Revelation 17-1-18 Part 2

REVELATION 17:1-18 Part 2


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.


Truly a “grand deception”!  God’s deception of the serpent – Satan; His deception of the beast; His deception of the false prophets of Israel; His deception of the nations… it’s all truly breathtaking and “awesome” (as John exclaimed at the beginning of chapter fifteen); and the sign that he is shown in the heaven continues into our present chapter.  We turn our attention now to the harlot and the name on her forehead.

The serpent of old has been given immense capabilities for deception, guile and misdirection.  Notice that I said “has been given”.  It is a “creature”; and (the same with all creatures) it belongs to YAHVEH.  The Lord of Hosts restrains it when it meets His purpose; and He binds it when that meets His purpose; and He looses it when that meets His purpose.  And its capabilities have all been given it!

The scope and complexity of the deceptions and manipulations of Satanos only serve to manifest the authority and power and glory of Almighty God: Father, Son and Spirit; for, whenever the “enmity” of this creature gathers the nations against the promised seed, YAHVEH just laughs.  For how is it that “creatures” can even assume that they can cut the cords by which they are attached to their Creator!!

The devious manipulation of fallen and cursed mankind by this serpent-creature throughout history, and YAHVEH’s purpose for His promised and chosen Seed, is what is written in holy Scripture.  God uses the wickedness of Satan and cursed mankind against them in order that His purpose might be fulfilled - for His Own glory.

That’s what John wrote here in verse seventeen of our text:  “He did put in their hearts to do His purpose….”

And so we continue to see the purpose of God as He views it here at the end of the age.  And what He shows the apostle John inspires him to great “wonder” and awe.  He’s removed from the tabernacle and isolated from all the creatures in the heaven; and he is shown a “woman”.

John would have been aware that this is the woman who has brought forth the “Daughter of Zion”… the promised Seed – all of whom have now been isolated from her into the nations; and all of whom John has already seen standing with the Lamb on the new Mount Zion.

The woman is beautiful, and gloriously attired; and she is prominently positioned – seated upon the fourth beast of world history.  As John wrote, the beast is “baring” her.  She is being “borne” atop the beast.  John was startled and amazed at what he saw.  He did “wonder”.

From the messenger that was sent to him, he would receive an explanation which would remind him of the former prophetic Word; but he was “awestruck” by the view before him.  It was God’s perception of His Own history; it was a view of God’s purpose… … how He had brought it all to be for His glory and for the beloved promised Seed… the Seed promised at the beginning in Genesis, the Seed promised to Abraham and to Isaac and to Jacob, the Seed preserved throughout the text of Scripture; and the Seed the apostle Paul said was Jesus Christ and His elect people IN HIM.

All those remaining in the land had the mark of the beast on their foreheads; and John reads what is on the forehead of the woman that he is now shown.  And it reads: Babylon the Great.  And John was aware that what he was seeing was the mother of all harlots.  He didn’t even need an explanation of that!  He knew the prophetic Word, and he knew what he had been taught by Jesus.  He made the connections that were already there since Moses and the prophets.

However, we do need to see them and hear them.  That’s our purpose this morning; for the city of Jerusalem, the very center of God’s creation over His paradise land, is considered by YAHVEH as worse than even the first great beast of world history.  And it’s interesting that the predominance of the prophetic Word has to do with Israel’s idolatry leading to, and inclusive of, the captivity in Babylon.

In fact, with a more intense reading of the prophets (especially in the four major prophets), what is discerned there, in the mind of God, is a parallel – an equivalence (if you will) – between Babylon and Israel… between Babylon and Jerusalem.

Not only are there historical equivalencies evident in God’s prophetic Word; but the language (the language that YAHVEH gave to the prophets to speak regarding Babylon) is the language that the apostle John heard and wrote to the Churches here.

So we’re going to hear some passages from the prophets now (some of which we’ve read before); and then hear what John has written to the Churches in order to understand how God views these things… how He has “purposed” for them to be understood.

