Chapter 17 intoduces us to the great prostitute. “What does all this mean?”, you may be asking.
Well, let’s sort it out a bit. Here we have another symbolic woman. We understand she is a symbol because of the angelic explanations of the other symbols. The first woman we met was a symbol of the faithful people of God throughout history. This woman is called a prostitute, so we would assume that she represets those who are unfaithful to Him (though they may have followed Him at one time. As we know it, this “Prostitute” is the one-world religion that will emerge in the time of the Anitchrist. Let’s go through step by step, and you’ll see it more clearly.
She sits on many waters (verse 1) — this means that she holds sway over multitudes of people and nations (see verse 15). The rulers of the earth will use this religion for their own benefit and the people will be lured into great immorality within it (verse 2). She will ride on the authroity and power of the Antichrist (verse 3). Great weath and honor will will flow into this religion (verse 4).
Now STOP just a minute. Think about this: How will (nearly) all the people, of all the world, of many religions be swept into ONE religion, and led into great immorality?
Don’t you think that the militant Muslims, the Orthodox Jews and the “Fundamentalist” Christians will buy into this so easily? Probably not. So, what will give it such power and influence?
The young generation will. And, I believe we’re being set up for it right now!
How? Well, first of all the generation emerging today (some call them the “Millenials”) is the LARGEST generation to ever live on the planet. They will exceed the Baby Boomers in size and in world influence (don’t you know that most of common culture today was formed by the Boomers?). They will have access to more technology, money and power. They effectively will be ruling the whole planet. And, what kind of “teaching” have they been growing up under? What is the overarching theme of the current cultural mindset? Simple: Tolerance and Moral Relativity, mixed with Social Justice and World Peace. This will be a perfect platform for the Antichrist and the “Harlot” religion. They will emphasize things like Unity, Peace, Tolerance, and they will be all about helping the poor and the needy (at least at first).
Many who claim Jesus will look and say, “hey, that looks more like Jesus to me than what I grew up with!” And young people in other religions who have been turned off by it’s strictness will easily buy into something that seems “good” with out being “outdated”. This will in turn bring the great Falling Away (Matthew 24:12).
It won’t happen overnight, though. It begins now. John uses the word “adulteries” over and over and over in his description of this Prostitute. I believe this tells us that the foundation of this religion is laid by moral compromise. Already we see many churches embracing compromise in their midst under the guise of “grace”. The standards of Truth are being negotiated to be more “modern” and ”relavent”. This is dangerous ground.
But, I have digressed.. back to the text.
So, the Antichrist will support this one world religion (she rides on the back of the beast). We know this beast is the Antichrist because it speaks of his demonic resurrection from dead (verse 8); remember the “fatal head wound”? Under him the leaders of the earth will band together.
But, once he has used the religion to bring the world to himself, he will destroy her (verse 16), because he will then cause all people to worship himself.
This religion will be based in the Antichrist’s capital city, Babylon. Note the significance there. Babylon was the great city established at the tower of Babel, where the people of the earth banded together with such (ungodly) unity, that God had to destroy it and scatter the people and give them different languages. If He would had allowed them to remain in ungodly unity, the heights of evil they would have accomplished would know no bounds. Well, this time, He will allow this unity to happen, because it will accomplish His purpose in the end. Again we are reminded that all of this is ultimately under the All-Wise leadership of Jesus!!
The crux of this whole issue is that the leaders of the earth will band together to fight against Jesus (verse 13-14– what are they thinking?!?!). But THE LAMB WILL OVERCOME THEM, and with Him will be His called, chosen and faithful followers!!
The influence of this religion will untlimately separate the “wheat from the chaff” (see Matthew 3:12, Luke 3:17). Those who remain faithful to Jesus and to His Word in the midst of moral compromise TODAY will be with Him (the winning team ) on that day
. It will be His ”called, chosen, faithful”. Many are called, few answer and are “chosen”. Even fewer stay “faithful”.
Again it comes down to this issue — we must be LOVERS OF TRUTH. Paul writes:
2 Thessalonians 2:9-11
The coming of the lawless one (the Antichrist) will be in accordance with the work of Satan displayed in all kinds of counterfeit miracles, signs and wonders, and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. For this reason God sends them a powerful delusion so that they will believe the lie.
We must EAT THE SCROLL, the parts we like and those that we don’t understand. God’s “law” must be our DELIGHT.
Psalm 1: Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers. 2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
and on his law he meditates day and night. 3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
If your law had not been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.
I long for your salvation, O LORD, and your law is my delight.
Truly, His Word is the lamp to our feet in the midst of abundant darkness. It is the only foundation we can stand on. It will not move. And, we should not EVER move away from it.
Eat the Scroll!
What have you found helpful in “digesting” the Word? How do you stay steady in it? Post comments/thoughts!