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Eugene W. Prewitt

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Revelation 18 and its Unclean and Hateful Birds

Unclean and Hateful Birds

And Eschatological Study

And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory. 2  And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird. . . . 4  And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. 5  For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.—Rev 18:1-5

The announcement parallels Rev. 14 in the sense that it designates two falls by the phrase “is fallen, is fallen.” There is not an announcement of an additional fall. The passage does not say “is fallen, is fallen, is fallen.”

But the announcement adds a new and startling statement. “And is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.”

What are these unclean and hateful birds?

26  For among my people are found wicked men: they lay wait, as he that setteth snares; they set a trap, they catch men. 27  As a cage is full of birds, so are their houses full of deceit: therefore they are become great, and waxen rich. – Jer. 5:26-27

The hateful birds are false teachers and leaders, “wicked men” that “catch men.” These wicked men are found among “my people” in Jeremiah 5. The “my people” in Jeremiah 5 are those that should be preparing for the Latter Rain and working for the harvest.

23  But this people hath a revolting and a rebellious heart; they are revolted and gone. 24  Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest. 25 Your iniquities have turned away these things, and your sins have withholden good things from you. – Jer. 5:23-25

Just as Jeremiah portrays God’s end-time people as having characteristics that we associate with Babylon, Ezekiel and Isaiah do the same. Jeremiah pointed out the “birds.” Isaiah mentions the practice of harlotry.

21 How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers. 22  Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water: 23  Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them. 24  Therefore saith the Lord, the LORD of hosts, the mighty One of Israel, Ah, I will ease me of mine adversaries, and avenge me of mine enemies: — Isaiah 1:21-24.

If this were the end of the prophecy one might suppose that the faithful city was about to be forsaken and left to its evil ways. But how is it that God will avenge Himself of his enemies?

25 And I will turn my hand upon thee, and purely purge away thy dross, and take away all thy tin: 26  And I will restore thy judges as at the first, and thy counselors as at the beginning: afterward thou shalt be called, The city of righteousness, the faithful city. 27  Zion shall be redeemed with judgment, and her converts with righteousness. – Isaiah 1:25-27.

His promise is to remove the dross and tin and, in their replace, to restore judges and counselors that reflect the purity of the apostolic church. The false teachers will be removed from their positions. This is God’s judgment on them. This process is described more fully in Jeremiah 23.

1 Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. 2  Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD. 3  And I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all countries whither I have driven them, and will bring them again to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase. 4  And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be  dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD. . . . 20  The anger of the LORD shall not return, until he have executed, and till he have performed the thoughts of his heart: in the latter days ye shall consider it perfectly.

How will the Lord remove these false teachers? And where will they go? Notice in Revelation 18 that the Loud Cry announces that Babylon has become the hold of “every” unclean and hateful bird. This gives us a hint as to where the false teachers go. How do they get there? Again, Jeremiah provides an answer. Notice the cup in the Lord’s hand.

5  For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the LORD of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the Holy One of Israel. 6  Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompense. 7  Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad. – Jer 51:5-7

What does God do with the cup of Babylon? How is Babylon used to punish God’s people today? We read in Isaiah 1 and Jeremiah 5 that God will be avenged on the wicked among his people. He will remove the false teachers. Paul helps put these ideas together. Notice the method (verse 8-10) God uses to send delusion (verse 11) on the lost.

8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming: 9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders, 10  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. – 2 Thes 2:8-12

So God uses Babylon’s deceptions to remove the false teachers from his people. This is done that they might be “damned” in the final overthrow of Babylon. In the two step process, God first deceives the wicked among his people and lets Babylon take them captive. He next removes his faithful from Babylon and brings them into the newly cleansed, recently-harlot-like, currently-faithful city.

This has been Christ’s special work during the judgment. See Mal. 3. He has been removing the dross of false-hearted teachers by using Babylon as a cup of deception in his own hand.

The fact that men are taken with “deceivableness” and “delusion” is evidence of the doctrinal character of Babylon. When the first step of this judgment has been completed, the Loud Cry will go forward with the appropriate and truthful message that Babylon has become the hold of “every” unclean and hateful bird.




Shepherds in the End

Isa 56:11  Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.

Jer 6:3  The shepherds with their flocks shall come unto her; they shall pitch their tents against her round about; they shall feed every one in his place.

Jer 23:4  And I will set up shepherds over them which shall feed them: and they shall fear no more, nor be dismayed, neither shall they be lacking, saith the LORD.

Jer 25:34  Howl, ye shepherds, and cry; and wallow yourselves in the ashes, ye principal of the flock: for the days of your slaughter and of your dispersions are accomplished; and ye shall fall like a pleasant vessel.

For the Word Document, click here: Rev_18_-_Unclean_and_Hateful_Birds

(6) Comments

  1. The article on the unclean and hateful birds was enlightening. I always wanted to know what the unclean and hateful birds meant from a prophetic view,

    Thank you

  2. I actually thought that “Unclean and hateful bird” meant: An unclean spirit. Similar to how a dove was used to represent the Holy Ghost in the Old and New Testament, I thought that unclean birds like the owl etc represented the unclean spirits. Spirits of demons. Interesting article nevertheless.

  3. I receive this explanation with a grateful ? thank you. The bible said out of all of our getting we should have an understanding of GOD’S HOLY WORD !????

  4. Thank you for this insight. I was led to this information while researching a vision given by the Holy Spirit. Your explanation of “unclean birds” has confirmed my thoughts on the meaning of my vision.

    Thank you,
    Tressa Lucas

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