Chapter eighteen shifts the focus to the economic fall of the Babylon system. Revelation 18:3 reviews the sexual immorality of the kings of the earth and introduces “the merchants of the earth [who] have gotten rich” because of their dealings with her.
Revelation 18:8 refers to Babylon’s destruction in “a single day.” This could be taken literally, i.e., that the final plagues occur within a 24-hour period, or it could be that this happens suddenly in a short period of time. The description of the plagues in Revelation 18:3 do not have an exact parallel to the seven bowls, and Revelation 18:10, 17, 19 state that this will happen “in a single hour.” Even if the bowls happened in one day, it seems unlikely that they all happened in one hour. Because this is in the middle of an already symbolic description, the day/hour statements are probably hyperbolic.
Revelation 18:11 brings the focus to the merchants introduced in Revelation 18:3. When they see the destruction happening to the Babylon system, they will weep as they watch their own wealth be destroyed.
John’s final view of Babylon reverts to a future tense when he saw an angel say, “With this kind of sudden violent force Babylon the great city will be thrown down” (Revelation 18:21).