No Longer

No Longer April 26, 2016

The ruined city Babylon is a city where things that used to happen don’t happen anymore. John’s description is under the rubric “no longer” (ou eti, used 6x in Revelation 18:21-24). In Babylon, music, crafts, milling, light, and weddings have ceased. The old has passed, the new has come, but the new isn’t something to celebrate.

Revelation’s other city is also a place of novelty, identified with the new heavens and new earth (21:1), the city over which the Lord speaks, “Behold I make all things new” (v. 5; the lovely, rhyming Greek phrase is Idou kaina poio panta). In chapters 20-22, ou eti again appears 6x, as the first things come to an end and new things appear. For new Jerusalem, the first things are not missed: Satanic deception of nations (20:3); the sea (21:1); death (21:4); mourning, crying and pain (21:4); curse (22:3); night (22:5).

In Revelation, as in the rest of the Bible, the city is a center of innovation. Whether novelty is good or bad depends on what “first” or “old” things are ending and what “new things” are coming to be.

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