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#42 The Whore Of Babylon

September 4, 2008

Today we will look at (Rev 17:1-18) and I want you to understand, as you probably have surmised in your reading assignment, that these 2 chapters are connected by the theme of Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots.  

 

The term whore calls to mind prostitutes that solicit on the street corner. From the scriptures though we understand that these women solicit more than sex; they are instruments of satan to destroy the souls of men. Consider the words of Solomon in. (Pr 5:3-5) “For the lips of an adulteress drip honey And smoother than oil is her speech; 4 But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Her feet go down to death, her steps take hold of Sheol. (the grave).  And then in (Pr 7:21-23) we read “With her many persuasions she entices him; with her flattering lips she seduces him. 22  Suddenly he follows her as an ox goes to the slaughter, or as one in fetters to the discipline of a fool, 23  until an arrow pierces through his liver; as a bird hastens to the snare, so he does not know that it will cost him his life.

 

In the same way, those who submit to this “Mother of Harlots” will lose their lives too. She will tempt them with her wiles and seduce them with her lies and then like a vampire, she will drain the life out of them!

 

Now before we begin, I found it interesting to read from Hendriksen’s commentary this cannot be the rebuilt city of Babylon which lies along the bank of the Euphrates river. It is interesting because Saddam Hussein, who believed himself to be a reincarnation of Nebuchadnezzar, spent billions of dollars rebuilding that particular city and had special coins minted that bore his likeness. Since his death, the United Nations has taken over and is continuing the project. Interesting isn’t it, because this is becoming a literal reality.

 

It could very well be that this city will have some significance in the coming days ahead! But as we have seen and will see throughout our study of this book, though sinful men prosper for a time, God’s Spirit will not always strive with man. In the days of Noah God appointed a time limit for man to repent before He visited them in judgment. Only Noah and his family escaped for Noah was found faithful. The sin of Sodom and Gomorrah reached its zenith during Abraham’s lifetime and God literally wiped it off the map; only Lot and his two daughters escaped to tell the tale.

 

And it is also interesting that while the Sodomites were waxing worse and worse, while they were storing up wrath for the day of judgment, Noah’ son Shem was still alive. He was a living witness of the wickedness of the pre-flood world. He saw first hand the devastation of the Day of Judgment. It is also interesting that the words, the life of this living witness failed to curb the sinful appetites of sinful men. There is visible, tangible evidence of the Judgment Flood; seashells on Mount Everest and in the Andes of Peru.

 

There is geologic and archeological evidence of the judgment of Sodom. Ponder these scientific facts; “On a plain, 500 feet above the level of the Dead Sea at a place called Bab-ed-Dra, lie the remains of a great fortified enclosure, evidently a ‘high place’ used for ‘religious’ festivals.

There were great quantities of potsherds, flints and other remains of a period dating between 2500 B.C. and 2000 B.C. There is also evidence that the population ended abruptly about 2000 B.C. It had once been “like the Garden of God” according to the scriptures. But one day God had had enough. His righteous anger burned against these wicked, perverted sinners. The scriptures tell us that God rained down fire and brimstone out of heaven. Some scientists try to put a ‘natural causes’ spin on it; they just can’t see how God could pull it off without using stuff that already exists…they forget that He created everything out of nothing.

 

Geologists say that on that horrible day, the entire floor of the valley rose and then collapsed. In fact there is geological evidence that the area of the Dead Sea, where Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain used to be was at one time, 623 feet higher than it is now. Now all that is left is a dead sea, literally for no vegetation grows there, and numerous pillars of salt. What happened there was at least as terrifying as the day God closed the door to the ark and sent rain and broke open the fountains of the deep which, from geological scientists we are told probably shot geysers of water 5 miles into the air.

 

God doesn’t fool around. He is not like us with all of our idle threats. We say, “Oh your really gonna get it now” but then we back down. As we have seen from scripture, on the appointed day, God shut the door of the ark and an entire civilization disappeared beneath the waters of a flood. On the appointed day, God visited Sodom and Gomorrah and the cities of the plain and rained fire and brimstone out of heaven and swept an entire civilization into oblivion. Today as we look around it is easy to see that our world is getting darker and darker. Each day wicked, perverse men and women flaunt their sin in the face God. Each day they are treasuring up wrath for the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God. And we can hear the voice of Jesus saying to them…Fill up, then, the measure of the guilt of your fathers. You serpents, you brood of vipers, how will you escape the sentence of hell? (Mt 23:32)

 

We know from the word of God in (Ac 17:31) that this world will have an end because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead.”  And on the appointed day, God will sweep this world of sin out of existence! Life as we know it will come to an abrupt end!

 

What we are seeing in this study is a preview, all that our minds can deal with, of the time of the end and the Day of Judgment. One of my favorite verses is found in the book of (Isa 46:9-11).  See how it relates to our lessons in Revelation. God tells us to “Remember the former things of old: Remember the flood, remember Sodom, remember Jerusalem, for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10  declaring the end from the beginning, from the beginning He had laid out the plain for this world. He had determined how long it would exist and how He would destroy it. Think of the things the Prophets, Daniel, Ezekiel and John saw concerning the future. They saw weapons of war from the future and identified what they saw in a manner that they could understand.

