The Kings and Merchants weep over Babylon
The judgment of the harlot in this Chapter is very similar to the description given in Ezekiel 16. This judgment does not stop with the Reformation. The “ships” in verses 17-19 are the ships described in the second trumpet of Revelation 8:9; they are the false churches of today; the merchants who “make their living by the sea” (Rev 18:17), those who profit by a false gospel.
the earth was illumined with his glory – see Isaiah 6:3, and “the Moon” in Rev 12:1; this Angel is the Spirit of Christ illumined in glory, the triumphant Lamb who was victorious in Rev 17:14.
fallen, fallen is Babylon the Great – see also Rev 14:8, this is a continual cry of the Angels, God’s messengers.
a dwelling place of demons – these demons began with Montanism, and Tertullian in 193 AD. These were the demons who were cast down with Satan, to “fling truth to the ground” in Daniel 8:12.
a prison of every unclean spirit – Jesus warned us that when the Spirit of truth departs, seven wicked spirits would come in, see Luke 11:26.
every unclean and hated bird – Daniel 4:12, and Matthew 13:32, “the birds of the air come and rest” in branches of the corrupted kingdom of heaven.
all the nations have drunk the wine of her immorality – taking the cup of the Lord without discernment (1 Cor 11:27), this becomes the “wine of God’s wrath,” as in Rev 14:10.
the merchants rich – see verse 11.
Come out from her My people – this was understood in the Reformation as: “come out of the Catholic Church.” But we must remember Babylon is not simply the Catholic Church, it is the Great City, comprised of all those who follow the teachings of the beast.
her sins have piled up as high as heaven – God cannot see any goodness at all in her.
Mix twice as much for her – the wine of her immorality will become the wine of God’s wrath for those who continue to uphold the teachings of the beast.
torment and mourning – this is the torment that is described in Rev 14:9-12, and Rev 16:2-10, and of course the torment of the final judgment day.
I sit as a queen and I am not a widow – in great vain, the great harlot tries to assert that she is still the bride of Christ, and that she still has a husband (Christ).
in one day – meaning “one thousand years,” 1467 to 2470, see 2 Peter 3:8, etc.
her plagues will come – described in Rev 16:2-10.
and she will be burned up with fire – the 1,000 years, as “one day” takes us to the judgment day, as indicated by the expression “Lord God,” for God becomes our Lord again on that Day, Rev 11:15.
the kings will weep and lament – these include the 10 kings in Rev 17:12, but the meaning of “kings” goes beyond the Reformation, for we shall also see “kings” in Rev 19:18.
standing at a distance – as indicated in Rev 17:16, they will not want anything more to do with the harlot, because they can see that God has judged her. Most of the kings, the European peoples, became a part of Protestant denominations after the Reformation.
in one hour – as discussed at Rev 17:12, this is the end of the “500 year rule” of the ten kings with the beast.
the merchants of the earth weep… – there are many kinds of merchants who became rich by the false religion of Babylon; these are the merchants of salvation (1 Cor 2:17). Before the Reformation, the Church actually sold the forgiveness of sins, as “indulgences.”
because no one buys their cargo anymore – John Lothrop Motley, in his Book, “the rise of the Dutch republic” described the Reformation scene in the Netherlands:
“…pictures, statues, organs, ornaments, chalices of silver and gold, reliquaries, chasubles, copes, ciboria, crosses, chandeliers, lamps, censers, all of richest material glittering with pearls, rubies and other precious stones, were scattered in heaps of ruin upon the ground.”
and slaves and human lives – human lives being those taken by the preachers of false gospels. The Greek reads, καὶ σωμάτων, καὶ ψυχὰς ἀνθρώπων, which is more literally, “bodies and souls of men,” although later Greek uses σωμάτων to describe slaves.
the fruit you long for – the fruit they longed for was not the fruit of the Spirit, but only material gain.
the merchants…stand at a distance because of fear of torment – the torment refers to the work of Angels against Mystery Babylon; the Seven Trumpets and Bowls of wrath described in Rev 8 and 16.
weeping and mourning – disappointed that they can no longer profit from the false gospel.
in one hour laid to waste – see verse 10.
as many as make their money by the sea – the sea being salvation throughout Revelation, especially in Rev 8:8; 15:2. These are those who made money by a false gospel.
ships at sea became rich by her wealth – these are also the false churches “false arks of salvation” described in Rev 8:9.
rejoice over her – the message of victory over the beast.
you will not be found any longer – this brings us to the final cleansing.
the light and lamp will not shine in you anymore – as in Rev 16:10, the kingdom of the beast will be completely darkened.
the voice of the bride and bridegroom will not be heard in you anymore – the progressive cleansing of the kingdom of heaven ends when the “wheat and chaff” are completely separated, as we described in Chapter 8.