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  • JAMIESON-FAUSSET-BROWN - REVELATION 18
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    CHAPTER 18

    Re 18:1-24. BABYLON'S FALL: GOD'S PEOPLE CALLED OUT OF HER: THE KINGS AND MERCHANTS OF THE EARTH MOURN, WHILE THE SAINTS REJOICE AT HER FALL.

    1. And--so Vulgate and ANDREAS. But A, B, Syriac, and Coptic omit "And."
    - power--Greek, "authority."
    - lightened--"illumined."
    - with--Greek, "owing to."

    2. mightily . . . strong--not supported by manuscripts. But A, B, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic read, "with (literally, 'in') a mighty voice."
    - is fallen, is fallen--so A, Vulgate, Syriac, and ANDREAS. But B and Coptic omit the second "is fallen" (Isa 21:9; Jer 51:8). This phrase is here prophetical of her fall, still future, as Re 18:4 proves.
    - devils--Greek, "demons."
    - the hold--a keep or prison.

    3. drunk-- Re 14:8, from which perhaps "the wine" may have been interpolated. They have drunk of her fornication, the consequence of which will be wrath to themselves. But A, B, and C read, "(owing to the wrath of her fornication all nations) have fallen." Vulgate and most versions read as English Version, which may be the right reading though not supported by the oldest manuscripts. Babylon, the whore, is destroyed before the beast slays the two witnesses (Re 11:7), and then the beast himself is destroyed.
    - the wine--so B, Syriac, and Coptic. But A, C, and Vulgate omit.
    - abundance--literally, "power."
    - delicacies--Greek, "luxury." See on 1Ti 5:11, where the Greek verb "wax wanton" is akin to the noun here. Translate, "wanton luxury." The reference is not to earthly merchandise, but to spiritual wares, indulgences, idolatries, superstitions, worldly compromises, wherewith the harlot, that is, the apostate Church, has made merchandise of men. This applies especially to Rome; but the Greek, and even in a less degree Protestant churches, are not guiltless. However, the principle of evangelical Protestantism is pure, but the principle of Rome and the Greek church is not so.

    4. Come out of her, my people--quoted from Jer 50:8; 51:6, 45. Even in the Romish Church God has a people: but they are in great danger; their only safety is in coming out of her at once. So also in every apostate or world-conforming church there are some of God's invisible and true Church, who, if they would be safe, must come out. Especially at the eve of God's judgment on apostate Christendom: as Lot was warned to come out of Sodom just before its destruction, and Israel to come from about the tents of Dathan and Abiram. So the first Christians came out of Jerusalem when the apostate Jewish Church was judged. "State and Church are precious gifts of God. But the State being desecrated to a different end from what God designed it, namely. to govern for, and as under, God, becomes beast-like; the Church apostatizing becomes the harlot. The true woman is the kernel: beast and harlot are the shell: whenever the kernel is mature, the shell is thrown away" [AUBERLEN]. "The harlot is not Rome alone (though she is pre-eminently so), but every Church that has not Christ's mind and spirit. False Christendom, divided into very many sects, is truly Babylon, that is, confusion. However, in all Christendom the true Jesus-congregation, the woman clothed with the sun, lives and is hidden. Corrupt, lifeless Christendom is the harlot, whose great aim is the pleasure of the flesh, and which is governed by the spirit of nature and the world" [HAHN in AUBERLEN]. The first justification of the woman is in her being called out of Babylon the harlot, as the culminating stage of the latter's sin, when judgment is about to fall: for apostate Christendom, Babylon, is not to be converted, but to be destroyed. Secondly, she has to pass through an ordeal of persecution from the beast, which purifies and prepares her for the transfiguration glory at Christ's coming (Re 20:4; Lu 21:28).
    - be not partakers--Greek, "have no fellowship with her sins."
    - that ye receive not of her plagues--as Lot's wife, by lingering too near the polluted and doomed city.

    5. her sins--as a great heap.
    - reached--Greek, "reached so far as to come into close contact with, and to cleave unto."

    6. Addressed to the executioners of God's wrath.
    - Reward--Greek, "repay."
    - she rewarded--English Version reading adds "you" with none of the oldest manuscripts. But A, B, C, Vulgate, Syriac, and Coptic omit it. She had not rewarded or repaid the world power for some injury which the world power had inflicted on her; but she had given the world power that which was its due, namely, spiritual delusions, because it did not like to retain God in its knowledge; the unfaithful Church's principle was, "Populus vult decipi, et decipiatur." "The people like to be deceived, and let them be deceived."
    - double--of sorrow. Contrast with this the double of joy which Jerusalem shall receive for her past suffering (Isa 61:7; Zec 9:12); even as she has received double punishment for her sins (Isa 40:2).
    - unto her--So Syriac, Coptic, and ANDREAS. A, B, and C omit it.
    - in the cup-- (Re 18:3; Re 14:8; 17:4).
    - filled--literally "mixed."
    - fill to her double--of the Lord's cup of wrath.

