Revelation 17-1-18 Part 1

REVELATION 17:1-18 Part 1


1)    Then one of the seven messengers having the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying ‘here, I show you the judgment of the great harlot that sits by many waters

2)    with whom the kings of the earth did fornicate and those indwelling the land were made drunk from the wine of her fornications.

3)    And it bore me away in spirit into isolation.  Then I saw a woman sitting upon a crimson beast full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns;

4)    and the woman was purple and crimson clothed, adorned in gold and precious stone and pearls, and having in her hand a gold cup full of abominable things and the unclean things of her fornications;

5)    and a name, a mystery, having been written on her forehead: BABYLON THE GREAT, the mother of the harlots and the land’s abominations;

6)    and I saw the woman drunkened from the blood of the saints and from the blood of Jesus’ martyrs.  And when I saw her I wondered with great wonder!

7)    And the messenger said to me, “for what did you wonder?  I will speak to you the mystery of the woman and the beast bearing her that has the seven heads and the ten horns.

8)    The beast that you saw was, but isn’t; and it is about to go up from the abyss and to go forth into destruction.  Then those dwelling in the land whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world will be astonished when they behold the beast that was and is not and though is!

9)    Here, the mind that has wisdom!  The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, for there are seven kings.

10) The five did fall in ruin; the one is; the other did not yet come.  But when he comes it is necessary for him to remain briefly.

11) Then the beast that was and is not and is eighth and of the seven goes forth into destruction.

12) And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings whose kingdoms had not yet been taken but receive authority as kings for one hour with the beast.

13) These have one mind; and they give their power and authority to the beast.

14) These will make war with the Lamb.  But the Lamb will overcome them; for He is Lord of Lords and King of Kings.  And the ones called and chosen and faithful are those with Him!”

15) Then (the messenger) says to me, “the waters that you saw where the harlot sits are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.

16) And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the harlot and make her a desolation and naked and eat her flesh and burn her in fire;

17) for God did put into their hearts to do His purpose and be of one mind to give their power to the beast until the words of God are completed.

18) And the woman that you saw is the great city having power over the kings of the earth.


The thirteen letters in our Bibles that were written to the Churches by the apostle Paul survived him.  If he was still alive at the time the Churches received this document from John, Paul would have been in prison reading the books of the prophets that were delivered to him at his request.  He probably never read The Revelation of Jesus Christ.

The two letters to the Churches from the apostle Peter survived him.  Although he and Paul knew what was shortly to come, Peter probably never read the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

The author of the letter to the Hebrew refugees and the authors of three of the Gospels may have never read the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

James and Jude may have never had the opportunity to read the Revelation of Jesus Christ.

John’s Gospel and three letters to the Churches survived him, and he wrote the Revelation of Jesus Christ; but he was sequestered on Patmos and had no access to the Churches. 

So the Churches no longer had access to Jesus’ apostles as the end of the age came near.

Heretofore they had Moses and the prophets; they had the historical books and the Psalms and the wisdom literature.  And they had the apostles of Jesus Christ and twenty-six inspired writings of the apostles and Gospel writers.

The letters of the apostles were written to them (not just for correction, but) to strengthen them and give them confidence and assurance in Jesus Christ as the Day of Yahveh neared and as His Kingdom was about to come into its fullness!

The end of the age was at hand; and the day of the apostles was coming to a close, you see.  As the Church received this twenty seventh (and final) inspired Word, from the apostle John, it would know that the Parousia of The Christ of God meant the active Presence of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords; for the Revelation of Jesus Christ was the “capstone” of the Word of God.  The Church would then have the “fullness” of His Word, and that Word-Made-Flesh was its Savior and its King.

The Church was “IN HIM”, and by His Spirit He was in them; and so the apostolic office was then obsolete.  At the Day of YAHVEH the Church would have the entire written Word through the prophets and the apostles; and it had its risen and enthroned Savior… its High Priest… its KING – the Savior of the World!  He IS was, and He IS is; and He is all the Church needed, for He is all in all.  He poured out His blood for them; and He rose out of death for them – and they IN HIM.  He knows every single one who belongs to Him; and He will keep them all to the end.  They are all IN HIM; and they all belong to Him.  And they will be “manifest” in persecution and tribulation in… as Luke put it: the “days of vengeance”.

