What does Revelation 17:6-18 mean to us now?

13 08 2010

 

These people think they do not need Christ and that they will escape the judgment of God! Such people and thinking is only contemptible and self destructive, because nothing can challenge God. Any human conspiracy against God, no matter how vast and well planned will utterly fail, as no evil effort on our part will bear out successfully against His Way. Nor will our obnoxious behaviors or apostasy in a church will pay out success. So why do it? Meanwhile a call is being issued by God, at the same time manipulations on our part, our sinful nature and schemes battle His Church from His own flock. While the immorality of the world are being constructed and promoted by the evil ones, each one beckoning the allegiance and loyalty of the people of earth to choose—either follow the harlot of evil, or the Bride, the Loving Lord of Hosts (Rev. 21:9). This beast, whether it is a specific personality or a theme, seems to appear and cause havoc and chaos, then manipulates the situation so it seems not to be directly responsible. From a chaos in a mismanaged church to the malevolent evils from the ways of the world keep fighting against God. So, people are tricked, thinking sin is OK, and that Satan and evil are not to be blamed, or the cause. Thus, evil seemingly is not always present, but is effects are and will continue to be so, until God places His final stop on it. In the meantime we, the faithful, should not bow to evil or apostasy or even apathy for that matter. Our eyes are to be on Christ and Him alone. 

The main prostitution we should worry about as Christians is Church Leadership falling to pride, apostasy, and the ways of the world versus faithfulness to Christ! Never think evil is just in the world and not in our local church. Gossiping in God’s site is as evil as evil can be, just look up “gossip” in a concordance and see what He says about it! So is leading a church our way and not His! How we lead a church says what our real devotion and character is about, is it placating to pride, false agendas and trends or worshiping and glorifying Christ as Lord? How will your church be led? 

The main meaning for us is to heed Christ’s love, grace, and call, and that any evil power—past, present, or future—is not to be feared by us Christians! The phrase, God has put it in their hearts, refers that He is still in control. Even when the world seems to be in chaos and discord, He is there with us, ever faithful and still in charge. Our duty and call is to fix our eyes on Christ, not on the troubles. This is the key to dealing with suffering and when life does not seem to make sense (2 Cor. 4:18; Heb. 12:1-3). 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. How has understanding the background and word meanings helped you better understand? What causes people not to want to know the truth, choosing just to rely on their own thinking and presumptions? How do our presumptions get in the way of our growth in Christ?
  1. When you go through trials and troubles, what reassures you? What can you do to be better at reassuring others when they have such issues and troubles? What can you do to be better at encouragement and kindness?
  1. Church leadership falling to pride, apostasy, and the ways of the world versus faithfulness to Christ—this is the main prostitution we should worry about as Christians. So, what can we do about this?

 © 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org





The Four Main Views of Revelation 17:6-18

13 08 2010

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as the ways and means as well as God’s judgments of oppressive Rome or apostate Jerusalem. The seven hills is seen literally as Rome, either as the ones attacking Israel in 70 A.D. or the ones John is speaking about. Most in this camp see this as dealing with the seven successions of Caesars—Julius, Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, Nero, and then Galba or Vespasian (some of these had very short reigns such as Galba, Otho and Vitellius). The Great Prostitute is seen as the apostate, either Rome and its evils or Jerusalem and its rejection of God as Lord, trading allegiance to Him for compromise and apostasy. Thus, Jerusalem is prostituting itself to Rome by supporting and partaking of its evils as Jesus pointed out in Matthew 23. Others see this as Nero’s evil terror reign against the Christians. The ten horns are seen in the same way, symbolizing the kings of Rome, or the ways and means of these evil Emperors or evil apostate Jerusalem. Others see the kings and horns as the provinces of Rome and the partaking of its inequity, mainly the persecution of Christians. 

