About Jesus Steve Sweetman
This Section - Chapter 17
The Woman And The Beast (ch. 17:1-18)
people would say that the book of Revelation is very hard to figure out, and
that it is. In my thinking,
chapters 17 and 18 are the hardest two chapters to figure out.
I know all of Revelation has been interpreted differently by people over
the years, but the contents of these two chapters seem to experience the most
three most important words in these two chapters are, prostitute,
Chapter 16, verse 19, prepares us for this chapter
because it introduces
text itself tells us who the prostitute is.
two most mentioned cities in the Bible are
as seen in chapters 17 and 18 take us
back right to the beginning of the Bible; back to the origin of idolatry and man
made religions that is the foundation for the nations of the world.
We first see
foundation of the Babylonian Religion goes back to Nimrod, but especially his
wife, Queen Ishtar. We derive our
English word "Easter" from Ishtar.
Historians say that Ishtar deified Nimrod as the sun-god after he died.
The sun-god eventually became known as Baal, Moloch, Bel, and Balaam;
depending on the region of the
should understand that all the pagan religions of the world find their roots in
this Babylonian Religion, and that includes Islam.
Mulhammed's family history was steeped in the old Babylonian religion.
From this base, he created his own monotheistic religion which is in fact
a mixture of Babylonian style religion, Judaism, and Christianity.
should also note that pagan religion is gaining more popularity in the world as
I write this commentary here in 2015. In
the city of
thing to note is that we derive our word Easter from Ishtar.
This, along with other practices associated with western style Easter
might suggest that Christians rethink their practices of Easter.
Christians need to know that the Easter they celebrate, even in a Sunday
morning meeting of the church, is pagan.
We should note that in Ezekiel 8:14 Jewish women were
worshiping Tammuz in the temple, something that really made God angry, and for
is mentioned 287 times in the Bible.
the words "prostitute" and "Babylon", we see the word beast. It's
not hard to know who the beast represents. He
is the anti-Christ, as we will see later.
we have the three important words; "prostitute",
Prophetic Futurists understand Revelation 17 to speak of what they call
you understand the roots of
jumping ahead a bit, but verse 18 tells us that the prostitute is the city of
is one last thing to note about Babylon
as seen in Revelation 17 and 18. Many
people feel that these two chapters happen at the same time, but I don't think
they do. We will see that the
anti-Christ destroys the prostitute, that is, the religion that has permeated
the world at the end of this age and replaces it with worship of himself.
this brief introduction, now let's see what these two chapters have to say.
verse 1 John is invited to see the “punishment of the great prostitute”.
Part of this chapter thus deals with the punishment of this prostitute.
The references to sitting on many waters suggest that
her influence goes far and wide around the world. Verse
15 states that the many waters are the nations of the world.
So, there should be no confusion about that, but there is.
clear that John saw a prostitute.
It's also clear that this
verse 2 we note that this prostitute has committed adultery with the kings of
the earth. Not only the kings of the
earth have committed immoral acts with this prostitute, but most all the
residence of the earth have been intoxicated with her immoral sexuality.
I've said, Revelation 17:18 tells us specifically who this prostitute is.
So, there is no guessing here. It
states that the woman John saw was the great city that rules over the kings of
the world, and in context, that is Babylon. We need not allegorize, symbolize,
2 tells us that the kings of the earth have committed adultery with this
prostitute. That means the kings of
the earth have committed adultery with the city of Babylon. How can a city commit adultery
with the kings of the world? How can
a city intoxicate all the inhabitant of the earth with sexual immorality?
This is an important question to ask.
I mention the city New Orleans
to you, what is the first thing that comes into your mind?
It's the Mardi Gras celebration that is held every February, that finds
it's roots in religion, that is, the days leading up to the Catholic time of
lent. The whole point to Mardi Gras
the Apostle Paul walked the roads of the
Like the Babylonian religion of old, the worship of gods apart from the only true God was what religion was all about. The text clearly states that the worship of this end time religion will find its way around the world. As a matter of fact, people will be so taken with this new religion, that they will be intoxicated with it. I dare say that here in 2014 the beginnings of this religion is beginning to sweep around the world. It's a mixture of new age, paganism, and demonic spiritualism. It's the combination, or at least the attempt, of uniting all the religions of the world under one banner. Again, we are seeing this beginning to take place right now as I write these words.
vision that the angel presents to John begins in verse 3.
verse 3 John was carried away in the Spirit to a desert.
