The message of the second angel of Revelation 14 is that the churches of the last days have fallen. Has spiritual Babylon always been fallen? No. At some previous time these churches must have been in an unfallen condition in order to become fallen! Why have they fallen? Because in 1844 they rejected the First Angel’s Message—the truth about Christ’s work in the heavenly Sanctuary.
“The Second Angel’s Message had its initial sounding early in the summer of 1844 in the call to the Advent believers to come out of the nominal churches that had rejected the proclamation of the First Angel’s Message.” Appendix Note, Early Writings, 304. (See also, “The Final Warning,” The Great Controversy, 603–612.)
A Closer Look At Modern Babylon
The message of the fourth angel of Revelation 18, which adds power to the message of the second and third angels of Revelation 14, is that the Church of Rome and her harlot daughters have fallen, and the angel fervently calls God’s people to come out of the fallen churches of the last days. Indeed, the angel cries aloud that these churches have “become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.” Revelation 18:2b. The fourth angel comes down from heaven “having great power; and the earth is lightened with his glory.” Revelation 18:1b. Notice that this special angel “cried mightily with a strong voice.” Revelation 18:2a. This, beyond question, is a vivid description of the Latter Rain of the Advent message. Indeed, do not Seventh-day Adventists know the Latter Rain as the “Loud Cry” of the message?
“The message of the fall of Babylon, as given by the second angel, is repeated, with the additional mention of the corruptions which have been entering the churches since 1844. The work of this angel comes in at the right time to join in the last great work of the Third Angel’s Message as it swells to a loud cry. And the people of God are thus prepared to stand in the hour of temptation, which they are soon to meet. I saw a great light resting upon them, and they united to fearlessly proclaim the Third Angel’s Message.” Early Writings, 277. [All emphasis supplied throughout unless otherwise noted.]
“For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication,” the fourth angel cries aloud, “and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” Revelation 18:3.
Habitation Of Devils
Let us more carefully analyze Revelation 18, verses 1 and 2. The fourth angel states that because the modern churches of Babylon have fallen they have “become the habitation of devils.” What does this mean? The contemporary Roman Catholic and Sunday-keeping churches are now filled with spiritualism in the form of false healing, false speaking in tongues, casting out demons, and using hypnosis in the practice of so-called “Christian psychology.” Rock music, inspired by demons, is now used in the worship service of most contemporary denominations, including the Roman Catholic Church. All of Christendom is rampant with the modern spiritualistic techniques of “Self-Esteem,” and “Neuro-Linguistic Programming,” known as NLP. This, without question, is spiritism in its most subtle and deceptive form!
“When Satan has undermined faith in the Bible, he directs men to other sources for light and power.…Criticism and speculation concerning the Scriptures have opened the way for spiritism and theosophy—those modernized forms of ancient heathenism—to gain a foothold even in the professed churches of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Desire of Ages, 258.
“History is repeating,” Ellen White warned. “With the open Bible before them, and professing to reverence its teachings, many of the religious leaders of our time are destroying faith in it as the word of God.” Ibid. Like ancient Israel, modern Babylon has accepted spiritualism into their midst. “Side by side with the preaching of the gospel, agencies are at work which are but the medium of lying spirits.” Ibid.
Three Important Concepts Of Revelation 18, Verse 3
- “For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” The nations have drunk from the wine of her false doctrine.
- “The kings of the earth have committed fornication with her.” The contemporary Roman Catholic and modern Evangelical churches have sought the power of the state to enforce their so-called Christian values, and to support their institutions.
- “The merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.” The merchants of the earth have become rich from the sale of goods connected with the Christian faith. Christmas, Easter, Saint Valentine’s Day, All-Saints Day (Halloween), Saint Patrick’s Day, and other so-called Christian holidays reap millions in revenue for merchants and the churches.
The blasphemous movie productions, “Jesus Christ Superstar,” and the even more blasphemous “Godspell,” reaped millions and millions of dollars. Although the Bible says of Judas, “Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot” (Luke 22:3), in the production “Godspell,” Judas Iscariot is depicted as the hero. Also in this blasphemous production the disciples crawl around on the stage and bleat like sheep. Jesus is depicted as a clown. He has a contemporary “rock star” Afro hair style, a little red heart on his shirt, and eyes painted with large teardrops under them, like a circus clown.