The Church here at the end of the age no longer needs apostles to the Jews; the Church no longer needs apostles to the Gentiles.  For the Church of Jesus Christ is already in the far East; it’s already in the far West; it’s already in Africa; it’s already on the islands of the seas.  And the Kingdom would now be from the heaven where the King sits in all His glory.  And the Church would proceed with its mission founded on apostolic doctrine.

At the writing of the Revelation of Jesus Christ by one of His apostles, the apostolic office is complete… as is the office of prophet.  It’s done.

All of those of the prophetic office, and all of those of the apostolic office shared a common experience, which was being brought into the very Presence of Almighty God and receiving His Word and instructions.  If you read through the prophets, you’ll find that to be the case with each one of them.  There was no prophecy if that had not been the case!  A false prophet was one who claimed the office, but had not been in the Presence of God and received His instructions!  Therefore he could not know the mind of God; and whatever he claimed to prophesy was false prophecy.

And being in the Presence of God was the case with the apostles as well… even with the apostle Paul who was met on the road to Damascus by the Lord Jesus Christ; and who then spent three years in the Arabian desert being instructed by Him.

And the point here is that the One Who chose and met and instructed the prophets is the same One Who chose and met and instructed the apostles.  The One Who “sent” the prophets is the One Who “sent” the apostles.  And the Word borne by the apostles is the same Word borne by the prophets.  It all agrees.  And the last apostolic Word – the Revelation of Jesus Christ – has NO content that doesn’t fill up the prophetic Word that came before it.

And here at the end of the age, John (the apostle who received the final Revelation – the capstone of all the prophetic Word), was in the tabernacle of God in the heaven where Moses and the prophets before him had been (and where Paul, according to his own word, had been); and he sees all that they had seen… PLUS, he is shown the “finality” of all that had previously been prophesied.

Moses and the prophets were shown these things and were instructed to prophesy and write in their own contexts; John, however, was shown all of this here at the end of the age; and it is the full and final wrath of God (which we began at the beginning of chapter fifteen), all of which the prophets of old saw and heard in their time and prophesied in their time!

What we’ve learned so far from this great and awesome sign (begun at chapter fifteen) is that the dragon (the serpent of old) is deceived by Almighty God; the beast (here it is the fourth one) is deceived by Almighty God.  The nations under the rule of the empire of the fourth beast were deceived by Almighty God.  They are all deceived into doing the very purpose of God; for YAHVEH has set His King on His holy mountain.  And He shall rule over all the mountains of the earth; and His dominion shall be with great prominence, and it shall know no borders.  And His reign shall be forever and ever.  Never shall His glory be shared with another.  All competitors will be dealt with by His “rod of iron” until all peoples acknowledge His Kingdom, and until the knowledge of God covers the earth as the water covers the sea.  And the dragon and the beast and the rulers of the nations were deceived and used by God to bring it all to its fullness!

And all of this agrees with what the prophets of old were instructed to prophesy!! ... the only difference being that it’s no longer 800BC, or 600BC – it’s the end of the age!

It was time for the full and final wrath of God.  The Kingdom was “at hand”; “it was near”, Jesus said; “the Kingdom has come upon you”, He said.  And John saw all that was shortly to come.  By His Spirit the King would rule from His tabernacle in the heaven … prophets and apostles no longer needed.  You see, if that which was prophesied and anticipated had come to pass, then why would there be any further need for them?

The last prophet was not Malachi (the last book of the older Scripture); the last prophet was not John the baptizer (as many have suggested).  The “end of the age” did NOT come to pass at the end of the Old Testament!  And the end of the age didn’t come to pass at the crucifixion and resurrection and ascension of Jesus.  Much preaching seems to stop there (as glorious as that all is!); but it omits the glory of our Lord and His Parousia and the inauguration of His Kingdom!

The last prophet was John the apostle!  The “end of the age” didn’t happen before Jesus’ Parousia!  Our Lord’s Churches in the nations received the last prophetic Word from God just before the full and final wrath of God upon the land.  And they received it directly from the hand of the apostle John, for he had been there and seen it all and heard it all; he was in the tabernacle of God where Moses and the prophets before him had been.

