A Great City Falls – Revelation 18

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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In 79 A.D., Mt. Vesuvius had a catastrophic eruption that literally entombed much of the ancient city of Pompeii, Italy. Previously, this city had been a vacation town for the Roman elite. Archeologists have uncovered pornographic artwork, graffiti, and living arrangements unlike anything one would see in a modern city. In the years and days prior to this devastating volcanic eruption, there were a series of earthquakes. Ultimately, the residents of the city died as superheated ash rained a fiery death upon all who remained.1

In Revelation 18 an angel with bright illumination comes to announce, “Babylon the great is fallen” (vs. 1-2). While some believe this refers to the city of Bagdad, and others, Jerusalem, this writer believes it to be the city of Rome that will be destroyed during the Tribulation. We know with certainty that it refers to a “city” (vss. 10, 16, 18, 21). It represents the spiritual fornication associated with the false prophet, and it must be his headquarters since this city falls immediately following her death (Revelation 17:18). This city is known for great “merchandise,” or commerce, in “gold, and silver, and precious stones…and pearls” (vs. 12). John saw it as being “clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold” (vs. 16). This description certainly sounds like the priests, and pope, of Rome. It will be a place of talented “musicians” with harps, wind instruments, and trumpets. It will have many “craftsmen” who are skilled (see vs. 22). The “candle” will also be identified with this city. All of this sounds like worship at the Vatican in Rome. At its height, under the false prophet, with all the expensive adornments, people will ask, “What city is like unto this great city” (vs. 18)? But like Pompeii, it will be destroyed “in one hour” (vs. 19) as God’s wrath falls upon it with “death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly destroyed with fire” (vs. 8), and “with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down” (vs. 21). This sounds like a fierce earthquake, and will be the direct result of the judgment of God.

We live in a day when people are enamored with ornate churches, huge crowds, religious rituals, and entertaining music. What is preached from the pulpit seems secondary, or unimportant. However, what impresses God is an emphasis on the Word of God, with preaching that grounds the believer in sound doctrine, and transforms the life into greater godliness. Decide today that this will be what enamors you!

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."