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beast destroys harlot



Revelation 17:8-18

Revelation 17 - Quick Links

  • The Great Harlot
    Revelation 17:1-7

  • The Beast & the 10 Kings
    Revelation 17:8-14

  • The Judgment of the Great Harlot
    Revelation 17:15-18


  • Revelation 17:8-14


    Revelation 17:8 - The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

    The beast, or the antichrist will come on the world stage during the Tribulation (the beast was) and die of a mortal wound (the beast is not). Then the beast will rise from the dead (yet is), returning from the bottomless pit, which is the abyss in the center of the earth (Revelation 9:1):

    Revelation 11:7 - When they finish their testimony, the beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit will make war against them, overcome them, and kill them.
    Revelation 13:3 - And I saw one of his heads as if it had been mortally wounded, and his deadly wound was healed. And all the world marveled and followed the beast.

    After the beast ascends out of the bottomless pit in the middle of the Tribulation, he will go to "perdition," or destruction after his reign. The Apostle Paul calls the beast the "son of perdition" in 2 Thessalonians 2:3. Jesus also called Judas Iscariot the "son of perdition," indicating that Judas was spiritually lost and was going to eternal destruction at his death, after Satan used him:

    John 17:12 - While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled.
    Luke 22:3-4 - Then Satan entered Judas, surnamed Iscariot, who was numbered among the twelve. So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them.

    As discussed in Revelation 13:1, the dragon gives the beast authority, using him like Judas to carry out his ambitions. The passages below show that the beast will go to his eternal destruction after his reign in the second half of the Tribulation when the Lord returns:

    Daniel 7:23, 25-26 - "Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces.... He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever.'"
    2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, 8 - Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.... And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.
    Revelation 19:20 - Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone.

    The earth dwellers marvel over the beast after they witness the beast die from a mortal wound and rise from the dead. As discussed in Revelation 17:7, the Greek word translated "marvel" means he was awestruck with wonder, or perplexed. These earth dwellers are in amazement over witnessing a man rising from the dead. It is important to note that God has the power over life, so God is behind the beast's resurrection, though He doesn't get credit for it, as discussed in Revelation 13:3.

    Though the beast returns to life, he will still bear the scars of his wounds, having a withered arm and hand, and a blind eye:

    Zechariah 11:17 - "Woe to the worthless shepherd, who leaves the flock! A sword shall be against his arm and against his right eye; his arm shall completely wither, and his right eye shall be totally blinded."

    Some see a parallel to Christ, who still had His wounds from the cross He showed His disciples to prove who He was after He rose from the dead (Luke 24:36-40). The fact that the earth dwellers marvel after the beast and worship him after they witness his resurrection from the dead may suggest that he will use his scars to authenticate himself like Christ.

    Those who follow the beast take a mark on their right hand or forehead to show allegiance to the beast whose wounds are on the same body parts. In other words, the world will believe the beast really died because his wounds are fatal, which is evidence to them that his resurrection is a miracle:

    Revelation 13:4 - So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?"

    After the beast rises from the dead, the earth dwellers worship the beast because they believe he is invincible like a god - if death doesn't stop him, who will? But the world also worships the dragon who gives authority to the beast to rule over the earthly kingdoms. It is not clear if the earth dwellers openly embrace Satanism, or if they unwittingly worship Satan through the beast.

    Some believe the dragon will enter the beast in the same way Satan entered Judas Iscariot, controlling his every move like a demon possession (Luke 22:3). Isaiah 14 shows an evil king working in tandem with Satan, which may show a possession similar to that of Judas. The beast will exalt himself above every god, but the beast still honors the "god of fortresses" above himself:

    Daniel 11:36-39 - "Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all. But in their place he shall honor a god of fortresses; and a god which his fathers did not know he shall honor with gold and silver, with precious stones and pleasant things. Thus he shall act against the strongest fortresses with a foreign god, which he shall acknowledge, and advance its glory; and he shall cause them to rule over many, and divide the land for gain."

    This foreign god is most likely Satan. This suggests that the world will worship Satan through the beast and not separately from the beast, which also lends credence to Satan possessing the beast. However, not everyone will marvel over the resurrected beast, or worship him or the dragon only the earth dwellers who are not written in the "Book of Life":

    Revelation 13:8 - All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

    The Lord wrote the names of believers in the "Book of Life" before the foundation of the world, because He foreknew, being omniscient, who would choose Him:

    Romans 8:29-30 - For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.
    Ephesians 1:3-6 - Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.

    God used His foreknowledge to choose whom He would adopt as sons to partake in redemption and predestined them to receive an inheritance in Heaven putting their names in the "Book of Life" before the foundation of the world to "register" them as citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:20, Hebrews 12:23):

    Ephesians 1:7-12 - In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth - in Him. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.

    Predestination working in tandem with free will is a paradox to many, but it is important to recognize that while God uses His foreknowledge to make arrangements for our eternal future, and goes through the process of drawing us to Him through the Spirit to a salvation decision, it does not negate our free will to choose the path of our eternal future, or the fact that He desires all men to come to salvation (1 Timothy 2:3-6, 2 Peter 3:9). In other words, God's foreknowledge does not equal predetermination of whether we get saved or not. Just because the Lord knows the future and has determined our pre-appointed times and boundaries, He still desires that we seek Him of our own free will:

    Acts 17:26-27 - And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their pre-appointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us....

    Free will and the ability to choose is necessary to have true love. If election, or being chosen by God meant that we don't have a choice to freely accept or reject Him, then we cannot love and serve God of our own free will. There are several examples in Scripture where God tests our free will to see if we will follow Him or not. The Lord first tested Adam and Eve, and their failure led to the fall of man. Unfortunately, free will can lead to sin which has consequences, and God being just has to deal with sin, but He was willing to send His Son, the Lamb of God (John 1:36), to pay the price for our sin so that we might have eternal life because He loved us so much (John 3:16-17):

    1 Peter 1:18-20 - Knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you.

    When the Lord wrote the names of believers in the "Lamb's Book of Life" before the foundation of the world, it was forever His promise is that He will never blot out anyone's name written in the "Book of Life," as discussed in Revelation 3:5:

    Revelation 3:5 - He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life; but I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.

