26 December 2017 Bible Reading
Today’s reading in Revelation 17 provides additional detail about the fall of Babylon the great that was summarized in chapter 16. In chapter 13, the beast called Babylon the great symbolized the Roman Empire that ruled from approximately 27 BC to 476 AD. One of the seven angels who had poured out one of the bowls tells John that he “will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters.”
The image of the great prostitute sitting on many waters is symbolic of a wicked city. This symbol is used throughout Scripture:
- Nineveh (Nahum 3:4)
- Tyre (Isaiah 23:16-17)
- Jerusalem (Ezekiel 16:15)
This great harlot in Revelation 17:1 is described as “sitting on many waters.” Verse 15 explains the symbol: “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages.” The great harlot is the city that is ruling over the peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages of the earth. This is an excellent description of the Roman empire.
9 A revelation.
Yahweh’s word is against the land of Hadrach,
and will rest upon Damascus;
for the eye of man
and of all the tribes of Israel is toward Yahweh;
2 and Hamath, also, which borders on it;
Tyre and Sidon, because they are very wise.
3 Tyre built herself a stronghold,
and heaped up silver like the dust,
and fine gold like the mire of the streets.
4 Behold, the Lord will dispossess her,
and he will strike her power in the sea;
and she will be devoured with fire.
5 Ashkelon will see it, and fear;
Gaza also, and will writhe in agony;
as will Ekron, for her expectation will be disappointed;
and the king will perish from Gaza,
and Ashkelon will not be inhabited.
6 Foreigners will dwell in Ashdod,
and I will cut off the pride of the Philistines.
7 I will take away his blood out of his mouth,
and his abominations from between his teeth;
and he also will be a remnant for our God;
and he will be as a chieftain in Judah,
and Ekron as a Jebusite.
8 I will encamp around my house against the army,
that no one pass through or return;
and no oppressor will pass through them any more:
for now I have seen with my eyes.
9 Rejoice greatly, daughter of Zion!
Shout, daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your King comes to you!
He is righteous, and having salvation;
lowly, and riding on a donkey,
even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.
10 I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim,
and the horse from Jerusalem;
and the battle bow will be cut off;
and he will speak peace to the nations:
and his dominion will be from sea to sea,
and from the River to the ends of the earth.
11 As for you also,
because of the blood of your covenant,
I have set free your prisoners from the pit in which is no water.
12 Turn to the stronghold, you prisoners of hope!
Even today I declare that I will restore double to you.
13 For indeed I bend Judah as a bow for me.
I have filled the bow with Ephraim;
and I will stir up your sons, Zion,
against your sons, Greece,
and will make you like the sword of a mighty man.
14 Yahweh will be seen over them;
and his arrow will go flash like lightning;
and the Lord Yahweh will blow the trumpet,
and will go with whirlwinds of the south.
15 Yahweh of Armies will defend them;
and they will destroy and overcome with sling stones;
and they will drink, and roar as through wine;
and they will be filled like bowls,
like the corners of the altar.
16 Yahweh their God will save them in that day as the flock of his people;
for they are like the jewels of a crown,
lifted on high over his land.
17 For how great is his goodness,
and how great is his beauty!
Grain will make the young men flourish,
and new wine the virgins.
17 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and spoke with me, saying, “Come here. I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who sits on many waters, 2 with whom the kings of the earth committed sexual immorality, and those who dwell in the earth were made drunken with the wine of her sexual immorality.” 3 He carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness. I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet-colored animal, full of blasphemous names, having seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of the sexual immorality of the earth. 5 And on her forehead a name was written, “MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF THE PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.” 6 I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. When I saw her, I wondered with great amazement. 7 The angel said to me, “Why do you wonder? 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. 8 The beast that you saw was, and is not; and is about to come up out of the abyss and to go into destruction. Those who dwell on the earth and whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel when they see that the beast was, and is not, and shall be present. 9 Here is the mind that has wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sits. 10 They are seven kings. Five have fallen, the one is, the other has not yet come. When he comes, he must continue a little while. 11 The beast that was, and is not, is himself also an eighth, and is of the seven; and he goes to destruction. 12 The ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority as kings, with the beast, for one hour. 13 These have one mind, and they give their power and authority to the beast. 14 These will war against 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.” 15 He said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. 16 The ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the prostitute, and will make her desolate, and will make her naked, and will eat her flesh, and will burn her utterly with fire. 17 For God has put in their hearts to do what he has in mind, and to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God should be accomplished. 18 The woman whom you saw is the great city, which reigns over the kings of the earth.”
145 I will exalt you, my God, the King.
I will praise your name forever and ever.
2 Every day I will praise you.
I will extol your name forever and ever.
3 Great is Yahweh, and greatly to be praised!
His greatness is unsearchable.
4 One generation will commend your works to another,
and will declare your mighty acts.
5 Of the glorious majesty of your honor,
of your wondrous works, I will meditate.
6 Men will speak of the might of your awesome acts.
I will declare your greatness.
7 They will utter the memory of your great goodness,
and will sing of your righteousness.
8 Yahweh is gracious, merciful,
slow to anger, and of great loving kindness.
9 Yahweh is good to all.
His tender mercies are over all his works.
10 All your works will give thanks to you, Yahweh.
Your saints will extol you.
11 They will speak of the glory of your kingdom,
and talk about your power;
12 to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts,
the glory of the majesty of his kingdom.
13 Your kingdom is an everlasting kingdom.
Your dominion endures throughout all generations.
Yahweh is faithful in all his words,
and loving in all his deeds.
14 Yahweh upholds all who fall,
and raises up all those who are bowed down.
15 The eyes of all wait for you.
You give them their food in due season.
16 You open your hand,
and satisfy the desire of every living thing.
17 Yahweh is righteous in all his ways,
and gracious in all his works.
18 Yahweh is near to all those who call on him,
to all who call on him in truth.
19 He will fulfill the desire of those who fear him.
He also will hear their cry, and will save them.
20 Yahweh preserves all those who love him,
but all the wicked he will destroy.
21 My mouth will speak the praise of Yahweh.
Let all flesh bless his holy name forever and ever.
32 “If you have done foolishly in lifting up yourself,
or if you have thought evil,
put your hand over your mouth.