Here he saw this prostitute. When
verse 3 we also see that this woman is sitting on a scarlet beast whic
verse 4 we see this woman is dressed very eloquently and appears very wealthy.
This is the nature of this last great world religion.
Many Prophetic Futurists view this woman as the apostate church.
Others view her as a world religion. I view it more as a pagan world
religion that the apostate church becomes a part of.
Because this woman commits spiritual adultery with all the nations of the
world, it seems like what she represents is a combination of all religions, not
just apostate or false Christianity.
move today in the twenty first century to unite all world religions is
unprecedented. I believe the
mentality for this one world religion is with us right now.
Before the reality of such a religion can come about, the idea of such a
religion must first be conceived an accepted in the minds of the majority of
people in the world. This is taking
place right now. The secular
doctrine of tolerance has moved this thinking along very rapidly in recent
years. The move towards uniting
world religions into one super-religion is well underway.
The anti-Christ will adopt this super-religion that has already
been in existence, but, as we will see, and, most likely at the mid way point of
the tribulation, he'll replace it with the religion of himself.
verse 4 the clothes this woman is wearing and the words that are associated with
her shows us that this is one very hedonistic, that is, self pleasing and self
centered, religious society. This was the
nature of all of the old pagan religions. They all had immoral sexual practices
associated with them. Both male and
female temple prostitutes were just part of pagan worship.
So, when it comes right down to it, the old will become new.
with her immorality, she is bent on prosperity, as is much of western world
today, and that includes the church. We'll
see the excess of hedonistic riches later, but, suffice to say now, this
prostitute, this end time corrupt religious city, will be all about self gratification.
It's clear to me as I write in 2015 the foundation for this last world
religion is now being laid, both in the church and in the culture around us.
verse 5 we see the title of this woman written on her forehead, much like Roman
prostitutes in John’s day who wore a head band with their names on it.
The title given in most English versions to this woman is, “Mystery,
term "mother of all prostitutes" is a throw back to the days of the
old Babylonian religion that began in the days of Genesis 10.
Ishtar is the mother of the first
thinking of this prostitute as being a secret symbol, we should know the
verse 6 we see that the woman, that is, the false paganized city, “was drunk
with the blood of the saints”. In
the name of God, many followers of Jesus will be killed because of this
paganized city. Throughout
pagan history, God’s people have been persecuted and executed. Even
in the name of Christianity the true believers in Jesus have been killed.
The apostate Catholicism killed many during what has been called the dark
ages. There is nothing new about
true disciples of Jesus being executed for their faith.
This will take place right up until the end of this age.
The time of the tribulation will see more Christians killed for their
association with Jesus than in any other time period.
This is why this woman is drunk with the blood of the saints.
Like a drunken sailor, she has gone on one huge drunk during the first
half of the tribulation. I say the
first half of the tribulation because we will see that her spiritual empire will
fall and give way to worship of the anti-Christ.
in verse 6 that those who are executed are executed because of the testimony of
Jesus that they bore. The word
"bore" suggests that this was not just a belief system for these
people. The testimony was lived out
in their lives and they bore it openly. It
is no secret that these people belong to Jesus.
was astonished by what he saw, but in verse 7 the angel questioned why he would
be so astonished. What is
astonishing to man is not astonishing to angels.
They have lived in the spiritual world and know it much better than we
know it. So the angel begins to
explain to John this mystery.
lived in the city of
that the prostitute rides the beast. To
me this suggests that the prostitute's influence in the world grows with the
support of the beast, which we know is the anti-Christ.
this mysterious prostitute is now going to be explained, we cannot symbolize her
or allegorize her. The angel will
tell us exactly who she is, and, along the way tell us who the beast is.
Actually, the angel goes into more detail about the beast than the
prostitute. Only verse 18 is
dedicated to the prostitute, and, as mentioned before, verse 18 tells us that
the prostitute is the city of
verse 8 the angel says that this beast, who was, and now isn’t, but will be,
will come up out of the Abyss. This
is the beast we saw back in chapter 13. You
might want to reread chapter 13 to refresh your memory. You
will remember that this beast had a fatal wound.
