Revelation 18:20-23

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Rev 18:20 Rejoice over her, [ thou] heaven, and [ ye] holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
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.
Rev 18:22 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;
Rev 18:23 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.

Introduction

Here in this 18th chapter of Revelation is the temptation which no one but our Lord has ever resisted. We have all preferred “the kingdoms of this world… and the glory of them” to the promise of being given the opportunity to be in the kingdom of God, and the being hated of all men and the sure promise of being persecuted for living Godly lives in Christ, which come with being placed into that kingdom.

Luk 4:5 And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.
Luk 4:6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
Luk 4:7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
Mat 10:22 And ye shall be hated of all men for my name’s sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.
2Ti 3:12 Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

The living out of the verses of our study today are what we experience when we, with our Lord, are able to say the following words to all that Babylon within us has to offer. When the day finally comes that we see that man of sin standing in the holy place, which is just another way of describing our complete servitude to Babylon the Great the Mother of harlots and of abominations of the world within us all, then we too, will tell that great red dragon which gives our beast His throne and great authority over our lives…

Luk 4:8 And Jesus answered and said unto him, Get thee behind me, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.

The destruction of the man of sin from out of the temple of God is the casting out of Satan from our heavens, because “the coming of the man of sin is after the working of Satan”.

2Th 2:3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for [ that day shall not come], except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
2Th 2:5 Remember ye not, that, when I was yet with you, I told you these things?
2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth [ will let], until he be taken out of the way.
2Th 2:8 And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:
2Th 2:9 [ Even him], whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
2Th 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.

“That man of sin” is the worst enemy any of us will ever face. He is not some outward heretic or outward persecutor. He is in “the temple of God which temple ye are“.

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and [ that] the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
1Co 3:17 If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

So “that man of sin”, whose throne is given to him by Satan himself, is that person we all see in the mirror every morning, and it is between the temples of that man where all of these wars in the heavens are taking place and are being fought. Our natural inclination to avoid being persecuted and hated of all men is one of the greatest weapons the Adversary has in his spiritual arsenal, to keep the beast over whom he has been granted dominion as the ruler upon the throne of our hearts.

Luk 4:6 And the devil said unto him, All this power will I give thee, and the glory of them: for that is delivered unto me; and to whomsoever I will I give it.
Luk 4:7 If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine.
Rev 13:2 And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as [ the feet] of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat [ Greek – thronos, throne], and great authority.

We all by the nature “delivered unto” us, just naturally prefer the temporary “pleasures of sin for a season” over the unseen, permanent spiritual blessings which are all in Christ. It is this natural inclination which makes all that Babylon has to offer so very attractive to us all, as it was to the natural flesh of our Lord Himself. His own temptation in the wilderness was so strong that we are told “angels came and ministered unto Him”.

Mat 4:8 Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them;
Mat 4:9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.
Mat 4:10 Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve.
Mat 4:11 Then the devil leaveth him, and, behold, angels came and ministered unto him.

The only other time we are told that an angel came to strengthen our Lord, though they were no doubt there all along, is at the time of His impending crucifixion.

Luk 22:41 And he was withdrawn from them about a stone’s cast, and kneeled down, and prayed,
Luk 22:42 Saying, Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.
Luk 22:43 And there appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him.

So our Lord’s temptation to succumb to the temporary pleasures of Babylon was very real. We too, require the ministration and strengthening by “His angels” to see us through these same periods of our own lives.

Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.
Mal 3:17 And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.
Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

Angels can be, and sometimes are, spirit beings. But they are also those who “speak often one to another” and encourage one another.

Eph 4:15 But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:
Eph 4:16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.

Heb 1:7 And of the angels he saith, Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire.

In these next two verses we are told plainly that God’s angels are also our fellow servants and our brothers in Christ “who keep the sayings of this book”.

Rev 19:10 And I fell at his feet to worship him [ the angel]. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
Rev 22:8 And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things.
Rev 22:9 Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship God.

