As I see it, Babylon is the power base of the Harlot (which is the false religious system). And Babylon as we said in the last blog is Rome.
The destruction of the harlot comes in two phases. In the first phase, described in Revelation 17:16-17, the beast and his installed ten kings hate the harlot, and so they will cut her off and make her desolate. We don’t know what exactly that means, but you can read it for yourself…
And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be fulfilled.
I take it that this desolation will happen at the midpoint of the Tribulation, which is at the point when God no longer restrains the beast to do evil (2 Thess. 2:6-7). Hence, he will at this point “take his seat in the temple of God” and declare that he is God (2 Thess. 2:3-4). Also at this point he gives his ten kings new authority (Rev. 17:12).
So with all this new satanic power that the beast and his ten kings have, they suddenly feel that they no longer need the harlot religion. As I see it, during the second half of the Tribulation the entire false religious system will no longer be connected in any way with the Antichrist. She will be made desolate and will remain that way until her complete destruction buy God. During that time of desolation, that is, during the second half of the Tribulation until the end, people are warned by a voice from heaven not to follow the harlot or take part in her sins. Here is that warning in Revelation 18:4-7.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, my people, that you may not participate in her sins and that you may not receive of her plagues; 5 for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. 6 “Pay her back even as she has paid, and give back to her double according to her deeds; in the cup which she has mixed, mix twice as much for her. 7 “To the degree that she glorified herself and lived sensuously, to the same degree give her torment and mourning; for she says in her heart, ‘I sit as a queen and I am not a widow, and will never see mourning.’
The second phase of the harlot’s destruction will be aimed at its power base, the city of Rome (referred to as Babylon). The time of its destruction will come right at the very end of the Tribulation, which is just before Jesus Christ comes in the clouds to judge the world. We will take a look at this destruction from Scripture, and we will also hear how evil onlookers react in contrast to how heaven and the holy ones react.
The destruction of the city. Here is Rome’s destruction described in the following verses (from Revelation 16, and from Revelation 18).
And Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath. 20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found. 21 And huge hailstones, about one hundred pounds each, came down from heaven upon men; and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail, because its plague was extremely severe. (Rev. 16:19b-21)
After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory. 2 And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! And she has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird. 3 “For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the passion of her immorality, and the kings of the earth have committed acts of immorality with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich by the wealth of her sensuality.”
8 “For this reason in one day her plagues will come, pestilence and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for the Lord God who judges her is strong.
17 for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’
21 And a strong angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus will Babylon, the great city, be thrown down with violence, and will not be found any longer. 22 “And the sound of harpists and musicians and flute-players and trumpeters will not be heard in you any longer; and no craftsman of any craft will be found in you any longer; and the sound of a mill will not be heard in you any longer; 23 and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery. 24 “And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain on the earth.” (Revelation 18:1-3, 8, 17a, 21-24)
There is no need to comment too much on the city’s destruction. I will just say that though it is the city of Rome that is destroyed, it represents all of the evils of the harlot. God destroys in one day by fire not only the city but all of the harlot system.
The reaction of the evil onlookers (Rev. 18:9-11, 14-16-19).
“And the kings of the earth, who committed acts of immorality and lived sensuously with her, will weep and lament over her when they see the smoke of her burning, 10 standing at a distance because of the fear of her torment, saying,’ Woe, woe, the great city, Babylon, the strong city! For in one hour your judgment has come.’ 11 “And the merchants of the earth weep and mourn over her, because no one buys their cargoes any more;
14 “And the fruit you long for has gone from you, and all things that were luxurious and splendid have passed away from you and men will no longer find them. 15 “The merchants of these things, who became rich from her, will stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment, weeping and mourning, 16 saying,’ Woe, woe, the great city, she who was clothed in fine linen and purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls; 17 for in one hour such great wealth has been laid waste!’ And every shipmaster and every passenger and sailor, and as many as make their living by the sea, stood at a distance, 18 and were crying out as they saw the smoke of her burning, saying,’ What city is like the great city?’ 19 “And they threw dust on their heads and were crying out, weeping and mourning, saying, ‘Woe, woe, the great city, in which all who had ships at sea became rich by her wealth, for in one hour she has been laid waste!’
Notice that these verses have to do with onlookers that are evil—those that “committed acts of immorality” with the harlot. They are sorry to see her end. They are devastated!
The reaction of heaven and the holy ones (Rev. 18:20; 19:1-4).
“Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you saints and apostles and prophets, because God has pronounced judgment for you against her.”
19 After these things I heard, as it were, a loud voice of a great multitude in heaven, saying,
“Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God; 2 because His judgments are true and righteous; for He has judged the great harlot who was corrupting the earth with her immorality, and He has avenged the blood of His bond-servants on her.” 3 And a second time they said, “Hallelujah! Her smoke rises up forever and ever.” 4 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who sits on the throne saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!”
I take it that in Revelation 18:20, the saints here could be believers that have survived the Tribulation. But some, and certainly those in Revelation 19:1-4, are believers that have died and gone to heaven. They are all rejoicing in God’s judgment on the evil harlot system.