The Angel of the Approaching Fulness of God
Jul 06, 2016
Revelation 16:17 says,
17 And the seventh angel poured out his bowl upon the air; and a loud voice came out of the temple from the throne, saying, “It is done.”
In my personal revelation, the seventh angel is the Angel of the Approaching Fulness of God. When this was revealed many years ago, I wondered about it. One might think that the angel’s name would be something like Overthrowing the Wicked, or perhaps Casting Down Falsehood. But instead, the focus is upon the positive side, which is inherent in the bowl of water. The goal is the establishment of the Kingdom and filling us with the fulness of the Spirit. Divine judgment upon Babylon is only necessary to remove the obstacle (the usurpers and their systems of government).
Whereas the sixth angel was called to prepare and “to gather them together for the war of the great day of God” (Revelation 16:14), the seventh angel brings this war to a successful conclusion. When the loud voice says, “It is done,” it is apparent that this is said from the divine perspective, for pouring out the bowls is really only the beginning, that is, the decree which then has to be carried out in the world. Hence, “it is done” establishes the fact and asserts that there is no possibility that His word will fall to the ground. It will happen, and so He reveals the end from the beginning.
The Seventy Year Babylonian Pattern
The bowl of wine is directed at “Babylon the great” (Revelation 16:19), and further details are then given in chapters 17-19. The question is how did John understand the identity of Babylon? Did he see it as the old physical city in Iraq, as some have thought? There is no evidence of this, although many of the prophecies of Babylon’s fall, given by the prophets, were spoken in terms of the old city.
But Babylon is much larger today than it was back then, for it is now a world-wide system of government, which men have called “The New World Order.” They mean the New Order that was established after World War II, including the United Nations, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, the US dollar as the world currency, etc. This Order is now coming apart after 70 years, even as the old Babylon only lasted 70 years before being overthrown.
The Bretton Woods Convention was held in 1944, and the UN was finally set up in 1945. Perhaps the climax of this time occurred with UN’s vote to partition Palestine and to create a Jewish Homeland on November 29, 1947. The actual State of Israel was established on May 14, 1948. We may look at events 70 years later from 2014-2018 as endpoints in the fall of the (now old) New World Order. What is coming is something different that is prophetically linked to the Medes and Persians in the Old Testament pattern, but which John calls “the kings from the east” in Revelation 16:12.
John’s generalized terminology suggests that the calling to overthrow Babylon is no longer limited to the old nations of Media and Persia. Though the patterns were set long ago, there are now new players on the world stage, and the fall of Babylon this time is much broader.
Most important is the fact that we have now completed the time of divine judgment, and therefore, the beast systems are now about to be replaced by the Kingdom of God. When Babylon fell in the time of Daniel, Cyrus and Darius were the coalition of the second beast, described as the “arms of silver” (Daniel 2:32) and as the “bear” with one arm stronger than the other (Daniel 7:5).
Hence, even though Cyrus was a type of Christ (Isaiah 45:1), and though he issued the decree to build the cities of Judah and to allow immigrants to inhabit Jerusalem (Isaiah 44:26), he could not establish the Kingdom. He was, after all, the ruler of the second beast nation, and this was his dominant calling at that time. As long as the beast systems ruled, Medo-Persia’s role was fixed. The Cyrus calling as Messiah would have to wait until the last beast had run his full course.
It remains for our time to fulfill these messianic prophecies given to Cyrus and Darius—that is, the kings from the east. Because the time of beast dominion has now ended, these “kings” are now able to fulfill their real calling—overthrowing modern Babylon, funding the Kingdom of God, and preparing for the coming of the Messiah and the manifestation of the Sons of God.
As I have written elsewhere, the “seven times” of divine judgment are completed within the framework of 2014-2017 (extending into the middle of 2018). Dating from 607-604 B.C., the seven times might have ended in 1914-1917, had it not been for the century from 163-63 B.C. when Judah and Jerusalem was independent from the third beast (Grecian beast). Having been deprived of this century in their “seven times” contract, this time had to be added to 1914-1917, and this is why the contract with the beast systems had to continue until 2014-2017.
It is remarkable, too, that the New World Order was set up after World War II from 1944-1947 and into 1948, and that the seventy-year pattern ends at the same time that the extra hundred years also ends—completing the “seven times” that began from 607-604 B.C.
Babylon, Egypt, and Jerusalem
The “seven times” of judgment began with the fall of Jerusalem in 604 B.C. In 1917 General Allenby took Jerusalem from the Ottoman Empire. This suggests another “Jerusalem” event in 2017-2018, which is also seventy years since the Palestinian Resolution in 1947 and the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948.
But what does Jerusalem have to do with prophecies about the fall of Babylon? Recall that John told us about the two witnesses in Revelation 11:8,
8 And their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city which mystically [spiritually] is called Sodom and Egypt, where also their Lord was crucified.
In Revelation 11:6 the two witnesses are said to bring plagues upon this spiritual city, and we also see that the seven bowls of wine in Revelation 16 are called “the seven plagues of the seven angels” (Revelation 15:8). The general prophecy of the two witnesses against the city include the specific plagues of the seven angels upon Babylon. Hence, the “city” is not a single city any more, and yet it is a spiritual extension of Babylon, Sodom, Egypt, and (earthly) Jerusalem.