The first one is from Ezekiel chapter five.  You’ll remember it; the prophecy has to do with Jerusalem (that’s clearly stated).  Then we’ll go to John’s words in the Revelation with regard to the city.

Here are the Words of YAHVEH through the prophet Ezekiel:


1)    "And you, O son of man, take a sharp sword. Use it as a barber’s razor and pass it over your head and your beard. Then take balances for weighing and divide the hair.

2)    A third part you shall burn in the fire in the midst of the city, as in the days of the fullness of the siege. And a third part you shall take and strike with the sword all around the city.  And a third part you shall scatter to the wind, and I will unsheathe the sword after them.

3)    And you shall take a small number from these, and bind them in the skirts of your robe.

4)    And of these you shall also take some and cast them into the midst of the fire and burn them in the fire.  From there a fire will come out into all the house of Israel.

5)    "Thus says YAHVEH: This is Jerusalem. I have set her in the center of the nations, with countries all around her.

6)    And she has rebelled against my laws by doing more wickedness than the nations, and against my statutes more than the countries all around her; for they have rejected my laws and have not walked in my statutes.

7)    therefore thus says YAHVEH: Because you have surpassed the turmoil of the nations that are all around you, and have not walked in my statutes or obeyed my laws, and have not even acted according to the judgment of the nations that are all around you,

8)    therefore thus says YAHVEH: Behold, I, even I, am against you. And I will execute judgments in your midst in the sight of the nations.

9)    And because of all your abominations I will do with you what I have never yet done, and the like of which I will never do again.

10) Therefore fathers shall eat their sons in your midst, and sons shall eat their fathers. And I will execute judgments on you, and any of you who survive I will scatter to all the winds.

11) Therefore, as I live, declares YAHVEH, surely, because you have defiled my tabernacle with all your detestable things and with all your abominations, I too, will withdraw.  My eye will not spare, and I will have no pity.

12) A third part of you shall die of pestilence and be consumed with famine in your midst; a third part shall fall by the sword all around you; and a third part I will scatter to all the winds and I will unsheathe the sword after them.


Jerusalem….  Not only do we read that a small portion of the prophet’s hair is to be sequestered in the hem of the prophet’s robe (indicating the preservation of the promised Seed); but all remaining in the great city are to be divided into thirds – each third to be dealt with in the wrath of YAHVEH.

Now, having heard that, listen to what John said in chapter sixteen of The Revelation.  And remember that that chapter was the full and final wrath of God to be poured out upon the great city of Jerusalem and all of Israel:


17) And the seventh (messenger) poured out its bowl upon the air.  And there was a great sound from the Holy Place of the throne saying ‘IT IS COME’.

18) And lightnings and sounds and thunders came, and there was great shaking such as there never was since men came to be on the land,

19) and the great city was made into three parts, and the cities of the people fell.  And ‘Babylon the Great’ was recalled before God, to give it the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath.


As YAHVEH had said in the Ezekiel passage, this is Jerusalem!  It is the great city in the center of all of God’s creation.  It will be divided into three parts (as prophesied); and God recalled “Babylon the Great” – to give it the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath!  The connection that God makes there is unmistakable.

Then reading from chapter fourteen of the Revelation, verses six through eight… this is the passage in which John is shown the hundred and forty-four thousands of the elect from the twelve tribes of Jacob (the promised Seed) standing with the Lamb on the new Mount Zion.  And then John sees three messengers proclaiming Yahveh’s judgment upon all those remaining on the land.

This is the first and second of the three messengers:


6)    Then I saw a messenger flying in mid-heaven having age-enduring proclamation to proclaim against those dwelling on the land, and upon the nations and tribes and tongues and people

7)    declaring in a great sound ‘fear ye The God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has come; and do homage to The One having made the heaven and earth and sea and springs of waters’.

8)    Then another, a second, followed saying ‘fallen!  Babylon the great, from whom the wine of the passion of her fornication all the nations have drunk, is fallen!’