The fact that at this precise moment the angel says that he is no longer,
tells us that the beast actually did die, but, the angel also says that he will
be. We do know that in chapter 13
this beast is resurrected from the dead. This
is clearly satan attempting to duplicate the resurrection of Jesus.
are two ways of looking at the time line to verse 8.
One way of viewing the time line is to understand it in John's day.
That is to say, the beast existed before John's day, but during that
exact moment in John's day he was dead. At
some later date than the exact moment the angel spoke these things to John the
beast would come alive.
other way of viewing the time line is in relation to the vision itself and not
during John's day in age. During the
period of time in the future, the beast would be alive, yet, at this exact
moment in the future this vision is referring to, he is dead.
Then, at some point beyond the future death of the beast, he would come
the moment I tend to accept the second way of viewing this beast in relation to
time. How you view this time line
will determine exactly who you think the beast refers to.
who believe the time line refers back to when John saw these visions believe the
seven heads are seven world empires before John's day, during John's day, and
after John's day. Those who believe
that all of this is future believe the seven heads are
kings yet to come. I'll come
back to this later.
this point I'll tell you that most Prophetic Futurists view this as the
anti-Christ who had received a deadly wound.
Others see it as the revived
angel also says that the emergence of this beast, or, the anti-Christ,
astonishes those whose names were not written in the book of life since
creation. We’ve seen this before.
Jesus was crucified before the foundations of the world.
The point is that all things that happen in history are no surprise to
God. At creation, He knew man would
fall, Jesus would go to the cross, the anti-Christ would appear at the end of
the age, and, that Jesus would return victoriously.
He also knew whose names would be written in the book of life, and whose
names wouldn’t be found in that book. This
is the traditional thinking among those who don't believe in predestination.
who do believe in predestination understand this to mean that only those names
that God placed in the book of life prior to creation will be saved.
I won't get involved in the discussion of predestination here.
I've done that elsewhere.
believe that the book of life originally had all names of all humans written in
it prior to creation. When a human
rejects Jesus for good, his name is blotted out of the book of life.
Those who believe this also believe there is a book called "the
Lamb's book of life". In this
book are the names of those who have given themselves to Jesus.
They are written in the book once they give their lives to Jesus. Once
there names are in this book they cannot be blotted out of this book.
believe verse 8 is telling us that because those whose names were not written in
the book of life were astonished, they give themselves to the anti-Christ just
as Christians give themselves to Jesus. Paul
speaks of such deceiving miracles by the anti-Christ in 2 Thessalonians 2:9.
8 says that the beast, or, the anti-Christ will come up out of the Abyss.
We saw this back in chapter 13 as well.
Back then I noted that the seven year tribulation, according to Prophetic
Futurists, is divided into two three and a half year parts.
The first part in where the anti-Christ comes to world domination as a
charismatic human. The second half
of the tribulation is where he rules the world empowered by satan.
Many believe he is satan incarnate. They
believe that just as God and Jesus are one, so is satan and the anti-Christ are
one. Verse 8 then tells us that the
beast will be destroyed. We will see
this take place later.
verse 9 onward the angel begins his explanation. He says that this requires
wisdom. I'd say that is an
understatement. First he says what
the seven heads mean. They mean two
things. First, he says that the
seven heads are seven hills. Secondly,
he says that they are seven kings. Five
of these kings were; the sixth king is, and the seventh is still to come. This
seventh king reigns only for a short time and then another king will appear
which is the beast, or the anti-Christ.
the NIV verse 9 and 10 states that the seven heads are seven hills and seven
kings. There are some Greek scholars
that suggest the wording in the NIV and similar versions is not a good rendering
of the Greek. The NIV suggests that
the seven heads are two things. They
are hills and they are kings. These
scholars suggest that there are not two things, but one thing, that is, the
seven heads are hills which are kings.
since I understand the time line here to be that of the narrative of the vision
and not the days in which John received the vision, I believe we must view these
kings to be in the future, not in the past, as many Prophetic Futurists view
them. Most Prophetic Futurists would
say that there have been five great empires throughout human history.
The five kings that have fallen are kings of
Prophetic Futurists view the seven hills, as if they are really meant to be
hills, as the seven hills of Rome. Therefore they associate the Catholic Church with much of this prophecy, which
in my opinion is very speculative. If
this were so, that would mean Babylon
would actually be
or hills in a Biblical setting are often associated with nations and therefore
some don’t view these hills as seven hills but seven nations.
