“I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. He called out with a mighty voice,
‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit…
For all nations have drunk
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.’
I heard another voice… saying,
‘Come out of her, my people,
lest you take part in her sins,..
As she glorified herself and lived in luxury,
so give her a like measure of torment and mourning,
since in her heart she says,
“I sit as a queen…”
She will be burned up with fire;
for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.’
The kings of the earth, who committed sexual immorality and lived in luxury with her, will weep and wail over her when they see the smoke of her burning… They will… say,
‘In a single hour your judgment has come.’
And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn for her, since no one buys their cargo anymore,..
‘The fruit for which your soul longed
has gone from you,
and all your delicacies and your splendors
are lost to you,
never to be found again!..
For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.’
And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea,.. cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,
‘What city was like the great city?’
And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned,..
‘In a single hour she has been laid waste.
Rejoice over her, O heaven,
and you saints and apostles and prophets,
for God has given judgment for you against her!'” Revelation 18:1-4,7-11,14,17-20
God’s angel, bright with glory, shouts with mighty voice a message of woe to the wicked Babylon. His pronouncement precipitates anguished weeping, wailing over judgment on all that had taken too high a place, too much devotion in the human heart. Profound is the horror at the quick deftness of her curse, the burning, waste, and destruction of her prurient luxuries and all attending devastation to those then intwined, now ruined.
Yet, in the wail and doom of judgment, God exhibits mercy. Until the last, He beckons us come out of sin unto Him. Have we responded to this grace and left the worthlessness of worldly pursuits, trinkets, temporal pleasures? Every delicacy and splendor foreign to Christ will come to naught.
He also calls to rejoice in His perfect, alien work of judgment. He is loving, yet as holy God, full judgment is His necessary response to sin, with which He cannot coexist. This is for us, who will live with Him in glory forever. (Isaiah 28:21,29; Habakkuk 1:13a; Revelation 21:23-27)
Has my heart become a dwelling place for anything set against my Lord? Do I care enough to wail over those who die in sin, not because of my loss, but over theirs? (John 8:24)
Holy Lord, may I proclaim the gruesomeness of judgment as a window to Your grace.