It is sad that we have become so gospel-hardened that some of these things no longer shock us. However, we should not be surprised by these developments in the fallen churches of Babylon. Seventh-day Adventists have been warned that gross apostasy would increase in the end of time. “For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the Lord shall arise upon thee, and His glory shall be seen upon thee.” Isaiah 60:2. But what is most astounding is that these two blasphemous movie productions were endorsed by the major denominations as tools for evangelism among the youth. (See, Bob Larson, Rock and the Church, available at most Christian book stores.)
The False Doctrines Of Modern Babylon
The wine is the false doctrine of Roman Babylon and her fallen harlot daughters are apostate Protestantism. Let us now examine the false doctrines of modern Babylon.
“This is the same message that was given by the second angel. Babylon is fallen, ‘because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’ (Revelation 14:8.) What is that wine?—Her false doctrines. She has given to the world a false sabbath instead of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment, and has repeated the falsehood that Satan first told Eve in Eden—the natural immortality of the soul. Many kindred errors she has spread far and wide, ‘teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.’ Matthew15:9.” Selected Messages, Book 2, 118.
“The whole chapter shows that the Babylon that has fallen is the churches who will not receive the messages of warning the Lord has given in the First, Second, and Third Angel’s Messages,” Ellen White states. “They refused the truth and accepted a lie. Anyone who reads this chapter need not be deceived.” Manuscript Releases,
vol. 1, 302.
Notice that these fallen churches have “refused the truth and accepted a lie.” Are we to join hands with those who have accepted a lie?
The false leaders and teachers of modern Babylon will lead the masses of earth’s final generation to perdition. Only a few of earth’s billions will come out of Babylon. “Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” Matthew 7:14. From Egypt only two passed into the promised land. Only eight were saved in Noah’s day. After the flood they all apostatized into Babylon. A few followed when the Lord called Abraham. Fewer still stood at the cross. “And all His acquaintance, and the women that followed Him from Galilee, stood afar off, beholding these things.” Luke 23:49. Only one hundred and twenty in the upper room received the early rain of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. A small company believed William Miller. Fewer still accepted the Sanctuary and Sabbath truths, the Spirit of Prophecy, and became Seventh-day Adventists. Today many are living in the broad way. However, there remains a small remnant throughout the earth. “Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh,” Jesus asked, “shall He find faith on the earth?” Luke 18:8.
A Link Between Church and State
“When the churches of our land, uniting upon such points of faith as are held by them in common,” Ellen White warned, “shall influence the State to enforce their decrees and sustain their institutions, then will Protestant America have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 4, 277.
“By this first beast is represented the Roman Church, an ecclesiastical body clothed with civil power, having authority to punish all dissenters. The image to the beast represents another religious body clothed with similar power. The formation of this image is the work of that beast whose peaceful rise and mild professions render it so striking a symbol of the United States. Here is to be found an image of the papacy.…Protestant churches that have followed in the steps of Rome by forming alliance with worldly powers have manifested a similar desire to restrict liberty of conscience.…Persecution always follows religious favoritism on the part of secular governments.” The Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 278.
Although God has given up on the Sunday-keeping churches of Babylon, He has not given up on the people in those denominations As in the days following the crucifixion of Christ, there was probation for the people—but there was no probation for the leadership of Israel! Jesus had declared, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” Matthew 23:38.
A Warning Against Fellowship With Modern Babylon
The early Christian Church apostatized in the rise of the Papal Church and her link with the secular State. The Protestant churches apostatized when they rejected the message of the first angel. Now, through the message of the second angel, and the amplified message of the special angel of Revelation 18, God is calling His people out of Babylon, out of these false churches. He warns that if they do not come out of Babylon, they shall be “partakers of her sins” and will receive of her plagues. (See Revelation 18:4.)
