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1 And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.
The Descending Angel
"And after these things I saw an angel descending out of the heaven having great authority; and the earth was illuminated with his glory".
After these things; that is, after the ten horns had made the Roman Harlot desolate and naked, and eaten her flesh, and burned her With fire (ch. 17:16); but not after those things indicated in the 14th verse. The descent of the angel upon Babylon takes place between the finishing of the Harlot's spoliation and consumption by the European Governments; and the conquest of these powers, or rather the commencement of their "war with the Lamb," which ends in their conquest by him.
In ch. 7:2, John saw an angel that had ascended (anabanta) from the east from the sun's rising. This was not an angel in power and great authority. His mission of sealing the servants of the Deity in their foreheads, did not require it; for the sealing is a work effected by testimony and doctrine expounded, and reasoned into the understanding and affections.
The angel of this eighteenth chapter does not ascend. His career points in an opposite direction. John saw him descending, katabainonta, "having great authority;" and as authority is of no use in this rebellious world unsustained by power equal to its enforcement, the announcement of the greatness of the authority, implies that he descends also with great power, which is equal to the mighty enterprise of illuminating the earth with his glory.
His mission demands the possession of great power, which, indeed, shall be omnipotent; for, as Isaiah sets it forth, "he bringeth down them that dwell on high, he layeth the lofty city low; he layeth it low even to the ground; he bringeth it to the dust. The foot shall tread it down, the feet of the poor, and the steps of the needy" (ch. 26:5). He hath also to "raise up the Tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel and to be a light to the nations for salvation to the ends of the earth" (Isa. 49:6).
This mighty angel John saw descending. It is not without significance that he uses the present participle. There are stages in the descent from "the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens," to the so-called "Patrimony of St. Peter". In the outset of the descent, the justified and glorified Jesus, the Son of the Father's Handmaid, the Man at His right hand whom He hath made strong for Himself, "the Lord the Spirit" (Psa. 116:16; 80:17; 2 Cor. 3:18), descends to Sinai, in whose wilderness he unites himself to his body, the Bride, of whom he becomes the Head. Thus recruited and enlarged, he is the "One Angel", whose measure is "144 cubits" (ch. 19:17; 21:17). Having finished his work in Teman, "he marches through the land in indignation, and threshes the Gentiles" he encounters "in anger".
Arrived at the Mount of Olives, he descends from thence into Jerusalem, the city of the Great King. There, "standing in the sun," he pauses in his descent upon the lofty city, Babylon, which he purposes to level with the dust. Before he invades her peoples with his troops (Hab. 3:12,16,3), he sends forth a voice from the heaven, announcing the judgment that impends. When this proclamation is fulfilled, he will then complete his descent upon Babylon, which he will not abandon until he hath abolished her from the earth.
"And the earth was illuminated with his glory".
The development of his glory is in the overthrow of the Great Harlot; the destruction of the military and secular political organization or power, "the Beast that carries her," and the conquest of the European kings and their armies: and in the new order of things he establishes upon the ruin of the old.
This will be great glory for the descending angel, whose constituents begin their career in poverty, and finish it in the possession of all the wealth and countries of the earth. It will have been a fiery ordeal for the nations, which will have labored in the very fire, and for very vanity; but as the result of the whole operation, "the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the glory of Yahweh (of the Angel) as the waters cover the sea" (Hab. 2:13,14; Isa. 11:9; Num. 14:21; Psa. 72:19).
2 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, 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.
The Descending Angel's Shout
"And he shouted in power, with a loud voice, saying, Babylon hath fallen, hath fallen".
This descending angel is the same of whom Paul speaks in 1 Thess. 4:16, saying, "the Lord himself in command, with Archangel's voice, and with trumpet of Deity, shall descend from heaven".
But he comes not alone; for in 2 Thess. 1:7, he tells us, he will be apocalypsed, or "revealed from heaven with angels of his power, with flaming fire, taking vengeance". Such is the voice, with which he shouts the Archangel's voice whose name in Dan. 12:1, is Michael, WHO-LIKE-DEITY "the Great Prince who standeth for the children of Daniel's people".
He is in command; for he is the Commander and leader (Isa. 55:4); and his mission is in the last of the trumpets of Deity, and in the seventh vial thereof. Paul did not specify details. He declared that he would descend from heaven with a mission against the Lawless One, the Son of Perdition; whom John connects with the Eighth Head of the Beast, that carries the Great Harlot.
The words used by the descending angel identify him with the second angel of ch. 14:8. These are the same angel in the second stage of his mission. The reason of the fall of Babylon is given in both places, only in ch. 18 the indictment is amplified. Because she is "a habitation of daemons, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hated bird;" and because the Great Harlot and the kings of Babylon have corrupted and destroyed the earth (ch. 11:18; 19:2) - therefore her destruction is proclaimed with a voice, whose echoes will convulse the nations to the ends of the earth.
4 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.
But before the Archangel Michael "invades them with his troops," he remembers that he hath a people in Babylon to deliver, as well as a people to destroy. The people to be delivered are "the Tribes of Jacob, and the preserved of Israel" "the children of Daniel's people," eight thousand of whom are inhabitants of Rome.
Every one knows the degradation of Israelites in the capital of the Great Harlot; and the oppression and contempt they have been subjected to by "the demons, foul spirits, unclean and hated birds", called popes, cardinals, bishops, and priests, who roost in that filthy habitation. This tyranny of the abjectest kind has left its indelible memorial upon the hearts of the denizens of the Ghetto, whose hope is the desolation of Rome, which they look for as the crisis of their own redemption; for Kimchi, one of their rabbis, Says in his comment on Obadiah,
"this is the hope of the nation when Rome shall be desolated, then there shall be the redemption of Israel".
