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The Destruction of the Final False Religion Part 4

The Book of Revelation  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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Revelation 17:7–14 AV
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Revelation 17:7–14 ESV
But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

Revelation 17:7–10 AV
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.
Revelation 17:11–14 AV
And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
Revelation 17:
Revelation 17:18 AV
And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Revelation 17:11-14
Revelation 17:18 AV
And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Introduction:

I. The Exposure of the Harlot (vs. 1-6, 15)

II. The Explanation of the Harlot (vs. 7-14, 18)

1. The Perplexity (vs. 7)

When we left John at the end of verse 6, he said that when he saw the woman and the beast, that he marveled with great astonishment.
Now, the perplexity comes in verse 7, when the angel says to him:
Revelation 17:7 AV
And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.
Just for a moment I want us to pay close attention as to why John was in a sate of wonder.
And what caught my attention on this was two different areas.
First, it caught my attention because john, in verse 6, uses a figure of speech called a Polyptoton.
Which is a figure of speech that is used for purposeful attention getting.
The second area that caught my attention is because in verse 7, the angel seems to correct John for his marvel at the woman and the beast.
So thew question that I think needs to be answered is: Why would John be in a state of amazement at this ungodly being so much so that the angel seems to correct him for it.
By the way, this is not the only time that the angel has to correct John in the Revelation.
When we get over to that glorious chapter, chapter 19, and the real conqueror riding the white horse emerges and we have the marriage supper of the Lamb.
The bride, who is the Church, is the given her eternal robes to wear.
An angel tells John to write these things down.
Now, I do not know what was going through John’s mind at the time; whether he just so overwhelmed at what he was seeing now compared to what he had been seeing, I do not know.
But notice what he does to the angel and what the angel says:
Revelation 19:10 AV
And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.
So for John to be corrected by is not an odd thing.
And we know that this angel is not Jesus Christ because the angel did not accept the worship.
So, what was John’s wonder about?
Let’s see if we can give you some thoughts on that.
The Greek word, the language that the NT was originally written, for “marvel” is “θαυμαζω” and it is not only a word that is used in the NT.
The Bible of the first century Christians, before the canon on the NT was complete, was the LXX.
The LXX is the Greek translation of the OT Scriptures.
As you read the LXX, you find the word “θαυμαζω” once and that is in the book of Daniel.
In Daniel chapter 4, King Nebuchadnezzar had a series of dreams and Belteshazzar (Hebrew name) or Daniel (Babylonian name) was called in to interpret the second dream.
The same Greek word “θαυμάζω” is used in verse 19 of and it means to have a fearful or troubled spirit.
The Aramaic expresses the idea of being “appalled”. It is the Aramaic word “shemam” used in , Daniel’s response to the same vision.
It could rightly be said that at the vision of Daniel “he was appalled and his thoughts troubled him”.
And this should be understood in the sense of shock and fear.
This word is also used a number of times in the NT and this sheds some light for us.
Matthew 27:14 AV
And he answered him to never a word; insomuch that the governor marvelled greatly.
I do not believe that Pilate was “amazed” at the fact that Jesus did not answer him, I believe that the context of this passage helps us better define “θαυμάζω” as Pilate was “appalled” or “annoyed” at the fact that Jesus did not answer him.
Mark 12:17 AV
And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.
Again, it was the Pharisees who were asking the question of Jesus and I do not believe that they were “amazed” and His answer, but they were “appalled, troubled”.
Luke 1:21 AV
And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple.
You remember this account, when it is was Zacharias’ turn to fulfill his turn performing the job of the high priest.
He was also very busy being told that he had Elizabeth, in their old age, were going to have a son.
Remember that Zacharias did not believe it and the because of his unbelief the Lord made him mute until the day that John was born?
Therefore,. it became difficult to fulfill his job at the high priest.
And I do not believe that the context of that passage tells us that the people waiting for Zacharias were “amazed” that he tarried coming out to perform his responsibility; they were “appalled, troubled, shocked, perplexed”.
Luke 4:22 AV
And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
Remember right after the temptation of Jesus that he went back into his home town of Nazareth and He went into the synagogue on the sabbath and He was asked to give the reading?
He read from , a prophecy about the coming Messiah, then He said this remarkable words:
Luke 4:21 AV
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
Luke 4:
And lest we think that verse 22 means that they were amazed, in a good way, at His words:
Luke 4:28–29 AV
And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.
Luke 4:
The wonder that you see in verse 22 is not amazement, but it is annoyance. They were appalled at what He was saying.
John 3:7 AV
Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.
Jesus’ words to Nicodemus were not words in response to his amazement, but words in response to his being appalled.
You see Nicodemus, being a Pharisee, would have certainly found Jesus’ words to be offensive and appalling because it went against everything that he had every been taught or believed.
So you see, as you follow this word through the whole Scripture, you find that what the word really brings to light is an attitude of fear, shock or just down right being appalled at something.
That is certainly the case with John.
He had witnessed the vision of the beasts blasphemous claims and the persecution of of God’s people.
That would certainly bring in all of the above descriptions; fear, shock or being appalled.
And it certainly would bring in a fearful perplexity over what he has witnessed.
John’s perplexity is certainly understandable.
He has just heard the announce in verse 1.
Revelation 17:1 AV
And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:
But as of this point all he has seen is a picture of her blood-thirsty magnificence and her successful collusion withe beast.
Now, just for clarification, there are some writings out there that will attempt to define the word “θαυμάζω” and “admiration”.
Part of that reason is the attire of woman.
Revelation 17:4 AV
And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:
What significance does that have?
Purple is a sign of royalty. In fact, in chapter 21, the bride-city is seen as clothed in much the same way as the woman is clothed.
The bride of Christ herself is seen as being clothed in fine cloths.
Revelation 19:8 AV
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
And given the fact that in John’s vision it says that the fine lien is the righteousness of the saints, may have led John to conclude that Joh to believe that this Babylon was not all bad but had some attractive spiritual features.
Enhancing this may have also been the OT description of the clothing of the High Priest as being “gold, purple, scarlet, linen and precious stones”.
The exact description of the clothing of this woman or, as she is named, Babylon.
Though some may say that John’s response is admiration, we must also consider the following:
Revelation 17:3–6 AV
So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.
Revelation 17:
So while there are some that may claim that John is admiring this woman because of the way she is dressed and it is the clothing of some glorious things; He understood the nature of this woman very clearly.
And, again, it is doubtful that John would have admired this woman in any worshipful way because he was already told in verse 1 that this woman is going to be judged.
But what I do believe that is indicates for us is the facts of the subtlety of false religion.
That they come to people arrayed just like the true.
Because, if the false religion came arrayed in its real nature; that would be a hard sell for people.
But because they come, dressed just like the real, people buy into it and think they are buying into truth.
So John’s perplexity was not one of admiration.
It was one of fear, shock and of being appalled.
Very similar to the attitude of the Apostle Paul in the book of Galatians.
Galatians 1:6 AV
I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel:
“Marvel” is the same Greek word, “θαυμάζω”.
Paul was not admiring them because they had gone away from the truth of the Gospel; he was appalled.
Much the same attitude of John for this Harlot religion, Babylon.

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