The difficulty here is that the angel is trying to explain what the seven
heads are, so, why would he explain one symbol by another symbol?
the case to all of the above, the word "hills' is used in the text.
These seven hills might well be seven capital cities of the world that
are located on a hill where kings rule. As
an aside, and it may mean nothing at all, the headquarters of the
10 and 11 goes into more detail about these kings.
is how I see this at the moment. During
the time of the end there will be five kings that rule.
Whether they rule consecutively or all at the same time might be
debatable, but since the beast has seven heads and is always seen with seven
heads, that might well suggest that these kings rule at the same time.
If the rule of these first five kings is consecutive, then some of these
kings might well rule prior to the seven year tribulation.
Anyway, there will be a sixth king. He
must be somewhat different than the first five to be so distinguished.
This might well be the case because in the time line of the narrative the
sixth king is ruling. Once his rule
is over a seventh king will rule for a short time, which I believe is the first
three and a half years of the tribulation, who I believe at the moment, is the
anti-Christ prior to satan taking over him.
The eighth king is the anti-Christ, in the last three and a half years,
after satan has taken control of him. The
eighth king is the anti-Christ because verse 10 tells us that he is the beast.
first five kings that rule might well be some kind of coalition of kings or
heads of state. I can certainly see
that taking place. The sixth king
might well be a king that rises up as the leader among the coalition.
I can see that taking place as well.
From this union the anti-Christ will emerge onto the world scene.
I say this because verse 11 says that the eighth king, that is, the
anti-Christ belongs to the first seven. He
is a part of the first seven and emerges as the eighth king.
verse 12 we see the ten horns of the beast who are actually ten kings who have
not yet received a kingdom. It is
thus clear that we have ten men here who are not kings or leaders of any nation.
They will receive their authority as kings along with the beast.
If we stay consistent with the time line here, the anti-Christ receives
his satanic power after he rises from the dead at the mid way point of the seven
year tribulation. At the same time,
these ten men become ten kings for one hour.
To maintain my consistency concerning dates and times in Revelation, I
believe one hour means one literal our.
this is the picture according to verse 12. We're
at the mid way point of the seven years. Satan
gives the anti-Christ his authority. At
the same time ten men are given authority by satan.
These men rule for one hour and then submit to the anti-Christ as seen in
in verse 14 that Jesus returns with His chosen ones.
The chosen ones spoken of here are redeemed men and woman who will return
with Him to rule on the earth for one thousand years.
Verse 14 is actually a prediction of the last great battle that will take place at the end of the tribulation between Jesus and the kingdom of the anti-Christ. It is at this time the beast and his supporters fall in God's judgment.
15 says that the waters that John saw the prostitute on are the nations of the
world who she has lured into committing spiritual adultery with her.
Here's the picture as I presently see it.
is a literal city that influences the whole world in every aspect which
includes a false religious system. During
the first half of the seven year tribulation, the anti-Christ's kingdom rules
the world from Babylon, but this is the anti-Christ before being empowered by satan.
Verse 15 says that the waters that John saw the prostitute on are the nations of the world who she has lured into committing spiritual adultery with her. Here's the picture as I presently see it. Babylon is a literal city that influences the whole world in every aspect which includes a false religious system. During the first half of the seven year tribulation, the anti-Christ's kingdom rules the world from Babylon, but this is the anti-Christ before being empowered by satan.
verses 16 and 17 we see the destruction of the prostitute, the city of
Verse 17 says that God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose. The pronoun "their" is in reference to the ten kings who support the anti-Christ. They stay committed to the anti-Christ until God's will is done. This suggests to me that God is the one in control here. As has been throughout history, he sets up kings and He takes down kings. Here we see him installing the anti-Christ and his administration to do His will. The anti-Christ is actually a tool in the hand of God, and really, so is satan.
also believe that the pronoun "their" implies that the beast, although
being the anti-Christ, also represents the anti-Christ empire. Many have
suggested over the centuries that the beast is merely a world empire, a system
of rule, but I believe it is both.
18 ends this chapter. It says that the prostitute is the great city who rules
the kings of the earth. It's pretty
clear that according to the context, this great city is Babylon, as I stated earlier. Also as I
stated earlier' all cities have a reputation that goes beyond its borders and Babylon
is no exception to this. It influences all aspects of humanity. Its pagan,
immoral religion will be accepted by all whose names are not written in the book