The first verse of Revelation 17 had kind of a “wow” effect on me today. John had been observing and writing all these things as they were put before him and then one of the “featured” angels comes to speak with him. It painted a picture for me of an angel stepping out of a scene to explain to the writer what he just wrote:
Revelation 17:1 Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,
Verse one brings us to one of two words we are going to take a look at today.
1. A woman who prostitutes her body for hire; a prostitute; a common woman.
2. In Scripture, one who forsakes the true God and worships idols. Isa 1.
3. A servant; a rogue; a cheat.
H`ARLOT, a. Wanton; lewd; low; base.
H`ARLOT, v.i. To practice lewdness.
The angel told John he was about to be shown the Judgment of the “great” harlot, not just a harlot. The imagery of the great harlot does not produce anything good in the mind of the born again Christian and verse 2 tells us the “fruit” of her existence:
Revelation 17:2 with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication."
Even knowing the truth of the great harlot and what she represents, John can’t help but “marvel with great amazement”. If John, a man that walked, talked and lived with Jesus, marvels at the sight of this evil image, how much more do WE have to prepare our mind for the lures of pleasures of life, money, sex, and any other idolatry that comes our way in this sinful and adulterous generation:
Revelation 17:4-6 The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. 5 And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.
Immediately John is rebuked by the angel:
Rev 17:7a But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel?
The great harlot is described as being carried by the beast; which I think means that the harlot gets her influence, motivation and power from Satan. Almost the entire world will marvel at the great harlot, but not all. The ones that do not marvel at her are the ones whose names are written in the Book of Life. Although most will marvel, the rest of the story is immediately told in chapter 17….Jesus wins. The one that ascends from the bottomless pit will be destroyed, which brings us to our second word of the day:
PERDI'TION, n. [L. perditio, from perdo, to lose, to ruin.]
1. Entire loss or ruin; utter destruction; as the perdition of the Turkish fleet.
[In this sense, the word is now nearly or wholly obsolete.]
2. The utter loss of the soul or of final happiness in a future state; future misery or eternal death. The impenitent sinner is condemned to final perdition.
If we reject the truth, we seal our own perdition.
3. Loss. [Not used.]
Revelation 17:8 The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.
Revelation 17:14 These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."
It would be easy for someone to read these verses and think, “I would never be taken away by such deception and evil.” However, the truth is, people marvel at the feats of Chris Angel and other magicians, people flood in to the false teaching churches that tickle their ears, and people prefer to feed their flesh with everything the world wets our appetite with such as pornography, alcohol, drugs, career, sports, travel, or anything else that gets in between us and serving God. Satan has not yet been allowed to give us his best shot at deception, yet people really think that they will not fall prey to his schemes? The only way you can stand against the wiles of the devil is committing yourself to putting on the full armor of God every day.
Ephesians 6:10-19 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; 18 praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints—