1 And after these things I saw < an> angel <descending out of the> heaven, having great power; and the earth was <illuminated > with his glory.
The Descending Angel
After these things; that is, after the ten horns had made the Roman Harlot desolate and naked, and eaten her flesh, and burned her With fire (ch. 17:16)
... The descent of the angel upon Babylon takes place between the finishing of the Harlot's spoliation and consumption by the European Governments; and the conquest of these powers, or rather the commencement of their "war with the Lamb," which ends in their conquest by him.
...John saw him descending, katabainonta, "having great authority;" and as authority is of no use in this rebellious world unsustained by power equal to its enforcement, the announcement of the greatness of the authority, implies that he descends also with great power, which is equal to the mighty enterprise of illuminating the earth with his glory.
His mission demands the possession of great power, which, indeed, shall be omnipotent; for, as Isaiah sets it forth,
"he bringeth down them that dwell on high, he layeth the lofty city low; he layeth it low even to the ground; he bringeth it to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy" (ch. 26:5).
He hath also to "raise up the Tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel and to be a light to the nations for salvation to the ends of the earth" (Isa. 49:6).
... There are stages in the descent from "the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens,"..."the Lord the Spirit" (Psa. 116:16; 80:17; 2 Cor. 3:18), descends to Sinai, in whose wilderness he unites himself to his body, the Bride, of whom he becomes the Head. Thus recruited and enlarged, he is the "One Angel", whose measure is "144 cubits" (ch. 19:17; 21:17). Having finished his work in Teman,
"he marches through the land in indignation, and threshes the Gentiles" he encounters "in anger".
Arrived at the Mount of Olives, he descends from thence into Jerusalem, the city of the Great King. There, "standing in the sun," he pauses in his descent upon the lofty city, Babylon, which he purposes to level with the dust. Before he invades her peoples with his troops (Hab. 3:12,16,3), he sends forth a voice from the heaven, announcing the judgment that impends. When this proclamation is fulfilled, he will then complete his descent upon Babylon, which he will not abandon until he hath abolished her from the earth.
"And the earth was illuminated with his glory".
The development of his glory is in the overthrow of the Great Harlot; the destruction of the military and secular political organization or power, "the Beast that carries her," and the conquest of the European kings and their armies: and in the new order of things he establishes upon the ruin of the old.
This will be great glory for the descending angel, whose constituents begin their career in poverty, and finish it in the possession of all the wealth and countries of the earth.
It will have been a fiery ordeal for the nations, which will have labored in the very fire, and for very vanity; but as the result of the whole operation,
"the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh (of the Angel) as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:13,14; Isa. 11:9; Num. 14:21; Psa. 72:19).
2 And he <shouted in power, with a loud> voice, saying, Babylon the Great <hath fallen, hath> fallen. <For she hath> become <a> habitation of <daemons>, and <a> hold of every < unclean> spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.
The Descending Angel's Shout
This descending angel is the same of whom Paul speaks in 1 Thess. 4:16, saying, "the Lord himself in command, with Archangel's voice, and with trumpet of Deity, shall descend from heaven".
But he comes not alone; for in 2 Thess. 1:7, he tells us, he will be apocalypsed, or
"revealed from heaven with angels of his power, with flaming fire, taking vengeance".
Such is the voice, with which he shouts the Archangel's voice whose name in Dan. 12:1, is Michael, WHO-LIKE-DEITY
"the Great Prince who standeth for the children of Daniel's people".
He is in command; for he is the Commander and leader (Isa. 55:4); and his mission is in the last of the trumpets of Deity, and in the seventh vial thereof. Paul did not specify details. He declared that he would descend from heaven with a mission against the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition; whom John connects with the Eighth Head of the Beast, that carries the Great Harlot.
The words used by the descending angel identify him with the second angel of ch. 14:8. These are the same angel in the second stage of his mission. The reason of the fall of Babylon is given in both places, only in ch. 18 the indictment is amplified. Because she is
"a habitation of daemons, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hated bird;"
and because the Great Harlot and the kings of Babylon have corrupted and destroyed the earth (ch. 11:18; 19:2) - therefore her destruction is proclaimed with a voice, whose echoes will convulse the nations to the ends of the earth.
