The Fall of Babylon
Open Your Bible
Revelation 18:1-24, Isaiah 52:11, Jeremiah 51:47-50
BY Erin Davis
Theologians with far more degrees on their walls and books on their shelves than I have can continue to debate who Babylon represents in Revelation 18. I simply don’t have the brain cells to compete. But because of the wisdom granted by the Holy Spirit, I do have what it takes to read this passage and consider this question: Where is the redemptive hand of God in these verses?
The fall of Babylon, like so much of John’s revelation, is mysterious, but when we take a closer look, we see that the gospel thread is clearly present. God’s redemptive work, which stitches all of His Word together, is beautifully and unmistakably revealed throughout this book.
Consider the angel’s loud declaration, “It has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen!” (Revelation 18:2). And then compare that declaration to Christ’s quiet resolve at the crucifixion: “When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit” (John 19:30).
Because of what He accomplished on the cross, all evil will crumble, every Babylon will fall, all “injustice [will shut] its mouth” (Psalm 107:42). Anything that opposes God will fall. Babylon’s sins were piled up to heaven—so were mine, so were yours—“and God remembered her crimes” (Revelation 18:5). As well He should have. But our transgressions? Our sins? He has forgotten them.
“For I will forgive their wrongdoing,
and I will never again remember their sins” (Hebrews 8:12).
I have to remind myself often that God won’t dredge my sin back up. Not now. Not ever. Babylon’s ending is not my own. My sins have been thrown into the depths of the sea. I will receive undeserved grace, but Babylon will receive deserved destruction, paid according to her works of evil, and therefore, earning a double portion of wrath.
But “He has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” (2 Timothy 1:9). We are spared because of Christ’s work—not punished according to our own.
God certainly could have wiped me out forever. Instead, He has rebuilt my life on the precious cornerstone of His grace. And so as Christ-followers, we are to “rejoice… because God has pronounced on [Babylon] the judgment she passed” on us (Revelation 18:20).
Wicked Babylon is a picture of the enemy’s schemes. Seemingly secure in his triumph, fortified by the forces of darkness, for a fleeting moment he, too, appeared untouchable. And yet, our enemy has fallen. Call it out in a mighty voice! In a single hour he became a defeated foe (v.17). In a moment, with the flash of an angel, the stone rolled away, and evil crumbled. God’s plans for our redemption could not be stopped. Not then. Not now. Not ever.
The world may weep and mourn when evil crumbles, but heaven will always rejoice. Ours is a God who triumphs over evil. He redeems us for His glory.