Jerusalem and all those remaining on the land are the subjects of the “hour of His judgment”.  And they are called “Babylon the Great”; for “she” – the harlot – has made all the nations drink from the wine of her fornications – just as did Babylon of old; but worse.

Now, in Jeremiah chapter twenty-five, listen to the very words that John writes in the Revelation having to do with the wine of the fury of the wrath of YAHVEH against this nation that has caused all the surrounding nations to drink of its fornications.  Here’s Jeremiah:


3)    …I have spoken persistently to you (YAHVEH says), but you have not listened.

4)    You have neither listened nor inclined your ears to hear, although YAHVEH persistently sent to you all his servants the prophets,

5)    saying, 'Turn now, every one of you from his evil way and evil deeds, and dwell upon the land that YAHVEH has given to you and your fathers from of old and forever.

6)    Do not go after other gods to serve and worship them, or provoke me to anger with the work of your hands. Then I will do you no harm.'

7)    Yet you have not listened to me, declares YAHVEH, that you might provoke me to anger with the work of your hands to your own harm.

8)    "Therefore thus says YAHVEH of Hosts: Because you have not obeyed my words,

9)    behold, I will send for all the tribes of the north, declares YAHVEH, and for Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and I will bring them against this land and its inhabitants, and against all these surrounding nations. I will devote them to destruction and make them a horror, a hissing, and an everlasting desolation.

10) Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp.

11) This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

12) Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, declares YAHVEH, making the land an everlasting waste.

13) I will bring upon that land all the words that I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations.

14) For many nations and great kins shall make slaves even of them, and I will recompense them according to their deeds and the work of their hands."

15) Thus YAHVEH God of Israel said to me: "Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it.”


Now, this is not complicated!  Most of the difficulty that arises, keeping us from seeing from God’s perspective, comes from the volume of material (and, of course, the absence of reading time)!  But I’ve narrowed it down for you to the point at which we have the very words of the prophets repeated, almost word for word, phrase by phrase, in this great and awesome sign shown to John!  And when you read that John hears and sees and writes what has been heard and seen and written before, you would think that the connections would be made!

BUT… NO!  The connections are NOT made; and it is insisted that the text here in Revelation seventeen has to do with something else… something that’s completely detached from the text!

The last prophet, the apostle John, is shown exactly what is prophesied by the prophets who came before him!  As the text says, God recalls what He said through the prophets regarding Babylon; and Babylon now becomes a prophecy, in and of itself, of Jerusalem – the “great city” that God had chosen to be the center of His creation - the Light of His glory to the world!  John is now shown that Jerusalem has become, in God’s perception: “Babylon the Great”, or “Babylon the Greater”!

Let’s spend a few minutes looking at how YAHVEH Lord of Hosts perceives the connections between the two… the correspondences… the parallels.  And remember that the cohesion that exists between the prophets of old and the last prophet – John – is that all of the words come from the mouth of God; the prophets wrote only what they saw and heard……just like John did!

But consider first what we heard last Lord’s Day… that the dragon of old – Satanos – had devised a very complex scheme; it’s agenda being the cutting off of  the seed of the woman.  And it has raised up from the sea of humanity a king and a great people to take dominion of all the world and to destroy the paradise of God and the city of God and the temple of God.

And yet the dragon is deceived - used; for YAHVEH says, as recorded in the text of Scripture that we just read, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, was “my servant” (quote-unquote).  His king – YAHVEH’s king - ruled the world from the glorious city of Babylon… the “gate of God”.

Its autonomous and ungodly dominion was used by YAHVEH to destroy Solomon’s temple and the city of Jerusalem in 586BC and take all the gold and the wealth of the temple and the city and all the tribes of Jacob into captivity for seventy years.  All of Babylon’s perversions and idolatries and its ungodly use of its great wealth and beauty and power are legion (as recorded in the prophets).  And for its great hubris, and for its sin against Israel, YAHVEH said (as we read from the prophets) that He would devote Babylon to destruction and make it “drink from the cup of the wine of the fury of His wrath”.  Those are the very words used here in John’s Revelation with regard to Jerusalem.

