Sunday, May 12, 2013

The Second Angel


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. 14:8  
After these things I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated with his glory.
   And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!
18:1-2  



The Angel with an Announcement


   In 14:8, this scene of the fall of Babylon is introduced, then dropped; it is reintroduced in 18:2, with more details.  I believe these Bible verses refer to the same angel.  It seems as if the writer thought about what he had written in 14:18, and decided that he should have added a few more details, and so he did.  He did not have the option of inserting words or pushing the delete button; options we take so very for granted. 

   This angel is not one of the seven that poured out the bowls of God's wrath, for he is not introduced, as was the angel of 17:1, for example; Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls.

   It is confusing that the KJV and the NKJV have used the word wrath in 14:8. Vine+++ tells us that the word wrath can, sometimes, be translated as fierceness.  If we do that, here, this verse makes more sense.  It would then read, she made all nations drink of the wine of the fierceness of her fornication.  

   Babylon is so bent on practicing her blasphemy and immorality that she is said to be fierce about it.  The New International Version writes it like this, Babylon the Great ... made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries. The Living Bible has it this way, Babylon is fallen...because she seduced the nations of the world and made them share the wine of her intense impurity and sin.

   Three posts ago we learned that Babylon will be eternally destroyed; Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore. 18:21.  Here, in 18:2, we read that Babylon is fallen, and, that it has become home to demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!  It appears obvious that Babylon is not completely obliterated.  

   Note that just because Babylon, a selfish lifestyle, will be eternally destroyed it does not mean that the souls of people will be included in that destruction.

   14:8 refers to the wine of the sins of the materialistic society.  In 14:10 the wrath of God is incurred, and it will fall, because the nations partook of Babylon's fornication.  It is not the wrath of fornication, but the wrath because of fornication. As mentioned earlier, 2:16, this does not refer to physical fornication only, it refers to spiritual fornication; a careless, blasphemous attitude toward Jehovah. 

    Why has Babylon fallen?  Because she has made all nations drink. This wine of the wrath of her fornication is not the same as the wine of the wrath of God in 14:10. 

   Babylon is fallen.  According to tradition, Peter was in Rome, when he wrote his letters, and some believe, that he called Rome, Babylon, because of the rampant evil in the city.  

   Maybe Paul did that also because Rome was King Nero's home city and Nero was a wicked king who killed many Christians; to protect himself Paul did not want to be point blank in his accusation of Nero. 

   Could John be making the same analogy in speaking of Babylon?  Babylon, throughout history, has represented things that are ungodly.  If John was speaking prophetically, the fact that he called Rome, Babylon, may lend some credence to the idea that he was speaking of the Roman Catholic Church.  However, in John's time, at the end of the first century, the church in Rome, was not yet known for being evil.

   he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon, the great is fallen”.  In God's eyes, Babylon is anything but great; she is the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. 17:5.  Vine tells us the word, great, can refer to degree or intensity.  Babylon is intense in its sin and pride, it will keep on sinning to the nth degree, and, in the sense of intensity, it, is "a great city".  The record of the fall of that materialistic society is recorded in 14:8 and 18:2.

   a prison for every foul spirit.  the word foul means ceremonially unclean
Vine Since spirits were not involved in the ceremonies of the Bible, one can surmise that these are the spirits of people; those people who were ceremonially unclean.  It bears repeating that in The Apocalypse references to Babylon include the carnal church with its loose teachings and careless lifestyles.  It is in this manner that the church offers to God unholy sacrifices; sacrifices presented to God by preachers who are ceremonially unclean; that is, those who are morally and ethically unfit to be preachers.

   The unclean and hated bird also refers to those birds that were not acceptable as sacrifices in ceremonial services.  Vine takes it a step further and says, the birds are apparently figurative of destructive Satanic agencies.


   Now that Babylon has been dealt the deathblow, we can leave that dirty, sinful city and find something less depressing.

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+++ An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, W.E. Vine,