The following passage describes the fall of Babylon/Rome. I will be destroyed with great violence, so much so, the city “will never be found again”. The city’s music makers will not be heard. The city’s economy (craftsmen and trades) will be gone. Food will be gone (a sound of milling), and no night lights will shine. Even the joyous sounds of a marriage will not be heard. The city is completed laid waste.
The Destruction of Babylon
21 And one mighty angel took up a stone like a millstone1 and threw it into the sea2, saying,
“With this same violence, Babylon, the great city
will be thrown down3,
and she will never4 be found again.
22 And a sound of harpists, musicians,
flutists, and trumpeters
will never be heard in you again.
And every craftsmen, and every trade
will never be found in you again.
And a sound of a mill
will never be heard in you again.
23 And a light of a lamp
will never shine in you again.
And a voice of a bridegroom and bride
will never be heard in you again5
because the merchants were the important people of the earth6 ,
for in your sorcery7, all the nations
have been deceived8, lead astray,
24 and in her was found the blood of prophets, saints,
and all who were slain9 on the earth.”
1 The millstone would have been very large and would have weighed several tons. It was used to grind large amounts of grain. It was so large that it was turned by donkeys.
If anyone causes the little ones to sin, it would be better for that one to be thrown in the sea with a millstone around his or her neck.
2 In the days before the flood, life went on as usual despite the most unusual nature of the coming days. So it will be in the days to come.
3 An allusion to Jeremiah 51:59-64.
4 οὐ μὴ (never)
Greek: “not not”. The double “nots” is emphatic. It will appear throughout this passage.
5 The preceding passage is an allusion to Jeremiah 25:10.
6 In other words, the city’s greed ruled the day. This is an allusion to Isaiah 23:8 where the merchants were the “princes of the earth”. Beale* says that these merchants put more faith in themselves and the economic system rather than God. For this reason, they are being judged. (Pg. 921).
Where one places faith has always been the issue.
7 τῇ φαρμακείᾳ (sorcery)
The use of magic involving drugs and the casting of spells on people. Here, it describes the evil demonic way that the great city deceived the world and turned it to idolatry. Osborne*** (Pg. 658), Mounce** (Pg. 335), and Beale* (Pg. 922).
8 ἐπλανήθησαν (have been deceived)
Greek: “have been lead astray”.
9 ἐσφαγμένων (slain)
We are told again that deception leads to death. The snake smiles now, but his end is in view.
NT = New Testament
OT = Old Testament
ESV = English Standard Version
NASB = New American Standard Bible
NIV = New International Version
KJV = King James Version
TR = Textus Receptus (A late Byzantine Greek text of the NT. A
predecessor of the TR was used in the translation of the KJV)
LXX = Septuagint (Greek translation of the OT)
The Greek New Testament with Greek-English Dictionary B. Aland (Editor), K. Aland (Editor), J. Karavidopoulos (Editor), B. M. Metzger (Editor), C. M. Martini (Editor)
(BDAG) A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd Edition Walter Bauer (Author), Frederick William Danker (Editor)
A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament Bruce M. Metzger
(Kittel) Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (VOLUMES 1-10) Gerhard Kittel (Editor), Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Translator)
*The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, Mich.).) G. K. Beale
**The Book of Revelation (The New International Commentary on the New Testament) Robert H. Mounce
***Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) Grant R. Osborne
+Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics Daniel B. Wallace
++An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek C. F. D. Moule
+++Biblical Greek (Scripta Pontificii Instituti Biblici) Maximilian Zerwick
A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament Max Zerwick (Author), Mary Grosvenor (Author)