When John was shown these things, the entire population of the glory cloud/tabernacle of God erupted in joyous praise; for the time was near!  And the Churches, upon hearing and reading all that John wrote, would have reacted similarly – being in great wonder and anticipation!  Nobody knew when that day or hour would be (not even the creatures in the heaven – they saw it and heard it when John did!); and now the Churches would hear it from John who was there!  The time was near!

What the Churches heard, and what we’re about to explore in more detail, was the “grand deception”.

Heretofore we’ve heard (in former chapters) that John was shown the “casting down” of Satanos from the tabernacle in the heaven.  This creature was humiliated before its fellow creatures; and its sole purpose thereafter was vengeance.  In all its evil and rebellion, it was consumed with envy and vengeance! It knew that God’s purpose was to bring forth a King Who would save the creation; and that this Anointed One would arise through the seed of the woman.

So its vengeful purpose was to cut off the “seed”.  Some time ago we reviewed God’s history of many events in which there was a coordinated and vicious attack upon the seed – the seed from which would come the King and Savior of the world.  And not only was each attack thwarted by God, but each one was “used” by God to bring Himself glory in the preservation of the seed!

We’ve spent considerable time on God’s “perception” of these things; and we have to remember that not only did God recognize these attacks on His purpose for His creation, and thwarting them; but He actually deceived this creature, using the dragon’s own evil vengeance to plan and execute the attacks!  And in each and every one of them, the preservation of the seed (and therefore the salvation of His creation) brought Him glory!  And all of these are the “mighty acts of YAHVEH” recorded in Scripture.

Among the many attempts through history to cut off the seed, four are of considerable complexity, for they are world-wide in scope.  Four great dominions, revealed to Daniel as he labored in the Babylonian captivity – four great peoples raised up to rule the world and cut off the seed; the revelation of the fourth one containing the “mystery” concealed in the scroll with the seven seals.

But… it is revealed in John’s Revelation that it was the cherubim, at the command of YAHVEH, that called up the four beasts of history – again confirming that the dragon was deceived into even the most complex of attempts to cut off the seed! 

The dragon’s purpose included the elimination of the temple and the city and the nation and the entirety of the twelve tribes of Jacob in order to ensure that the One to come would not be born!

THEN… once the birth of the Anointed One did take place, the dragon sought to kill Him; and when Jesus arose out of death, Satan then conspired to cut off His Kingdom!  You see, this creature thought the same thing that the judaists thought – that the kingdom of God’s Anointed one would be from this creation, from the earth, from Jerusalem, on the dome of the rock – Mount Zion; and that God’s King would rule the world from there!  And the great city, in God’s paradise land, would once again be the center of the cosmos as it had been under the authority of David and his son Solomon.  (As we all know, that delusion still exists among the vast majority of Jews, as it does in many of today’s Churches.  It’s called “zionism”; and it is among the primary reasons that islam hates Jews and Christians!

Judaism still awaits its king who they say is to reign over the world from Jerusalem!  Many in the Christian Church still await their king who is to reign over the world from Jerusalem!  Even some mormons – like Glenn Beck – still await the king who is to rule the world from Jerusalem!  This very delusion is why islam wants all of Israel!)

But Jesus had revealed to His apostles, in no uncertain terms, that His Kingdom would not be from this world; it would not be from the temple on the dome of the rock in Jerusalem!  It would be from the heaven… above the firmament over His tabernacle (as seen by the prophets and by the apostle John)!

So the dragon, and the beast, and the land beast (the pseudoprophets of Israel) and the nations and the judaists were all deceived by YAHVEH at the end of the age.

And the “mystery” associated with the fourth beast of God’s history was revealed in the complete destruction of the temple, the city of Jerusalem and all the rest of Israel; and all remaining in the land suffered the full and final wrath of YAHVEH Lord of Hosts.

So this great world-wide, history-long deception of the dragon and the beasts and the nations and the judaists of Israel had to do with the temple on the temple-mount, and the city of Jerusalem, and the paradise land of Israel.  And the entire time, God’s purpose included the very same thing – the destruction of it all!

The Anointed King (Whose Kingdom would be forever and ever) would reign over all from above His tabernacle in the heaven, NOT from the temple mount, in Jerusalem, in the paradise land of Israel!

The entire time, Satan and the beasts and the nations were deceived into cutting off the seed, then killing the King, and then destroying the kingdom – all of which were purposed by God from the beginning!

