|The 18th chapter is
a grand bit of poetry; it is of the
form known from the Old Testament as a “Doom Song.” Several commentators have stumbled in this
fact; as we shall see.
|A parallel passage
is found in Isaiah 13:19-22, as an example of Doom Song. There are some key points:
|• The angel is one of
obvious power and might, as indicated by the presence of light (symbol of
|• The tense of his
proclamation is prophetic aorist:
future, but certain!
|• Interestingly, we
find the demons (said to be the powers behind the idols worshiped in John’s
time) returning to the haunt from which they have been expelled. The Gospel has thrown them out. The word “haunt” in the NIV, however, might
better be translated “prison” (as in NASV).
The domain of the demons on earth is now their prison.
|• Fallen, fallen --
the repetition is like Pharoah’s dream interpreted by Joseph, that God has
certainly determined. In that sense,
the entire chapter is a repetition of the 17th chapter, as if to say that God
has certainly determined it.
(McGee and Smith) see this as two Babylons:
one spiritual (clearly Rome) and one commercial (this chapter, and
location not specified). This is a
minority opinion; most others see this
as Rome, and most specifically the Roman Catholic Church.