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

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 Cghristian 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 in time 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 Rev 14 will cease. It will have has 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 angel 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 – 

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 Reve 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 in time than the three angels of Rev 14:7-11. Firstly, the message of Revelation 18 is given with more power and more detail:

Rev 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 (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 Rev 15:2 and the temple closing in Rev 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, Rev 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).

ARTICLES ON THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

Introduction – Revelation 15

The first four plagues
  Must not be interpreted individually
 – Target the earth, sea, waters and sun, but the people do not repent.

The Fifth Plague
The Throne of the Beast is Christian Religious Authority.

  The Light of the Mighty Angel of Rev 18 causes the darkness.
  The Roman Empire gave to the Church is throne and power.

The Sixth Plague
The Great River, the Euphrates, dries up.
The Kings from the East are Christ and His angels.

  Armageddon is not a literal place but the Day of the Lord.
  Does “coming like a thief” (rEV 16:15) support a secret rapture?
  Why the Euphrates has to dry up to prepare the way for the kings
  Summary of these articles & conclusions

The Seventh Plague culminates in the return of Christ.

Purpose of the Plagues
To show that God judges perfectly

  Why is it necessary to show that God judges perfectly?

The throne of the beast is Christian religious authority.

WHAT IS THE THRONE OF THE BEAST?

The fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast” (Rev 16:10), with four consequences:

      • “His kingdom became darkened,”
      • “They gnawed their tongues because of pain,” (Rev 16:10)
      • “They blasphemed the God of heaven,” and
      • “They did not repent of their deeds” (Rev 16:11).

A king’s throne is a symbol of his authority. Similarly, God’s throne represents His authority and the throne of the beast symbolizes its authority. It is not a literal beast and not a literal throne.

The main purpose of this article is to determine what the beast’s authority is. What gives it the power to rule? Is it military might, or the power of money, or perhaps religious authority?

To understand the nature of the final conflict, this question is important, for the authority of the beast determines by what kind of power God’s people will be persecuted.

THE THRONE OF THE BEAST IS
CHRISTIAN RELIGIOUS AUTHORITY.

The current article proposes that the authority of the beast is religious authority; specifically Christian religious authority, which means that the end-time conflict is the persecution of God’s real people by the church. This is argued as follows:

(1) ONLY THE CHURCH IS ABLE TO PERSECUTE GOD’S PEOPLE SELECTIVELY.

Only the church is able to identify God’s true people. It is able to identify them because they oppose its blasphemous practices and doctrines. Therefore, only the church is able to selectively persecute God’s true people. In history, God’s true people were never selectively persecuted by people outside the church.

(2) GOD’S ENEMY IS INSIDE THE CHURCH.

In the seven letters (Rev 2-3), the powers that oppose God’s true people are inside the Church. Since the nature of the conflict in the seven letters should be the same in the end-time conflict, God’s end-time people will be persecuted by the church.  

(3) GOD’S PEOPLE ARE PERSECUTED BY THE HARLOT.

According to Revelation 17, the harlot Babylon persecutes God’s true people (Rev 18:24). Since the true church is represented by a pure woman (Rev 12:1), the harlot Babylon is the fallen church. This symbolism is based on the Old Testament which refers to unfaithful Israel as an adulteress woman.

(4) DECEIVE BY MEANS OF SIGNS AND WONDERS

The dragon, the beast, and the false prophet will deceive people by means of signs and wonders. That identifies them as religious organizations. Furthermore, according to Matthew 24 and 2 Thessalonica 2, this is what the end-time false prophets will do.

(5) THE SEA BEAST IS THE HORN OF DANIEL 7.

The Sea Beast of Revelation is the 11th horn of Daniel 7 and that horn will blaspheme God, persecute His people and “intend to make alterations in times and in law” (Dan 7:25). This identifies it as false religion.

(6) THE END-TIME PERSECUTION IS OVER WORSHIP.

The main word in Revelation 13 and 14 is “worship.” This final conflict may, therefore, be described as a war over worship, and therefore, a religious war.

(7) THE BEAST FROM THE EARTH IS CHRISTIAN.

The beast from the earth has two horns like a lamb (Rev 13:11). In other words, it looks like Christ. Another indication of its Christian nature is that it is called the “False Prophet” (Rev 16:13; 19:20).

