The symbolism of this act assures the destruction of Babylon. A mighty angel, picking up an object larger than any man can imagine lifting, indicates that Babylon’s destruction will be accomplished with superhuman power. Not only does the angel pick the large boulder up, but he throws it into the sea, meaning the angel had no trouble lifting and hurling this massive object into the sea.
The angel’s words indicate further that he did not gently lob the boulder into the sea, but he forcefully threw it, smashing it into the sea to illustrate the ‘violence’ about which he speaks.
Nehemiah 9:11 You divided the sea before them, so that they passed through it on dry ground, but you hurled their pursuers into the depths, like a stone into mighty waters.
Matthew 18:6 But if anyone causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a large millstone hung around his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.
The angel’s action confirms his words. As the boulder disappears beneath the waves, impossible to be found again, so Babylon will never rise again.
Jeremiah 51:62-64 Then say, 'O LORD, you have said you will destroy this place, so that neither man nor animal will live in it; it will be desolate forever.' 63When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it and throw it into the Euphrates. 64Then say, 'So will Babylon sink to rise no more because of the disaster I will bring upon her. And her people will fall.'" The words of Jeremiah end here.'
How life in Babylon will cease to exist, are recorded in three instances: first, the joy of music and musicians will disappear; Second, the workmen will never return and manufacture things; Third, the millstone will never grind in Babylon. These three instances are symbols of mankind’s lifestyle: joy and entertainment, work and trade, and provision for basic needs. All these will never occur in Babylon again.
Everything will be in darkness and because there will be no more hope in the future, the symbol of bridegroom and bride is used to indicate Babylon’s desolation. Her greed enticed the merchants to elevate themselves to become ‘great men’ but by her cunning, she led them astray so that she may reign over the entire world.
Jeremiah 7:34 I will bring an end to the sounds of joy and gladness and to the voices of bride and bridegroom in the towns of Judah and the streets of Jerusalem, for the land will become desolate.
Jeremiah 25:10 I will banish from them the sounds of joy and gladness, the voices of bride and bridegroom, the sound of millstones and the light of the lamp.
Ezekiel 26:13 I will put an end to your noisy songs, and the music of your harps will be heard no more.
Isaiah 24:8, 9 The gaiety of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the revelers has stopped, the joyful harp is silent. 9No longer do they drink wine with a song; the beer is bitter to its drinkers.
Under the guise of continued wealth, profitable trade and good relations with the world, the merchants promoted secular thinking that God does not exist and that humanists are the rulers of the world. They elevated Babylon and influenced the nations not to believe in the living God but in themselves.
The angel continues with his announcement, saying, that she is guilty of the blood of the martyrs for Christ. The angel broadens his accusation against her by saying that the blood of Jesus’ witnesses is found not only in Babylon, but ‘on the earth.’ So, she is also guilty of having spilled the blood of ‘prophets and of the saints’ all over the world because her evil spirit spread throughout the entire world, bedeviling people with pride and self-righteousness, killing those who oppose them.
Revelation 18:3 For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.
Isaiah 47:15 That is all they can do for you--these you have labored with and trafficked with since childhood. Each of them goes on in his error; there is not one that can save you.
Jeremiah 51:7 Babylon was a gold cup in the LORD'S hand; she made the whole earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore they have now gone mad.
Lamentations 4:5 Those who once ate delicacies are destitute in the streets. Those nurtured in purple now lie on ash heaps.
The day is approaching in which God will revenge the blood of his witnesses, answering the petition of the martyrs under the altar.
Again they shouted ‘hallelujah’ indicating that they spontaneously repeat their glorification of God’s name because of their great joy. The smoke going up from her for eternity is testimony of God’s just judgment, the fulfilling of the prophecies proving his prophets were true prophets and that the words they spoke truly came from Him, and testimony that the blood of the saints have been revenged. The punishment prophesied about Babylon was exacted in full measure and the proof is there for all to see as an eternal example.
Isaiah 34:10 It will not be quenched night and day; its smoke will rise forever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever pass through it again.
Jude 1:7 In a similar way, Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding towns gave themselves up to sexual immorality and perversion. They serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.
The 24 elders and the four living creatures continually praise God, saying, ‘Amen’ which means ‘it is so’ and then Hallelujah, confirming that God is great and merciful, and that it is so.
John mentions that the voice he hears now is not that of God or the Lamb, but a heavenly voice calling on all the saved to praise God. We can reasonably infer that the voice is that of an angel and not God or the Lamb, because he personalized the call by saying ‘our’ God. Everyone who fears God is called to praise and glorify God, small and great, indicating that no one should be excluded.
