THE FALL OF RELIGIOUS BABYLON
Revelation 17:1-18 (NKJV)
The Scarlet Woman and the Scarlet Beast
1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.”
3 So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written:
MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT,
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS
AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS
OF THE EARTH.
6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
The Meaning of the Woman and the Beast
7 But the angel said to me, “Why did you marvel? 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 will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
9 “Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. 10 There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. 11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.
12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. 13 These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”
15 Then he said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. 16 And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. 17 For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. 18 And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
Ill. This chapter and the one to follow explain all the things talked about in Rev chapter 16. This is where we see the fulfillment of those prophecies.
In this chapter, we will witness the fall of the great worldwide church that will flourish after the rapture of the church. This system is already at work even today. All around the world, there is a great move underway to bring all religious groups under one central umbrella. We are witnessing the great falling away which the Bible says will come about in the last days. (2Thes. 2:3; 1 Tim. 4:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:1-3; 2 Tim. 4:3-4).
It has already reached the place where Bible believing Christians, people who take the Bible literally and who try to live a holy life for the Lord, are under increasing attack. The only way to succeed, in the eyes of the world, is to conform and be tolerant of other’s beliefs and opinions. I believe that all Christians can worship together. But, when people go off on tangent and begin to worship and dabble in areas that are forbidden, then that is where we must draw the line!
Let’s look at this awesome chapter and see if we can identify what is happening here.
I. v.1-6 THE BABYLONIAN MOTHER
A. v.1, 15 Her Popularity – World-wide influence. This religious system will have the ear of the world! (Ill. Power and wealth.) When you reject the truth, you will be sucked into by a lie. (Ill. Seeker churches.)
B. v. 2 Her Perversion – (Ill. Whore – No woman wants to be called that term.) (Ill. She will use her charms to deceive the world into thinking she is the right way.)
C. v.3, 9 Her Perdition – This church is upheld by the power of the beast. It will be headquartered in Rome, v.9. She will be defended by the ten nation confederacy of the revived Roman Empire.
(Ill. The church will once again wed the state – Ill. Constantine 325 AD. (Ill. Christianity began to change – Christmas, Lent, Baptism, Relic Worship, Saint Worship, “Popery”, etc.) (Ill. Is it the Catholic Church? NO!! Catholicism will surely be involved, but so will others like Methodism, Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, the Islamic faith, Buddhism and even the Baptists.) (That said, the connection between the history and practice of Roman Catholicism and the description of this religious system cannot be lightly passed by!)
D. v.4 Her Prosperity – (Ill. Garments, Wealth and Ritual! The trappings of religion!) The wealth of religion – Catholic ( 100 Billion) , Mormons, Baptists!
E. v.5 Her Personality – (Ill. Roman practice of identifying prostitutes) (Ill. Mother – Origin) (Ill. The origin of the Babylonian Mother – Gen. 10:8-11; 11:1-4) (Ill. Cush, Semiramis, Nimrod, Zoroaster. (Ill. Sunbeam, Ishtar Eggs, Unicorns, Circle of Life, Yin Yang, etc.) This system is as old as time, and as new as it has to be. (Ill. v. 18 – She is a city, and a system!)
F. v.6 Her Persecutions – Ill. This system is responsible for the deaths of the saints of the Lord. From Cain and Abel to the Tribulation saints, this religious system has been responsible for the martyrdom of 10’s of millions of Christians.
II. v.7-13 THE BABYLONIAN MONSTER
A. v.8. 10-11 The Identity Of The Beast – (Ill. It is the Anti-Christ) Ill. His rise to power, his death and his resurrection, Rev. 13:3. His entire ministry is a mockery of that of the Lord Jesus Christ. (Ill. The Emperors of verse 10, and the Antichrist is both the seventh and the eighth.
B. v.12-13 The Identification Of The Horns – The 10 nation confederacy of the revived Roman Empire. (Ill. The EEC!)
III. v.14-18 THE BABYLONIAN MASSACRE
A. v.14 They Battle The Lamb – Ill. These nations will come against the Lamb Himself. (Ill. Refers to chapter 19). When they attack Jesus, they are sure to lose! (Ill. King of Kings!) (Ill. Those with Him – Called, chosen and faithful – That my friends is you and me!)
B. v.16 They Burn The Whore – Ill. Organized religion will be utterly destroyed! When their religion has served it’s purpose and offers them nothing else, then they will turn on the church and will utterly destroy her! (Ill. Sounds like a lot of people in our day – God is a great big sparetire!) They will strip her of her wealth, destroy and disfigure her places of worship and organized religion shall cease to exist on the earth! (Ill. Organized religion is a disgrace anyway!)
C. v.17 They Bend Before God – As they carry out their deeds, they are unaware that God Himself is using them for His glory and to carry out His plans and purposes! In the midst of chaos, it is good to know that God is still in control!
Have you got Jesus Christ in your life this very moment? Are you a member of the church or a part of the body of Christ? That is one question you had better get right. If you miss that one, you have missed everything!
If you need the Lord Jesus this moment, please come to Him and allow Him to do a work in your heart and life. Amen!