Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” (Revelation 17:1-2, ESV)
Instead of Jesus leading John at this point, one of the seven angels speaks to him and takes him up in the Spirit to show him the mystery of Babylon the great prostitute and the beast she rides. Chapters 17 and 18 lend themselves to much speculation. Conspiracy theorists and theologians could and probably have had a wonderful time with it.
The beast has seven heads which represent seven rulers “five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come” (Revelation 17:10, ESV). So, when the end times are upon us, there will be two of these powerful people left, one will be on the scene and the seventh will be waiting in the wings, so to speak, and the beast is an eighth powerful person who is the one who holds all the real power in this fiendish consortium (v. 11). They will “make war on the Lamb” and those who follow Him and also hate the prostitute and ultimately orchestrate her demise. We are not provided a description of the ten horns. Since a horn is a symbol of power, presumably these ten horns are sources or bases of power from which the beast and his lieutenants operate.
So, we have a case in which two powerful people in control of ten bases of power will come to dominate and overthrow “Babylon” in accordance with the wishes of some demonic force. It also seems to be the case that this demonic entity is also responsible for the rise and subsequent depravity of Babylon in the first place (The woman is first seen riding the beast in verse one).
After this I saw another angel coming down from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was made bright with his glory. And he called out with a mighty voice,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great!
She has become a dwelling place for demons,
a haunt for every unclean spirit,
a haunt for every unclean bird,
a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
For all nations have drunk
the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality,
and the kings of the earth have committed immorality with her,
and the merchants of the earth have grown rich from the power of her luxurious living.” (Revelation 18:1-3, ESV)
Chapter eighteen goes on to describe Babylon and her depravities. It also tells about many nations being connected and even dependent on her economically, socially and (im)morally. The final fall of Babylon will have devastating global implications. Like I said, conspiracy theorists and theologians can twist and turn this any number of directions to determine who are the heads and what are the horns and what the beast must be. One can easily come to a conclusion of what nation must be Babylon if these end time prophecies are occurring today. All that speculation is NOT what believers have to focus on, however.
Pay close attention to this:
And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. (Revelation 17:16-17, ESV, emphasis added)
In other words, the faithful must remain faithful because God is ultimately in control of everything. Even when things seem out of control and there doesn’t seem to be anything believers can do about it. All reason seems to be jettisoned from the proverbial playing field. God is in control. Believers must cling to Jesus because in those times, His return is imminent. Jesus is our hope and our salvation.
Stay faithful my friends,
- Revelation 12 – 13: The Woman and the Dragon and the Two Beasts (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)
- Revelation 15 & 16: Seven Angels with Seven Plagues (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)
- Revelation Chapter 14: Repent for the End is Near! (christophercrandolph.wordpress.com)