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Revelation Bible Study #23 The Woman and the Beast

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Revelation Series #23

The Woman and the Beast.

Revelation 17


Romans 12:2 says  Be not conformed to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may prove what is the will of God

There is an ongoing struggle between Satan and God Almighty to conform the world into their own pattern and plans.  Ultimately God will win, but to the very end Satan will attempt to conform the world to his wicked agenda to supplant Christ as Lord, head, director of the affairs of the universe.

No one is neutral when it comes to this struggle.  Jesus said you can't serve God and Material things, you will love one and hate the other one.  Jesus said that whoever is not for him is against him.  So it is here, Satan doesn't care if you are an active "Satanist" it is confirmation for his plans if you reject the things of God whether you openly choose satan or not.  His plan is to turn the world away from Christ whether passively or actively it doesn't matter to him

When we get to this time of the end, Satan's influence and call will be so great that most of the world will be unable that is, unwilling to resist it.

Jesus Christ when he came in Matthew 4 preached "Repent for the Kingdom of Heaven is near" - That is turn away from everything else and submit to the Kingdom of God in Christ.  Satan will do the same thing.  The beast will call all to Repent, to leave their way, their truth, their life, and surrender to HIS Kingdom, the Kingdom of Satan manifest in the Beast.

In these chapters we are going to see what God has in store for the Dragon, for the Beast and the False Prophet and for the prostituted Kingdom, that is the world that is transported by the Beast into Apostasy and Blasphemy

Remember that when the 7th Bowl was poured out it said that Babylon in particular got a FULL CUP of God's wrath, as the wrath was poured out on the whole Kingdom of the world that followed the Beast.

So we see in these chapters a different angle and explanation of God's wrath poured out on the Kingdom of this world.

Different Viewpoints of Chs 17-19

Historicist Approach:

·     The fall of Babylon the harlot is the overthrow of the papal system of religion and government-yet to be seen in the future. These chapters feature the divergent reactions of the godly and the ungodly to this final vindication of true religion.

·     The rider on the white horse represents the ongoing conquests of Christ through His Word, or else His continuing campaign of judgment upon other enemies.

Preterist Approach:

·     Babylon is identified either with Rome or with Jerusalem.

·     If the former, these chapters describe the downfall of the Roman Empire and especially of the city of Rome, the harlot.

·     If Babylon is Jerusalem, these visions depict the burning of that city by the Romans and the mixed reactions of the wicked and the righteous.

Futurist Approach:

·     Babylon may represent the Catholic Church or some great apostate religious entity forming under the Antichrist in the end times.

·     Alternatively, Babylon may be a city-either a restoration of the ancient Babylon or a revived Rome.

·     In any case, this great enemy of truth and righteousness will be destroyed in the end of the Tribulation, to the chagrin of the wicked but the rejoicing of the righteous.

·     Jesus visibly returns to earth in chapter 19, riding a white horse.

Spiritual Approach:

·     Babylon represents the world system as the seducer of the godly.

·     Its destruction at the end of the age is depicted in terms of its current manifestation in John's time: Rome.

·     The ultimate judgment upon this harlot comes through Christ at His Second Coming, who is the rider on the white horse.

·     Alternately, the rider may represent Christ's more gradual conquests over the world system through the preaching of the gospel.

Tonight as we look at chapter 17 … let's just walk down verse by verse

The great tool that the Antichrist will use to bring the people of the world along his wicked and deadend path will be a false, unified world religion

17:1 - Show - Punishment - we have already been shown the exacting of punishment on Babylon in 2 places in Revelation 14:8 and 16:19 - but we get still more detail and a different angle.  - She will get what her sin, wickedness, and rebellion deserve

great prostitute - a prostitute offers a substitute for love, takes someone away from the rightful object of affection and always costs the one who responds to her wiles - Soloman warned of her in Proverbs 7 - she is attractive she is satisfying but it is a substitute and she costs dearly and always costs more than you thought or the agreed upon amount -

Prostitution is used throughout the old testament in talking about idolatry or false religion - Nahum 3 (Nineveh); Isaiah 23 (Tyre); Isaiah 1 (Jerusalem)

          Sits on many waters - sovereign power to rule over many people - "waters" --- "sits over" - denotes rule

17:2 - kings committed adultery - We were meant to love and worship Christ alone --- Fornication is love before marriage and adultery is love outside of marriage --- both are committed --- those who do not know Christ are committing fornication - those who know of Christ or should have been promised to him commit adultery - This earth and the fullness there of belong to the Lord so when the WORLD is lead astray it is the same as adultery

