In this lesson, we examine the seven vial judgments that God pours out on the Earth during the last 3 1/2 years of the tribulation period also known as the great tribulation. We will then turn to a parenthetical chapter dealing with the whore and mystery Babylon and its coming to power and destruction. Chapter 18 will complete the study.
The Vial Judgments
We'll take the vial judgments pretty quickly. There isn't much to say about each other than what the Bible says God will do. Most of the judgments have parallels to the plagues that God wrought on Egypt to break the hardness of the heart of Pharaoh and set His people free to go into the promised land. Although this symbolism will largely be lost on the people who are the recipients of the plagues, it is a neat thing nonetheless.
The Command to Commence
16:1 And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth.
It should be repeated, for the sake of everyone that thinks that God is Love and would never harm His creation, that the Bible is full of instances when God's wrath is poured out upon small and great groups of people because they were doing evil in His sight. This is no exception. God's angels don't go forth to slay, torment, or plague humanity on their own. They go at His express command. Here, it is once again given.
The First Vial
16:2 And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.
It should be noted here that the first vial doesn't affect everyone on the earth. It is expressly limited to those who have taken the mark of the beast and those who have worshiped his image. This may be a significant portion of the Earth's population or may be more limited depending on whether you think the Antichrist's kingdom will be worldwide or limited to the area of the old Roman, Grecian, and Persian empires. For those people who claim that all three series of judgments run in parallel (seal, trumpet, and vial), the very wording of this passage would seem to reject this. This vial is poured out strictly on those who had worshiped the image of the beast and received his mark. This would push this to the end of the time period in question.
The type of sores are specified, but Dake notes that the same word is used here and in verse 11, along with Luke 16:21 where the sores of Lazarus are being described.
The Second Vial
16:3 And the second angel poured out his vial upon the sea; and it became as the blood of a dead man: and every living soul died in the sea.
As noted previously, the sea that is referred to here isn't specified. It could be global, or it could be limited to the Mediterranean Sea which was commonly referred to as the sea in John's time. Every man or woman in the sea died at this time. Perhaps they died of dehydration - perhaps they died as the direct result of the vial. But they will die.
The Third Vial
16:4 And the third angel poured out his vial upon the rivers and fountains of waters; and they became blood.
16:5 And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.
16:6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and thou hast given them blood to drink; for they are worthy.
16:7 And I heard another out of the altar say, Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are thy judgments.
With the third vial, all flowing water sources that are above ground, at a minimum, are turned to blood. This includes both rivers and springs. It doesn't say that lakes are affected, but the runoff from the water sources would soon contaminate them as well. The reasoning as explained is that since the people killed the saints and prophets of God, shedding their blood, God gives them only blood to drink.
The Fourth Vial
16:8 And the fourth angel poured out his vial upon the sun; and power was given unto him to scorch men with fire.
16:9 And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory.
If you will remember, the sun had been darkened in an earlier 4th trumpet judgment. Here, the heat of the sun is increased and men are scorched by the great heat. Man still hardens his heart and blasphemes God rather than repenting and giving Him the glory He deserves.
The Fifth Vial
16:10 And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain,
16:11 And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds.
Next, the kingdom of the Antichrist is specifically made completely dark. Likewise, they didn't repent of their deeds, but continued to blaspheme God. It isn't stated how this will happen, but the Antichrist's kingdom is specifically made totally dark. It isn't stated how long the darkness lasts, but it is at least long enough to start tormenting their minds.
During a vacation our family took, we went down into the Wind Cave. As with many cave tours, the guides pick a point and turn the lights off to show you just how dark it is. It is that sort of total darkness that we are talking about here. They don't leave the lights off long enough to freak most people out, but here the time duration is at least long enough for some people to lose it. They start gnawing their tongues for some sensory stimulation.
