Revelation 18.21-24 – Addicted to the system

Today is the death knell for Babylon, the final stages of judgement against a fallen world that no one city is responsible for, yet all have Babylon-esque characteristics in them somewhere.

21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying,

“So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more;

22 and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,

will be heard in you no more,

and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more,

and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more,

23 and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more,

and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more,

for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,

and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.

24 And in her was found the blood of prophets and of saints,

and of all who have been slain on earth.”

In Matthew 18.6 we see the imagery of the millstone, and here an angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, showing the final judgement has come. We saw this prophesied in Jeremiah 51.61-64, and the accuracy with which he spoke is chilling.

In vv.22-24 we see this repetition of the words ‘no more’;

22 and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters,

will be heard in you no more,

and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more,

and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more,

23 and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more,

and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more,

for your merchants were the great ones of the earth,

and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.

Simply, all industry and commerce, everything human, fleshly, and of a worldly nature will just cease to be, will stop, will come to an end. As we progress into chapters 19 to 22 of Revelation we will see why there is no need for this kind of activity anyway.

This fleshly, wordly system, the world system at large is like a drug addiction. The word we read as sorcery is pharmakia in Greek…sound familiar? Sounds like pharmacy right, a place where drugs are prepared and distributed.


The fleshly, worldly system is like a drug addiction, and all nations have been deceived by it and become enslaved to it.


There is no one city that is responsible, remember, Babylon is representative of this system, and because of this we all need to pause and think; do I have any of this in me? Because there is nowhere that we could have come from that has not been influenced by the fallen ways of mankind, we all need to stop and think; am I living – at least in part – in Babylon?

Where is my treasure?

What do I hold as precious and important?

1 Peter tells us that Jesus is precious to those that believe, He is a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in Him will not be put to shame (2.6).

So, what is precious to us, that which is represented by commercial Babylon here, or that which Jesus is?

Revelation 18.15-20 – Sad for selfish wealth

Today, more of the same in that commercial Babylon aka worldly selfish living is being judged and more people are lamenting this.

15 The merchants of these wares, who gained wealth from her, will stand far off, in fear of her torment, weeping and mourning aloud,

16 “Alas, alas,

for the great city that was clothed in fine linen,

in purple and scarlet,

adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls!

17 For in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste.”

And all shipmasters and seafaring men, sailors and all whose trade is on the sea, stood far off 18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning,

“What city was like the great city?”

19 And they threw dust on their heads as they wept and mourned, crying out,

“Alas, alas,

for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth!

For in a single hour she has been laid waste.

20 Rejoice over her, O heaven,

and you saints and apostles and prophets,

for God has given judgment for you against her!”

The merchants of the non-essential luxuries are pretty sad today, to say the least, they weep and mourn aloud. They’re cut up because the luxuries they sell to the rich are never to be seen again, and because of this they lose their trade, they cease to make money from the rich.

Interestingly, in a single hour all this wealth has been laid waste…how fickle and finite wealth is. My Grandmother used to say, rather morbidly, that “There are no pockets in shrouds, and you can’t take it with you.” What she means is that wealth accumulated in this life stays in this life. Wealth laid up in heaven is wealth laid up where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. Jesus said that where our treasure is, so our heart is, and we see that here with the mourning and weeping of the merchants.

The shipmasters and seafaring men too are making money from transporting goods to and from money-minded places, and they too lament, Alas, alas, for the great city where all who had ships at sea grew rich by her wealth!.

Then, the quesiton for us, should we rejoice over the judgement? For God has given judgement for you (you saints and apostles and prophets) against her.

So, should we rejoice when judgement comes, that others are being made to eat the cake of the ingredients they have been baking with, being made to lie in the bed they have made? Do we rejoice at this?

No, we shouldn’t. We should never rejoice to see others suffering.

However, we can rejoice in the righteousness of God, we should rejoice in the fact that He does what He will say He will do. That thinking extends to all the promises He has made because our God is a God of absolutes; He is absolute power, absolute knowledge, absolute wisdom, absolute love, He cannot change, He cannot lie…so when He says He will do something, He will do it. He says He will judge immorality, but He also says that there is everlasting eternal life for those who by faith believe in the name of Jesus.

What God says is true, tried, and tested…what we do with this is, through His grace and benevolence, up to us.