    So, everyone who witnesses the beast's resurrection and chooses to worship him instead of the Lamb who was slain and rose again, they will not inherit eternal life, but go to eternal torment, along with everyone else not found in the "Book of Life":

    Revelation 14:11 "And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name."
    Revelation 20:11-12, 15 - Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.... And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire.

    These earth dwellers were not written in the Lamb's "Book of Life" and they will not have an eternal inheritance as citizens of Heaven, because God foreknew they would reject Christ, the one "who is and who was and who is to come" (Revelation 1:4, 8; 11:17), and choose instead to follow the antichrist, or beast that "was, and is not, and yet is."


    Revelation 17:9 - "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits."

    The angel tells John that the mind needs wisdom to understand the imagery that explains the mystery of the "great harlot." As discussed in Revelation 13:18, believers who fear the Lord have both wisdom and understanding:

    Psalms 111:10 - The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; a good understanding have all those who do His commandments. His praise endures forever.
    Proverbs 2:1-8 - My son, if you receive my words, and treasure my commands within you, so that you incline your ear to wisdom, and apply your heart to understanding; yes, if you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver, and search for her as for hidden treasures; then you will understand the fear of the LORD, and find the knowledge of God. For the LORD gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright; He is a shield to those who walk uprightly; He guards the paths of justice, and preserves the way of His saints.

    Wisdom is one of the attributes of the Holy Spirit (Revelation 1:4). The Holy Spirit teaches us God's wisdom and reveals to us things that men cannot understand in their own wisdom:

    1 Corinthians 2:10-13 - But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

    The first thing we need to do to understand God's wisdom is to accept Scripture as His Word:

    Jeremiah 8:9 - The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken. Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD; so what wisdom do they have?

    Then, if we let Scripture interpret Scripture, we can understand the imagery the angel uses to describe the beast and the "great harlot." First, the angel says that the seven heads on the beast are "seven mountains on which the woman sits." Recall from Zechariah 6:1, mountains in Scripture show dominion and can also specifically represent kingdoms:

    Jeremiah 51:24-25 - "And I will repay Babylon and all the inhabitants of Chaldea for all the evil they have done in Zion in your sight," says the LORD. "Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, who destroys all the earth," says the LORD. "And I will stretch out My hand against you, roll you down from the rocks, and make you a burnt mountain."
    Daniel 2:34-35 - You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces. Then the iron, the clay, the bronze, the silver, and the gold were crushed together, and became like chaff from the summer threshing floors; the wind carried them away so that no trace of them was found. And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.
    Daniel 2:44-45 - And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever. Inasmuch as you saw that the stone was cut out of the mountain. without hands, and that it broke in pieces the iron, the bronze, the clay, the silver, and the gold - the great God has made known to the king what will come to pass after this. The dream is certain, and its interpretation is sure.

    Throughout history, God used mountains, or kingdoms to judge the earth. God is sovereign, but He has given the dragon Satan authority over all the kingdoms of the world until Christ returns and replaces all other kingdoms of the earth with His "mountain," or kingdom:

    Luke 4:5-6 - Then the devil, taking Him up on a high mountain, showed Him all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time. And the devil said to Him, "All this authority I will give You, and their glory; for this has been delivered to me, and I give it to whomever I wish."
    Revelation 11:15 - Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, "The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!"
    Daniel 2:34-35, 44 - You watched while a stone was cut out without hands, which struck the image on its feet of iron and clay, and broke them in pieces.... And the stone that struck the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth.... And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.
    Isaiah 2:2 - Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD's house shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.
    heads of the dragon

    As discussed in Revelation 17:3, each of the seven mountains, or heads on the beast represent a specific king from each of seven kingdoms who oppressed and will oppress Israel: Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, and the Revived Roman Empire, or the beast's future global kingdom, as shown to the right. The angel says that the woman, or "great harlot," sits on all the mountains. Recall from Revelation 17:1 that "sitting" on a seat of power like a throne shows rule and authority, so "sitting" on the beast and his heads shows that the "great harlot" wielded control over the kings and their kingdoms. But note that the seven kingdoms did not dominate in power concurrently, but sequentially in history. In other words, the woman sitting on all the heads shows that she had influential power over every kingdom during their time of dominance.

    Recall from Revelation 17:2 that virtually all nations across history largely followed certain religions, and their leaders usually played a large role in deciding what religion their people would follow and how they should worship. Except for a few good kings of Israel, most all the kings of the world decided to follow false gods, and thus the spiritual harlotry of the "MOTHER OF HARLOTS" reigned over the kingdoms of the world through her "daughters."

    The six heads of the beast operated under the great harlot's daughter religions, but the seventh head will be a global kingdom after God reduces to nothing all the false gods and religions near the beginning of the Tribulation (Zephaniah 2:11), allowing the mother harlot herself to rise again over the whole world. God did not allow a global kingdom to come to fruition at Babel, but He did allow the "great harlot" to rise and reign through her daughters regionally throughout history. But when the seventh head of the beast comes to power, God will allow the "great harlot" to rule over a global kingdom for a short time.

    Incidentally, the Roman Catholic Church style of worship imitates Babylonian mysticism and thus could be considered a daughter of the "great harlot," as discussed in Revelation 17:5. But some commentators believe the Roman Catholic Church is the "great harlot" herself and not just a "daughter," but this view is not without some hermeneutic errors by arbitrarily taking things either literally or symbolically to fit a preconceived notion.

