The three Angels are important in God’s Plan of Salvation/Redemption. They cover the earth and make three pronouncements: 1. the Gospel message yet extending mercy to the guilty for a last chance plea agreement, 2. absent that, the determination of guilt, and 3. the sentencing. God the Father is the Judge of all. In Zechariah 3, the removal of sin from Jesus takes place in a Court setting. In Daniel 7, the prophet relates specifically that God’s Court sits. God sets the rules for witnesses, requiring two or more to set a matter – a legal ruling. In the legal realm, the Angels act as God’s voice, telling the guilty that they have been judged. The pronouncements of the three Angels therefore cover the legal necessities of God the Father as Judge of the world.
The Angels do not tell another story within John’s story of this parallel account within the book of Revelation. John describes what the Angels say. While the Angels pronounce certain facts, in fact, because of the nature of the verb tense in the Greek, the events they describe are ‘summary occurrences’ and as such, can be past, present or future. Once God pronounces sentence, that end result is absolutely certain; nothing can change it. Therefore, while Babylon the Great (megas
fallen – its “fall” does not happen until later as specifically delineated in the parallel account of the Rise and Fall of the anti-Christ in Revelation chapters 13-16.
The pronouncements of the Angels also give reason for other aspects of the end-times from parallel and multiple accounts. It is their pronouncement of God’s Judgment that allows the wicked people who hide underground that God is indeed coming for them. The wicked people’s statement in the sixth Seal that God’s Wrath is not a statement of action being taken upon them: it is only their faulty conclusion based on their own self-interest. They don’t care about anyone but themselves and their understanding of God’s plan is not only severely limited, it is extremely faulty as well; they have no understanding.
In regards to multiple accounts, Jesus gives us the Great Commission in the Olivet Discourse:
MT 28:19 “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Jesus also sets its fulfillment as a precursor for the ‘end’ of the ‘age:’
MT 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.
This establishes a sequence-of-events between this event and the end which is not defined as the total end (as in the one ‘seven’), but an end of an era or time.
The Church cannot fulfill this prophecy, because the Church cannot completely fulfill the Great Commission. Although caring attempts certainly have been made by various Christians and Christian organizations, an Angel actually fulfills what the Church cannot possibly perform. This is not the fault of the Church; it is simply impossible for any human effort to completely reach everyone who has yet and still needs to hear the Gospel message.
REV 14:6 Then I saw another angel flying in midair, and he had the eternal gospel to proclaim to those who live on the earth ― to every nation, tribe, language and people. 7 He said in a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come. Worship him who made the heavens, the earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
Notice in this parallel account of the one ‘seven’ in Revelation chapters 13 through 16 that the fulfillment comes after the Great Tribulation described in Revelation chapter 13, but right before the Harvest in the parallel account of the one ‘seven’ in Revelation chapter 14. The timing is critical because people are constantly being born. Past efforts neglect new souls who were born after those campaigns. It is literally impossible for man to satisfy the Great Commission, which lessens not Jesus’ command that each Christian witness. However, only God has the ability to make a world-wide appeal in every language with divine power right before Jesus comes on the clouds so that no one can miss the Gospel message. This adds a second witness to the testimony of the Angel: it is a message from God. God will provide a way for all those He knows will come to Him even though they could never hear the Gospel message otherwise.
“The hour has come,” is, like the “fallen” of Babylon is in the aorist tense, indicative mood, and active voice. This is the nature of the pronouncement. The aorist tense has no equal in English. It describes a summary occurrence without regard to the time it takes to accomplish. Secondly, being in the indicative mood, the second Angel merely makes a pronouncement, a statement of fact of an actual occurrence. The truthfulness of the statement is from the writer's or speaker's perspective. Thirdly, the verb is in the active voice rather than be a passive description of something which has happened. What is not yet named is the actor who advances the action.
Although now stipulated explicitly, since this first Angel comes after the 144,000 but before the Harvest – the timing can be firmly pegged as happening on the Day of the Lord. Jesus states this fact in the Olivet Discourse. It is at the time of the Sun/moon/star event that He comes on the clouds, which is the same image presented with the Harvest. The first Angel acts as a last call to the world as God extends His Grace to all who would receive His gift of Salvation through His Son, Christ Jesus.
As the last day of the Church Age is rapidly approaching, this is the last chance any normal being will have to escape the coming Wrath. Many peoples outside of the Kingdom of the North will accept this miraculous pronouncement of the Gospel and believe. Those of the East, in the Orient, bereft of a Judeo-Christian foundation will find solace in the Words and will believe. Some in the South, controlled by pagan and satanic religions will likewise, having a heart for God, convert in a moment, and without having to weather persecution which would otherwise wilt their newfound joy.
Furthermore, while people are being saved at the very last moment, the wicked are hearing that their time is up. So while they hide in their lairs, they quake in fear knowing God’s Judgment is about to befall them. This explains why the wicked speak of God’s “wrath” as coming while they are hiding in their liars in the parallel account of the sixth Seal in that chronology: they heard the first Angel as well. However, they still reject the Gospel message.
REV 14:8 A second angel followed and said, "Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great, which made all the nations drink the maddening wine of her adulteries."
A cursory reading in English of verse 8 seems to produce a pronouncement by the second Angel that Babylon has fallen. Reading “fallen” as a past participle in English, leads to the conclusion that a simple act has occurred and Babylon is no more. However, the word “fallen” in the Greek describes a totally different circumstance.
First of all, like the ‘hour has come,’ the lexical word for “fallen” is in the aorist tense, indicative mood, and active voice. Again, this tense has no equal in English. It describes a summary occurrence without regard to the time it takes to accomplish. Secondly, and yet again, being in the indicative mood, the second Angel pronounces a statement of fact of an actual occurrence. And likewise thirdly, the verb is in the active voice, so rather than be a passive description of something which has come upon Babylon and ruined it, the second Angel is saying Babylon actively falls. Again, the actor who fells Babylon is not mentioned. The second Angel is not telling a story of how Babylon fell, or will fall; just that its accomplishment is a statement of fact: a pronouncement.
The fallen nature of Babylon may very well indicate the depths this form of man-worship has sunk. The depth unto which Babylon has fallen is described in the detailed second parallel account of Revelation 17-18:
"Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!
She has become a home for demons
and a haunt for every evil spirit,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable bird.
REV 18:3 For all the nations have drunk
the maddening wine of her adulteries.
The kings of the earth committed adultery with her,
and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries."
Note here that the Angel of Revelation 18 is not describing a city that has been wiped out, or fallen in physical ruin because of war. Rather, the fallen nature of Babylon comes as a list of her sins and generally depraved nature. Likewise the exhortation to God’s people is come out of Babylon and not to share in her sins or punishment because there will be a day for God’s Wrath to fall upon Babylon and she will be ruined. However, that day has not yet arrived. Like the first Angel, an impending sense of doom for the wicked naturally results from hearing that God’s Judgment is coming.
In the overall context of the book of Revelation, John is telling a story. The storytelling has not shifted to the second Angel; nor has the second Angel become an actor in the story to bring down Babylon megas
. In the context of the Sequence-of-Events, at the midpoint abomination which causes ‘who is like God’ to arise, from Daniel 7:10: The court was seated, and the books were opened. God has pronounced Judgment and that decision is read to the guilty party before sentencing begins. The sentencing results in the removal of the wicked from God’s Kingdom first by their death, and then by their total elimination from existence in the Lake of Fire after the second Resurrection which occurs after the Millennium.
REV 14:9 A third angel followed them and said in a loud voice: "If anyone worships the beast and his image and receives his mark on the forehead or on the hand, 10 he, too, will drink of the wine of God's fury, which has been poured full strength into the cup of his wrath. He will be tormented with burning sulfur in the presence of the holy angels and of the Lamb. 11 And the smoke of their torment rises for ever and ever. There is no rest day or night for those who worship the beast and his image, or for anyone who receives the mark of his name."
At this time, Jesus has not yet gathered the Elect from the face of the Earth. Up until Jesus comes, the Great Tribulation with its two terrible laws (worship the image(s) of the beast or die, and take the mark of the beast or don’t buy or sell) have been in effect. This condition is still belaboring God’s people. Like the example of the five foolish virgins of Matthew 25:1-13, God’s people must remain faithful until the last moment.
While the example of the five foolish virgins can be said to be a figurative parable to keep faith (oil), it can also aptly describe the great turmoil which will be foisted upon those who are Christians to maintain their vigilance in the face of real and physical discomfort and need. With supplies stretched or run out, it would be exceedingly foolish to run out, accept the mark of the beast so as to buy something one thinks they need and in so doing lose their eternal salvation by a demonstration that their faith could produce not even a seed of patient endurance.
12 This calls for patient endurance on the part of the saints who obey God's commandments and remain faithful to Jesus.
Patient endurance, hupomeno
, was required for the Church during the first half of the one ‘seven’ in Revelation 13:10. Now, at the end of the Church age, it is still required until the Rapture actually happens for those who are alive and are left. As Jesus said of hupomeno
during the end-times in Luke 21:19:
By standing firm you will gain life.
This “standing firm” (hupomeno
) is not a stubborn resistance, but another way of expressing the endurance Christians must exhibit from their faith. This display of endurance, as Paul informs the Thessalonians, “is inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ” (1Th 1:3). This is a faith that works.
In exercising patient endurance, there is no need to win the race ― that is, to get to the finish line of Jesus’ actual parousia. The overriding factor for the Christian is to keep the faith, not to stay alive. It matters little to scrape by and manage to see the blessed event only to be left behind and suffer God’s Wrath because that person accepted the mark of the beast or worshipped his image(s). Better to lose your life and keep it for eternity than that. The parables following the Olivet Discourse (Mt 24:45-25:30) all speak of the need for the follower of Christ to remain faithful up to and including the time of the bridegroom’s return.
I hope the reader is edified by this study.