Revelation 17-1-18 Part 4

REVELATION 17:1-18 Part 4


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 apostle John was told that “once again… you must prophesy”!  Here at the end of the age there was to be one last prophetic Word written.  Here at the end of the age one more man was to stand in the very presence of Almighty God (as did all of the former prophets) and hear His Word with regard to Israel.

For sixteen hundred years the prophets who received the Word directly from YAHVEH Lord of Hosts spoke His Word and wrote His Word; and they were all persecuted for doing so.  But here at the end of the age there was no more call for Israel’s repentance.  The Word of God through the apostle John – prophet John – was sent to the Churches instead.  It was for their understanding and comfort and assurance in midst of all that was happening and about to happen shortly.  And it was all “chilling” and “awe-inspiring” at the same time; for the great “mystery” of God was made clear to all – in the mighty Right Arm of YAHVEH – the Son of God/Son of Man.

The “grand deception” is once again apparent here in our text; for YAHVEH had raised up His servant – Babylon – the one He described as sitting beside many waters.  Babylon of old was a golden cup in YAHVEH’s hand – a cup with which Babylon made the nations drunk with the wine of its fornication.

And here in the Revelation John hears all of these same words with reference to the harlot that made the kings of the earth drunk with the cup of the wine of her fornications; that made all those dwelling in the land drunk with the cup of the wine of her fornications; and was, herself, drunkened with the blood of the righteous from Abel to Zechariah; and drunkened with the blood of those who Jesus came to seek and to save (verse six)!

The messenger of YAHVEH says to John that the harlot sits by many waters (as did Babylon of old – same words); and the waters are the nations all around her… the implications being (as the prophets of old said) that they are in raging turmoil.  But Israel has surpassed even the turmoil of the surrounding nations – the nations in the midst of which she sits.  And she had made them all drink of the cup of the wine of her fornications (again – same words).

In God’s perception, the correspondence between Babylon of old and Jerusalem here in John’s text is unquestionable; and our perception of it must be the same as His.  And just as YAHVEH prophesied the demise of Babylon of old, so would be the ultimate demise of the harlot – but worse.

So, you see, as we come to chapter seventeen, John has already seen the fourth beast arise from the sea of raging humanity here at the end of the age.  It has been identified with the exact words of the prophets (back in chapter thirteen).

And the beast atop which the harlot sits has the seven heads and the ten horns!  And it is the same one spoken to Hosea seven hundred and twenty five years BC; it is the same one spoken to Isaiah seven hundred years BC; it is the same one spoken to Jeremiah six hundred years BC; and it is the same one spoken by YAHVEH to Daniel five hundred and fifty years BC.

This fourth beast has all of the attributes and endowments of the first three beasts; yet it is diverse.  The first beast ruled the known world by Chaldeans; the second beast ruled the world by Medes and Persians; the third beast ruled the world by Greeks!  But this fourth beast, in all its diversity (and having all of the attributes of the first three) is exceedingly strong and dreadful, having dominion over all the earth by conscripting the rulers of ten different peoples – all paying homage to the emperor-god of Rome!

In addition to having the seven heads (which is the total of the four beasts from Daniel chapter seven), the fourth beast will be diverse in this way.  It will have ten horns.  The horns are the rulers of multiple peoples with which the beast will “mingle” for its purposes.

This fourth beast/kingdom was specifically prophesied in Daniel chapter two, which I’m going to read for you, for this is exactly what John is shown here in chapter seventeen; and it is what God’s messenger explains to him (beginning at verse nine of our text).

In Daniel chapter two, king Nebuchadnezzar has had (what he called) a “dream”.  In actuality it was a vision sent to him by messenger from YAHVEH!

But the vision so troubled the king that he called for all of the sorcerers and seers and magicians of Babylon; and he told them that unless they could tell him what his dream meant, they would all die!  And so they couldn’t just “make up” something in order to stay alive, the king put a “safeguard” in place… they first had to tell him what he dreamed!  Then they could tell him what it meant!

Of course they couldn’t do that.  Enter Daniel!  Daniel had been visited by the messenger of YAHVEH; and he was told the vision and its meaning.  That’s what we’re about to read here in chapter two as Daniel is brought before king Nebuchadnezzar. 

There will be much here for you to remember; but be especially attentive to the fourth kingdom… .and then the description of the fifth one!


26) The king answered and said to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “are you able to make known unto me the dream which I have seen, and the meaning thereof?”

27) Daniel answered before the king, and said, “the secret (mystery) which the king has demanded can neither wise men, enchanters, magicians, nor soothsayers, show unto the king;

28) but there is a God in heaven that reveals secrets (mysteries), and he has shown to king Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days.  Your dream, the visions in your head upon your bed, are these:

29) as for you, O king, the thoughts came into your mind upon your bed concerning what shall come to pass hereafter; and He Who reveals mysteries has made known to you what shall come to pass.