The Futurist view: Most in this camp see this passage as Rome coming back into power, the Catholic Church or another entity as its theme. Others see this as Jerusalem or the succession of the great Kingdoms of Daniel and the seventh kingdom that has not come as of the writing concerning the reign of the antichrist. The ten horns is seen as ten evil rulers under the control of the beast and antichrist, waging havoc upon the earth, such as future Europe and the fifth beast of Daniel, chapter seven, in the last days. Most in this camp see this as a parallel to Daniel, chapter seven. They also see this as leading up to the battle of Armageddon. The king of kings is seen as Christ and the waters as the nations in defiance to Him. Some see this as the Roman Catholic Church coming into greater dominion and influence with apostasy. The hate the prostitute theme is seen as rivalry between factions of evil and/or the beast—after he uses people, he destroys them. Others see this as an assertion to Jezebel and how evil she was.  

The Idealist view: They see this passage as Nero himself and his inflicting tribulations upon the early church, or the theme of his evils upon humanity over the centuries. Hills are seen as the peaks of evils, from totalitarian and anti-God governments, from Rome to Hitler. The ten horns are seen as the Parthian kings and/or the kings from the east. Others see these as the provinces of Rome or its allies, while others take a futurist view and see this as a future Europe, as the fifth beast of Daniel, chapter seven. Others see this as a symbol for anti-Christian powers dominating and persecuting the faithful. Some see this as the kingdoms that form after the fall of Rome, which lead up to the Holy Roman Empire of Caligula. These are the powers and themes that war with God and the Lamb, such as persecutions, and even apostasy in the Church. God has put it into their hearts means that God is still in charge, sovereign even and in spite of evil governments. 

The Historicist view: They see this passage as Rome, in antiquity, as a theme of a persecuting power who is evil and bows to false gods and wicked ways such as Rome’s fall because of its vices as in “the road to perdition,” or to papal Rome in the Middle Ages taking over from Rome prior to the Reformation. Some see this as Rome transitioning to the first Christian Emperors such as Constantine, and their battles with the old Rome vanguard and its evil ways, and the struggle to convert to Christianity. Others see this as the evil papacy. The ten horns are seen as the various kingdoms that spouted up hastily and that are anti-church, persecuting the faithful, such as The Holy Roman Empire and the West versus the Eastern papacy. Others see this as the succession of Roman-Gothic English kingdoms such as the Anglo-Saxons and Visigoths. The harlot burning is seen as the fall of Rome and it being literally burned by the Goths. Some see this as the French Revolution in the late 18th century.





Exegetical look into Revelation 17:12-18

13 08 2010

 

  • Ten horns. Rome, at this time, had ten, main, imperial provinces, representing the totality or conspiracy of evil. Possibly refers to Daniel’s 10 kingdoms and kings and/or the meaningless succession of kings who have contempt for God. This is also an allusion to the Parthian threat as it describes their leadership structure and their horse fittings “Satraps.” This does not appear to mean “angel kings” (Dan 7:24; Rev. 16:12-16; 19:19; 20:08).
  • Not yet received a kingdom…Lamb will overcome them. Meaning nothing can challenge God. Any human conspiracy against God, no matter how vast and well planned, is nothing to God. God will prove His Way and make evil and apostasy pay (Psalm 2:2; 83:5; Is. 1:21; Jer. 2:20; Ezek. 16 7 23; Micah 1:7).
  • One hour. Means a short period of time and/or a period of temptation (Mark 13:11; Rev 3:10).
  • Will give. Referring that at this time, it is beyond temptation and deception; they are willing and thus responsible for their choice (Rev. 13:4; 16:17).
  • King of kings. A title for the Parthian kings. It is an insult to the reference as a title for God and the real “King of kings.” Christ is Lord, and the supreme sovereignty. This is also alluding to those who rule over Jerusalem (Deut. 10:17; Psalm 136:2-3; Ezek. 26:7; Dan. 2:37, 47; 10:17; Acts 4:26-27; 1 Tim. 6:15).
  • Then the angel said to me. This angel commences to explain to John these symbols. The “waters” are the confused people while the devil’s deceptions and hatred turn upon themselves and mutually destroy each other (Rev. 3:15-16 8:10,11 17:1).
  • The beast/the devil hateswill hate the prostitute. Evil has no real companionship or loyalty, and will turn on even itself, meaning it will self-destruct. Evil will turn upon itself and others that are evil; there is no loyalty or good character in wickedness. They only gather for their own selfish reasons that fit them at the time. This is also a possible allusion to the fall of Rome and how its kings and provinces quickly abandoned their commitment and faith to Rome in the fifth century. (Jer. 4:30; Lam. 1:2; Ezek. 16:37-41; 23:9; Amos 1:4; John 8:44; Rom. 6:23; 2 Thess. 2:8-12).
  • Eat her flesh and burn her with fire. Meaning self-destruction, as one’s depravity equates one’s loss. Also, that one evil judges other evil as they punish each other. This is a possible reference to how Nero burned Rome with the consequence being the loss of his empire and then his life. Without faithfulness, we have nothing. It can be how the Barbarians, and then later the Goths, overran Rome and destroyed it. This can also mean political powers and their lust for power and control. In addition, God uses one evil to judge another evil. This is also a theme of evil and Satan; after he uses people, he destroys them (Lev. 21:9; Jer. 51:11-29; 52:3; Joel 2:11; Amos 1:4; Dan. 7:11).
  • Give the beast their power to rule. Evil dominates this world but has limited power and authority.
  • God has put it into their hearts. This is a picture of God’s grace and assurance that He is with us in dire times, and that he is still in control, even when we do not see Him (Is. 54:16-17).
  • The great city is a colloquialism for Rome, as we might say “Wall Street,” referring to stocks and business, not necessarily the actual street. Thus, this is referring to the evils of Rome or the attitude and way of the evils of Rome. It also alludes to Jerusalem breaking her covenant with God (1 Kings 10:24; Ezra 1:4-7; Rom. 2:17-24).
  • Rules over the kings is also a colloquialism for Rome. There was no doubt to John’s readers—John was clearly referring to Rome and its evils. But, the application and context was to the seven churches!




Exegetical look into Revelation 17:6-11

13 08 2010

 

  • Drunk with the blood of the saints/martyrs/witnesses…testimony to Jesus. Saints here refers to “witnesses” as in a court of law, of Christ whose testimony showed who He is. This is a comparison of what is evil to what is good, a parody of evil and why we need to have hope and trust in Christ (Is. 23:17; Jer. 51:7; Acts 22:20; Rev. 2:13; 14:8; 16:6; 17:6; 18:3).
  • Greatly astonished/wondered. John was “marveled” as in awestruck by the audacity of the situation; this is not admiration as in approval, rather astonishment with disgust (2 Cor. 11:14). 
  • Once was, now is not, and will come up/that was, and is not, and yet is. Perhaps John sees that Satan is active for a time and then is stopped. This also means the beast’s power was gone or limited for a time, and then he rises up for a final battle. Some see this as Satan’s actual appearance on earth. Also, this is the symbol that evil is persistent, the universal struggle between good and evil, between God and Satan, even when we do not see it or admit to it. This phrase also alludes that persecutions are coming’ persecutions tend to have a pattern, as told in Daniel. This, in context, means the attempt to counterfeit God, as the Lamb of God (Gen 3:1, Job 1:7; Dan. 7; 1 John 12:31, 16:7-11; Acts 1:16-18; 2 Thess. 2:7;1 Pet. 5:8; Rev. 1:4-8,18; 2:8; 4:8; 9:1-11; 13:2-3; 12:9-10; 20:7).
  • Book of life. (See Revelation Study 13:5-8)
  • Go to his destruction. Evil will have its day of judgment, and its ultimate fate has been set by God. This may also be referring that although evil is a genuine reality and it is unrelenting, there will be a time to come when God places a stop to it. He also limits it, for the believer, with His grace by not allowing anything to come to us that we can’t bear or learn from (John 15:16; 17:12; Acts 15:10-11; Rom. 13:4; 1 Cor. 10:13; 2 Thess. 2:3).
  • Will be astonished. Evil will be judged; in the meantime, they will think they are in the clear and are doing OK. This is a great comfort for struggling Christians under persecution (Rev 20:1-3, 7-10).
  • Seven heads are seven hills. Refers to Rome, as the original Rome was an association of seven hill colonies on the bank of the Tiber River. This also refers to its festival of “Septimontium.” This was an image on some of the Roman coins (Rev. 2:14).
  • Seven hills. In context the words “mountains” or “nations” mean political kingdoms or territories. This was also a common title, literary pictogram, and symbol for Rome. Its banner and seal bore an image of “the city on seven hills.” (Roman writers of the time used this image such as Martial, Virgil, and Cicero.) In Jewish writings, this meant judgment (Sibylline Oracles 2:18; 11:109-116). John often uses complementary symbols to make his point as he does with kings in this passage.
  • Seven kings. From the first emperor Augustus, to Domitian, there were seven; thus, it is a possible connection to the then current state in Rome to the Seven Churches, or a metaphor for us on corruption and the dangers of following it. This can also be a metaphor for the power of the Roman Empire or the succession of the mighty, ancient kingdoms of Egypt, Babylon, Meads, Persia, Rome, and/or one that was forgotten or yet to come. The main meaning for us is that we as Christians do not need to fear any evil power—past, present, or future! All of the kings were dead or will die and God is still in control. There were many myths in the Emperor Worship cults that the dead emperors would rise, come back, and seek revenge on all those who do not worship them. This was very popular and feared (Rev. 13).
  • Five have fallen. May refer to the cycle of persecutions or that in the succession of the seven Roman Emperors at the time of the writing, two are left to come.
  • Destruction. Referring to “perdition,” as that evil is self destructive and will fall upon itself.