3 For <she hath caused all the nations to drink> of the wine of the <raging> of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have <fornicated> with her, and the merchants of the earth <have become rich through the potency of her voluptuousness.>.
All nations have received, and imbibed, and been subject to the influence of Rome's religious teaching; and that religious teaching is meant by wine, as a symbol, is evident from its employment (as the good wine) to represent the feast of truth and righteousness, which Yahweh is to spread for all people in Zion at the establishment of His kingdom (Isa. 25:6). Then all the kings of the European system have had constant dealings with Rome as a church.
"The merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies."
Who are these? Who are the merchants of the earth in Apocalyptic usage? We are not left to guess. The last verse but one of the chapter tells us: "Thy merchants were the great men of the earth" -- therefore not ordinary traders; but dealers in Romish merchandise, traffickers in indulgences, and preferments, and ecclesiastical privileges, immunities and emoluments of all sorts.
The Church has been the gate to civil distinction for centuries. The dealers in her wares have been the great men of the earth; their dealership has been a passport to eminence, and a means of wealth everywhere: to cardinals, and ecclesiastical magnates of all sorts, to whom secular princes have been aids, accessories, and servants.
Even secular princes acquired distinction as friends of the Church. These have been traders -- not common traders, but traders in Romish goods to their great advantage and enrichment, as the history of a thousand years illustrates. To be out of the trade was a dreadful situation at one time. This country was once under the ban of excommunication, and the result was a suspension of business of all sorts -- common businesses, as well as other sorts -- till an understanding was arrived at with Rome.
No burials could take place; no marriages, no baptisms (so-called), no preaching, no traffic in the market. We have to go back to the palmy days of Papal history to see these things in their full light. Rome licensed everything: she sold the right to preach, the power to forgive sins (!), the right to be buried, and the right to escape an imaginary purgatory after death. Immense revenues were derived from this ecclesiastical traffic. No man could buy or sell without the paid-for mark of the beast -- the sign of the cross officially imparted.
13 Lectures on the Apocalypse
4 And I heard another voice from <the> heaven, saying, Come <forth out > of her, my people [Nations that obey and are joined unto Zion's King], that ye <have no fellowship with> her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.
But before the Archangel Michael "invades them with his troops," he remembers that he hath a people in Babylon to deliver, as well as a people to destroy. The people to be delivered are "the Tribes of Jacob, and the preserved of Israel" "the children of Daniel's people," eight thousand of whom are inhabitants of Rome.
Every one knows the degradation of Israelites in the capital of the Great Harlot; and the oppression and contempt they have been subjected to by
"the demons, foul spirits, unclean and hated birds",
called popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests, who roost in that filthy habitation.
This tyranny of the abjectest kind has left its indelible memorial upon the hearts of the denizens of the Ghetto, whose hope is the desolation of Rome, which they look for as the crisis of their own redemption; for Kimchi, one of their rabbis, Says in his comment on Obadiah,
"this is the hope of the nation when Rome shall be desolated, then there shall be the redemption of Israel".
The vengeance of Michael is suspended until the safety of all his people of the stock of Abraham, who may be willing, is assured. The vengeance upon Babylon impends, while the first angel is making proclamation that "the Hour of his Judgment hath come" (ch. 14:6,7). Michael, as "the Lamb and the 144,000 with him," having established himself on Mount Zion, is prepared
"to give great Babylon the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath" (ch. 16:19),
but he is graciously willing to afford escape, not only to Israelites, but to Gentiles of "every nation, kindred, tongue, and people", upon whom the Harlot sits.
He therefore sends forth a company of authorized heralds, qualified to authenticate their mission, after the old apostolic example, to announce good to the well disposed; but terrible vengeance upon all
"who know not the Deity, and obey not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ,"
as proclaimed by the Angel-Company "flying in midheaven;" or executing their mission with great dispatch.
In calling upon the well-disposed to
"worship Him who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters,"
these Divinely called and sent preachers invite them to "come out of Babylon, that they be not partakers of her sins, and that they receive not of her plagues". This is not addressed to the saints as those referred to in the phrase "my people;" but to those who may become the Lord's people by obeying this "other voice from the heaven:" for this is a period in which, the Spirit saith,
"Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of the Daughter of Zion; and many nations shall be joined to Yahweh in that day, and shall be My' people" (Zech. 2:10,11).
