The Loud Cry of Revelation 18 causes the darkness of the fifth plague.

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.

INTERPRETATION

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.

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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.   

HER PLAGUES

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.

CONCLUSION

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).


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Revelation 12: Why did God not make an end of evil after the Cross?

This is an article in the series on Revelation 12. Unless otherwise indicated, all quotes are from the NASB.

REJOICE, O HEAVENS

Lamb of GodBecause of the blood of the Lamb and because of the testimony of our brethren, Satan was driven out of heaven and thrown down on earth (Revelation 12:8-13).  A loud voice then announced:

Now the salvation, and the power, and the kingdom of our God and the authority of His Christ have come, … For this reason, rejoice, O heavens and you who dwell in them” (Revelation 12:10-12).

Events on earth made an end to the war in heaven.  Through Christ, God made peace with the “things in heaven” (Col 1:20).  This world became the testing ground for God’s righteousness, with huge implications for the entire cosmos.

WOE TO THE EARTH

But the voice continued:

Woe to the earth and the sea, because the devil has come down to you, having great wrath” (Rev 12:12).

The war continues on earth.  This planet is the only place in the universe where Satan still has power.

WHY DOES SIN CONTINUE?

Why did God not make an end to sin immediately after the Cross?  One seldom hears this topic discussed, probably because the standard theories of the atonement have no answer for that question.  In this theory, Jesus died to satisfy the wrath of an angry God.  Is God’s wrath then not yet fully satisfied?

Satan’s weapons in this war are deception and accusations.  God responds, not with violence or with force, but with the blood of the Lamb (Rev 5:9) and with the testimony of “our brethren” (Rev 12:11)  By these means, God provides the evidence required to refute Satan’s charges.  Since Satan attacks with accusations, and since God responds with evidence, the only possible conclusion is that sin continues because some evidence is still outstanding.

WHY IS EVIDENCE REQUIRED?

If we understand Revelation 12 correctly, the earth is the only place where the rebellion against God still rages, for Satan has been banished from the courts of heaven after Jesus’ ascension.  Therefore, to remove evil from this planet is to remove it entirely from God’s creation:

The creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption” (Rom 8:21).

Lake of FireEvil will be exterminated when “the devil who deceived them was thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone” (Rev 20:10), and with him, anyone whose “name was not found written in the book of life” (Rev 20:15).   After this event, we will hear God say, “Behold, I am making all things new” (Rev 21:5).

The eradication of evil in Rev 20:13-15 is preceded immediately by the judgment before the great white throne (Rev 20:11-12).  The extermination of evil, therefore, is the consequence of this judgment.  The evidence is therefore required for the final judgment, in which “books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books” (Rev 20:12). 

In conclusion, the war still continues because there still is some evidence outstanding that is required for the final great judgment.  The extermination of evil, and with it all the people and angels that are permanently corrupted by it, will be a most traumatic event for all the universe, including for the people that are saved.  God wants to make sure that all of His intelligent creatures understand and agree with the decisions made in that judgment.

WHAT EVIDENCE IS STILL OUTSTANDING?

What and why evidence is required, we can see from the end-time events as described in the book of Revelation:

THE MARK OF THE BEAST

Jesus’ arrival on earth caused a major crisis. In a few short years, much was revealed both about God and about Satan.

Revelation predicts a similar crisis in the end time, when “the image of the beast would … cause as many as do not worship the image of the beast to be killed” (Rev 13:15).  It will attempt to give all people “a mark on their right hand or on their forehead” (Rev 13:16).  People who refuse to receive this mark will not be allowed “to buy or to sell” (Rev 13:17).

What the mark of the beast is, requires a more in-depth study, but we can safely say that it will be that sin which people will be forced to commit, the modern equivalent to Nebuchadnezzar forcing all people to worship a statue, at the threat of death (Dan 3:5-6). The beast itself is an earthly power (cf. Rev 13:1-2; 17:9-10; 12). To worship it is to accept its authority.

At the same time, the truth will be preached with more power than ever before (Rev 14:6).  The evil one attempts to blur the distinctions between what is holy and what is common, but these distinctions will be made clear by God’s end-time messengers. All people will have to choose between the mark of the beast and “the seal of the living God” (Rev 7:2; cf. 14:1).  This will be the valley of decision for all people:

Multitudes, multitudes in the valley of decision! For the day of the LORD is near” (Joel 3:14).

God’s people will be “victorious over the beast and his image and the number of his name” (Rev 15:2).  They “had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received the mark on their forehead and on their hand” (Rev 20:4).

THE PLAGUES

There will come a turning point, during this final crisis, when “the temple was filled with smoke … and no one was able to enter the temple” (Rev 15:8).  After this, the plagues are poured out (Rev 16:1), but only “on the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshiped his image” (Rev 16:2). This will give them clear evidence that they are persecuting God’s people, but “they did not repent” (Rev 16:9, 11).  They will continue to oppress God’s people.

