Part Six

Chapter Fourteen and the Fall of Babylon


By Gary Ray Branscome


As chapter fourteen begins, John sees a “Lamb” (not a man) standing on Mount Zion. However, the words that follow, “and with him a hundred forty-four thousand, who had his name and his Father’s name written on their foreheads,” tell us that the “Lamb” in John’s vision represents Christ.

Here, again, I want to stress the fact that we are not interpreting  the words of Scripture, for those words only tell us what John saw in his dream (2Corinthians 1:13). What we are interpreting is the dream/vision itself. For that reason, even an expert knowledge of the Greek words that are used will not help us in understanding the dream, for the words tell us only what John saw. Moreover, because we are interpreting a dream, that dream should never be interpreted to contradict what the Bible plainly says elsewhere. Furthermore, if we want the truth we should never base our doctrine on interpretations, for interpretations are the word of man not the Word of God. On the contrary, our doctrine should consist of those truths that are clearly and explicitly stated in Scripture, and no interpretation should ever contradict those statements of Scripture (Isaiah 8:20 and 28:10).


Now, when we looked at chapter thirteen I pointed out the connection between the beast, the false prophet, and Rome (Rev. 17:18). In keeping with that connection, the fact that the one-hundred and forty-four thousand who were with the Lamb were said to be virgins (who have not been defiled with women) points to the forced celibacy imposed by Rome, and thus to the thousands who were saved out of that system at the time of the Reformation (Rev. 14:4). That is why the angel (messenger) in verse six, who has the “everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth,” has long been associated with the Reformation (Rev. 14:8).

In verse eight, another angel follows, “saying, Babylon the great has fallen, has fallen, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her immorality” (Rev. 14:8). This is the first mention of Babylon in the Book of Revelation, and the mention of it here ties the beast and false prophet mentioned in chapter thirteen with what is said about Babylon in chapter seventeen. As to the immorality of Babylon, Rome is notorious not only for her idolatry, but also for priests who father children by their housekeepers, priests who molest children, and priests who are homosexual.

In verse fifteen, John sees one, “like the Son of man,” sitting on a cloud, “having a golden crown on his head, and a sharp sickle in his hand”. [Notice that john is not seeing Christ Himself, but a likeness of Him (in his dream).] And, He uses the sickle to reap a mighty harvest (of souls). However, this harvest is reaped in “the great winepress of God’s wrath” (Rev. 14:19). And, the imagery used here, with its reference to blood, could be reminiscent of the wars that followed the Reformation, as Rome sought to force all Evangelical Christians back under its control.


As chapter fifteen opens John sees seven angels “having the seven final plagues; that complete God’s wrath” (Rev. 15:1). Here again, although the Bible is giving us a plain and literal description of what John saw, John is not seeing earthly events. The things that John saw could be as different from what is seen on earth as the red dragon in chapter twelve was different from Herod’s soldiers.

For example: In chapter seventeen we are told that the sea upon which Babylon sits represents, “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and language groups” (compare Rev. 17:1 and 15). Therefore, the seas spoken of in chapter 15:2 and 16:3 could be symbolic of, “peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and language groups”.

In chapter 16, verse 13 John sees “three unclean spirits like frogs come out of the mouth of the dragon, and out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet”. And, in verse 14 we are told that they “are the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty”. “And He gathered them together into a place called in the Hebrew tongue Armageddon” (Rev. 16:16).

In the light of these verses, it is interesting to note that during the past century many, if not most, of the governments of the world have turned against Christianity, including our American government. We have seen the Ten Commandments banned from public schools and courtrooms, communities told to stop putting up manger scenes, and towns forced to remove Christian symbols from their official seal. As to the fact that these spirits come out of the dragon, beast and false prophet, according to one source of information, Adam Weishaupt (who founded the secret Luciferian order of Illuminati in 1776) was trained by the Jesuits and came out of that organization. Some years later, after a number of European governments had suppressed his organization, some of its former members were instrumental in forming the Communist Party. And, up to the time the iron curtain fell the Communist Party was playing the major role in turning governments against Christianity. At present, secularism, humanism, and atheism are playing that role, but Satan is still hard at work.