17:3 - carried --- desert - when he see the Bride of Christ and the New Jerusalem, John goes to a high mountain … but when he sees that path that the world will take and that religion will take it there, he is taken to the desert - wilderness - GREEK (eremos - /er-ay-mos/) - solitary, lonely, desolate, uninhabited -

          woman - sitting on a scarlet beast - explanation of the beast later but it is the same beast we already know as the Antichrist - she rides or uses him, but he is really leading her - -- Compare THIS woman with the woman of ch 12 - Chapter 12 is Israel - he sees her in the heavens - THIS woman in the desert - BOTH bear children are mothers - Israel a son --- Christ - The Messiah; Here she is the mother of all harlots/abominations - she is the spirit by which the world is lead astray - Both dressed beautifully - Israel clothed in the radiance of the sun, this one in fine purple, scarlet, gold, silver, stones, pearls - everything THIS woman has is from the earth, but Israel's is from above.  Both are influential; both have struggles - Israel with the Dragon; this one with the Kings who learn to hate her.  But one woman is pure, the other is a prostitute.  They produce opposites, purity in one and impurity in the other.  They are supported by opposites … heavenly and evil … Blasphemy is one head, while 12 stars of the patriarchs and apostles is on the other.  They are rivals

17:4 - golden cup - wealth, full of filth, causing the world to drink will make them drunk and stupid as they believe her lies and are seduced by her charms -

17:5 - Title written on her forehead - Roman prostitutes wore a headband with their name on it - They were unashamed - unlike those who would do it in the quiet of night --- This will be a time where rejecting God and worshipping the Beast will be proudly proclaimed and received

          Name - Mystery mystery meaning that it has been hidden but now is revealed - The world is heading toward a religious system that will consume the world and sweep them to destruction - Babylon the Great - Babylon is coming again, either literally or figurative for another city like unto it … I lean toward literal.  This blatant departure from Jehovah will, in my opinion, WANT to relate to the Past glory, and spiritual promiscuity of Historical Babylon.  It will be retrofitting the world religion. Mother of Prostitutes --- Mother of Abominations - as we are all descended from Eve - All false religion is descended from Babel/Babylon - From the founder of Babylon - Nimrod - according to Arab records he is the First to claim to be a KING --- he crowned his own head and claimed to be the earthly personification of Orion or the Sun

Verse 6 -I saw -- greatly astonished - three Greek words here - thaumazo - thauma (thos-ma) - megas  - "I was greatly astonished" - he says this BLEW MY MIND - I marveled, was amazed, admired, stared in disbelief; wondered exceedingly; great --- It's like John says I looked at this and it I couldn't imagine that it would ever be this way.  - He couldn't imagine that this Woman and her offspring would be so worshipped --- Worship of Mother and Child - sound familiar ---

Nimrod - Gen 10 --- he founded Babylon - his wife was named Semiramis - The stories coming out of that she wanted HER son Tammuz to fulfill the prophesy to Eve of an offspring saving the world so she declared her son THAT savior.  As an adult it is said that he was killed by a wild boar … at the most he was injured.  After she spent 40 days weeping over him, he was resurrected.  Of this story comes the cultic worship of mother and child.  It spread through the whole world … IN Assyria she is Istar and Tammuz her son.  In Phoenicia she is Ashteroth and her son Baal.  In Egypt she is Isis and Osiris her son.  In Greece she is Aphrodite and her son Eros.  To Romans she is Venus and her son Cupid.  They worshiped her with a with a little cake or wafer and called her the queen of heaven.  They had 40 days of weeping or Lent over the loss of Tammuz before the Feast of Ishtar, and then celebrate his resurrection.  The sign of Tammuz was an egg.  And symbolized his resurrection.  They Mysterious Secret of Babylon was filled with sacramental rites and rituals which included dedicating virgins, fires of purgatory to rid of past sins, and many other things we would recognize today.  If you think this is hogwash … read in Jeremiahv44 of the worship of the QUEEN OF HEAVEN … they made offerings, drink offerings and cakes with her image.  Ezekiel 8:14 shows them weeping in Lent for Tammuz among God's People

This worship of mother and child continued through to the Emperor's who were Pontifex Maximus, or high priest of their idol worship.  When there were no longer emperors, that title of Pontifex Maximus was transferred to the Bishop of Rome. 

There is NO female deity in scripture.  That is nothing against females it is just NOT there.  There is NO WHERE in scripture where MARY is worshipped alongside Jesus, she is seen as a wonderful, faithful, humble woman.  The last time we see her she is but one of the faithful in the church in Acts chapter 1.  Then she is never mentioned again.

The cult of worship of the mother and child is nothing less than Babylonian Idolatry … it is the Mother of Harlots that has already invaded Christianity and one day will again dominate ALL religions and John couldn't believe it!

17:7 - don't be amazed … I'll explain

17:8 - Beast - once was --- now is not --- will come up - this is the Antichrist - he was in power, at this point has been killed or a hoax of his death has been perpetuated - and he will come up --- either he will be "resurrected" by the incarnation of a demon within his lifeless body OR after his fake death and resurrection he will be fully possessed by demonic spirits - This will amaze and infatuate the world

17:9 - 7 Heads, 7 hills, on which she sits --- Rome sat on 7 hills so many would point this as ONLY Rome --- but as we are obviously seeing a symbolic picture of actual events in this woman --- Rome is a picture but it is not limited to Rome - The 7 Hills then as we find are 7 Kings so they are a worldwide and generations wide Kingdom(s)

17:10 - 7 Kings - 5 fallen - 1 Is - One to come for a little while - 7 Great Empires that have been under the Woman - Only have been 5 WORLD Kingdoms - Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Antichrist - the First 5 had ALREADY existed before John's time --- ROME was the current Power … and The antichrist's will come for a short time (3 ½ years) - Interesting that in 2000 years there has NOT been a ONE WORLD power as all the others.  God's Word is TRUE -

17:11 --- the beast - 8th King - belongs to the 7 - belongs to literally means is "out of the 7" - he is part of the 7 and is separate from the 7 --- The Beast will be both the 7th Kingdom AND the 8th.  In the first 3 ½ years his peaceful world Kingdom will be set up and then after his death and resurrection he will create the 8th and worst kingdom of them all - He will have used the Woman … to seduce the world and then he will do away with that religion and create his own as the new one to be worshipped

17:12 - 10 horns - 10 kings - they are from Kingdoms that currently do not exist when this prophesy was written

          will receive authority - they will continue as district or regional rulers under the beast

          one hour - a short period of time - that 3 ½ year span if you will

17:13 - they will be raised up for one purpose - to turn over authority to the Beast - Paul told us in Acts 17 and in Romans 13 that all rulers and authority, times and seasons are determined by God.  So even these wicked kings serve a purpose as they are of the right persuasion to surrender authority, they think for good, to the beast.

17:14 - They will make war - Armageddon

          The Lamb will overcome - because he is ALREADY Lord of lords, and King of kings, they have no authority he does not give.  Jesus said, "no one takes my life from me but I give it freely" - Those rulers are deceived into thinking they have power, thinking they are able but Jesus IS LORD, NOT Jesus WILL BE Lord. 

17:15 - The waters - peoples, multitudes, nations, languages --- There is NO grouping of people, by nation, by linguistics, by fraternity, by dispensation or affinity that will not fall under the rule, leadership, direction, spell, of the Prostitute. --- She will have a hold, authority on all … When religion gets ahold of people they will do almost anything --- Think in history how those under the banner of Christ stormed through Europe killing Muslims in the Crusades.  Think of the White Supremacists who claim to worship Jesus and impart hatred and death.  Think of the Muslims bombing, setting fires, riots, over a misguided editorial cartoon.  Just a picture of how false religion can control.  When people unite around this ONE religion it will lead the whole world, it will invade every aspect of society

17:16 - beast / 10 horns will HATE the prostitute … bring to ruin … leave naked … This peaceful world religion will be destroyed with no semblance of it left behind and replaced with Worship of the Beast and the Dragon and the authority and power of the Prostitute will remain intact.

17:17 - God has put it into their hearts - This is like where Pharaoh's heart was hardened … this does NOT incriminate God in forcing anyone to do anything.  No, an Almighty, Omniscient, Omnipresent God, takes the natural inclinations and determination in the hearts of these wicked rulers and uses it to bring about HIS purposes and plans.

          Give the beast their power - Could the United Nations play a part in this … Could BE …

          Until God's words are fulfilled - there is a purpose, there is a timetable, God is in control

17:18 - The woman - the great city - rules

          The woman will be in a place where Religious power is exhibited over the earth.  And at the same time unites the earth

          Could this be the Catholic Church?  Touchy question, dangerous question … Are Roman Catholics true Born Again Christians?  Some are … some are not … as is TRUE of Baptists, Methodists, etc.  Is there false Babylonian rule intertwined in the system?  Yes I believe so.  Is there a system of power that could be used?  Yes, it HAS been in the past and could be again.  They are seen as a world Kingdom without military power now.  But they have an army, there is a system that, after the departure of the church with all true believers gone, with a world bent on ecumenicalism and unity, could be turned in this false, idolatrous direction.  Is this then the Catholic Church, Not necessarily, but there is a picture there of what the religion of the prostitute will be like, in power, influence etc.

Ultimately the point for us today is that we were intended and promised, created for a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Anything that would lead us away from Christ alone, is harlotry and adultery. 

It will always cost us, always consume us, always steal from us the things that God has for us. 

So, come to the groom, follow Christ … any religious system that would lead you away from the supremacy of Christ, the all sufficiency of Christ, is as John said the Spirit of the Antichrist

1 John 2:18-29

?18? Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. ?19? They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

?20? But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. ??21? I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. ?22? Who is the liar? It is the man who denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a man is the antichrist-he denies the Father and the Son. ?23? No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

?24? See that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. ?25? And this is what he promised us-even eternal life.

?26? I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. ?27? As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit-just as it has taught you, remain in him.

?28? And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.

?29? If you know that he is righteous, you know that everyone who does what is right has been born of him.

 Wednesday Night Bible study Fall 2005-Spring 2006

The following resources were used among others in preparation


Revelation Four Views: A Parallel Commentary – Steve Gregg

W.A. Criswell Expository Sermons on Revelation

Dr. J.A. Seiss Expositions on Revelations

MacArthur Bible Studies: Revelation – John MacArthur

Dr. David Jeremiah Expositions on Revelation

The Pulpit Commentary: Revelation

Wiersbe: The Bible Exposition Commentary

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