The hail and the fire has fallen and crushed the armies that were led by hooks in the jaw to the valley of Megiddo. The armies of Gog have failed and the victory of Christ is now certain. All of the vials of wrath have now been poured out. The fullness of the wrath of God has fallen upon the earth. The sign of the Son of Man coming in the clouds is clearly seen. The aftermath of the defeat of the armies of rebellion is also clearly seen. John now, before focusing on the coming of Christ, is led by one of the seven angels that poured out the seven last plagues (the vials full of the wrath of God) to see the reality of the fall of Babylon. Babylon, as we already discussed is the kingdom of the beast. The next two chapters deal with the fall of Babylon. Babylon, as we have already seen, is indicative of the kingdom and power of the times of the Gentiles. From the head of gold to the feet of iron and clay the kingdoms and times of the Gentiles are seen (Dan. 2). We also already spoke of the two-fold fall of Babylon. It is declared that “Babylon… is fallen, is fallen…” (Isa. 21:9, Rev. 14:8, 18:2). There is therefore a sense in which Babylon is twice overthrown here and thus two chapters are dedicated to describing the fall. I offer this thesis: there is a spiritual and relational fall of Babylon and then there is a material (economic and political) fall of Babylon. The spiritual aspect of the fall is described first for it is the most immediate and real and that is the meat of the 17th chapter; then the material fall is described in the 18th chapter. Ultimately the 17th and 18th chapters describe the fall of the kingdom of Antichrist and Lucifer (the dragon) that gave him power. The fall of Lucifer and the antichrist and all their demonic aspirations come to the same end; their fall. Isaiah tells a parable about the king of Babylon (obviously indicating the Antichrist) and describes the simultaneous fall of both the King of Babylon and Lucifer himself. “That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased! The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers. He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth. The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us. Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us? Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms; That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners” (Isa. 14:4-17)? This is the fall of Babylon and this is the meat of the following chapters.
I consider the 17th and 18th chapters to not be parenthetical but a natural prophetic pause between the defeat of the Gentile armies and the actual return of Christ. Daniel described the end of the Gentiles to occur at 1290 days after the mid-point of the 70th week and the blessing to fall upon those that make it to the 1335 day point (Dan. 12:11, 12). I believe that these two chapters are in that 45 day period after Babylon falls in which the nations shall weep over her fall and weep over the sign of the coming of the Son of Man (Matt. 24:30). Thus we see now the fall of Babylon. This first fall is spiritual and it is relational. The kingdom of antichrist is severed from the king. The great whore is first described and then the relationship between the great whore and the antichrist is described. We see the fall of Babylon in the light of the relationship between Babylon (the whore) and the beast.