Revelation # 12 The Judgment of the Great Harlot Revelation 17 - 18
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 In our studies of Revelation thus far, much importance has been given to Rome: >it was the chief weapon used by Satan toward the Christians in the last of the first century >it attacked by Physical, Political, & Economic Persecution Idolatry through forced Emperor worship. Thus, three whole chapters are devoted to her doom and destruction. 14:8 and 16:19 foreshadowed, now we get clearer picture.
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 The first great question of this section is: Who is the Great Harlot? The answer should be obvious by now. Note: >she is called “great”, v.1 She is not insignificant or unimportant. >she “sits on many waters” v.1; “waters” defined as people, multitudes, nations, and tongues, v.17 She is a capitol city of the world.
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 Furthermore, >with her kings committed adultery and the people were made drunk with immorality, v.2 The world followed her into degradation. >she arrayed with garments of purple and scarlet and with precious jewels, v.4 These signify royalty and wealth. >she had a cup of abominations in her hand, v.4 She drank things utterly disgusting to God. >she is drunk with the blood of the saints, v.6 Obviously, she is a persecutor of Christians.
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 Surely, Rome is the true identity of the Harlot for it fits in every detail! see also v.18
But if Rome is the Harlot, who is the Scarlet Beast? The Beast of chp.13: Out of the sea, v.1 7 heads, 10 horns, v.1 Name of blasphemy, v.1 Warred with saints, v.7 Wounded to death, but healed, v.3 All the world wondered, v.3 The Beast of chp.17: > Out of the abyss, v.8 > 7 heads, 1o horns, v.3 > Names of blasphemy, v.3 > Will war with the Lamb, v.14 > Was, is not, and yet is, v.8 > Earth shall wonder, v.8 Note the similarities to the Beast of chp.13:
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 So, who is the Beast? If the Harlot is Rome, then the Beast on which she rides over the world is the political power of Rome. It was in chp.13 and the striking similarities suggest that it is the same here in chp.17.
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 What about the seven heads and ten horns? v.7 This is a difficult portion, so some possibilities are: -Seven may refer to a perfect or complete number of Roman emperors rather than literally to specific ones. -Five have fallen would then refer to a greater portion of them which had already come and gone- the largest part of Roman rule (domination) was past, v.10. -And one is could refer to the period of Domitian’s rule which was the worst of the persecution, v.10b. -The other is not yet come may would then refer to the remaining emperors as a whole- but their time is short, v.10c.
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 That leaves the ten horns. vv.7b,12,16 Likewise difficult, so again some possibilities: -These kings receive no kingdoms, but they do receive some power with or through the Beast, v.12. Perhaps these are the vassal kings of Rome’s provinces which were only puppets to the Empire. -They rule with the Beast for one hour, v.12b. They only exist for a short time. -They also war with the Lamb, v.14 (as puppets). -They hate the woman, v.16. Though they derive their power from her and feign allegiance, actually they are purely selfishly motivated and despise Rome.
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 Now that we have seen and hopefully identified the Harlot and the Beast upon which she rides of chp.17, we can advance to the judgment which is pronounced upon them in chp.18.
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 “Babylon is fallen!” vv.1-7 -The angel which John sees has great power and authority and pronounces as complete that which was alluded to earlier, cf. 14:8 and 16:19 - that the great “Babylon” has fallen. -Rome is worthy to be destroyed for the sins she has committed, v.2. -As other nations allied themselves with her in an effort to capitalize on her wealth and power, they too committed spiritual fornication, v.3. -The final call is given to “Come out of her, my people” because the time of her retribution has come, vv.4-5.
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 “Babylon is fallen!” vv.1-7 -She shall be paid back double even as she has paid… according to her deeds…. twice as much for her, v.6. -She thought herself a queen, and lived the part for a while, but such times of splendor are over! v.7 For her plagues will come in one day, v.8. -The Lord who judges her is strong enough to depose even a queen, v.8c. -In “one day”- a very short time; her years of rule will end suddenly, v.8a. Even in “one hour” cf.v.17. -Pestilence, mourning, famine, and fire will consume her, v.8b.
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 A great company will mourn her, vv.9-19 -Kings of the earth will mourn because their source of power and wealth is gone. vv.9-10 -Merchants of the earth will mourn her because they lived luxuriously off of her wealth and sensuality, vv.11-16. Note that they “stand at a distance because of the fear of her torment” now! -Even the Shipmasters, Passengers, and Sailors (and all who make their living by the sea) cry, wail, and mourn, vv.17-19. But the Saints, Apostles, & Prophets REJOICE, v.20 !!!
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 Rome shall be like a millstone cast into the sea, vv.21-24 -She would fall and never be restored to power again, v.21. -The gaieties of music and even craftsman and the sound of the mills will all vanish, v.22. -The lamp of glory and splendor will now longer shine upon her; celebrations will cease, v.23. All because, “the blood of the prophets and of saints and of all who have been slain of the earth” is now avenged! v.24 > 6:9-10
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 Conclusion: The glory and grandeur of Rome was built upon vice. Satan had used Rome’s political power and idolatrous emperor worship to try to destroy the Woman and her children. But the cry of the martyrs for the Lord to avenge their blood was heard…. and answered with the destruction of Rome’s might and power.
Revelation #12- The Judgment of the Great Harlot, chps. 17 - 18 Conclusion: “Yes” Rome still remains to this day- but it is not the persecuting power or world empire of the first century. Rome, as it was then, is gone. But the Church which it tried so vigorously to destroy remains strong!