Revelation – Being Faithful Disciples

David began by posing some probing questions:

  • Have you found yourself seduced in any way this week by the world and the surrounding culture?
  • Have you been lured down a path that has been less than helpful?

 

He reminded us:

OUR BATTLE IS NOT AGAINST FLESH AND BLOOD BUT AGAINST THE RULERS, THE AUTHORITIES, THE POWERS OF THIS DARK WORLD AND AGAINST THE SPIRITUAL … FORCES OF EVIL.

If the world pollutes our minds and causes our hearts to compromise, then we are in trouble. His questions and warnings are so applicable as we study Revelation chapter 17.

The chapter begins with one of the angels introducing a new character. She is the prostitute who sits on many waters. As verse 15 explains, the waters are people, multitudes, nations and languages. She has serious worldwide influence on humanity, ranging from kings to the inhabitants of the earth, and her influence intoxicates.

John is carried away in spirit and sees the woman sitting on a scarlet beast. The beast has a covering of blasphemous names and has 7 heads and 10 horns. This is the beast from the sea (Revelation 13) and represents human kingdoms that have rejected God and damage God’s people.

The woman is beautifully adorned and attractive. In her hand is a cup full of the filth of her immorality. Her identity on her forehead is a long ‘name’:

MYSTERY; BABYLON THE GREAT; THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES; AND OF THE ABOMINATION OF THE EARTH

The ‘name’ gives identity and ideology. ‘Babylon the great’ is not a literal Babylon. It is a codeword with a long history, code for those who turn their back on God. An example from the Old Testament is the tower of Babel and in the New Testament the Babylon is Rome.


Another identity of the woman is ‘the mother of prostitutes’, indicating more and more Babylons. The woman’s allure and influence are shocking. We read that she enjoys targeting Christians. The angel explains the mystery of the woman and the beast:

THE BEAST WHICH YOU SAW ONCE WAS, NOW IS NOT AND YET WILL COME.

When one godless human state comes and goes (e.g. Rome, Nazi Germany …), another rises to take its place.

THE SEVEN HEADS ARE SEVEN HILLS ON WHICH THE WOMAN SITS.

The 7 heads at that time (1st century) refer to Rome – built on 7 hills.
The identity of the kings is uncertain but refers to recurring political empires throughout history. They receive authority for one hour, symbolic of their influence lasting a short time.

THEY WILL MAKE WAR AGAINST THE LAMB BUT THE LAMB WILL OVERCOME.

because he is Lord of Lords and King of Kings. The lamb will conquer and defeat evil and with him are those who are called, chosen and faithful.


This is inspiring hope for those in the midst of the effects of the beast. Also encouraging is that evil will turn in on itself. The 10 horns will hate the prostitute and bring her to ruin. God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose. He allows them to lead to their own destruction.


Evil is not the last word – Babylon will fall, but until the lamb returns we are in a battle. We are constantly under the pressure of ‘Babylon’ and its seductive powers trying to lure us away from the lamb.

Conclusion:
The greatest challenge we face today is not persecution from the world but seduction from the world. Let us not pause and marvel at Babylon but look to the lamb.

Rosemary Warke

Rosemary Warke

I've been a Windsorite for most of my life. A one-time Physics teacher but now known as John Warke’s wife, then Tim and Heather’s Mum, but best of all Jonny, Amy and David’s granny.
Rosemary Warke
I've been a Windsorite for most of my life. A one-time Physics teacher but now known as John Warke’s wife, then Tim and Heather’s Mum, but best of all Jonny, Amy and David’s granny.