30) But as for me, this mystery is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any other living person, but to the intent that the meaning may be made known to the king, that you may know the thoughts of your heart.

31) You, O king, looked and, lo, a great image.  This image, which was mighty, and whose brightness was excellent, stood before you; and the aspect thereof was terrible.

32) As for this image, its head was of fine gold, its breast and its arms of silver, its belly and its thighs of brass,

33) its legs of iron, its feet part of iron and part of clay.

34) You watched until a stone was cut out without hands, which smote the image upon its feet that were of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.

35) Then was the iron and the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken in pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshing-floors; and the wind carried them away, so that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth.

36) This is the dream; and we will tell the meaning thereof before the king.

37) You, O king, are king of kings, unto whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, and the strength, and the glory;

38) and wheresoever the children of men dwell, the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens has he given into your hand, and has made you to rule over them all: you are the head of gold.

39) Then after you shall arise another kingdom inferior to you; and then another - a third kingdom of brass, which shall bear rule over all the earth.

40) And then – the fourth kingdom shall be strong as iron, forasmuch as iron breaks in pieces and subdues all things; and as iron that crushes all these, shall it crush and scatter.

41) And whereas you saw the feet and toes, part of potters' clay, and part of iron, it shall be a diverse kingdom; but there shall be in it of the strength of the iron, forasmuch as you saw the iron mixed with miry clay.

42) And as the toes of the feet were part of iron, and part of clay, so the kingdom shall be partly strong (powerful), and partly diverse.

43) And whereas you saw the iron intermingled with miry clay, they shall mingle themselves with the offspring of men; but they shall not cleave one to another, even as iron doth not mingle with clay.

44) And in the days of those kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed, nor shall the sovereignty thereof be left to another people; but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever.

45) Forasmuch as you saw that a stone was cut out of the mountain without hands, and that it brake in pieces the iron and the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold; the great God hath made known to the king what shall come to pass hereafter: and the dream is certain, and the interpretation thereof sure.


As a further identification of the “beast of Revelation”, once again the word of YAHVEH through the prophet is irrefutable.  The fourth beast of history arises “in the latter days”.  Its horrific strength is shown in the vision to Nebuchadnezzar as “iron”.

However this great, iron beast not only has feet of iron… but it has ten toes of iron and clay intermingled!  The beast is diverse, in that, although it is very powerful and dreadful, it has conscripted ten kingdoms – the sons of men.  They become “intermingled” with the beast, but they are not “of” the beast… they are ten kings that are raised up for a short period.  So the “beast-kingdom” of iron “gathers” ten kingdoms of men (which are the waters by which the harlot sits) to cut off the Kingdom of the Lamb of God, which is exactly what we see here in Revelation seventeen.  The “horns” of the beast are the ten kings from the waters of humanity, called up by the beast, and gathered by the beast, for a short period of time, in order to cut off the promised seed!

However, the stone was cut from the mountain without hands; and it grew to be a great mountain over all the mountains of the earth.  And it would “overcome” the beast and the kingdoms of men.  And it would scatter the fourth beast and the residue of the three previous ones as chaff in the wind.

And let me remind you that this is exactly what John the baptizer preached (Matthew chapter three) concerning the kingdom of the Son of God and Savior of the world.  He would cleanse His entire threshing floor and make it all as “chaff” scattered in the wind.

So once again the Word of God is perfect in all of its parts, for it is ONE.  It is all from one Mouth – of one God – deceiving the dragon and all the beasts of history; deceiving the kingdoms of men and all those remaining in the land.  The Lamb of God overcomes; He has been given all authority in the heaven and on the earth; and He overcomes!  He has not allowed another world dominion; and He will never allow another world dominion.  His Kingdom shall never be destroyed.

Nebuchadnezzar was shown that there would be four great kingdoms (in succession) – the fourth one being in the latter days – during which a fifth King would arise!  And note carefully that Daniel’s text says: “in the days of those kings”.  And “in the days of those kings” a fifth and eternal kingdom would arise and crush and scatter the fourth kingdom (as chaff in the wind) along with the residue of the first three kingdoms!  And thereafter it would never allow a competitor to His dominion!

And that fourth kingdom that the king saw would be the one with the seven heads and the ten horns… exactly what John sees here in “the latter days” at the end of the age!

And we have to go back to Daniel once again for a few minutes to the events following his explanation of the king’s vision.  It’s all important to the understanding of what John is shown here in chapter seventeen.

Following Daniel’s Revelation of YAHVEH’s vision to Nebuchadnezzar, the king was infuriated; for it was his kingdom; he was the one who built it; he had conquered the world; all the world belonged to him! 