The vengeance of Michael is suspended until the safety of all his people of the stock of Abraham, who may be willing, is assured. The vengeance upon Babylon impends, while the first angel is making proclamation that "the Hour of his Judgment hath come" (ch. 14:6,7). Michael, as "the Lamb and the 144,000 with him," having established himself on Mount Zion, is prepared "to give great Babylon the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath" (ch. 16:19), but he is graciously willing to afford escape, not only to Israelites, but to Gentiles of "every nation, kindred, tongue, and people", upon whom the Harlot sits.
He therefore sends forth a company of authorized heralds, qualified to authenticate their mission, after the old apostolic example, to announce good to the well disposed; but terrible vengeance upon all "who know not the Deity, and obey not the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ," as proclaimed by the Angel-Company "flying in midheaven;" or executing their mission with great dispatch.
In calling upon the well-disposed to "worship Him who made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters," these Divinely called and sent preachers invite them to "come out of Babylon, that they be not partakers of her sins, and that they receive not of her plagues". This is not addressed to the saints as those referred to in the phrase "my people;" but to those who may become the Lord's people by obeying this "other voice from the heaven:" for this is a period in which, the Spirit saith,
"Lo, I come, and I will dwell in the midst of the Daughter of Zion; and many nations shall be joined to Yahweh in that day, and shall be My' people" (Zech. 2:10,11).
The saints cannot partake of her sins, and receive of her plagues; for, before this proclamation they have all been cleared out of Babylon by the gathering unto Christ in Teman; and by it having been given unto them to execute the judgment upon her and the four Beasts of the Sea (Dan. 7:22). They are the constituted avengers, and the avenged; and are then in no position to be addressed in the language of the voice.
5 For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
"Her sins have followed her until the heaven"
If the reader know the history of the Roman Ecclesiastical State, the Great Harlot, in her dealings with what her murderous and adulterous thieves, termed clergy and priests, stigmatize as "Heretics;" he will be aware of the "torment and sorrow" they have inflicted upon the saints, and upon Israel, and upon all the friends of civil and religious liberty, they have been able to shut up in their loathsome dungeons. This torment and sorrow appreciated, if he double it, he will then be enabled to form some feeble idea, far short of reality, of the terrible retribution and vengeance to be poured out upon the Satanic Hierarchy of the Seven Hills.
8 Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
"On account of this her plagues shall come in One Day".
I conclude... that it will be with the Roman Babylon as with the Chaldean; and that "her day, or time ," of judgment will come "suddenly," "as a thief in the night;" that there will be violence in Italy, "ruler against ruler"; that the tidings inviting people to emigrate will find the country in this anarchical condition; and that in the "next day," or "year", her plagues will commence, even "death, and anguish, and famine" death, or pestilence, and anguish, as the result of it, combined with famine.
How long these calamities will continue after they have come into play, does not appear. Her judgment is consummated by a fiery overthrow "she will be consumed in fire".
The foulness and filthiness of her abominations, and the similitude of the fate that awaits her, has caused the Great City and State to be "spiritually called Sodom and Egypt" (ch. 11:8). The punishment of Sodom will be Rome's, and perhaps, that also of the whole "Patrimony of St. Peter".
This will consummate the plagues which begin her torment and sorrow in one and the same year after the Aion-tidings of good salutes the ears of Israel in Rome. But following upon "pestilence, and famine" is the twofold rendering of torment and anguish by the troops of Michael, the Great Prince, who invades her territory and becomes a smoking furnace of judgment, "a lake of fire burning with brimstone" (ch. 19:19). From this she never emerges, and therefore, like Sodom, suffers the vengeance of a fire which is eternal (Jude 7).
9 And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,
10 Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.
The survivors of the consummation of the judgment of Babylon are the kings of the earth, the merchants of the earth and all interested in their traffic.
These all bewail and lament for her. The kings bewail her because they have lost their favourite prostitute by whose witchery they were enabled to maintain their ascendancy over the deceived nations. The kings of the earth must be her survivors, or they could not lament for her. The merchants of the earth are the chief men of the earth. They are "the spiritual guides" of the peoples, of all ranks, orders, and degrees; together with "the lay lords," or nobles, and civil rulers of the states all who are represented in the phrase "Church and State" in the several streets, or kingdoms, of the great city.
These, both kings and merchants, stand off in fear of the progressing torment, unable, or unwilling, to risk intervention in her behalf. Their sympathies are all with the Harlot; they bewail her, and blaspheme the tormenting power (ch. 16:21).
The spiritual traders in souls bewail her "because no one buyeth their shipslading any more".
The Roman State and Capital being all engulfed in the infernal abyss, papal wares cease to be of any value in the soul markets of the world, and all demand ceases. This is a grievous blow to all Romish Priests; who see before them only ruin and starvation. The reprobation of Heaven will be signally displayed in the total wreck of the ROMAN SHIP.
If the Pope were really the faithful Vicar of Christ, and the Romish Church the true church of God, would Christ precipitate him and his church into the volcanic abyss, now in active preparation to receive them? This glorious catastrophe will open the eves of multitudes. Still the kings and priests, and their hosts of interested dependents, though seeing, will not perceive; for their hearts will be hardened, like Pharaoh's, that they and their armies may be destroyed (ch. 19:21).