Some argue that Babylon the Great will face only one judgment during the end times. Others argue that Babylon will face at least two judgments. The common area of agreement between these different viewpoints is that Babylon the Great will be utterly destroyed after the pouring of the seventh vial judgment:
“(17) And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. (18) And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. (19) And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.” (Revelation 16:17-19)
After examining many chapters, passages, and verses that concern the destruction of Babylon the Great, I believe that Babylon the Great will face only one judgment after the pouring of the seventh vial judgment. I will explain why I believe this in this article.
The Alliance of the Antichrist and the Ten Kings
One major reason why I believe Babylon the Great will face only one judgment is the nature of the alliance between the Antichrist (the beast) and the ten kings that will work with him. Revelation 17:16-17 tells us that the ten kings will agree to surrender their power to the beast “until the words of God shall be fulfilled”. This applies to the fulfillment of the ten king’s move to desolate Babylon the Great and destroy Babylon the Great with fire:
“(16) And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire. (17) For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” (Revelation 17:16-17)
The demise of Babylon the Great will fulfill God’s words, and this implies that the ten kings may no longer be willing to lend their power to the beast. The alliance between the Antichrist and the ten kings may fracture at that time. Consequently, a move to attack Babylon the Great could result in Antichrist’s control over the earth to cease since he may no longer have the support of the ten kings who surrender their power to him. However, Revelation 13:5 and Daniel 7:25 suggest that the Antichrist’s empire will dominate the world for forty-two months; basically until the end of the seventieth week of Daniel (the period commonly called the “tribulation”). Therefore, Babylon the Great cannot be attacked until the end of the seventieth week of Daniel at the earliest since the Antichrist needs his alliance to remain intact to maintain control of Earth during the forty-two months his global empire is appointed.
Babylon & the Seventh Vial Judgment
Another major reason why I believe there is only one judgment of Babylon the Great is that I believe that Jeremiah 50 and Jeremiah 51 describe only one attack on Babylon after the pouring of the seventh vial judgment:
- Jeremiah 50 and Jeremiah 51, including verse 51:9, can be linked together through common details.
- The attack on Babylon described in Jeremiah 51 can be linked to Revelation 18 through a common detail shared by Revelation 18:5 and Jeremiah 51:9: the sins of Babylon reach unto heaven.
- Revelation 18:4-5 (verse 4 relates to verse 5 with the word “for” [gar]) can be linked to the seventh vial judgment because verse 5 shares a common detail with Revelation 16:19 about how God will remember Babylon the Great’s iniquities.
Figure 1 displays the relationship between the verses I’ve just referred to.
Figure 1: Babylon Faces Only One Attack
- Reached to Heaven
- Remembrance before God
- Leave Babylon
- Repay Babylon
Revelation 16:17-19: (17) And the seventh angel poured out his vial into the air; and there came a great voice out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, It is done. (18) And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. (19) And the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell: and great Babylon came in remembrance before God, to give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath.
Revelation 18:4-6: (4) And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (5) For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities. (6) Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.
Jeremiah 50:15-16: (15) Shout against her round about: she hath given her hand: her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down: for it is the vengeance of the LORD: take vengeance upon her; as she hath done, do unto her. (16) Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the oppressing sword they shall turn every one to his people, and they shall flee every one to his own land.
Jeremiah 51:9 We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.
Thus, the attack on Babylon described in Jeremiah 50 and Jeremiah 51 can be linked to the demise of Babylon after the pouring of the seventh vial judgment through the common details shown in Figure 1. Other details point to only one attack on Babylon around the pouring of the seventh vial judgment. I will discuss these details next.
People Flee Just Before God’s Vengeance
One of the most striking aspects of the attack on Babylon is the call for God’s people to flee from Babylon. The Book of Jeremiah, the Book of Isaiah, the Book of Zechariah, and the Book of Revelation describe the evacuation of people from Babylon.1
“Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.” (Jeremiah 51:6)
“Go ye forth of Babylon, flee ye from the Chaldeans, with a voice of singing declare ye, tell this, utter it even to the end of the earth; say ye, The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob.” (Isaiah 48:20)
“(6) Ho, ho, come forth, and flee from the land of the north, saith the LORD: for I have spread you abroad as the four winds of the heaven, saith the LORD. (7) Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. (8) For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.” (Zechariah 2:6-8)
“And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” (Revelation 18.4)
The reason God’s people are told to flee from Babylon is that Babylon’s destruction is imminent. The Book of Isaiah and the Book of Jeremiah describe the destruction of Babylon as an act of God’s vengeance or fierce anger.2
“(2) Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. (3) Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.” (Isaiah 47:2-3)
“(5) For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel. (6) Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.” (Jeremiah 51:5-6)
“My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the LORD.” (Jeremiah 51:45)
This suggests that the destruction of Babylon is linked to the pouring of the seventh vial judgment since the seventh vial judgment will bring God’s wrath on Babylon.
