How the Wicked Devour Their Own
There is so much in the Book of Revelation where evil seeks to mimic and mock God, Christ, and his Church. In Revelation and throughout the Bible, God’s people are depicted as His bride (21:9). But Satan and the beast cannot have a bride; they must have a prostitute. And whereas our Lord is united with his bride for all eternity, there comes a time when the beast must throw off the worn-out whore. The “Great Prostitute” of John’s day was Rome, but she has been any city which seduces men to sin throughout history both before and since mighty Rome. But all cities eventually fall to ruin, or to at least a shell and shadow of what they once were, either through economic or military devastation.
And why does this happen? It is the nature of sin and evil to devour itself. We are told in this passage that the beast and ten kings that give themselves over to the beast eventually turn on the Harlot. We are not told the worldly reason for this. As she ruled all the earth, we may assume that the beast and other kingdoms simply grew tired of her, realizing that they were stronger than her and would rather get along without her. After all, one can always find another prostitute.
But Scripture gives another reason: “God has put it into their hearts to carry out His purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled.” So we see that our Sovereign God is always in control working all things after the counsel of His own will (Ephesians 1:11). This is precisely why the saints will endure to the end; they have no reason to doubt the purposes of their God and that He will triumph and that they shall soon reign on the earth with Him.
But there is another truth related in this passage: The natural capacity for the wicked to eventually devour one another. Oh, at first they devour the righteous (Psalm 14:4; 53:4), but after having accomplished this, they must eat something else, and one another is all they have left. God only puts into their minds what the wicked would do by nature. We see this over and again through history which is why wickedness must eventually fail. Hate, envy, strife, greed, sexual immorality, and all other vices must have something to be the objects of their appetites, and so the wicked betray each other in the end. But the righteous live to edify and strengthen one another, to love and encourage one another, for such is the nature of righteousness. Such is the nature of our God.