God showed them the end from the beginning and from ancient times He declared the things that are not yet done, things that no one had ever seen, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: both the redemption of sinners and the destruction of the wicked.

 

I find verse 11 especially interesting in light of several verses that speak of the visitation in the Valley of Megiddo. calling a ravenous bird from the east,  Look with me at (Eze 39:17-20)  And, thou son of man, thus saith the Lord GOD; Speak unto every feathered fowl, and to every beast of the field, Assemble yourselves, and come; gather yourselves on every side to my sacrifice that I do sacrifice for you, even a great sacrifice upon the mountains of Israel, that ye may eat flesh, and drink blood.

18 Ye shall eat the flesh of the mighty, and drink the blood of the princes of the earth, of rams, of lambs, and of goats, of bullocks, all of them fatlings of Bashan.  19 And ye shall eat fat till ye be full, and drink blood till ye be drunken, of my sacrifice which I have sacrificed for you. 20 Thus ye shall be filled at my table with horses and chariots, with mighty men, and with all men of war, saith the Lord GOD. That was a voice from the Old Testament.

 

And from the New Testament we read in (Re 19:17-18) “And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; 18  That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. Back in Isaiah 46 God speaks of those who are His instruments of judgment such as Nebuchadnezzar and the antichrist. He says that he calls the man that executeth My counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it. The end of this world is just as sure as the beginning.  And the end will be more horrifying than any Hollywood movie special effects could ever come up with.

 

As we have gone through the scriptures we have seen horrors, peace taken from the earth, famine, pestilence, a third of the world destroyed, a third of the waters, poisoned, a third of mankind killed, a third of the sun, moon and stars darkened, horrible, demonic locust, men, suffering unspeakable agony, even to the point of seeking death, but it seems that for a time, death takes a holiday.

 

We have seen men selling themselves to the devil, serving him and his servants, the antichrist and the false prophet and receiving a mark that will identify them as followers of evil. Then we have seen a picture of total destruction. This world will experience on a global scale, what Sodom and Gomorrah, and the pre-flood world experienced. As I said, those were merely precursors, signs of the final curtain. Now for the remaining time we will concern ourselves with the judgment of Babylon. In (Rev 17:1) we read, “Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed acts of immorality, and those who dwell on the earth were made drunk with the wine of her immorality.”

The word immorality comes from the Greek word, Porneuo and it speaks of prostituting one’s body to the lust of another, giving yourself to unlawful sexual intercourse, committing fornication, and finally to be given to idolatry, to worship idols, permitting yourself to be drawn away by another into idolatry

 

The followers of antichrist, now and in the future have sold themselves to do all this evil. They advocate ‘free love’ another name for immorality and they worship idols under every green tree. I don’t mean specifically stone statures though there are many who have gone that route. I mean holding wicked people up as idols, role models, examples for others to follow. And they both applaud those who listen to their message and persecute those who have the gall to speak against their hero’s.

 

Verse 1 tells us that the harlot sits on many waters, waters could represent people or a geographic location, or both.  3 And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness; and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. We have already seen in chapter 12 that this scarlet beast is the devil.

 

4 The woman was clothed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, notice how she is made appealing to the eye. She is evil but she adorns herself in such a way as to take people’s minds off of what she is all about.  Again, think of a prostitute for that is the imagery we have before us. They may, like the Pharisee’s, look beautiful on the outside. But in their hearts there is only death.

 

Continuing in verse 4 we read, having in her hand a gold cup full of abominations and of the unclean things of her immorality, every effort it seems is made to cause people to be drawn to her. She is beautiful in appearance, covered with gold and precious stones and pearls and holding a golden cup. All these visual images pull at the lusts of the heart. Wicked men are drawn to such things. And saints must guard their hearts with all diligence lest they too be enticed. We are not immune to the wiles of the devil in all of his various forms. Why do you think Jesus said, “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation!

 

Continuing in verse 5 we read and on her forehead a name was written, a mystery, “BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” Listen to Matthew Poole on this verse; “She is not merely a harlot but one that bred up harlots, and nursed up idolatry, communicating it to others. This is the true name of Rome instead of “holy mother church.”  Quite a graphic picture is it not! This woman represents the false religious systems of the world. It is interesting that Babylon means “confusion (by mixing”) all the worlds false religions are a mixture of ‘ancient wisdom’ with modern twists, usually by twisted individuals. They say they have secret knowledge. They have been given the “wisdom of the ages” and only they know the truth. This is the common denominator of all cults. They alone have the truth! It is interesting to know that on the Pope’s miter, that tall hat that he wears is written the word, Mystery! The whole antichristian state is a mystery of iniquity. And they all have another thing in common, they hate Jesus and all that He stands for. 

