The Message of Revelation 18:1-4
(Article)

Introduction

Besides the three angels mentioned in Revelation 14, Christ the Revelator mentioned another angel in Revelation 18. The message of this other angel is similar to the message of the second angel in Revelation 14.

“And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, and is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.” Revelation 18:1-4.

1. Who is Babylon the Great?

Babylon the great which is mentioned in Revelation 18:1-4 happens to be the same Babylon mentioned in Revelation 14:8 and 17:5.

According to the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, this Babylon “designates, in a special sense, the united apostate religions at the close of time (see on chs. 14:8; 16:13, 14; 18:24).” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 851, 852 (published 1957).

“‘Babylon the great’ is the name by which Inspiration refers to the great threefold religious union of the papacy, apostate protestantism, and spiritualism.” – ibid, page 852.

Since Babylon the great is called the “mother of harlots” in Revelation 17:5, this would mean that there are “daughters” which refers to the various religious bodies that constitute apostate Protestantism.

“Babylon is said to be ‘the mother of harlots.’ By her daughters must be symbolized churches that cling to her doctrines and traditions, and follow her example of sacrificing the truth and the approval of God, in order to form an unlawful alliance with the world. The message of Revelation 14, announcing the fall of Babylon must apply to religious bodies that were once pure and have become corrupt. Since this message follows the warning of the judgment, it must be given in the last days; therefore it cannot refer to the Roman Church alone, for that church has been in a fallen condition for many centuries. Furthermore, in the eighteenth chapter of the Revelation the people of God are called upon to come out of Babylon. According to this scripture, many of God’s people must still be in Babylon. And in what religious bodies are the greater part of the followers of Christ now to be found? Without doubt, in the various churches professing the Protestant faith. At the time of their rise these churches took a noble stand for God and the truth, and His blessing was with them. Even the unbelieving world was constrained to acknowledge the beneficent results that followed an acceptance of the principles of the gospel. In the words of the prophet to Israel: ‘Thy renown went forth among the heathen for thy beauty: for it was perfect through My comeliness, which I had put upon thee, saith the Lord God.’ But they fell by the same desire which was the curse and ruin of Israel—the desire of imitating the practices and courting the friendship of the ungodly. ‘Thou didst trust in thine own beauty, and playedst the harlot because of thy renown.’ Ezekiel 16:14, 15.

“Many of the Protestant churches are following Rome’s example of iniquitous connection with ‘the kings of the earth’—the state churches, by their relation to secular governments; and other denominations, by seeking the favor of the world. And the term ‘Babylon’—confusion—may be appropriately applied to these bodies, all professing to derive their doctrines from the Bible, yet divided into almost innumerable sects, with widely conflicting creeds and theories.” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, pages 382-383.

2. The Threefold Union of Revelation 16:13

“The ‘three unclean spirits’ apparently either symbolize or represent this evil trio of religious powers, which together constitute latter-day ‘great Babylon’. ... The mouth is the instrument of speech. Coming forth from the mouth of the ‘dragon,’, of the ‘beast,’ and of the ‘false prophet,’ these three ‘unclean spirits’ represent the policy that this threefold religious union proclaims to the world, spoken in ch. 17:2 as the ‘wine’ of Babylon.” – Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 7, page 844 (published 1957).

“It is our individual duty to walk humbly with God. We are not to seek any strange, new message. We are not to think that the chosen ones of God who are trying to walk in the light compose Babylon. The fallen denominational churches are Babylon. Babylon has been fostering poisonous doctrines, the wine of error. This wine of error is made up of false doctrines, such as the natural immortality of the soul, the eternal torment of the wicked, the denial of the pre-existence of Christ prior to His birth in Bethlehem, and advocating and exalting the first day of the week above God’s holy and sanctified day. These and kindred errors are presented to the world by the various churches, and thus the Scriptures are fulfilled that say, ‘For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.’ It is a wrath which is created by false doctrines, and when kings and presidents drink this wine of the wrath of her fornication, they are stirred with anger against those who will not come into harmony with the false and satanic heresies which exalt the false sabbath, and lead men to trample underfoot God’s memorial.” – Ellen G. White, Testimonies to Ministers, pages 62-63.

“Through the two great errors, the immortality of the soul and Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions. While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism, the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome. The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, page 588.

3. “Come out of her, My people”

The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary tells us that the voice mentioned as “another voice” in Revelation 18:4 is, as the Greek implies, another angelic voice (see vol. 7, page 861).

“Revelation 18 points to the time when, as the result of rejecting the threefold warning of Revelation 14:6-12, the church will have fully reached the condition foretold by the second angel, and the people of God still in Babylon will be called upon to separate from her communion. This message is the last that will ever be given to the world; and it will accomplish its work. When those that ‘believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness’ (2 Thessalonians 2:12), shall be left to receive strong delusion and to believe a lie, then the light of truth will shine upon all whose hearts are open to receive it, and all the children of the Lord that remain in Babylon will heed the call: ‘Come out of her, My people’ (Revelation 18:4).” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, page 390.

Revelation 18:4 thus tells us that there will come a time when it is no longer acceptable for God’s people who are still in the fallen churches of Babylon to remain there, but, to “come out of her”.