He was the head of gold in his “dream”!  He was the first and foremost.  And it was his kingdom that should have dominion forever… NOT the fifth Kingdom!  You see, it is a SOVEREIGN Ruler over all of the affairs of creation that drives men mad and causes them to gnash with their teeth!  And it was this sovereign King that was being revealed to Nebuchadnezzar!

And the king, having heard the meaning of the vision, was crazed with envy and vengeance just like the serpent/dragon that was cast down from the heaven; and he ceased being a man (much like Satanos ceased being a messenger in God’s tabernacle and was made a serpent/dragon!)

Nebuchadnezzar was made a beast on all fours.  And the beast grew hair like eagle’s feathers all over its body; and its entire existence was that of a beast.  It was no longer a man.

And here’s what’s so important to our text as John is shown all of these things….  Having shown that king Nebuchadnezzar belonged to YAHVEH – that he was NOT sovereign; and that the king was HIS servant, YAHVEH made him a man again!  The text of Daniel says that He gave him once again the heart of a man (returning his “personhood”) and set him back up on two feet!

Now, the text of John’s Revelation says that YAHVEH “recalled” Babylon.  This fourth beast-dominion also belongs to YAHVEH (as did the first one); and it does what it has been called up from the sea of humanity to do!  It, too, rules the entire world at the decree of The Lord of Hosts and for His glory.  And Babylon is recalled by YAHVEH when one of the fourth beast’s seven heads “was, but isn’t” (verse eight).  At the astonishment of all remaining in the land, they “behold the beast that was and is not and though is”!

Just as king Nebuchadnezzar had his personhood taken away and was made a beast – and then, having received his manhood once again and set back up on two feet, so this fourth beast was dealt a death-blow and was resurrected by God for His purpose here at the end of the age!

And the astonishment of all those remaining in the land at having witnessed a pseudo-resurrection of the beast whose image they so adored motivated them to even greater adoration!  But they were all greatly deceived.

In the history books we are provided a series of events which almost perfectly matches what John hears here from God’s messenger concerning the latter days at the end of the age.  (And, once again, the history doesn’t “prove” the text of Scripture; the text of Scripture proves a right interpretation of history!)

During the last forty years of Israel’s existence, there arose seven emperors of the Roman empire.  And I remind you that the period between Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection until His Parousia was forty years.

The fifth of those emperors (the fifth “head” of the beast) was Nero (important to our text).  This self-proclaimed emperor-god of the empire ruled for thirteen years.  And during his reign over the known world, he became an increasingly crazed, paranoid, homosexual beast.

If the history is correct, Nero’s depravity and his extreme paranoia put him solidly in the realm of beastly insanity.  If it even entered his mind that someone might turn on him or disagree with him, he would have them killed.  The story goes that he even killed his own mother and his wife when he suspected that they had negative thoughts about the way he ruled his own dominion!

Under his rule the empire almost disintegrated because he was insane!  And should there be any questioning of his authority or his divinity, or any uprising among the peoples of the empire, his rage would become uncontrollable.

During his reign, Israel became chaotic under the curse of God during these latter days.  And the chaos in that country (which he considered to be against him personally) so enraged Nero that he ordered a world-wide persecution of all Jews and that new sect of “Chrestus” (the Roman word for Christ).  And before his suicide in 67AD, in a rampage of indignation he had ordered his commanders to completely destroy Israel.  How dare they foment turmoil in his divine empire!  He was emperor-god!

But, you see, there were two heads of this beast remaining.  It seemed as if the fourth great empire of world history – the beast of Revelation – was dead.  But to the great astonishment of those remaining in the land who worshipped the image of this beast, the empire was resurrected in the form of Titus and Vespasian (heads six and seven).

And regardless of the suicide of the crazed emperor-god of Rome, he had issued a divine order!  And an order from the divine emperor of Rome lived!  And Titus was determined to carry it out.  And along with the legions of Rome, he gathered the conscripted nations at the plain of Megiddo (having crossed a dried up Euphrates River), destroyed the cities and the land of Israel, and laid siege to the great city that God had made the center of all His creation.

Having broken through the walls, the swordsmen were on all the rooftops, climbing through all the window openings like thieves in the night; and every living thing was put to death by the sword, and the temple was deconstructed stone by stone, and the city burned.  And anyone who did manage to escape the holocaust was hunted and caught and slaughtered.  The entire land was a flood of blood.  And the streets of the cities of the nations ran red in the blood of Jews as they were found and executed.

You see, what John is being shown here in this great and awesome sign (which began in chapter fifteen) is a deception on a grand scale!  The deception of the serpent/dragon; the deception of the beast; the deception of the ten kingdoms (the waters by which the harlot sits); and the deception of all those remaining in God’s paradise land!

