The Harlot – Part 2
1Then 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, 2with 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.” 3And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. 4The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. 5And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth’s abominations.” 6And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I marveled greatly. 7But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. 8The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. 9This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; 10they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. 11As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. 12And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. 13These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. 14They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.” 15And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. 16And 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, 17for 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. 18And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”
The graphic end of the unholy trinity is now being played out in full. John would have immediately seen the beast with seven heads and ten crowns as representative of Rome, long known as the city on seven hills. There have been many attempts over the centuries to put names on the seven kings (verse 10) and ten kings (verse 12), but that is really not a necessary exercise. They represent all of the political and religious powers that have come and gone over the years that would set themselves up against God and His people. Even though evil was conquered on the Cross of Jesus, the battles still remain on earth before He returns. Satan continues to “make war on the Lamb” and His Church. Verse 17 helps us understand that Satan is and always will subject to the Lord God and even in this passage evil carries out His purposes (verse 17). We will arrive at the end of Satan’s reign of terror shortly.
It doesn’t take much imagination to see the work of Satan on earth. His work screams throughout the nations and we get to watch it in our living rooms on the news. As God’s people, all we can do is hold on to Him and remember that the victory is already won. That doesn’t mean it isn’t terrifying, for it is. Let those fears draw you ever closer to the Lord and the safety of His arms. This beast is going to kick and kill all the way to hell. But to hell he shall go.