This is an article in the series on the vision of the seven last plagues (Rev 15-16).
SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE
PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE
THE LOUD CRY
In Revelation 18, an angel with great authority descends from heaven and illuminates the earth with his glory. He cries out with a mighty voice:
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon.”
This is not a literal angel, but a message proclaimed on earth by God’s people through the power of the Holy Spirit. Because of the power by which the Revelation 18-message will be given, this article refers to it as the loud cry.
THE FIFTH PLAGUE
The fifth plague-angel pours his bowl out on “the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened” (Rev 16:10). The throne of the beast has been identified in a previous article as a Christian religious authority.
Both the fifth plague and the loud cry, therefore, attack the beast’s authority. The purpose of the current article is to show that these two are the same.
THE LOUD CRY WILL BE HEARD DURING THE PLAGUES.
The loud cry will be proclaimed before the seventh plague because:
The seventh plague destroys Babylon (Rev 16:19) and
the loud cry places her destruction in the future (Rev 18:8-10, 15, 21).
The loud cry will be later than the three angels of Rev 14:7-11 because:
(A) The loud cry is given with more power than the three angels (e.g., Rev 18:1) and
(B) There is no call to repentance in the loud cry. (In other words, the time for repentance has passed.)
The loud cry will be heard during the seven last plagues because:
(A) There is no repentance in both the loud cry or the plagues (cf. Rev 16:9, 11) and
(B) Revelation 15 is the point in history when the work of the three angels of Rev 14 will cease and the plagues begin, and because the loud cry is heard later than the three angels. To explain:
The three angels of Rev 14 will give their warning message while the image of the beast is persecuting God’s people (Rev 14:9).
Revelation 15 represents a point in history when every person has made his or her final decision to worship the beast (Rev 14:9) or God (Rev 14:7). For that reason, at that point in time, the warning of the three angels of Revelation 14 will cease. It will have no further purpose.
But that is also the point in time when the command is given to pour out the plagues (Rev 16:1).
THE LOUD CRY WILL BE HEARD DURING THE FIFTH PLAGUE.
The loud cry will be heard during the fifth plague because:
(A) The loud cry calls God’s people out of Babylon so that they would not receive her plagues (Rev 18:4), and the sixth and seventh plagues are particularly the plagues on Babylon (Rev 16:12, 19). “My people,” therefore, come out of her before the sixth plague.
(B) The contrast between the darkness in the beast’s kingdom in the fifth plague (Rev 16:10) and the bright light of the loud cry (Rev 18:1) implies that the illumination of the whole earth by the angel in Revelation 18 causes the darkness on the kingdom of the beast.
Through the loud cry, the Holy Spirit will intensify the message of the three angels of Revelation 14 and, during the fifth plague, convince the peoples of the world that the light from false Christianity is actually spiritual darkness.
– END OF SUMMARY –
This is the end of the summary. If you would like to skip the detail below, the next article in this series is: Overview and summary of the fifth plague. Alternatively, see the List of all articles on the Seven Last Plagues. Or, The list of all articles on this website.
THE THREE MESSAGES OF REVELATION 18
In Rev 18:1-2, John saw an angel:
“Having GREAT AUTHORITY,
and the EARTH WAS ILLUMINED with his glory.”
The angel cried out with a “mighty voice:”
“Fallen, FALLEN IS BABYLON THE GREAT!
She has become a dwelling place of demons.”
Because of the angel’s “mighty voice,” this article refers to it as the loud cry.
Babylon is explained in Revelation 17. She represents the religious system that has existed for all of human history; corrupting people (Rev 17:2) and reigning over kings (Rev 17:2, 3, 10, 18).
After John saw the angel, he heard “another voice from heaven” (Rev 18:4). This possibly is God Himself, for the voice says: “Come out of her, MY people.”
Later in Revelation 18, a “strong angel” (Rev 18:21) illustrates how sudden Babylon’s fall will be. There are, therefore, three messages recorded in Revelation 18.
Just like the leaders of the seven churches are called angels (Rev 2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14), and just like the three angel messages of Revelation 14, these are not literal angels or a literal voice from heaven, but messages proclaimed on earth by God’s people, through the power of the Holy Spirit.
THE FIFTH PLAGUE CAUSES DARKNESS.
After the beast’s deadly wound heals,
“The whole earth … followed after the beast …
they worshiped the beast, saying, …
‘Who is able to wage war with him?’”
(Rev 13:3, 4)
But the plagues weaken this powerful beast. The first four plagues target specifically the beast’s followers and their environment (see First Four Plagues). The fifth plague attacks the core of the beast’s kingdom, namely, “the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became darkened” (Rev 16:10). The throne of the beast is a symbol of its authority. In other words, in the fifth plague, the beast suffers a great loss of authority. A previous article identified its authority as Christian religious authority.
PURPOSE OF THIS ARTICLE
Both the fifth plague and the loud cry attack the beast’s authority. The purpose of the current article is to show that these two are the same. In other words, the darkness of the fifth plague is caused by the illumination of the powerful loud cry.
