REVELATION 17 to 19:10
Revelation 17 focuses on the great prostitute, given the title Babylon the great and one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls carried John in the Spirit to behold this woman to explain what she represented and the punishment she will undergo.
The first thing we notice is the inseparable relationship between this woman and the beast, the antichrist; she was described as sitting on a scarlet beast. The prostitute has achieved her glory and power because she was made great by the antichrist and was completely dependent on the latter. Notice that the woman was also seated on many waters, depicting her relationship to the nations of the earth and the kings of the earth. The great prostitute seduces the nations and kings to commit spiritual adultery and she persecutes the people of God with the support of the antichrist who appears in history in a succession of godless kingdoms at different periods in the history of the world. This woman has formed an adulterous connection in every stage of her history with the then existing world power. As such, Babylon represents not just one nation at one point in history but she is the symbol and embodiment of the corrupt and evil human civilization with all its pomp, wealth and luxury, organized in opposition to God and His people. She convinced the nations that they can live without God and that safety, security and prosperity will surely be theirs if they follow her in her luxury, self-indulgence and wealth.
Babylon has extended her influence over the whole world and appeared at different epochs in history together with the spirit of the antichrist; she will also manifest her influence greatly when the antichrist makes his final grand entrance in the tribulation prior to the second coming of our Lord Jesus. The apostle John was referring to the eschatological Babylon who is the personification of wickedness and represents the final manifestation of the total history of godless nations. She indulges herself in wanton luxury and glories in materialism to the extent that she proudly exalts herself over the true living God and sheds the blood of God’s people in partnership with the false trinity. The image of Babylon signifies the satanic tendency of humanity to develop idolatrous empires that challenge the dominion of the One sitting on the heavenly throne.
The end of Revelation 17 reveals that Babylon will somehow be ruined and destroyed by the beast and the kings who were her former allies. The satanic empire and evil is ultimately a self-destructive entity; evil will ultimately destroy itself, even without divine intervention.
Revelation 18 announces the fall of Babylon by an angel coming down from heaven with great authority. We see the description of this city as a home for demons and a haunt for every evil spirit. There is no doubt that her excessive luxuries, crass materialism and spiritual idolatries are closely tied up with demonic and satanic influence from the antichrist, the false prophet and the evil one.
Next comes another voice from heaven exhorting God’s people to come out of her and not share in her sins. It is interesting that the call is not so much in combating Babylon but to come out of her and to flee from her influence and sin. We are reminded by what the apostle John wrote in 1 John chapter 2:
Do not love the world or anything in this world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world – the cravings of sinful man, the lust of the eyes and the boasting of what he has and does – comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.
1 John 2:15-17
Certainly, the love of the world is not compatible with the love of the Father; in fact they cannot coexist. The desires of the world are in fact the desires championed by Babylon and they belong to all that are contrary to godly desires. They have their root and source from the prince of the world, Satan himself. They promote fleshly pursuits, self-exaltation and pride, selfish gratifications, the love of mammon and rebellion against the living God. The people of God must not have anything to do with these and they must come out from among them and be separate.
We need to be aware that the evil one can offer the world to us if we will only worship him. It is sad but undeniable that believers have succumbed to his offer time and again and it may not even be the whole world but just a part of it. We allow friendship with the world to contaminate us and we allow this to take place even in spiritual activities. Let us not be presumptuous and think that we will not fall into this trap and compromise. Scriptures recorded for us that Demas, a co-worker of Apostle Paul, a man of some spiritual stature in all likelihood, deserted Paul because he loved the world (2 Timothy 4:10). The attractions of the world and the pull of the world can be very strong. Sins can be enjoyable and pleasurable; we see Babylon dressed in purple and scarlet and glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. The seductions can be very intense; only those who learn to love God and holiness can overcome her overtures. It implies the need to nurture intimacy with God and His Word and a constant vigilance in all that we do or think. We must be saturated with the Word of God and be equipped with the whole armour of God lest we become casualties.
When Babylon is destroyed, all those who shared her luxury and committed spiritual adultery with her will mourn and weep, for they will no longer be able to enjoy the evil gains from the great city – it is all over! But those in heaven will rejoice over her destruction and ruin for she truly deserves the judgment and wrath of God.
Chapter 19 of Revelation sounded out the Hallelujah! from heaven, from the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures, praising God, rejoicing in Him and giving Him all the glory. It is the vindication of God’s justice and righteousness. The final Hallelujah heralds the coming of the wedding of the Lamb and the readiness of His bride, the Church. This eschatological event marks the perfect union between Christ and the Church, a consummation of Gods plan and desire from all ages. The apostle John was so overwhelmed that he fell at the angels feet to worship him but he was promptly told not to do so. The angel is a servant of God; John must only worship God! And so must we!