The Joyous Denouement to Babylon’s Lament
Babylon has fallen and this is joyful news for the Christian. No longer shall she exert her influence for depravity over the world, and no longer shall she shed the blood of Christians for not complying with her demands. A mighty angel throws a great millstone into the sea emblematic of Babylon’s fall and ultimate destruction as “she will be found no more” (Jeremiah 51:63-64). Thereupon is the eerie litany of those regular matters of human life that mark any and every civilization which shall no longer be heard in the streets and neighborhoods, the highways and byways of a village or neighborhood. We begin with the arts. The Apostle mentions musicians, but we may imagine any of the gifts God gives to human beings which makes for that creativity whereby we manifest our being made in His image—even the wicked. The craftsman, too, is an artist plying his skill to wood or some other natural medium, but the sound of his tools shall no longer be heard. The sound of the mill run by the common laborer will no longer be heard as economic activity will have ceased. The litany now grows even more sinister as the lights go out, reminiscent of the ninth plague on Egypt of a “darkness that could be felt.” All joy ceases as the voices of the bridegroom and the bride are snuffed out—the primal image of mirth and gladness of human celebrations. And all this for three reasons: her enormous wealth and graft whereby she enriched herself at the cost of others, her deception and sorcery whereby she led the nations into idolatry and immorality, but most of all the blood of the prophets and saints that she shed over all the earth. For these sins and more her judgment has descended upon her in an hour, and Babylon is no more.
I call this the joyful denouement to the lament of this chapter. Although there is something of a feeling of pity in the Christian’s heart as we read of such devastation upon a city of man, we must remember that this city is the very antithesis of the city of God to which we are heading. Chapter nineteen will reveal the praise in heaven over Babylon’s demise—a praise which is prelude to the marriage of the Lamb to his Bride, the Church. Though the voice of the bridegroom and bride shall no longer be heard in Babylon, it shall be heard in heaven with the sound of rejoicing never rivaled in any of the cities of man. So let us not mourn Babylon. Let us not look back as Lot’s wife did wondering and longing for the city which God has forever condemned. Let us not yearn for the slavery that was ours in Egypt after we have been liberated. Let us run from Babylon, smile upon its demise, and embrace the eternal city whose designer and builder is God (Hebrews 11:10).