Attackers Deliver God’s Wrath to Babylon the Great
The wrath of God will be delivered to Babylon the Great by a coalition of forces that will invade her under the direction of the ten kings. This coalition, who presumably will be set aside to bring the destruction of Babylon, will depopulate and devastate Babylon to the point that Babylon is uninhabited and desolate like Sodom and Gomorrah. The verses in Figure 2 describe how the attackers will overwhelm Babylon the Great.3
Figure 2: Attackers Deliver God’s Wrath to Babylon
- Sodom & Gomorrah
- The Attackers
Jeremiah 50:9-10, 13-14: (9) For, lo, I will raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country: and they shall set themselves in array against her; from thence she shall be taken: their arrows shall be as of a mighty expert man; none shall return in vain. (10) And Chaldea shall be a spoil: all that spoil her shall be satisfied, saith the LORD. […] (13) Because of the wrath of the LORD it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly desolate: every one that goeth by Babylon shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues. (14) Put yourselves in array against Babylon round about: all ye that bend the bow, shoot at her, spare no arrows: for she hath sinned against the LORD.
Isaiah 13:17-22: (17) Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. (18) Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children. (19) And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. (20) It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there. (21) But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. (22) And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.
Jeremiah 50:40-43: (40) As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein. (41) Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. (42) They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon. (43) The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.
The nations that will invade Babylon the Great will also plunder her according to the following verses:4
“(26) Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left. (27) Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! For their day is come, the time of their visitation.” (Jeremiah 50:26-27)
“(6) Shall not all these take up a parable against him, and a taunting proverb against him, and say, Woe to him that increaseth that which is not his! how long? and to him that ladeth himself with thick clay! (7) Shall they not rise up suddenly that shall bite thee, and awake that shall vex thee, and thou shalt be for booties unto them? (8) Because thou hast spoiled many nations, all the remnant of the people shall spoil thee; because of men’s blood, and for the violence of the land, of the city, and of all that dwell therein.” (Habakkuk 2:6-8)
“And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.” (Revelation 17:16)
Recall that the detail about God’s people fleeing from Babylon the Great just before the attack suggests that the judgment will occur during the latter portion of the end times. We can further see that the attack on Babylon the Great will come in the latter part of the end times by taking into account that Babylon’s destruction will come at a time when the Lord will plead for the cause of Zion:5
“(35) The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon, shall the inhabitant of Zion say; and my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea, shall Jerusalem say. (36) Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will plead thy cause, and take vengeance for thee; and I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry. (37) And Babylon shall become heaps, a dwellingplace for dragons, an astonishment, and an hissing, without an inhabitant.” (Jeremiah 51:35-37)
Isaiah 34 suggests this period (the “year of recompences for the controversy of Zion”) is part of the “day of vengeance” portion of the Day of the Lord while Isaiah 13 also suggests that the destruction of Babylon will take place during the Day of the Lord:
“For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.” (Isaiah 34:8)
“(1) The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see. […] (6) Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty. […] (9) Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” (Isaiah 13:1, 6, 9)
Moreover, Jeremiah 50 suggests that the attack on Babylon the Great will take place when the process to redeem the people of Israel will be underway during the Day of the Lord.
“(4) In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go, and seek the LORD their God. (5) They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward, saying, Come, and let us join ourselves to the LORD in a perpetual covenant that shall not be forgotten…(20) In those days, and in that time, saith the LORD, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.” (Jeremiah 50:4-5, 20)
The placement of the attack on Babylon the Great in the latter portion of the end times is important since it significantly reduces the probability of there being two attacks on Babylon the Great as there is a lack of time for the separate attacks to transpire.
Preserving the Element of Surprise in One Attack
Revelation 18:1-2 includes the statement “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen”. This statement has given some people the impression that Babylon will experience a decline in power before her demise:
“(1) And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. (2) And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Revelation 18:1-2)
However, the fact that Babylon the Great has the arrogant attitude that it shall not sorrow, will never be a widow, and shall not lose children (Jeremiah 50:29-30, Revelation 18:7, and Isaiah 47:8) in an end times context indicates she has not been attacked before her annihilation (see Figure 3). Babylon the Great would not have this arrogant attitude before her destruction if Revelation 18:1-2 related to a previous decline in power since she would already experience a loss of children and would be in a lower position of power when she is attacked again:
Figure 3: Babylon Is Arrogant Before Her Destruction
- The Lord Judges
- Plagues in One Day
Jeremiah 50:29-31: (29) Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the LORD, against the Holy One of Israel. (30) Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the LORD. (31) Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord GOD of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.
