Revelation 17

Revelation 17 … The next two chapters are similar to the explanatory chapters we’ve already seen (chapter 7 and chapters 10 through 15), and these are probably the most difficult to read and to understand. It may help to realize that the Scriptures refer to marriage as a holy and committed union and therefore both the Old Testament and the new use marriage as a symbolic reference to the relationship of God to Israel (in the Old Testament) and of Christ to the Church  (in the New Testament). The converse of that is also used in many illustrations; adultery and sexual perversions are used to starkly portray the unfaithfulness and spiritual darkness of those to whom God means nothing and of those who, having been exposed to the things of God, have rejected Him. That includes apostasy (standing away from God), unbelief (denying God), as well as rejection and ridicule of the things of God. All these are ugly representations of an attitude that is far from God and so we encounter the ugly words that characterize a perversion of the intended intimacy, dedication and commitment associated with marriage.

That’s the image with which Revelation 17 begins. John is again swept away in his out-of-body experience and sees things that are difficult to describe. The “beast” of 17:3 is likely the Antichrist of Revelation 13:1, and the woman represents a world system deluded by itself, which the Bible calls “Babylon” in a symbolic reference. Just as the Babylon of history was corrupt, the end-times world system will be corrupt and deluded with its own imaginations. In Revelation 17, moral and religious corruption is represented which is anti-Christ and against any Christian witness. These are spiritually lost (v.8) in an end-times world (apparently one world government will exist with ten geographic sub-divisions of some kind). The Antichrist (the “beast”) will wage war against Christ (v.14) and will ultimately be defeated.

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