What are the Contexts in Revelation 17:6-18?

13 08 2010

 

John is clearly writing to the seven churches and consequently to people being persecuted by Rome. Rome was a blood-thirsty, pagan empire that oppressed its people, especially Christians, who were considered criminals and slaves and used for sadistic entertainment. Rome was extremely corrupt and fell because of it. Thus, the imagery of Rome in this passage may be referring to the persecution and martyrdom the early Christians faced in life under Rome, either as illustration or as the principle point. In addition, this is a template for how evil and its power operates in the past, present as well as in the future. This is also leading to its future, its self destruction. Rome at this time gave away food to appease its citizens while they enticed them with sins and heinous amusements of people being slaughtered in arenas. Placating to Rome gave one privileges; standing up to it gave one death or the loss of land and rights. The issue before the Church was compromise and loyalty—would their allegiance be to a prostitute Rome, to Christ, or to what? Some theologians have suggested that “Babylon” referred to apostate Jerusalem, but there is little Jewish evidence for that. The principle arguments against Jerusalem as the subject matter of this passage is that it does not sit on many waters nor did it reign over other nations at this time! 

The main issue at stake is compromise and how we seek to rationalize our sins as OK, ignoring our Lord, and doing as we please. This is the way of the world that leads to judgment and condemnation. In Christ, there is no condemnation but there is still the choice to do as we please in our Christian lives, which I called “liberty.” He still loves us, but are we going astray in our churches and personal lives? Are we seeking out the harlot and not Him? Remember, this letter is to Christians who are misleading their churches!





Revelation 17:6-18

13 08 2010

Introduction 

The Woman and the Beast 

John is astonished; he cannot believe the audacity of this great prostitute and her unashamed willfulness to sin and leading others to do so. But, the angel reassures John that this prostitute, the beast, and their entire minion are condemned and judged and will go to eternal damnation. Thus, they are the ones who will be ultimately astonished when they see their ways punished by His Way. The angel further explains the meaning of these images for him and his churches so he can take and convey the hope of Christ to those whose hope wavers. Those who have oppressed the Church and conducted evil and reproach to those who are righteous are condemned and judged and will be sentenced soon. Yet, these evil governments will seek to rise up and fight against God for one last time, but they will not succeed. Mere man cannot fight against the Lord of all, the King of kings! God’s plan cannot be thwarted or manipulated; it will be fulfilled. We can trust in Him! 

Are you eager for Christ’s return? Why would someone not be? What have you been astonished by concerning this? 

