Revelation 18:21
And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.
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(21) And a mighty angel . . .—The taking up of the stone and casting it into the waters is a symbol drawn from Jeremiah (Jeremiah 51). Jeremiah enjoined Seraiah to bind the prophetic roll to a great stone, and cast them together into the Euphrates. The meaning of the act was explained—“Thus shall Babylon sink and shall not rise,” &c. (Jeremiah 51:63-64). The great dead mass, sinking helplessly by the law of its own weight, signified a fall past recovery. So Pharaoh and his host sank like lead in the mighty waters. It is the doom Christ foreshadowed as awaiting those who caused His children to fall (Matthew 18:6). The mighty angel, strong to lift the ponderous stone, throws it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence (or, with a bound) shall Babylon, the great city, be thrown, and shall not be found any more. At one bound, without a single resting-stage in its downward career, without chance or power of recovery, the vast world-city would fall. She who sat as a queen upon many waters, sinks as a stone in the mighty waters. She will not be found any more. The words “any more,” or “no more,” are repeated in these verses no less than six times, like a funeral knell over the departed greatness which is described.

18:20-24 That which is matter of rejoicing to the servants of God on earth, is matter of rejoicing to the angels in heaven. The apostles, who are honoured and daily worshipped at Rome in an idolatrous manner, will rejoice in her fall. The fall of Babylon was an act of God's justice. And because it was a final ruin, this enemy should never molest them any more; of this they were assured by a sign. Let us take warning from the things which brought others to destruction, and let us set our affections on things above, when we consider the changeable nature of earthly things.And a mighty angel - See the notes on Revelation 18:1. This seems, however, to have been a different angel from the one mentioned in Revelation 18:1, though, like that, he is described as having great power.

Took up a stone like a great millstone - On the structure of mills among the ancients see the notes on Matthew 24:41.

And cast it into the sea - As an emblem of the utter ruin of the city; an indication that the city would be as completely destroyed as that stone was covered by the waters.

Saying, Thus with violence - With force, as the stone was thrown into the sea. The idea is, that it would not be by a gentle and natural decline, but by the application of foreign power. This accords with all the representations in this book, that violence will be employed to overthrow the papal power. See Revelation 17:16-17. The origin of this image is probably Jeremiah 51:63-64; "And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates; and thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring on her."

21. a—Greek, "one."

millstone—Compare the judgment on the Egyptian hosts at the Red Sea, Ex 15:5, 10; Ne 9:11, and the foretold doom of Babylon, the world power, Jer 51:63, 64.

with violence—Greek, "with impetus." This verse shows that this prophecy is regarded as still to be fulfilled.

And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea; for a sign or symbol of the irreparable ruin of Rome, signified by that great millstone which had ground to powder so many of God’s holy ones. By this sign God shows his prophet:

1. That Rome shall be ruined.

2. That it shall be done with violence.

3. That it shall be a total, utter ruin, from whence it shall never recover.

And a mighty angel,.... Not Christ, nor one of the ministering spirits, but some man or set of men, perhaps the same with him in Revelation 18:1

took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea; just as Jeremiah took a stone and bound it to his book after he had read it, and cast it into the river Euphrates, as a sign and token of the destruction of old Babylon, Jeremiah 51:63

saying, thus with violence shall that great city be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all; which is expressive of the utter destruction of Rome, and of the violence, force, and power with which it will be destroyed, and of the suddenness and swiftness of its destruction, and of the irrecoverableness of its state and condition.

{13} And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

(13) The third prediction, as I said see Geneva Re 18:1 based on a sign, and the interpretation of it: the interpretation of it is in two sorts, first by a simple proposal of the thing itself, in this verse, and then by declaration of the events, in the verses following.

Revelation 18:21-24. Finally, a mighty angel in representing the impending sudden destruction of the great city, by casting a great stone into the sea, not only in his speech explaining this symbolical act, describes, by individual vivid features, the transformation into desolate silence of the pleasure and magnificence that have hitherto prevailed, but also points definitely to the guilt of the city as the ground of the judgment.

εἰς ἄγγελος ἰσχυοὸς. On εἰς in the indefinite sense, cf. Revelation 8:13. The might of the angel is especially emphasized, because this is demanded for his action.[4003]

ΛΊΘΟΝ Ὡς ΜΎΛΙΝΟΝ ΜΈΓΑΝ. By the comparison ῶς ΜΎΛ. ΜΈΓ., the greatness of the stone is illustrated.[4004] The meaning of the act[4005] is described well by Andr., since he holds to the literal interpretation of the angel: ΚΑΘἈΠΕΡ, ΦΗΣῚΝ, Ὁ ΜΎΛΟς ΚΑΤΑΔΎΕΙ ὉΡΜΉΜΑΤΙ ΕἸς ΤῊΝ ΘΆΛΑΣΣΑΝ, ΟὝΤΩ ΚΑῚ Ἡ Τῆς ΒΑΒΥΛῶΝΟς ΤΑΎΤΗς ἈΘΡΌΟΝ ἜΣΤΑΙ ΚΑΘΑΊΡΕΣΙς, ὬΣΤΕ ΜΉΤΕ ἼΧΝΟς ΑὐΤῆς ΦΥΛΑΧΘῆΝΑΙ ΕἸς ΤῸ ΜΕΤΈΠΕΙΤΑ.[4006] Here it is likewise remarkable that Andr. does not see that he is led to substitute for the expression Ὁ ΜΎΛΟς, which is unusual as a designation of a millstone, that which is ordinarily employed, and how he correctly paraphrases the ὈΡΜΉΜΑΤΙ[4007] by ἈΘΡΌΟΝ.