THE LOUD CRY PRECEDES THE SEVENTH PLAGUE.
The loud cry precedes the seventh plague because the seventh plague destroys Babylon (Rev 16:19), while Revelation 18 presents the destruction of Babylon as in the future. This is clear from the future verb tenses used when referring to her destruction:
“Her plagues will come” (Rev 18:8).
“She will be burned up” (Rev 18:9).
The kings “will weep” (Rev 18:10).
The merchants “will stand at a distance” (Rev 18:15).
“So will” Babylon be thrown down (Rev 18:21).
THE LOUD CRY WILL BE HEARD DURING THE PLAGUES.
Both the mighty angel of Revelation 18 and the second of the three angel messages in Revelation 14 are worldwide (Rev 14:6; 18:1) and announce that “Babylon is fallen” (Rev 14:8; 18:2).
THE LOUD CRY IS LATER THAN THE THREE ANGELS.
For two reasons, the loud cry will be later than the three angels of Rev 14:7-11. Firstly, the message of Revelation 18 is given with more power and more detail:
Revelation 14:8 simply reads “And another angel, a second one, followed, saying.” The angel in Rev 18, in contrast, has “great authority, and the earth was illumined with his glory.” “He cried out with a mighty voice” (Rev 18:1-2).
The angel in Revelation 18 also expands on the causes and consequences of Babylon’s fall (Rev 18:2-3).
Secondly, there is no call to repentance in the loud cry. The three angels in Revelation 14 encourage the people to worship the Creator (Rev 14:7), rather than the Beast and its image (Rev 14:9). But Revelation 18 has no call to repentance. It is a message for God’s people only: “Come out of her, my people” (Rev 18:4). This means that the time for repentance has passed.
The message of Revelation 18 may be the final climax of the message of the three angels.
THE LOUD CRY IS DURING THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES.
Since the loud cry is later than the three angels, the loud cry must be during the seven last plagues. This is argued as follows:
The purpose of the three angels of Revelation 14 is to warn people against the mark of the beast (e.g., Rev 14:9). Therefore, they will give their warning message while the image of the beast is persecuting God’s people.
When every person has made his or her final decision to worship either the beast (Rev 14:9) or God (Rev 14:7) and has been marked; either with the mark of the beast or the seal of God (Rev 14:1), the warning of the three angels has no further purpose and will cease. That point in time is represented by the “victorious” people in Revelation 15:2 and the temple closing in Revelation 15:8. This means that, after this point in time, nobody will be saved. That is when the command is given to pour out the plagues (Rev 16:1).
Revelation 15, therefore, is the point in history when the message of the three angels stops and the seven last plagues begin. Since the loud cry is later than the three angels, the loud cry must be later than Revelation 15. The loud cry, therefore, will be heard during the seven last plagues.
Further support for the proposal that the loud cry is proclaimed during the plagues is that there is no call to repentance in either the plagues or in Revelation 18.
THE LOUD CRY IS DURING THE FIFTH PLAGUE.
However, it is possible to be more specific, namely that the mighty angel of Revelation 18 proclaims his message during the fifth plague. This is justified as follows:
DARKNESS VERSUS LIGHT
Firstly, the contrast between the darkness in the beast’s kingdom in the fifth plague and the illumination of the whole world by the glory of the mighty angel of Revelation 18:1 implies a connection.
Secondly, in Revelation 18, God’s people are called out of Babylon so that they would not receive her plagues (Rev 18:4), and the sixth and seventh are particularly Babylon’s plagues. We see this in the following:
(a) The first five plagues are modeled on the plagues of Egypt, but the sixth plague is modeled on the events around the fall of ancient Babylon. (In the fall of ancient literal Babylon the waters literally dried up and king Cyrus literally came from the east.)
(b) Babylon is destroyed in the seventh plague. It reads, “Babylon the great was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath” (Rev 16:19). When God remembers something, it does not mean that He previously forgot. It means that He acts. In this case, Revelation 16:19 tells us what He does, namely “to give her the cup of the wine of His fierce wrath.”
If “her plagues” (Rev 18:4, 8) are understood as specifically the sixth and seventh plagues, then the call in Revelation 18 goes out just before these two plagues and therefore could be the fifth plague.
The fifth plague is the proclamation of the messages of Revelation 18 when the Holy Spirit will work powerfully to convince the peoples of the world that the light from their system of worship is actually spiritual darkness. It becomes clear that the despised and persecuted minority ‘sect’ actually is God’s true people.
In Revelation 11 we note a similar recovery of God’s people, when the two witnesses come to life, after being dead for 3½ days, “and great fear fell upon those who were watching them” (Rev 11:11).
The fifth plague is followed by the sixth, where the peoples of the world turn their backs on Babylon, followed by the complete destruction of Babylon by the kings of the earth (Rev 17:16) in the seventh plague (Rev 16:19).