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The Scriptorium

The Great Harlot

Government-sponsored immorality.

Revelation 16-20: The Sixth Facet

Week 8, Tuesday: Sin abounding

John sees the political powers of the world as a “beast of burden” carrying a great harlot, and thus allowing sin to proliferate. When men and nations become laws unto themselves, societies and cultures will tend toward wickedness and sin will abound. Politics itself can become a “vehicle” for immorality, corrupting everything and everyone it touches. For the saints of God, this is not only a sad and disgusting prospect, it can be dangerous.

Read Revelation 17

Meditate on Revelation 17.1-6
1.      Harlotry, fornication, drunkenness (vv. 1, 2). What do these images suggest? What does this teach us about the power of sin, and how should this lead us to consider the presence of sin in our lives, and in the lives of others?

2.      We’ve seen this “beast” before. Where? What does he represent? What does the vision mean to signify by the fact that this “beast” is the means of conveyance for the harlot?

3.      Give some examples from throughout history in which governments have been the “means of conveyance” for sin. How does this happen? That is, how does something God intends for good (Rom. 13.1-5) become a “vehicle” for siin?

4.      The arrayal of this harlot suggests images of royalty (purple) and wealth (gold, precious stones). These are the accoutrements of rule. What do these suggest about the power of sin, once it begins to be “enthroned”?

5.      Why is it natural for sinful governments and societies to turn against the saints of God (v. 6)? Should Christians today expect to be persecuted for their faith, for their “patient endurance” in the Kingdom? Explain.

My Reflection
What kinds of persecution for Christ might you expect to face during the course of a normal week? What would provoke such a response from people?

The Glory of God
It can seem as though the harlot and the beasts are prevailing against the saints. But we remember that only the Rider on the white horse goes forth “conquering and to conquer.” How is the conquering glory of God revealed in the persecution of His saints? How should this affect our attitude about possibly being persecuted?

Glory to Glory
How can believers help one another to prepare for persecution? Whom can you encourage in this vein today?

Let’s look more closely at our memory verses, Revelation 19.7-9. Recite your memory verses aloud. What will you do today to prepare yourself for the marriage supper to which you have been invited? Share these verses and your answer to today’s question with a Christian friend, even if only by email.

Closing Prayer
The fool has said in his heart,
There is no God.”
They are corrupt, and have done abominable iniquity;
There is none who does good.
God looks down from heaven upon the children of men,
To see if there are any who understand, who seek God.
Every one of them has turned aside;
They have together become corrupt;
There is none who does good,
No, not one.
Have the workers of iniquity no knowledge,
Who eat up my people as they eat bread,
And do not call upon God?
There they are in great fear
Where no fear was,
For God has scattered the bones of him who encamps against you;
You have put them to shame,
Because God has despised them.
Oh, that the salvation of Israel would come out of Zion!
When God brings back the captivity of His people,
Let Jacob rejoice and Israel be glad.

 Psalm 53

T. M. Moore

Download the studies for week 8 by clicking here.

The book of Revelation is the culminating episode in the story of God’s covenant. To learn more about that covenant, and to discover the way it integrates all of Scripture into the Gospel of Jesus Christ, order a copy of T. M.’s book, I Will Be Your God, by clicking here.

Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

T.M. Moore

T. M. Moore is principal of The Fellowship of Ailbe, a spiritual fellowship in the Celtic Christian tradition. He and his wife, Susie, make their home in the Champlain Valley of Vermont.
Books by T. M. Moore

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