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The downfall of Babylon in Chapter 18 symbolizes the truth for us that all our states of negative emotions, Babylon, and the results of all those states, her fruits, must all come to naught. All of the products of negative emotions, abominations, shall be reduced back into harmlessness, or nothingness. Ashes. Just as the physical Earth in the Book of Revelation is cleansed of the abominable city of Babylon, so shall our metaphysical Earth, which is our soul, be cleansed of the abomination of negative emotions and their harmful results.
Then in this same chapter we read these strange words:
“And the kings of the Earth who have committed fornications, and have lived deliciously with her shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning, standing far 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, and the merchants of the Earth shall weep and mourn over her, 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, for in one hour so great riches is come to naught.’”
What is the significance of the fact that the kings of the earth and the merchants bewail and lament the destruction of Babylon? Well, first we should explain that all this bewailing and lamenting begins after an angel has announced in verse 2 of chapter 18, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.” Which means that all negative emotions in us fail to survive in the long run. They may have a great heyday with us while they last. Think of anger. Think of jealousy. Think of anxiety. Think of vanity. These negative emotions can have a violent heyday in us, but they can’t last. Every negative emotion, Babylon, carries its own seal of doom for itself, and it is headed for destruction even while exerting whatever power it seems to have while it lasts. But back to our question. What does the bewailing and lamenting by the kings of the Earth and the merchants mean metaphysically within us?
Well, these kings of the Earth and merchants, these stand for those parts of our human nature, which still somehow hold the belief that there can be something worthwhile, something valuable, something beneficial in negative emotions, and these parts of our nature can actually believe that a serious loss has occurred when any of our negative emotions have been given up, taken away, or dissolved into forgetfulness. Strange to say, there is still something in our human nature which seems to prize negative emotions, and is reluctant to abandon them and see them dissolved.
To illustrate this in very common matters, there are some people who hate the thought of losing their anger over something. There are some people who are in love, who still believe it is necessary for them to be jealous and possessive. There still are parts of our human nature that think it is possible to get pleasure and benefit from negative emotions. But these mistaken kings of the Earth and merchants, these misguided parts of our human nature will eventually also see the light. And when this happens, instead of lamenting and bewailing the destruction of the Babylon parts of our consciousness, they will rejoice and give thanks that a great, freeing, cleansing, purifying has actually taken place deep within our soul.