Revelation 18

John saw another angel (v.1) bringing an important message that Babylon the great (the whore) is fallen (v.2). Compare this description with Jeremiah 50:39; Isaiah 21:9; 14:23 and 13:21. There is a very strong comparison between the fall of the old Mesopotamian Babylon city and spiritual Babylon the great, the city of Rome. The fall of Babylon has been already declared (Revelation 16:19 and 17:16) but now it is completed. Verse 2 also signifies that the Papacy, Vatican city (and the Roman Catholic Church) has become the habitation of every foul spirit. The false church has made alliances with the nations of the world for commerce and political power, which is signifies by their fornication with the false church (v.3).

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Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury kisses popes ring indicating recognition and subservience

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So-called protestant Billy Graham accepts and acknowledges the Papacy. He worked with the RCC in many of his crusades.

Then the Apostle John hears a voice (v.4) calling God’s people to “come out of her.” “Her” is the Romish Church. Be not a partaker of her sins! As God once had a captive people in the old Mesopotamian Babylon, so He also has people in spiritual Babylon. From the time of the Reformation God has been calling His people to come out of her. It cannot be doubted that He has many true and earnest believers inside the Roman Church or at least those seeking the truth of the true living God. The invitation is given to the people of God yet in captivity, lest by remaining they should be involved in her destruction.

They should not to be involved in the ecumenical movement promoted by the Vatican, to so-called ‘unite’ all under one world religion. Their plan for unity between Catholics, Orthodox, Anglicans and protestants is, “The only true road to unity was for all to admit their errors and return to Rome.”  False prophets, like Billy Graham, Rick Warren and others in the so-called modern evangelical churches promote this dangerous idea of joining with the Roman Catholics as if they are just another Christian denomination. They are in opposition to true faith. Thus I believe these protestant and evangelical pastors are collectively described in the “false prophet” of this revelation.

Pope Benedict XVI exchanges gifts with members of the Eastern Orthodox Church during a meeting at the Vatican January 28, 2011. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano (VATICAN - Tags: RELIGION) THIS IMAGE HAS BEEN SUPPLIED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS

Pope Benedict XVI exchanges gifts with members of the Eastern Orthodox Church during a meeting at the Vatican January 28, 2011. REUTERS/Osservatore Romano

God does not forget the sins of the Papacy (v.5) and will reward her double in the cup of her iniquity (v.6). Read Jeremiah 51:6-9. Just as the old Babylon was a “golden cup in the Lord’s hand,” which made all the earth drunken with her wine (intoxicated with her) Babylon the great has the cup of her sins filled double its capacity (v.6).

Judgment came in part, when Napoleon crushed the power of the Church of Rome in 1870, but she has recovered a lot since then. God will ultimately crush her for all her sins living in wealth like a queen (v.7). The Vatican is the wealthiest institution on earth, accumulated by all sorts of nefarious means. The false church hardly teaches anything like Christ taught.

Ultimately, the Papacy will be destroyed (v.8). God being faithful and just will judge her. The leaders and nations of the world who traded with her will lament at her destruction (v.9) when they see the judgment of “Babylon that mighty” Vatican city (v.10). Her destruction will come and the merchants of the world will mourn (v.11). They traded with her all manner of precious goods (v.12).

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Vatican is loaded with gold, vessels of gold and precious stones. The Roman Catholic Church has said for millennia that what is given to the Church is given to God and thus it can never be given back. Hence the Roman Catholic Church has accumulated significant wealth over the ages.

This is nothing like the Church that Jesus Christ built.

The merchandise of the Vatican also includes “slaves and the souls of men” (v.13). The use of “slaves” may refer to the traffic in slaves, a common practice until modern times and sanctioned by the Papacy. Today the “slaves” may be found in those who give their lives in celibacy and servitude without remuneration to serve the Papacy. The “souls of men” they trade in are all those lost to Christ by believing that the false Christ and the false church can save them. Over the last 1500 years the Church of Rome has accumulated the blood of hundreds of millions, even billions, who are lost to perdition. The expression “souls of men” may include a spiritual traffic. What is the whole system of masses for the dead, paid for out of the money drawn from mourning relatives, but traffic in the souls of men?

Those merchants — governments and corporations — that do trade with her now, who lust after her goods (v.14), will soon stand afar off, moun and lament (v.15-17) and see her burning (v.18) under the judgments of God, which are coming in the not-too-distant future.  The city will burn under God’s wrath.

That is the Vatican. On the origin of the word Vatican two theories are presented.

  1. One author argues that the word “Vatican” means “tellers of the future” derived from its location. The word’s meaning is derived from the Latin “vates,” which means “tellers of the future” or “diviner.” This name was the name given to a hillside on the west bank of the Tiber River in Rome where the fortune tellers once assembled.  And the word “anus” in Latin also means “old woman”, thus it follows that the word “Vaticanus” means “Old woman of prophecy.”
  2.  Another author argues that the word “Vatican” literally means “divining serpent,” and is derived from “vatis” meaning “diviner” and “can” meaning “serpent.” Vatican City and St. Peter’s Basilica were built on the ancient pagan site called in Latin “vaticanus mons” or “vaticanus collis,” which means hill or mountain of prophecy. Since it is called a city it could also be called “city of prophecy”.

Verses 17 and 18 describe the destruction of the Papacy and Vatican city that is yet to come. Napoleon’s conquest in 1870 was only a partial defeat, but now she has gained power again, and the Lord, before His return, will judge the great whore, the false bride, the false city of God. In one hour will her destruction come (v.19). (For timing of events here see Revelation chapters 19 and 20.)

God will avenge all those who were tortured and persecuted under her rule (v.20,21). Verse 21 has the expression “with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all”. Quite clearly the Vatican still exists at this moment in time (2016) and hence her destruction is in our future still.

See Jeremiah 51:61-64. Casting the milestone into the sea (v.21) is a symbolical act of the overthrow of that great city spiritual Babylon. It implies her utter destruction. In reference to old Babylon Jeremiah 51 the stone is cast into the Euphrates. But here it is cast into the sea, because a different Babylon is designated. This is the final destruction of the great city under God’s judgment.

No commerce will be in her and no music shall be heard because of the destruction (v.22). No more “the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride” is heard could mean no longer these normal activities are occurring or that the Church no longer performs those ceremonies, or that the Church no longer wins new converts. The idea of no further intercouse with merchants fits this (v.23). By “your sorceries were all the nations deceived.” This accounts for the fact that all nations poured their treasures into her lap.

“And in her was found the blood of the prophets” (v.24) It is because she has slain the true prophets and true saints (believers) of the Most High that these judgments come upon her. As Jerusalem in the time of Christ filled up the measure of the sins of Israel (see Matthew 23:29, 35, 36; Luke 11:51 and 13:33), so the spiritual Babylon, the great persecutor, fills up the measure of the sins of the beast and false prophet, and is required to account for the blood of slaughtered prophets and saints of all ages.

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About John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.
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