“Notwithstanding the spiritual darkness and alienation from God that exist in the churches which constitute Babylon, the great body of Christ’s true followers are still to be found in their communion. There are many of these who have never seen the special truths for this time. Not a few are dissatisfied with their present condition and are longing for clearer light. They look in vain for the image of Christ in the churches with which they are connected. As these bodies depart further and further from the truth, and ally themselves more closely with the world, the difference between the two classes will widen, and it will finally result in separation. The time will come when those who love God supremely can no longer remain in connection with such as are ‘lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; and having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof.’” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, page 390.

“This scripture (Revelation 18:1,2,4) points forward to a time when the announcement of the fall of Babylon, as made by the second angel of Revelation 14 (verse 8), is to be repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the various organizations that constitute Babylon, since that message was first given, in the summer of 1844. A terrible condition of the religious world is here described. With every rejection of truth the minds of the people will become darker, their hearts more stubborn, until they are entrenched in an infidel hardihood. In defiance of the warnings which God has given, they will continue to trample upon one of the precepts of the Decalogue, until they are led to persecute those who hold it sacred. Christ is set at nought in the contempt placed upon His word and His people. As the teachings of spiritualism are accepted by the churches, the restraint imposed upon the carnal heart is removed, and the profession of religion will become a cloak to conceal the basest iniquity. A belief in spiritual manifestations opens the door to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, and thus the influence of evil angels will be felt in the churches.

“Of Babylon, at the time brought to view in this prophecy, it is declared: ‘Her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’ Revelation 18:5. She has filled up the measure of her guilt, and destruction is about to fall upon her. But God still has a people in Babylon; and before the visitation of His judgments these faithful ones must be called out, that they partake not of her sins and ‘receive not of her plagues.’ Hence the movement symbolized by the angel coming down from heaven, lightening the earth with his glory and crying mightily with a strong voice, announcing the sins of Babylon. In connection with his message the call is heard: ‘Come out of her, My people.’ These announcements, uniting with the third angel’s message, constitute the final warning to be given to the inhabitants of the earth.” – Ellen G. White, Great Controversy, pages 603-604.

4. Some Local Churches Have Joined Babylon’s Association of Churches

In spite of the doctrine of the Seventh-day Adventist Church that the fallen denominational churches are Babylon, some local churches and conferences (such as this article writer’s own local church) have joined Babylon’s Association of Churches. The wording “Christian Ecumenical Worship Centre” on the wall of the building of Babylon’s Association of Churches in the city where this article writer lives tells a lot.

Consider the following statement:

“We must as a people arouse and cleanse the camp of Israel. Licentiousness, unlawful intimacy, and unholy practices are coming in among us in a large degree; and ministers who are handling sacred things are guilty of sin in this respect. They are coveting their neighbors’ wives, and the seventh commandment is broken. We are in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon, of allowing our churches to become corrupted, and filled with every foul spirit, a cage for every unclean and hateful bird; and will we be clear unless we make decided movements to cure the existing evil?” – Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 21, page 380.

The above statement may be referring to sinful ministers who engaged in unlawful intimacy and unholy practices, but it can readily apply to the local churches or conferences which have joined Babylon’s Association of Churches.

Instead of calling God’s people who are still in the other churches to “come out of her (Babylon)”, some local churches have instead joined Babylon’s Association of Churches and some even participated with her in her abominable worship.

May God show mercy on these local churches/conferences, and may they repent speedily of this abomination of joining Babylon’s Association of Churches.

“Today, as in the days of Elijah, the line of demarcation between God’s commandment-keeping people and the worshipers of false gods is clearly drawn. ‘How long halt ye between two opinions?’ Elijah cried; ‘if the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him.’ 1 Kings 18:21. And the message for today is, ‘Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen.’ ‘Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.’ Rev. 18:2, 4, 5.” – Ellen G. White, Advent Review and Sabbath Herald, November 20, 1913.

Conclusion

We have seen that God is leading His church to give the call to His people who are still in the other denominational churches to come out of them. We have also seen that some local churches/conferences are “in danger of becoming a sister to fallen Babylon” by joining Babylon’s Association of Churches and by participating in Babylon’s worship.

It is my prayer and hope that God’s church will realise her terrible mistake and quickly remedy the situation, or else, there may be a need to call God’s people out of fallen local Seventh-day Adventist churches/conferences, in addition to calling them out of the other fallen Babylonian churches.

“The Lord Jesus will always have a chosen people to serve Him. When the Jewish people rejected Christ, the Prince of Life, He took from them the kingdom of God and gave it unto the Gentiles. God will continue to work on this principle with every branch of His work.” – Ellen G. White, Manuscript Releases, vol. 14, page 102.

May we each be found individually faithful to our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Prayer: “Our Father in heaven, thank You so much for showing us what Babylon the Great is and for Your call to Your people to come out of her. Please help us to beware of the danger of becoming a sister to Babylon and to repent of our participation in her abominable worship. In Jesus’ name, amen.”


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Questions for Thought:

1. Who is Babylon the Great?
2. Is God calling His people out of Babylon?
3. Has God’s (your local) church joined Babylon’s Association of Churches and participated in her abominable worship?