The Second Angel's Message
What announcement is made by the second angel of Rev. 14?
" 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." Rev. 14:8.
To whom is the term Babylon elsewhere applied?
"And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color... And upon her forehead was a name written, Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth." Rev. 17:4, 5.
NOTE: A woman, in prophecy, denotes a church. Eze. 23:2-4; Jer. 3:1, 14, 20; Rom. 7:4; Rev. 14:4, 5.
The word Babylon comes from Babel, and signifies mixture or confusion, which may be the result of idolatrous worship. Bush, in his Notes on Gen. 10:10, says, "Babel (i.e., confusion) is but another name for Babylon, which, from its being the primitive seat of despotical empire, and probably of idolatrous worship, has come to be employed in the Scriptures, particularly in the Apocalypse, as a typical or symbolical designation of oppressive government, both civil and ecclesiastical."
What does the apostle call the church that has become corrupted by worldly alliances?
"Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God?" James 4:4.
NOTE: Babylon is also said to commit fornication.
And what is that called which was to reveal the "man of sin," or the papacy?
"Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition." 2 Thess. 2:3.
NOTE: If a "falling away" in this case means apostasy, the "fall" of Babylon must be a moral fall, caused by a departure from the simplicity of the gospel.
What work was this "mother of harlots" seen to engage in?
"And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus." Rev. 17:6.
What was in the hand of this woman?
"And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet color, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication." Rev. 17:4.
What effect had this wine (false doctrine) upon those to whom it was given?
"And the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication." Rev. 17:2.
This woman is said to be the "mother" of harlots. Are there any churches which have sprung from the mother church of Rome, directly or indirectly, and which resemble her in doctrine or otherwise?
"If the church of Rome were ever guilty of idolatry in relation to the saints, her daughter, the Church of England, stands guilty of the same, which has ten churches dedicated to Mary for one dedicated to Christ." Catholic Christian Instructed, page 18.
Mr. Hopkins, in a treatise on the millennium, says: "There is no reason to consider the anti-Christian spirit and practices confined to that which is now called the church of Rome. The Protestant churches have much of Antichrist in them, and are far from being wholly reformed from corruption and wickedness."
"There is a powerful element of Romanism in all the larger Protestant bodies. The clergymen do not teach to the people the Bible itself in its purity and simplicity, but they require them to receive instead a system of clerical interpretations of the Bible." Literal Christian.
What confessions have been made by leading men, which show that they consider the churches to be in a fallen condition?
"A confession can be had from the lips of the pastors of most of our churches, that in our midst there are wicked, unholy, corrupt men who maintain their position, and are saved from a righteous discipline, either by their wealth or social position. It is true of this church, and it is true of many of the churches around us. If a ship should go to sea with as many rotten timbers as we have spiritually rotten members, it would go to the bottom in twenty-four hours . . . One thoughtful, intelligent layman, a ember of the church which is a leader in its denomination, said the other day, 'Our church has degenerated into a great, strong, social, fashionable organization.' " G. F .Pentecost, in Christian Statesman of Jan. 8, 1876.
Robert Atkins, also, in a sermon preached in London, said: "The truly righteous are diminished from the earth, and no man layeth it to heart. The professors of religion of the present day, in every church, are lovers of the world, conformers to the world, lovers of creature comfort, and aspirers after respectability. They are called to suffer with Christ, but they shrink from even reproach. Apostasy, apostasy, apostasy, is engraved on the very front of every church; and did they know it, and did they feel it, there might be hope; but alas! they cry, 'We are rich, and increased in goods, and have need of nothing.'"
Referring to a session of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Ireland, held in Belfast in 1859, the News Letter of that city, in its issue of Sept. 30, said: "Here in this venerable body of ministers and elders, we find two ministers openly giving each other the lie, and the whole General Assembly turned into a scene of confusion bordering upon a riot."
What does Paul say of the condition of the church in the last days?
"This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers,... lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away." 2 Tim 3:1-5.
NOTE: H. Mattison, D.D., appeals to his people in the folling strain: "You Methodists, who were once poor and unknown, but have grown rich and prominent in the world, have left the narrow way in which you walked twenty or thirty years ago, have ceased to attend class-meeting, seldom pray in your families or in prayer-meetings, as you once did, and are now indulging in many of the fashionable amusements of the day, such as playing chess, dominoes, billiards, and cards, dancing, and attending theaters, or allowing your children to indulge in them." --Popular Amusements, page 3.
The Christian Commonwealth, a leading religious journal of England, says: "More than once we have strongly denounced the pernicious vice of gambling, in all its varied forms, and we expect to do it again many times before the evil practice dies out. Certainly we cannot be silent when we find that even the church itself is infected with this pestilent disease. The raffling which goes on at bazaars is a species of gambling, and it is marvelous that Christian men should countenance it it any way. It is a lottery, pure and simple. How can Christian men protest against the vices of the world while their own hands are polluted?"
How does the prophet elsewhere describe the condition of Babylon?
"Babylon the great is fallen, 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." Rev. 18:2.
NOTE: "I believe that one half of the professors of the gospel are nothing better than practical infldels." --Dr. Cumming, in "Time of the End," page 183.
"The Church of England seems to be eaten through and through with sacramentarianism; but non-conformity appears to be almost as badly riddled with philosophical infidelity. Those of whom we thought better things are turning aside one by one from the fundamentals of the faith. Through and through, I believe, the very heart of England is honey-combed with a damnable infidelity which dares still go into the pulpit, and call itself Christian." --Mr. Spurgeon, in the Record.
Many of the evils set forth in the foregoing extracts existed (though perhaps in milder form than now) in 1844, and were probably the cause of the churches' rejecting the great Advent movement of that time. Since then the cry, "Babylon is fallen," has been going to the world.
Where will many of God's people be found when this cry is at its height?
"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." Rev. 18:4.
NOTE: I also think Christ has a true church on earth, but its members are scattered among the various denominations, and are all more or less under the influence of Mystery, Babylon and her daughters." --Wm. Kinkaid, "Bible Doctrine," page 294.
In this can to "come out" of Babylon, what message does the Lord send to guide His people into the truth for these days?
"And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, the same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of His indignation... Here is the patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the faith of Jesus." Rev. 14:9-12.
NOTE: It is worthy of notice that the first of these angels has simply an announcement to make of the judgment at hand; the second tells the condition of the religious world, and exposes its unfitness to meet its record in the judgment previously announced; while the third provides a remedy whereby the people may be made ready to meet the judgment and the coming King. This subject is treated in the next chapter (52).