description occupies the of the revelator's fancy, for he him.
from heaven, having great the great is fallen, is fallen, power;
and the earth was and is become the habitation of lightened with his glory. devils, and the hold of every
2 And he cried mightily with foul spirit, and a cage of every a strong voice, saying, Babylon unclean and hateful bird. self probably copied the figure from account of the fall of Babylon. Its Ezekiel. See Ezk. xliii. 2: “ And, inhabitants are supposed to have been behold, the glory of the God of Israel exterminated, or to have fled. The came from the way of the east; and habitation of devils. — Demons were his voice was like a noise of many supposed to dwell in desolate and waters; and the earth shined with gloomy places. This was the prehis glory.”
vailing notion among the Jews; and 2. He cried mightily with a loud the imagery therefore is built upon voice. — It is the intent of these words it. The unclean spirit, mentioned to give great effect to the procla- Matt. xii. 43, wandered through dry
It was a proclamation of or desolate places. The demoniac great importance, and it was needful described in Mark v. roamed among that it should arrest the attention of the tombs. The object of the reve.
The angel is clothed with lator, therefore, in saying that Rome power corresponding to his dignity as should be the habitation of devils, a heavenly messenger. His voice satyrs, or demons, was to show that commanded great attention. He had it should become very desolate, comcome from the presence of God, from pared with its former grandeur. the place whence God himself looked Those animals that fee from the down upon the earth. And now let haunts of men shall come and dwell us listen to what the angel said. in the place where the city once stood 1 Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen ; in magnificence. This is exactly the
- as if he had said, what was pre- idea expressed by Isaiah, in describing dicted in Rev. xiv. 8 is now to be the fall of Babylon. “And Babylon, fulfilled. This language respects the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of Rome, although the name Babylon is the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as used. We have shown repeatedly, when God overthrew Sodom and that it was the custom of the sacred Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabwriters to call one city by the name ited, neither shall it be dwelt in from of another, on account of some simi- generation to generation; neither larity either in its character, or its shall the Arabian pitch tent there; fate. Babylon, of old, had been given neither shall the shepherds make their up to destruction; and Rome being fold there. But wild beasts of the given up to destruction, is called desert shall lie there; and their houses Babylon. The proverb, “ Babylon is shall be full of doleful creatures; and fallen, is fallen," is of prophetic ori- owls shall dwell there, and satyrs gin, and not original with the reve- shall dance there. And the wild lator. See Isa. xxi. 9: “ And he beasts of the islands shall cry in their answered and said, Babylon is fallen, desolate houses, and dragons in their is fallen; and all the graven images pleasant palaces; and her time is of her gods he hath broken unto the nearly come, and her days shall not ground.” And Jer. li. 8: “Babylon be prolonged ;" Isa. xii. 19–22. is suddenly fallen and destroyed : How frequently does the revelator howl for her ; take balm for her pain, draw his metaphors, and almost his if so she may be healed." The reve- very language, from the prophets. lator's description in all respects is The application of prophetical lanevidently taken from the prophetical l guage to the fall of Rome, we shall
3 For all nations have drunk / chants of the earth are waxed of the wine of the wrath of her rich through the abundance of fornication, and the kings of her delicacies. the earth have committed forni. 4 And I heard another voice cation with her, and the mer- from heaven, saying, Come out consider more fully, before we close foretold the judgments under the our comments on this chapter. In metaphor of the vials, in the 16th addition to the passages quoted above, chapter, the revelator foretells the see Isa. xxxiv. 10–15; Jer. 1. 39; judgment of the city more particuli. 37.
