Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.
“The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore.
“The light of a lamp shall not shine in you anymore, and the voice of bridegroom and bride shall not be heard in you anymore. For your merchants were the great men of the earth, for by your sorcery all the nations were deceived.
“And in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.” 18:21-24
Like a Millstone in the Water
The angel gives John an object lesson. A millstone thrown into the sea, and sinking like a piece of concrete, exemplifies how Babylon also will sink. During the battle of Armageddon, proud, selfish, morally degraded Babylon will be thrown down. The queen of selfishness said, ‘I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.’ 18:7. During, and after the Battle of Armageddon, life as society knows it now, will be no more.
1. There will be no more parties with music. 18:22
2. No handyman will ply his trade. 18:22
3. No labourer will find a job. 18:22
4. There will be no more oil with which be brighten the night. 18:23
5. Mirth and happiness are forever left behind. 18:23
Babylon's fall will come because it was through the use of drugs and deceitfulness that businesses became wealthy, and also because in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth.
According to Foster***, the Babylon of chapter 17, is the system of wickedness found in false religions that is symbolized by the great whore, whereas the Babylon of chapter 18, is the great city...in the land of Shiner; a geographical Babylon. According to him Babylon, the capital city of the Antichrist, will be rebuilt. This interpretation seem illogical, when one notices the similarities and impossible situations between the Babylon of chapter 17 and the Babylon of chapter 18.
I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. 17:6
in her was found the blood of prophets and saints, and of all who were slain on the earth. 18:24 It goes without saying that not all martyrs for Christ have died in the city of Babylon in the land of Shiner. Therefore the Babylon in chapter 18 cannot be a physical city.
with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, 17:2
the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her. 18:3 Again, not all the kings of the earth have had affairs with the physical Babylon.
It seems as if the two separate descriptions of Babylon refer to the same entity; a system of wanton, reckless, selfish pleasure. Some suggest that two different authors penned these words. As was stated in my introduction to this blog, possibly the two manuscripts were later amalgamated.
That The Apocalypse needs to be rearranged, in order to be logical, is again proven by 18:21, which is written in the future tense, saying that Babylon will be thrown down. However, in 14:8 and in 18:2 (which appear sooner in the Bible) we are told that Babylon has already been cast down. We will look at these two verses later.
The Modern Curse
For by your sorcery all the nations were deceived. The Greek word for sorcery is pharmakia, obviously the word from which we get the word, pharmacy, and according to Vine+++, the primary meaning of pharmacy is medicine, drugs, spells. Deception is Babylon's trademark, and now she does it with drugs.
Signing contracts over drinks is common; alcohol loosens the mind and the mouth. It is deceptive to try to hide the true meaning of the words of a contract from the signer. The situation will be worse just before the end of time. Contracts will be signed “over drugs” rather than "over a drink". Drugs are much more potent and speedy than drink.
About the word, sorcery, Foster*** said, It refers to the administering of drugs. It is presently becoming a worldwide scourge. The use of drugs will become the chief means of deceiving the nations during the heyday of Babylon. Those who call...for the legalizing of drugs give us a portent of that day.
What is really scary and depressing to me is that Canada is now, at the National level, working on legislation which will legalize the recreational use of drugs by summer of 2018. Babylon is surely holding sway over the "kings" of the earth.
The smoke of their torment ascends up forever and ever. 14:11. In speaking of eternal punishment, Leon Morris wrote, We must not press statements about "fire", "death" and the like. But neither must we yield to a sentimental demand that they be watered down.
At the risk of sounding like a Bible rejecting modernist, here is a point worth making. If the city, Babylon, was not literal, but rather a representation of the sinfulness of humanity, we must also admit that the fire and smoke are not literal? Dare we also admit that forever and ever are not literal?
For more on this whole topic see:
While we are on this topic anyway, Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Romans 12:20. It is obvious that Paul was speaking symbolically. Can we not use the same symbolism for the word, fire, when referring to, the lake of fire.
Perhaps that phrase was never intended to be taken literally, just as Paul's statement cannot mean what he wrote. Changing it from literal to symbolic, of course, does not necessarily mitigate the punishment.
For those who argue that no human deserves that kind of punishment, it might be pointed out that all of humanity deserves that type of punishment, and that it is only because to the love and grace of Jehovah that many will be spared that punishment.
It has also been said that some Jewish writers were not above using "scare tactics" to cause people to choose the "straight and narrow". Preachers of a generation ago also did that a lot. Bible scholars say that Christ spoke more about eternal punishment than any other New Testament personality did. I find it impossible to believe that He would have used "scare tactics" to present a teaching that is not true.
*** Shadow of the Antichrist, Ivan Foster
+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine,