In verse 6, where it says, “And I saw another angel flying in mid-heaven,…” – back in chapter 8:13, there was an eagle flying through the air (‘through the air’ seemed to be where everybody could see it and hear it). “… having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth,…” – this is very important because this seems to be another emphasis that God’s plagues are for the purpose of offering a chance of redemption for the unredeemed inhabitants of the earth. We saw it first back in chapter 9:20-21, and we’ll see it again in chapter 16:8. The phrase ‘inhabitants of the earth’ is always used for unbelievers. So here the eternal good news is for unbelievers that they might come to God in faith through Christ. “…and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people;…” – is the idea that the gospel is for all. We could go to the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20, or we could look at Matthew 24:14 about ‘the gospel must be preached to all the nations’, and this may be a fulfillment of that prophecy now. Notice where it says, “and he said with a loud voice,…” and he’s going to say two imperatives, “Fear God, and give Him glory (worship Him). Back in chapter 11:13 there was a temporary ‘fearing God and giving Him glory’ but obviously the miracles of the beast in chapter 13 lured these fickle-minded followers away very quickly, so it wasn’t true faith. But here’s the thing, they are to fear or revere God and give Him glory, and look what it says, “…because the hour of His judgment has come;…” – this word ‘hour’ is used so often in the Gospel of John for the very time Jesus was to be crucified. It’s probably used here in the very specific time of the judgement of God in John. You might want to see John 12:23; 16:32; and 17:1 for the ‘His hour had come”, and here it’s the hour of judgement. Then it says, “…worship Him…” – another imperative, “…who made the heaven and the earth and sea and springs of waters.” – this sounds very familiar to Paul’s sermon in Acts 14:15 where he describes God as the Creator. The ‘springs of water’ is rather new. We’re not just certain about that. Now verse 8, “And another angel, a second one, followed, saying, Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great,…” – ‘fallen’ is put first in the sentence for emphasis, and it’s repeated for emphasis (aorist tense which means once and for all). One of the real difficulties in trying to interpret Revelation is that a theme is picked up in one point and developed in several successive stages: the real fall of Babylon which i think is symbolic of Rome; which was symbolic of Babylon; which is symbolic of all human society organized and functioning apart from God. From Daniel 2, this series of kingdoms shows us is becoming more and more anti-God which will one day stand for the world government of the anti-Christ. This is developed particularly in chapter 17 and 18, but the allusion brought for here is of mighty Babylon. Now there is some Old Testament precedents for this. You might want to see Isaiah 27:9 and Jeremiah 51:8 for the same idea of ‘Babylon is fallen’. ‘Babylon the great’ as it is quite often mentioned in the book of Revelation seems to be a symbol of Babylon for Rome. Notice as it says, “…she who has made all the nations drink of the wine of the passion of her immorality.” – this has the idea that Babylon corrupts the nations with her evil ways, and consequently this impurity brings down on it the wrath of God; the nations therein really drunk the wine of God’s wrath.
(TO BE CONTINUED)