Chapter 6

The Finality of Her Destruction

(Rev 18:16) And saying, ‘Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!

“And saying, ‘Alas, alas…’”

This is what the merchants will say when they watch her burn from afar off.

“…clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!”

This is the same description given of the harlot in Revelation 17:4.

They note again her clothing. It is fitting that the merchants refer to her by the items that they sold to her.

(Rev 18:17-18) For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off, And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, ‘What city is like unto this great city!

“For in one hour so great riches is come to nought….”

The suddenness of the city’s destruction is expressed here. It is described as having occurred in one hour, although it is expressed as “one day” in other places in this chapter.

“And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea…”

A third group of onlookers is introduced here. They are people who were on the sea for various reasons. We have already seen the kings and merchants doing basically this same thing, lamenting the city’s destruction.

“…stood afar off…”

This is mentioned several times. Back in Rev 18:10, it seems to suggest that the reason they were standing far off is that they somehow feared they would be affected by the aftermath of the city’s destruction.

“…and cried when they saw the smoke of her burning…”

This is the part that leads some to suggest that Mystery Babylon must be a port city, but this is not necessary. All that is said is that the smoke of its burning can be seen by the ships at sea.

I would say that it is, however, necessary that the smoke from the burning of Mystery Babylon must be able to be seen from the sea in order to be consistent with this face value hermeneutic.

Jerusalem is only 34 miles from the Mediterranean coast and its smoke could easily be seen from the sea. An example from modern times is that people reported being able to see the smoke and debris from the 911 attacks on the World Trade Center from 70 or more miles away.

This is a problem for those who insist that the actual city of Babylon is Mystery Babylon, because it is 300 miles from the nearest sea (the Persian Gulf), and a whopping 500 miles from the Mediterranean. It would be impossible for this to be applied to the literal city of Babylon.

Rome, by the way is also not a port city, being about 15 miles from the coast. This does not conflict with the fact that sea merchants bring goods to it. We see sea merchants bringing goods to Jerusalem in several places, notably the 1 Kings 10 passages referring to King Solomon, which we have already covered in depth.

“…saying, ‘What city is like unto this great city!‘”

The sailors here say this phrase hearkens back to the prophecies regarding the city of Tyrus or Tyre. We will be talking about this in depth in the next verse.

(Rev 18:19) And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

This verse has some striking parallels to a passage in the Old Testament, which refers to the destruction of the merchant city of Tyrus. It says in Ezekiel 27:30-31:

“And shall cause their voice to be heard against thee, and shall cry bitterly, and shall cast up dust upon their heads, they shall wallow themselves in the ashes: And they shall make themselves utterly bald for thee, and gird them with sackcloth, and they shall weep for thee with bitterness of heart and bitter wailing.” – Eze 27:30-31

This is especially interesting in light of the other parallels between the language of the fall of Tyrus or Tyre and Mystery Babylon. We have covered some of these parallels in previous verses.

I have found it interesting that the Bible seems to go out of its way at times to refer to the destruction of Tyrus, and to the destruction of Babylon in the passages about Mystery Babylon.

For instance, in the passages about the destruction of literal Babylon in Jeremiah 51, there are phrases like:

“O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.” – Jer 51:13

This is a clear connection to Mystery Babylon, which is said to “sit on many waters” in Revelation 17. The angel later gives us an interpretation as to what the water represents:

“And he saith unto me, ‘The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.’” – Rev 17:15

As I was reflecting on the significance of these cities as they relate to one another, I remembered a very interesting fact. Satan is referred to as the “King of Tyre” and the “King of Babylon” in different places in Scripture. When we look at those Old Testament prophecies, we will see that they would start out talking about the kings of these places, but before it’s over it is clear that the scope of the prophecy is far too big to simply be referring to these earthly kings. See Isaiah 14:4-15 and Ezekiel 28:12-17.

(Rev 18:20) Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

“…thou heaven…”

We see a picture of those in heaven asking to be avenged back in Revelation 6.

“And when he had opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of them that were slain for the word of God, and for the testimony which they held: And they cried with a loud voice, saying, ‘How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth?’” – Rev 6:9-10

And in Revelation 19 we see a picture of their rejoicing:

“And after these things I heard a great voice of much people in heaven, saying, ‘Alleluia; Salvation, and glory, and honour, and power, unto the Lord our God: For true and righteous are his judgments: for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hand.’” – Rev 19:1-2

“…and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her…”

We will study this idea in depth when we look at the last verse in this chapter about the “prophets and apostles and all those slain on the earth.” We will see that Jesus puts the blame for all of them on the city of Jerusalem. One example is in Matthew 23:35 where He says:

That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” – Mat 23:35

Notice that He said all the righteous blood is on them. Abel was not a Jew, nor a prophet, nor was he killed in Jerusalem, but his blood was on Jerusalem’s head. We will look more at the context of this verse later on. We will also see that the OT prophets were indeed killed in Jerusalem according to Scripture.

(Rev 18:21) And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, ‘Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

This is the verse that is the best argument against Mystery Babylon being the last days city of Jerusalem. I will discuss it in detail in the last section which is dedicated to objections to this theory.

The question is, if Jerusalem is “found no more,” then how do we explain the fact that Jerusalem is very much a part of the millennial and eternal kingdoms?

Mystery Babylon - Holy portions of the land

The short answer to this question is that in the detailed layouts of the millennial kingdom given to us by Ezekiel in the last 9 chapters of his book (40-48), we are told, among other details, the physical location of the city of Jerusalem during that time. Those who attempt to map all of Ezekiel’s specifications come to various conclusions, but almost all of them agree that the Jerusalem of the future is not in the exact location of the present city. In addition, the millennial Jerusalem is nine times larger than the current city. Also, the temple is located outside the city, and it alone is bigger than the current city of Jerusalem. The millennial Jerusalem sits on a high plateau, and has two rivers flowing out of its east and west sides. Basically, it is a different place altogether.

