Introduction: Dr. David Jeremiah, in his new book, The Coming Economic Armageddon, warns that the world is moving toward a global economy and currency. At a recent meeting of the G8 nations, the Russian president called for the creation of a new “supranational currency” that would transcend national boundaries. At a subsequent meeting, he actually showed a sample coin of a future world currency. Our technology and the move toward a cashless and checkless society is trending this way. “Prophetic events cast their shadows before them,” writes Jeremiah. “As these technological innovations show, we are on the cutting edge of having all the technology that the antichrist and false prophet would need to wire this world together for their evil purposes. Right now it is well without the range of possibility for a centralized power to gain worldwide control of all banking and purchasing.”
The Bible teaches that the worldwide headquarters for the antichrist’s economic empire will be the rebuilt city of Babylon, which is fifty miles south of Baghdad. Dr. Charles H. Deyer says, “For nearly 2000 years, Babylon was the most important city in the world. It was the commercial and financial center for all of Mesopotamia, the center of a geographical ‘X’ that linked the Orient with the Mediterranean and Egypt with Persia.”
Dr. Jeremiah continues: “The first attempt to build a world order is recorded in the first book of the Bible. It occurred in Babylon with the construction of the renowned Tower of Babel. Now from the last book of the Bible, we are going to look at the final financial world order, which will also be located in Babylon…. The 18th chapter of Revelation gives us some very specific information about Babylon as the rebuilt commercial capital of the world during the Tribulation period.”
In the Bible, Babylon is synonymous with paganism, humanism, and rebellion. It’s the 2nd most frequently mentioned city in the Bible. It is referred to by name 295 times in 261 verses, from Genesis 10 to Revelation 18. In Revelation 16, we’re given the description of the seven bowls of wrath to be poured out on the earth during the Great Tribulation, and Revelation 16:17-20 talks about the great earthquake that will destroy the city of Babylon. The next two chapters amplify on this. In Revelation 17, we’re told about the fall of ecclesiastical Babylon, and in chapter 18, we’re told about the collapse of the city of Babylon, the center of world politics and commerce.
V. 1: After this (after the destruction of religious Babylon—the false church—as described in chapter 17; this false religious system is destroyed by the antichrist; but now his capital city will be destroyed by a judgmental earthquake), I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illumined by his splendor. This is one of the most description phrases in the Bible about the splendor of angels. The whole world was lit up with sun-like brilliance.
V. 2: The fall of Babylon refers to the political and commercial capital of the antichrist. Now the ruins of this city are the haunt of demons.
V. 3: Babylon deceived the world religiously, politically, and financially. She was the center of commerce and wealth before the earthquake struck.
V. 4: This verse is an advance warning for any tribulation saints (or perhaps this is a reference to any Jews) living in Babylon to get out of the city immediately, just as Lot escaped Sodom.
V. 5: Here we are told why Babylon was destroyed. Her sins had piled up to heaven and God saw and remembered her crimes.
V. 6: Her destruction was a judgment from God.
V. 7: She had thought herself unsinkable, incapable of being conquered.
V. 8: In one day Babylon will be sunk. Plagues, death, mourning, famine, and fire—all signs of earthquake devastation. Now in the next verses, we’re going to told of three different groups who will be bewildered by the fall of this city.
V. 9-10: First, the world’s political leaders will weep and mourn and be terrified. The city was destroyed in one hour, and the kings of the earth are staggered.
V. 11-17: Second, the world’s financial leaders, the heads of great corporations, the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn. The writer lists 28 items that were famous in Babylonian commercial circles.
V. 17-19: Third, the world’s shippers and sea captains will weep and mourn. They’ll see the smoke rising from this great city.
V. 20: On the other hand, the apostles and saints and prophets will rejoice that the capital city of antichrist has been destroyed.
V. 21: Now a mighty angel uses an object lesson to describe the fall of Babylon—a millstone being thrown into the sea (perhaps inspired by Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:6).
V. 22-24: Now the angel sings or quotes a dirge for the collapsed empire of Babylon. No longer will music be heard, or lamps shine, or weddings be celebrated, or commerce carried on. In the next chapter, we’ll see the opposite reaction as heaven bursts into praise as Christ prepares to come again.