Again, the point cannot be over-emphasized that, the message of the second and fourth angels call people out of Babylon, and to reject the false teachings of the fallen Protestant churches of the end times. It is a message directly against the Ecumenical Movement, which champions the brotherhood of all Christian churches. We, as Seventh-day Adventists, should not turn toward the churches of Babylon, but should be calling people out of these false churches!
Why can we not have fellowship and brotherhood on all sides with these Christians of other denominations? Why cannot Seventh-day Adventists become members of the National and World Council of Churches? “There is as great a difference in our faith and that of nominal professors,” Ellen White replies. “as the heavens are higher than the earth.” Spiritual Gifts, vol. 2, 300.
“The world is against us, the popular churches are against us, the laws of the land will soon be against us,” Ellen White wrote. “God has committed to us the special truths for this time to make known to the world.” Testimonies, vol. 5, 236.
How can we fellowship with the false Sunday-keeping churches of Babylon when “the popular churches are against us.” Indeed, did not Jesus Himself say, “For he that is not against us is on our part.” Mark 9:40. If the modern churches of Babylon are no longer against us, perhaps we are no longer teaching and preaching the historic Advent truth!
James White also gave some wise counsel on the subject of ecumenism and fellowship with the Sunday-keeping churches of Babylon. Notice carefully his wise counsel: “Here is a man, for instance, who does not agree with us on the subject of the second coming of Christ. He believes that we are wholly mistaken in regard to this great truth. Can we feel union with such a man, and take him into our fellowship and communion? We cannot. We can but feel that he shuts his eyes to some of the clearest light of the Scriptures, and refuses assent to their most unequivocal testimony. We cannot therefore extend to him the hand of Christian fellowship. Just so with the Sabbath. Can we fellowship with the man who violates it? We cannot. On a vital point connected with the teaching of the word of God, we are at issue; and the union that would otherwise exist between us, is of course destroyed. So with the subjects of baptism, the sleep of the dead, the destruction of the wicked, etc. Where there is not agreement in theory, there can be, in the Christian sense, no real communion of heart and fellowship of feeling.” James White, “Fifty Unanswerable Arguments,” Review and Herald, January 14, 1861.
“Where there is not agreement in theory [theology],” James White states, “there can be, in the Christian sense, no real communion of heart and fellowship of feeling.” Can anything be more plain? Pioneer Seventh-day Adventists did not believe in ecumenicalism. They did not advocate joining in mutual fellowship with the churches of Babylon, or recognizing all those who lift up Christ, though they reject the truths of these last days.
“I saw that since Jesus left the holy place of the heavenly sanctuary and entered within the second veil, the churches have been filling up with every unclean and hateful bird. I saw great iniquity and vileness in the churches, yet their members profess to be Christians. Their profession, their prayers, and their exhortations are an abomination in the sight of God. Said the angel, ‘God will not dwell in their assemblies. Selfishness, fraud, and deceit are practiced by them without the reprovings of conscience. And over all these evil traits they throw the cloak of religion.’ ” Early Writings, 274.
Notice that it is the voice of an angel that says, “God will not dwell in their assemblies.” If God does not dwell with these assemblies (National and World Council of Churches), why do we wish to “dwell” with them when God does not?
Again, is it possible to have unity with modern Babylon? Can we have dialogue and goodwill between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the fallen churches of Babylon? Pioneer Adventists did not believe so. The Spirit of Prophecy warns against it.
“After a long and severe conflict the faithful few decided to dissolve all union with the apostate church if she still refused to free herself from falsehood and idolatry. They saw that separation was an absolute necessity if they would obey the Word of God. They dared not tolerate errors fatal to their own souls and set an example which would imperil the faith of their children and children’s children.…If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference and even war. Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God’s professed people.” The Story of Redemption, 324.
Notice that Ellen White described the stand of the faithful during the Dark Ages by saying, “If unity could be secured only by the compromise of truth and righteousness, then let there be difference and even war.” Then she brings it home to the contemporary Seventh-day Adventist Church: “Well would it be for the church and the world if the principles that actuated those steadfast souls were revived in the hearts of God’s professed people.” In the hearts of God’s professed people? That is us, is it not? It would be well if these principles were revived in the hearts of Seventh-day Adventists.