THE MILLENNIUM

Christ’s return will make an end to the persecution of God’s people, but only temporarily. At the end of the 1000 years, all people that opposed God, from all ages since the creation of the world, will “come to life” (Rev 20:5), and “Satan will be released from his prison, and will come out to deceive the nations” (Rev 20:7-8).  “They … surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city, and fire came down from heaven and devoured them” (Rev 20:9).  This, in a few words, describes the final and major battle between good and evil. It is described only briefly because we have no way to understand the circumstances or nature of that battle.

THE OUTSTANDING EVIDENCE

Why would God allow an end-time crisis in which His people are killed?  Why does God pour down horrible plagues on the earth when there is no possibility that sinners will repent?  And why would God bring the lost back to life, 1000 years after Christ’s return, only to consume them again by fire?

These are to provide the evidence required for the final great judgment.

GOD’S PEOPLE

God’s people will be “victorious over the beast.”  The evil one will take away from them all they have, but they will refuse to “worship the image of the beast” (Rev 13:15), “even when faced with death” (Rev 12:11).  This will reveal their faith: “They overcame him (the accuser) … because of the word of their testimony” (Rev 12:11). The Cross demonstrated God’s righteousness (Rom 3:25-26). God’s end-time people will similarly demonstrate, to the universe for all ages to come, the justness of God’s grace for His people.

GOD’S ENEMIES

The persecutors of God’s people “did not repent,” even when they have clear evidence that they are persecuting God’s people. This will reveal their true natures. They pretend to be Christians, but their actions will show that they are fundamentally opposed to God and to His principles, like the Pharisees of old, who opposed Jesus. This will confirm God’s condemnation of them.

CONCLUSIONS

All the seeds—both good and evil—that have been sown over the centuries, will come to maturity in this last battle.  Through this crisis, good and evil will both be fully revealed (cf. Rev 3:10).

God allows the human race—created in His own image—to show the nature and consequences of Satan’s principles.  The entire universe is watching events on this little planet with intense interest (e.g. Job):

The manifold wisdom of God (is) … made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places“ (Eph 3:10).

Various articles on the website are available with further information, for example, Purpose of the Plagues and Return of Christ in the book of Revelation.

THE DELAY

Why does God delay the end-time crisis?

First-century Christians expected Jesus to return in their time.  See The Lord is coming soon.  When He did not, they asked questions, and Peter explained:

The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Over the centuries, God’s persecuted people complained about the delay:

How long, O Lord, holy and true, will You refrain from judging and avenging our blood on those who dwell on the earth?” (Rev 6:10)

In Revelation 7:1-3, an angel ascends from the rising of the sun (the east), “having the seal of the living God; and he cried out with a loud voice to the four angels to whom it was granted to harm the earth and the sea, saying, ‘Do not harm the earth or the sea or the trees until we have sealed the bond-servants of our God on their foreheads’.

God delays the final crisis because His people are not ready, and He is “not wishing for any to perish.”  He will only allow the end-time crisis when the 144000 are sealed.  The number 144000 is interpreted here not as a literal number, but as a symbol of the quality of their faith:

These are the ones who have not been defiled with women … who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. … And no lie was found in their mouth; they are blameless” (Rev 14:4-5).


SUMMARY OF THIS ARTICLE

Satan was driven out of heaven because of the blood of the Lamb and because of the testimony of our brethren. God made peace with the “things in heaven,” but the war continued on earth.

Why did God not make an end to sin immediately after the Cross?

Since Satan attacks with accusations, and since God responds with evidence, we assume that God allows sin to continue because some evidence is still outstanding.

For what purpose is evidence required? 

Earth is the only place where the rebellion against God still rages. To remove evil from this planet is to remove it entirely from the universe.  After the judgment before the great white throne, evil will be exterminated through the lake of fire. The war continues on earth to generate the evidence required in the final judgment.

The end-time events show what and why evidence is required.

By threats of violence and death, people will be forced to receive the mark of the beast, which is some sin that people will be forced to commit. But God’s people will be “victorious over the beast.”

At some point, during this final crisis, the plagues will start to fall, but only on the people who are persecuting God’s people. This will give them clear evidence that they are opposing God, but they will not repent.

Christ’s return will not be the final end of sin. At the end of the 1000 years, all people that opposed God, from all ages since the creation of the world, will “come to life” and continue their persecution of God’s people.

All of this is to provide the evidence required for the final great judgment.  These events will demonstrate the faith of God’s people, but will also show that the lost are fundamentally opposed to God and to His principles, thus confirming God’s judgments, for God wants us to trust Him fully.


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