Psalm 103:20-22 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. 22Praise the LORD, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Psalm 134:1 raise the LORD, all you servants of the LORD who minister by night in the house of the LORD.
Psalm 135:1 Praise the LORD. Praise the name of the LORD; praise him, you servants of the LORD.
Psalm 148:13 Let them praise the name of the LORD, for his name alone is exalted; his splendor is above the earth and the heavens.
Once again John compares the roar of the great multitude with that of rushing waters and loud peals of thunder. The multitude expresses their confidence and comfort in the fact that ‘our Lord God Almighty reigns.’
The saints call on one another to rejoice and give glory to God for what he has done. They praise Him that the wedding of the Lamb is imminent. They praise Him that Christ’s bride is ready.
The relationship of Christ with his church is symbolized as a marriage, Christ being the bridegroom and his church his bride, which is why Israel’s unfaithfulness is called adultery and prostitution.
Isaiah 54:5, 6 "For your Maker is your husband--the LORD Almighty is his name--the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth. 6The LORD will call you back as if you were a wife deserted and distressed in spirit--a wife who married young, only to be rejected," says your God.
Jeremiah 3:1 "If a man divorces his wife and she leaves him and marries another man, should he return to her again? Would not the land be completely defiled? But you have lived as a prostitute with many lovers--would you now return to me?" declares the LORD.
Ephesians 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word 27and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.
When Jesus returns, he is presented as the bridegroom and his assembly as the bride and the eternal bliss will be as a wedding festival.
Matthew 9:15 Jesus answered, "How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast."
John 3:29 The bride belongs to the bridegroom. The friend who attends the bridegroom waits and listens for him, and is full of joy when he hears the bridegroom's voice. That joy is mine, and it is now complete.
II Corinthians 11:2 I am jealous for you with a godly jealousy. I promised you to one husband, to Christ, so that I might present you as a pure virgin to him.
Towards this holy encounter, the church, his bride, prepares herself by remaining pure and undefiled with the world and worldly desires.
I Corinthians 6:7, 8 The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. Why not rather be wronged? Why not rather be cheated? 8Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.
II Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
I Timothy 1:5 The goal of this command is love, which comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near to God with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
James 1:27 Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
James 3:17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.
I Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.
I John 3:3 Everyone who has this hope in him purifies himself, just as he is pure.
The best was given to her to wear, by the grace of God. She earned nothing, but was found ‘kicking in her blood’ when the Lord ‘passed by’. He nurtured her to life, beauty, and his bride.
Ezekiel 16:4-6, 9, 10, 13 On the day you were born your cord was not cut, nor were you washed with water to make you clean, nor were you rubbed with salt or wrapped in cloths. 5No one looked on you with pity or had compassion enough to do any of these things for you. Rather, you were thrown out into the open field, for on the day you were born you were despised. 6Then I passed by and saw you kicking about in your blood, and as you lay there in your blood I said to you, "Live!" 9"I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you, 10 clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. 13So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was fine flour, honey and olive oil. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen."
Fine linen depicted here is a symbol of the lifestyle of those living in accordance with the Word of God, which bears the fruit of a righteous relationship with Christ in faith – the elect.
Ezekiel 16:10 I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put leather sandals on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments.
Romans 6:22, 23 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life, 23for the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Ephesians 2:10 For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Philippians 1:10, 11 So that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, 11filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ--to the glory and praise of God.
The angel instructs John to write down his words, because they are very important to the church on earth for their perseverance and comfort. These words reflect the purpose of God to gather for him a people of his own choosing. The blessed are invited they cannot merely show up.
Matthew 22:11-14 "But when the king came in to see the guests, he noticed a man there who was not wearing wedding clothes. 12'Friend,' he asked, 'how did you get in here without wedding clothes?' The man was speechless. 13Then the king told the attendants, 'Tie him hand and foot, and throw him outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' 14For many are invited, but few are chosen."
The angel adds to these words the confirmation that ‘these are the true words of God’ not that John had any doubt, but that mankind should know that this is so – not only the elect, but also the reprobate so that they should have no excuse when they are ‘thrown outside into the darkness.’
John 15:22 If I had not come and spoken to them, they would not be guilty of sin. Now, however, they have no excuse for their sin.
The instruction to John to write these words down and make them known to the church on earth satisfies the requirement of John 15:22, in which the unbelievers have been told and thus they have no excuse for not believing.
