The 2nd Angel’s Message: Babylon is Fallen!
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. Revelation 14:8
The first angel of Revelation 14 calls on all people to worship the Creator God. What does this cryptic message from the second angel of Revelation 14 mean?
What is Babylon and why is it fallen? What is the wine that all the nations have drunk? It all sounds so bizarre. Time for some savvy detective work.
Babylon is Fallen
You could call Revelation the tale of two cities: Babylon vs. New Jerusalem. Who will win? This verse tells us Babylon loses big time. But what exactly is Babylon? Is it a real city? What does it mean?
This is the first time Babylon is mentioned in the book of Revelation. Chapters 17 and 18 fill in the details about Babylon and it’s not a pretty sight. Babylon is drunk with the blood of the martyrs, those who have died for Jesus, and it is where devils and foul spirits live (Rev. 17:6; 18:2). What a relief that Babylon is fallen! Hallelujah!
This is a prophecy about the future, but the angel says it like it’s already happening. How do we know this?
The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah both used the same language to predict ancient Babylon’s fall (Is. 21:9; Jer. 51:7-8). Even though Babylon was very powerful at that very time, the message of it’s destruction was so certain that God had his prophets declare, Babylon IS fallen! And it happened just as God said. We can trust with certainty that this Babylon, oppressor of God’s people, will fall. It is a done deal!
What is Babylon?
To understand who or what Babylon is we must go again to the Old Testament stories. Do you remember the story of the tower of Babel?
After the flood the people build a tower that reached toward heaven. They wanted to make a name for themselves. God confused their languages to restrain them from the evil things they imagined to do (Gen. 11:4, 6, 7). From then on the place was called Babel.
Strong’s concordance gives us the meaning of Babel.
Strong’s H894 Babel = confusion (by mixing)
Point 1: Babylon represents confusion, mixing truth with error.
Next, we learn more about Babylon by reading about the ancient kingdom of Babylon and it’s famous king, Nebuchadnezzar. He boastfully proclaimed, “Is this not Babylon the great, which I myself have built… by the might of my power and for the glory of my majesty?” Daniel 4:30
Point 2: Babylon represents pride and putting ones-self above God
The prophet Isaiah compared Babylon with Lucifer, who said, “I will make myself like the Most High.” Isaiah 14:14
Point 3: Babylon represents Satan’s kingdom and his effort to steal the authority and honor that belong to God alone.
Later in Revelation, Babylon is seen as a prostitute woman sitting on many waters and riding the beast (Rev. 17:1, 3, 5). The Bible often describes God’s people who have become unfaithful as a wicked woman (Ezek. 16:15, 30). In this passage of Revelation many waters means many peoples or nations and a beast in Bible prophecy represents a political kingdom or political power (Rev. 17:15; Dan. 7:23).
Point 4: Babylon represents God’s people who have become unfaithful to Him and join with political powers. This spreads throughout the world.
Putting It All Together
Babylon throughout the Old Testament represents pride, arrogance, and rebellion. It’s doing things our own way instead of God’s way. The Bible warns us not to be deceived by this way of thinking.
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but he who heeds counsel is wise. Proverbs 12:15
For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. Galatians 6:3
Unbiblical ideas and beliefs
This end-time Babylon is a combination of ideas that spreads to the whole world. It includes confusion and the mixing of truth with error. It includes the idea that we can all find our own truth. What’s right for you might be different than what’s right for me. This is not what the Bible says.
You shall not at all do as we are doing here today – every man doing whatever is right in his own eyes. Deuteronomy 12:8
Revelation tells us that sadly, those who should be God’s people also fall into this trap described by the unfaithful woman riding on the beast. This image suggests that so-called Christians will join with political powers or governments to use deception and force to “make” people do what they think is right – when it’s actually the opposite of what the Bible says to do. They swallow the wine of Babylon. Rev. 13:11-17; Rev. 17:3-5; Rev. 18:2-3
You’d think we could spot such nasty character traits, yet Jesus and the apostles warn us not to be deceived. They warn over and over again. It must be important for them to keep repeating themselves. You’d think we were hardheaded or something! Hmmm?
Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. Matthew 24:4-5
Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. Matthew 24:11
For false christ and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect. Matthew 24:24
Satan and the beast are deceiving all over the place in Revelation and all over in the world today. This is their main method of operation. (Rev. 12:9; 13:14; 18:23; 19:20; 20:3,8)
How can I know if I’ve drunk Babylon’s wine?
Does this all sound a bit scary? What if I’ve been deceived? How do I know if I’ve drunk Babylon’s wine and it’s false teachings?
Thankfully the answer is not that hard. Read the Bible for yourself! Don’t rely on what your teacher’s tell you. Ask Jesus to send you his Holy Spirit to help you understand God’s Word. Compare all the teachings you hear – from your pastor, your friends, and even from me – with what the Bible says.
Any teaching that does not agree with what the Bible says is probably part of the wine of Babylon, the basket of false doctrines and lies about who God is and what he is like. The church is full of them. We’ll start to unpack more of them in future posts. Studying the book of Revelation exposes many of these lies.
God loves you so much. He does not want you to be led astray. He wants to spend all eternity hanging out with YOU! Imagine that! That’s why he gave us His son Jesus to show us what God is like, to expose the lies of Satan, and to save us from the terrible price of sin. Jesus died for you so you can live with Him in a new world that he will make especially beautiful for you. God also gave us his faithful words in the Bible and the promise of his Holy Spirit to guide us into truth.
Come Out of Her My People
God is calling all of his people to come out of Babylon and into the light of truth. But don’t wait, time is running out. When you discover gems of truth in the Bible that are different from what many Christians believe, don’t hesitate. Follow the Lamb wherever he leads you. It’s always safer than following the crowd.
Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path. Psalm 119:105
And I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” Revelation 18:4
Follow God and his truth because Babylon is going down soon. When Babylon falls and is taken out in the final judgment there will be no more lies, no more deception, no more persecution, and no more of Satan’s evil schemes. Hallelujah! What an awesome day that will be! That’s why the Bible says:
“Rejoice over her [Babylon’s] fate, O heaven and people of God and apostles and prophets! For at last God has judged her for your sakes. Revelation 18:20 (NLT)
That second angel has good news! Babylon is fallen!
A PRAYER FOR TODAY