All false religious systems have persecuted God’s people, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. They have killed them in the most hideous of ways. Again I direct your thoughts to Foxes book of Martyrs to see men and women, burned at the stake. Or ponder if you will the unspeakable tortures of the inquisition, hanging on meat hooks, having all of your bones pulled out of joint repeatedly on the rack, having steel wool slowly forced into your stomach and then ripped out. And this is just a taste. And this is a characteristic of the whore of Babylon. Verse 6 says, “And I saw the woman drunk with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus.

 

When I saw her, I wondered greatly.  Greek for wonder is thaumazo to  marvel or to be had in admiration. John did not wonder at her with a sinful admiration, so as to reverence her or to do homage and worship to her, in the same manner as the inhabitants of the world wondered after the beast. His admiration was an amazement, or bewilderment of mind, joined with indignation toward her; and this is said by the angel to lead on to what he had to declare unto him. 7 And the angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? 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.

 

I will explain to you all that you have seen. 8 “The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to come up out of the abyss and go to destruction. And those who dwell on the earth, whose name has not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, will wonder with great admiration, worship and reverence when they see the beast, that he was and is not and will come. Many refer back to (Re 13:3-4)  and the fatal head wound that was healed. And I saw one of his heads as it were wounded to death; and his deadly wound was healed: and all the world wondered after the beast. 4 And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him? It expresses great fluctuation and change in the condition and power of the beast.

 

Consider Nebuchadnezzar’s image, the one from his dream. He saw a  head of gold, a chest and arm In (Daniel 2:31-33) we read “You, O king, were looking and behold, there was a single great statue; that statue, which was large and of extraordinary splendor, was standing in front of you, and its appearance was awesome. 32  “The head of that statue was made of fine gold, Babylon, its breast and its arms of silver, Medo-Persia, its belly and its thighs of bronze, Greece 33  its legs of iron, Rome its feet partly of iron and partly of clay. Some say the revived Roman Empire. Now look at (Re 13:2)And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, Greece and his feet were as the feet of a bear, Medo-Persia and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: Babylon, and the dragon the devil gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”  This king and his kingdom will resemble these kingdoms of the past.

 

9″Here is the mind which has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits, Rome is known as The City of the Seven Hills. 10 and they are seven kings; five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; and when he comes, he must remain a little while.

Consider this thought from MacArthur on (Rev 17:10) and the seven kings. He says that they are Representatives of the 7 great world empires (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and that of the Antichrist). Five have fallen, one is, and the other. When John wrote, the Egyptian, Assyrian, Babylonian, Medo-Persian and Greek empires had gone out of existence.

 

Only Rome still existed; and the Antichrist’s empire had not yet come. When it does, it will be brief and he will end in perdition. Now look at verse 11 “The beast which was and is not, is himself also an eighth and is one of the seven, and he goes to destruction. That is, the one power that was formerly mighty; that died away so that it might be said to be extinct; “still is”. Rome ceased being the Roman Empire, the Ruler of the known world but manifest itself in a new form, a religious entity known as “The Holy Roman Empire”. 

 

It has merely disguised itself. It is evident that by the “beast” here there is some one power, dominion, empire, or rule, whose essential identity has been preserved through all these changes, and to which it is proper to give the same name. It finds its termination—or its last form—in what is here called the “eighth;” a power which, it is observed, sustains such a peculiar relation to the seven that it may be said to be “of the seven,” or to be a mere prolongation of the same sovereignty. Also I call to your remembrance from our study of the 70 weeks of Daniel, the fact that the “Prince who is to come” would come from the Roman people.

 

12 “The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but they receive authority as kings with the beast for one hour. It is interesting that many who have been involved in the study of Bible prophesy have, for years, preached that this speaks of a ’10 nation confederacy known as the United States of Europe. There would be 10 principal kings under the ruler-ship of antichrist. It is a confederation of both strong and weak nations, (Iron mixed with clay). Europe has one monetary system now.

 

It could be that the kingdom of antichrist will emerge from the European Union. But again, God is not limited to anything. He could do a new thing. But whatever the case 13 “These kings have one purpose, and they give their power and authority to the beast.  They will back him with all of their might. And together 14 “These will wage war against the Lamb, and I have to ask the question: WHY? Who do these people think they are? They have no idea what they are trying to do because they are blind, dead sinners. They have no idea what Psalm 2 says.

 

The Lord will have them in derision and the Lamb will overcome them, because He is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those who are with Him are the called and chosen and faithful.” 15 And he *said to me, “The waters which you saw where the harlot sits, are peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues. These peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues will have sold themselves to the devil to do his will.

And it is interesting that they will unite against the harlot. The Beast will desire to be worshiped alone.

He will stand for no usurpers, no one will take his spotlight from him 16 “And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the harlot because they will see her as competition to he whom their dead souls love and they will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire. 17 “For God has put it in their hearts to execute His purpose by having a common purpose, and by giving their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God will be fulfilled.

 

A house divided against itself cannot stand. The kingdom of antichrist is without a foundation and will collapse from within as part of the judgment of God. And then He will visit this earth one last time to call His people home and wipe out evil forever and ever!

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