Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.” Rev 14:6-11
The first angel’s proclamation is the everlasting gospel to preach to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people, with the admonition to fear God and give glory to Him, to worship Him who created all. It has been since the Reformation that the preaching of the everlasting gospel (that salvation or right- standing before God is by faith in Jesus Christ, not works) has gone forth. To this day, ministries like Wycliffe Bible Translators are taking the everlasting gospel to the last of the nations, tribes, tongues, and peoples. So this proclamation has been going forward since the time of the Reformation.
The second angel’s proclamation is the announcement that Babylon the Great is fallen. The language the angel uses is similar to language Isaiah recorded:
“Babylon is fallen, is fallen! And all the carved images of her gods He has broken to the ground.” Isa 21:9
In Isaiah’s day Babylon was still a great city – the queen city of the world, according to Strabo, covering 200 square miles, with 25 gates in each of her four walls. But under the Romans, it gradually declined, until by our era a village of 10,000 Iraqis sat atop its ruins. Saddam Hussein worked to rebuild Babylon’s former glory, however, he was overthrown long before he could complete even a portion of the work. Isa 13 and 14, and Jer 50 and 51, both prophecy a spectacular destruction for the great city of Babylon, which has not ever been fulfilled of Babylon the literal city.
So there are two possibilities concerning the second angel’s proclamation. The first is literal. That Babylon will be restored as a great city, again the queen city of the world, and all commerce and power and influence will be seated in her, and the destruction of that city as Isaiah and Jeremiah foretold, an event still future to us as Babylon is not even a city yet, much less a great one, will prompt the second angel’s proclamation.
Or that Babylon, which has not been a city of influence really since its conquest by the ancient Romans, is not the name of a literal city, but a descriptive name of a source of citizenship of the earth, or the world, just as Zion is not a literal city but a descriptive name of a source of citizenship of heaven. In other words, the city of Babylon is the place where the citizens of the kingdoms of this world have their citizenship. Its root is the Tower of Babel, for Babel is Hebrew for Babylon.
It is the philosophy and worldview of Babylon – rebellion against God, independence of man, worship of nature, of self, of materialism, occultism and wickedness – that will fall as the everlasting gospel is preached to all the world.
So the first two proclamations announce the preaching of the everlasting gospel, and the fall of the kingdoms of this world, as the Lamb appears on Mount Zion with those who have been marked by His Father’s name coming with Him. Those two events are occurring right now, and have been since the time of the Reformation. The third proclamation concerns the people who stayed true to the beast and his mark, instead of repenting before the Lamb and receiving His mark as a result of the preaching of the everlasting gospel.
The third proclamation announces the fate of those who worship the beast, and retain his mark. The wine of the wrath of God, which has not yet been poured out in Revelation, is reserved for them. The wrath that God is going to pour out on the world for its sin is NOT directed at those marked with the name of YHVH on their foreheads!
Revelation is a book of comfort and hope for those who bear the mark of the name of the Father of the Lamb on their foreheads! But for those who bear the mark of the name of the beast on their foreheads, Revelation is a book of dread.
Christine’s book The Revelation of Jesus Christ Revealed, based on these studies but greatly expanded, is now available at Revelation Revealed Online. You may also be interested in reading the Book Extras and joining in on the Discussion.