The Harlot, The Beasts, and BabylonMay 25, 2023
Since Satan was kicked out of heaven, he’s always had a headquarters on earth. In these last days, that home base is Babylon. You may recognize that as the name of an ancient city, but the Bible also uses this name to describe a spiritual world system that wars against God.
Hi everyone, I’m Tammy Becker. Welcome to the Almighty God & Gospel Girl Podcast. This is week twenty two into our series of Revelation and our podcast today is titled: The Worst is Yet to Come. My podcast today will be based on the reading of Revelation 17-18. And if you would like to follow along with the notes or maybe you would like to find the links to anything mentioned in the podcast today, you can go to the link in the description or by visiting www.youministries.com and visiting the corresponding page. As we get started today, I would like to remind you of my disclaimer, that as always…do not take my word, or anyone’s word for what you read…get yourself in the Bible and let God discern His Word to you. I am only human and make many mistakes and do not claim to know or understand everything in the Bible…I just hope by bringing out this study that your interest is sparked enough to get into God’s Word and begin to deep dive on your own.
The Antichrist, the wild beast that is the restored political Roman Empire, has a partner in his world domination scheme. Called “the harlot,” this evil sidekick is the false church, the group that remains after the true church has been raptured. Rather than being “the bride of Christ,” God calls it a harlot. These people never trusted Christ as Savior and were never in the body of Christ. They wielded religion like a weapon and controlled the masses. When the Tribulation began, the “kings of the earth” saw how an unholy alliance would help them conquer the world.
John describes the harlot as “sitting on a scarlet beast … arrayed in purple and scarlet … having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication” (17:3-4). She is the religious intoxication of the anti-church, a fake and false gospel. This cup makes the world drunk.
She doesn’t wear a crown, but rather the mark of her profession, a disgraceful title for the “church” which should belong to Christ as a bride. Babylon is the fountainhead for all false religion; therefore she is “the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth” (17:5). She is Rome, the religious capital of the world, having inherited all the religions of the world when the true church left the earth.
John was baffled by this whole scene, and so the angel explains the mystery of this woman. The wild beast “was” speaks of the past Roman Empire. But it “is not” and “will ascend out of the bottomless pit” (17:8). Satan’s reactivation of the Roman Empire will be his gift to the Antichrist. Everyone will worship him for his brilliant coup d’état. (But God’s saints won’t believe the lie; see 1 John 2:20, 27). The world rulers willingly or unwillingly hand over their authority to him and become his puppets. The Beast now is a world dictator.
For a time the Antichrist shares the spotlight with the harlot, but he hates it. So he breaks his covenant with her and destroys her with such violence that it’s described as a cannibal picking her bones, then burning them with fire. By eliminating the false church, the way is clear for the Antichrist to be worshipped, as promoted by the False Prophet. The religious center shifts to Jerusalem where the False Prophet puts up his image of the Antichrist to be worshiped.
The reign and religion of Antichrist is the darkest hour earth will know, and yet it is the inevitable end of the distrust that began in the Garden of Eden when man failed to believe God. Having rejected the truth, the only alternative left for people is to believe the big lie, the strong delusion. This end is the just payback of error and evil.
The other Babylon, the commercial center of the world, is loved by the world powers and is the final political capital of the Antichrist, its dictator. In that day, Babylon dominates and rules the world. Everything will center in Babylon. The stock market will be read from Babylon—not New York. Instead of Paris, Babylon will set the styles for the world. A play, to be successful, will have to be a success in Babylon, not London. Everything in that city will be in rebellion against almighty God, and it centers in the Antichrist.
And this is how justice is meted out on him …
Revelation 18 begins with another angel descending from heaven with a message. This angel, faceless and nameless, has “great authority” and power and lightens the earth with his glory, perhaps because he had just come from God’s presence.
He shouts with a mighty voice, “Babylon the great is fallen” (18:2). We heard this prediction before in Revelation 14:8; now it’s happening. In its destruction, Babylon will become the place where demons of the spirit world are imprisoned during the Millennium. The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah confirm this (see Isaiah 13:19-22; Jeremiah 50:38-40).
Babylon has a long history of accumulated sins, and God has kept record. Finally, judgment breaks like a flood on this city and its world system. This is God’s judgment on big business that denies His authority. This is the unholy alliance of government and business that exploit the masses. It may seem God’s judgment is slow, but it is sure.
Another angel shouts from heaven for God’s people to get out of Babylon as fast as they can. “Don’t get caught up in her sins or in her doom.” God remembers every evil she’s done and will give her back what she’s given. This is poetic justice (see Obadiah 1:15). God is right and just in what He does (see Obadiah 1:15; Psalm 137).
Babylon’s prosperity blinded her to God’s judgment. Trading is active on the stock market, and everyone buys blue chip issues right up to the moment of judgment. Luxury, arrogance, pride, sin, and self-deception characterize the spirit of this godless city. World peace is in sight, and optimism is the spirit of the day. And then God says, “Enough.”
God destroys this city with fast and final judgment. In one hour, wealth so great is laid desolate. No one dreamed it could be humbled, yet by the time the sun went down, Babylon is nothing but smoldering ruins. When the news goes out, the world is stunned. It howls as Babylon goes down.
The kings of the earth loved commercial Babylon because of the revenue she brought to their coffers, but they desert her like rats leaving a sinking ship; their mourning is both pathetic and contemptible. This frightful picture is the final inferno and catastrophic judgment that clears the way for the Lord Jesus Christ to set up His Kingdom on earth.
From heaven, the viewpoint is different. No funeral procession there— instead, it’s a party. The saints prayed for this; the Old Testament prophets predicted it. Now all is fulfilled, and everyone’s joyful because God’s holiness and justice are vindicated, and God’s name is exonerated.
Even heaven acts out the drama, the end to the violence, the suddenness, and the complete annihilation of Babylon. Like a stone that makes a big splash and then disappears beneath the waves, Babylon has come to an end.
The big business and politics that served the Antichrist are bankrupt. The wheels of the factories will never turn again. The bright lights of the cities will go out forever. Human trafficking will end. The great tycoons of big business will disappear. Man’s sinful career on earth is over. This city deceived the world with the worship of Antichrist—this is the strong delusion, but that is now over.
This was Satan’s city, and he was a murderer from the beginning. Babylon’s final crime was the slaying of God’s people. But now the sad story of man’s sin has come to an end.
This frightful period, which the Lord Jesus Christ called the Great Tribulation, is done.
Next week we will be talking about Jesus Christ coming to the earth to bring an end to this dark, disastrous day.
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