The saints cannot partake of her sins, and receive of her plagues; for, before this proclamation they have all been cleared out of Babylon by the gathering unto Christ in Teman; and by it having been given unto them to execute the judgment upon her and the four Beasts of the Sea (Dan. 7:22). They are the constituted avengers, and the avenged; and are then in no position to be addressed in the language of the voice.
There is a striking contrast throughout Revelation between the Father's Name and the Beast's Name-the Father's Mark and the Beast's Mark. The end of chapter 13, just preceding, speaks of those who have the Beast's mark, number, or name in the forehead.
The Beast is the Babylonian-Grecian-Roman apostasy, centered in Rome, and it has set its mark on nearly every aspect of the world's life and activities. All nations are drunk with the
wine of her fornication. Let us try to discern all the ramifications of the Beast's mark in the customs and festivities of the world and shun them like the plague.
We cannot bear the Name of both God and the Beast together-
Bro Growcott - 144000 on Mount Zion
5 For her [constant] sins have <followed her until the> [New] heaven, and < the Deity> hath <called to mind> her iniquities [the time allotted for preaching the Aion-Tidings of good, and their acceptance having been fulfilled].
This is the reason assigned for her being plagued. The word ekolouthesan, signifies to be a follower. Her sins have been her followers. They have not been fitful, or occasional, attendants; but have been the invariable, and constant, and desperate, ruffians of her train, "until the heaven," achri tou our-apiou: that is, until the time arrived to establish the New Heaven.
...If the reader know the history of the Roman Ecclesiastical State, the Great Harlot, in her dealings with what her murderous and adulterous thieves, termed clergy and priests, stigmatize as "Heretics;" he will be aware of the "torment and sorrow" they have inflicted upon the saints, and upon Israel, and upon all the friends of civil and religious liberty, they have been able to shut up in their loathsome dungeons.
This torment and sorrow appreciated, if he double it, he will then be enabled to form some feeble idea, far short of reality, of the terrible retribution and vengeance to be poured out upon the Satanic Hierarchy of the Seven Hills.
The address to "my people," in the midst of Babylon
Israel's gathering from their midst is one of the most interesting operations in the setting-up of the kingdom of God. This summons would indicate that to some extent at its first stage, that restoration will be a question of voluntary compliance on the part of the Jews with the invitation addressed to them. It would also indicate another thing: the probability of many preferring to remain in the "Let-us-alone-that-we-may-serve-the-Egyptians" spirit of their ancestors in the days of Moses.
The bulk will doubtless respond and "come out," in the readiness to repair to the countries that are to witness the revival of their nationality in the midst of the earth. The prophet testified
"they shall not go out with haste, nor go by flight: for Yahweh will go before them, and the God of Israel will be their rereward" (Isa. 52:12).
They will be Yahweh's army in the Roman dominion, with which He will break in pieces the nations. They will move deliberately and according to instructions. They will accomplish the retribution of God upon the European Babylon before their final departure for the land of their fathers, as in the case of Pharaoh and the Egyptians before Israel's exodus.
They will therefore be in a suitable position to carry out the injunction of verses 6 and 7 of the chapter (18) we are considering:
"Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled, fill to her double. How much she hath glorified herself and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her."
This means a time of great affliction for Rome and all her supporters, ministered at the hands of Israel, used as Yahweh's goodly horse in the battle, and battle axe in war (Zech. 10:3; Jer. 51:20).
13 Lectures on the Apocalypse
6 <Render to her as also she hath rendered to > you, and double to her < twofold> according to her <deeds>: in the cup which she hath < mingled, mingle for> her double.
If the reader know the history of the Roman Ecclesiastical State, the Great Harlot, in her dealings with what her murderous and adulterous thieves, termed clergy and priests, stigmatize as "Heretics;" he will be aware of the "torment and sorrow" they have inflicted upon the saints, and upon Israel, and upon all the friends of civil and religious liberty, they have been able to shut up in their loathsome dungeons.