larly in the 17th. Compare xvii. 2, 3. All nations have drunk of the 4, with xiv. 8. The subject begun in wine. — Here are mentioned the rea- the 14th is continued to the 18th, and sons of her punishment. She had further. | And the merchants of the led all nations into sin, even the kings earth. — These, it is said, had waxed and great men of the earth. Her rich, through the abundance of her influence had been very wide and delicacies. It is evidently the destrucvery injurious. There is a double tion of a city, or country, upon the metaphor in this verse. 1st. The margin of the sea, that the revelator nations have been made drunk with was describing, and not an ecclesiaswine. 2d. With the wine of fornica- tical body. We see no reason whattion. She exhilarated and maddened ever to suppose that he had any them with her inflammatory vices. reference to the papal church. Some She excited their passions, and almost commentators have presumed, that led them captive at her will. Hence Babylon in this chapter represented her influence is compared to that of Rome papal; and the merchants, wine. Her sins are described under were her clergy, who traded in spirthe figure of offences against chastity, itual trifles and trinkets, and other which is a figure frequently occurring ecclesiastical wares; but persons who in the Bible, and as often in the New have given such an interpretation Testament as in the Old. See the have, in our opinion, taken counsel notes on ii. 14, 20; xvii. 2, 4. The of their prejudices, rather than of Apocalypse bears a strong relation to sound judgment. We shall not stop other parts of the divine word. The to consider this subject further in this same subject is continued here which place; but we may refer to it again. was commenced in chap. xiv. See 4. Another voice. The one voice ver. 8 of that chapter. Because had proclaimed the fall of Babylon; Rome made the nations drink of the the other called on all who would not wine of her wickedness, God would participate in the judgment of the pour out upon her the wine of his city to come out of her. T Come out wrath ; xiv. 10. This wine of his of her, my people. — Separate yourwrath was represented as being in selves from her; lest ye partake of the seven vials; xv. 7. These seven her sins, and receive of her plagues. vials of wrath were the seven last There was danger in living in the plagues, because in them was to be midst of so much extravagance, disfilled up, or finished, the wrath of soluteness, and paganism. Weak God; xv. 1; and these seven vials professors would be made to fall. were all to be poured out upon the The only safety consisted in an entire earth ; xvi. 1. By bearing these facts separation from the power of the in mind, the reader will perceive that adversary, and the dangers in which all these chapters are connected the he was placed. So God counselled one with the other; that the thread Lot to flee from Sodom ; Gen. xix. of the subject is not broken. Having | 15, 16. When any city of old was
of her, my people, that ye be not|ye receive not of her plagues. partakers of her sins, and that 5 For her sins have reached
doomed to destruction, the faithful ix. 20. They were death, and mournthat were therein were counselled to ing, and famine, and conflagration; leave it. The revelator had the xviii. 8. Surely these judgments example of the prophets for the advice were on the earth; xi. 6; xvi. 1. he gave to the Christians in Rome. And they were the last plagues ; Among other instances, see Isa. xv. 1. We are not to look for any xlviii. 20, and lii. 11; Jer. 1. 8, and plagues in the Apocalypse after these. li. 6, 45. The apostle Paul besought in them is filled up, or finished, the his brethren at Corinth to come out wrath of God. These plagues are from among the heathen: “What mentioned finally near the close of the agreement hath the temple of God Apocalypse, where the churches were with idols ? for ye are the temple of told, that if “any man shall add unto the living God; as God hath said, I these things, God shall add unto him will dwell in them, and walk in them; the plagues that are written in this and I will be their God, and they book;" xxii. 18. None other plagues shall be my people. Wherefore come were threatened, remark, than those out from among them, and be ye written in this book, i. e., the Apocaseparate, saith the Lord, and touch lypse; and these were death, mournnot the unclean thing; and I will ing, famine and conflagration. receive you ;” 2 Cor. vi. 16, 17. 5. Her sins have reached unto heaven. Whether the command, “Come out - Rome was punished only for her of her, my people,” in the chapter sins. She was not punished for her we are considering) meant, leave the blindness any further than it was city of Rome, quit the place entirely, guilty blindness. This might have as Lot left Sodom; or whether it been inferred from the preceding meant merely a moral separation,
If the Christians did not paran injunction to keep clean of all take of her sins, they did not receive sinful connection, to guard against of her plagues. It was for her sins, paganism and all the vices of that and for her sins only, that she was great city, we will not undertake to judged. Her sins were very great. decide. || Be not partakers of her sins. It is said they “reached unto heaven.”
