Rev-18-4-She has fallen! Babylon the Great has fallen, The New American Standard Bible + MORE
Greek I heard another voice from heaven, saying, "Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues;
Come forth, my people, out of her ...Amazing! Does God have people in the harlot church? Yes,
She has fallen!
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IT IS the hour of God’s judgment! Listen, then, to the divine
message: “And another, a second
angel, followed, saying: ‘She has
2 It was at
3 You may ask, ‘Since religion
still exercises great influence in the earth, why does the angel announce
Babylon’s Disgraceful Fall
4 Let us examine in more detail the
circumstances surrounding the disgraceful fall of
6 Religion’s involvement in the
wars and politics of the 20th century is common knowledge—as in Shinto
Japan, Hindu India, Buddhist Vietnam, “Christian” Northern Ireland and Latin
America, as well as others—not to overlook the army chaplains’ part on both sides
of the two world wars in urging young men to slaughter one another. A classic
example of the philandering of
The Wheat and the Weeds
8 In his parable of the wheat and the weeds, Jesus spoke of a man who sowed fine seed in a field. But “while men were sleeping,” an enemy came and oversowed weeds. Hence, the wheat came to be obscured by the weeds. Jesus explained his parable in these words: “The sower of the fine seed is the Son of man; the field is the world; as for the fine seed, these are the sons of the kingdom; but the weeds are the sons of the wicked one, and the enemy that sowed them is the Devil.” He then showed that the wheat and the weeds would be allowed to grow together until “the conclusion of the system of things,” when the angels would “collect out” the symbolic weeds.—Matthew -30, 36-43.
9 What Jesus and the apostles Paul
and Peter warned about happened. “While men were sleeping,” either after the
apostles fell asleep in death or when Christian overseers became drowsy in
guarding the flock of God, Babylonish apostasy
sprouted right inside the congregation. (Acts ) Soon the weeds greatly
outnumbered the wheat and hid it from view. For a number of centuries, it
might have appeared that the seed of the woman had been completely engulfed
by the voluminous skirts of
10 By the 1870’s anointed Christians
began to make determined efforts to disassociate themselves from the whorish
11 As we previously noted, the proud
12 In our time the cry that
Endurance for the Holy Ones
13 Now the third angel speaks.
Listen! “And another angel, a
third, followed them, saying
in a loud voice: ‘If
anyone worships the wild
beast and its image, and
receives a mark on his
forehead or upon his hand,
he will also drink of
the wine of the anger
of God that is poured
out undiluted into the
cup of his wrath.’” (Revelation
14:9, 10a) At Revelation 13:16, 17, it was revealed
that during the Lord’s day those who do not worship the image of the wild
beast would suffer—even be killed. Now we learn that Jehovah has determined
to bring to judgment those “having the mark, the name of the wild beast or
the number of its name.” They will be forced to drink a
bitter ‘cup of wrath’ of Jehovah’s anger. What will this mean for
them? In 607 B.C.E., when Jehovah forced
14 Even before that happens, however, those with the mark of the beast have to undergo the tormenting effects of Jehovah’s disapproval. Speaking of the worshipper of the wild beast and its image, the angel informs John: “And he shall be tormented with fire and sulphur in the sight of the holy angels and in the sight of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever, and day and night they have no rest, those who worship the wild beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”—Revelation 14:10b, 11.
15 Some have viewed the mention here
of fire and sulfur (“fire and brimstone,” King James Version)
as a proof of the existence of a hellfire. But a brief look at a similar
prophecy shows the real import of these words in this context. Back in the
days of Isaiah, Jehovah warned the nation of
17 Those who have the mark of the wild beast will also be destroyed completely, as if by fire. As the prophecy later reveals, their dead bodies will be left unburied for animals and birds to eat. (Revelation 19:17, 18) So, clearly, they are not being literally tortured forever! How are they “tormented with fire and sulphur”? In that the proclamation of truth exposes them and warns them of God’s coming judgment. Therefore they vilify God’s people and, where possible, slyly persuade the political wild beast to persecute and even kill Jehovah’s Witnesses. As a climax, these opposers will be destroyed as with fire and brimstone. Then “the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever” in that God’s judgment of them will serve as a touchstone if ever again Jehovah’s rightful sovereignty is challenged. That issue will have been settled for all eternity.
18 Who deliver the tormenting message today? Remember, the symbolic locusts have authority to torment the men who do not have the seal of God on their foreheads. (Revelation 9:5) Evidently, these ones under angelic direction are the tormentors. Such is the persistence of the symbolic locusts that “day and night they have no rest, those who worship the wild beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.” And finally, after their destruction, the monumental evidence of that vindication of Jehovah’s sovereignty, “the smoke of their torment,” will ascend forever and ever. May the John class endure until that vindication is complete! As the angel concludes: “Here is where it means endurance for the holy ones, those who observe the commandments of God and the faith of Jesus.”—Revelation 14:12.