For those who debate the extent of the Antichrist's kingdom, this is one verse that would lead me to believe that his kingdom is not over all the Earth. It would be easier to say that the whole Earth was dark (or above that everyone on the earth had a sore). Instead, here the Bible specifically says that just the Antichrist's kingdom, and particularly the seat or capital of his kingdom, is affected, implying that there is light on the rest of the world (subject to normal earth rotation, of course).
The Sixth Vial
16:12 And the sixth angel poured out his vial upon the great river Euphrates; and the water thereof was dried up, that the way of the kings of the east might be prepared.
16:13 And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.
16:14 For they are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.
16:15 Behold, I come as a thief. Blessed is he that watcheth, and keepeth his garments, lest he walk naked, and they see his shame.
16:16 And he gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon.
The Euphrates river is dried up with the sixth vial. This is done so that the way is clear for the armies of the east to be able to quickly march toward Jerusalem at the behest of the Antichrist in order to meet God at the battle of Armageddon. They come at the command or invitation of unclean spirits (the spirits of devils) from the mouth of Satan, the Antichrist, and his false prophet. These unclean spirits will be able to perform miracles in order to lead people astray.
Dake has this to say about the location where the battle will be fought:
There is a commendation given here to those who keep their garments clean, and a note with the first vial implying that there were those who hadn't taken the mark of the beast, which gives hope that even at this point, some will be turning to God. Sadly, the numbers are probably not very high.
The Seventh Vial
16:17 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.
16:18 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.
16:19 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.
16:20 And every island fled away, and the mountains were not found.
16:21 And there fell upon men a great hail out of heaven, every stone about the weight of a talent: and men blasphemed God because of the plague of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great.
The final vial has several components. It starts with a great voice from the temple, from the throne, saying
"It is done"
. It reminds me of the last words of Christ on the cross, when he was crucified to be the sacrifice for our sins.
"It is finished" Jn. 19:30.
This is immediately followed by thunder and lightning and the great earthquake which was mentioned in a previous parenthetical segment. The great city that is mentioned here is, of course, Jerusalem (See Rev. 11:8, 13) for a reference to additional prophecy for this. It is split into three pieces (perhaps reminiscent of the three factions that fight over it today - Jews, Christians, and Muslims). It is not alone in the destruction. Many great cities fall, including Babylon. The islands are covered up (flee away) due to rising water levels, perhaps. The mountains lose much of their grandeur (perhaps those directly around the city of Jerusalem or perhaps more.
Finally, great hail falls from the heavens, each weighing around one talent (between 56 and 114 pounds). Still, men refuse to worship God, but instead blaspheme him for the plague of hail and the hardness of their hearts.
The judgments included in the seventh vial continue in chapter 18 after the parenthetical section in chapter 17.
The Great Whore
Revelation 17 moves a bit back in time from where we are in the judgment sequence to describe the rise to power of two religious systems. The first, the whore described here, comes to power and controls the initial kings ruling the kingdoms that give their power to the Antichrist. Eventually, they grow tired of her influence and overthrow her. Then, a second religious system is instituted under the Antichrist with him as its focus.
We'll go ahead and read this entire chapter in one piece. Note the references again to the seven headed beast representing seven mountainous kingdoms. Five of these have come (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, and Greece). One is (Rome at the time of John's writing). One is to come (the united group of 10 kingdoms before the Antichrist comes to power). It again states the shortness of the duration of the seventh kingdom. The 10 kings are stated as being yet to come and to receive their power as kings but one hour (or a short time) with the beast.
17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.
17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.
17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.
17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.
17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.
17:13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.
17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.
17:16 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.
17:17 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.
17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
There are many speculations about specifically what the whore is. The common consensus is that it represents a religious system. One view is that it is a continuation of the Roman Catholic Church. Another is that it is Islam, espoused by Muslims. A third is that it is an extension of the ancient Babylon mystery religious system that started back in the times of Nimrod.
All of these religious systems have problems today. What follows will be my opinion, based on my beliefs that the reign of the Antichrist will not be worldwide. It is my opinion that the 10 kingdoms that form the basis for the 8th mountain kingdom (that of the Antichrist) will be literal kingdoms that may have a presence as a kingdom in the world even today, although they may be ruled by different descendants of the current monarchs or leaders if God tarries.
The vast majority of clan-led kingdoms in the region of interest around Israel are Muslim. They may not be able to come to any better grips about what flavor of Islam to espouse than the western world can settle on a denomination for Christianity, but they are still Muslim, under the general banner of Islam. I don't see Islam's grip on the region abating in the near future.
Since it says that the religious system for the first 3 1/2 years of the tribulation period will rule those 10 kings, it is my belief that the religious system represented by God to be the great whore is, in fact Islam. It may be somewhat twisted from the Islam that exists today - or certainly the Islam that existed back in the time of its founding, but it will still be Islamic in nature.
That isn't to say that Satan can't bring something else about. The Bible says that the 10 kings will eventually grow weary of the religion and throw it off, choosing instead to worship the Antichrist. This leads me to think that the whore's religion has a direct relationship to a current religion. I think that all of the vile practices that date back to before the times of Nimrod will be brought to the forefront of the religion that Satan seeks to impose through the false prophet.
Likewise, his choice of that new religion when he expands his seat of power at the middle of the tribulation period, will be one reason that his kingdom will have trouble spreading. There will be those of Christian roots that will oppose him. There will be those with Muslim roots that will oppose him. The rallying point will be Babylon.
Currently, Babylon doesn't exist as a city, although it did in John's time. There are cities nearby that could expand their scope greatly and be renamed as Babylon as the seat of the Antichrist's government. Alternatively, he could simply build and rename some other city and name it Babylon. In any case, the religious idolatry and sin that accompanied the old city of Nimrod will flourish for a time before the Antichrist sets up worship of himself and will, of course, form a center piece of his religion as well.
Having said that, I must speak again to the church of today. Similar thoughts go through my mind as I prepare this study as went through my mind in the last study. We think that whatever religious system the whore represents or the Antichrist establishes will be like white versus black comparing the church today and the religious system to come.
The religious system of the Antichrist may well be so. But the religious system of the whore will not be so different that it will be rejected out of hand by many in the world. The Christians might well reject it out of hand, but remember that they will be gone. There won't be anyone left to monitor truth and condemn lies and try to put the brakes on the deceitfulness of Satan. True, angels will be flying through the air prophesying and speaking the gospel at some point. But the false religious systems will have already ingrained themselves in many peoples hearts.
I talked last week about the contrast between the Old Testament Holy of Holies, the temple in heaven, the Early Church, and us. By us, I am referring to every single church that calls itself Christian from every denomination. How much has the cult of Nimrod already affected us? Dake has page after page of items that have crept into the church over the years that you will find no mention of in the Bible. Some of them are unique to the Roman Catholic church. Many can be found in every single denomination and independent church out there. Just so you don't think I'm crazy, let me mention some of the items he lists. See his book "God's Plan for Man" p. 817 and following for a more complete analysis.
- The Babylonian cult worshiped a Supreme Father, a Queen of Heaven, and her Son. When the people were scattered across the earth by God, they carried this symbolism with them. Many eastern religions have a similar theme. Mary wasn't originally venerated. Referring to her as the "Mother of God" started around 431 A.D.
- We celebrate the birth of Christ on December 25th, and yet He almost certainly wasn't born on that day. Shepherds weren't likely to be in the field at that time watching over their flocks by night and it is not a time that they would have likely traveled for census purposes. Christ-mass was originally copied from a heathen festival celebrated December 24th and 25th in honor of the son of the Babylonian Queen Astarte. It was kept for centuries before Christ was even born, and was called Yule Day or Child day. The Christmas tree was a pagan symbol, common to the heathen. The yule log was supposedly cast into a tree, and provided gifts to bless men in the upcoming year. Dake goes on to note that as of 230 A.D. Tertullian was lamenting that Christians were beginning to follow this custom. The church at Constantine which was full of pagans became so corrupt that this festival was incorporated into church ritual starting in the fourth century.
