Journey with Daniel
“Babylon Is Defeated”Categories: A Month of Victory
Babylon Is Defeated - Revelation 17
In chapter 12 a woman is clothed with the sun and with stars surrounding her head. She gives birth to the Christ, and has many other children who honor God by keeping His commandments and remain faithful to their testimony to Jesus Christ (12:17). She is connected to a city called “the beloved city” (20:9); “holy city” who is like a “bride made ready for her husband” the Lord (21:3). She is a glorious and eternal city.
In chapters 17-19, the second woman is a harlot. She is dressed in earthly luxury. Her children are harlots and people who do abominations (17:4-5). The harlot is also associated with a city; an earthly city, like the hated city of “Babylon,” but it will be destroyed with fire.
So, we have a tale of two women and two cities. We are left to ask, “Which one will we follow; in which one shall we live?”
In Revelation 12, Satan tried to destroy the plan of God by killing Jesus, but failed. So, he turned his attention to destroying the church. In Revelation 13, Satan raised up two allies to help him make war against the church. In Revelation 14-16, God delivers His people and pours out His wrath upon the devil and all his followers under the image of seven bowls of wrath.
The book of Revelation could rightly end at this point, however God chooses to reveal more detail about the destiny of the main characters of the story. Simply put, “Great Babylon” will be utterly destroyed (Rev. 17 – 20), and “the beloved city” of believers will be eternally secure (Rev. 21 – 22).
The destruction of those who persecute the people of God, pictured as “Babylon” has been revealed before. However, now we are given more detail. “And another angel followed, saying, ‘Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she has made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication’ ” (Revelation 14:8). “Now the great city was divided into three parts, and the cities of the nations fell. And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath” (Revelation 16:19).
Now, we are given a more complete picture of the tools the devil uses to destroy faith. These three tools correspond to the total makeup of a person, who is made up of the will, intellect and emotions.
- First is intimidation: The first beast, the power of a contrary force attacking the will of a person.
- The second beast (false prophet): The deceitful philosophies of the world which cause people to worship anything other than God—attacking the mind/intellect of a person.
- Third is seduction: The harlot, who appeals to the flesh and pleasure of people—attacking the emotions of a person.
Satan uses the same tools today.
The most vivid picture of the city is the alluring nature of it(Revelation 17:4). It is personified as a “harlot;” the very picture of sinful allurement.
- Alluring Clothes – “The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet;” the clothes of power and royalty.
- The Allure Of Power.
- Alluring Charms – “adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls”
- The Allure Of Wealth, which is emphasized in the next chapter.
- Alluring Cup – “having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.”
- The Allure Of The Flesh - Yet, note the cup is beautiful on the outside; gold! However, on the inside it is filthy with idolatry and spiritual fornication.
- The allure of sin looks good outwardly, but once one is in it, it is putrid.
While the people of the world drink of her immorality, she gets drunk on the blood of the saints. “I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus” (Revelation 17:6). Ultimately, this will be the reason for her fall.
John’s reaction is “When I saw her, I marveled with great amazement” (Revelation 17:6). Perhaps he expected to see the city in flames (based on the promise of 17:1), but instead he saw her at the peak of her power and she appeared invincible. Ah, but things would change. The angel steps in to clear up John’s amazement.
“The angel said to me, ‘Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns.’ ” (Rev. 17:7).
Then, and here is the theme of Revelation, “These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for He is Lord of lords, and King of kings.” Can Christ overcome such powerful foes? This one, simple but profound, verse defines the theme of the story. Indeed, Christ shall overcome all enemies. The kingdom of God shall stand, but all of those founded by men shall fall. All men who may wear the title of "lord" or "king" are subject to the one great "Lord" and "King" who is Jesus Christ (1:5; Eph. 1:20-23).
In spite of apparent victory by those who oppose God and His people. God wins! Therefore, His people are victorious!