Tuesday, 6 April 2021
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.” Revelation 14:8
The previous two verses mentioned the angel flying in the midst of heaven imploring the people of the world to fear God and give glory to Him. Now, a second angel follows after the first. Indeed, some manuscripts include the word “second,” saying, “Another angel, a second, followed, saying…” (ESV). Either way, a second is understood. This second angel has its own proclamation, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen.”
Being an aorist verb, a more literal translation would be “Fell, fell Babylon.” As Vincent’s Word Studies notes, “The prophetic aorist expressing the certainty of the fall.” The words hearken back to Isaiah 21 –
“For thus has the Lord said to me:
‘Go, set a watchman,
Let him declare what he sees.’
7 And he saw a chariot with a pair of horsemen,
A chariot of donkeys, and a chariot of camels,
And he listened earnestly with great care.
8 Then he cried, ‘A lion, my Lord!
I stand continually on the watchtower in the daytime;
I have sat at my post every night.
9 And look, here comes a chariot of men with a pair of horsemen!’
Then he answered and said,
‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen!
And all the carved images of her gods
He has broken to the ground.’” Isaiah 21:6-9
This is the first mention of Babylon in Revelation, but from this point on, it will be referred to by name a total of six times, the last being in verse 18:21. The debate over what “Babylon” means in Revelation goes on and on. Some say it is a literal reference to Babylon that will be rebuilt and the headquarters of the end times beast. Some say it is America. Some see it as Jerusalem. As will be seen, it is referring to Rome.
For now, John continues with the vision saying, “that great city.” The term “city” will be used again. This is a positive description signifying that the seat and authority of the beast is centered in a particular city, here called metaphorically “Babylon.”
It will be a city that bears the characteristics of Babylon of the past. It will be the seat of authority of a larger empire. It will have innumerable influences from pagan origins connected with it. Etc. Each of these, and many other parallels, point it out as being Rome.
Rome fits the description provided by Daniel (Daniel 7 and Daniel 9). It is also an authority that, like Babylon of the past, destroyed Jerusalem and took its people into exile. Further, like Babylon, Rome will not only be the seat of the governmental authority of this end-times beast, but it is the center of authority of false religion. This is, without any question, found in the ever-apostatizing Roman Catholic Church. The importance of that is seen in the next words, “because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
This sentiment will be repeated in verse 17:2 where “Mystery Babylon” is referred to. There, she is a city called “The Mother of Harlots.” As this is so, the idea of her fornication is religious in nature. There is the sense of false religion mingling with the leadership of nations, involving itself in affairs that have nothing to do with appropriate religion. The wine of her fornication leads to the idea of being drunk on her offerings. That leads directly to the incurring of wrath for her fornication. The idea of this comes from Jeremiah 51 –
“Flee from the midst of Babylon,
And every one save his life!
Do not be cut off in her iniquity,
For this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance;
He shall recompense her.
7 Babylon was a golden cup in the Lord’s hand,
That made all the earth drunk.
The nations drank her wine;
Therefore the nations are deranged.
8 Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed.
Wail for her!
Take balm for her pain;
Perhaps she may be healed.
9 We would have healed Babylon,
But she is not healed.
Forsake her, and let us go everyone to his own country;
For her judgment reaches to heaven and is lifted up to the skies.
10 The Lord has revealed our righteousness.
Come and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.” Jeremiah 51:6-10
Life application: Throughout the Bible, there are two noted cities – Jerusalem and Babylon. The first represents peace, covenant with God, right religion, godly kingship, true prophecy, holy living, and a declaration of the splendor and majesty of God.
On the other hand, there is Babylon. This city represents chaos, enmity with God, false religion, humanistic-centered leadership, false prophets and false prophecy, unholy and impure living, and a rejection of the truth of the Creator.
When Cain killed Abel, it was to the area of the east that he went and established a society. After the Flood of Noah, Nimrod and the people settled again in this area and established the Tower of Babel. When the Israelites were disobedient, they were exiled to this same area.
Babylon of the New Testament is centered on Rome. Peter, writing from Rome, addresses that city as “Babylon” (1 Peter 5:13). The Roman Empire was never destroyed. It simply faded away, but the elements of its religious side have continued on. Today, the governmental side is being revived for the end times. The world will be facing “spiritual Babylon.” This is a global religious/economic power which will be centered in Rome and which will face the great and final destruction before the coming of Christ to rule from Jerusalem.
The wine of her fornication speaks of the spiritual harlotry which will come about by false worship. Too much wine makes one drunk. The nations will be completely drunk with the spiritual apostasy which proceeds from Babylon, and they will be judged for it.
In drinking the wine of this harlot, people will become deluded with her delights and numbed to the truth of God. This is how the world will be seduced away from salvation. What will be presented will seem spiritually right, but it will be of the devil. Rather than being seduced by this false religion, be sure to read the Bible, learn of what is true and good religion before God, and look to the One who epitomizes what He expects from His creatures. Look to JESUS.
Lord, a great day is coming when the world will be ruled in righteousness, and all false religion will be gone. That great day will see Jesus, our Christ and King, reigning from Jerusalem and judging in righteousness. How we long for that glorious moment. Even so, come Lord Jesus! Amen.