This torment and sorrow appreciated, if he double it, he will then be enabled to form some feeble idea, far short of reality, of the terrible retribution and vengeance to be poured out upon the Satanic Hierarchy of the Seven Hills.
7 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived <profligately>, so much torment and sorrow give her: for in her heart <she saith>, I sit Queen, and am <not a> widow, and sorrow <I shall not see at all.>.
The widowhood of Jerusalem hath inured for many generations, and been to her a cause of reproach. Shall Rome, then, her fierce and relentless enemy, not become a widow? Jerusalem's Maker was the husband of her youth, from whom she hath been divorced, but only for a time, after which He will have mercy upon her, and adorn her as His bride (Isa. 54:4-8; 61:10).
When she becomes the married wife by the law that goes forth from Zion; when the Lord Jesus Christ shall be King in Israel on David's throne, shall Rome and the Roman State be the married wife of the Name of Blasphemy styling himself, and being styled, "the Vicar of Christ," and who undertakes to make Christ, in flesh and blood, by mumbling a few words over a wafer? Rome no widow! Always to have popes for husbands of the church! A strong delusion, which the judicial annihilation of the Harlot can alone dispel.
The following anecdote will throw some light upon the sense in which "I am no widow" is to be understood. It was blasphemously stated in the Tablet, a Romanist Paper, that about a month after Pio IX's accession, the Abbess of Minsk spent a whole night at Rome in prayer for the Catholic Church: and that while so occupied a voice (none other than that of the Saviour) addressed her thus:
"Fear not, my daughter! I have not left my church a widow, I have chosen for her a Pontiff after my own heart".
8 < On account of this > her plagues < shall> come in one day [Suddenly], death, and <anguish>, and famine; and she shall be <consumed in> fire: for <YAHWEH ELOHIM who judgeth her is powerful.>
In the prophecy against the Chaldean Babylon, it is written, "thy day is come"; and in the next sentence, the exposition of this is given in the words, "the time that I will visit thee" (Jer. 50:31).
Again, "Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed" (ch. 51:8). And again,
"My people go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of Yahweh. And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumor that shall be heard in the land: and there shall come in a year the tidings, and after that in a year the tidings and violence in the land, ruler against ruler" (verse 45, 46).
Now this prophecy against the Chaldean Babylon, though having its own special fulfillment, which commenced in the time of Cyrus, and Belshatzar, the Lucifer of Isa. 14:12, was typical of the fall of the Roman Babylon; so that the language descriptive of the judgment of the ancient city and state, becomes the key of the figurative expressions in the Apocalyptic prophecy.
I conclude, therefore, that it will be with the Roman Babylon as with the Chaldean; and that "her day, or time ," of judgment will come "suddenly," "as a thief in the night;" that there will be violence in Italy, "ruler against ruler"; that the tidings inviting people to emigrate will find the country in this anarchical condition; and that in the "next day," or "year", her plagues will commence, even "death, and anguish, and famine" death, or pestilence, and anguish, as the result of it, combined with famine.
How long these calamities will continue after they have come into play, does not appear. Her judgment is consummated by a fiery overthrow
"she will be consumed in fire".
The foulness and filthiness of her abominations, and the similitude of the fate that awaits her, has caused the Great City and State to be "spiritually called Sodom and Egypt" (ch. 11:8). The punishment of Sodom will be Rome's, and perhaps, that also of the whole "Patrimony of St. Peter".
This will consummate the plagues which begin her torment and sorrow in one and the same year after the Aion-tidings of good salutes the ears of Israel in Rome.
But following upon "pestilence, and famine" is the twofold rendering of torment and anguish by the troops of Michael, the Great Prince, who invades her territory and becomes a smoking furnace of judgment,
"a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (ch. 19:19).
From this she never emerges, and therefore, like Sodom, suffers the vengeance of a fire which is eternal (Jude 7).
"YAHWEH ELOHIM, who judgeth her, is powerful"
It is the Omnipotent Spirit who executes the judgment written; not as an abstract and naked power, but clothed with, and clothing, the saints Jesus and his Brethren.