From the time YAHVEH raised up king Nebuchadnezzar against the apostate nation of Israel until the time of their release from captivity was seventy years.  And Babylon was made to suffer the cup of the wine of God’s wrath.

From the time of the birth of God’s Anointed King in Israel to the time of the full and final cup of the wine of God’s wrath poured out on Israel was seventy years.  And Jerusalem and all Israel suffered a greater measure of the wrath of God than even Babylon had suffered.

Through the seventy years of Israel’s captivity in Babylon, the “seed” promised to Abraham was preserved by God.  The book of Esther is in the Bible because of that very issue.  And during the seventy years between the birth of God’s Anointed King and His Parousia, all of the elect remnant of Jacob (the promised Seed) were preserved by Jesus and His apostles.  And none of them suffered the full and final wrath of YAHVEH at the end of the age.  It was the preservation of the Seed – as in Babylon of old.

As YAHVEH had said through the prophet Jeremiah, king Nebuchadnezzar and the armies of Babylon would banish the sounds of joy and gladness in Israel; and it would banish the voices of the bridegrooms and their virgin brides.

But at the Parousia of God’s Anointed King, there would once again be heard the sounds of celebration and feasting and the joy and gladness and anticipation of the bridegroom and His bride (which we’ll soon see in the text of The Revelation of Jesus Christ).  This view of the Christ and His people, you see, is the filling up of the prophetic Word of God through Jeremiah!

Babylon of old, the glorious gate of God (which once tried to build a tower into the heaven) suffered ruin and destruction.  In all of its great wealth and beauty, it was an autonomous and idolatrous dominion; and the cup of the wine of the wrath of YAHVEH was poured out to its desolation.

Jerusalem was the city of God, beautiful in all its wealth and glory; and it was the very center of God’s creation – made to be the light of the glory of God to all the earth.  But its harlotry with all the nations surpassed even Babylon.  And God recalls all that He said through the prophets regarding Babylon.  As Israel has made all the nations drink from the cup of the wine of its fornications; now it is time for the cup of the wine of the fury of YAHVEH’s wrath to be poured out upon Babylon the Great.

He, YAHVEH, has made the connection, you see.  In His perception there is the absolute correspondence between the two cities – the two nations… an equivalency.

The first beast of world history – Babylon – held Israel in captivity.  However John is shown the “Greater Babylon” sitting atop the fourth beast of world history!  She even has the first beast’s name written on her forehead!

Regardless of what Augustine of Hippo wrote, this is the apparent “Tale of Two Cities”.

For twenty centuries now, there has been a consistent effort to put the Revelation of the harlot into a context that’s totally different from God’s context!

From the fourth century when some equated the harlot with the Church in Rome, to later on when the papacy was implicated, to a then more contemporary application – the world council of churches!

And, now, the applications have splintered into a thousand other possibilities… all ignoring what God said in the text of the prophets!

John isn’t being shown a future apostasy of the Church!  What he’s being shown by YAHVEH in His holy tabernacle is the second Babylon that’s a greater harlot than even the first one!  A city and nation that was given greater light, greater gifts, greater glory, greater wealth than even the first one; and yet had the audacity to disdain the gifts of God and fornicate with all surrounding nations!

Don’t forget (as we’ve shown so many times) that all through the Scriptures of the older testament, harlotry and idolatry with the gods of the surrounding nations is equated in the mind of YAHVEH.  Physical fornication isn’t “jettisoned” from the concept though; not at all.  But harlotry, in most every case, is clearly subsumed under the concept of receiving and accepting the idols of pagans in a contemptuous scorn of God’s holy Law-word!

Then, as the apostle Paul explains in his letter to the Churches in Rome, sexual promiscuity of every kind flows downward directly from the harlotry of idolatry.

But the nation that was birthed of God from captivity and given His very words and provided with an earthly copy of His heavenly tabernacle and planted in a second “paradise” and its city made the centerpiece of all the nations and cities of the earth and the light of the world and given wealth beyond imagination was, in the mind of Almighty God, identified with the original Babylon.