19 Yes, “endurance for the holy ones” means their worshipping Jehovah in exclusive devotion through Jesus Christ. Their message is not popular. It leads to opposition, persecution, even martyrdom. But they are strengthened by what John next reports: “And I heard a voice out of heaven say: ‘Write: Happy are the dead who die in union with the Lord from this time onward. Yes, says the spirit, let them rest from their labors, for the things they did go right with them.’”—Revelation 14:13.
20 This promise harmonizes well with Paul’s prophecy concerning Jesus’ presence: “Those who are dead in union with Christ will rise first. Afterward we the living who are surviving [those of the anointed ones who survive into the Lord’s day] will, together with them, be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air.” (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17) After Satan’s ouster from heaven, those who were dead in union with Christ rose first. (Compare Revelation 6:9-11.) Afterward, those of the anointed ones who die during the Lord’s day are promised a special privilege. Their resurrection to spirit life in heaven is instantaneous, “in the twinkling of an eye.” (1 Corinthians 15:52) How marvelous this is! And their works of righteousness continue right on in the heavenly realm.
Harvest of the Earth
21 Others are also to benefit in this day of judgment, as John goes on to tell us: “And I saw, and, look! a white cloud, and upon the cloud someone seated like a son of man, with a golden crown on his head and a sharp sickle in his hand. And another angel [the fourth] emerged from the temple sanctuary, crying with a loud voice to the one seated on the cloud: ‘Put your sickle in and reap, because the hour has come to reap, for the harvest of the earth is thoroughly ripe.’ And the one seated on the cloud thrust in his sickle on the earth, and the earth was reaped.”—Revelation 14:14-16.
22 The identity of the one seated on the white cloud is not in doubt. Seated on a white cloud, resembling a son of man and with a golden crown, he is clearly Jesus, the Messianic King that Daniel also saw in vision. (Daniel 7:13, 14; Mark 14:61, 62) But what is the harvest here prophesied? While on earth, Jesus likened the discipling work to the harvesting of the world field of humanity. (Matthew 9:37, 38; John 4:35, 36) The climax of this harvesting comes in the Lord’s day, when Jesus is crowned as King and executes judgment on behalf of his Father. Thus, his time of ruling, since 1914, is also the joyful time for bringing in the harvest.—Compare Deuteronomy 16:13-15.
23 Although he is a King and a Judge, Jesus waits for word from Jehovah his God before beginning to reap. That word comes from “the temple sanctuary” by means of an angel. Immediately, Jesus obeys. First, from 1919 on, he has his angels complete the harvesting of the 144,000. (Matthew 13:39, 43; John 15:1, 5, 16) Next, the harvest ingathering of the great crowd of other sheep takes place. (John 10:16; Revelation 7:9) History shows that between 1931 and 1935 a goodly number of these other sheep began to appear. In 1935 Jehovah opened to the understanding of the John class the real identity of the great crowd of Revelation 7:9-17. Thenceforth, much emphasis was placed on the ingathering of this crowd. By the year 2005, its number had exceeded the six million mark, and it is still increasing. Surely, the one like a son of man has reaped a bountiful, joyous harvest during this time of the end.—Compare Exodus 23:16; 34:22.
Treading the Vine of the Earth
24 With the harvest of salvation completed, it is time for another harvest. John reports: “And still another angel [the fifth] emerged from the temple sanctuary that is in heaven, he, too, having a sharp sickle. And still another angel [the sixth] emerged from the altar and he had authority over the fire. And he called out with a loud voice to the one that had the sharp sickle, saying: ‘Put your sharp sickle in and gather the clusters of the vine of the earth, because its grapes have become ripe.’” (Revelation 14:17, 18) The angelic hosts are entrusted with much harvesting during the Lord’s day, separating the good from the bad!
25 The fifth angel comes from Jehovah’s presence in the temple sanctuary; hence, the final harvest also takes place according to Jehovah’s will. The angel is commanded to begin his work by a message relayed through another angel that “emerged from the altar.” This fact is most significant, since faithful souls underneath the altar had asked: “Until when, Sovereign Lord holy and true, are you refraining from judging and avenging our blood upon those who dwell on the earth?” (Revelation 6:9, 10) With the harvesting of the vine of the earth, this cry for vengeance will be satisfied.
26 But what is “the vine of the
earth”? In the Hebrew Scriptures, the Jewish nation was spoken of as
Jehovah’s vine. (Isaiah 5:7; Jeremiah 2:21) Similarly, Jesus Christ and those
who will serve with him in God’s Kingdom are spoken of as a vine. (John
15:1-8) In this setting, the significant characteristic of a vine is that it
produces fruit, and the true Christian vine has produced abundant fruit to
Jehovah’s praise. (Matthew 21:43) “The vine of the earth,” therefore, must
be, not this genuine vine, but Satan’s imitation of it, his corrupt visible
system of government over mankind, with its various “clusters” of demonic
fruitage produced over the centuries.
