|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
18:20-24 That which is matter of rejoicing to the servants of God on earth, is matter of rejoicing to the angels in heaven. The apostles, who are honoured and daily worshipped at Rome in an idolatrous manner, will rejoice in her fall. The fall of Babylon was an act of God's justice. And because it was a final ruin, this enemy should never molest them any more; of this they were assured by a sign. Let us take warning from the things which brought others to destruction, and let us set our affections on things above, when we consider the changeable nature of earthly things.
Verse 24. - And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth. At first sight it seems difficult to understand that these words are spoken not only of Babylon, but of the faithless portion of the Church, symbolized by the harlot. But we must remember
(1) that he who is guilty in respect of one commandment, is guilty of the whole Law;
(2) similar words are addressed by Jeremiah to Judah (Jeremiah 2:34): "Also in thy skirts is found the blood of the souls of the poor innocents" (see on Revelation 17:1). Auberlen remarks, "Wherever true, faithful Christians are neglected and oppressed by the rulers of the Church, from avowed or secret antipathy to God's truth; where a false theology and science robs youth of its faith; where a pastor neglects, and keeps at a distance, the true living Christians in his flock, on account of the signum crucis which they bear; wherever we refuse or are ashamed to bear the reproach of Jesus Christ, our heavenly Master, even as he bore it, there we commit murder against the saints of God." Here is concluded the pronouncement of the judgment of Babylon; which may be said to answer the prayer in Revelation 6:10; and which forms the conclusion of the revelation commencing at Revelation 17.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,.... Such as before mentioned, in Revelation 18:20 this is another reason of her destruction, besides her luxury and idolatry, namely, her shedding the blood of the saints, with which she is said to be drunk, and therefore blood is now given her to drink, Revelation 17:6 for she will now be found guilty of slaying the witnesses, who are meant by the prophets and saints, that have been from the beginning of the apostasy:
and of all that were slain upon the earth: not only of those that have been slain in the city of Rome, but of all those that have been slain throughout the empire; they being slain by her order, or with her consent, and she conniving at it, encouraging it, and therefore will be justly chargeable with it all; see Matthew 23:31 the Ethiopic version adds, "for the name of Christ".
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. Applied by Christ (Mt 23:35) to apostate Jerusalem, which proves that not merely the literal city Rome, and the Church of Rome (though the chief representative of the apostasy), but the WHOLE of the faithless Church of both the Old and New Testament is meant by Babylon the harlot; just as the whole Church (Old and New Testament) is meant by "the woman" (Re 12:1). As to literal city, Aringhus in Bengel says, Pagan Rome was the "general shambles" for slaying the sheep of Jesus. Fred. Seyler in Bengel calculates that papal Rome, between A.D. 1540 and 1580, slew more than nine hundred thousand Protestants. Three reasons for the harlot's downfall are given: (1) The worldly greatness of her merchants, which was due to unholy traffic in spiritual things. (2) Her sorceries, or juggling tricks, in which the false prophet that ministers to the beast in its last form shall exceed her; compare "sorcerers" (Re 21:8; 22:15), specially mentioned among those doomed to the lake of fire. (3) Her persecution of (Old Testament) "prophets" and (New Testament) "saints."
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