Hammer is used figuratively to symbolize "that which affects change." A literal hammer affects change in what it is used for or against. It can be used for constructive building or for bashing and tearing apart. It is used to forge metal, to drive pegs and nails, and change the shape of stone.
The hammer is the underlying theme that suggests the harlot's cultural influence in Revelation 17-18. Modern Babylon, Israel, is a nation of tremendous influence, using its economic, military, and political powers, as well as it religions and entertainments to affect change in other nations according to its desires. Is this not what the United States is attempting to do in Iraq right now? Moses prophesies in Deuteronomy 33:13, 17:
And of Joseph he said: "Blessed of the LORD is his land, with the precious things of heaven, with the dew, and the deep lying beneath. . . . His glory is like a firstborn bull, and his horns like the horns of the wild ox; together with them he shall push the peoples to the ends of the earth; they are the ten thousands of Ephraim, and they are the thousands of Manasseh."
Does this not picture what Britain, France, and the Netherlands have done in the past through colonizing and wielding political and military power in such places as the Far East, Middle East, and Africa? In our day, have not the United States, Britain, and France been the prime movers in founding, funding, shaping, and using the United Nations?
Revelation 18:22 shows an unusual aspect of this dominance in shaping culture: "The sound of harpists, musicians, flutists, and trumpeters shall not be heard in you anymore. No craftsman of any craft shall be found in you anymore. And the sound of a millstone shall not be heard in you anymore."
Modern Israel is a huge exporter of music. My wife and I saw part of a television special of former Beatle Paul McCartney's concert in Russia this past year, the first visit of any of the Beatles there. The concert was held in Red Square, and that huge plaza was jammed with people, most of whom stood throughout the entire several-hour affair, singing along in English. The Russians knew the songs in English! It was an incredible demonstration of the power of Israelite celebrity.
However, the use of the music imagery really represents the much broader subject of entertainment, including films and professional athletics. Professional Israelitish soccer, basketball, football, baseball, and golf have invaded the entertainment realm of nations worldwide, and now the Gentile nations are entering their players and teams in competition with Israelitish professionals.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Beast and Babylon (Part Ten): Babylon the Great Is a Nation