    7. How much--that is in proportion as.
    - lived deliciously--luxuriously: see on Re 18:3, where the Greek is akin.
    - sorrow--Greek, "mourning," as for a dead husband.
    - I sit--so Vulgate. But A, B, and C prefix "that."
    - I . . . am no widow--for the world power is my husband and my supporter.
    - shall see no sorrow--Greek, "mourning." "I am seated (this long time) . . . I am no widow . . . I shall see no sorrow," marks her complete unconcerned security as to the past, present, and future [BENGEL]. I shall never have to mourn as one bereft of her husband. As Babylon was queen of the East, so Rome has been queen of the West, and is called on Imperial coins "the eternal city." So Papal Rome is called by AMMIAN MARCELLIN [15.7]. "Babylon is a former Rome, and Rome a latter Babylon. Rome is a daughter of Babylon, and by her, as by her mother, God has been pleased to subdue the world under one sway" [AUGUSTINE]. As the Jew's restoration did not take place till Babylon's fall, so R. KIMCHI on Obadiah, writes, "When Rome (Edom) shall be devastated, there shall be redemption to Israel." Romish idolatries have been the great stumbling-blocks to the Jews' acceptance of Christianity.

    8. death--on herself, though she thought herself secure even from the death of her husband.
    - mourning--instead of her feasting.
    - famine--instead of her luxurious delicacies (Re 18:3, 7).
    - fire--(See on Re 17:16). Literal fire may burn the literal city of Rome, which is situated in the midst of volcanic agencies. As the ground was cursed for Adam's sin, and the earth under Noah was sunk beneath the flood, and Sodom was burnt with fire, so may Rome be. But as the harlot is mystical (the whole faithless Church), the burning may be mainly mystical, symbolizing utter destruction and removal. BENGEL is probably right in thinking Rome will once more rise to power. The carnal, faithless, and worldly elements in all churches, Roman, Greek, and Protestant, tend towards one common center, and prepare the way for the last form of the beast, namely, Antichrist. The Pharisees were in the main sound in creed, yet judgment fell on them as on the unsound Sadducees and half-heathenish Samaritans. So faithless and adulterous, carnal, worldly Protestant churches, will not escape for their soundness of creed.
    - the Lord--so B, C, Syriac, and ANDREAS. But A and Vulgate omit. "Strong" is the meaning of God's Hebrew name, "EL."
    - judgeth--But A, B, and C read the past tense (Greek, "krinas"), "who hath judged her": the prophetical past for the future: the charge in Re 18:4 to God's people to come out of her implies that the judgment was not yet actually executed.

    9. lived deliciously--Greek, "luxuriated." The faithless Church, instead of reproving, connived at the self-indulgent luxury of the great men of this world, and sanctioned it by her own practice. Contrast the world's rejoicing over the dead bodies of the two witnesses (Re 11:10) who had tormented it by their faithfulness, with its lamentations over the harlot who had made the way to heaven smooth, and had been found a useful tool in keeping subjects in abject tyranny. Men's carnal mind relishes a religion like that of the apostate Church, which gives an opiate to conscience, while leaving the sinner license to indulge his lusts.
    - bewail her--A, B, C, Syriac, Coptic, and CYPRIAN omit "her."

    10. God's judgments inspire fear even in the worldly, but it is of short duration, for the kings and great men soon attach themselves to the beast in its last and worst shape, as open Antichrist, claiming all that the harlot had claimed in blasphemous pretensions and more, and so making up to them for the loss of the harlot.
    - mighty--Rome in Greek means strength; though that derivation is doubtful.

    11. shall--So. B. But A and C read the present, "weep and mourn."
    - merchandise--Greek, "cargo": wares carried in ships: ship-lading (compare Re 18:17). Rome was not a commercial city, and is not likely from her position to be so. The merchandise must therefore be spiritual, even as the harlot is not literal, but spiritual. She did not witness against carnal luxury and pleasure-seeking, the source of the merchants' gains, but conformed to them (Re 18:7). She cared not for the sheep, but for the wool. Professing Christian merchants in her lived as if this world not heaven, were the reality, and were unscrupulous as to the means of getting gain. Compare Notes, see on Zec 5:4-11, on the same subject, the judgment on mystical Babylon's merchants for unjust gain. All the merchandise here mentioned occurs repeatedly in the Roman Ceremonial.

    12. (See on Re 17:4).
    - stones . . . pearls--Greek, "stone . . . pearl."
    - fine linen--A, B, and C read Greek, "bussinou" for "bussou," that is, "fine linen manufacture" [ALFORD]. The manufacture for which Egypt (the type of the apostate Church, Re 11:8) was famed. Contrast "the fine linen" (GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - D. J-F-B INDEX & SEARCH

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