Some proposals for the location have been Bethlehem and Shiloh. Cameron in his paper “Zechariah in relation to Ezekiel 40-48”1 makes a very compelling case that the new temple complex will be located at Shechem, a theory that I think is worth serious investigation. The point is that many put the Jerusalem of the future in a different physical location, not for any theological reasons, but because of careful study of Ezekiel’s millennial blueprints.

For a more detailed discussion see the section on objections.

We will take these next two verses as a set.

(Rev 18:22-23) And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

This is an exact match with several verses in the book of Jeremiah. All of them together are a prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem. One example is found in Jer 25:10:

“Moreover I will take from them the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones, and the light of the candle.” – Jer 25:10

Even more interesting to me is the reason that this particular judgment would come. About five chapters later the same prediction is made again, and it says:

“’For the children of Judah have done evil in my sight,’ saith the LORD: ‘They have set their abominations in the house which is called by my name, to pollute it…. Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate.’” – Jer 7:30, 34

Jeremiah makes it clear what he means by the phrase “house called by my name” many times. One notable example, which was later quoted by Jesus, is when it says:

“Is this house, which is called by my name, become a den of robbers in your eyes? Behold, even I have seen it, saith the LORD.” – Jer 7:11

Now consider this – we have here the meaning of the “Abomination which causes Desolation” spoken of by Daniel. We see that the land will be made desolate because they sat an abomination in the temple.

This is pretty amazing, especially when you consider that our verse in Revelation 18:22-23 is referring to the aftermath of a city that does the same thing: worships the antichrist in the temple as if he were God (the Abomination that causes Desolation).

You have the exact same punishment described here, and for the exact same crime!

(Rev 18:24) And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

“…the blood of prophets…”

The killing of Old Testament prophets is many times blamed on the city of Jerusalem. There are many sayings from Jesus on this point.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!” – Mat 23:37

Just before this statement Jesus explains it more in depth.

“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Because ye build the tombs of the prophets, and garnish the sepulchres of the righteous, And say, ‘If we had been in the days of our fathers, we would not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets.’ Wherefore ye be witnesses unto yourselves, that ye are the children of them which killed the prophets. Fill ye up then the measure of your fathers. Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” – Mat 23:29-35

Jeremiah tried to warn them not to kill him for this reason.

“But know ye for certain, that if ye put me to death, ye shall surely bring innocent blood upon yourselves, and upon this city, and upon the inhabitants thereof: for of a truth the LORD hath sent me unto you to speak all these words in your ears.” – Jer 26:15

In the book of Acts and in 1 Thessalonians, we see this same idea being taught:

Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers…” – Act 7:52

“Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men…” – 1Th 2:15

Jesus also tells a parable about this:

“And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise. But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, ‘They will reverence my son.’ But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, ‘This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.’” – Mat 21:35-38

We also are told that the last prophets sent to Jerusalem (the two witnesses) will be killed in its streets:

“And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.” – Rev 11:8

“…and of saints…”

There have been many persecutions in history of Christians, but the worst one of all time, one that is yet to come, will, according to Jesus, have its epicenter in the city of Jerusalem.

“When ye therefore shall see the abomination of desolation, spoken of by Daniel the prophet, stand in the holy place, (whoso readeth, let him understand:) Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take any thing out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days! But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day: For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be. And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect's sake those days shall be shortened.” – Mat 24:15-22

Apparently, when the antichrist declares himself to be God, it will coincide with the order to kill “saints.” Considering that order will first be given in Jerusalem, it will require those who wish to escape the initial wave to flee from the area very quickly.

The saints being killed by antichrist during this persecution is referenced again and again in Scripture. Here are just a few instances:

“I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them…” – Dan 7:21

“And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and power was given him over all kindreds, and tongues, and nations.” – Rev 13:7

“And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.” – Rev 12:17

“…all that were slain upon the earth.”

This is an interesting phrase. This tempts some to make everything in these two chapters allegorical, because, obviously, not everyone that was ever slain was slain in a particular city.

That is true. Nevertheless, Jesus says that Jerusalem is responsible for all the blood of the righteous.

“That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar.” – Mat 23:35

Again, notice the names he gives – Able the son of Adam, the first person ever slain in history! This is clearly used to emphasize that indeed He means ALL the righteous blood would be put on Jerusalem’s hands.

An interesting section of the law in Deuteronomy describes how Israel should absolve itself from innocent blood if they see it happen. After a lengthy discussion about it, it concludes this way:

“And they shall answer and say, ‘Our hands have not shed this blood, neither have our eyes seen it. Be merciful, O LORD, unto thy people Israel, whom thou hast redeemed, and lay not innocent blood unto thy people of Israel's charge.’ And the blood shall be forgiven them. So shalt thou put away the guilt of innocent blood from among you, when thou shalt do that which is right in the sight of the LORD.” – Deu 21:7-9

This practice that would have absolved them of innocent blood was obviously not kept. Another interesting section is when it describes why God destroyed Jerusalem in 2 Kings.

“And the LORD sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the LORD, which he spake by his servants the prophets. Surely at the commandment of the LORD came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did; And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the LORD would not pardon.” – 2Ki 24:2-4

This concludes the verse-by-verse portion of this book. I want to take this time to say that I assume that not everything I said here is correct. I am sure there are mistakes and false assumptions I have made along the way. This is a complicated study, and I’m sure my views will change slightly as people critique this. Feel free to contact me at my website