14:8 "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."
Babylon in the Old Testament
was the capital city of the beastly government known by that same name.
Nebuchadnezzar was the principle king during the reign of Babylon over the
kingdoms of the earth. This same city previously was known as Babel during the
time of Nimrod's kingdom building episode in which he had gathered the people
together after the flood and led them in building a city and a tower whose top
may reach unto heaven. God had come down and confused their languages and they
left off the building of the city and the tower. The name Babel thus meant
confusion. By the time that Revelations had been written the natural city
called Babylon had already ceased to have any prominence. However, there was a
city in which confusion reigned that was considered a great city and wrought
spiritual fornication against the Lord and his true worship. The identity of
this great city is made for us in Revelation chapter 18:19 "And they cast
dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that
great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of
her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate. 20 Rejoice over
her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on
her." Also according to verse 24 we read, "And in her was found the
blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth."
Couple this with Matt. 23:37 "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the
prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have
gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her
wings, and ye would not!" Jerusalem killed the apostles and prophets,
therefore, Jerusalem was that great Babylon in the book of Revelations.
Our text verse said that
Babylon is fallen, is fallen. Since Babylon is said to be the mother of harlots
and abominations and they are still thriving in the world today, then we must
ask ourselves how that Babylon is fallen. Babylon falls in the minds and hearts
of God's people who come to understand and believe the truth, who also seek to
worship him in spirit and in truth. Babylon or religious confusion no longer
prevails in their lives or in their minds and hearts. The truth makes us free
from such confusion. It also delivers us from spiritual fornication that many
were guilty of prior to coming to a knowledge of the truth.
The text verse says that she
made all nations drink in the wine of the wrath of her fornication. The word
wrath means fierceness. The nations of people who know not the truth are
deluded into believing a lie and commit spiritual fornication with her. Her
system of religion was a works system of salvation and taught that man could
raise himself up to a spiritual nature and to eternal life by his obedience to a
set of commandments and laws. This was the serpent's doctrine taught in the
Garden of Eden. Those who worship under this thesis today are committing
Rev 14:9-11 "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, 10 The
same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without
mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and
brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:
11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and
they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and
whosoever receiveth the mark of his name."
To worship the beast and his
image was to worship under the false works system of Mystery Babylon and to
worship a false Christ and give allegiance to a hierarchal Nicolaitane religious
organization. To receive his mark in your forehead or in your hand was to give
your mental consent and your labors consent to this system.
It is readily apparent that
God is not pleased with the beast or his image or of anyone receiving his mark
in their right hand or forehead. According to the scriptures God hates the
deeds and the doctrines of the Nicolaitanes. In addition, since the beast is
made in the image of the dragon and the image is that of false Christs or
Antichrists, God is indignant with such false worship. The Lord said of such, "In
vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men."
Furthermore, there is a
wrathful indignation and torment that is pronounced against such that worship
the beast and his image and that receive the mark of his name. This, however,
is not the same wrath and torment as takes place in the lake of fire. There is
a wrath and torment that takes place in the lives of God's people who worship
vainly that takes place "in the presence of the holy angels and in the
presence of the Lord." This is not the same as the wrath and torment on the
non-elect that takes place in hell: 2 Thes. 1:9 "Who shall be punished with
everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory
of his power." The one is in the presence of the holy angels and in the
presence of the Lord and the other is from the presence of the Lord. This is
quite a difference.
As we have already concluded
in the book of Revelations, the angels or holy angels are usually referring to
gospel messengers. When the gospel messengers preach the whole counsel of God
and speak of the errors, sins and false worship of God's people it generally
sharply pricks them in their heart. They are tormented when they see themselves
as the guilty sinners who are falsely worshipping the beast and his image. This
torment takes place in their conscience and heart. While many never hear the
true gospel of Jesus Christ and never hear the message of the kingdom of God yet the Lord pricks their
hearts to realize that their works system are insufficient to make them right
with God. Take the case of the rich young ruler whom the Lord loved. He came
running to Jesus and asked him what good thing he could do to get eternal life.
If he had been satisfied with his works he wouldn't have asked that question.
He saw that he could not attain perfection through his works and he went away
sorrowful. How is this any different from the masses of God's people who today
seek to get right with God through their works system?
Additionally, the works
systems of men cannot bring rest to the child of God, for by the law is the
knowledge of sin. Not all of the efforts, labors, and mental extraction that
one may do can overcome the conviction of sin. Tons of good works and righteous
deeds cannot make the sinner right with God. He that is guilty of one part of
the law is guilty of all the law. One can labor under the burden of a works
system but will never find any rest under that system. Only the Lord can give
them rest and he doesn't give them rest under the law or legal system but that
rest come under the covenant of redemption and the finished work of Jesus
How many of God's people
today bury loved ones or come face to face with death's door and have great
anxiety about their eternal destiny. Their fears of having come short of the
glory of God torment them and they have no rest day or night. Such a works
system cannot give rest nor relieve their torments.
Rev 14:12, 13"Here is the
patience of the saints: here are they that keep the commandments of God, and the
faith of Jesus. 13 And I heard a voice from heaven saying unto me, Write,
Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the
Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
The "saints" are set in
contrast to those who worship the beast and his image and have received the mark
of the beast in their right hand and in their forehead. The saints are the ones
set forth in Rev. 12:17 "which keep the commandments of God, and have the
testimony of Jesus Christ." The saints are the ones against whom the dragon
makes war. The patience of the saints indicates their waiting upon the Lord and
worshipping him in Spirit and in truth according to scriptural precept.
