Thursday in the Twenty-Seventh Week of Ordinary Time

Revelation 17:15-18

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.

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

Leave a Reply