...The One Body spiritualized, and therefore spirit,... YAHWEH, manifested in flesh "justified by spirit," as the Elohim of Israel - YAH-WEH Elohim, He who shall be mighty ones, the Omnipotent "who was, and who is, and who shall be" manifested in power and great glory, "the First and the Last Ones," to resist whom will be certain destruction.
...She condemned the "heaven" to death; or, as it is expressed in ch. 13:6, "them who dwell in the heaven;" them who constitute the holy heavenly community in the generations embraced in the 1260 years; but who become the Most Holy Heaven-Community, or briefly, "the Heaven," preparatory to the judgment upon the Great Harlot.
The judgment upon her is punishment for her blasphemy and maltreatment of the heaven in its primary constitution. The apostles and prophets belonged to, and were a part of, the heaven. The apostles were put to death by the power enthroned upon the Seven Hills, though not by the papal power; for this Eighth Head was not then developed in Rome.
The apostles were put to death by the Sixth Head of the Beast; nevertheless, it was Rome who slew them, as it had previously slain the Lord Jesus; and for these slaughters she has to be finally destroyed.
... The prophets of the heaven are the "faithful men able to teach others" the doctrine of Christ, who were the true successors of the apostles.
They are found among the witnesses who prophecy in sackcloth 1260 years, who were killed by the Roman Beast, and rose again politically in 1789-'90, and began the execution of judgment upon it.
...The prophets whom she condemned individually did not rise, but only the class to which they as witnesses against the Harlot, belonged. The resurrection of this class to execute judgment, was the earnest of the personal resurrection of its ancient members to finish the same judgment.
To the last, Rome retains the complacent hallucination in which the undisturbed imposture of centuries has confirmed her. This shows that Rome retains confidence in her destiny up to the moment the thunders of divine vengeance crash forth upon her affrighted ear. It is to something like this that Paul refers when he says of the day of the Lord's coming,
"When they shall say, Peace and safety, then sudden destruction cometh."
It also shows that in the final perdition of Rome, there is to be something local to the city itself, very sudden, and out of the usual run of calamity. The intimation that her plagues are to come "in one day:" the declaration that "she shall be utterly burned with fire," and the cause alluded to as accounting for her disastrous end --"strong is the Lord who judgeth her," all point in this direction.
The sequel supplies particulars that could not be understood apart from the view of which Dr. Thomas was strongly convinced and which this whole chapter furnished so much reason for entertaining: viz., that the city of Rome itself, and all its environs, will be engulfed in the fiery abyss that underlies the site on which it is built and of which Vesuvius (quiescent for many centuries, but now active) may be considered the chimney.
The kings of the earth, her paramours, are represented (verse 9) as seeing the smoke of her burning afar off and lamenting for her catastrophe and the suddenness of it. This shows the kings survive the destruction of the Babylon of this chapter, and that they survive as sympathizers with a calamity which they have not caused. The destruction is therefore something more than a political or ecclesiastical destruction.
Literally, of course, they could not see a conflagration in Italy: but in a condensed presentation of the scene, it is not inappropriate to represent them as spectators. They would see in the sense of hearing of it, and being witnesses of it by report. All the world saw the capture of Napoleon III at Sedan, though not with their actual eyes.
13 Lectures on the Apocalypse - CH 11
9 And the kings of the earth,<fornicating and luxuriating with her,>, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
10 <having stood at a distance through> the fear of her torment, <exclaiming>, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour thy judgment <hath> come.
The survivors of the consummation of the judgment of Babylon are the kings of the earth, the merchants of the earth and all interested in their traffic.
These all bewail and lament for her. The kings bewail her because they have lost their favourite prostitute by whose witchery they were enabled to maintain their ascendancy over the deceived nations. The kings of the earth must be her survivors, or they could not lament for her.
The merchants of the earth are the chief men of the earth. They are "the spiritual guides" of the peoples, of all ranks, orders, and degrees; together with "the lay lords," or nobles, and civil rulers of the states all who are represented in the phrase "Church and State" in the several streets, or kingdoms, of the great city.
These, both kings and merchants, stand off in fear of the progressing torment, unable, or unwilling, to risk intervention in her behalf. Their sympathies are all with the Harlot; they bewail her, and blaspheme the tormenting power (ch. 16:21).