    First, all false religions today will be "reduced to nothing" at the beginning of the Tribulation (Zephaniah 2:11), which means the "great harlot" cannot be a false religion in existence today. Second, those who hold this view agree that the seven heads of the beast symbolically represent seven mountains, or hills that the woman rules overs, but then they literally assign a single location to the seven hills instead of recognizing them as specific kingdoms as the Scripture says. Because Rome is infamously known as the "City on Seven Hills," they claim that this passage in Revelation is proof that the Catholic Church is the "great harlot." John Walvoord further explains why this interpretation is convoluted, which segues into the next passage that clearly shows that the hills are specific kings and not a geographic location:

      The confusion of the seven heads of the beasts with the seven hills of Rome, however, arises from inattention to what the passage states. John was informed, "They are also seven kings" (v.10). If the hills represent kings, then they do not refer to the seven hills of Rome, and the whole conclusion that Rome is the capital of ecclesiastical Babylon is brought into question. Further, a statement is made, "Five have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come; but when he does come, he must remain for a little while" (v.10). This could not refer to hills.

      Source: Every Prophecy of the Bible - By John F Walvoord


    Revelation 17:10 - There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time.

    In the last section the angel shows John that the beast has seven heads like the dragon. Both have ten horns, but the dragon has seven diadems, or crowns on his heads, and the beast has ten crowns on his ten horns:

    Revelation 12:3 - And another sign appeared in heaven: behold, a great, fiery red dragon having seven heads and ten horns, and seven diadems on his heads.
    Revelation 13:1 - Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.

    The ten horns on both the dragon and the beast are ten kings who will rule over the seventh and last Gentile kingdom. Recall from Revelation 12:3, that heads or mountains represent kingdoms, horns can represent kings and/or kingdoms, and crowns signify kings or kingship:

    Head, Mountain, Horn, Crown

    There are ten crowns on the ten horns of the beast which represent ten kings who rule over ten kingdoms, as we will see in Revelation 17:12. As discussed in Revelation 17:3, the seven crowns on the seven heads of the dragon represent seven specific kings in each successive Gentile kingdom who oppressed Israel. At the time John penned Revelation, five of these kings had fallen, one was in power, and the beast is the last king yet to come:

    Kingdom Ruling King Status when John penned Revelation
    1. Egypt
    Pharaoh



    Fallen Kings
    2. Assyria
    Sennacherib
    3. Babylon
    Nebuchadnezzar
    4. Medo-Persia
    Darius
    5. Greece (Seleucid)
    Antiochus IV Epiphanes
    6. Rome
    Domitian
    Ruling King
    7. Future Kingdom
    Beast/Antichrist
    Future King

    When the beast comes, his reign will be for a short time precisely 42 months:

    Revelation 13:4-5 - So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" And he was given a mouth speaking great things and blasphemies, and he was given authority to continue for forty-two months.

    Revelation 17:11 - The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition.

    As discussed in the last section, the mountains are five consecutive kingdoms that had fallen, one kingdom was still ruling when John penned the Revelation, and another kingdom will rule in the future. Rome is the kingdom that was in power during John's life. It was never destroyed, but gradually declined over time. This empire will revive from its apparent death as the seventh global kingdom that has not yet come, represented in the seventh head of the dragon (Revelation 12:3).

    But John also personifies the beast, showing that the king over the seventh kingdom is also in view. This king, represented by the diadem or crown on the dragon's seventh head goes to the bottomless pit, but returns as an eighth king. This eighth king is the resurrected seventh king who will rule over the seventh and last head or kingdom of the beast, which is fitting as the number "seven" means complete and the number "eight" means "new beginnings" or "renewal," as discussed "Prophetic Patterns in Numbers."

    The fact that the beast goes to the bottomless pit and returns with his mortal wound healed means he resurrects from the dead, as discussed in Revelation 13:3. In other words, the seventh king dies ("was, and is not") and in his destruction, or "perdition" (Revelation 17:8) he goes to the bottomless pit, but he returns to life, being healed from the mortal wound and reigns as an eighth king, in his second reign over the seventh head, or kingdom of the dragon.


    Revelation 17:12-13 - "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast.

    Recall from Revelation 17:7 that the ten horns on both the beast and the dragon are ten kings who will rule over the seventh and last Gentile kingdom, represented by the seventh head of both creatures. These ten horns are on the seventh head, as the ten kings will rule over the last head, or Gentile kingdom, but not the previous kingdoms. In other words, the seventh head of the dragon and the beast from the sea is a future global empire divided into ten kingdoms initially ruled by ten kings along with the beast, represented by the "little horn":

    Daniel 7:7-8 - "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots. And there, in this horn, were eyes like the eyes of a man, and a mouth speaking pompous words."

    The fourth beast in Daniel's vision above is the same kingdom represented by the feet and ten toes of the statue in Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 2:40-43), which corresponds to the ten horns on the seventh head of the beast (Revelation 12:3):

    4th beast vs 10 toes vs 7th head

    The beast, or the "little horn" receives his authority from the dragon (Revelation 13:2). The ten horns, or kings receive authority to reign for "one hour," which is the "hour of trial," or the seven-year Tribulation period (Revelation 3:10, 8:1). When John penned Revelation, the ten kings had "no kingdom as yet," because the angel was not speaking of contemporary kings who ruled in John's day, but future kings who will rule over the world divided into ten kingdoms during the Tribulation.

    Today, the nation's borders are increasingly becoming weak and transparent through a push toward globalism, economic unions, and increasing support for illegal immigration. These satanic tactics will continue to weaken sovereign nations so there will be less resistance to reorganize the nations into ten kingdoms after the rapture of the Church, near the beginning of the Tribulation. The dragon has already been preparing the world for a global kingdom divided into ten regions, as there have already been numerous proposals over the years on how the world might be divided. The following article takes a look at many of these plans: "UN Divides the World into 10 Regional Groupings"

    The ten kings first share authority with the beast, who is also under the great harlot's authority, as she is first shown riding the beast (Revelation 17:3). The ten kings have ten kingdoms, represented by ten horns on the beast's seventh head, but there is not an eleventh kingdom for the beast. This may mean the beast acts more as an overseer of the ten kingdoms, like a UN chief who works with the ten kings, instead of being like an emperor over vassal kings or governors, since he does not have a kingdom. The ten kings will give their authority to the beast, but the beast receives his authority from the dragon, which means the authority ultimately comes from the dragon:

    Revelation 13:2 - Now the beast which I saw was like a leopard, his feet were like the feet of a bear, and his mouth like the mouth of a lion. The dragon gave him his power, his throne, and great authority.

