Revelation 18:21

Friday, 25 June 2021

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.  Revelation 18:21

With the description of the mourning of those on the earth and the rejoicing of those in heaven complete, a description of what the words “one hour” noted in verses 18:10, 18:17, and 18:19 is now given. That term was repeated to show that the destruction of Babylon would be quick. Now, showing how violently it will occur, and beginning with, “Then a mighty angel.”

The Greek reads, “one mighty angel.” Because of the wording, it is may not the same as the one mentioned in verse 18:1. Words comparable to Revelation 18:21-24 are found in Jeremiah 25:8-11, and those words are spoken by the Lord. Therefore, this is at least an angel appointed by the Lord for this particular time, or it could be another revelation of Christ Himself.

Either way, it says this angel “took up a stone like a great millstone.” A stone like a millstone signifies one round and very heavy. They were about two feet in diameter and about twelve inches thick. There were two of them. The bottom would not move. The top one would be turned by a handle or crank affixed to it. Two people would sit opposite one another. The first took the handle and turned it halfway. Then the other person would grab it and turn it the other half of the way.

The meaning of “like a millstone” can only be speculated on, but being round, it could signify an asteroid or a nuclear weapon. Whatever it is, it will be something that will catastrophically wipe out the entire city. The words next say, “and threw it into the sea.” This would be for effect. Throwing a heavy, circular-shaped stone into the sea would cause the water to splash up in all directions, just as the land would be heaved up in all directions when a large asteroid or nuke lands on it.

With this demonstration of destruction, the angel is “saying, ‘Thus with violence.’” In this, a word found only here in Scripture is used, horméma. It signifies “a rushing on,” or “impulse.” There will be a great and sudden impulse that overflows the city. It is possible that it is an advancing army, but they would have to come through exceedingly quickly and with extreme violence. Whatever is the cause of the ruin, the final words of the verse explain the complete nature of her destruction, saying, “the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.”

Babylon will come to a complete and permanent end. The words of this verse were prophetically anticipated through the words of Jeremiah –

“Now it shall be, when you have finished reading this book, that you shall tie a stone to it and throw it out into the Euphrates. 64 Then you shall say, ‘Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise from the catastrophe that I will bring upon her. And they shall be weary.’” Jeremiah 51:63, 64

What happened to ancient Babylon was a type of what is coming upon Babylon the great. Whether this is Rome or not, but which seems exceedingly likely, this great city will be completely wiped out. There will be absolute ruin of it, and it will remain desolate as a witness to her complete apostasy for all ages.

Life application: In Daniel 2, we read the account of a dream the king of Babylon had concerning a giant statue made of different materials. Here is a portion of that–

“This great image, whose splendor was excellent, stood before you; and its form was awesome. 32 This image’s head was of fine gold, its chest and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, 33 its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. 34 You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. 35 Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.” Daniel 2:31-35

Daniel went on to explain that this statue represented a series of world empires – Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome. Each of these was directly involved in the affairs of the Jewish people and controlled the land of Israel. Yes, other world powers have come and gone, but it is these that are the focus of the prophetic events.

Understanding the symbolism of this vision, and others in Daniel, it appears to confirm that the Rome which was will also be again. In other words, the Roman Empire is being reconstructed in the end times and will have a major bearing on the nation of Israel during the tribulation period. It is where the antichrist will come from. However, further down in the Daniel 2 account, we read –

“And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.” Daniel 2:44

“Those kings” is referring to the same 10 kings mentioned already in Revelation (note that human feet have 10 toes which correspond to the 10 kings). The symbolism in this verse, which was of a millstone being cast into the sea, corresponds to the striking of Daniel’s image on the feet. It is a violent and sudden destruction of this line of power that reaches back through the ages.

This did not occur in the past as preterists claim. Rather, the Roman Empire simply faded away from the world scene. But its underlying control and power remain in a latent form. It is coming together again, even before our eyes as the nations of Europe struggle to form a unit that will work for them. So far, the EU has not worked out well, and it will be refined until it matches the prophecies of Scripture. As this occurs, the world is rushing headlong into its final hour.

The scene of the millstone must have been marvelous to John’s eyes, and he certainly stood in awe at the splendor of how Babylon the great will meet its final moment.

Human history has been marching along, and the wickedness of false religion – mixed with world power – has been great and will grow even greater in the end times. But the kingdom of our Lord and Savior is far, far greater. Soon it will come in all its splendor, and He will sit on His throne in glory. The Old Testament prophets speak in detail about that coming kingdom and what it will be like. It will be a time of awe and wonder on earth. It is coming soon to a Millennial Kingdom near you, and the center of its focus will be JESUS!

O Lord Jesus! How great it will be to see You exalted among the nations and to know that only the glory of Your kingdom will be acknowledged. Babylon will be gone forever and ever – never to be remembered again. But You, O Christ, will reign in glory and in the majesty of Your throne. How our hearts long for that day! Hallelujah and Amen.