This is the great “mystery” revealed to Daniel, which was to be sealed in the scroll (you remember); and it was this mystery that was so troubling to him.

All of this – the grand deception – is now being shown to John as he’s “isolated” from the tabernacle and all its creatures and caused to see the very mind and purpose of YAHVEH Lord of heaven and earth.

While we’re here let’s just look at the word “isolation” for a few minutes (verse three).  It’s a marvelous word!

It’s from the Greek word: eremos; and it translates a Hebrew word which, most of the time, is translated “wilderness” in English… a dry land; desert; a place that’s uninhabited.  Its original Greek meaning was “abandonment”… in other words: “nobody’s there”.

When the twelve tribes of Jacob were set free by YAHVEH from Egyptian enslavement, they crossed the dried up Red Sea and entered a dry land… a desert, a wasteland, an uninhabitable place.  YAHVEH “isolated” them from their former captors.  And while they were there in isolation, He instructed them; He gave them clarity as to His Law-word and His purpose for them.  He prepared them for their occupation of the promised land and the kingdom of Israel.

When John the baptizer appeared in Israel, he came in from the “wilderness”.  That’s the word here in verse three of our text.  He had lived in a wasteland – an uninhabited place.  He was “isolated” by YAHVEH while he was being instructed and prepared and given clarity of God’s purpose before making his entrance into Israel as the forerunner of the Christ - to preach the Kingdom!

Our Lord Himself withdrew into the “wilderness” (that, too, is our word here in verse three).  He went into an uninhabited place – a place of isolation – where, tested by thirst and starvation and by the dragon itself concerning the Kingdom – He received clarity of purpose: His Father’s purpose.  He was to be “abandoned” and become sin; and He was to receive the stroke of The Father for the sin of His people.  The baptism with which He was to be baptized (as he said to John the baptizer) was to be a “flood” of judgment from His Father – by which His people would be “saved”; and all the rest would be inundated.  The Kingdom was “at hand”.

In our text John is now “isolated” from the tabernacle and all of its creatures; and he is shown some “wondrous” things.  He “wonders” at it all. And by them, and by the messenger of YAHVEH, he is instructed and given clarity as to the “mystery” and to the coming Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ which things, in his “abandonment” on the island of Patmos, he is to write to all the Churches.  And by way of his letter to them, they too will be instructed regarding the Kingdom; for they as well have been isolated from Israel in the wilderness nations of the earth… safe in the body of Christ.

This is just one of the many things that are wondrous to us in this chapter and beyond, as the great and awesome sign (begun at chapter fifteen) continues.

Now.  The last thing that I want to deal with this morning has to do with the “images” of our Triune God that He, Himself, has revealed.  This is important to our text here in chapter seventeen; and it will become even more important as we proceed into the following chapters.

As has been said here before, everything that God has made, although marred by sin and cursed, is to reflect His glory.  Human-kind is the image of God – brought to be in order to reflect His glory.  Jesus Christ is the express image of God; for, from Him, the “light” shines!

As we read through the Scriptures, God has revealed many other images of Him and His tabernacle in the heaven… one of which (as we’ve spoken of many times) was the nation of Israel gathered around the man-made tabernacle – all of which was the reflection of the glory cloud/tabernacle with all its creatures, over which reigns YAHVEH Lord of Hosts.

Another of the images which God revealed is the one of “sonship”.  Sonship reflects a relationship of faithfulness.  And it is NOT a metaphor; it is the revelation of faithfulness… a faithfulness which reflects the glory of the Father and of the Son and of the Spirit.  Israel was “birthed” out of Egypt and called YAHVEH’s “son”.  And the son was to be faithful to its Father by reflecting its Father’s glory.  Israel proved to be an unfaithful son to its Father; but Jesus Christ was the Son Who reflected the glory of His Father by being absolutely faithful to Him – all the way to complete abandonment on the cross.

However, the image which is now the most prevalent in the text of the Revelation here at the “end of the age” is no longer “father-and-son”, but that of husband and wife.

Please note that not only was there not the birth of a baby boy when Israel was freed from captivity; but neither was there a marriage ceremony with Israel as YAHVEH’s bride.  There is certainly much to learn about the relationship between children and parents; and much to learn about marriage.  But, you see, these are not images of man-kind; they are images of the glory of God and His faithfulness and His justice and His goodness!  There was a “covenant” made, you see.  YAHVEH covenanted with Israel; and Israel was to be faithful to Him.