27 Judgment must be executed! “And the angel thrust his sickle into the earth and gathered the vine of the earth, and he hurled it into the great winepress of the anger of God. And the winepress was trodden outside the city, and blood came out of the winepress as high up as the bridles of the horses, for a distance of a thousand six hundred furlongs.” (Revelation 14:19, 20) Jehovah’s indignation against this vine has long since been announced. (Zephaniah 3:8) A prophecy in the book of Isaiah leaves no doubt that whole nations will be destroyed when the winepress is trampled. (Isaiah 63:3-6) Joel too prophesied that huge “crowds,” whole nations, would be trampled to destruction in “the winepress,” in “the low plain of the decision.” (Joel 3:12-14) Truly, a stupendous harvest the like of which will never again occur! According to John’s vision, not only are the grapes harvested but the whole symbolic vine is cut down and thrown into the winepress to be trampled. So the vine of the earth will be stamped out and will never be able to grow again.
28 The visionary treading is done by
horses, for the blood trodden out from the vine reaches “the bridles of the
horses.” Since the term “horses” usually refers to war operations, this must
be a time of war. The armies of the heavens that follow Jesus into the final
war against Satan’s system of things are said to tread “the winepress of the
anger of the wrath of God the Almighty.” (Revelation 19:11-16) These are
clearly the ones that do the treading of the vine of the earth. The winepress
is “trodden outside the city,” that is, outside heavenly
29 This vivid vision has a parallel in the crushing of the kingdoms of the earth by the Kingdom stone described at Daniel 2:34, 44. There will be an extermination. The river of blood from the winepress is very deep, up to the bridles of the horses, and it extends for a distance of 1,600 furlongs. This huge figure, produced by multiplying the square of four by the square of ten (4 x 4 x 10 x 10), emphatically conveys the message that evidence of the destruction will involve all the earth. (Isaiah 66:15, 16) The destruction will be complete and irreversible. Never, no never again, will Satan’s vine of the earth take root!—Psalm 83:17, 18.
30 Living as we do deep in the time of the end, the vision of these two harvests is very meaningful. We have only to look around us to see the fruits of Satan’s vine. Abortions and other forms of murder; homosexuality, adultery, and other forms of immorality; dishonesty and lack of natural affection—all such things make this world vile in Jehovah’s eyes. Satan’s vine bears “the fruit of a poisonous plant and wormwood.” Its ruinous, idolatrous course dishonors mankind’s Grand Creator. (Deuteronomy 29:18; 32:5; Isaiah 42:5, 8) What a privilege it is to be actively associated with the John class in the harvest of wholesome fruitage that Jesus is bringing forth to Jehovah’s praise! (Luke 10:2) May all of us be determined that we will never be tainted by the vine of this world, and may we thus avoid being trampled with the vine of the earth when Jehovah’s adverse judgment is executed.
1,600 furlongs is about 300 kilometers, or 180 English miles.—Revelation , New World Translation Reference Bible, footnote.
‘The Wine of Her Fornication’
Formosus (891-96): “Nine months after his death, Formosus’ body was disinterred from the papal crypt and arraigned for trial before a ‘cadaveric’ council, at which Stephen [the new pope] presided. The deceased pope was accused of inordinate ambition for the papal office and all his acts were declared invalid. . . . The corpse was stripped of pontifical robes; the fingers of the right hand were amputated.”—New Catholic Encyclopedia.
Stephen VI (896-97): “Within a few months [of the trial of Formosus’ corpse] a violent reaction ended the pontificate of Pope Stephen; he was deprived of the pontifical insignia, imprisoned, and strangled.”—New Catholic Encyclopedia.
(931-35): “Upon the death of Stephen
(955-64): “He was hardly eighteen, and contemporary reports agree about his
disinterest in spiritual things, addiction to boorish pleasures, and
uninhibitedly debauched life.”—The
Benedict IX (1032-44; 1045; 1047-48): “He was notorious for selling the papacy to his godfather and then subsequently reclaiming the office twice.”—The New Encyclopædia Britannica.
Thus, rather than following the example of faithful Peter, these and other popes were an evil influence. They allowed bloodguilt and spiritual and physical fornication, as well as a Jezebel influence, to corrupt the church they ruled. (James 4:4) In 1917 the Bible Students’ book The Finished Mystery set out many of these facts in stark detail. This was one way that the Bible Students in those days ‘struck the earth with every sort of plague.’—Revelation 11:6; 14:8; 17:1, 2, 5.
[Picture on page 206]
The enthroned Christ carries out judgment with angelic support
[Picture on page 207]
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Revelation 14:8 Commentary ‘She
The New American Standard Bible
Book of Revelation
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