18:21-24 NEVER AGAIN
“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 not be found any moreat all” (Revelation 18:21). Jesus once said, “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea. Woe to the world because of offenses! For offenses must come, but woe to that man by whom the offense comes!” (Matthew 18:6,7). Jesus seemed to be saying that meeting a violent death (being thrown into the sea with a millstone around your neck) would be better than facing in the judgment the reality that my actions have caused a little child to sin.
This is not to say that God has dreamed up some fiendish torture for such sinners. The essence of the judgment is a full realization of the true consequences of our sins and the damage and destruction we have caused to God’s creatures. Along with this will be a full revelation of the holy character of God and the sweeping requirements of His law. According to Jesus, it would be better to be killed (thrown into the sea with a millstone) than to go on to commit reprehensible sins that would be encountered again in the judgment when "the dead [will be] judged according to th their works, by the things which were written in the books" (Revelation 20:12).
Thus the "great millstone...cast into the sea" may be more a symbol of God’s mercy than of His vengeful punishment. After all, Babylon consists of men and women who have been duped and deceived by the “beast,” who is Satan himself. If they were to continue on they might bring upon themselves the terrible guilt of murdering God’s saints, and He wants to keep them from that, for their own sakes as well as for the sake of the saints themselves who have suffered enough grief in the reign of sin. In mercy God answers their plea and He allows death to hide them from “the face of Him who sits on the throne” (Revelation 6:16).
“And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in you;. and no craftsman of any craft, shall be found anymore in you; and the sound of a millstone shall not be heard anymore at all in you; and the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in you; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in you. For your merchants were the great men of the earth; for by your sorceries were all nations deceived.' And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain on the earth” (Revelation 18:22-24).
The mighty angel emphasizes that the destruction of Babylon will be complete and permanent. Sometimes when there has been a wicked, tyrannical regime which is defeated, the people are almost afraid to rejoice and celebrate because of the fear that somehow their oppressors will regain their power and return to torment them again. But God declares definitively that there will never again be another Babylon. He also makes it clear that Babylon is far more comprehensive than a particular church at a particular time in history—she is responsible for “the blood of…all who were slain on the earth.” In the broadest sense Babylon represents the whole reign of sin, which has ravaged this planet for 6,000 years, and that reign is coming to a permanent end. “How Babylon has become a desolation among the nations!…You have been found and also caught, because you have contended against the Lord…The children of Israel were oppressed...All who took them captive have held them fast; they have refused to let them go. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is His name. He will thoroughly plead their case…‘A sword is against the Chaldeans’ says the Lord, ‘against the inhabitants of Babylon…It shall be inhabited no more forever” (Jeremiah 50:22-24, 33-35, 39).