Who has command of you and your church? Is it pride, trends, and agendas, or is it God and His preeminence? What are you going to do about it? What does Christ want you and your church to do?





What does Revelation 17:1-5 mean to us now?

31 07 2010

 

Got Apostasy in your life and church? Did you know that the term “antichrist” means anyone or anything that hides or hinders Christ, and/or prevents people from knowing and worshiping Him, even by Christians? This can be from a misplaced word that attacks someone so deeply they leave and never return to a church, to full-blown apostasy. Read 1 John! 

Another question we need to ask is what are we loyal too? Fades, trends, ideas, or the precepts of Scripture and the glorification of Christ? Why are Christians so interested in chasing fads? Did you know every theory and prediction of Christ’s return and the patterns of the day leading to His return have all been wrong? Another fad we tend to chase is trends on how to lead and manage His Church. Most of these are like chasing the harlot while ignoring the beckoning of Christ and His Way. We seek to water down His Holy Word to attract people—just as the devil manipulates people to trick them to his ways while we are called to disciple, teach, and worship Christ as Lord…His Way. 

Being a harlot means we are engaged in and promoting apostasy! What about factions, gossip, and pride? These are the things that God hates the most and cause the greatest destruction to any given church, something even Satan himself could never do. Point? WE are the real enemy of enmity, our sin building and conniving and converging upon one another, while we ignore Christ and His supremacy, precepts, and call! 

God is calling you and me—those who lead and pastor churches, who influence people in the church, who sit on committees, teach, or like to flee from manipulating and gossiping behind the scenes—to wake up and SEEK HIM, not ourselves or ideas or plans or trends! 

Questions to Ponder: 

  1. How does chasing trends affect how a pastor or church leader may lead and mange “His Church?” How can one discern between good trends and bad?
  1. Have you ever considered that most of them are like chasing the harlot while ignoring the beckoning of Christ and His Way?
  1. Who has command of you and your church? Is it pride, trends, and agendas, or is it God and His preeminence?
  1. What about factions, gossip, and pride? What are you going to do about it? What does Christ want you and your church to do?

 © 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries http://www.intothyword.org





The Four Main Views of Revelation 17:1-5

31 07 2010

 

The Preterist view: They see this passage as referring to first century Rome; the harlot is Rome, representing its sin, and the consequences of its sin leading to its judgment and downfall. This passage gives greater details that have taken place in chapter 16. They see the scarlet beast as the same beast of the sea in Chapter 13, namely Rome. The scarlet is the blood that was spilt by the devastation upon Jerusalem. A few in this camp see this as Jerusalem, and the giving of the events when Rome destroyed it in 70 A.D. Of all the key words in this passage that allude to Rome, one is also used for Jerusalem, the “great city.” Thus, others in this camp see Rome depicted as destroying and not being the one judged. Also, harlot is sometimes used for apostasy of the priests and kings of Israel (Is. 1:21; 57:8; Jer. 2:20).The usage of terms in this chapter is a good argument for this position in general.

The Futurist view: They see this passage as the Catholic Church or the rise of an “antichrist” figure causing apostasy in the Church. Many see that Babylon will be rebuilt or the Roman Empire rising up again, the sacrificial system restored, and the need for the “red heifer” to atone for peoples sins. All this is happening at the close of the tribulation as the wicked rise up for one last volley against God, setting up the world for Christ’s return. Because Revelation is not necessarily in a chronological order, many in this camp have a hard time with this passage. Most say it is describing events prior to the judgment Bowls, and many see the seventh bowl as Christ’s second coming. There is a lot of discussion of at what point in the tribulation this all takes place. Most see Babylon as The Roman Catholic Church, a new Roman empire rising up, or a new, corrupt, religious system. Some see this as the reprising of the Vatican or it becoming more corrupted then ever before, mostly due to the description of dress of the harlot seen as priestly garments. Some have said the harlot could be apostate Christians who say they are serving Christ but are really serving other gods, or the decay of society as people “pimp” themselves to immorality and false gods. Others say that this harlot is the sum total of the pagan influences upon the world that the “antichrist” uses or develops for his purposes. The beast is seen the same as in chapter thirteen, but now showing her support, or else the political power behind the “antichrist.” Drunk is seen as the cruelty and bloodshed from the “antichrist.” 