So we are warned:

Heb 13:2 Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

We all live out these verses. We all attempt to “worship the angels sent to show us these things”. We must be careful never to place God’s messengers above our Lord, and yet we need to understand that without the messengers of the Lord, we will not be strengthened to endure to the end. Yes, the angels of Mat 4:11 and Luk 22:43 were spirit beings, but our “fellowservants, of our brothers, who keep the sayings of this book” speak the same spiritual words spoken by the angels which comforted and strengthened our Lord. It is always the same spiritual words which strengthen and heal us when we are in need.

Psa 107:20 He sent his word, and healed them, and delivered them from their destructions.
Psa 107:21 Oh that men would praise the LORD for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men!

With this in mind, let’s look at the good news of our deliverance out from under the deep darkness we once considered to be “angels of light”, which are the sorceries of Babylon.

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

Why is heaven told to rejoice? Here is why heaven is told to rejoice at the fall of Babylon.

Eph 2:5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
Eph 2:6 And hath raised [ us] up together, and made us sit together in heavenly [ places] in Christ Jesus:

If we are truly “in Christ” and He is “in us”, then we are “seated with Him in the heavens” [ Greek, epouranios – heavens], which “heavens have been cleansed by better sacrifices than the blood of bulls and goats”.

Heb 9:19 For when Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book, and all the people,
Heb 9:20 Saying, This [ is] the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you.
Heb 9:21 Moreover he sprinkled with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry.
Heb 9:22 And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.
Heb 9:23 It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves [ you and me, “in the heavens in Christ”] with better sacrifices than these.
Heb 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself [ into your heart and mine], now to appear in the presence of God for us:

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.

What is this stone? What is “the sea” into which it is cast?

Mat 21:42 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
Mat 21:43 Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
Mat 21:44 And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
Mat 21:45 And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

It is only a millstone which grinds us to powder, and only after we are first broken by that same Stone, is the self righteous, Pharisaical spirit of Babylon within us “ground to powder” by the words of our Lord.
We have already seen that “the sea” is our flesh with all of its natural beastly desires, which are 180 degrees opposed to the leading of the spirit of our Lord. “The sea” within us is dominated by the natural influences and naturally desirable “delicacies” offered to us by the Biblical symbols of Tyre and Babylon, as we saw in last week’s study. Here is “the sea” into which Christ, the rejected “millstone” is cast.

Rev 13:1 And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.
Rev 17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters [ the sea] which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

This beast, and all the peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues within us are “ground to powder” and are “destroyed by the brightness of the coming” of Christ, this rejected millstone, into our beast and into our “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” upon which Babylon within us sits and rules over us as a monstrous and unmerciful and demanding God.

2Th 2:4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Rev 18:22 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;
Rev 18:23 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.

Was “the voice of harpers and musicians and of pipers and trumpeters” ever heard in Babylon? Were craftsmen and builders ever found in Babylon? Had the millstone ever done its work in Babylon? Did the light of a candle ever shine in Babylon? Was the voice of the bridegroom and the bride ever heard in Babylon to begin with?
What do the scriptures teach us? What they teach us is that those in Babylon are “carnal babes in Christ” who consider the milk of God’s Word to be strong meat, and who consider strong meat to be impractical and deadly heresy. Babylon is not pagans or unbelievers, but “those… who believe on Christ” and “are yet carnal” and who cannot hear or understand Christ’s speech”, who do not believe it is possible to “know the Truth”, and who mistake “the voice of a stranger” for the voice of “the true shepherd of the sheep”. Babylon is the doctrines we have all believed which crucify Christ to this very day as He is proclaiming His gospel of His kingdom within those who are coming out of Babylon.

