Revelation 17

Today’s reading is Revelation 17

A great contrast starts in this chapter. We finally meet the immoral woman. The seductress who competes with the Bride to steal the love of the Hero, or at least keep the proper marriage from happening. Think Ursula in the Disney version of “The Little Mermaid.” Or the step-sisters in the stories of Cinderella. She has been mentioned earlier in the book (think Jezebel in the letter to Thyatira). John sees her as a woman on a seven-headed dragon. She is named Babylon and is described as a city. Doesn’t that also fit the hero stories we’ve read in the past. This is the enemy city that needs to be defeated for the Hero to win the day. The one key I hope we notice in all this is a statement that is often overlooked. The ten horns are ten kings. We often get so distracted by trying to figure out who the ten kings are that we actually miss the important part. These ten kings will receive authority. They will make war on the Lamb. However, that authority is only for one hour. Doesn’t that highlight what we’ve noticed about everything in this book. Yes, at times it looks like the enemy is winning. Babylon is drunk with the blood of the saints. Her supporting kings have authority with the beast who in earlier chapters made war on the saints and even conquered them (Revelation 12:7). But this authority last for only one hour. That’s it. Just one hour. Then the Lamb conquers them. Obviously, this is not a literal amount of time. It is, however, demonstrating that the time is small, so hang on. Yes, the immoral city arises and conspires with the kings of the earth in great immorality and attack on Christ and His Bride. But their victory is short lived. So hang on. Jesus always wins! Judgment is coming on the seductress, the immoral woman, the sinful city. Don’t join her, avoid her. Which, by the way, was the heart of the warning to Thyatira.

A Word for Our Kids

Hey kids, here we have another weird picture. Please, don’t get distracted and bogged down by the details. Instead, read this chapter carefully. Then get ready for the contrast that is coming. This is the beginning of a tale of two cities, a tale of two women. Here we are reading of the immoral seductress who does everything in her power to corrupt the Bride and defeat the Hero. However, in a couple chapters we will meet the Bride. In fact, go ahead and notice the similarities between Revelation 17:1-3 and Revelation 21:9-10. Then notice the differences. I think it is unfortunate that we spend so much time trying to make the details in each vision equal certain people or historical events that we miss the big picture of the contrast between the seductress and the Bride. We are to be the Bride, the church, the heavenly city of God. Pay attention to what happens to this immoral woman, this ungodly city in the next chapters. Then pay attention to the Bride. Let that be the basis for you decision regarding which city you will decide to dwell in as you grow up. (Hint, hint: Make it the city of God, the Bride of Christ).

Edwin Crozier