The Idealist view: They see this passage as the evils of the world, its corruption, and its consequential influences upon the Church. Babylon is anything that causes people to seek sin, be seduced by evil, or fight against God. Ancient Babylon is seen as the template for evil governments, their wickedness, and their oppression. Adultery is seen as the ruins of Roman providences, seeking the favor of Rome by evil acts. Others see it as the vices of Rome that led to its downfall. Wilderness is seen as the “detachment” of Christianity from civilization such as the monastic movements, or the lack of Christian influence in the governments. The scarlet beast, as the same beast of the sea in Chapter 13, is seen as Satan. The dressed in purple is the prostitution of Rome and how it led the men to further wickedness and apathy. The harlot is Rome and its depravity that led to its self destruction. Others see it as anything that distracts one from God—the lust of the world. Drunk is seen as the indulgences of Rome and/or how they persecuted the Church, and the blood that was on their hands because of it, such as Nero.

The Historicist view: They see this passage as the fall of the Catholic Church and the corrupt papal system, as the true Church gains victory. They see this chapter as giving extra insights of the events of chapter 16 and of the Turks and Muslim invaders too. Each of these key words is seen as descriptions of the Roman Catholic Church. Wilderness is seen as “Campagna,” the desert area that surrounds the city of Rome where the Vatican is. Ten horn and beast are the persecutions to the faithful by the papacy. Scarlet refers to the priests—their vestments and their pompousness. The Mother Harlot is seen as Pope Benedict the 13th. Others see this as the apostate churches that have spouted since the Reformation, such as liberalism. Cup and forehead refer to the papal indulgences prior to the Reformation, and causing the faithful to worship what is false or hidden from their sight, and languages, as the Mass was behind a veil in being spoken in Latin. Drunk is seen as bloody persecutions of the Medieval Period and the martyrs who tried to reform the Church, such as Wycliffe. (Some accounts have reported the slaughter of millions—up to 50 million faithful Christians by the papacy during the period of the fall of Rome and the Reformation.)





Exegetical look into Revelation 17:3-5

31 07 2010

 

  • Carried me away/in the spirit. Usually means “spiritual ecstasy,” that is, to be caught up in a vision (not necessarily teleportation, although it can be). The term is not referring to the Holy Spirit, but can mean being influenced by Him (Ezek. 8:3; 11:1-24; Rev. 1:10; 4:2; 21:10).
  • Desert/wilderness refers to the Exodus, but this time, a new exodus. This can also mean demonic—what is evil and foreboding or barren and desolate (Rev. 12:14).
  • Scarlet. Perhaps referring to blood that was spilt from the killing—the martyrs of God’s people. This can also be a retort on the seduction of the shrine prostitutes and their wealth and impiety, and also sinful conduct. (This is the passage for the theme of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic work, “The Scarlet Letter” of 1850!) This has nothing to do with a “red heifer” (holy cow) or a ‘scapegoat.” Such a view shows the necessity to read the Bible and not the daily newspaper or depend on our presumptions for our views on eschatology. Because Christ’s sacrifice is complete, we can add nothing to it now or in the future (Num. 19; Lev. 16; Jer. 4:30; Matt. 27:28; Heb. 9:19; Rev.13:1; 18:12).
  • Beast is probably the same beast mentioned in chapter 13, a possible reference to the Roman goddess “Roma” and the legend of the “she-wolf.” Also, it could be an image for Rome and its corruption. Ironically, in Rome’s quest and lust for luxury, they ended up destroying themselves into the dark ages of extreme poverty (Dan. 8).
  • Blasphemous names infers that God’s name is not worthy; whereas, in reality, He is worthy. (See Revelation 13:1-4 study.)
  • Seven heads refers to supernatural manipulation or the appearance of it, as in tricking people (Rev. 13:1).
  • Dressed in purple and scarlet refers to the “royal colors” of priests; here, it is perverted and used for idolatry. This also refers to the excess and “over the top” luxury at the expense of others. Such colors and clothing dyes were very rare and expensive. It may also refer to Jezebel and her wickedness and idolatry as adultery. Martin Luther was convinced this referred to the papacy he called “popery.” Thus, a contrast of goodness and evil (Ex. 20:1-3; Rev. 12:1; 18:7).
  • Glittering with gold… a symbol of contempt, slander, and/or a disrespect for authority, as pious women had head covering and prostitutes adorned their hair (1 Cor. 11:3-16).
  • Cup refers to indulgences and what one dishes out, promotes, and uses.
  • Forehead refers to being unashamed of sin!
  • Mystery means a “secret symbol” used in Gnosticism and the false religions at that time that demanded its people go through ridiculous rituals and initiation rites. This is what is referred to as apostasy (2 Thess. 2:3-7). 
  • Babylon the Great. Here it refers to great confusion when associated with the key words in verse 1, waters and mystery. Babylon was also an early church code word for Rome and also for false worship and oppression which will be addressed in the next two chapters of Revelation (Jer. 51:12-13; Psalm 137:1; Rev. 14:8; 17:15).
  • The mother of prostitutes/the great whore. A Jewish saying meaning “abomination,” ‘terrible,” and “confusion rests on the people.” This is an image of extreme evils, oppression, sexual exploitations, and the seductions of the world, referring to the evils of paganism and immorality and rationalizing it as OK (Lev 18:23; Jer. 3:3; Ezek-. 27; Hos. 2:2; Rev. 2:23; 7:3; 13:6).