- Lady Day is observed March 25th. It is supposedly when Mary conceived, but is based on the faulty date of Dec. 25th as a birth date. Among the heathen, it was a festival honoring Cybele, the mother of the Babylonian Messiah. In Rome Cybele was known as Domina or Lady - and hence the name Lady Day. This festival made it into the church sometime before 656 A.D..
- The practice of Lent and fasting or eating fish on Fridays during Lent was not original with Christianity, but was a celebration of the Rape of Proserpine, culminated with an orgy of lust after a period of 40 days of abstinence in preparation for it. Easter and the Lenten period that precedes it were introduced to the church in 519 A.D. Cassianus writes "The observance of Lent had no existence so long as the Church remained inviolate. The fasting and Friday observances came into the church around 998 A.D.
- Easter also came from the Babylonian heritage. The derivation of the name is from Ishtar (a title of the Babylonian Queen of Heaven). It was observed for centuries before Christ and had as traditions Easter eggs, hot-cross buns, et cetera. And yet, the church has chosen to declare this as a holiday to celebrate the resurrection of Christ. The whole death and resurrection of Christ has been messed up by the church for a long time. As I talked about around Easter this year, Christ was our Passover sacrifice. He was crucified on Wednesday, not Friday. It would be better to have a Good Wednesday service than a Good Friday service.
This pushes His last supper to Tuesday and not Thursday. Maundy Thursday should never be! His Last Supper was a Passover supper, which was certainly appropriate. It makes the symbolism of the Passover itself in Egypt all the more striking. This gives the ladies a shopping day (Friday) after the High Sabbath and before the regular Friday night to Saturday evening Sabbath to buy the supplies they needed to anoint him.
He arose at some time after the Saturday evening end of the Sabbath. He could well have arisen on Saturday night rather than Sunday morning. The angels were there to tell the women who came that He wasn't there, but was arisen, just as He said! But it really could have been at any time after the regular weekly Sabbath ended. In fact, they could have been on the road to do their work Saturday night instead of Sunday morning in order to reduce their exposure to the stink that they expected would eventually set in. Fixing the day of Christ's death to Wednesday allows that Christ foretold truly when he said
For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
The math just doesn't work if He died on Friday as the church has promulgated.
While it is true that the heathen celebration of Easter coincides with Passover most of the time, we should really be focusing on Passover to mark the Lord's death. They occasionally are quite a bit apart when a leap month is added to the Jewish calendar.
- The worship of images or giving special honor to things (relics, crosses, saint's statues, medallions, rosaries, et cetera) was never a part of the Early church. Such quasi-idolatry would certainly be condemned by them. Yet it has continued on and on.
- Doctrines such as purgatory, prayers for the dead, veneration of saints or thinking they have special influence with God and should be prayed to, worship of Mary, the infallibility of the pope (or the equivalent for any high religious leaders, whether Catholic or another denomination), celibacy of the priesthood, indulgences, transubstantiation - where priests turn a wafer into the body of Christ, confession of sins to a priest are all additions that were not seen in the Early Church. For dates and when they came into the Catholic church, see Dake's notes.
Not all denominations observe all of these things, yet almost all Christian denominations have something in common with all these practices. There is a common expression that is heard very often today. It is so common that it is frequently abbreviated and most Christians in the western world immediately recognize it. WWJD? What would Jesus do? I am afraid that He would take a whip to the church and have the same sort of house cleaning that He had when He found the money changers in the temple grounds.
Many readers will say that I am making mountains out of mole hills. Nobody likes hard lessons. They like the soft serve variety that go down easy. Yet I would challenge you to examine the Old Testament and use it for a comparison.
Our family watched Raiders of the Lost Ark recently. It brought up the question of the reality of the Ark and I opened up the Bible to where the Philistines had captured the ark after it was taken to battle outside of God's will. Every place in the Philistine cities that the ark went God unleashed havoc with their idols and with the inhabitants. It got so bad that nobody wanted it and it was sent back. During the trip back, some Israelis who should have known better looked in the ark and 70 were slain just for looking. When it was on the way back to Israel, Uzzah lifted his hand to steady the ark when the oxen stumbled and was struck dead.
If you look at the temple, sacrifice, and worship standards, they were exact and had to be followed to the letter. Yes, the Old Covenant was abolished when Christ died on the cross. But God's standards for worship didn't slip. How many times during the Sermon on the Mount does Christ say - you have heard it said that X, but I say Y (Y being a much more exacting standard than X). God expects a great deal from His church today.
Why did He promise such great things to His church? The Holy Spirit was provided in its baptismal form to empower each believer to go forth and work for Christ. The gifts of the Spirit through that Baptism cover the gamut of what a church needs to make a difference in the world, to grow, and to be effective. The tools are there and the tools are freely given. How many tools are in your denomination's tool belt? Does your denomination even acknowledge the need for a tool belt, much less one that is full of tools?
It is never too late, until the trump blows and the dead in Christ start rising! We'll all answer for what we have done with the tools that God has given (or offered) to us. Have we taken the 10 talents and gotten 10 more? Or have we buried our talent in the ground and hoped for the best! I belong to one denomination. Those reading this message are from many others.
I can only hope to change a small part of one denomination. Each of you are responsible for getting your own churches and denominations back on track so there will be a white and black difference that people can see today between the church of the Living God and the churches of the world. If there isn't a black and white difference that is immediately visible to anyone who walks through the doors - you have a problem that needs fixed. Seek the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Seek and find God's will for your own church. Start being the living church that God wants you to be. Don't be lukewarm. If you have any doubts about God's opinion of even the Early Church, go back to the lesson on The Things Which Are. Which church is your church like? Are you one of the 70+% that He found something wrong with?
The Seventh Vial, continued
18:1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
18:2 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.
18:3 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.
18:4 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.
18:5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
18:6 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.
18:7 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.
18:8 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.
18:9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
18:10 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.
18:11 And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:
18:12 The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,
18:13 And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.
18:14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.
18:15 The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,
18:16 And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls!
18:17 For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,
18:18 And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!
18:19 And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.
18:20 Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.
18:21 And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.
18:24 And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.
Chapter 18 continues with the overthrow of the new literal city of Babylon. It gives some information about just how important a city it had become to the world. The seat of the Antichrist's power will be a huge merchant capital. The list of goods that are bought and sold there is very long. It will also be a transportation hub. Sailors will stand afar off and ask what other city is like unto Babylon?
The verses implore God to reward her double according to her works. The things to note about her fall is that it will happen in one hour (or a short period of time). Those of the heavens, the holy apostles and prophets are commanded to rejoice over her defeat. As she poured out the blood of the martyrs, even so God pours out his righteous vengeance upon the city. Unlike many cities of history, God proclaims that there will never be a city built there again.
Although I would say that the Babylon that is referred to here is indeed a city that will rise in the Antichrist's empire, we have only to look at the interconnected financial markets that exist today to see clearly how the destruction of a single major trade and shipping center would strike a blow to the world markets that would take years to heal. Think if New York City, London, Hong Kong, Tokyo, or another major city was obliterated today and imagine the havoc that it would cause. The merchants looking at the destruction of Babylon no doubt feel the same way about what they see.
We see the difference here between the overthrow of Mystery Babylon - the religious system symbolized by the whore by the kings - which was met with rejoicing and God's overthrow of Literal Babylon which is met with many tears by the world.
Next, we will take a trip back to see what Christ Himself said about the second coming as seen in his great Olivet prophecy.