Its abominable contempt of all that YAHVEH had done paralleled and surpassed that of the first Babylon.  It became a “greater” Babylon.  And I remind you of Paul’s quote from the prophecy of Isaiah, that if God hadn’t kept a remnant for Himself (the promised Seed), then all Israel would become as Sodom and Gomorrah.

God did, indeed, keep a remnant for Himself.  The seed of Abraham – Jesus the Christ of God and all who belonged to Him.  The hundred and forty-four thousands of the tribes of Jacob have already been shown to John (as we saw in a previous chapter).  They are seen standing with the Lamb on the “new” Mount Zion – the great mountain of the King.  His Kingdom.  He rules over all the other mountains (kingdoms) of the earth.  And it is forever and ever.  It will never be destroyed (as were the former four great dominions).


Now, before we stop for this morning, let’s just mention once again that this is God’s creation; and we are His creatures.  We are not members of an animal specie brought about through some cosmic uterine lottery.  We are humans; we are the image of God.  And it is His purpose for His image to reflect His glory.

But since we’re all conceived in sin (that means that both of our parents were sinners – all the way back to our original parents), and since we’re all born in corruption, and since the earth itself is cursed of God, God does not perceive a reflection of His glory.  In fact, what He sees is pretty ugly – except for that which has been “rebirthed” into His express image, Jesus the Christ, Who has been crowned King of Kings and Lord of Lords and Savior of the world.  In Him we reflect the glory of Almighty God – Lord of Hosts.  He is the “express” image; and IN HIM is the only way we can reflect the glory.

And by Him – the Strong Right Arm of YAHVEH – even the creation itself will be cleansed to reflect God’s glory; all that remains corrupt will burn eternally in the lake of fire beneath the mercy seat in God’s tabernacle.  Jesus Christ inherited the entire cosmos when He assumed the Kingdom at His Parousia at the end of the age.  And as is promised in Scripture, His Kingdom is forever.  He will glorify the Father!  All that He created will reflect the glory of God!

We are not futurists here with regard to the Scripture; the Kingdom of our Lord was inaugurated at His ascension; and it was fully implemented at His Parousia.  If what we’re hearing in John’s Revelation of Jesus Christ was predictive of events yet to come in the future, then we are not living under the Kingship of Jesus Christ.

You see, then, how important it is to submit to the Biblical hermeneutic – God’s hermeneutic – of covenantal continuity.  The Scripture itself says that the Revelation of Jesus Christ, as shown to the apostle John, is the filling up of the Word of God.

As John wrote, the end of the age was “near”.  The mystery of God was fully revealed in the Revelation of Jesus Christ.  The grand deception of the dragon and the beast and the nations would soon bring forth the mighty dominion of Christ the King over all the Gentile nations of the earth!

And we don’t – we can’t – make application of these things for us today!  The Scripture IS the application of God’s purpose.  For us to make application of the Revelation to nations and practices and events of today would be a flagrant and obscene denial of the clearly stated purpose of Almighty God, Lord of Hosts.

Implications?  Of course.  And we’ll deal with those as we go – especially from the latter chapters of the text.

But Jesus presented His disciples with seven Kingdom parables; and He said plainly that His Kingdom was “near” – and “at hand”.  And He said that His Kingdom was not “from” this world; rather, it was “from the heaven”.  And the Scripture plainly states that He ascended into the glory cloud tabernacle of God where He inherited all things in the heavens and on the earth and was crowned King of Kings.

So, ever since, for the last two thousand years, every scenario that has placed the events of the Revelation and the coming of Christ’s Kingdom in the future is just bizarre and deviant!  And the purveyors of those perversions of God’s Word can only be identified with the pseudoprophets of Israel and their current adherents.

But we’ll stop for now.  Next Lord’s Day we continue with the “grand deception”, and the “many waters” of verse one, and the further identification of the “beast” with its seven heads and ten horns.