And the awesome deception even included a pseudo-resurrection of this fourth beast/dominion of history (much like the resurrection of the first beast – Nebuchadnezzar).  And the false resurrection “confirmed” in the minds and hearts of all those remaining in the land that this fourth beast had to be divine; and that their adoration was well-placed!

They had received its covenantal “mark”; and their pseudo-prophets had assured them that their adoration and obedience were justified!  After all, the beast had arisen from death!  But Israel’s dependence upon Rome for her very existence and well-being was, in YAHVEH’s eyes, “fornication”… idolatrous fornication.

In God’s perception Israel had sold herself to all the surrounding pagan nations as well.  For hundreds of years she had prostituted herself – sold herself – for beautiful things and dainties (as King James translates it).

Rather than obey God and depend solely on His promises to give her everything she wanted, she immediately forgot YAVHEH and His Word and pursued her pagan lovers.

And as was prophesied from the beginning, in the latter days the beast and all the surrounding nations (i.e., the waters by which she sat), turned on their beautiful harlot and consumed her and burned her as the cup of the wine of the wrath of Almighty God was poured out at the end of the age.

The Lamb of God overcame the vengeance of the dragon; the Lamb of God overcame the vengeance of the beast.  The Lamb of God overcame the age-long quest to kill the promised seed and cut off the Kingdom of God’s Anointed.

And YAHVEH laughed at the rebellion against Him and His Anointed One!  He had set His King on His holy Mount Zion.  And the Stone cut from the mountain without hands had become a great mountain above all other mountains and hills.

You see, there had already been a resurrection out of death!  It was God’s Anointed King!  The pseudo-resurrection of the fourth beast was a deception of the harlot that was about to be executed for her age-long adulterous fornication.

And after His resurrection, The Lamb’s people were marked and sealed and saved from the wrath to come; and they were scattered into the nations.  For Gentiles from every nation and tribe and tongue were now included in all the covenant promises (as promised to Abraham).  And the One promised from the beginning would be given all authority over all creatures in the heaven, and on the earth, and in the abyss.  And His kingdom would grow until the knowledge of God covers the earth as the waters cover the sea.


Before we close this morning I just want to mention the two-kingdom theology that so permeates certain quarters of the Church today.  And rather than just define it for you, I’ll illustrate it by mentioning the events that are happening in Western Michigan right now.

Western Michigan is, by all counts, one of the most conservative areas of the country.  And the reason is that it is full of Dutch reformed people.  And there’s a city there that’s even named “Holland”… Holland, Michigan.

Compared to New York (which just passed a gay marriage bill – signed by Governor Cuomo Friday), Holland, Michigan is a Christian “oasis”!  But it, too, is about to pass the same bill!  And the reason that Holland can do such a thing is due to the “two-kingdom theology” of the great Dutch theologian – Abraham Kuyper, and which goes all the way back to Augustine of Hippo.

It posits a spiritual kingdom in heaven and another kingdom on earth.  And Christians observe the spiritual kingdom (which is not of this world); but the earthly kingdom proceeds on natural law!

And since that’s the case, Christians can just expect such things as legalized gay marriage in the earthly kingdom (it’s just not a part of what they do).  So Holland, Michigan will end up in the same depraved state of things as New York and California.

But that’s just an illustration; much of the Christian Church (although not at all grounded in Augustinian and Kuyperian theology) takes the same position!  And that is, that the world is “lost”; but we’re separate from it… our real home (a spiritual kingdom) is in heaven!

Fundamentalists even take it a step further!  Many of them think that the kingdom of God is in heaven, and the kingdom of Satan is on earth.  That, too, is a two-kingdom theology, isn’t it … somewhat different from the Kuyperian model, but none-the-less very prevalent in our declining society.

The passage from Jeremiah fifty-one that we read last Lord’s Day says that Israel immediately “forgot” all of the mighty acts of God on her behalf.  All He asked of the tribes of Jacob was that they “remember” all that He had done, and be thankful, and obey His Commandments.  But from the beginning, Israel began acting like the harlot that she was.

Shortly, when we come to the table, we are to “remember” all that our Lord did in “freeing” us from the captivity of our own depravity… and remember what He said:  “My kingdom is not from this world, it is from the heaven”.  And “I have been given all authority in the heaven and on the earth; as you go, baptize and disciple the nations and teach them to obey all My Commandments.

The two-kingdom theology is as unbiblical as natural law; and the denial of the authority of The Christ of God is right there on the surface!  The sovereign throne of Jesus Christ the King of Kings drives depraved mankind mad!  They will not have this Man rule over them! But there is only ONE Kingdom; and it belongs to Jesus Christ our Lord.  “Remember” as we come to the table.