– END OF SUMMARY – 

(1) ONLY THE CHURCH IS ABLE TO SELECTIVE PERSECUTE GOD’S PEOPLE.

The Beast will make war with the saints and to overcome them (Rev 13:7):

In the Bible, it never was foreign nations that selectively persecuted God’s true people; neither are they even able to identify God’s true people.

Over the centuries, it always was the people who pretended to speak for God who persecuted God’s real people. For example, Jesus was killed by the Jews, who manipulated the power of the government. And it was the Jews who killed Stephan and also all the prophets of old; not foreign nations.

The church (or Israel in the Old Testament) is able to identify the true people of God by their opposition to the blaspheming teachings and practices of the religious authorities of the day.

Applying this principle to the end time, God’s people will be persecuted by the church for their unorthodox teachings.

(2) GOD’S ENEMIES ARE INSIDE THE CHURCH.

The seven letters in Revelation 1 to 3 serve as an introduction to the book of Revelation. The nature of the conflict in the seven letters should, therefore, be the same as the nature of the end-time conflict. An analysis of the powers that oppose true God’s people in the seven letters shows that God’s people are not persecuted or threatened by forces outside the church, but always by forces within the church, namely:

Evil men “who call themselves apostles, and they are not” (Rev 2:2), and

The woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess”, but she teaches God’s bond-servants to commit acts of immorality (Rev 2:20).

(3) THE CHURCH IS PERSECUTED BY A WOMAN.

Compared to the earlier chapters, Revelation 17 uses a different set of symbols. Instead of the dragon, the sea beast, and the false prophet of the previous chapters, we find a harlot woman—Babylon—sitting on a scarlet beast (Rev 17:3). In this symbolism, the harlot persecutes God’s true people (Rev 18:24). The following are indications that this harlot is the church: 

(A) There are two women in Revelation. The first is the pure woman (Rev 12:1); also called the bride of the Lamb (Rev 19:7). The second is this harlot Babylon. By describing both as women, the Author of Revelation tells us that the persecuting harlot is, in some respects at least, similar to the woman who represents God’s people.

(B) Babylon claims that she is “not a widow” (Rev 18:7). By implication, she claims to be the Lamb’s true wife (cf. Rev 21:9).

(C) Both Israel (in the Old Testament) and the church (in the New Testament) are described as women, and as adulteress women when unfaithful (e.g., Ezek 23:8, 19, 27; Hosea 1:2; 4:12; 9:1; Isa 1:21-23; Num 15:39).

(D) God’s people are called out of Babylon (Rev 18:4) which means they are part of Babylon, which also implies that Babylon is the church.

(E) Babylon “has become a dwelling place of demons” (Rev 18:2; cf. 14:8), which means that she was not always evil.

(F) The 144000 never defiled themselves with women (Rev 14:4). The “women” in this verse are Babylon’s daughters, who herself is the “mother of harlots” (Rev 17:5). The fact that the 144000 never defiled themselves with these women means they never agreed with Babylon’s blasphemous practices.

While Revelation 13:11-18 focuses on the end-time, Rev 17 provides a long-term perspective. But this description of the harlot Babylon is also applicable to the end-time. Since Babylon represents the fallen church, God’s people, in the end-time, are persecuted by the church.

(4) DECEIVE BY MEANS OF SIGNS AND WONDERS

Moses performed “wonders and signs” (Acts 7:36). Jesus was “attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him” (Acts 2:22; Heb 2:4). The Lord confirmed the word of the apostles “by the signs that followed” (Mark 16:20). “Many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles” (Acts 2:43; Acts 5:12). However, in the end-time conflict, signs and wonders will confirm the anti-God powers:

The beast from the land “performs great signs, so that he even makes fire come down out of heaven to the earth in the presence of men” (Rev 13:13-14; cf. Rev 19:20).

In the sixth plague, the dragon, beast, and false prophet will be assisted by “spirits of demons, performing signs” (Rev 16:14).

This identifies them as religious organizations. Furthermore, the NT warns that false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders:

“For false Christs and false prophets will arise and will show great signs and wonders” (Matt 24:24; Mark 13:22).

