With the conclusion of Revelation 18 God tells of a violent disappearance. It is God’s act. Maybe we could think of it in terms of Babyl-gone.
First a word about bias
I teach the practice of ophthalmology to doctors fresh out of medical school. One year part of my curriculum included the reading of a book by Dr. Jerome Groopman entitled How Doctors Think. Partway through chapter 3 Dr. Groopman relates a real event told him by an ER physician who practiced in Arizona. In the winter of 2003 many, many people were coming to that ER and were being properly being diagnosed with viral pneumonia. Giving that diagnosis became habit forming.
This case made it into Groopman’s book because another woman from that area presented to the ER in the midst of the pneumonia breakout. She had some of the same symptoms, but lacked others. He decided to keep her in the ER for a period of time to make sure she did well and as a result handed her care off to an alternate physician and moved on. That alternate physician came to a different, correct, diagnosis: aspirin toxicity.
Dr. Number 1 was quite annoyed and troubled over missing something which under different circumstances would have been quite obvious. He diminished certain details and inflated others to fit the situation as he had concluded. It was also embarrassing for he prided himself on not falling prey to readily available answers. He could remember times when persistence had paid off allowing him to get to the bottom of bigger issues in other patients.
There is a term for what the doctor did with his diagnosis. It is availability. In order to simply make it through a busy clinic day doctors subconsciously use shortcuts in thinking. These allow them to quickly jump through details and land upon the answers for patient problem. In this case the shortcut was the availability of a similar and common malady. Many people had viral pneumonia. Some of her symptoms were the same and he jumped to the conclusion that she had viral pneumonia.
Availability can bias Biblical interpretation
21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more; (Revelation 18:21–ESV)
When I first read this my mind inflated the words into something like an asteroid being thrown into the ocean. This type of event was already in Revelation. I had studied it. I had that analogy ready made in my mental toolbox for Revelation. It was available to me.
If you wish to look at it run over to Revelation 8. Back there we saw 7 trumpets which were the essence of what was revealed by the opening of the seventh seal. As each trumpet sounded in succession John recorded a terrible event. When the second of those 7 trumpets sounded John told us that he saw “something like a great mountain, burning with fire,” thrown into the sea. One-third of the creatures in the ocean died and one-third of the ships were destroyed. (I give a link to that page below.)
When I read Revelation 18:21 my mind decided that it already knew about events like this. It was a short step from reading verse 21 to the following conceptualization: A big stone is thrown into the ocean beside Babylon, a tidal wave was made and Bam! Babylon is destroyed.