Joh 8:30 As he spake these words, many believed on him.
Joh 8:31 Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed;
Joh 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.
Joh 8:33 They answered him, We be Abraham’s seed, and were never in bondage to any man: how sayest thou, Ye shall be made free?
Joh 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin.
Joh 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: [ but] the Son abideth ever.
Joh 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.
Joh 8:37 I know that ye are Abraham’s seed; but ye seek to kill me, because my word hath no place in you.
Joh 8:38 I speak that which I have seen with my Father: and ye do that which ye have seen with your father.
Joh 8:39 They answered and said unto him, Abraham is our father. Jesus saith unto them, If ye were Abraham’s children, ye would do the works of Abraham.
Joh 8:40 But now ye seek to kill me, a man that hath told you the truth, which I have heard of God: this did not Abraham.
Joh 8:41 Ye do the deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of fornication; we have one Father, [ even] God.
Joh 8:42 Jesus said unto them, If God were your Father, ye would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me.
Joh 8:43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word.
Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Joh 8:44 and Rev 13:2 are saying the same thing. “You are of your father the devil” is the same as saying “the dragon gave him his power and his throne and great authority”. Both are telling us of the power of this harlot over our lives.
Once this becomes known to us we can then see that the sick, naked, miserable condition of the seven churches in Rev 2-3 and the “woman… in the wilderness, [ who] brought forth a manchild” of Rev 12 and this great harlot woman here in these 16Th,17th and 18th chapters of Revelation, are all symbols of one and the same “Babylon the Great the Mother of Harlots and of the Abominations of the World”.
Let’s go back to Rev 12 and see who it is who comes forth out of this great woman.

Rev 12:1 And there appeared a great wonder in heaven; a woman clothed with the sun, and the moon under her feet, and upon her head a crown of twelve stars:
Rev 12:2 And she being with child cried, travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered.
Rev 12:3 And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.
Rev 12:4 And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth: and the dragon stood before the woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child as soon as it was born.
Rev 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and [ to] his throne.
Rev 12:6 And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.
Rev 12:7 And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels,
Rev 12:8 And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.
Rev 12:9 And the great dragon was cast out, that old serpent, called the Devil, and Satan, which deceiveth the whole world: he was cast out into the earth, and his angels were cast out with him.
Rev 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.
Rev 12:11 And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.
Rev 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.
Rev 12:13 And when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the earth, he persecuted the woman which brought forth the man child.
Rev 12:14 And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.
Rev 12:15 And the serpent cast out of his mouth water as a flood after the woman, that he might cause her to be carried away of the flood.
Rev 12:16 And the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed up the flood which the dragon cast out of his mouth.
Rev 12:17 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.

This woman is the same woman of Rev 16,17 and 18. She is the harlot who we, as the bride of Christ, all become, by virtue of the fact that these words have all proceeded out of the mouth of God. This is all of us as the Israel we were when we first cried out to our Lord to deliver us from our merciless Egyptian taskmasters. At that time in our walk, the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night were a part of our lives. But we took all those blessings for granted and we committed fornication with the daughters of the people we were told never to marry. It was “in the wilderness” that Israel did this to their God, even after being delivered from Egypt, and it is in the wilderness that this woman flees after she has brought forth a manchild who is figured by Moses as a type of us as God’s manchild who rules over the Egypt which is still within us, with a rod of iron. Thousands die of a plague, thousands die of poison serpents, and the earth opens up and swallows others”, but this woman’s heart is unchanged, and she wants her Son to go up to God “lest she die”.

Exo 20:19 And they said unto Moses, Speak thou with us, and we will hear: but let not God speak with us, lest we die.

So the “manchild” who comes out of this woman is the Christ of Christ, who is promised to rule all nations with a rod of iron.

Rev 2:26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:
Rev 2:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.

“He that overcometh and keeps my works to the end” is the manchild of this 12th chapter of Revelation. Verse 12 says “Rejoice ye heavens”.

Rev 12:12 Therefore rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that dwell in them. Woe to the inhabiters of the earth and of the sea! for the devil is come down unto you, having great wrath, because he knoweth that he hath but a short time.

And what are we told to do in Rev 18, when Babylon within us falls?

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

“Ye holy apostles and prophets” are the heavens which rejoice over the fall of this harlot within us. This harlot is the woman of Rev 12 and the “wretched, and miserable, and poor, blind, and naked” churches of Rev 2-3. “The dream is one, and so too, ‘the vision is all one’.

Rev 3:17 Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked:

So the Jewish multitudes of Joh 8, who “believed on Christ”, yet “had no place within them for His Word” are just another Biblical symbol of the multitudes of Christianity to this very day, who believe on Christ, yet “have no place in them for His Word”. We have all been those Jewish believers, who had no room for Christ’s words, just as the church at Corinth exemplifies.

[ Cont’d January 30, 2010]

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