...This glorious catastrophe will open the eves of multitudes. Still the kings and priests, and their hosts of interested dependents, though seeing, will not perceive; for their hearts will be hardened, like Pharaoh's, that they and their armies may be destroyed (ch. 19:21).
11 And the merchants of the earth shall <wail and lament> over her; for no man buyeth their < shipslading> any more:
The shipslading of a vessel is its cargo, which represents the revenues of the merchants, who own, or charter, or use, the ship. The Roman Ship has for many ages been freighted with wares...
... as masses for the dead, absolution for the living, indulgences for sin, consecrations of cemeteries, churches, sermonizings, reading Latin prayers, ordaining priests, consecrating bishops, sprinkling babies with "holy water," and putting the sign of the cross upon their foreheads, marriages, burials, canonization of saints, lying wonders, and so forth.
These belong to the invoice of wares which are the stock in trade of the soul and body merchants of the Great Harlot and her Daughters and Abominations of the Babylonian World. All the State and Nonconformist Churches of Europe and America deal more or less extensively in the invoice.
They do not all keep the same assortment of wares; but they will be found to deal in some of the articles enumerated as the lading of the old Ship Babylon, whereby they are proved to belong to the "shipmasters, ships' companies, sailors, and traders upon the sea," who bewail, and lament the fall of their harlot-mother, "because no one buyeth their shipslading any more" - the clergy-craft is played out, hireling priests and parsons, alias "wolves in sheep's clothing," become a worthless and contemptible drug, esteemed by none.
...All this foolery, paid for in gold and silver fine flour grain cattle sheep," and so forth, in salaries tithes and church rates will be abolish ed by YAHWEH ELOHIM, who will permit no more lies to be preached in His name by Latin, Protestant, or Greek (Zech. 13:2,3,4)... (Jer. 16:19).
... The veil which is now spread over all nations being destroyed (Isa. 25:7), they will look back with astonishment upon their present degradation and insanity... they will rejoice in the liberty of the Truth, and wisely resolve to walk no more after the imagination of an evil heart (Jer. 3:17); but to walk in the paths of Yahweh the Elohim of Jacob (Isa. 2:3):who will turn to them a pure language, that they may all call upon the Name of Yahweh, to serve Him with one consent (Zeph. 3:9).
12 < Lading > of gold, and <of> silver, and <of> precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and <of> purple, and <of> silk, and <of> scarlet, and all thyine wood, and <every ivory utensil>, and <every article> of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
Bazaars of Mahuzzim - Dan 11: 39
It is a remarkable feature in this prophecy that the Bazaars for priestly and clerical wares are distinguished from houses or shops of fair and honorable trade, by being styled Bazaars of Mahuzzim.
When jewellers, bakers, hardware-men, and such-like, open stores, they emblazon their signs with their own names. When people go to the baker's or the butcher's, they do not say they are going to St. Paul's or St. Barnabas', as if the stores were theirs. But when the clergy of "the King" and his foreign god, whether they be loyal or non-conformist, open bazaars for the sharp practice of their trade, they impose upon the credulous and strongly deluded public the idea that they belong to the apostles and their brethren!
They say that these ancients "of whom the world is not worthy," are still alive and in heaven, and greatly interested in human affairs, especially in church edifices, and in the orchestral and pulpit demonstrations therein! Hence, they set up statues in niches, and on parapets, which they call by their names, and make them presents of their churches, as is evident from the names they bear; as St. Sophia's at Constantinople, St. Peter's at Rome, Our Lady's at Paris, St. Paul's at London, and so forth.
The flagrancy of the imposture, however, consists in this, that while they profess to give these houses of the king's god to the "departed spirits" they call by these names, they will not permit the gospel the apostles preached, and the institutions they ordained, to be announced in their walls; but, by various arts, perversely persist in its exclusion, and in making it of none effect by their vain and foolish traditions.
But the whole system is a cheat, and a very profitable one for the present to those who live by it. It is ecclesiastical craft caused to prosper by the Civil Power, or "the King;" and it will continue to prosper "till the indignation shall be accomplished;" when Israel's Commander will bring it to an end, and cause the truth, by the energy whereby he is able to subdue all opposition, and to unmask all impostures, to prevail at last.
