Exegetical look into Revelation 17:12-18

 

  • 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!
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