What You Need to Know (and Share) About Revelation 14’s Second Angel
His zeal was undeniable. Standing at a major Los Angeles intersection, he was screaming at passersby, “Better give your heart to Jesus, or you’re going to burn in hell.” Yes, his zeal was readily apparent. Nonetheless, his unprofitable enterprise presented a prime example of the Bible’s “zeal without knowledge.”
Although, sincere, the young believer proved himself to be less of a danger to Satan’s plans, than he was to his own. Uninformed Christians, face very real and possibly fatal consequences. God says so in Hosea 4:6, “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.”
To remove any excuse for our being lost, the Lord expanded our knowledge base regarding “last day” events through the messages of the three angels in Revelation, chapter 14. Having previously explored the first angel’s message, we now turn our attention to the message of the second angel in Revelation 14:8: “And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen … because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.”
Since literal Babylon was destroyed long ago, which Babylon would command our attention on the stage of prophecy? Among commentators and scholars, many have wrongly labeled the Church of Rome as Babylon. However, a careful study of the text helps us to know that this prophetic Babylon could not possibly represent either pagan Rome, or, papal Rome. We can be sure of this, because we’re told by John that Babylon is now in a fallen state. This suggests that at some point this Babylon had been in good standing with God. However, that has never been the case for Rome in either of its forms.
Uriah Smith in his book, Daniel and the Revelation, pp 664, offered this insight: “From the beginning of their history, Paganism has been a false religion, and the Papacy an apostate one.” Therefore, the second angel’s warning of Babylon being fallen could not apply to Rome. Then, to whom?
Revelation 14:8’s pronouncement must appropriately point to a religious body that at some point in time had been pure, but whose doctrines over time had become corrupted. Furthermore, understanding that this second angel’s message follows the “judgment hour” message of the first angel, helps us to know that these are “last days” messages. As such, these messages are intended for the sons and daughters of God. They are not divine instructions for those who blindly follow false religions.
The gospel message ringing out from Calvary has long been the call to leave the false teachings of men and to become invested in the true religion of Christ. Therefore, we are left with the shocking, but true, understanding from Scripture that apostate Protestantism is the Babylon of prophecy. In the “last days,” we may equate Babylon with Christian churches that profess Jesus, but according to Him in Matthew 15:8,9 “… draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’” Such faith communities are fatally flawed.
COMPROMISE AND CORRUPTION
What is the cause of their deviation from the Truth? The Bible says they have engaged in spiritual fornication with the world. This has occurred as Protestant churches began allowing the world to influence the people of God in their worship of God. While, indeed, offering familial love, warm fellowship, and vibrant worship experiences, these communities of professed faith, have seen fit to reject God’s Word as the final arbiter of faith. Thus, they have committed spiritual fornication with the world by drinking the wines of paganism and error.
In these last-days, fallen communities of faith have become guilty of permitting the world to influence what believers believe. We see clear evidence of this as Christian churches teach contrary to “thus says the Lord.” Among the examples we find are churches teaching: renunciation of the reality of hellfire for the unrighteous, belief in once saved-always saved, claims of the immortality of the soul, and rejection of the validity of the entirety of God’s Ten Commandment Law.
And this is just a partial listing of how Protestant churches have veered from God’s path of righteousness. More than zeal, the redeemed need God-ordained knowledge of truth versus falsity that is being taught in many Christian communities, today. Knowledge is ours, if we but ask (James 1:5).
UNIFIED IN CONFUSION
Sadly, we’re also seeing the embrace of ecumenism by Protestant churches. This crafting of a false sense of unity has been nurtured by the Bishop of Rome. And, it finds the people of God forming alliances with Rome, while following the directives of men, rather than the Word of God.
Since the time of Nimrod, Babylon has represented confusion. Throughout Scripture, false and apostate religions have worn the label, Babylon. Just as Belshazzar demonstrated his contempt for the God of heaven by drinking wine from the Temple’s sacred vessels, apostate Christian communities show their contempt for God by defiling His law, His name, and His Holy day through the substitution of man-made teachings for the pure Word of God. The institution, which is responsible for leading humanity into obeying erroneous doctrines and becoming allies with the church of Rome, is apostate Protestantism, which wears the label, Babylon.
LET GO. COME OUT.
The importance of knowledge is underscored by the fact that the fallen condition of Babylon is repeated in Revelation 18:2-4. And, this time, the Lord declares grave consequences for those who persist in embracing Babylon: “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen … And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and … receive of her plagues.”
The Father extends His invitation of grace to each of His children. Come out of Babylon and come into the Kingdom of glory. That’s knowledge worth sharing.
This article is part of our 2018 July / AAUgust Issue
DONALD L. McPHAULL, M.S.W., has enjoyed 30 years of ministry and is currently the senior pastor of the Ephesus Seventh-day Adventist Church in Los Angeles, California.