Peeling the Onion: Revelation 18:1-8

An angel announces the plot –

Babylon is fallen –

The empire in the abstract is doomed

Signs will appear, starting with the whore city –

The most extreme manifestation

Calvinist governments used to pass ‘sumptuary’ laws –

Today, we impose luxury taxes, and tax vices

This text tells ‘my people’ to leave town

Monastic movements separate themselves

Pietists and puritans distinguish themselves

All nations are complicit –

Few have clean hands –

Politicians choose between bad and worse,

Politics frames choices of good and better

What lasts, and what is lost?

The image of Imelda Marcos shoes,

or Marie Antoinette’s ‘let them eat cake’

illustrate the oblivion of luxury and indulgence,

But of any oblivious rich will do

NJB Angels Declaim Babylon

1 After this, I saw another angel come down from heaven, with great authority given to him; the earth shone with his glory.

2 At the top of his voice he shouted, 'Babylon has fallen, Babylon the Great has fallen, and has become the haunt of devils and a lodging for every foul spirit and dirty, loathsome bird.

3 All the nations have drunk deep of the wine of her prostitution; every king on the earth has prostituted himself with her, and every merchant grown rich through her debauchery.'

4 Another voice spoke from heaven; I heard it say, 'Come out, my people, away from her, so that you do not share in her crimes and have the same plagues to bear.

5 Her sins have reached up to the sky, and God has her crimes in mind: treat her as she has treated others.

6 She must be paid double the amount she exacted. She is to have a doubly strong cup of her own mixture.

7 Every one of her pomps and orgies is to be matched by a torture or an agony. I am enthroned as queen, she thinks; I am no widow and will never know bereavement.

8 For that, in one day, the plagues will fall on her: disease and mourning and famine. She will be burned to the ground. The Lord God who has condemned her is mighty.'

NSRV News of the Fall of Babylon

After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority; and the earth was made bright with his splendour.

2He called out with a mighty voice, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! It has become a dwelling-place of demons, a haunt of every foul spirit, a haunt of every foul bird, a haunt of every foul and hateful beast.

3 For all the 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 have grown rich from the power of her luxury.’

4 Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in her plagues;

5 for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.

6 Render to her as she herself has rendered, and repay her double for her deeds; mix a double draught for her in the cup she mixed.

7 As she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, so give her a like measure of torment and grief. Since in her heart she says, “I rule as a queen; I am no widow, and I will never see grief”,

8 therefore her plagues will come in a single day— pestilence and mourning and famine— and she will be burned with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.’