    So, the dragon gives authority to the ten kings to rule over the world for seven years under the "great harlot," but in the middle of their reign they transfer their power and authority in a unified move to the beast, allowing him to become a global dictator after the kings kill the "great harlot," as we will discuss in Revelation 17:16. The dragon is the one who transfers the authority and power to the beast through the ten kings, but it is God who puts it on the hearts of the ten kings to give their power to the beast with "one mind" to fulfill His purpose and His prophetic Word:

    Revelation 17:17 - For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

    The ten kings will continue to reign as puppet kings and serve as leaders under the beast in the second half of the Tribulation. However, three of the kings apparently resist or rebel against the beast at some point after they give him their authority and power, because the beast uproots three of them, disposing of them as kings. Scripture does not say if the beast replaces the three kings, or if the only the remaining seven kings continue to serve the beast:

    Daniel 7:7-8 - "After this I saw in the night visions, and behold, a fourth beast, dreadful and terrible, exceedingly strong. It had huge iron teeth; it was devouring, breaking in pieces, and trampling the residue with its feet. It was different from all the beasts that were before it, and it had ten horns. I was considering the horns, and there was another horn, a little one, coming up among them, before whom three of the first horns were plucked out by the roots."
    Daniel 7:23-24 - "Thus he said: 'The fourth beast shall be a fourth kingdom on earth, which shall be different from all other kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, trample it and break it in pieces. The ten horns are ten kings who shall arise from this kingdom. And another shall rise after them; he shall be different from the first ones, and shall subdue three kings.'"

    Revelation 17:14 - These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."

    The kings who serve the beast will make war with the Lamb of God, who is Jesus Christ:

    John 1:29 - The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!"
    Revelation 5:6-7 And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. Then He came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne.

    The Lamb of God not only took away the sin of the world when He was slain and died on a cross, but He also paid the redemption price through His death, so that as our kinsman redeemer, He could take back the purchase deed to the earth and reclaim what Adam lost in the fall. When Adam lost the purchase deed to the earth, Satan took over and will continue to reign over the Gentile kingdoms until Jesus returns to reclaim the earth. But Satan will not go down without a fight before Jesus returns.

    Under the dragon and the beast's authority, the kings who serve the beast will make war with the Lamb. This is not speaking of a single battle, but a drawn-out campaign, so a better translation might be that the kings will "wage war with the Lamb." Satan will use these kings as his instruments to try to stop the Lamb from taking away his authority and power and prevent Him from establishing His kingdom on earth in the place of his kingdom. At the end of the Tribulation the kings who serve the beast will gather and lead their armies into the final battle when Christ returns:

    Revelation 16:12-14 - Then the sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, so that the way of the kings from the east might be prepared. And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet. For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.

    But the war against the Lamb will begin before the final battle. The beast will make war with the Lamb by making war with His saints, and the beast will have authority to overcome them:

    Revelation 13:4, 7 - So they worshiped the dragon who gave authority to the beast; and they worshiped the beast, saying, "Who is like the beast? Who is able to make war with him?" It was granted to him to make war with the saints and to overcome them. And authority was given him over every tribe, tongue, and nation.

    When the Lamb returns, He will overcome the beast and his kingdom:

    Daniel 7:21-22 - "I was watching; and the same horn was making war against the saints, and prevailing against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and a judgment was made in favor of the saints of the Most High, and the time came for the saints to possess the kingdom."
    Daniel 7:25-27 - He shall speak pompous words against the Most High, shall persecute the saints of the Most High, and shall intend to change times and law. Then the saints shall be given into his hand for a time and times and half a time. 'But the court shall be seated, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and destroy it forever. Then the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people, the saints of the Most High. His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey Him.'
    Revelation 19:19-21 - And I saw the beast, the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against Him who sat on the horse and against His army. Then the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet who worked signs in his presence, by which he deceived those who received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image. These two were cast alive into the lake of fire burning with brimstone. And the rest were killed with the sword which proceeded from the mouth of Him who sat on the horse. And all the birds were filled with their flesh.

    The Lamb will also overcome the kings who serve the beast, when He returns to judge the nations and reign over the earth:

    Psalms 110:5-6 - The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath. He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries.
    Isaiah 24:21-23 - It shall come to pass in that day that the LORD will punish on high the host of exalted ones, and on the earth the kings of the earth. They will be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and will be shut up in the prison; after many days they will be punished. Then the moon will be disgraced and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem and before His elders, gloriously.

    The Lamb will be able to overcome the beast and the kings who serve him, because He is the "King of kings" and "Lord of lords." These titles show that the Lamb has absolute sovereignty and dominion over all other authority, and over all of creation:

      The phrase "king of kings" is used in Scripture six times. Once, the title is applied to God the Father (1 Timothy 6:15), and twice to the Lord Jesus (Revelation 17:14; 19:16). The other three (Ezra 7:12; Ezekiel 26:7; Daniel 2:37) refer to either Artaxerxes or Nebuchadnezzar, kings who used the phrase to express their absolute sovereignty over their respective realms (Persia and Babylon). The phrase "lord of lords" is used by itself in Scripture twice and refers to God the Father (Deuteronomy 10:17; Psalm 136:3).

      In Revelation 19:16 Jesus is given the full title "KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS" (Revelation 17:14 switches it: "Lord of lords and King of kings"). The title indicates someone who has the power to exercise absolute dominion over all His realm. In the case of the Lord Jesus, the realm is all of creation. In John's vision, Jesus is returning to judge the world and establish His earthly kingdom, as He predicted in Mark 13:26.

      When Jesus is called "King of kings and Lord of lords," it means that, in the end, all other rulers will be conquered or abolished, and He alone will reign supreme as King and Lord of all the earth. There is no power, no king, and no lord who can oppose Him and win....

