|Babylon's Doom Symbolically
Revelation Chapter 18
Verses 21-24 (NASB)
The STONE which looks like a millstone to John, requires a STRONG ANGEL to lift it. This can be interpreted as the event is bigger that any single human being could devise, or as the event is a crushing event much as the millstone grinds the grain, or, symbolically, as a judgment against anyone who cause a 'little one' to lose faith (Mark 9:38-42-50).
STONE(S) in scripture are associated with life and the principles of life (Exodus 34:1-9, Luke 19:29-40, and 1 Corinthians 3:10-12-15). They represent our moral character and are tested by fire. If you are an unbeliever, you will give an accounting for your morals and deeds before the GREAT WHITE THRONE (Revelation 20:11-14).
In a broader symbolic sense, just as evil acts in Noah's day met their end in the great FLOOD (SEA) (Genesis 6:9-13-22), the evils of the end time materialistic world meet their end in the SEA. As discussed earlier, it is water/SEA that holds spirits, both good and evil. Thus it is fitting that this GREAT CITY/EVIL ends up in the SEA. Ultimately, the SEA, too, is completely destroyed (Revelation 21:1). The new heaven and new earth will NOT have any place to harbor EVIL. Praise the Lord!
Note that the harp seems to be one of God's favorite instruments. Those who refused to take the mark of the beast are standing in the sea of glass holding the harps of God (Revelation 15:2). In spite of what Solomon said, Paul in Romans 14:13-17-23 says that the 'kingdom of God' is not eating or drinking but rather RIGHTEOUSNESS, PEACE, and JOY in the Holy Spirit. Perhaps these instruments and musicians are symbolic of these spiritual life attributes.
Sadly, there will be many so-called Christians who, too, are standing silently at this time. They and their churches and synagogues had become so attached to the economy (or government representing Babylon, the harlot) to take care of them that they had forgotten WHO is the BREAD of LIFE (John 6:41-51-59). From all outward appearances, these so-called Christians were active in their churches and even displayed the ability to perform awesome miracles. Yet they insisted on playing with the harlot, and ultimately because they had not come out from Babylon (verse 4), Jesus had to say He didn't know who they are (Matthew 7:21-29).
What is most bothersome, however, about this verse is that the Revelation is written to churches (Revelation 1:11) and to those who claim to be Christians. Apparently, they are/were deceived into believing that the lamp will shine forever. But it doesn't ANY LONGER; the judgment has been rendered (verse 21).
Note that the action words, 'sound', 'crafting', 'light', and 'voice' of the last two verses imply a vibrant life physically. Likewise, symbolically, it indicates a vibrant spiritual life. But with this judgment (verse 21), this vibrant life isn't ANY LONGER.
There are three reasons, two in this verse and one in the next verse, for this judgment:
1. Babylon's pride: for your MERCHANTS were the GREAT MEN of the EARTH,
Note the verb is in the past tense, WERE. The EARTH has followed the amazing successes of these GREAT MEN in their business exploits. And there is a pride that goes with that success. Often the MERCHANTS are so busy with accumulating money/wealth that there is no time left for God or Jesus Christ.
From a symbolic view, even so-called Christians can be turned from Jesus Christ by "GREAT MEN of the EARTH". It is surprising to me at times how vigorously so-called Christians will defend and support their favorite radio or television preacher. Yet, one gets the sense that their scriptural knowledge or awareness is shallow at best (1 Peter 3:13-16) and seldom passed on to their children. In some cases, they know more about their favorite preacher and his church and publications than they do the Bible.
Now having GREAT MEN isn't new. The Bible records that the GREATNESS of Babylon started with Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-12) and runs through to Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:28-33) via Nebuchadnezzar's father, Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar is considered to be the first king of the Chaldean or New Babylonian empire. Ultimately, the line of GREATNESS ends with the prideful BEAST (at least he hopes so - Revelation 14:6-11).
2. Babylon's power: because ALL the NATIONS were DECEIVED by your SORCERY.
Again, the verb is in the past tense, WERE. The deception happened in the past (our present?) and SORCERY was used. The word, SORCERY, is pharmakeia in the Greek and suggests a domination of ALL the NATIONS by pharmaceuticals. If present day advertising by drug companies on television is any indication, the deception is upon us right now. Many countries have passed laws to protect their citizens through health insurance or socialized medicine. One has to wonder how much of the exercising of FAITH (Luke 18:1-8) disappears because mankind believes the deception that the NATIONS can keep people healthy through health plans and "healing by prescription". We must never forget that the authority for healing comes from Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:1-15).
By the way, SORCERY and SORCERERS are so despised by God and Jesus Christ that they are specifically listed as doomed for the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (or the second death), Revelation 21:5-8.
3: Babylon's Persecutions:
But Babylon's purpose for shedding THE BLOOD wasn't for forgiveness or cleansing (Hebrews 9:15-22) but rather for greed and lust for power to the point of idolatry (Revelation 13:4). In his own power grab, the devil has/had to kill mankind to keep them from becoming believer's in Christ. In other words, humans should never be able to accept the atonement that Christ's BLOOD brings.
The PROPHET, by definition, is a spokesman of God. He spoke in God's name and by His authority (Exodus 7:1-2). The PROPHET is a "forth-teller" of God's will and since God is timeless, a PROPHET'S word are not time constrained, i.e. limited to only the past or to only the future.
The "ALL" includes the tiny fetus whose BLOOD has just started to flow to promote the growth of life. We, adults, do not know or understand the spiritual nature of a fetus or even what pleasure and fellowship God has with that spiritual entity. That is a mystery kept hidden from us. But God knows what he breathed into mankind (Genesis 2:4-7-9) and doesn't want him or her to perish (2 Peter 3:8-9-13).
The "ALL" includes the spiritual man in adults too. Only God knows how many people are pretending to be Christians through church attendance or even performing miracles (Matthew 7:21-23). They have never done the will of God (see how PROPHETs and SAINTs are doing God's will above). In a sense, they have experienced a spiritual death (SLAIN) ON THE EARTH.
from the NEW
AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, © Copyright The
Lockman Foundation, 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975,
1977, 1995 Used by permission."
References to the Revelation of Jesus Christ are in bold italics. All other references are in bold only