This is incomprehensible to those who think that the earthly Jerusalem has been given the promise of God to be the capital of the Kingdom, a place where another temple of stone and wood will be built, from which place Jesus will rule the world in the age to come. That school of prophecy does not properly distinguish between the earthly and the heavenly Jerusalem. If they would but read Paul’s explanation in Galatians 4:22-26, they would understand that the earthly Jerusalem is Hagar, not Sarah, and that it is the embodiment of the Old Covenant, which can never establish the Kingdom of Christ, for it is “in slavery with her children” (Galatians 4:25).
This “slavery” is pictured in its identification with “Egypt” and “Babylon,” both of which enslaved Israel or Judah. Therefore, it is clear that when Scripture prophesies of the fall of Babylon, this “city” includes the earthly Jerusalem, for even though Jerusalem is an earthly city, it is also a spiritual—but carnal—city of the Old Covenant. Just because it is spiritual does not mean it is heavenly. The earthly Jerusalem is no more heavenly than Egypt or Sodom in Revelation 11:8.
In the end, it is a “tale of two cities.” In ancient times these two cities were Babylon (built by Nimrod) and Jerusalem (built by Shem under the title of Melchizedek, “King of Righteousness”). In our time the old cities have now become spiritual cities opposing each other: Mystery Babylon vs. Heavenly Jerusalem. Another way to view this—if we follow a different prophetic model—is to monitor the conflict between the earthly Jerusalem and the heavenly Jerusalem.
Old and New Covenant Mandates
In both cases, God gave Babylon and Jerusalem a temporary mandate to rule. Jerusalem, says Paul, “is Mount Sinai in Arabia” (Galatians 4:25), because the Old Covenant was established in Arabia, the inheritance of Ishmael, son of Hagar. For 1480 years the Old Covenant had divine approval, even though it was a foregone conclusion that it would not succeed in establishing the Kingdom. It was only when the Mediator of the New Covenant arrived, and when the people rejected Him and opted to remain under the jurisdiction of Moses and Mount Sinai, that the Old Covenant exceeded its divine mandate. This was also the point where the chief priests inadvertently put Jerusalem under the authority of Ishmael, whose inheritance is Mount Sinai in Arabia, the place of the Old Covenant.
To put it plainly, when the chief priests rejected the Mediator of the New Covenant, they gave that city and that land to Ishmael. They would dispute this, of course, but this is why God allowed the Muslims to come from Arabia and take Jerusalem six centuries later. By adhering to the Old Covenant, they came under the legal jurisdiction of Ishmael, and as children of the earthly Jerusalem (Hagar), they became spiritual Ishmaelites, citizens of Mount Sinai in Arabia.
Paul tells us that the children of Hagar and Sarah (i.e., earthly and heavenly Jerusalems) were to be in conflict, as each claimed the promises of God. Paul says in Galatians 4:28, 29,
28 And you, brethren, like Isaac are children of promise. 29 But as at that time he who was born according to the flesh persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, so it is now also.
The Old Covenant is based on the promises (vows) of men in Exodus 19:8. The New Covenant is based on the promise of God (Deuteronomy 29:12-14). To be part of the Isaac company is to be one of the “children of promise.” One cannot be of “Isaac” by claiming the earthly Jerusalem as one’s mother, for it is a self-contradiction to claim that Hagar is the mother of Isaac. Neither can one claim the promise of God (New Covenant) by the promise of men (Old Covenant).
In the end of the age, in which we live, this “Jerusalem” conflict will be resolved. The outcome of the divine resolution is prophesied, as Paul tells us in Galatians 4:30, “Cast out the bondwoman and her son.” The sons of the earthly Jerusalem will not be heirs with the sons of the free woman. If any son of the earthly Jerusalem wants to be “chosen” as an heir, he must claim a new mother, put his faith in the Mediator of the New Covenant, and cast out the bondwoman (earthly Jerusalem).
Paul knew what he was talking about, for he had already done this on the Damascus road. His conversion is an example or pattern (hupotyposis) for all true conversions (1 Timothy 1:16).
The conflict between the Kingdom of God and the Kingdom of Babylon cannot be separated from the conflict between the two Jerusalems. As I have written elsewhere, the Hebrew name for the city is Ierushalayim, which literally means “two Jerusalems.” The earthly city was given the first opportunity to succeed by the power of the Old Covenant. It failed, and the prophets then called it “the bloody city” (Ezekiel 22:2; 24:6, 9; Nahum 3:1). The glory departed from it even as the glory had departed from Shiloh some centuries earlier (Jeremiah 7:14; Ezekiel 9:3; 11:23).
The failure of the earthly Jerusalem did not cause God’s promise to fail. In fact, it established God’s promise, for only in the failure of the earthly Jerusalem and its Old Covenant could the heavenly Jerusalem and the New Covenant fulfill those promises.
So when the Angel of the Approaching Fulness of God poured out his bowl of wine upon Babylon, it also overthrew the Old Jerusalem, which is simply another form of slavery. The intent of God is to overthrow all forms of slavery and to move toward the day when all men manifest the full presence of God.
This is part 130 of a series titled "Studies in the Book of Revelation." To view all parts, click the link below.
Dr. Stephen Jones