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The fourth angel
Query for the Month
Next up-date: April 1st 2011 (God willing).
Previous "Queries" are available. Click here to access.
Some perpetual questions ....
Do you know the difference between the "love" that is of Christianity
and the "love" that is of the world? Click here to find out!
Click on the link for a good book on the character of our God which you can download for free and share amongst your friends. It's called "Light through Darkness" and is one of the best books on this subject that I have ever read!
(when you get to the site just click "cancel" and it will let you in. Then click "order" to obtain a copy. )
In the meantime, try this site. And here's one where you can read it online.
Here's another great site on the character of God written in a way that's very easy to understand.
Some of the comments on this page are adapted from books in my library. No recognition is given because they are not intended as authorities, but are used because they express my understanding clearly.
And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies”.
And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, “Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities”.
Why is the 4th angel presented to us in Revelation 18 and not in Revelation 14 where the other six are? (Patterns in The Revelation normally come in sevens.)
John says, “And after these things” as he commences this new angle in his vision – what “things”?
He saw a mighty angel repeating nearly the same words as the second angel in Revelation 14:8. I say, nearly, for there are some significant differences. The second angel proclaimed, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication”. This one, the fourth in the sequence, trumpets, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies”.
Associated with that extra information is the call from heaven to “Come out of her” in verse 4, while in chapter 14 the second angel is followed by a third angel who warns against worshipping the image of the beast or receiving its mark. (verses 9-11) From there we are led into the events surrounding the second and third advents as described by the 5th, 6th and 7th angels, Revelation 14:15-20.
This places the angel of Revelation 18 squarely in between verses 11-12 of Revelation 14, making it the fourth in the sequence as it joins the other three, for its message must be delivered BEFORE the second advent.
Our query asks “Why is it in the eighteenth chapter?” and that’s what we should look at now.
Do you remember what happened to John when he was acting out the experiences of the people of 1844? He says, “And I took the little book [of Daniel] out of the Angel's hand, and ate it up; and it was in my mouth sweet as honey: and as soon as I had eaten it, my belly was bitter [I felt sick]”. And He [the Angel] said to me, ‘You must prophesy again before many peoples, and nations, and tongues, and kings’.” Revelation 10:10-11.
When the Advent people gave the three angels’ messages in the 1840’s it was great at first, but gradually it soured in their mouths and bellies as time went on. This meant that they, the people of God, failed in introducing the effect they should have, and they were told that they would have to repeat the messages distinctly at another time. (Some would argue that they are doing that now, but this is a sickly continuation of the first time. There are additions to be made for the second occasion.)
In Revelation 14 the first angel declared that God’s judgment had begun and that He should be worshipped as the Creator; the second announced that Babylon was a fallen system; while the third warned that someone would set up an image (a copy) of the first Babylon in the last days which would have to be shunned by God’s people.
Let’s concentrate on the second angel’s message because that is the main one which is to be changed, although all three need deeper explanations. The thrust of the announcement of Revelation 14:8 regarding the fall of Babylon was that it must apply to religious bodies that were once pure and had since become corrupt, otherwise it has no point. Since this message follows the warning of the Judgment which began in 1844 (verse 6), it must be given in the days after that and therefore it cannot refer to the Romish Church, for that church had already been in a fallen condition for many centuries. Moreover, the people of 1844 knew that, and therefore looked about for a new candidate for the position.
They found it in this scripture.
John wrote: “So he [an angel] carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: and upon her forehead was a name written,
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.
And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus . . .” Revelation 17:3-6.
There Babylon was said to be “the mother of harlots.” By her daughters must be symbolized professed Christian churches that cling to her doctrines and traditions, and that follow her example of sacrificing the truth and the approval of God in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world. It was these systems to which God was guiding their attention.
And where was that scripture? Between chapters 14 and 18!!
Obviously in those chapters, 15, 16, and 17, there are things which are needed to recognised before the messages of chapter 18 can be sounded with any real conviction and clearness.
CHAPTER FIFTEEN deals with the people who have received the victory over the mark of the image beast. “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God. And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, ‘Great and marvellous are your works, LORD God Almighty; just and true are Your ways, You King of saints’.” Revelation 15:2-3.
CHAPTER SIXTEEN tells us about the seven LAST plagues and gives us an understanding of HOW they will come to be, and God’s part in their existence. “And the fifth angel poured out his vial upon the seat of the beast; and his kingdom was full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues for pain, and blasphemed the God of heaven [they blamed Him for them] because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds [but wouldn’t change the ways which caused them]”. Revelation 16:10-11.
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN is special in that in it we are shown the background to the persecution which will follow the giving of the loud cry. There we are shown that the “whore” has ten daughters [horns] which will support her strongly at first but as they realise their own condition they will come to hate her and will “burn her with fire”. Verse 16. (The ordinary people in these systems generally do not know what they really are, therefore we must distinguish between the clergy who run them and the laity who follow them, as God does. The “beast” is controlled by its rider.)
