18:23and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer; for your merchants were the great men of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.

and the light of a lamp will not shine in you any longer; and

When the will to live is gone, why would a person need a lamp? Babylon under judgment is a very, very dark place. During Babylon's GREATNESS, it was all lit up; it was a glamorous and brilliant spectacle. Understandably so, when we know who's behind it (2 Corinthians 11:7-14-15).

What is most bothersome, however, about this verse is that the Revelation is written to churches (Revelation 1:11) and to those who claim to be believers (Revelation 21:8) or Christians. Apparently, they are/were deceived into believing that the lamp will shine forever. But it doesn't ANY LONGER; the judgment has been rendered (verse 21).

the voice of the bridegroom and bride will not be heard in you any longer;

When a bride and bridegroom become one, they are considered the start of a family. The family, scripturally, is the fundamental unit for scriptural teaching (Deuteronomy 11:18-23) and spiritual leadership (Ephesians 5:21-23-33). However, there is another spiritual family where the bridegroom is Jesus Christ and the bride is the overcomers/CHURCH? (Revelation 19:7). For the voice of the bridegroom and bride to not be heard in you (Babylon) ANY LONGER, implies that the CHURCH has become estranged from Jesus Christ, her bridegroom. That says that churches, both present day and future, that allow inroads of humanism and materialism to subvert their functioning will be silenced in God's way. Conversely, those who adhere to the post tribulation (or near post tribulation rapture), could use this verse to say that the CHURCH has been raptured out of the world at this time.

Note that the action words, 'sound', 'crafting', 'light', and 'voice' of the last two verses imply a vibrant life physically. Likewise, symbolically, it indicates a vibrant spiritual life. But with this judgment (verse 21), this vibrant life isn't vibrant ANY LONGER.

There are three reasons, two in this verse and one in the next verse, for this judgment:

  1. Babylon's pride: for your MERCHANTS were the GREAT MEN of the EARTH,

    Note the verb is in the past tense, WERE. The EARTH has followed the amazing successes of these GREAT MEN in their business exploits. And there is a pride that goes with that success. Often the MERCHANTS are so busy with accumulating money/wealth that there is no time left for God or Jesus Christ.

    From a symbolic view, even so-called Christians, but not overcomers (Revelation 21:7), can be turned from Jesus Christ by "GREAT MEN of the EARTH". It is surprising to me at times how vigorously so-called Christians will defend and support their favorite "media preacher/teacher". Yet, we get the sense that their scriptural knowledge or awareness is shallow at best (1 Peter 3:13-16) and seldom passed on to their children. In some cases, they know more about their favorite preacher and his church and publications than they do the Bible.

    Now having GREAT MEN isn't new. The Bible records that the GREATNESS of Babylon started with Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-12) and runs through to Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 4:28-33) via Nebuchadnezzar's father, Nabopolassar. Nabopolassar is considered to be the first king of the Chaldean or New Babylonian empire. Ultimately, the line of GREATNESS ends with the prideful BEAST (at least he hopes so - Revelation 14:6-11).

  2. Babylon's power: because ALL the NATIONS were DECEIVED by your SORCERY.

    Again, the verb is in the past tense, WERE. The deception happened in the past (our present?) and SORCERY was used. The word, SORCERY, is pharmakeia in the Greek and suggests a domination of ALL the NATIONS by pharmaceuticals. If present day advertising by drug companies on television is any indication, the deception is upon us right now. Many countries have passed laws to protect their citizens through health insurance or socialized medicine. It does make a person wonder how much of the exercising of FAITH (Luke 18:1-8) disappears because mankind believes the deception that the NATIONS can keep people healthy through health plans and "healing by prescription". We must never forget that the authority for healing comes from Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:1-15).

    By the way, SORCERY and SORCERERS are so despised by God and Jesus Christ that they are specifically listed as doomed for the lake that burns with fire and brimstone (or the second death), Revelation 21:5-8.