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Series Theme: FRAMEWORKS: Revelation

(Return to Framework Contents)

 

(The objective of these ‘Frameworks' is to provide an easy-to-read layout of the text in order then to use these individual verses for verse-by-verse study or meditation. To focus each verse we have also added in italic a description of what is happening)

FRAMEWORKS: Revelation 17 & 18

   

GO TO Ch.18

      

FRAMEWORKS: Revelation 17: Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast

 

v.1-2 Invitation to watch
v.3-7 The Woman Babylon
v.8-13 Explanation
v.14-18 Her End decreed

  

   

v.1-2 Invitation to watch

 

v.1 (punishment of a spiritual(?) adulterer) One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters. [see v.15]

v.2 (this being has led the earth astray) With her the kings of the earth committed adultery, and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.”

   

  

v.3-7 The Woman Babylon

 

v.3 (a woman on a beast is the focus) Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns.

v.4 (she is ‘dressed up') The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries.

v.5 (she is named as Babylon) The name written on her forehead was a mystery: Babylon the great the mother of prostitutes and of the abominations of the earth.

v.6 (she has killed many believers) I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of God's holy people, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished.

v.7 (the angel offers explanation) Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns.

   

   

v.8-13 Explanation

  

v.8 (this ‘died & resurrected' beast comes from the Pit and is clearly demonic leads astray unbelievers) The beast, which you saw, once was, now is not, and yet will come up out of the Abyss and go to its destruction. The inhabitants of the earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the creation of the world will be astonished when they see the beast, because it once was, now is not, and yet will come.

v.9 (the woman resides in a seven-hilled city ?Rome?) “This calls for a mind with wisdom. The seven heads are seven hills on which the woman sits.

v.10 (the ‘died & resurrected' element is to do with its heads - ?world leaders or nations) They are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for only a little while.

v.11 (this beast is a ruler) The beast who once was, and now is not, is an eighth king. He belongs to the seven and is going to his destruction.

v.12 (it will be helped temporarily by ten other kings) “The ten horns you saw are ten kings who have not yet received a kingdom, but who for one hour will receive authority as kings along with the beast.

v.13 (they entirely support the beast) They have one purpose and will give their power and authority to the beast.

   

  

v.14-18 Her End decreed

 

v.14 (they will be defeated by the Son of God) They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings—and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

v.15 (she impacts all people of the earth) Then the angel said to me, “The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations and languages.

v.16 (yet the beast & the leaders hate her dominance) The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.

v.17 (but God has decreed the kings will prevail over the beast on whom she sits) For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority, until God's words are fulfilled.

v.18 (the ‘woman' is a mighty metropolis) The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the kings of the earth.”

  

   

[Comment/Summary: This chapters is all about powers, demonic & human. The ‘woman' described as a prostitute sells herself and her false anti-God beliefs and sways the world population to agree to her thinking and ways. She is carried by the ‘demonic power' known as the (first) Beast, initially manifest in seven kings but eventually in one ‘supremo'. She exalts herself and kills God's people. Although finally described as a great city, the seven hills may well be symbolic of human administration that initially submits to her but eventually turns on her to destroy her.]

     

Note: The Beasts of Revelation: As this word occurs again in the chapter, we remind ourselves of their wider usage as we suggested previously, ‘entities' (it seems it is more than a single being and may be more a philosophy or demonic way of looking at things).

   

“The Beast from the Abyss will emerge and fight them, conquer, and kill them.” (Rev 7:11)

•  no further identification at this stage

•  but clearly a demonic entity (from the Pit)

“I saw a Beast rising from the sea.” (Rev 13:1)

•  multi-headed, violent looking, blasphemous, one head dies and raised again

•  worshipped by ‘the world', is all-powerful for a limited set period

•  clearly a demonic entity because it is only one of three cast into eternal punishment (20:10)

“I saw another Beast rising out of the ground.” (Rev 13:11)

•  identified as the False Prophet (16:13, 19:20, 20:10)

•  also a demonic entity (see above)

•  supports and bolsters up the first beast

“I saw a woman mounted on a Scarlet Beast .” (Rev 17:3)

•  supports or carries Babylon

•  this beast appears to be the first of the two, multi-headed but eventually being expressed through just one head or king (17:11)

 

 

FRAMEWORKS: Revelation 18: The Fall of Babylon

    

v.1-3 Lament Over Fallen Babylon
v.4-8 Warning to Escape Babylon's Judgment
v.9-20 Threefold Woe Over Babylon's Fall
v.21-24 The Finality of Babylon's Doom

 

v.1-3 Lament Over Fallen Babylon

 

v.1 (another great angel comes down to proclaim God's will over the earth) After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven. He had great authority, and the earth was illuminated by his splendor.

v.2 (he declares her end) With a mighty voice he shouted: “‘Fallen! Fallen is Babylon the Great!' [Isa 21:9] She has become a dwelling for demons and a haunt for every impure spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable animal.
v.3 (because she has led astray the whole earth) For all the nations have drunk the maddening wine of her adulteries. The kings of the earth committed adultery with her, and the merchants of the earth grew rich from her excessive luxuries.”