In Revelation chapter 17 we have:
a whore that sits on many waters; verse 1
a woman sitting on a beast; verse 3
a woman sitting on seven mountains; verse 9
a city reigning over kings; verse 18
Geographical Babylon was not just a city, but was also a country with other towns and provinces, all part of great Babylon. So it is with the spiritual Babylon.
We know that literal Babylon sat on the river Euphrates:
spiritual Babylon sits on many people who are drunk; verses 15 and 2
the seven heads are also pictured by seven mountains; verse 9
the seven heads are also seven kings (political entities); verses 9-10
the beast which disappears for a while reappears, with an eighth head; verse 11
“And the ten horns which you saw are ten kings [smaller powers than the beast or its heads], which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour [a short time] with the beast [and the woman who rides it, at the end]. These have one mind [with her, a religious one], and shall give their power and strength to the beast [which is a combination of church and state]. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is LORD of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful”. Revelation 17:12-14. Here we have religions reigning over nations for a while.
Or, to put it another way, the beast will use its horns (which are on its heads), as its main weapons in the last conflict.
We need to know who these religious bodies are before we can clearly expose them to the innocent ones who live with them and they can hear the call of God to “Come out” of them.
Let’s look at history:
As the advent message of 1833-44 tended to build up the churches in the United States, it was for a time regarded with favour. But as ministers and religious leaders of the Protestant denominations decided against the Advent doctrine, and desired to suppress all agitation of the subject, they not only opposed it from the pulpit, but denied their members the privilege of attending preaching upon the second advent, or even of speaking of their hope in the social meetings of the church. Thus the believers found themselves in a position of great trial and perplexity. They loved their churches, and were loathe to separate from them; but as they saw the testimony of God's Word suppressed, and their right to investigate the prophecies denied, they felt that loyalty to God forbade them to submit.
Those who sought to shut out the testimony of God's Word they could not regard as constituting the church of Christ, “the pillar and ground of the truth”. 1 Timothy 3:15. Hence they felt themselves justified in separating from their former connections. In the summer of 1844 about fifty thousand withdrew from those churches.
About this time a marked change was apparent in most of the professed Christian churches throughout the United States. There had been for many years a gradual but steadily increasing conformity to worldly practices and customs, and a corresponding decline in real spiritual life; but in that year there were evidences of a sudden and marked moral fall, in nearly all the denominations of the land. While none seemed able to suggest the cause, the fact itself was widely noted and commented upon, both by the press and the pulpit.
Why did this happen?
Because they were one of the ten horns and were preparing to support the “beast”!
The other nine are made up of the other major religions of the world, “For ALL nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and [all] the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and [all] the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies”. Revelation 18:3. However, none of the nine pretend to be Christian – they are all openly hostile to the LORD’s way.
I said before that the Protestants were once pure and have since fallen. Then I said that because they are “daughters” they were born that way. How can we reconcile these two views? In the Reformation, and in the God-led revivals after that, it was men of pure character and experience who rose up and formed the alternatives to the professed Christian church of the day. But in that very fact they CONFORMED to many of the mother’s characteristics, including the one they all shared – the keeping of a man-made day of worship against God’s direct commandment. (Exodus 20:8.)
Thus the professed Christian churches were “pure” at the moment of “conception” but immoral from the moment of “birth”, for they never accepted the new breath of life. “And you has He quickened [made alive], who were dead in trespasses and sins: wherein in time past you walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience . . .” Ephesians 2:1-2.
Such a condition never exists without cause in the church or religion itself. The spiritual darkness which falls upon nations, upon churches and individuals, is due, not to an arbitrary withdrawal of the divine grace on the part of God, but to neglect or rejection of divine light on the part of men. (Rejection of the seventh-day Sabbath is their common sin.)
A striking illustration of this truth is presented in the history of the Jewish people in the time of Christ. By their devotion to the world and forgetfulness of God and his Word, their understanding had become darkened, their hearts earthly and sensual. Thus they were in ignorance concerning Messiah's advent, and in their pride and unbelief they rejected the Redeemer and attempted to kill Him!
However, God did not even then cut off the Jewish nation from a knowledge of, or a participation in, the blessings of salvation.
Paul wrote; “Brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes . . . For with the heart man believes to righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. For the scripture says, ‘Whoever believes on Him shall not be ashamed’. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same LORD over all is rich to all that call upon Him. For whoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved”. Romans 10:1-13.
We should note that here salvation is presented as a personal thing – no one is ever saved by being in an organisation – or by following another man.
But those who rejected the truth lost all desire for the gift of Heaven. It is written; “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Isaiah 5:20. They had “put darkness for light, and light for darkness,” until the light which was in them became darkness in accordance with God’s word!
Because, as the LORD says in another place, “If your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in you be darkness, how great is that darkness!” Matthew 6:23. Their “eye” or desire was for sin (disobedience or independence).
The angel of Revelation 18 added that it was Babylon THE GREAT (the mother and children) which were now fallen – but if they were “daughters” then they were born that way as I have already mentioned! So what does the angel mean?
Babylon has ALWAYS been Babylon, the church in opposition to God’s truth, but it PROFESSES to be as Christian as the true church. The two literal cities have never been confused in the minds of Bible scholars over the last two thousand years because of their geographical separation and because of their spiritual differences – one worships the living God and the other Baal the counterfeit.
