Revelation 16-20: The Sixth Facet
Week 8, Wednesday: The harlot explained
John receives more detailed information about the harlot and what she represents. It’s clear from this section that the wickedness promoted by the kings of the earth is influenced by spiritual forces of wickedness (v. 8), and this helps us to understand the extreme animus of governments against the Lamb and His flock.
Read Revelation 17
Meditate on Revelation 17.7-18
1. From this section, especially verse 8, how can you see the involvement of spiritual forces of wickedness in the corruption of government?
2. Why do you suppose those who dwell on earth, but do not belong to the Lamb, “marvel” at the beast and the harlot?
3. The beast and the woman are meant as symbols of Rome (v. 18), which sits on “seven hills” (v. 9) and was ruled by a succession of “kings.” But Rome itself is merely a symbol for all human governments that turn away from God. These governments “receive authority” which they bend to corrupt ways. According to Jesus (Jn. 19.10, 11), from where does the authority for human government derive? From what we’ve seen thus far in this study of Revelation, for what purpose is this authority given?
4. What happens when the beast and harlot “make war” against the Lamb (v. 14)? How does this happen, and what is the nature of this “overcoming”? Should we think of this “overcoming” in political terms, or otherwise? Explain.
5. How does verse 17 put this whole situation in a proper perspective and framework? Can you see how the machinations and violence of corrupt nations are nonetheless subject to “the words of God”? What does this suggest about the words – and the Word – of God?
What lines of response should you follow in working to “overcome” the effects of sin in your Personal Mission Field? On a scale of 1 to 10, where 10 = “Highly effective”, how effective are you in this effort at this time? Why did you choose the number you did?
The Glory of God
The glory of God and the progress of His Kingdom are in the background of this chapter, while the power of sin is thrust forward. Nevertheless, how can we see that God is still doing all things well and working all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose?
Glory to Glory
Today, in what ways do you expect to see the glory of God coming to light as you work to overcome the powers of sin in your Personal Mission Field?
Recite your memory verses aloud: Revelation 19.7-9. Share them with a Christian friend. Share any way that these verses have begun to affect your daily walk with the Lord.
Now therefore, be wise, O kings;
Be instructed, you judges of the earth.
Serve the LORD with fear,
And rejoice with trembling.
Kiss the Son, lest He be angry,
And you perish in the way,
When His wrath is kindled but a little.
Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.
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.