      Fundamentally, the idea of Jesus being King of kings and Lord of lords means that there is no higher authority. His reign over all things is absolute and inviolable. God raised Him from the dead and placed Him over all things, "far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all" (Ephesians 1:2123).

      Source: Got Questions?

    When the "King of kings" and "Lord of lords" returns with the armies of Heaven He will defeat the armies of the world:

    Revelation 19:11, 14-16 - Now I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.... And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

    The armies in Heaven who return with the Lamb include His saints:

    Jude 1:14-15 - Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, "Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him."
    Zechariah 14:4-5 - And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, from east to west, making a very large valley; half of the mountain shall move toward the north and half of it toward the south. Then you shall flee through My mountain valley, for the mountain valley shall reach to Azal. Yes, you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzziah king of Judah. Thus the LORD my God will come, and all the saints with You.

    The Lamb's saints who are with Him when He returns are "called, chosen, and faithful":

      ...being called speaks of a time prior to having come to the faith - something the elect angels do not experience for they have never been lost, but remained continually faithful. Calling is unique to those saints who at one time were not saints, that is, human beings rather than angels (Romans 1:6, 8:28-30; 2 Timothy 2:9). "These epithets called, chosen, and faithful, can only strictly apply to saints [not angels]." Those who are both called and chosen are "His own elect who cry out day and night to Him" (Luke 18:7). They did not choose Him, but He chose them (John 15:16). This speaks of human beings, not just angels, who will return with Christ at His Second Coming. They do not remain in heaven, but return to participate in the Millennial Kingdom which follows (Revelation 20:4-6). They are said to be faithful because they are human beings, born among those who were fallen, but who then exercised faith to salvation.

      Source: Bible Study Tools

    Revelation 17:15-18


    Revelation 17:15 - Then he said to me, "The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues."

    As discussed in Revelation 17:1, listing people groups in divisions of four show that all people groups who dwell on the earth are in view. So, the "waters" represent all people groups from every race, group, country, and language. "Sitting" on a seat of power like a throne shows rule and authority, so "sitting" on the waters show that the "great harlot" rules over all the people of the world, including the kings of the earth:

    Revelation 17:18 - "And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth."

    But as we will see in the next few sections, the ten kings will destroy the harlot and give their power and authority to the beast half way into the Tribulation, which will allow the beast to take full reign as supreme dictator over all the people groups of the earth, in place of the "great harlot."


    Revelation 17:16 - And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.

    The harlot is a religious system that will rule over the world, as discussed throughout this study, but the harlot is also a city (Revelation 17:18). This is similar, but in contrast to the Church, or the bride of Christ being equated to the holy city - the New Jerusalem:

    Revelation 21:2 - Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

    The global religious system is separate from the global economic system, but both are based in the city of Babylon. In his book "Revelation Unveiled," Tim LaHaye described the relationship of these two systems as "so intertwined they are presented together." In fact, the destructions of both systems are even similar, as the city is stripped of her riches and adornments, made desolate, and burned with fire like the "great harlot":

    Revelation 18:8, 15-19 - Therefore her plagues will come in one day - death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.... The merchants of these things, who became rich by her, will stand at a distance for fear of her torment, weeping and wailing, and saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city that was clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls! For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.' Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, 'What is like this great city?' "They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.'"

    Both the religious and economic systems will be destroyed, but at different times. As we see here, the ten horns, or kings will destroy the "great harlot" religion midway through the Tribulation, but at the end of the Tribulation, God will destroy the city, and the kings of the earth will mourn over it:

    Revelation 16:17, 19 - Then the seventh angel poured out his bowl into the air, and a loud voice came out of the temple of heaven, from the throne, saying, "It is done!" ...And great Babylon was remembered before God, to give her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of His wrath.
    Revelation 18:9-10 - "The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.'"

    God will use the Medes, who are likely the modern-day Kurds, to destroy Babylon the city, effectively destroying the capital and economic symbol of the global government:

    Jeremiah 51:11, 28 - Make the arrows bright! Gather the shields! The LORD has raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes. For His plan is against Babylon to destroy it, because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance for His temple.... Prepare against her the nations, with the kings of the Medes, its governors and all its rulers, all the land of his dominion.

    When the Medes took Babylon the first time, they did so without battle and did not destroy the city. Later, the Persians partially destroyed the walls of the city after Babylon rebelled and tried to declare independence. Then after being conquered by Alexander the Great, Babylon's population moved out of the city (source). However, Babylon was never totally destroyed by the Medes, or made desolate like Sodom and Gomorrah, where only demons, represented by unclean creatures dwell (Revelation 18:2):

    Isaiah 13:17-22 - "Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who will not regard silver; and as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, and they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, nor will it be settled from generation to generation; nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there. But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, and their houses will be full of owls; ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats will caper there. The hyenas will howl in their citadels, and jackals in their pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come, and her days will not be prolonged."

    Jeremiah also prophesied Babylon's destruction. Jeremiah 50 covers prophecies that were mostly fulfilled in history when the Medes conquered Babylon, but Jeremiah 51 reaches to a future time when the city is completely destroyed. John restates these prophecies in Revelation 18, which prove Babylon's complete destruction is yet future:


    Jeremiah 51Revelation 18
    Jeremiah 51:7 - Babylon was a golden cup in the LORD's hand, that made all the earth drunk. The nations drank her wine; therefore the nations are deranged. Revelation 18:3 - For all the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth have become rich through the abundance of her luxury."