Isaiah 47:7-10: (7) And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it. (8) Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly, that sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: (9) But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. (10) For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me.
Revelation 18:7-8: (7) How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. (8) Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
Jeremiah, Isaiah, and Revelation each describe the destruction of Babylon the Great as a sudden event that surprises the world, including the Antichrist (the end time king of Babylon). The following verses convey the shocking suddenness of Babylon the Great’s destruction:6
“(9) But these two things shall come to thee in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments. (10) For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me. (11) Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.” (Isaiah 47:9-11)
“(23) How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations! (24) I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the LORD. (25) The LORD hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this is the work of the Lord GOD of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.” (Jeremiah 50:23-25)
“(7) How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. (8) Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her…(10) Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.” (Revelation 18:7-8, 10)
The sudden destruction of Babylon the Great suggests that only one attack will take place instead of two attacks since people would already know that Babylon the Great is a target of attack before her demise if a two attacks scenario transpires. In other words, the element of surprise would not be there when Babylon the Great is desolated if she is subjected to two attacks.
Babylon Falls When It’s Annihilated
Finally, I believe there will only be one judgment of Babylon the Great because her downfall occurs at her annihilation. We can see in Figure 4 that the references to Babylon the Great’s downfall in Revelation 18:2 and in Revelation 14:8 relate to the time when God’s people will flee from the imminent pouring of God’s wrath on Babylon the Great. Revelation 18:2-3, Jeremiah 51:6-9, and Revelation 14:8 each suggests that a key reason why Babylon will fall is that she made the nations of the earth drunk with her wine. This common detail suggests that each passage is talking about the same event. The relationship between these passages is important as Jeremiah 51:6-9 becomes a passage that provides context to the event described by the other passages. Jeremiah 51:6 mentions that the Lord’s people will flee from Babylon before God’s vengeance arrives in Babylon while Jeremiah 51:8-9 suggests that Babylon’s fall is swift and brutal.
Figure 4: Babylon’s Downfall Occurs at Her Annihilation
- Made the Nations Drunk with Her Wine
- Babylon Is Fallen
Revelation 18:2-3: (2) And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. (3) For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.
Jeremiah 51:6-9: (6) Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence. (7) Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. (8) Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed. (9) We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.
Revelation 14:8: And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.
Unsurprisingly, Isaiah 21 links the fall of Babylon the Great to the attack of the nations who will plunder Babylon the Great and destroy her:
“(1) The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land. (2) A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease. (3) Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it…(9) And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground. (10) O my threshing, and the corn of my floor: that which I have heard of the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.” (Isaiah 21:1-3, 9-10)
What’s Going on in Revelation 14:8 & 18:2?
Some people believe that Revelation 14:8 and Revelation 18:2 suggest that Babylon the Great will experience a decline in power before its ultimate destruction:
“And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” (Revelation 18.2)
“And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” (Revelation 14.8)
However, I demonstrated that Babylon the Great would only be attacked once during the end times. This leads to the question: “what is going on in Revelation 14:8 and Revelation 18:2?”
Some believe that Revelation 14:8 and Revelation 18:2 are examples where a literary technique called “prophetic perfect” tense is utilized. The purpose of the technique is to convey that a future event is so sure to happen that it can be spoken of in past tense. In other words, the writer seeks to emphasize the certainty of a future event by speaking of it in past tense like we would today use italics to emphasize a major point we are trying to make.
If Revelation 14:8 is indeed a case where prophetic perfect tense is utilized, the audience of John’s time would view the second angel’s announcement as a strong guarantee that Babylon the Great will fall in the future. This look towards the future contextually makes sense when you consider that the third angel ensures that anyone who accepts the Mark of the Beast will face severe punishment.
“(9) And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, (10) The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:” (Revelation 14:9-10)
Given the viewpoint that Babylon the Great will face only one judgment during the end times (following the pouring of the seventh vial judgment), the idea that Revelation 14:8 and Revelation 18:2 are examples of prophetic perfect tense usage should not be ruled out.
- Jeremiah 50:8 and Jeremiah 51:45 also call the people of Israel to flee from Babylon.
- Jeremiah 50:13-15, 24-25, 28 and Isaiah 13:3-6 also link the destruction of Babylon the Great to an act of God’s vengeance.
- Isaiah 47:9-11 and Jeremiah 50:26, 51:1-4, 25-26, 29, 36-39, 43-45 also describe how the attackers will overwhelm Babylon the Great.
- Jeremiah 50:10, 37, 51:48, 53, 55-56 also indicate that the invading nations will plunder Babylon the Great
- Jeremiah 50:33-34, 51:24 also link the destruction of Babylon to the time when the Lord will plead for the cause of Zion.
- Jeremiah 50:40-43, 46, 51:8, 12, 41 also captures the suddenness of Babylon the Great’s destruction.