08 March 2016

BSF 2015-2016: Revelation 17

This lesson is the first part of John’s vision in the wilderness. One of the angels with the bowl judgments came to John to show him the great destruction that will come. John recorded what he saw.

John saw the great prostitute sitting by many waters and sitting on a red beast. The many waters represent the people who oppose God. She had evil partnerships. She was immoral and had a wicked agenda. She was well dressed and bejeweled. She seduced the people of the earth with her wicked plans. She held a golden cup filled with her abominations and the filth of her adulteries.

On her forehead was written her name – Babylon. Babylon is the symbol in Scripture for the evil world system – idolatry, greed, luxury, sensuality. It also was the code name for Rome in the first century. Babylon represents anything that opposes Jesus, His cross, His kingdom, and His people.

The beast on which the woman sat was covered with blasphemous names. It had seven heads and ten horns. The beast represented political, military, and economic power being brought together under Satan to oppose God and His people.

John was astonished at this scene. He recognized Babylon’s evil and that she was on a path of destruction. Then the angel explained this scene to John. This all seems confusing. Remember that all Scripture is equally true but not equally clear!

The beast’s seven heads represent seven hills (Rome was built on seven hills) and seven kings (uncertain who they are). The eighth king (Revelation 17:11) is the Antichrist.

The beast’s ten horns are ten kings waiting for their kingdoms. When they receive their kingdoms, they will pass their power to the beast to stand in opposition to Jesus. The kings represent political powers that will become the beast’s allies. Their power is limited, and they are headed for destruction. The great prostitute and the beast’s destruction is assured just like Jesus’ victory is assured.

The focus of this passage is in verse 14 – all who believe in Christ will be with Him when He wins the battle. God is in charge, and He wins. God stands victorious, and we will stand victorious with Him too.

Things to Think About
  • Chapter 17 looks like a seemingly losing battle, but it’s not.
  • Are you fighting a seemingly losing battle? Our seemingly losing battles are not that in the hands of God.
  • No one is as powerful as God. We are not in a losing battle. We are on the side of victory.
  • Are you seeking God’s wisdom to discern the truth?
  • How has evil deceived you? How has fame, money, success, or status captured you?
  • A beautiful life comes from God Himself not the things of this world.
  • God takes evil, wicked things and turns them into His beautiful, sovereign purposes.

This Week’s Memory Verse
“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.” Revelation 17:14 NIV