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Dave Burnette's Commentary

Revelation Chapter 17

Written By: God through Inspiration
Penned By: John the Apostle
Date Penned: (95 AD)
Overview: God Reveals the Future to John (c 1-22)
Theme: Messages for the Church (c 4-22)
Message: Seizing the Final Victory (v 1-21)

Revelation 17 Commentary

(17:1-21) The Great Prostitute and the Scarlet Beast - The destruction of Babylon mentioned in 16:17-21 is now described in greater detail  the phrase the great city of Babylon refers both to an evil city and an immoral empire, a world center for idol worship. Just as Babylon had been an enemy of the Jews (by conquering Jerusalem and taking many of the people into captivity, 2 Kings 25), so Rome was the enemy of the Christians. The name Babylon, the “great city,” is used to describe the focal point of anti-Christian activity. John’s readers would immediately have identified this great city as Rome, and they would have been correct. Yet they did not know, nor did John, that many years would pass before this event occurred, nor did they know that both Babylon and Rome were models of the future and the ultimate collapse of the entire world system that would reject God. The great city’s division into three pieces symbolizes its complete destruction. This foreshadows what John would describe in more detail in chapters 17 and 18.Not only that, but also cities around the world fell into heaps of rubble. So great is this earthquake that every city in the world will be destroyed—New York, Chicago, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Paris, London, Tokyo, Sydney—all will be flattened by this worldwide earthquake. This will indeed be an earthquake “greater than ever before in human history” (16:18) for places that had never had earthquakes will be destroyed.In 14:8, an angel had described the fall of Babylon, and in 14:9, another angel spoke of the Beast’s followers drinking the undiluted wine of God’s wrath. This is a further description of God giving the city the cup that was filled with the wine of his fierce wrath. Babylon had seduced the nations (see 17:2) and so deserved punishment.The earthquake will be so severe that every island will disappear. The earth will have such an upheaval that it will flatten the mountains so that they cannot even be found (see also 6:12-14). Other earthquakes have occurred in Revelation, but this will be the last and worst.  . Verses 1-6 describe John’s vision of the prostitute and the scarlet beast; the remainder of the chapter describes the interpretation of the symbols.

Dave Burnette's Life Application

Trust the Lord not Government

Each day we walk through the Bible chapter by chapter making an application of our text to help us grow in the Lord. Many applications can be made from each day's text. Today we Continue in the book of Revelation with Chapter 17 and in today's text we see the destruction of Babylon mentioned in chapter 16 is described in greater detail. The "Great Whore" called Babylon, represents the early Roman Empire with its may gods and the blood of Christian Martyrs on its hands. It also mentions the seductiveness of this governmental system as it uses immoral means to gain its own pleasure, prosperity, and advantage. This continues in many governments today, but in contrast to the whore, Christ's Bride, the Church, is pure and obedient. In making application we see that government is not the answer to our social problems but rather the Church. Throughout time people levitate to kings, and governments to take care of them. They place their trust in these entities which is a form of idolatry in some cases. Absolute power gives way to absolute corruption. We need government to produce laws that protect its citizens freedoms, liberties, and property, not to produce socialism. Meanwhile the Church should be our social support system providing welfare to the needy in the name of Christ. How about you? Do you depend on the government to meet your needs or do you trust Christ for your needs? If saved do you participate in the Church through tithes and offerings as well as reaching out to meet those in need? Let us learn from our text today and use today's text to reflect on our actions in government, the Church, and what our role should be in both.    


Revelation 17

Revelation 17

 1And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters:

 2With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication.

 3So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

 4And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:


 6And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

 7And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

 8The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

 9And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

 10And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.

 11And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

 12And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

 13These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

 14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

 15And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

 16And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

 17For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

 18And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.