Questions to ask in Revelation Seventeen
17 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.” 3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, 5 and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” 6 And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered greatly. 7 And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.
8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. 9 Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, 10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while. 11 The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. 12 The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. 13 These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.
Victory for the Lamb
14 These will wage war against the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” 15 And he *said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17 For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled. 18 The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
- What does this portion of Scripture reveal about Jesus? – That this has been a struggle through the ages, since the years of Nimrod in the OT and the tower of Babel.
- What does this portion of Scripture reveal about the church? The raptured church isn’t mentioned in this chapter, but the tribulation saints are referred to when it referred to those who are not saved (written in the book of life from the foundation of the world).
- What does this portion of Scripture reveal about the world? Those who dwell on the earth is a common phrase for people who do not know God. They will be judged although they live now as though there are no consequences. Also note that God puts things in the purpose of non-believers. Verse 17.
- What does this portion of Scripture reveal about the Evil One? Even within the ranks of the Evil One, there will be dissention.
- Can you see Christ’s Mercy towards humanity in the passage? As the judgment gets completely up to speed, it is as though the doors of the ark have been closed and going forward, the time for mercy has passed. The patience of God has been satisfied. .
- Can you see Christ’s judgment of disobedience? That is very vivid in this passage, however the judgment in this text appears to be focused on the Beast, the Harlot and the evil hearts of those who worshiped another god.
Outline: the exposure, the explanation and the extermination.
- Six Characteristics of Religious Babylon
- Her reach – she sits on many waters.
- Her co-laborers – notice also verse 9 & 10. She is in cahoots with world leaders. And she is working directly with the beast; she is carried by the beast. (verse 7) but only for a time – note verse 16. Why does Satan hate anyone, because he demands to be the only one worshiped.
- She is wealthy – notice her adornments. And in a world owned by people who have no interest in the true God, they are attracted to the successful and the rich. This is an image of a gospel of prosperity. Worship me and be rich like me. But notice the contrast between wealth and spiritual poverty.
- She is perverse – she is the beginning of mankind’s effort to replace God with worship of creation. [Written on her forehead – Same as prostitutes of the day.] We are living in a culture when we feel it getting less and less religious is not at all becoming less and less religious, it is becoming less and less Christian but more and more pagan in its belief. Our seemingly irreligious world will become utterly religious, totally religious. Not atheistic.
- Where she finds her pleasure – in the drinking of the cup of disaster to her enemies. And who are her enemies, the saints and the witnesses of Jesus. And for once on the earth, there will be a universal church, the church that worships at the alter of the anti-Christ. And the cup, as ornate and beautiful as it is, is filled with filth.
- Her future – she will be destroyed by the one she serves.
- Introduced by “Why do you wonder?” And the angel said to me (John), “Why do you wonder? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. What is John wondering about?
- About the Beast – verses 8-17
- The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss. This is most likely a reference to the resurrection of the anti-Christ, designed to fool the world. Some believe it will be a fake, some believe it will be real. Truth is, we aren’t clearly told.
- The impact of his resurrection – And those who dwell on the earth . . . will wonder when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. This action is designed to inspire non-believers to worship the beast.
- About the Beast – verses 8-17
- At this time, there are still believers on the earth, we often refer to them as Tribulation Saints – the reference here is a back door reference that implies there are still those whose name had been written in the book of life by the contrast of the phrase. “Whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world”.
- The kings of the earth don’t have rule for a higher purpose than to give it to the anti-Christ – These have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast. But beyond their perceived purpose, is the purpose God intended for them. I would guess that they might get the first part and not the second.
- His end is destruction – vs 11 – “and he goes to destruction.”
- Those 7 kings mentioned: McArthur believes they are:
- The fallen: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia and Greece
- The one who is: Rome
- The one to be: verse 11, seven and eight. He falls and rises again.
- About the Harlot – vs 15 and 18 (who represents the great religion of the world)
- Waters where the harlot sits which represent peoples, multitudes, nations and tongues – sitting is a sign of authority. Kings sat, Jesus sits, the harlot sits, but do notice that the source of her throne, although it does represent peoples, etc, it is not what you would call a solid foundation. It is represented by water.
- The harlot’s authority reaches across all boundaries and peoples.
- She is supported by the beast. Vs 3, a woman sitting on a scarlet beast
- To worship the harlot, to be part of this false religion, is immoral. It is in direct conflict with God’s revealed will and Scripture.
- Eventually hated by the beast. Vs 16, and the beast, perhaps motivated by any kind of evil desire, but maybe jealousy, turns on the harlot.
- Motivated by God to consume each other. God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose.
- Something I thought of that is interesting, who is the true bride of Christ. And anyone who would attempt to take the place of a bride, what might she be called?