Revelation 18:21-24: Further thoughts.

“21 Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said:

‘With such violence
    the great city of Babylon will be thrown down,
    never to be found again.
22 The music of harpists and musicians, pipers and trumpeters,
    will never be heard in you again.
No worker of any trade
    will ever be found in you again.
The sound of a millstone
    will never be heard in you again.
23 The light of a lamp
    will never shine in you again.
The voice of bridegroom and bride
    will never be heard in you again.
Your merchants were the world’s important people.
    By your magic spell all the nations were led astray.
24 In her was found the blood of prophets and of God’s holy people,
    of all who have been slaughtered on the earth.’ NIV


Before moving on into chapter 19, here are two further thoughts on this passage:

‘Any institution that misuses wealth, power and pleasure resembles Babylon. Not only does John judge Babylon, but he implores his people to avoid being enticed and then entrapped by the illusion that prosperity and power protect persons and institutions from the ultimate demands of God’s justice. That message has contemporary relevance. The seductive powers of wealth, social status, and culture threaten the church because they are subtle deceivers that blur the distinction between the values of God and the    values of the world.’ Asbury Bible Commentary.

‘Babylon is a city founded on violence, not only the blood of the martyrs. Babylon has been at the centre of a network of violence that spanned the world, and all who have been slaughtered on earth have, in a sense, been slaughtered at the behest of Babylon. The merchants have grown rich on the back of military conquest. Money and power have done their collective worst, and John lumps them together, as we have seen, under the metaphor of fornication. Babylon the whore is gone, and will not return. And we, who live in the shadow of modern Babylon’s, can and must shudder as we too, watch the plume of smoke and smell the bitter smell.’ Tom Wright: ‘Revelation for Everyone’, p.166.

(For further study see Jer.51:60,61,63&64/Nahum 3:14/Deut.19:16-20).