Revelation 17-18

Summary of our Study:
Revelation 1-3 - Johnʼs vision of Jesus, the letters to the churches - “Revelation” - What is revealed about Jesus and His relationship to us? Revelation 4-5 - The vision of the throne room, the Lamb and the scroll - “Redemption” - What has God redeemed in my life? Revelation 6-7 - The six seals, the two multitudes - “Perseverance” - What do you hope for? Revelation 8-9 - The six trumpets - “Idolatry” - What do you worship? Revelation 10-11 - The angel with the little scroll, the two witnesses - “Witness” - What is your witness? Revelation 12-13 - The woman, the two beasts - “Faith” - Do you trust the One who made the promise? Revelation 14-16 - The 144,000, the seven bowls - “Judgement” - Can you trust Godʼs judgements?

The Vision of the Harlot - There are two women in Revelation: the whore and the bride of Christ - There are also two cities that these women represent: Babylon and New Jerusalem - Nations as prostitutes was a common theme of the Old Testament - The entire book of Hosea - Ezekiel 23 explicitly describes the whoring of Israel - Isaiah 23 describes the city Tyre as a harlot - This entire passage owes much to O.T. themes and passages on Judgement and idolatry (see Jeremiah 50-51, Ezek. 26-28, Isaiah 13, 23) Description of the harlot (Rev. 17:1-7)

Revelation used contemporary figures to illustrate future, and spiritual, realities. - “Sat on many waters” refers to the historical Babylon, which was like an ancient Netherlands with many waterways and canals in and around it - These waters are later described as “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues.” in Rev. 17:15 - Sitting on scarlet beast, the same one from the sea in Rev. 13 - High-class prostitutes “courtesans” in Rome often had headbands with their names on it, hence the description The mystery of the beast (Rev. 17:8-13) - The beast and the woman are somewhat synonymous, or at least symbiotic - Beast is a parody of Christ, hence the “was, is not, and is about to come”

Revelation 17-18

Highly debated section, concerning the numbers Read Revelation 17:9-11 - “Here is wisdom” also in Rev. 13:18 concerning the number of the beast “pay attention” - Rome was built on seven hills, was known by that moniker - Mountains also a O.T. keyword for power or rule (see Jer. 51:25, Isaiah 2:2, 41:15, Ps. 68:15-16) also kings represent countries (see Dan. 7:7) - Some people think these refer to Roman emperors - A somewhat speculative view, many different ways to order the emperors (see slide) - Some think it refers to the successive world empires 1) Egypt 2) Assyria 3) Babylonia 4) Medo-Persia 5) Greece 6) Rome 7) ??? - Some believe that 7, once again, represents the whole of empires/rulers until the 8th comes at the end of the age - The 8th is comes from the 7, but is not one of them. Another way of thinking about it is thinking of the 8th as a culmination of all that has come before - Who are ten horns (kings)? - Provincial rulers (governors, satraps, etc) - May represent the governors of the Roman empire - Most modern interpretations tend to be speculative (10 Islamic Nations, EU, etc) - John indicates that their reign had not come yet, and will be short - “one hour” means, more specifically, a little while (see Rev. 3:10) - later in Rev. 18:8 says “one day” which means basically the same thing The Doom of the Harlot (Rev. 17:14-18, 18:1-8) - In O.T. it talks about the end being a time of chaos where Godʼs enemies destroy themselves (see Ezek. 38:21, Hag. 2:22, Zech. 14:13) - “Desolate, naked, eat her flesh, burnt up with fire” are all judgements delivered or warned in O.T., particularly concerning those who led Israel to idolatry (see 2 Kings 9:36, Genesis 19, Ezek. 23) - “the great city” is the same one in Rev. 11, where the two witnesses were killed - In that context it represents any place of idolatry, rebellion, or persecution Read Revelation 18:4-5 - God is saying that the saints are in the midst of Babylon - Remember that five of the seven churches at the beginning of Revelation have calls to repent.

Revelation 17-18

The Funeral Dirge (Rev 18:9-20) - Three groups mourn (which benefited from Babylonʼs decadence) - Kings (higher class) - Merchants - Sailors - Describes seven groups of wares - Precious metals & stones - Precious cloths - Rare woods, stones, metals for decoration - Fragrances - Foods - Beasts - Slaves - This is an accurate list of the wares that came into Rome from all over the world - Rome was incredibly decadent • Rome was the only city of 1 million in Europe until London in 18th century • Had so much gold they gilded everything from bath tubs to ceilings • Bronze and silver were sometimes more expensive because of prevalence of gold • Used so much ivory that Syrian elephants went extinct • Scented wood was citron wood from North Africa, so expensive that one table cost • 2 million, one ruler had 250 of these tables • Purple was from a mollusk that only had one drop per shell • Silk from China, once a regiment greeted the emperor in silk • Rome drank so much wine that grain fields in Italy were converted to vineyards to meet demand, laws were placed to ensure grain production but people made wine because it was a better profit • Rome would conquer places for their natural resources and subjugate them to be sent to Rome the city (such as Spain, or Gaul, where they worked gold mines) • Killed 2 million people in Gaul alone through their conquests • Trade stretched from south China to France to middle Africa • Emperors would have huge feasts of nightingale tongue and peacock brains • 60 million slaves throughout the Roman Empire - The sailors and merchants repeat the phrase “in one hour she has been laid waste!” to emphasize how quickly, and completely, is Babylonʼs destruction. Original Babylon was conquered in one hour (see Daniel 5) Angel and the Millstone (Rev. 18:21-24) - This visual comes from Jeremiah 51:59-64, where Jeremiah writes the words of doom for Babylon on a scroll, ties it to a rock, and has it thrown into the Euphrates, then says “so shall Babylon sink down and not rise again”. It is a symbol of utter destruction. - Desolation illustrated by - No more singing or arts - No more production, work - No more light - No more life

Revelation 17-18

The Fourfold Hallelujah (Rev. 19:1-6) - “Hallelujah” means “praise ye Yahweh” - Only shows up in the N.T. four times, here in Revelation - Occurs often in the Psalms, especially the “Hallel Psalms” 113-118, which celebrate Israelʼs deliverance from Egypt - We are the oneʼs singing Godʼs praises, in response to the destruction of Babylon What is Babylon? - Babylon is the anti-church expressed through: - Individuals - Community, i.e. Kingdoms - The presence of Satan in the world - The opposite of the church in every way - Read Rev. 21:8. Babylon: - Murders ---- Witnesses to Eternal Life - Deceives ---- Truth - Immoral ---- Pure - Cowardly ---- Brave - Idolators ---- Faithful - We live in the midst of Babylon, just as the Jews & Daniel did, just as the seven churches did. - Our call is to live in the tension between purity and witness. Is Revelationʼs picture of a culture hostile to the Church true in your experience? In what ways does the culture we live in call us to compromise? What does it mean to “Come out” of the harmful things in our culture? Read Hebrews 11:13-16 We are not to live in fear of our culture, only to understand that this world, in its broken state, is not our home. Let us live in hope of a future unencumbered by sin and of the things God has in store for us.

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