The object was to guard the Chris. Some have supposed the idea to be tians against “partaking of her sins,” | this : the sins have reached up to God, that they might not “receive of her so that he observes and takes note of plagues.” If they did not offend in them. We prefer the other interthe former, they would not suffer in pretation. It is a hyperbole for exthe latter. The command to come ceeding greatness. A similar figure out,” is to be regarded as a kind of occurs in the description given by proverbial expression, and should not Nebuchadnezzar of the tree seen by be interpreted too strictly. It cer- him in his vision : "I saw, and tainly did mean as much as this: behold a tree in the midst of the “Separate yourselves from her in a earth, and the height thereof was moral point of view ; keep yourselves great. The tree grew, and was perfectly clean from all her vices;" strong, and the height thereof reached and this was truly the most important unto heaven, and the sight thereof to matter. [ That ye receive not of her the end of all the earth ;" Dan. iv. plagues. - Here the subject of the 10, 11. And when Daniel came to plagues comes up once more. There interpret the vision, he said: “It is is an unbroken ihread of illustration thou, o king, thou art grown and running through these chapters. The become strong: for thy greatness is plagues were temporal judgments; grown, and reacheth unto heaven, and
unto heaven, and God hath re- 6 Reward her even as she membered her iniquities. rewarded you, and double unto thy dominion to the end of the earth ;" | 19. See the language of the woman ver. 22. So the “rage that reacheih to the prophet Elijah: “What have I up unto heaven," 2 Chron. xxviii. 9, to do with thee, O thou man of God? was an exceeding rage. God's faith- art thou come unto me to call my fulness is very great, – hence it is sin to remembrance, and to slay my said to "reach unto the clouds ;" Psa. son ?" 1 Kings xvii. 18. See, also, xxxvi. 5. Again : “ Thy mercy is Ezk. xxi. 23, and xxix. 16. So when great above the heavens; and thy good deeds are rewarded, they are truth reacheth unto the clouds;" Psa. said to come up in remembrance cviii. 4. But there is no difficulty in before God, as in the case of Corne. understanding where the revelator lius: “Behold, a man stood before found his figure. In taking the me in bright clothing, and said, Corprophetic descriptions of the wicked- nelius, thy prayer is heard, and thine ness and fall of Babylon for the pur. alms are had in remembrance in the pose of showing the wickedness and sight of God;" Acts x. 30, 31. For fall of Rome, which was the Babylon God to remember a sin, therefore, in of the revelator's time, [and there the language of the prophets, was to were many points of resemblance regard it as an unforgiven offence; between the two cities,] he would, of to call it to remembrance, was to call course, adopt the prophetic hyper- it up for judgment and punishment; boles, and other figures. Hence we and to remember it no more, was find, that the figure we are consider- fully to forgive it, and wash it away, ing occurs in Jeremiah's description and to regard the penitent as though of the fall of Babylon: “ Babylon is he had never sinned. Thus the lansuddenly fallen and destroyed. * guage of God through the prophet
We would have healed Baby- Jeremiah : “I will put my law in lon, but she is not healed : forsake their inward parts, and write it in her, and let us go everyone into their hearts; and will be their God, his own country; for her judgment and they shall be my people. And reacheth unto heaven, and is lified up they shall teach no more every man even to the skies ;" li. 8, 9. God his neighbor, and every man his hath remembered her iniquities. — In brother, saying, Know the Lord : for strict speech, God can be said to for- they shall all know me, from the get nothing; but in the language of least of them unto the greatest of the Scriptures, God is said to forget. them, saith the Lord : for I will forOf course, such language is not to be give their iniquity, and I will rememconstrued literally. It would make ber their sin no more ;” xxxi. 33, confusion worse confounded; for in 34. “ Her sins have reached unto one form of speech God is said to heaven," i. e., they have been very punish men by forgetting them; and great; and "God hath remembered in another form, he punishes by her iniquities," i. e., hath rememremembering. We must seek the true bered them to punish them, as we sense of the Scriptures, without any shall see in the next verse. disposition to carp or cavil. In the 6. Reward her even as she rewarded Apocalypse, sins are said to come up you. — In the language of the Scripin remembrance before God, when tures, to reward signifies to punish the time of their punishment has evil, as well as to recompense righ
“ Great Babylon came in teousness. Under the Mosiac law, remembrance before God, to give “every transgression received a just unto her the cup of the wine of the recompense of reward;" Heb. ii. 2; fierceness of his wrath ;" Rev. xvi. I Matt. xvi. 27; 2 Tim. iv. 14; 2 Peter