Babylon's Destruction
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69. Babylon's Destruction
Revelation 18.21-24

"Then a mighty angel picked up a large millstone size boulder and threw it into the sea, and said, 'With such violence, Babylon's great city will be thrown down, never to rise again. The harpists' music and musicians, pipers, and trumpeters will never be heard in you again. You will never again find in you trade workers or hear the millstone sound, a bright lamplight or the bridegroom and the bride's voices. Your merchants were the world's important people. You misled all the nations with your magic spell. You found the prophets' blood, God's holy people, and of all those slaughtered on the earth in her." (Revelation 18.21-24) ✞

Rome and Babylon

MartyrsThe picture here is of Ancient Rome's final devastation, disguised as Babylon city. It begins with a symbolic action. A strong angel takes a massive millstone-size boulder and hurls it into the sea, which closes over it as if it had never been. In this way, he obliterated Rome. John may be remembering the picture from the previous destruction of ancient Babylon.

All Music Silenced

Strabo's MapA similar occurrence also takes place in Jeremiah 51.63-64a when Jeremiah is told, "When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates River. Then say, 'So will Babylon sink to rising no more because of the disaster I will bring on her. And her people will fall.'" In later days, Strabo (BC 63-23 AD), the Greek geographer who drew a map of the known world between BC 7 and 18 AD, said that the obliteration of the ancient Babylon city was so complete that no one would ever have dared to say that the desert where she stood was once a great city. The word "Strabo" means "squinty." It was a term employed by the Romans for anyone with distorted or deformed eyes! Strabo traveled extensively to Egypt, Kush, and as far west as coastal Tuscany and as far south as Ethiopia. His encyclopedic "Geographica" covered almost all of Europe and the Mediterranean. It is the only surviving work providing information on Greek and Roman peoples and countries during the reign of Augustus. He described the British Isles, Gaul, Germania, the Alps, Italy, Greece, and beyond. He reportedly struggled in later years with the mysterious question of why seashells could be found so many miles from the sea and often embedded in rock!

No Rejoicing

EzekielNever again would there be any sound of rejoicing in Rome. Similarly, the doom call of Ezekiel 26.13 against Tyre reads, "I will put an end to your noisy songs, and hear your harp music no more." The harpers and the minstrels play and sing on joyous occasions. The festival and funeral flute, the games' trumpet, concerts, and all music goes quiet. Never again would you hear the sound of a craftsman plying his trade, nor will domestic activity again be heard in Babylon.

Women Grinding Grain

Grinding GrainThe city of Rome will never again hear the sound of women grinding grain on circular millstones or laughter at a wedding. Grinding grain was usually carried out by women at home. The grain mill has two millstones, one revolving on the top of the other. The bottom stone is stationary, and the top stone turns to grind the grain. Corn is placed into a hole in the uppermost millstone and emerges ground down as fine flour through the lower stone. The creak of the millstones will never again sound in ancient Rome.

Silent Desolate City

MartyrsRome is to become a silent, desolate city, and this punishment is for specific defined reasons. It will happen because she worships wealth, luxury, living wantonly, and finds no pleasure except material things. She leads people astray with her sorceries. Nahum 3.14 called Nineveh "alluring, the mistress of sorceries." Rome also flirts with evil powers to create a sinful world. She is guilty of bloodletting. "Woe to the city of bloodshed!" says Ezekiel 24.6 of Tyre. Within Rome, martyrs die, and persecution spreads out from there over all the earth.

Darkness Prevails

Afraid of the DarkNever again will there be a lamp's light on the streets or in the houses. Never again will there be the sound of wedding rejoicing, for even love will die. Jeremiah 25.10 uses the same word picture, "I will banish from them the joy and gladness sounds, the bride and bridegroom voices, the sound of millstones and the lamplight."

"Babylon's Destruction"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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