    Revelation 18:6 - Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her.
    Jeremiah 51:8-9 - Babylon has suddenly fallen and been destroyed. Wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed. Forsake her, and let us go everyone to his own country; for her judgment reaches to heaven and is lifted up to the skies. Revelation 18:9-11 - "The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning, standing at a distance for fear of her torment, saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! For in one hour your judgment has come.' "And the merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her, for no one buys their merchandise anymore."
    Jeremiah 51:37, 62 - Babylon shall become a heap, a dwelling place for jackals, an astonishment and a hissing, without an inhabitant... then you shall say, 'O LORD, You have spoken against this place to cut it off, so that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but it shall be desolate forever.' Revelation 18:2 - And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, "Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!"
    Jeremiah 51:26, 29, 43 - They shall not take from you a stone for a corner nor a stone for a foundation, but you shall be desolate forever," says the LORD.... And the land will tremble and sorrow; for every purpose of the LORD shall be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation without inhabitant.... Her cities are a desolation, a dry land and a wilderness, a land where no one dwells, through which no son of man passes. Revelation 18:19 - "They threw dust on their heads and cried out, weeping and wailing, and saying, 'Alas, alas, that great city, in which all who had ships on the sea became rich by her wealth! For in one hour she is made desolate.'"
    Jeremiah 51:6 - Flee from the midst of Babylon, and every one save his life! Do not be cut off in her iniquity, for this is the time of the LORD's vengeance; He shall recompense her.

    Jeremiah 51:45 - "My people, go out of the midst of her! And let everyone deliver himself from the fierce anger of the LORD."
    Revelation 18:4-8 - And I heard another voice from heaven saying, "Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues. For her sins have reached to heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities. In the measure that she glorified herself and lived luxuriously, in the same measure give her torment and sorrow; for she says in her heart, 'I sit as queen, and am no widow, and will not see sorrow.' Therefore her plagues will come in one day - death and mourning and famine. And she will be utterly burned with fire, for strong is the Lord God who judges her.
    Jeremiah 51:58 -Thus says the LORD of hosts: "The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; the people will labor in vain, and the nations, because of the fire; and they shall be weary." Revelation 18:17-18 - For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.' Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance and cried out when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, 'What is like this great city?'
    Jeremiah 51:42, 63-64 - The sea has come up over Babylon; she is covered with the multitude of its waves. Now it shall be, when you have finished reading this book, that you shall tie a stone to it and throw it out into the Euphrates. Then you shall say, 'Thus Babylon shall sink and not rise from the catastrophe that I will bring upon her. And they shall be weary.' " Thus far are the words of Jeremiah. Revelation 18:21 - Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, "Thus with violence the great city Babylon shall be thrown down, and shall not be found anymore.

    So, the ten kings will destroy the harlot religion because they have "one mind" to "give their power and authority to the beast" (Revelation 17:13). They all hate her, so together they make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh, and finally burn her with fire this is God's judgment on the "great harlot." The city is later destroyed by fire too (Revelation 18:8), but since the "great harlot" is a metaphor for a false religious system, the ten kings will probably burn temples or other houses of worship and kill the religious leaders like Jehu and Josiah did when they killed the priests and destroyed the high places and altars of Baal (2 Kings 10:18-28, 23:1-20). It is fitting that God chooses to destroy the "great harlot" with fire, as that was the punishment for daughters of priests who played the harlot under the Law of Moses:

    Leviticus 21:9 - The daughter of any priest, if she profanes herself by playing the harlot, she profanes her father. She shall be burned with fire.

    Before the ten kings burn the "great harlot," they eat her flesh, which means they conquer and plunder her, taking all that she has for themselves (Psalms 14:4, 27:2, Proverbs 30:14, Daniel 7:5, Micah 3:1-4). However, as discussed in Revelation 2:20, Jezebel led the northern kingdom of Israel into spiritual harlotry, and after Jehu killed her, dogs ate her flesh. Perhaps the ten kings will also literally fulfill this prophecy by cannibalizing the religious leaders who will lead the world into spiritual harlotry, considering how reprobate the world will be during the Tribulation:

    2 Kings 9:22, 30-37 - Now it happened, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, "Is it peace, Jehu?" So he answered, "What peace, as long as the harlotries of your mother Jezebel and her witchcraft are so many?" ...Now when Jehu had come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she put paint on her eyes and adorned her head, and looked through a window. Then, as Jehu entered at the gate, she said, "Is it peace, Zimri, murderer of your master?" And he looked up at the window, and said, "Who is on my side? Who?" So two or three eunuchs looked out at him. Then he said, "Throw her down." So they threw her down, and some of her blood spattered on the wall and on the horses; and he trampled her underfoot. And when he had gone in, he ate and drank. Then he said, "Go now, see to this accursed woman, and bury her, for she was a king's daughter." So they went to bury her, but they found no more of her than the skull and the feet and the palms of her hands. Therefore they came back and told him. And he said, "This is the word of the LORD, which He spoke by His servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 'On the plot of ground at Jezreel dogs shall eat the flesh of Jezebel; and the corpse of Jezebel shall be as refuse on the surface of the field, in the plot at Jezreel, so that they shall not say, "Here lies Jezebel."'"

    Both the northern and southern kingdoms of Israel played the harlot with the false gods of neighboring nations, which led to God's judgment and exile from the land. God used similar imagery in how He was going to judge Israel through her neighbors, and how He will judge the "great harlot" through the ten kings they hated Israel, made her desolate and naked, and devoured what they had with fire, including their religious shrines and high places, which leads credence to the notion that the ten kings will destroy the "great harlot" by destroying her houses of worship:

    Ezekiel 23:25-30 - I will set My jealousy against you, and they shall deal furiously with you; they shall remove your nose and your ears, and your remnant shall fall by the sword; they shall take your sons and your daughters, and your remnant shall be devoured by fire. They shall also strip you of your clothes and take away your beautiful jewelry. 'Thus I will make you cease your lewdness and your harlotry brought from the land of Egypt, so that you will not lift your eyes to them, nor remember Egypt anymore.' "For thus says the Lord GOD: 'Surely I will deliver you into the hand of those you hate, into the hand of those from whom you alienated yourself. They will deal hatefully with you, take away all you have worked for, and leave you naked and bare. The nakedness of your harlotry shall be uncovered, both your lewdness and your harlotry. I will do these things to you because you have gone as a harlot after the Gentiles, because you have become defiled by their idols.'"
    Ezekiel 16:35, 39-42 - 'Now then, O harlot, hear the word of the LORD! I will also give you into their hand, and they shall throw down your shrines and break down your high places. They shall also strip you of your clothes, take your beautiful jewelry, and leave you naked and bare. "They shall also bring up an assembly against you, and they shall stone you with stones and thrust you through with their swords. They shall burn your houses with fire, and execute judgments on you in the sight of many women; and I will make you cease playing the harlot, and you shall no longer hire lovers. So I will lay to rest My fury toward you, and My jealousy shall depart from you. I will be quiet, and be angry no more."'