Precious stones, and pearls
There is no such collection of precious articles and art treasures in the whole world as there is in Rome. The interior walls of St. Peter's are enriched with precious stones, the offerings of devotees. The city is full of shrines at which similar offerings have been made. It has been a superstition with the rich everywhere that costly gifts to the church would purchase the favour of heaven, and in those sent actually to Rome itself there was special virtue.
The result is that there is a concentration at Rome in the churches of a vast material wealth of the character described in the category occurring in verse 12 of this chapter. Rome has always been the great market for such things: the jeweller, the sculptor, the painter, the worker in precious stones, and in stained glass and costly embroidery, have found their best employment in Rome -- speaking broadly of her history, covering the centuries.
13 Lectures on the Apocalypse - Ch 11
13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointment, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and < grain, and cattle,> and sheep, and horses, and <carriages, and of bodies,> and souls of men.
14 And the fruits <of the cupidity of> thy soul <hath> departed from thee, and <every> dainty and < sumptuous thing is > departed from thee, and <no more> shalt <thou> find them at all.
15 The merchants of these things <who have been enriched by her> shall stand afar off <through> the fear of her torment, wailing < and mourning>,
16 And <exclaiming>, Alas, alas, that great city, <which had been> clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and <adorned> with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
17 For in 1 hour so <much wealth hath been destroyed> And every shipmaster, and < every> company <upon the> ships, and sailors, and as many as <ply the> sea, stood afar off,
18 And cried < seeing> the smoke of her burning,< exclaiming>, What <was like to that> great city!
19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, < by which all having> ships <on> the sea <were enriched through> her costliness! for in one hour is she <has been desolated!>
20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
From this, it follows that the Babylon of the chapter was the murderer of the apostles. We have only to ask, "Who killed the apostles?" to find out what is meant by Babylon in the Apocalypse. It was not Babylon on the Euphrates -- nor the Babylon of Neduchadnezzar and Evil-Merodach -- that put the apostles to death. It was Rome on the Tiber -- Babylon of the seven hills.
This identifies Babylon with Rome at once.
Thirteen Lectures on the Apocalypse - Lecture 11
21 And [one] mighty angel took up a stone like a great mill-stone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence Babylon [ the great city shall be cast] down, and shall be found no more at all.
The plagues of Babylon are "death, anguish, and famine," consummated by her being utterly burned with fire. Death represents divers kinds of torments leading to that result. Whatever forms the torments may assume, they allow the subjects of them "no rest day nor night" during their operation (ch. 14:9-11). When all these restless days and nights are numbered, the consummation of their woes does not occupy long.
The catastrophe is represented by a stone like a great millstone being let fall, or cast into the sea. The fall of the Chaldean Babylon was similarly illustrated. Jeremiah's prophecy in writing against Babylon was bound to a stone and cast into the Euphrates, accompanied with the words,
"Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil I will bring upon her" (ch. 51:61-64).
The earth did not open and swallow her up; but she sank from the rank of the Queen of the Nations, the capital of the greatest power of the world, to a city without power, and at length without inhabitants, and to such extreme desolation that no material for building should be found upon her site, as at this day (verse 26).
...The Chaldean Babylon was brought to ruin for its sins against Yahweh in making his temple desolate, oppressing Israel, and intoxicating the nations. The Roman Babylon has done all this, and added to the offense in making herself drunk with the blood of the saints and witnesses of Jesus.
The crimes of the Roman Babylon have far exceeded those of the Chaldean; her punishment will therefore be more tormenting and more signal. Hence, she is not simply to be in desolation upon the Seven Hills; but she is suddenly, "in one hour," to be "found no more at all".
When "death, and anguish, and famine," have done their work, then YAHWEH ELORIM, after the example of the angels who visited Sodom, will send the Roman Sodom surging and crashing down into the volcanic subterranean.
Pope and cardinals, bishops, priests, monks and nuns, "the temple of the god" they call St. Peter, basilicas, and churches, and all monastic "dens of foul spirits, and unclean and hateful birds," with all "the dainty and goodly things lusted after" by the beastly soul of the intoxicated harlot of the nations all will rush headlong, yelling and blaspheming, into the roaring and fiery abyss to "be found no more at all".