Friday in the Fourth Week of Easter

Revelation 17:1-18

And the Old World Begins to Pass Away, Literally

We have already noted what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:31: “The present form of this world is passing away.”  Since the resurrection of our Lord, the world has been living on borrowed time.  As the gospel of our Lord and Savior advances, as the kingdom of God fills the world like leaven, the form of the world that is fallen and destined for destruction continues to recede.  It doesn’t look that way sometimes, but the present form of this world is passing away, and chapter seventeen paints an awful portrait of this world’s collapse.

The chapter begins by introducing us to the “Great Prostitute,” sumptuously dressed and proudly relishing her abominations.  She is the ultimate symbol of infidelity to God, idol worship, and immorality.  She is called “Babylon the Great” in 16:19, and chapter eighteen is given to singing praises to her demise.  But what is “Babylon?”  Scholars disagree among themselves, but I agree with those who see her as any and every city (or world system) that entices people to avarice and immorality, and persecutes God’s people for resisting.  She seeks to turn God’s people away from the Lord Jesus Christ.  She could be ancient Babylon or Rome, communist nations, or even some contemporary American cities.  The many waters upon which she sits are the peoples over which she has dominion, which she oppresses.  The beast upon which she rides has been identified previously as some world government or power, which apparently supports her.  Those whose names are not written in the Book of Life (that is, those who are perishing) marvel at her, adore her, and worship her.  The people of God do not.

What is interesting is the way the prostitute meets her end.  Eventually, the beast and the “ten horns,” which probably represent ten smaller kingdoms, attack and ravage the prostitute, Babylon the Great.  What we learn from this is the self-destroying way of evil.  Evil cannot stand because in the end, it even destroys itself.  Evil is by nature self-destructive, which is why those who are in bondage to some sinful lifestyle often destroy themselves.  But we are further reminded that this self-destruction of evil is by our Lord’s sovereign will: “For God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose.”  And this is good news, for by both God’s decree and the nature of the world He has created, we know that evil cannot and will not win.  God has declared the winner to be His Son through His resurrection from the dead – which makes us winners as well.  So let this old world recede into oblivion; bid it farewell, and let the prostitute die.  We have a city that is far better.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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