 





Exegetical look into Revelation 17:1-2

31 07 2010

 

  • One of the seven angels, meaning a “tour guide.” This is a common image in apocalyptic writing—someone who guides the seer or reader to what these events mean (Rev. 1:4, 10; 14:8; 16:19; see Revelation 1:9-20 Study).
  • Prostitute/harlot/whore is from the Greek word, “porne,” from whence comes the English word “pornography.” It means promoting and/or partaking in the grievous sin of fornication that hurts, steals, and destroys. This is an image used in the Old Testament to mean the abandonment of one’s covenant to God or the unfaithfulness and faithlessness of Israel. Also, this means the seductions of the world and that we have to be on guard as Christians. It is people being allured into sin, yet knowing it is sin and being able to resist—as people seeking to disobey God and/or to serve evil. To choose sin is a deliberate choice, one that God hates passionately. This was also a term used by the early church for Rome (Lev. 17:7; Is. 1:21; 26:16-18;  57:3; Jer. 3:1-14; Ezek. Chaps 16 & 23; Hos. 4:15).
  • Who sits on many waters means confusion; this was also an early church “code word” for Rome, as Rome was a vast, Mediterranean empire mostly on the coast or near many bodies of water (Psalm 65:7; 137:1; Jer. 51:13).
  • Kings of the earth. This was an early church term that referred to the various states of Rome, such as Syria; each one had their own king, like Herod, who was over the Judea-Jerusalem province. This word also refers to “mortal men” and was a derogatory term for fornication and idolatry; it did not refer to angels or demons.
  • Committed adultery/sexual immorality means betraying God by committing acts of immorality. These people had no reservations or protests to following an evil empire and being used by them. Their belief was that one has a license to sin; thus, one does not need to be obedient to God, His precepts, civil law, or any moral standards, nor have a need to bear fruit. God says this is evil as it portrays evil as being good. This can also be a reference to the “Emperor cult” and the governors practicing and promoting it, using it as an excuse for extreme immorality and wickedness (Judges 17:6; Jer. 2:31-37; Rom. 6:1-2; 14-15; 13:8, 10; Gal. 5:14; 6:2; Gal. 5:22-25; James 2: 14-26; Jude 4; Rev. 2:20).   
  • Were intoxicated with the wine/Babylon’s wine refers to the evils of sin and how it corrupts and destroys, even for the people who use them thinking they are tools to get what they want (Jer. 51:7).





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