And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying…
Observe here —
1. Babylon's utter destruction represented by the type and sign of a millstone cast into the sea: like a millstone she had ground and oppressed the Church of God; and now, like a millstone thrown into the sea, she sinks into the pit of destruction. Almighty God, by this symbol, signified to St. John that Babylon's ruin should be violent, irrecoverable, and irreparable; she falls never to rise more. The casting of a stone into the sea was anciently the emblem of everlasting forgetfulness.
2. The amplification of Babylon's ruin particularised in several instances.
(1) That nothing should ever more be found in her that belonged to pleasure or delight; no voice of harpers, musicians, or trumpeters.
(2) Nothing which belonged to profit or trading, no artificers and craftsmen.
(3) Nothing belonging to food, no noise of a millstone for grinding corn and making provision for bread.
(4) Nothing to relieve against the darkness and terror of the night, as the light of a candle.
(5) No means for the propagation of mankind by marriage — the voice of the bride and the bridegroom shall be heard no more. All which expressions do imply extreme destruction and utter desolation, intimating that Babylon shall be a place utterly abandoned and forsaken.
3. A threefold cause assigned for all this, to wit —
(1) Damnable covetousness: her merchants were the great ones of the earth. Her sinful way of merchandising, by dealing in spiritual commodities, seems here to be pointed at; her making merchandise of the souls of men, as we have it (ver. 13).
(2) Her bewitching idolatry, called here sorceries, whereby she enticed people to join with her in her superstitious worship.
(3) Her cruelty and bloodshed; in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.But how can the blood shed by others be laid to her charge?
1. Because the doctrines which caused their blood to be shed were with her.
2. Because her jurisdiction gave commission to slay the saints which were slain in other kingdoms.
3. Because by the influence of her example at home much blood had been shed abroad. God will charge upon others, as he did upon Babylon, not only the sin which they have acted, but all the sins which they have been necessary unto.
(W. Burkitt, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: 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.