And there were “signs” and “seals” of that faithfulness provided; the “son” was circumcised; and the faithful wife was to celebrate her anniversary every year at Passover.  These are images of faithfulness.

And the images that God reveals of the faithful son and the faithful wife are just that… they’re images; images by which God reveals faithfulness and unfaithfulness; and by which He requires faithfulness to His covenant.

As the Son of God was faithful to His Father and thereby reflected the Father’s glory, so His people are to reflect His glory by being faithful.

Here in chapter seventeen, Israel’s unfaithfulness is seen by John through the image of an unfaithful wife – a harlot that has fornicated with all the nations and peoples of the earth.  The image shown to John is one in which the harlot has great power and influence over the nations because of her beauty and her lewdness.

She is seen as a willing participant – scintillating to all due to her lascivious nature.  But, you remember from chapter sixteen, YAHVEH sent lying spirits to all her “lovers” – the nations with whom she fornicated.  And they all turn on her in great fury.

The dragon is deceived; the beast is deceived; the pseudoprophets are deceived; and now the nations are deceived.  And all that will be left of the harlot will be carrion for the jackals and birds of prey.

But the image of the faithful husband and the faithful wife will continue – as the coming chapters will show, and as was prophesied through the Scripture; for there is the image of a faithful, virgin bride promised from the beginning.  It is the people of the promise – the promise to Abraham for a “seed”.  And that Seed is Christ and those IN HIM.

I want you to hear the apostle Paul as he tells the Churches in the city of Rome about that.  And, after that, hear what he says about all those remaining in the land.

Here is Paul from Romans chapter four:


7)    "Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered;

8)    blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin."

9)    Is this blessing then only for the circumcised (Jews), or also for the uncircumcised (Gentiles)? We say that faith was counted to Abraham as righteousness.

10) How then was it counted to him? Was it before or after he had been circumcised? It was not after, but before he was circumcised.

11) He then received the sign of circumcision as a seal of the righteousness that he had through faith while he was still uncircumcised! The purpose was to make him the father of all who believe having not been circumcised, so that righteousness would be counted to them as well,

12) and to make him the father of the circumcised (the ones) who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

13) For the promise to Abraham and his seed (that HE would be heir of the world) did not come through the law but through the righteousness of faith.

14) For if it is the recipients of the law (Jews) who are to be the heirs, faith is null and the promise is void.

15) For the law brings wrath, but where there is no law there is no transgression.

16) That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his seed - not only to the recipient of the law (Jews), but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all

17) as it is written: "I have made you the father of many nations" – (he was) in the presence of the God in whom he believed, who gives life to the dead and calls into being the things that are not.

18) In hope against hope he faithed, that he should become the father of many nations; as he had been told: "So shall your seed be."….

21) (he was) fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.

22) That is why his faith was "counted to him as righteousness."

23) But the words "it was counted to him" were not written for his sake alone,

24) but for ours also. It will be counted to us who faith in him who raised Jesus our Lord out of death,

25) who was delivered up for our trespasses and raised for our justification.


You see, Paul says that the seed of Abraham is Christ Jesus (HE Who is the “Heir of the world”) and all of those In Him through the gift of Faith – these are the ones of the promise… not only for the remnant of the tribes of Jacob; but for those of the promise of the Gentiles as well!

And then hear what he says about all the rest of those remaining in the land at the end of the age.  In Romans nine the apostle begins this quote from the very prophet through whom God imaged the unfaithful wife.  Listen to it:


25) As indeed he says in Hosea, "Those who were not my people I will call 'my people,' and her who was not beloved I will call 'beloved.'"

26) "And in the very place where it was said to them, 'You are not my people,' there they will be called 'sons of the living God.'"

27) And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: "Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,

28) for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the land fully and without delay."

29) And as Isaiah prophesied:  "If the Lord of hosts should not leave us seed, we should be like Sodom and become like Gomorrah."


The apostle Paul’s quote here from Hosea is especially relevant to our text here in chapter seventeen of The Revelation; for here at the end of the age, that remnant having been removed from the land, the very one that YAHVEH had called His “beloved” is now shown to John sitting on the beast with the seven heads and the ten horns.