Our main reference today is Rv 18:2-3.
The wealth that made Babylon’s people rich is mentioned in Rv 18:12-13. This wealth symbolizes Babylon’s organization and doctrines. The kingdom of Babylon and all its goods are not literal; they are figurative. Anyone who interprets them literally belongs to the earth and speaks from the viewpoint of the earth. Those who belong to heaven, however, speak from the viewpoint of heaven.
The one who comes from above is superior to all. The one who is from the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is superior to all. He testifies about what he has seen and heard, but no one accepts his testimony. The one who has accepted his testimony has confirmed clearly that God is truthful. For the one whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he does not give the spirit sparingly. (Jn 3:31-34)
Babylon is the kingdom of demons that destroyed God’s chosen people of Jerusalem in the time of the Old Testament. This nation is used figuratively in Rv 18:2 to prophesy about the future. Babylon refers to the prostitute (i.e. the mother of all the detestable things of the earth) and her organization. According to Rv 17, this prostitute and her organization have been reigning over the kings (pastors) of the earth. This prostitute should not be understood literally either. As a figurative woman, the prostitute symbolizes a pastor who, instead of marrying and belonging to Jesus, marries and belongs to the devil. She has given birth to Satan’s children by receiving his seed (word).
The wine of adultery in Rv 18:3 represents the doctrines and biblical commentaries this prostitute received from the devil. This wine of adultery caused all nations—including the congregation members of God’s kingdom—to collapse. It through this wine of adultery that the kings (pastors) of all nations became possessions of the prostitute and committed spiritual adultery with Satan, their groom. Furthermore, it is through the authority of Babylon’s excessive luxuries (her ecclesiastical authority) that the spiritual merchants have grown rich by doing business with the earth. Plainly speaking, these merchants represent evangelists, and the earth refers to the congregation members of Babylon, who have returned to being mere flesh.
Let us understand more about the prostitute’s excessive luxuries.
Of course, her excessive luxuries should be understood figuratively. In Rv 17:14, the prostitute’s spiritual clothes are a means of expressing her wealth and authority. She is dressed in purple and scarlet and was glittering with gold, precious stones, and pearls. These spiritual clothes represent all the doctrines she has collected and all the degrees and certificates her people have received by formally studying theology in Babylon. They have used their studies to amass ecclesiastical authority. What, then, does it mean for the merchants of the earth to grow rich from Babylon’s excessive luxuries? This means they have become rich while evangelizing others with the authority they obtained from Babylon and by its doctrines (spiritual goods).
Today is the time for Revelation to be fulfilled and for Spiritual Israel to come to an end. Now, in the end times for Spiritual Israel, Jesus has come as a spirit and is carrying out the work of redeeming his people from Babylon. Just as both Rv 17:14 and Rv 18:4 explain, Jesus is calling out to his people who are captured in Babylon, “Come out of her my people!” The time has now come for Jesus to deliver his people from Babylon.
Since this is the testimony from the witness who has seen and heard the physical fulfillment, this testimony is the truth. Jesus promised that the time of his second coming would be like the times of Noah and Lot (Lk 17:26-33), and that anyone who sees the abomination that causes desolation standing in the holy place must flee to Mt. Zion (Mt 24:15-21). People who believe in and strive to keep these promises of Jesus will also believe and act according to the Bible and its physical fulfillment.