Overwhelmed at what he witnessed, John obeys the urge to worship God, not immediately realizing that he is falling at the feet of a creature, an angel, and not God. The angel rebukes John without hesitation not to worship him, proclaiming his humble status as a ‘fellow servant.’
It would have been the ideal opportunity for the angel to bask in the glory of being worshiped, if he had any tendency to claim glory for himself, as Satan had done, but instead, he responds with an instant rebuke, ‘Do not do it!’ The angel’s admission is quite a revelation in itself, as he sees himself as a ‘fellow servant with [John] and [his] brothers who hold to the testimony of Jesus.’ One might have expected that the angel would have rebuked John from a position of a somewhat higher authority since the angel serves in a higher capacity than John does at the time; John being in the flesh while the angel is in the spirit. Instead, the angel remains appropriately humble identifying himself as someone who also holds ‘to the testimony of Jesus.’
Since we know that Jesus did not die for angels but for humans only, the angels that serve in heaven – the elect angels – are those who remain faithful to eternity, setting them apart from the fallen angels who forever fell from grace when they allied themselves with Satan, never to be redeemed.
This angel, therefore, is giving us a valuable peek into the work and purpose of the elect angels in heaven, being ‘fellow servants’ with us; holding to the testimony of Jesus even in heaven, without which they would not be there; and worshiping and glorifying God.
Psalm 34:7 The angel of the LORD encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
Psalm 91:11, 12 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways. 12They will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.
Hebrews 1:14 Are not all angels ministering spirits sent to serve those who will inherit salvation?
Which is why the angel not only rebukes John, as we ought to rebuke one another, but he then instructs John the correct way to proceed, “Worship God!” It is a grave sin to worship any one other than God.
Exodus 34:14 Do not worship any other god, for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
Psalm 103:20, 21 Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. 21Praise the LORD, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will.
Matthew 4:10 Jesus said to him, "Away from me, Satan! For it is written: 'Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.'"
The angel explains the rationale behind the instruction, which is ‘the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.’ This is a direct confirmation that Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit are not inventions of the New Testament, but testimony of Jesus exists in all prophecy, He being the spirit according to which prophets prophesied. The prophets knew this and they searched intently and with great care trying to pinpoint the times and circumstances of their prophecies, which the Spirit of Christ revealed to them.
Nehemiah 9:30 … By your Spirit you admonished them through your prophets…
I Peter 1:10-12 Concerning this salvation, the prophets, who spoke of the grace that was to come to you, searched intently and with the greatest care, 11trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12It was revealed to them that they were not serving themselves but you, when they spoke of the things that have now been told you by those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven. Even angels long to look into these things.
II Peter 1:20, 21 Above all, you must understand that no prophecy of Scripture came about by the prophet's own interpretation, 21for prophecy never had its origin in the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
The war is about to begin. In verses 11 to 16, the deployment of Christ’s forces is described.
Previously, John only saw an opened door to heaven. Now, however, heaven was standing open so that the mobilization can take place. The rider of the white horse is called the same names as Jesus, Faithful and True, identifying Him as the rider and the Supreme Commander of this battle.
Psalm 45:3, 4 Gird your sword upon your side, O mighty one; clothe yourself with splendor and majesty. 4In your majesty ride forth victoriously in behalf of truth, humility and righteousness; let your right hand display awesome deeds.
Psalm 99:4 The King is mighty, he loves justice--you have established equity; in Jacob you have done what is just and right.
Isaiah 11:4 But with righteousness he will judge the needy, with justice he will give decisions for the poor of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth; with the breath of his lips he will slay the wicked.
In Revelation 1:14 we first saw one like the ‘son of man’ identified with eyes like blazing fire, and here, too, we see the same son of man on a white horse wearing many crowns. His names are that of the Son of God and the unspecified number of crowns indicating his unlimited power as opposed to the specific number of crowns of the beast. It is, therefore, the infinite opposed to the finite.
No one knows the name of the white horse’s rider because his name is so exalted and glorious that the finite cannot comprehend or express it, because it is an expression of his Essence. Expressed in human terms, which is not getting close to going justice to his name, is that it means Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace. His name is not merely expressed, it is written, indicating that Christ can never be separated from his glorious name.
Judges 13:18 He replied, "Why do you ask my name? It is beyond understanding."
Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Luke 10:22 "All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him."
Revelation 3:12 Him who overcomes I will make a pillar in the temple of my God. Never again will he leave it. I will write on him the name of my God and the name of the city of my God, the new Jerusalem, which is coming down out of heaven from my God; and I will also write on him my new name.