The faith of Jesus is the
faith once delivered to the saints. It is that system of doctrine, practice,
worship and government that God has given the New Testament Church as taught in
the New Testament. The saints delight to keep the commandments of God not in
order to get righteous with God but rather because they are righteous with God.
The saints have ceased from their own works in trying to get righteous with God
and now rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ, for he is the end of the law
for righteousness to them that believe. They are resting in the rest that Jesus
gives them. They have taken the Lord's yoke upon themselves. They are learning
Their works are not to get
righteous with God but are designed to glorify God as set forth in the following
1. John 15:8 "Herein
is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples."
2. Eph. 2:10 "For
we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath
before ordained that we should walk in them."
3. Matt. 5:16 "Let
your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify
your Father which is in heaven."
Their works follow them.
They do not go before them to judgment, but rather they are the result of their
righteous state they possess because of the atoning sacrifice of the Lamb of
Furthermore, they are dead
to sin (that is they are dead to the condemning effects of sin) as the following
1. Col. 2:20 "Wherefore
if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living
in the world, are ye subject to ordinances."
2. Rom. 6:11
"Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto
God through Jesus Christ our Lord."
3. Rom. 7:4 "Wherefore,
my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye
should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we
should bring forth fruit unto God."
4. Gal. 2:19 "For
I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God."
5. Col. 3:3 "For
ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God."
6. 2 Tim. 2:11
"It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with
7. 1 Pet. 2:24
"Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being
dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed."
Yes, these who are dead with
Christ, are dead to the condemning effects of sin, and are dead to the law.
They are doubly blest in that they have knowledge that their righteousness is in
the finished work of Jesus Christ according to the covenant of redemption.
Rev 14:14-20 "And I looked,
and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat like unto the Son of man,
having on his head a golden crown, and in his hand a sharp sickle. 15 And
another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat
on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to
reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. 16 And he that sat on the
cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth; and the earth was reaped. 17 And
another angel came out of the temple which is in heaven, he also having a sharp
sickle. 18 And another angel came out from the altar, which had power
over fire; and cried with a loud cry to him that had the sharp sickle, saying,
Thrust in thy sharp sickle, and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth;
for her grapes are fully ripe. 19 And the angel thrust in his sickle into
the earth, and gathered the vine of the earth, and cast it into the great
winepress of the wrath of God. 20 And the winepress was trodden without
the city, and blood came out of the winepress, even unto the horse bridles, by
the space of a thousand and six hundred furlongs."
There are two harvests are
gatherings in the above passage of scripture. The first gathering was the
reaping of the earth. The second gathering was the reaping and destruction of
the grapes of the vine of the earth. However, they are presented together as
though there is a very strong connection between them.
In the Old Testament, the
children of Israel observed three feasts: Ex. 23:14 Three times thou shalt
keep a feast unto me in the year. 15 Thou shalt keep the feast of
unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded
thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from
Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty:) 16 And the feast of
harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field: and
the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast
gathered in thy labours out of the field."
The feast of unleavened
bread was associated with the Passover. It began when they first began to put
the sickle to the wheat. The feast of harvest or firstfruits was also known as
the feast of weeks and was fifty days after the first day of the week following
the beginning of wheat harvest. The feast of ingatherings was also called the
feast of tabernacles and was associated with the completion of all harvests at
the end of the year.
It would appear that the two
gatherings in our subject text are associated with the feast of unleavened
bread. To prove this we look at the picture painted of the Lord Jesus Christ in
this text. First, he sat upon a white cloud. White is the bible color
associated with righteousness. The cloud represents the glory of God. The
glory of God is manifest to us through the death, burial, and resurrection of
the Lord Jesus Christ. The fact that he sat indicates a finished work for Jesus
never sat until the work was completed. He was called the Son of God. As the
Son of God, he is the representative of his elect people and atoned for their
sins. He had on a golden crown indicating he had gotten the victory and was now
reigning over his enemies and his subjects. All of this points us to Christ as
the Passover and his rising from the dead. This indicates he is the firstfruit
of them that slept.
The Lord did the first
gathering. He is the one who thrust in his sharp sickle and reaped the earth.
The earth is the elect of God for they literally are earth. This is a covenant
gathering according to the covenant of redemption. He gathered them to a
righteous state through his death, burial, and resurrection. He was made to be
sin for us who knew no sin that we may be made the righteousness of God in him.
The second gathering is the
grapes of the vine of the earth. According to Gal. 5:19 "Now the works of
the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness,
lasciviousness, 20 idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations,
wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, 21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness,
revellings, and such like." The grapes of the vine of the earth represent
all of our sins. When Jesus Christ went to the cross he gathered all of our
sins and tread the winepress of the wrath of God alone.
The horse is the animal
associated in the scriptures with battle. This is one war that Jesus fought all
The winepress was trodden
without the city. Heb. 13:12 "Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify
the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. 13 Let us go
forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach."
The furlong is a
racecourse. The immensity of that racecourse (one thousand and six hundred
furlongs) indicates the awful price that Jesus paid for our sins. This
satisfied the wrath of God and brings forth the comfort spoken of in Is. 40:1
"Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. 2 Speak ye comfortably to
Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity
is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand double for all her sins."
Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift.