REVELATION 17

NOTES ON REVELATION 17

Introduction to the chapter
We are informed in this chapter about the relationship between the false religious system which originated in Babylon after the flood, and the coming political world-leader, the beast.
The Babylonish religion is based on the concept of the mother and the child, with the child being the husband of the mother re-incarnated. The original husband was Nimrod, and the wife/mother was Semiramis. This is the basis of world-wide religion, but is mainly represented by the Papal System centred at Rome.
For centuries this religion flourished in Babylon, but when the Roman emperor Constantine professed conversion to Christianity he invited the priests of Babylon to Rome. His theory was that he could unite his empire together by means of religion. A religion, moreover, that could accommodate all shades of opinion. So it was that the rites, ceremonies and concepts of the Babylon system were merged with that which professed to be Christianity.
We have already noticed in connection with Revelation 13 that four empires are destined to arise, and will eventually merge into the empire of the beast. He will install himself in Satan’s world-capital, the rebuilt city of Babylon, and will find it useful to go along with the system of religion established there.
Eventually, he will rid himself of it and demand sole worship for himself, and claim to be God, 2 Thessalonians 2:4, whilst secretly worshipping Satan, Daniel 11:38,39. This is the price he must pay to receive world-dominion; a price the Lord Jesus flatly refused to pay, Matthew 4:8-10.
This destruction of the religious system will be effected by the ten kings that receive their power temporarily with the beast, who will burn the city with fire, and thus ensure that the system of religion she represents will never rise again. The result of this is detailed in the next chapter.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 17, VERSES 1 TO 11:

17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

Structure of the chapter

(a) Verses 1-6 The woman who sits on the beast
(b) Verses 7-11 The origin and destiny of the beast
(c) Verses 12-18 The destruction of the woman by the beast

(a) Verse 1-6 The woman who sits on the beast.

17:1 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials- chapter 16 is the account of the pouring out of God’s judgements upon the earth by seven angels. John is about to have a conversation with one of these about the judgement on the world religious system based in Babylon. Perhaps the angel is the seventh, because Babylon came into remembrance when the seventh angel poured out his bowl of wrath, 16:17,19. The angel comes to unfold to John personally what the mystery about this woman is, verse 7.
And talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore- a woman in Scripture is often a symbol of religious matters. So in 21:9 another vial-angel shows John the bride of Christ, the true church, who is without spot through Christ’s care of her, Ephesians 5:26,27. She needs to be this for she is the bride of the Lamb, the Lord Jesus, and He is the Lamb without spot and blemish, 1 Peter 1:19. This woman is the opposite of “without spot”, being, not a pure and chaste bride, but a harlot with all that the word implies. After so many thousands of years of dominating the religious scene, she is about to be judged of God, and He will use wicked men to do it, verse 17.
That sitteth upon many waters- note the verb is in the present tense, for her domination of the multitudes is constant and persistent. We are told in verse 15 that the waters are “peoples, and nations, and tongues”. Wherever men are found, however they are organised as nations, whatever language they speak, the woman dominates them. The Catholic confessional holds the masses in fear, probing as it does the inner recesses of the heart and conscience, and placing those secrets into the hands of unscrupulous priests, whose allegiance is not to God but the Pope. And then there is the blackmail of the Catholic mass, for the poor devotees of this system are taught from their infant days that unless they take the wafer of the mass they have not eternal life in their souls.

17:2 With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication- the kings of the earth have found it convenient politically to ally themselves religiously with Rome, either through a lust for power, or fear of blackmail and overthrow. What else other than fornication can a relationship with a harlot be called?
And the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication- how ironical that the system which withholds the cup of wine at the Mass from the laity, holds out the cup of licence to them. We are told the contents of the cup in verse 4, where we learn it is “a golden cup…full of abominations and filthiness”. The Papal system is idolatrous, and by its spurious “forgiveness” at the Confessional, encourages a light view of sin. When people are drunk they are insensitive to reality, and to drink of the woman’s golden cup is to be introduced to a system of thought that is diametrically opposed to the things of God as set out in the word of God

17:3 So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness- how fitting that John should see the woman when he was in a wilderness, where all was barren and lifeless, for this is the effect this woman and her evil doctrines has. Isaiah prophesied about Babylon with the words, “The burden of the desert of the sea…and behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen…and he answered and said, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen'”, Isaiah 21:1,9. There is nothing for God in this city, but all is arid desert. Revelation 18:7 speaks of the woman living deliciously, (luxuriously), surrounded by all that the natural mind desires, yet here God’s view of her is given, and it is completely opposite.
And I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast- there are those who believe that the Pope is the antichrist, but this verse alone would be enough to show that not to be the case, for the woman and the beast are separate. It is certainly true that Papal Rome is anti-Christian, (despite its pretences to being the guardian of the Christian faith), but that is different to saying it is the personal antichrist.
From the beginning those who aspire to dominate men and hold power know that they must combine religion and politics to do so. We see this at Babel, which became Babylon, for men built a city horizontally, the political centre, and a tower vertically, the religious centre. Man has a spirit-component to his make-up, and mere politics does not satisfy him or hold his attention. So it shall be with Babylon at the end, the political and the religious must unite, and they do so in the form of the woman, (the religious system), and the beast, (the political system), travelling together. In this verse the woman simply sits on the beast, showing that she is associated with him in some way. In verse 7 the beast is carrying her, for it suits him to go along with her for a while. But in verse 16 the ten kings who are allied to the beast hate the woman, and burn her with fire. This marks the point where the beast unites politics and religion in himself, and sets himself up, not only as supreme world-ruler, but the one to be worshipped.
The beast on which the woman rides is scarlet coloured. This is not the same colour as the dragon of 12:2, but is the same colour as the woman, as described in verse 4. Scarlet is the signature colour of the Catholic Cardinals, and the beast is disguising himself as one of the hierarchy of the Papacy.
Full of names of blasphemy- it is a sad commentary on the woman and her claims, that she is prepared to go along with a beast with names of blasphemy. She has no sensitivity as to the claims of God and that “holy and reverend is His name”, Psalm 111:9. The claims the beast makes, and the titles he assumes, are all blasphemous, for he is opposed to God and Christ, and is seeking to usurp all that they stand for. He is preparing for the moment when he himself can set himself up as God, and be worshipped. But then the Catholic system gives Mary titles which are blasphemous, so it is no surprise that she goes along with a blaspheming beast.
Having seven heads and ten horns- this identifies him as the one spoken of in 13:1-10, and shows that it is indeed the first beast that is the antichrist. See verses 9-12 of this chapter for the meaning of the heads and horns.

17:4 And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour- these were the colours worn by the Caesars, telling us of the lust for power this woman exhibits. They are also the colours that mark the Papal system, with the Pope wearing the purple, and the cardinals wearing the scarlet.
And decked with gold and precious stones and pearls- this woman is extravagantly displaying the fruits of her success. Just as a harlot is loaded with gifts by her clients, so this wicked woman flaunts the proceeds of her fornications. It was one of the Popes who said, “How profitable a farce has this Christianity become for us”, and by saying this he laid bare the greed and arrogance of the system. How many a poor widow has been fleeced by the priest, leaving her destitute and her children hungry, by the wicked doctrine that souls can be rescued from Purgatory by the payments made by the living. The doctrine is especially wicked because there is no such place of Purgatory; it is a fictional place invented for the sake of monetary gain. So also is the sale of indulgences that in Medieval times financed the projects the Popes wished to engage in to further their own pride and desire for power.
A truly spiritual woman will not be dressed like this woman is, for the apostle Peter, (the one that Catholics want to claim as their first Pope!) wrote, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting of hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price”, 1 Peter 3:3,4. And the apostle Paul agreed with him, for he wrote, “In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broidered hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works”, 1 Timothy 2:9,10. Such is the contrast between the spiritual Christian woman, and this harlot-woman, despite all her finery.
Having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication- abominations are idols, and fornication is illicit and immoral alliance. These two things, idolatry and vice, always go hand in hand, and this woman’s system is no different.
It is reported by historians that when Cyrus the Great entered Babylon, having taken the city out of the hands of Belshazzar, he found the legendary cup of Semiramis there.
Those who were to be initiated into the mysteries of the pagan religious system were first offered a drugged drink, in order to prepare their minds for the ideas that were about to be presented to them. Without this intoxication the mind could not stand the horror of what was brought before them, for the Lord calls them “the depths of Satan”, Revelation 2:24.
As supreme ruler, Belshazzar would be acknowledged as the Pontifex Maximus. So can it be that when he “made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand”, Daniel 5:1-4, that he was drinking from the cup of Semiramis? And is it any surprise that as he, and they, (for it was very large), drank its drugged contents, he would have the impious thought of bringing in the vessels from the temple of God, so that he and his wives and concubines could drink therefrom, and praise the gods of gold and silver and brass and iron and wood as they did so? In that way the vessel of Semiramis and the vessels of God would be devoted to the same goal, the worship of Satan. No wonder the word came that his kingdom had been given to the Medes and Persians, for he had crossed a line with his impiety, verse 28. And then we read, “In that night was Belshazzar, the king of the Chaldeans slain”, verse 30. So shall it be with the future “Belshazzar”, the antichirst. He shall drink of Semiramis’s drugged cup, and the ultimate impiety shall enter his mind, even the setting up of himself as God, 2 Thessalonians 2:4. This is the ultimate apostasy, and God will judge it.

17:5 And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY- there is at one and the same time brazen boldness, (the name is on her forehead), and secret mysteries, (MYSTERY). The Babylonish system is a dual one, with outward ceremonies that appeal to the senses, and hidden secrets only the initiated know. Thus there is a hidden counterpart to the ceremonies, titles and practices which appear on the surface.
Just as in the New Testament there are holy mysteries revealed to God’s people through the apostles, so there is a Satanic, unholy set of mysteries. But whereas the mysteries of paganism are only known to a few initiates, the mysteries of the New Testament are revealed to all believers.
BABYLON THE GREAT- this city is called great not because it is noble and righteous, but because it is the centre of a great deception. From the beginning Babel, and its successor Babylon, has been the source of rebellion against God, and the spread of that which is in opposition to Him. It will also, when rebuilt, be the capital city of Satan’s coming man, the beast, and the place from which the final rebellion will come.
THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS- the woman John saw has daughters, and they are harlots also, for as the apostasy deepens, many so-called Faiths will ally themselves with Rome. Organisations that call themselves Christian churches will succumb to the deception. There is a powerful movement to ensnare Protestants into this wickedness, and true believers should be alert with regard to this “falling away”, that the apostle warned about in 2 Thessalonians 2:3,4. These who go over to the side of Papal deceptions will also have a harlot character, and will be as guilty and wicked as the mother. A previous Pope to the current one held meetings with the leaders of other “faiths”.  He also erected an image of Buddha on a cathedral altar.
AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH- the system is openly idolatrous, for remember this name is on her forehead for all to see. The days when these things were covered up and denied will be over, and religion will come out in open defiance of God and His Son, and in alliance with Satan and the beast.

17:6 And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints- so this is one ingredient of the cup she drinks from, even the blood of Old Testament saints. Wherever there has been persecution and murder of God’s people, this system has been lurking in the shadows behind it, for it is a comprehensive network of intrigue and influence that furthers the aims of Satan himself.
And with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus- not only in Old Testament times, but in the current age, and also in the Tribulation Period yet to come, there has been, and will be, the slaying of God’s faithful people. It is said that the Roman Catholic system is guilty of the murder of 50 million of God’s saints in this age alone. And because she is the religious force behind the beast in his rise and reign, she will be guilty of the blood of saints in that period too. The current Pope, (2019), is the first one for 600 years to be a Jesuit.  As such, he has sworn an oath to kill all who refuse the Catholic faith.
And when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration- the basic meaning of the words “wondered” and “admiration” is to look closely. As John took in the details that were presented to him, he was greatly amazed. It is not admiration in the modern sense of “look at with approval”. How could he approve of a woman who was drunken with the blood of his fellow-believers?

(b)   Verses 7-11   The origin and destiny of the beast

17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? The angel expresses surprise that John should not realise the meaning of the woman he saw.
I will tell thee the mystery of the woman- the angel will not tell in the sense that he will recount the mystery, but rather that he would explain it. There is no excuse for us today not knowing the things that shall come to pass, and being prepared for the foreshadowing of them in our own times.
And of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns- so in verse 3 the woman is simply sitting on the beast, and now we learn that the beast is carrying her; she is not static, but making progress, and it is the beast who facilitates that progress, because it suits his purpose. As we shall see, at the end he will dispense with her, but not yet.

17:8 The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

The beast that thou sawest was- from standpoint of John in his day, the beast had existed before. Now when God explained through Daniel the meaning of Nebuchanezzar’s dream, it was clear that the metals that made up the image he dreamt about not only represented forms of government, but also the one who headed up that government. So the word to Nebuchadnezzar was “Thou art this head of gold”, Daniel 2:38. So the beast also can be at one and the same time a person and an empire. We should bear this in mind, for presently we shall learn that the beast comes up out of the abyss and goes into perdition, and empires do neither of those things.
So thinking of the beast as an empire, John is told it “was”. Now this means “was” in terms of John’s day, not the day he is being transported to in spirit. We have to understand like this or else when John is told the beast is not, he might well think that strange, because he is being shown it in existence. It cannot be in evidence and not in evidence at the same time. So in John’s day the beast, whether considered as a man or an empire, was, in the past, from John’s standpoint at the time he had the vision.
And is not- the beast, whether man or empire, could be said in John’s day to not be; that is, not be in evidence on the earth. Not “is not” in the sense “does not exist any more”. This is an important point, for it means that the beast is not, as to its empire mode, the Roman empire of John’s day, for that was very much in existence in John’s time. He had been confined to the island of Patmos by its authority.
And shall ascend out of the bottomless pit- when we were looking at chapter 9 we saw that the demon-locusts came out of the bottomless pit, or abyss, which is not the same place as hell, or sheol, the place of the departed souls of men.
Before the flood, the sons of God, (which always means angels in the Old Testament), saw the daughters of men, and co-habited with them and produced a race of giants that were not fully men. The purpose of this was to endanger the line of the Messiah. Noah is described as being “perfect in his generations”, and that particular word perfect is used of the sacrifices in the tabernacle system. A sacrifice had to be perfect to be accepted, which meant it had no physical defect. So we are learning that God saw Noah as a man that was fully human, and as such could be taken over into postFlood conditions, to begin again on a cleansed earth. So it is that God instructed Noah to make an ark “to the saving of his house”, Hebrews 11:7. His house, meaning his sons, were also not affected by the contamination of the human race, so they were especially provided for by God so that they could continue the godly line. So it was that all eight persons who stepped out of the ark onto a cleansed earth, were wholly human, and the line of the Messiah was preserved.
Sadly, however, we read “and also after that”, Genesis 6:4, so the same sin was repeated after the flood. If God used Seth to preserve the line after the flood, Satan used Ham to seek to spoil it again, and Nimrod was of the line of Ham. It must be said, however, that the Scripture does not specifically say that Nimrod was one of the giants produced after the flood, although the Gilgamesh Epic is very likely about Nimrod, and it was said of Gilgamesh that he was part god.
So it was that soon after these times that God chose Abraham, separated him from the land of the Chaldees, and brought him to the land of Canaan where he could live apart from the wickedness of the nations. He was very careful not to take a wife of the Canaanites for his son, Genesis 24:3, for they might be descendants of the giants that existed after the flood, Genesis 6:4, (“and also after that”). Thus the line of the Messiah was further preserved, for God had prepared a bride-in-waiting for Isaac, as we read in Genesis 22:20-23. That Scripture tells us that Abraham had heard of the birth , and so later on would be confident in the genuineness of the genealogy of the bride. The message about the birth of Rebekah traced her genealogy from Abraham’s brother Nahor, and significantly emphasises that it was by Milcah that Nahor had his son Bethuel, so he was wholly human. Confirmation would come to him that Rebekah was the right wife for his son if the servant who he sent to find a bride left it to the Lord to lead him to the right girl. And so it came to pass. Isaac learnt this lesson, too, for he charged Jacob to not take a wife of the Canaanites, Genesis 28:1, but go to his relatives in Padan-Aram, whose background he knew.
Returning to the beast and his ascent out of the bottomless pit. This is either figurative or actual. If figurative it means that his origin is Satanic in some way. The problem with that is that the bottomless pit is not under the control of Satan. His agents are confined there, it is true, but he is not, for he walks about as a roaring lion. If we take the ascent out of the pit to be figurative, do we not have to say that the going into perdition is figurative?
And go into perdition- his end is certain, for he is called “son of perdition”, and thus bears a name that tells of his doom. This was true of Judas also, for he is called by the Lord Jesus the son of perdition, John 17:12, and the apostles said that he had gone to “his own place”, Acts 1:25.
And they that dwell on the earth shall wonder- we have this class of people mentioned again, those who are settled down upon the earth. They wonder with admiration and respect, whereas John wondered at the woman with amazement.
Whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world- see remarks on 13:8. Things settled from the foundation of the world have to do with earth, and in particular Christ’s reign over it. So these are dwellers on the earth, not in the sense that they are longing for Christ’s reign on the earth, and want to be ready for it, but because they are not interested in heaven. Those who shall reign with Christ on earth have their names in this book, but those of this verse have not; the difference being the reaction to Christ.
When they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is- they will behold him because he will have a manifestation, after a time of relative obscurity in the first half of the Tribulation Period. Everything about him will be designed to impress the natural mind, whereas everything about Christ reproved the natural mind.

17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

17:9 And here is the mind which hath wisdom- God will see to it that there are those who understand in those times- in the prophecy of Daniel we learn of those who are wise, and who understand the significance of the events that will be taking place at the end time. Daniel wrote, “And they that understand among the people shall instruct many: yet they shall fall by the sword, and by flame, by captivity, and by spoil, many days”, Daniel 11:33. These are the Maskilim, the understanding ones, and they will understand what the world can only wonder at.
The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth- the Maskilim will see clearly that the beast is the successor of the emperors of old time, who in some way damaged the interests of the nation of Israel. There are those who see in these seven mountains the empire of Rome, because Rome is built on seven hills. But they are just that, hills, not mountains. Rome is called historically the “seven-hilled city”. The truth is that, like the word beast, which refers to a man, the word mountain refers to an empire, it is not a literal and physical mountain but a moral and metaphorical one. As we saw when thinking of chapter 13, these mountains are representative of the seven empires that have impinged in some way on the nation of israel.
The fact that the woman sits on this mountains tells us that she dominates those empires in some way. And since she represents religion, it is in that way she dominates, holding men in fear by her threatenings.

17:10 And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

And there are seven kings- not only do the mountains represent empires, they also represent their respective emperors, for the two were merged in ancient times. We are reminded of this in Daniel 2, because the gold of the image represented an empire, verse 39, but also an emperor, verse 38 and 44.
Five are fallen- the empires that have been an influence on Israel are the following:
First, the kingdom of Nimrod, Genesis 11:10, which originated and fostered the system of idolatry that Israel eventually succumbed to, as we know from Ezekiel 8.
Second, Assyria, who took the ten tribes in to captivity.
Third, Babylonia, who took the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin into captivity.
Fourth, Medo-Persia, who restored the remnant in the land under Zerubabel.
Fifth, Grecia, who ruled over Palestine after the Old Testament history closed. These empires, and the rulers that dominated them, Nimrod, Sennacharib, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus and Alexander, were fallen in John’s day.
And one is- this empire, the sixth, is Rome under Caesar, who by the time the New Testament begins ruled over Palestine, and was still doing so when John had his revelation.
And the other is not yet come- so in John’s day the seventh empire and emperor had not come on the scene. This is the empire of antichrist, still in the future.
And when he cometh, he must continue a short space- this would refer to the first part of the Tribulation Period, when for forty-two months the antichrist is on the scene but not manifest in his full power and awfulness.

17:11 And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth- in his final manifestation, the antichrist will be so different in character that he justifiably can be called another emperor.
And is of the seven- for if he is Nimrod back from the dead, (remember the beast comes out of the abyss), then he is not only the first, but also the seventh in his intermediate stage, and then is the eighth. But he is of the seven in that he was one of them in his first life. If it is objected that he cannot be someone back from the dead since “it is appointed unto men once to die”, then one answer could be that Nimrod is not just man, but the product of a union between an evil angel and one of the daughters of men. This is why he is in the abyss and not sheol, because it is human souls that go to the latter place.
And goeth into perdition- his end is stated before he has come on the scene, so certain is his utter defeat.

THE WORDS OF THE BIBLE, THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES, AS FOUND IN THE BOOK OF THE REVELATION CHAPTER 17, VERSES 12 TO 18:

17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

17:13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

17:12 And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

(c) Verses 12-18 The destruction of the woman by the beast

And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet- those who try to make the Roman Empire consist of ten countries are on the wrong track, because this passage clearly distinguishes the Roman empire from those that go before it, and those after it. They are definitely stated to not have any kingdom yet, even in John’s day.
But receive power as kings one hour with the beast- no doubt the power is received from the same source as the beast’s, namely the dragon. This means they also have vowed to worship him, in exchange for worldly pomp and splendour. That their reign is short-lived is seen in that it is but an hour. Clearly this is figurative for a brief period. The beast will be allowed to continue in his final form for forty-two months, 13:5.

17:13 These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast- normally a coalition of ten kings would break up through internal strife, but these will bond together in a common desire to further the interests of the beast. Their power is their political influence, which they will lend to the beast to further his agenda. Their strength lies in the authority Satan, the dragon, has given to them to oppose Christ. Is this transfer of power the signal for the start of the second half of the Tribulation, when sole power is given into the hand of the beast, whereas before it was shared?

17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

These shall make war with the Lamb- we see immediately the intention of these kings. They are for the beast and against the Lamb. They represent antichristian hostility, which even today is making itself felt more and more. Political Correctness, or, to give it its proper name, Social Marxism, is a Satanic attempt to erase Christian things from the thinking of men. The climax will be at the end of the Tribulation, at the battle of Armageddon, where the armies that oppose Christ shall be dealt with.
And the Lamb shall overcome them- the real battle was fought, and won, at Calvary. As the Lord Jesus announced just before He went there, “Now is the judgement of this world: now shall the prince of this world be cast out”, John 12:31. The world that reached its crisis point when it crucified Christ, shall be finally defeated with the coming of Christ. And the prince of this world will be consigned to the abyss at that time too. The conflict between good and evil was decided at Calvary in favour of good. Hence he who is evil shall be utterly defeated, and consigned to the abyss.
For He is Lord of lords, and King of kings- no matter how much power and authority has been given to the ten kings by Satan, the Lord Jesus is King of kings, and is superior. But He is first of all Lord of lords, for, as the apostle Paul wrote, “there are gods many and lords many”, 1 Corinthians 8:5, and in the context he referring to demons. So we have the assurance that, notwithstanding the power of Satan and his demonic hosts, Christ is greater that them all, and will demonstrate that by destroying Babylon and all it stands for.
And they that are with Him are called, and chosen, and faithful- the angel is continuing his summary of what will happen when the Lord Jesus comes to reign. His people of this age will be with Him, having been caught up before the Tribulation Period started, see 1 Thessalonians 4:12-5:11. They must be taken to heaven beforehand, or else they cannot come out of heaven with Him afterwards. The apostle Paul makes it clear that “when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory”, Colossians 3:4.
Notice the three-fold description of these believers. First of all, they are called. This indicates that they have responded to the gospel call, for Paul describes the believers at Rome as “the called of Jesus Christ”, Romans 1:6.
Second, they were chosen. It is important to realise that the Word of God never calls unsaved individuals elect, (that is, chosen), when considered in themselves. When the apostle Paul spoke of himself and fellow-believers as being chosen before the foundation of the world, Ephesians 1:4 he said that God the Father “hath chosen us in Him”, that is, in Christ. They were not chosen for what they were in themselves, but they were chosen because of what and who Christ ever is, as God’s beloved Son. They came into the good of that election by God when they responded to the gospel call.
Paul puts it like this in Romans 8:28-33, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth”.
Notice that the apostle is careful to not call that person God has in view from all eternity, elect. It is only when real faith has been exercised that the good of God’s eternal purpose is realised, and then the description “God’s elect” can be used.
This is also made clear in 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14, where Paul describes the Thessalonians as “beloved of the Lord”, (that is, they were genuine believers in Him), and states that “God hath chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ”. So the process whereby God choose to salvation is said to be through two things. First, the God-ward side, sanctification of the Spirit, for the Spirit of God separates to God those who believe, in the light of God’s eternal purpose. Second, the man-ward side, belief of the truth. And how does it come about that someone believes the truth? The answer is that God calls unto salvation by the gospel.
So to return to Revelation 17:14. Those who accompany Christ when He comes to judge are described as called, because they have heeded the gospel call. They are chosen, because when they believed they were brought into the good of God’s eternal purpose. They are also called faithful. That is, they have shown in practical terms the faith they had in their hearts. Paul describes the Ephesian believers in two ways. First, they are “saints which are in Christ Jesus”; then they are “the faithful in Christ Jesus”, Ephesians 1:1. A few hours after Lydia was saved, she invited Paul and his companions into her house, saying, “If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there”, Acts 16:15. And this they did, showing that they reckoned here faithful. So we may deduce that all believers are faithful in this sense. Of course, when it is a question of service, there are degrees of faithfulness. So as believers come with Christ, they present a contrast to the dwellers on the earth, who have not responded to God’s call, and who are therefore not chosen or faithful.

17:15 And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth- the angel now clears up some matters that John may have been puzzled about. Verse 1 had described the whore as sitting on many waters, and that had not been explained. In verse 3 she was in the wilderness sitting on a beast. In verse 9 she is sitting on seven mountains. Clearly she is being described in relation to different things. As far as sitting on the beast is concerned, this shows she, at that point, dominates the beast, so that her system of religion is in control. When she is sitting on the seven mountains, that is a reminder that she represents that which started at Babel and has continued ever since, all the time that the world has been dominated by the civilisations the seven empires the mountains represent. Now we are told she sits on the waters, and those waters are defined for us.
Are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues- so this is the company this woman influences, and it includes a vast variety of people, whether considered ethnically, numerically, nationally, or linguistically. As Jeremiah said, “Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad”, Jeremiah 51:7. Wherever we go today, the Babylonish religion is present; it is all-pervading. Its wicked doctrines are promoted in every sector of society and in every division of humanity. And this will clearly continue until the Lord comes to judge it.

17:16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore- John may also have been puzzled as to how Babylon was going to be destroyed. He knew, of course, that ultimately her destruction was in the hand of the Lord, but who would He use? The answer is surprising. It is the confederation of ten kings which are allied to the beast, but who at the end, will give over their power completely to him. And this must be when they destroy religious Babylon, for it stands in the way of the beast exercising supreme authority, and setting himself up as the only one to be worshipped. (It is not that the Babylonish system is the worship of God; but it makes itself out to be, and the gullible masses believe it, so it has to be removed to leave only one option, that of worshipping the beast).
Daniel prophesied that the antichrist would “do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the god of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all”, Daniel 11:36,37.
And shall make her desolate and naked- we should remember that the reference all along is to a city, the centre of Satan’s religious system, with a priesthood with a corrupt and licentious lifestyle, covered over by the gorgeous robes and vestments worn at their ceremonies. Instead of luxury and pleasure there shall be desolation; instead of rich finery, nakedness.
And shall eat her flesh- the barbaric act of cannibalism is a fit description of the way she shall be completely destroyed. There is an irony here, for Rome claims to be able to turn a wafer into the flesh of Christ. It is fitting that her flesh should be eaten in recompense for her wicked pretensions, which have deceived so many.
And burn her with fire- the city and all its contents will be put to the flame and utterly burned up. There are two mentions of “the smoke of her burning” in chapter 18, in verse 9 and 18.
The question arises, where will antichrist have his centre after this point? Perhaps the answer is in Daniel 11:45, where we read “And he shall plant the tabernacles of his palace between the seas in the glorious holy mountain; yet he shall come to his end, and none shall help him”. If this is a reference to Tyre, which is noted for its causeway out into the sea, (“between the two seas”), then this explains why Ezekiel refers to the prince of Tyrus, Ezekiel 28:1-10, and the king of Tyrus, verses 11-19. The latter is spoken of in terms very applicable to Lucifer both before his fall and after. So the former may very well be a reference to the antichrist. This is what Ezekiel wrote, “Thus saith the Lord God; Because thine heart is lifted up, and thou hast said ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of God, in the midst of the seas;’ Yet thou art a man, and not God, though thou set thine heart as the heart of God'”, Ezekiel 28:2. This is very similar wording to 2 Thessalonians 2:4, “who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called god, or that is worshipped”.

17:17 For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will- John may still have been puzzled as to why the ten kings shall act like this. The ultimate reason is now given. It is because it is God’s will, and He is ordering events to His own glory.
And to agree- in normal circumstances to get ten kings to agree, is difficult, but God will ensure it happens.
And give their kingdom unto the beast- in this way power is concentrated in one man, who is the tool of Satan. The world will be shown what things are like when one man controls everything. The last time one man controlled everything was when Adam sinned. Now the consequences of that sin are to become evident.
Until the words of God shall be fulfilled- God is going to fulfil all that He foretold through the prophets, and nothing shall prevent Him doing this.

17:18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

And the woman which thou sawest is that great city- this verse forms the link between this chapter and the next. Chapter 18 emphasises that Babylon is a real city that is the centre of world-commerce and can be burned with fire. This chapter has only spoken of a woman with the name Babylon on her forehead. This verse shows that they, to all intents and purposes, are the same.
Which reigneth over the kings of the earth- no matter what time we think of, as long as their have been kings, the Babylon-principle has dominated. That principle is of combining religion and politics together in opposition to God. There were no kings before Babel was built.

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