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Matthew Henry's Commentary – Verses 1–8
Verses 1–8

The downfall and destruction of Babylon form an event so fully determined in the counsels of God, and of such consequence to his interests and glory, that the visions and predictions concerning it are repeated. 1. Here is another angel sent from heaven, attended with great power and lustre, Rev. 18:1. He had not only light in himself, to discern the truth of his own prediction, but to inform and enlighten the world about that great event; and not only light to discern it, but power to accomplish it. 2. This angel publishes the fall of Babylon, as a thing already come to pass; and this he does with a mighty strong voice, that all might hear the cry, and might see how well this angel was pleased to be the messenger of such tidings. Here seems to be an allusion to the prediction of the fall of pagan Babylon (Isa. 21:9), where the word is repeated as it is here: has fallen, has fallen. Some have thought a double fall is hereby intended, first her apostasy, and then her ruin; and they think the words immediately following favour their opinion; She has become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and the cage of every unclean and hateful bird, Rev. 18:2. But this is also borrowed from Isa. 21:9; and seems to describe not so much her sin of entertaining idols (which are truly called devils) as her punishment, it being a common notion that unclean spirits, as well as ominous and hateful birds, used to haunt a city or house that lay in its ruins. 3. The reason of this ruin is declared (Rev. 18:3); for, though God is not obliged to give any account of his matters, yet he is pleased to do so, especially in those dispensations of providence that are most awful and tremendous. The wickedness of Babylon had been very great; for she had not only forsaken the true God herself, and set up idols, but had with great art and industry drawn all sorts of men into the spiritual adultery, and by her wealth and luxury had retained them in her interest. 4. Fair warning is given to all that expect mercy from God, that they should not only come out of her, but be assisting in her destruction, Rev. 18:4, 5. Here observe, (1.) God may have a people even in Babylon, some who belong to the election of grace. (2.) God’s people shall be called out of Babylon, and called effectually. (3.) Those that are resolved to partake with wicked men in their sins must receive of their plagues. (4.) When the sins of a people reach up to heaven, the wrath of God will reach down to the earth. (5.) Though private revenge is forbidden, yet God will have his people act under him, when called to it, in pulling down his and their inveterate and implacable enemies, Rev. 18:6. (6.) God will proportion the punishment of sinners to the measure of their wickedness, pride, and security, Rev. 18:7. (7.) When destruction comes on a people suddenly, the surprise is a great aggravation of their misery, Rev. 18:8.