 

 

v.4-8 Warning to Escape Babylon's Judgment

 

v.4,5 (a further call comes to God's people – who are clearly still on the earth – to remain distinct from all unbelievers to avoid the judgment coming on the ‘woman') Then I heard another voice from heaven say: “‘Come out of her, my people,' so that you will not share in her sins, so that you will not receive any of her plagues; for her sins are piled up to heaven, and God has remembered her crimes. [Jer 51:45]
v.6 (she will be paid back double for her sins) Give back to her as she has given; pay her back double for what she has done. Pour her a double portion from her own cup.
v.7 (the judgments will match in amount the glory she gave herself) Give her as much torment and grief   as the glory and luxury she gave herself. In her heart she boasts, ‘I sit enthroned as queen. I am not a widow; I will never mourn.' [See Isa 47:7,8]
v.8 (therefore destruction will come speedily) Therefore in one day her plagues will overtake her: death, mourning and famine. She will be consumed by fire, for mighty is the Lord God who judges her.

 

 

v.9-20 Threefold Woe Over Babylon's Fall

 

v.9 (her fall will be mourned by many) “When the kings of the earth who committed adultery with her and shared her luxury see the smoke of her burning, they will weep and mourn over her.

v.10 (they will cry out acknowledging her judgment) Terrified at her torment, they will stand far off and cry: “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city,   you mighty city of Babylon! In one hour your doom has come!' [1]

v.11-13 (economies of all sorts will fall) “The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore— cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls; fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth; every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble; cargoes of cinnamon and spice, of incense, myrrh and frankincense, of wine and olive oil, of fine flour and wheat; cattle and sheep; horses and carriages; and human beings sold as slaves.

v.14 (their end will be acknowledged) “They will say, ‘The fruit you longed for is gone from you. All your luxury and splendor have vanished, never to be recovered.'

v.15,16 (traders will be in mourning) The merchants who sold these things and gained their wealth from her will stand far off, terrified at her torment. They will weep and mourn and cry out: “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, dressed in fine linen, purple and scarlet, and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls!
v.17 (all distributors will be in mourning) In one hour such great wealth has been brought to ruin!' [2] “Every sea captain, and all who travel by ship, the sailors, and all who earn their living from the sea, will stand far off.

v.18 (they will mourn her past glory When they see the smoke of her burning, they will exclaim, ‘Was there ever a city like this great city?'

v.19 (they will be in deep anguish) They will throw dust on their heads, and with weeping and mourning cry out: “‘Woe! Woe to you, great city, where all who had ships on the sea became rich through her wealth! In one hour she has been brought to ruin!' [3]

v.20 (the people of God are called to rejoice recognising the justice in respect of them has come) “Rejoice over her, you heavens!   Rejoice, you people of God! Rejoice, apostles and prophets! For God has judged her with the judgment she imposed on you.”

   

  

v.21-24 The Finality of Babylon's Doom

 

v.21 (a demonstration of her fall) Then a mighty angel picked up a boulder the size of a large millstone and threw it into the sea, and said: “With such violence the great city of Babylon will be thrown down, never to be found again.
v.22 (silence will fall on her) The music of harpists and musicians, pipers and trumpeters, will never be heard in you again.
No worker of any trade will ever be found in you again. The sound of a millstone will never be heard in you again.
v.23 (darkness will fall on her) The light of a lamp will never shine in you again. The voice of bridegroom and bride will never be heard in you again. Your merchants were the world's important people. By your magic spell all the nations were led astray.
v.24 (she got what she deserved for killing God's people) In her was found the blood of prophets and of God's holy people, of all who have been slaughtered on the earth.”

 

 

[Comment/Summary: First a reminder of how chapters 17 & 18 fit together:

 

Revelation 17: Babylon, the Prostitute on the Beast
- introductions to these enemy activities
Revelation 18: The Fall of Babylon
- the destruction of this ungodly and righteous activity on the earth

 

Without going deeply into the subject of interpretation of the various prophetic symbols or beings in these chapters, may we suggest the following that appear to us to come out of these chapters:

•  The impact that comes through these chapters is of powers, organisations, kingdoms or whatever other expressions of corporate humanity that could be considered.
•  But it's not merely about human godless and unrighteous endeavours, for the mention earlier of the Dragon (Satan) and then a great beast (later seen in chapter 17 as the support or vehicle for the Woman, Babylon) and later a secondary beast known as the False Prophet, all suggest satanic or demonic powers or influences bearing down on godless and sinful humanity who go on to accept and even worship these beings or entities.
•  The ‘beasts' thus seem to be human activities empowered and motivated by Satanic forces. What we have been seeing in these later chapters is the way mankind has been going while the earlier noted judgments fell.
•  These later chapters are thus explanations of the forces underpinning, motivating and during godless mankind throughout this period, energizing godless mankind to resist and reject God despite the obvious nature of the judgments (see 16:9,11)
•  Babylon appears to represent a mixture of godlessness and unrighteousness mixed with spiritual rebellion against God, especially in the way the world runs itself, perhaps [going by the language used] especially in respect of the world economy.]