v.6-11 Then I saw another angel flying in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who dwell on the earth – to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people – saying with a loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.” And another angel followed, saying, “Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.” Then a third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand, he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of His indignation. And he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb. And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they shall have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
In this quick succession of three flying angels, John records the ominous and foreboding message each delivers to those dwelling upon earth.
It should be noted, however, that the message is for the unbelievers, not the redeemed. The “earth dwellers” are those who set their mind on earthly things, and therefore, because they are friends with the world, are at enmity with God (Phil.3:17-19; Jas.4:4). On the other hand, the redeemed are classified as citizens of heaven, strangers in the world who desire only a heavenly country (Phil.3:20; Heb.11:13-16).
Okay, let’s consider the three messages.
The first angel delivers the “everlasting gospel.” This signifies a message of “good news” that the long awaited judgment of God has come, that Satan’s reign upon earth is about to be consummated, the deliverance and restoration of Israel is about to take place, and the rule of Jesus Christ on earth is about to begin. Moreover, the angel preaches it with a “loud voice” so that every nation, tribe, tongue, and people might immediately fear, give glory to, and worship God.
The second angel carries a message of judgment against the city of Babylon. The phrase “Babylon is fallen, is fallen” is not meant to mean that Babylon has fallen, however, as if the judgment had already taken place, but is used in the same way the Old Testament prophets used it, to signify that Babylon is about to fall (check—Isa.21:9; Jer.51:8). This is furthered evidenced in the repetition of the phrase “is fallen, is fallen,” which in Scripture is used as a declaration that God has established judgment, and will shortly bring it to pass (Gen.41:32). So the angel is reiterating that which Scripture has already declared—that Babylon has been sentenced for judgment by God, and that her judgment is coming (we’ll see this later in Chapters 17 & 18).
The third angel speaks of judgment upon the souls of men. This is arguably the most alarming of the messages because it carries with it an irreversible consequence based upon a singular decision: One must refuse to worship Antichrist and his image and to accept his mark, or “he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God” and be made to endure God’s judgment and “he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone” forever and ever. In other words, those who take the mark cannot be saved.