Concerning Οὐ ΜῊ with aor. subj., Revelation 18:21 sqq.,[4008] see Winer, p. 471.

The description, Revelation 18:22 sqq., which refers not only to objects of pleasure and luxury, but also to daily wants and natural relations of life, has the model of Ezekiel 26:13, Jeremiah 25:10,[4009] as its foundation; the ἘΡΉΜΩΣΙς of the city (Revelation 18:16; Revelation 18:19; Revelation 17:16)[4010] is illustrated in a concrete way.

Πᾶς ΤΕΧΝΊΤΗς ΠΑΣ. ΤΈΧΝΗς. The exhaustive conclusion of the category, of which several individual examples are mentioned.[4011] ὍΤΙ ΟἹ ἜΜΠΟΡΟΙ ΣΟΥ, Κ.Τ.Λ. Very suitably, the discourse of the angel concludes with a definite presentation of the guilt of the city. This, however, is stated in a threefold way from Revelation 18:1 on:[4012] first, the unprecedented luxury in which the city had indulged, because of its wealth;[4013] then the licentiousness into which she had led astray all nations and kings, as she brought all the world thither to her service and to acknowledge her as the divine queen;[4014] finally, her bloody hostility to the saints.[4015] All three points[4016] the angel emphasizes, sealing, as it were, his announcement of judgment with this establishment of guilt; the first, in the words ὍΤΙ ΟἹ ἜΜΠΟΡΟΊ ΣΟΥ ἮΣΑΝ ΟἹ ΜΕΓΙΣΤᾶΝΕς Τῆς Γῆς,[4017] “because thy merchants were the great men of the earth,” i.e., because they who brought thee the objects of thy luxurious life found in thy wealth and extravagance a source of their own wealth, which made them the great men of the earth;[4018] the second, in the words ὅτι ἐν τῇ φαρμακείᾳ σου, κ.τ.λ., which cannot be understood as a foundation of what immediately precedes,[4019] but are co-ordinate with the first expression ὅτι οἱ ἔαποροι, κ.τ.λ., since here the same object is described as in Revelation 17:2; Revelation 17:4, and the seductive sorcery[4020] is in fact nothing else than the intoxicating wine of the harlot. The most important third point of the guilt is finally emphasized with especial force, Revelation 18:24, by the change in the form of the discourse. Not in an apostrophe to the city, but in a judgment of firm objectivity, it is here finally established that in the city the blood of prophets and of saints, and of all those slain upon earth (for Christ’s sake), “was found.” In an exquisite manner the ΕὐΡΈΘΗ indicates how the blood, which has been shed “upon the earth,” was reckoned “to the city.” The city is the capital of the entire empire, hating and murdering believers; as a matter of fact also, in the Neronian universal persecution, it took the lead of its empire.

In violation of the context, Ew. ii. understands the ΠΆΝΤ. Τ. ἙΣΦ., Κ.Τ.Λ., of those not Christians.

[4003] Cf. Revelation 5:2, 18.

[4004] Cf. Revelation 11:1, Revelation 8:8.

[4005] Cf. Jeremiah 51:63 sqq.

[4006] [“Just as, he says, the millstone sinks by its impulse into the sea, so also the destruction of this Babylon shall be all at once, so that not a trace of it shall be preserved for posterity.”]

[4007] Cf. Matthew 8:32 with its parallels.

[4008] Also Revelation 18:7.

[4009] Cf. Jeremiah 7:34, Jeremiah 14:9, Jeremiah 33:11.

[4010] Cf. Jeremiah 7:34.

[4011] Cf. Revelation 18:14; Revelation 18:17.

[4012] Cf. ch. 17.

[4013] Revelation 18:3; Revelation 18:7; Revelation 18:11 sqq.

[4014] Cf. Revelation 18:3; Revelation 18:6 sq., 9, Revelation 17:2.

[4015] Cf. Revelation 17:6.

[4016] Cf. Ewald.

[4017] Cf. Isaiah 23:8.

[4018] Cf. Revelation 6:15. So Ewald, De Wette, Hengstenb., etc. Eichh. improperly regards the οί ἔμπ. σου as the predicate, as he besides regards “the merchandise” as a figurative designation for “fornication.”

[4019] Against Hengstenb.

[4020] φαρμακεία refers to the love-potions of the harlot. Cf. Isaiah 47:9Revelation 18:21-24 : a rhythmic song of doom, introduced by a symbolic action partly imitated from Jeremiah 51:63-64.

21. a mighty angel] Lit., one strong angel.

cast it into the sea &c.] Jeremiah 51:63-64.

with violence] Lit., with a rush or dash. R. V. “with a mighty fall.”

Verse 21. - And a mighty angel took up a stone like a groat millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying; add one strong angel (cf. the "mighty voice" in ver. 2; also Revelation 10:1, and elsewhere). The adjective, of course, refers to the mightiness of the deed wrought (cf. Jeremiah 51:61-64, "Thou shall bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates; and thou shall say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise," etc.). The sea may be typical of the nations of the earth (see Revelation 13:1). Thus with violence shall that groat city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all; Thus with a mighty fall shall Babylon, the great city, be cast down, etc. (Revised Version). Alford translates "with a rush;" ὅρμημα is peculiar to this passage. The complete nature of this extinction is indicated by the frequency of the words, "no more at all," in vers. 21-23. Revelation 18:21A mighty angel (εἷς ἄγγελος ἰσχυρὸς)

Lit., "one strong angel."

A great millstone

See on Matthew 18:6.

With violence (ὁρμήματι)

Lit. with an impulse or rush. Only here in the New Testament.

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