    After the ten kings destroy the "great harlot," they will give their power and authority to the beast, as we will see in the next section. When the beast takes full control as a global dictator, one of the first things he does is desecrate the temple of God and exalt himself above all other gods, including the one true god:

    Daniel 11:31, 36-37 - And forces shall be mustered by him, and they shall defile the sanctuary fortress; then they shall take away the daily sacrifices, and place there the abomination of desolation.... "Then the king shall do according to his own will: he shall exalt and magnify himself above every god, shall speak blasphemies against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the wrath has been accomplished; for what has been determined shall be done. He shall regard neither the God of his fathers nor the desire of women, nor regard any god; for he shall exalt himself above them all."

    So, in the middle of the Tribulation, the ten kings will destroy and plunder the "great harlot," probably by killing the religious leaders and burning their houses of worship, and the beast will desecrate the temple of God. The "great harlot," the beast, and the ten kings are tools Satan uses to try to exalt himself and thwart God, therefore, Satan pitting the ten kings and beast against the "great harlot" is a division doomed to fail:

    Matthew 12:25-26 - But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: "Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand. If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand?"

    Revelation 17:17 - For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.

    God puts into the hearts of the ten kings to have "one mind" to kill the "great harlot" and give their power and authority to the beast in a unified move, as we saw in Revelation 17:13. There are several examples in Scripture where God put knowledge, wisdom, and a desire to obey into people's hearts (Exodus 35:34-35, 36:2, 1 Kings 10:24, 2 Chronicles 9:23, Ezra 7:27, Nehemiah 2:12 & 7:5, Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26). When it comes to God moving a believer's heart to do something it is easy for most to accept, because believers choose to follow Him of their own free will. But God also moves unbelievers' hearts to fulfill His purpose, like He did with the pagan king of Persia, using him to send the Jewish exiles back to Judah and to rebuild the temple:

    Ezra 1:1-2 - Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled, the LORD stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation throughout all his kingdom, and also put it in writing, saying, Thus says Cyrus king of Persia: All the kingdoms of the earth the LORD God of heaven has given me. And He has commanded me to build Him a house at Jerusalem which is in Judah.
    Proverbs 21:1 - The king's heart is in the hand of the LORD, like the rivers of water; He turns it wherever He wishes.

    Our human minds struggle with how God, as Creator, determines men's pre-appointed boundaries and dwellings (Acts 17:26) and uses His omnipotence and omniscience in concert with allowing men to exercise free will, yet move circumstances and people, regardless if they are believers or unbelievers, to fulfill His purpose. But it is important to recognize that despite our limitations in understanding how God operates, He is still sovereign, and Scripture is clear that He orchestrates the narrative of world history to fulfill His prophetic word:

      God's sovereign control of the affairs of history is a constant theme behind the events of the book of Revelation. Everything that transpires occurs by His sovereign permission. From the riding forth of the first horsemen (sic) who was given a crown, to rising of the Beast from the sea who is given authority to continue forty-two months (Revelation 13:5) and who was previously restrained (2 Thessalonians 2:6-8), God is ultimately in full control. God turns the hearts of kings according to His purposes - whether they know Him or not (Deuteronomy 2:30; Ezra 7:27; Psalm 105:25; Proverbs 21:1; Isaiah 10:5-7; 14:27; 66:4; Acts 4:28). God determined that Pharaoh would not heed Moses so that Egypt might be judged (Exodus 7:4). He named and brought forth Cyrus to rebuild Jerusalem, although Cyrus did not know Him (Isaiah 44:26-45:4; 46:11). It was God who gave Nebuchadnezzar his kingdom and power, although for much of his reign, Nebuchadnezzar did not know God (Daniel 2:37)....

      The tension between divine sovereignty and human responsibility runs throughout Scripture and is impossible to escape. Emphasizing either one at the expense of the other results in a distortion of Scripture. Although it was God's "determined purpose and foreknowledge" to deliver Jesus to the cross, those who crucified Him are fully responsible for their "lawless hands" (Acts 2:23-24; Romans 9:19-22; James 1:13-17). "But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!" (Luke 22:21-22)

      Source: Bible Study Tools

    It is interesting to note that Jesus was very deliberate to share every prophecy that He fulfilled from the Old Testament along the way. After He rose from the dead, He reiterated that He was the promised Messiah and He had to fulfill all the prophecies to authenticate who He was:

    Luke 24:44 - Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me."

    The same goes for unfulfilled prophecy. The Lord must fulfill all of His prophetic word to authenticate Himself, but His purpose is to work all things for the good of those who love Him:

    Romans 8:28 - And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

    Joseph recognized God's purpose to orchestrate events for the good of His people, even though it meant that Joseph's brothers sold him into slavery. He was falsely accused and thrown into jail before he ended up in the place God needed Him so that He could use him for His purpose to save the twelve tribes of Israel from perishing in the drought:

    Genesis 50:20 - But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring it about as it is this day, to save many people alive.

    In the same way, God is going to save a remnant out of Israel through the Tribulation to set up His earthly kingdom, but first Israel must accept Christ as Messiah. God will use the Tribulation to get Israel's attention, which causes them to turn to the Lord:

    Ezekiel 20:33-38 - "As I live," says the Lord GOD, "surely with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out, I will rule over you. I will bring you out from the peoples and gather you out of the countries where you are scattered, with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, and with fury poured out. And I will bring you into the wilderness of the peoples, and there I will plead My case with you face to face. Just as I pleaded My case with your fathers in the wilderness of the land of Egypt, so I will plead My case with you," says the Lord GOD. "I will make you pass under the rod, and I will bring you into the bond of the covenant; I will purge the rebels from among you, and those who transgress against Me; I will bring them out of the country where they dwell, but they shall not enter the land of Israel. Then you will know that I am the LORD."

    But God will also purge the rebels, or God's enemies who transgress against Him, and He does so through the Tribulation judgments. God will also use the ten horns as instruments to destroy the "great harlot," and in turn use the beast to take out three of the kings (Daniel 7:24), and then Christ Himself will conquer the rest of the kings and the beast when He returns (Daniel 7:25-27). Christ could judge the world in one fell swoop, but He has chosen to use a methodical process like He did with Joseph to move people and circumstances to fulfill His purpose in its proper time.

    God will also use the Tribulation to reconcile Jewish and Gentile believers this is the prophetic "mystery of God" discussed in Revelation 10:7. But first, a multitude of Gentiles need to be saved:

    Revelation 7:9-10 - After these things I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no one could number, of all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, saying, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"

    If God wasn't longsuffering, choosing to stretch out His judgment over seven years through evil regimes and cosmic calamities and putting people in that particular time and place so that they become receptive to the Gospel, how many would be eternally lost? Only God knows the best way to reach the lost and fulfill His purposes and prophetic word even if that means using vessels of wrath destined for destruction who have rejected Him:

    Romans 9:21-24 - Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    Revelation 17:18 "And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth."

    The angel tells John that the woman, or the "great harlot," is "that great city that reigns over the kings of the earth." As discussed throughout this study, the "great harlot" is a false religious system pictured as a woman and identified with the city Babylon, its base of operation. This is similar, but in contrast to the Church, or the bride of Christ, being equated to the holy city - the New Jerusalem (Revelation 21:2), as discussed in Revelation 17:16.

    The base for the "great harlot" and pagan worship was originally in Babel, but has moved around throughout history. As discussed in Revelation 2:13, when Cyrus the Great conquered Babylon, the Babylonian priests fled to the area of Pergamos, effectively moving the center of pagan worship with them. Pergamos was also the location of the "throne of Satan" when John penned Revelation and was possibly associated with the Pergamom Altar. The altar was willed to Rome, but did not move until it was excavated and moved to Berlin in the late 1800's. The "great harlot" is the only religion in Scripture portrayed as a wicked woman from its inception, and the passage below shows that wherever the base of the woman is now, it will return to its base of origin Babylon in the land of Shinar:

    Zechariah 5:5-11 - Then the angel who talked with me came out and said to me, "Lift your eyes now, and see what this is that goes forth." So I asked, "What is it?" And he said, "It is a basket that is going forth." He also said, "This is their resemblance throughout the earth: Here is a lead disc lifted up, and this is a woman sitting inside the basket"; then he said, "This is Wickedness!" And he thrust her down into the basket, and threw the lead cover over its mouth. Then I raised my eyes and looked, and there were two women, coming with the wind in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork, and they lifted up the basket between earth and heaven. So I said to the angel who talked with me, "Where are they carrying the basket?" And he said to me, "To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base."

    As discussed in Revelation 14:8, this passage should quiet the controversy over the future location of Babylon. Many have tried to spiritualize Babylon to represent different locations like New York, Mecca, or Rome. While these locations have qualities that certainly make them "types" of Babylon, the Scriptures are clear that the wicked woman's base will move back to the land of Shinar, which is in Iraq, the original site of the ancient city of Babylon:

      Some may object that it is difficult to see how literal Babylon could be considered as reigning over the kings of the earth when she is so insignificant in our time. Yet, as we have seen, the woman is identified with a specific historical city of prominence in the past, and we believe will be of prominence again in the future. Between her initial rebellion as Babel and her final flowering of godless humanism as the rebuilt Babylon, the site of her former splendor lies largely forgotten. But her influence, as the mother of harlotry and abomination, is as active today upon the peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues as ever. Her humanism, idolatry, and fornication are alive and well, having been disseminated among the kingdoms of the earth. We believe a time is coming when "Wickedness!" will be carried back to the place of its original manifestation after the flood "to build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base" (Zechariah 5:11).

      Source: Bible Study Tools

    The angel tells John that the woman, or "great harlot," reigns over the kings of the earth. The city of Babylon will be the base for the center of the great harlot's pagan worship, and she will reign over the ten kings and their respective kingdoms during the first half of the Tribulation. But in a more general sense, the "great harlot" has been reigning over the kings of the earth through her "daughters" since the tower of Babel. The imagery of the "great harlot" sitting on the beast with the heads that represent seven of the world's kingdoms shows that she had power and authority over all the world's kingdoms.

    In the middle of the Tribulation, the kings of the earth in the Tribulation will revolt and destroy the "great harlot," probably by burning houses of worship and killing the religious leaders, as discussed in Revelation 17:16. But Babylon will continue on as a great city until the end of the Tribulation, and the kings who destroyed the "great harlot" will wail over the loss of the city when God finally judges and destroys it, showing that the religious and economic systems are separate, but are both based in the same city:

    Revelation 18:9 - "The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning."

    It is clear that the religious and economic systems will be destroyed at different times and by different means, but since both systems are presented together, we find many similarities between the religious system and the economic system:


    Religious Babylon (Revelation 17)Economic Babylon (Revelation 18)
    A great city A great city
    Sits on many waters For in one hour such great riches came to nothing.' Every shipmaster, all who travel by ship, sailors, and as many as trade on the sea, stood at a distance (port city)
    Arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls Clothed in fine linen, purple, and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls
    Having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication Render to her just as she rendered to you, and repay her double according to her works; in the cup which she has mixed, mix double for her
    With whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication All the nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her
    I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. Rejoice over her, O heaven, and you holy apostles and prophets, for God has avenged you on her!
    And the ten horns (kings) which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire The kings of the earth who committed fornication and lived luxuriously with her will weep and lament for her, when they see the smoke of her burning

    As we move on to Revelation 18, we will continue our interlude about Babylon, and turn our focus to the economic system centered in the same city as the religious system of the "great harlot."

    *** Revelation 18 Commentary Coming Soon! ***

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