Haggai is one of the post-exilic prophets who spoke to those returning from exile in Babylon. Haggai’s messages begin the second year of King Darius’ reign in approximately 520 B.C. Babylon had been defeated by King Cyrus in 539 B.C.
The Persian Empire was in control in those days, and the Israelites had been allowed to return to their homeland. From what God says through Haggai, it appears the people are still living selfishly and not putting God in first position. His temple still lies in ruins.
“Babylon is fallen,” the angel proclaims. For John’s contemporaries, they would see this referring to Rome. This vision would surely give them hope. At the time John writes this, Rome is alive and well, carrying out atrocities on God’s people. What was the motivation? Power. The sensuality of wealth. Dominion over all.
Rome did fall. Does this mean the message of Revelation is not for us? On the contrary. The book of Revelation concerns the character and timeliness of God’s judgment not only of persons who are “of the world,” but also nations and authority figures, companies, groups, etc., all who have chosen evil over grace.