The man of lawlessness … whose coming is in accord with the activity of Satan, with all power and signs and false wonders” (2 Thess 2:3, 4, 9).

In Biblical context, false prophets, and therefore the dragon, beast and false prophet, pretend to speak for God.

(5) THE BEAST IS THE 11TH HORN OF DANIEL 7, AND THAT HORN IS FALSE CHRISTIANITY.

The beast receives its power and throne and great authority from the dragon (Rev 13:2), which is the Roman Empire. The beast is another symbol for the 11th horn of Daniel 7, which grows out of the Roman Empire.

To a large extent, this horn is a continuation of the Roman EmpireThe authority of the Roman Empire was military might but the 11th horn, which grew out of it, is “different” (Dan 7:24). It will overpower the saints (Dan 7:21), “speak out against the Most High and … intend to make alterations in times and in law” (Dan 7:25). This identifies it as false religion; specifically, false Christianity. Since the Sea Beast of Revelation is another symbol for the 11th horn, this confirms that the Sea Beast is religious (Christian) in nature.

(6) THE END-TIME PERSECUTION IS OVER WORSHIP.

The word “worship” is used five times in Revelation 13 and 14.  Four times it is used for the people worshiping the beast (Rev 13:8, 12) and his image (Rev 13:15; 14:11), while the three angels warn the people to worship the Creator alone (Rev 14:7).  This last conflict may, therefore, be described as a war of worship and, therefore, as a religious war.

(7) THE BEAST FROM THE EARTH IS CHRISTIAN.

The beast from the earth, which deceives the people of the world to create “the image to the beast” (Rev 13:14), looks like a lamb (Rev 13:11). The word “lamb” occurs 29 times in Revelation, and only in this one instance does it not refer to Jesus Christ.  The Earth Beast, therefore, appears to be Christian, but it speaks like a dragon (Rev 13:11), which refers to Satan (Rev 12:9). In other words, it acts like Satan. For that reason, it is called the “false prophet” (Rev 16:13; 19:20). Both the words “lamb” and “prophet” imply that it is Christian in nature.

THE BEAST IS NOT A GENERAL FORCE.

Some preterist commentaries view Revelation as a general description of the war between good and evil. They do not agree that the characters and events in Revelation were ever or will ever become real characters or events. Some such commentaries interpret the evil powers of Revelation as the power of money. It is true, particularly in Revelation 18, that economic power is prominent:

Babylon is clothed in wealth (Rev 17:4), and in Revelation, clothes depict the nature of the entity. 

Her merchants became rich from her (Rev 18:15).  They “were the great men of the earth” (Rev 18:23).

However, the beast is not a general force such as economic power:

Firstly, the beast is a specific entity with a specific date of origin (Rev 13:1). It looks like a leopard, has the feet of a bear and the mouth of a lion, and receives its power from the dragon (Rev 13:2). These are the four animals of Daniel 7, representing Ancient Babylon, Mede-Persia, Greece, and the Roman Empire. The beast of Revelation, therefore, received something from each of these empires and came into existence after them.

Secondly, the Beast persecutes the saints and overpowers them (Rev 13:7). Economic power never persecutes the true people of God SELECTIVELY.  It is not able to distinguish between God’s true people and others.

Thirdly, the Beast’s authority is primarily religious in nature because its primary purpose is to oppose God, not to accumulate wealth. The Beast uses wealth as a tool but it is not its ultimate purpose.

ARTICLES ON THE SEVEN LAST PLAGUES

Introduction
     Revelation 15
First four plagues
Not interpreted individually
Overview – refuse to repent
Fifth Plague
The Throne of the Beast
The Mighty Angel of Revelation 18.
Conclusions
Sixth Plague
The Great River, the Euphrates, dries up.
The Kings from the East
Armageddon
Does “coming like a thief” support a secret rapture?
Why the Euphrates has to dry up
Summary & Conclusions
Seventh Plague
Purpose of the Plagues
To show that God judges perfectly
      Why is it necessary to show that God judges perfectly?

For further reading on Revelation, Jon Paulien’s commentary is recommended. For general discussions of theology, I recommend Graham Maxwell, who you will find on the Pineknoll website.