Now, while the name “Mageddon” (or Megiddo) suggests divine deliverance – because God fought against Sisera in that valley – the prefix “Ar” or “Har” means mountain, and Megiddo is a valley not a mountain (Judges 5:19-20). Therefore, just because John saw a battle there in his dream/vision does not mean that is what the people living on earth will see. However, it is interesting that the communist reign in Russia lasted exactly seventy years (from 1918 to 1988), the same length of time as the Babylonian captivity of Israel.


Chapter seventeen opens with one of the seven angels taking John aside, saying, “Come with me; I will show you the judgment of the great whore who sits on many waters” (Rev. 17:1). Now, in an earlier lesson I pointed out that dreams recorded in Scripture sometimes consist only of what is seen, but at other times include a spoken message. In chapter seventeen John is given a spoken message. The angel explains the image of Babylon and the beast that carries her (Rev. 17:7).

John is told that the seven heads are the “seven mountains, on which the woman sits” (present tense), but are also “seven kings” (Rev. 17:9-10). The city of Rome claimed that it was built on seven hills. Since that time, other cities have mimicked that claim, but it originated with Rome. Of the seven horns, it is said that, “five are fallen” (past tense), and “one is” (present tense) (Rev. 17:10). John is also told that the ten horns represent ten kings, who “will give their power and authority to the beast,” but will “hate the whore,” and “burn her with fire” (Rev. 17:12, 16). Remember that reference to “fire,” because Babylon will burn in chapter eighteen.

John is then told that the woman he saw (Babylon) “is that great city, which reigns [present tense] over the kings of the earth” (Rev. 17:18). The use of the present tense points to the time the angel was speaking, and at that time Rome was the great city which reigned over the kings of the earth.


As chapter eighteen opens John sees another angel “come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was illuminated by his radiance”. Now, that radiance could be symbolic of the gospel. If so, the angel’s appearance could indicate another great outpouring of the gospel. At any rate, as soon as the angel appears the cry goes out “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen,” (Rev. 18:2).

That being said, I want to point out a key parallel between chapter fourteen and chapter eighteen. In both chapters John sees an angel. One has the “everlasting gospel” to preach, the other illuminates the earth (compare Rev. 14:6 with 18:1). And, in both chapters the cry “Babylon is fallen,” follows the angel (compare Rev. 14:8 with 18:2). That parallel raises this question: Does the fall of Babylon happen twice, or is chapter eighteen referring to the same events as chapter fourteen? Personally, I would like to believe that there will be another reformation, in which millions turn to faith in Christ. But, the parallels between chapters 14-16 and chapters 18-19 strongly indicate that these chapters both relate to the same events.

In chapter seventeen we were told that the kings [represented by ten horns] who were supposedly under the authority of Babylon, would hate her, and “burn her with fire” (Rev. 17:12, 16). Now, we are told that, “she will be utterly consumed by fire,” and that many will weep when they see “the smoke of her burning” (Rev. 18:8, 9, 18). That prophecy seems to have been fulfilled in 1529 when the king of Spain – who had taken his army to Rome to help the Pope wage war against Evangelical Christians – was so offended by the immorality of Rome that his soldiers burned the city. The rest of the chapter talks about that burning, and about the judgment of God on that city.




          Three things to remember are: 1) As we read this account of John’s vision, we need to clearly distinguish between the words of Scripture – which tell us only what John saw and heard (2Corinthians 1:13) – and the vision itself, which is highly figurative; 2) The parallels between chapters fourteen and eighteen suggest that they both may relate to the same events; and, 3) The dreams that are recorded in Scripture always need to be interpreted in the light of what the Bible clearly and explicitly says – never in the light of other interpretations.

          In the next section we will look at chapter nineteen and the Thousand Years.