One can NEVER become the other,
BUT both can have leaders which “boss” their people – kingly powers.
The congregation of Jerusalem can elevate men and women within itself to be kings of religion in IMITATION of the other city. The “fashions” of religion are transferable, but not the character – Sabbath “rest” and Sunday “works” stay the same. However, PEOPLE can physically move from one to another, and that’s what happens when professed Christians become real Christians, and real Christians give up.
John wrote about the latter: “Little children, it is the last time: and as you have heard that [a world-wide] antichrist shall come, even now are there many [personal] antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. But you have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things”. 1 John 2:18-20.
But it took a long time before the children of God in the Old Testament times realised the spiritual differences, for they often transgressed into Baal’s system. (e.g. Judges 2:13.) And so it has been this last century. Before and since the Reformation true Christians have known that European system of church and state was not Christian and never has been (the “Babylonians” infiltrated the true church and took over. (See Note 1.) But that is just not emphasised any more.
Martin Luther is quoted as saying:
“I feel much freer now that I am certain the pope is the Antichrist”.
But it has taken longer for Adventists to recognise that Rome’s “daughters” are tarred with the same brush. In fact, like the Jews of old, many Adventists have transgressed into Baal’s system.
It is IN THE MINDS of God’s people that “Babylon THE GREAT” needs to fall!
It is in our MINDS that we are to see that ALL the religions of the world are “the habitations of devils and the hold of every foul spirit” (Satan’s angels working spiritualism), “and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird” (vultures who enjoy death). It is time for us to cease thinking of those SYSTEMS as following the living God in any way, and to realise that they only and always serve Satan the adversary.
However, we also need to realise that there are people within them who hunger and thirst for the light and that we need to give it to them straight. But we can’t do this by calling their system a part of God’s house as some Adventist leaders are, or by believing that they can be saved in it. If they are saved then it will be despite it, not because of it. God means it when He cries desperately, “Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues”.
In the last days they cannot remain in such a system and still be saved from the troubles, but will certainly end up as martyrs, a fate the LORD would like to save them from.
He says to Babylon, “for by your sorceries were all nations deceived”. Then He tells us, “And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth”. Revelation 18:3-4.
He NEEDS our help to get His people still in Babylon to see and be saved from this, which is why our mission is the 4th angel’s message, and is associated with His call!
One of the statements to be made by the people of the loud cry is, “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies”. Revelation 18:3. “All nations” means that the influence of Babylon the great is world-wide, for the “kings of the earth” are the politicians with whom she has combined to enforce religion by law; and the “merchants” are those who have gained great wealth from her.
So we have three anti-Christian groups here (rather like the three “frogs” of Revelation 16:13); the religious, the bossy; and the profiteers. Of course, because of the nature of human society, some in one group will also be in another, or even in all three at the same time, for men and women have many public “faces”.
But the Spirit separates them for us in this chapter and we do well to recognise that fact.
While we call the systems and those who run them “fellow-Christians” then we are not in harmony with Him.
As we ask Him for more understanding of the three chapters between the 14th and the 18th so we will be more prepared to do that which He wants from us.
The work described in the eighteenth chapter of The Revelation cannot be started before we understand and assimilate the contents of chapters fifteen, sixteen and seventeen. That’s why that angel’s message is separated from the six in The Revelation chapter fourteen.
Who wants to add (or subtract!) from these thoughts? I won't argue as I have stated, but I will publish your Scriptures so that we may review all the words of God on the subject.
Next query. To be discussed from April 1st 2011,
Seven angels with seven messages
6 And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven . . . 7 saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come . . .
8 And there followed another angel, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication . . .
9 And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead . . .
The fourth: Chapter 18:
1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils . . .
15 And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to Him that sat on the cloud, “Thrust in Your sickle, and reap: for the time is come for You to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe . . .
17 And another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp sickle . . .
18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying, “Thrust in your sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth; for her grapes are fully ripe.
Why is it that when we teach about the angels of Revelation 14 we concentrate of the first three (with a passing reference to the fourth) but ignore the last three? Shouldn’t we know the complete picture?
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Note 1: From my library
At last the larger portion of the Christian company lowered their standard, and a union was formed between Christianity and paganism. Although the worshipers of idols professed to be converted, and united with the church, they still clung to their idolatry, only changing the objects of their worship to images of Jesus, and even of Mary and the saints. The foul leaven of idolatry, thus introduced into the church, continued its baleful work. Unsound doctrines, superstitious rites, and idolatrous ceremonies were incorporated into her faith and worship. As the followers of Christ united with idolaters, the Christian religion became corrupted, and the church lost her purity and power. [If you want to learn more about this in great detail, read The Two Babylons, by Alexander Hislop.]
There were some, however, who were not misled by these delusions, and they, under the guidance of the LORD, left Europe and went out into other lands. “And the woman [God’s church] fled into the wilderness, where she has a place prepared of God, that they [God’s angels] should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days [1260 years]”. Revelation 12:6.