Ecumenism—Modern-Day Deception of Satan
Before we can continue our study we must first understand the concept of “ecumenism.” Today we often hear the word ecumenical. What is ecumenism? The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Student’s Source Book and SDA Bible Dictionary give a clear answer: “At its most ambitious, the ecumenical movement aspires to heal the
thousand-year-old break between Rome and the Eastern Orthodox churches on the one hand, and the later breach between these and the Protestant denominations on the other.” Editorial, “To a Greater Christian Church,” Life, 49 (December 19, 1960), 24; op. sit., Seventh-day Adventist Bible Student’s Source Book, Art. “Ecumenical Movement,” Second Revised Edition.
“But despite these deep doctrinal differences, these three chief branches of Christianity are on much friendlier terms than they used to be,” the editorial stated. “Their spokesmen are able to meet in serious dialogue without thinking of each other as antichrists; they have learned to know what they believe in common and why they disagree.” Editorial, Life, December 19, 1960.
Notice the phrases, “the ecumenical movement aspires to heal the thousand-year-old break [wound].” Does that sound familiar? “And his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast.” Revelation 13:3b. “Their spokesmen are able to meet in serious dialogue without thinking of each other as antichrists.” Have you ever heard, dear reader, the phrase “beast bashing” in today’s Adventist thinking? But the most astounding fulfillment of prophecy is the phrase, “they have learned to know what they believe in common and why they disagree.”
“When the churches of our land, uniting upon such points of faith as are held by them in common,” Ellen White warned, “shall influence the State to enforce their decrees and sustain their institutions, then will Protestant America have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy.” Spirit of Prophecy, vol. 4, 278.
So Much In Common
In 1973, Bert Beverly Beach (later secretary of Public Affairs and Religious Liberty department of the General Conference) co-authored a book with Lukas Vischer, Secretary of the World Council of Churches. The title of the book was, So Much In Common, the subtitle, “Between the World Council of Churches and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.” The book was published by the World Council of Churches, Geneva, Switzerland, in 1973. The title of the book alone tells the story, “So Much In Common, Between the Seventh-day Adventist Church and the World Council of Churches.” What do Seventh-day Adventists have in common with the World Council of Churches? How did Adventists ever come to the place where they thought they had something in common with the great assembly of the churches of Babylon, the harlot daughters of Rome?
In 1977, Bert Beach was President of the Northern Europe-West Africa Division of the Seventh-day Adventist Church. At that time Beach was also serving as Secretary of the World Confessional Families, the theological branch of the World Council of Churches. On May 18, 1977, as Secretary of the World Confessional Families, meeting in Rome, Italy, Beach presented a medallion to Pope Paul VI. (See Religious News Service (RNS), Foreign Service, May 19, 1977; W.D. Eva, Adventist Review, “Book, Medallion Presented to Pope,” August 11, 1977, page 23.)
The Goal Of Ecumenism
“As long as the Catholic is Catholic and the Protestant is Protestant, there is only one way to union—the conversion of one to the views of the other. If that should
happen, either Catholicism or Protestantism would disappear. There can never be a Catholic-Protestant Church, or even a Catholic-Protestant fellowship of churches. This is the basic fact.
“The Catholic must say to the Protestant that the [Catholic] Church was substantially right, and therefore any endeavor toward reunion will be a return to her unreconstructed, unreformed unity.” Gustave Wiegel, A Catholic Primer on the Ecumenical Movement, 50, 51, 64, 66. Copyright 1957 by The Newman Press, Westminster, Md.
Ecumenism Will Triumph
“Through the two great errors,  the immortality of the soul and  Sunday sacredness, Satan will bring the people under his deceptions,” Ellen White concluded. “While the former lays the foundation of spiritualism the latter creates a bond of sympathy with Rome.” The Great Controversy, 588.
“The Protestants of the United States will be foremost in stretching their hands across the gulf to grasp the hand of spiritualism; they will reach over the abyss to clasp hands with the Roman power; and under the influence of this threefold union, this country will follow in the steps of Rome in trampling on the rights of conscience.” Ibid.
—To be continued…