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Exploring Revelation
“Revelation 18:17-20”
by Art Sadlier   
October 3rd, 2010

Revelation 18:17, "For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off"

This verse tells us that those at sea in ships stood by and watched the smoke of the burning of the capital city of the Antichrist as it goes up in smoke.

Revelation 18:18, "And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!"

This great city is the center of commerce, the place where the mark of the beast is authenticated for all trade. This capital city of Antichrist is the capital of the world wide kingdom of antichrist and the center of great prosperity, the greatest prosperity the world has ever known. These merchants and their national leaders have sold their souls to the devil for the riches and wealth he offers them. They have been drinking deeply of all of the things the Devil offers. We see a list of some of those in verses 12-13.

We have here a clue that this city, which is called Babylon, is not the Babylon in Iraq. Rome, and not the Babylon of Iraq, is a place where the merchant ships could stand by at sea, and view the smoke of the burning of the city.

"What city is like unto this great city!"  I think we can hardly comprehend the prosperity and power that Satan will give to his man, Antichrist. This will be Satan's ultimate attainment in his struggle to demonstrate his ability to rule over the world. We catch a glimpse of Satan's divinely granted power to rule the world in what is a contest to see if Satan can truly rule the world better than Christ. We see that in Luke 4:5-6, "And the devil, taking him up into an high mountain, shewed unto him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time.  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. If thou therefore wilt worship me, all shall be thine."

 Christ rejected that offer. What Christ refused from Satan, Antichrist and the people and rulers of the nations will accept. For three and a half years those that have taken the mark of the Beast have revelled in all that the devil has given them through the Beast. Now they are grieved and smitten at the loss of all they had sold their souls for!

Verse 19,  "And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! For in one hour is she made desolate."

Satan can give a momentary gratification, but it is only momentary at best!  Now these who have taken the mark of the beast for momentary gratification are now devastated. And this is only the down payment, they are about to begin to spend eternity in the lake of fire. Believer, how dare we envy the unbeliever! No matter how much they seem to be enjoying their momentary lot, think of their end!

David made that mistake for a time. He saw the prosperity of the wicked and envied them. In Psalm 73:16-17, he said, "When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end."

The issue is always, this life or the life to come!  In Hebrews 11, we have the record of the heroes of the faith who chose the life to come and disdained this life.

"For in one hour is she made desolate," In a moment of time Christ comes from heaven and destroys the kingdom of Antichrist. The city is burned with fire, the wealth and economy is utterly destroyed. The Beast and all those who have taken his mark are cast alive into the lake of fire!

Verse 20 says, "Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her."  What a moment that will be for all those who have suffered at the hands of the Beast. What a moment for the multiplied millions martyred by the Beast and his servants.

The cry of the martyrs in Revelation 6:10-11, is finally answered. "And they cried with a loud voice, saying, How long, O Lord, holy and true, dost thou not judge and avenge our blood on them that dwell on the earth? And white robes were given unto every one of them; and it was said unto them, that they should rest yet for a little season, until their fellowservants also and their brethren, that should be killed as they were, should be fulfilled."  That time has finally come! As we watch the seeming prosperity of the wicked remember, God's payday is not on Friday!

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