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 Sermons on important subjects by Rev. Paul C. Jong

 

The Judgment of the Harlot
Who Sits on Many Waters


< Revelation 17:1-18 >

"Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, 'Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication.' So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication. And on her forehead a name was written:

MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement. But the angel said to me, 'Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is. Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits. There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time. The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition. The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast. These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast. These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.' Then he said to me, 'The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues. And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire. For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.'"



Exegesis

Verse 1: Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters,"

Knowing who the harlot, the woman, and the Beast of the main passage are is essential to interpret and understand chapter 17. The "harlot" in verse 1 refers to the world's religions, while the "woman" refers to the world. The "Beast," on the other hand, refers to the Antichrist. The "many waters" refers to the teachings of the Devil. The phrase, "I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters," tells us that God would judge the world's religions that sit on the many teachings of Satan.


Verse 2: "with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication."

The "fornication" refers to loving this world and its things more than loving God Himself. Making images after the things of the world, and worshipping and loving them like God are in fact all acts of fornication.

The phrase above, "with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication," means that the leader of this world have lived their lives drunk in the worldly religions, and that all the worldly people have also lived drunk with such sins that the worldly religions provide.


Verse 3: So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

The phrase, "woman sitting on a scarlet beast," tells us that the people of this world would unite their hearts with that of the Antichrist to persecute and murder the saints. It shows us that the worldly people will end up turning into the servants of God's enemy, doing the works of the Antichrist at his bidding. The Beast is the Antichrist who stands against God. The Antichrist rules over many kings, and he also reigns over the many nations of the world.

But being arrogant, the Antichrist will not hesitate to blaspheme God and to utter prideful words. He will blaspheme God by uttering arrogant words, claiming that he himself is God or Jesus Christ, and he will raise himself up high like God. His power will therefore reach and reign over all the kings of the world and all its nations.

From the phrase, "having seven heads and ten horns," the "seven heads" here refer to the seven kings of the world, and the "ten horns" refer to the nations of the world.


Verse 4: The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls, having in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the filthiness of her fornication.

By the phrase, "the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and precious stones and pearls," the passage tells us that the worldly religions, scheming with the Antichrist, would think of him as their king. As such, they would consider it only proper that all those who stand against them should be sentenced to death, and would in fact implement their thoughts through their acts against the saints.

And to decorate this world as an eternal kingdom of happiness, they would adorn themselves beautifully with the world's gold, precious stones and pearls. But their faith is most interested solely in how much pleasures of the flesh they can have while living in this world. Because when God looks at the people of this world He would see a world filled by their filthy sins, they will all appear as abominations before Him.


Verse 5: And on her forehead a name was written: MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

Though the religious people of the world would try to adorn themselves as a queen, they will be revealed as a harlot in fact. On the one hand, her name, "Babylon the Great," shows us the prideful, idolatrous, and oppressive character of the harlot, while the word "mother," on the other hand, shows us that all the forces of the Antichrist in history have originated from none other than the world itself, and that the world is the root of all kinds of idolatry and corruption.

Though this world is adorned with glittering and beautiful jewels, the Antichrist who stands against God and works in the hearts of these people of the world will work as their mother. As such, our Lord God has decided to destroy them all with His great plagues of the seven bowls.


Verse 6: I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus. And when I saw her, I marveled with great amazement.

The "saints" refer to the people of faith throughout the entire Church history who have believed in the gospel of the water and the Spirit given by Jesus Christ. The phrase "the martyrs of Jesus" refers to those among the saints who have testified the truth that Jesus is the Son of God and their Savior, and who specially have been martyred to defend their faith.

This verse emphasizes that the ones who would persecute and kill the saints are none other than the religious people of this world. They will do such evilness as the vanguard force of the Antichrist.

John says here that when he saw the woman, he "marveled with great amazement." This world is indeed a curious world. The saints have done nothing to harm it, and yet this world schemes with the Antichrist and kills many saints. How could this world not be anything but strange? These things will surely be brought to bear upon the saints by the people of this world. Because this world is under the control of the Antichrist, its people, as his servants, would seize the saints and kill them.

They therefore will indeed appear very alien to us. When we look at the worldly people, do they not in fact appear as somewhat strange? When people are made after the image of God, how could they become the Antichrist's servants and murder people-not just any people, but the countless people who believe in God? It is because this world is the servant of Satan.


Verse 7: But the angel said to me, "Why did you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman and of the beast that carries her, which has the seven heads and the ten horns."

The "woman" here refers to the people of this world. This verse tells us that the Beast, called the Antichrist, will reign over all the kings of the world and its nations, and through them he will do his works of standing against God, of persecuting the saints, and of murdering them. The "mystery of the beast" refers to the identity of the Antichrist, moving at the command of Satan. And he will turn the nations of this world into his own.

The people of this world, scheming with the Antichrist, will end up as Satan's instruments in massacring a great number of the Lord's people. This world and the Antichrist are the instruments of Satan, hidden from our eyes for now. But when the first three and a half years of the Great Tribulation pass by, they will rise up and kill the saints.

One may then wonder how this would be possible, when this world has so many conscientious, learned, and smart people, from politicians to educators to philosophers and PhDs. But because the world would conspire with the Antichrist, all these things, including the massacre of the saints, would become feasible. As such, that this world would surrender to the Antichrist and murder the saints is the key to solving the mystery of the Antichrist.


Verse 8: "The beast that you saw was, and is not, and will ascend out of the bottomless pit and go to perdition. And those who dwell on the earth will marvel, whose names are not written in the Book of Life from the foundation of the world, when they see the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."

This verse tells us that the Antichrist was found among the kings of the old ages, and that though he is not in this world now, he will come out to the world in the future. It tells us that the people of this world would be greatly amazed when they see the Antichrist emerging and killing the saints.

The Antichrist would carry out his purposes by participating in the new politics of this world. He would continue to remain mysterious to the people of this world and yet be spotlighted as amazing. Because he would take upon the many political, economic, ideological, and religious problems of this world and solve them all with his ability, many people would think of him and follow him as Christ Jesus who would come again at the end times. He would therefore remain as amazement before the eyes of the people of the world.


Verse 9: "Here is the mind which has wisdom: The seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman sits."

This verse tells us that the Antichrist would institute his own laws to rule over the people of the world and turn these laws into his governing body to carry out his purposes. The reason why the people of the world would unite together is to come under the rule of Satan by receiving the mark of the Antichrist, and to stand against God and His saints, placing their trust in the power of the laws made by the Antichrist.


Verse 10: "There are also seven kings. Five have fallen, one is, and the other has not yet come. And when he comes, he must continue a short time."

This verse tells us that the kings who stand against God will continue to come out of this world, just as such kings had risen before. When the time of the final Great Tribulation comes, a leader of this world will rise as the Antichrist and massacre the saints. But the persecution of this world leader, who would become the Antichrist, will last for only a short while permitted by God.


Verse 11: "The beast that was, and is not, is himself also the eighth, and is of the seven, and is going to perdition."

This tells us that the Antichrist coming to this world will rise as the last of the kings of the world. When the Antichrist emerges out of the kings of the world, many people of the world will follow him, as he would, having received the spirit of the Dragon, exercise power like God and perform signs and miracles. The servants of God and the saints will also be killed by the Antichrist, but all these things will last only a short while permitted by God. After such things come to pass, the Antichrist will be bound in the bottomless pit, and then be thrown into the fiery hell, never to be released from it.


Verse 12: "The ten horns which you saw are ten kings who have received no kingdom as yet, but they receive authority for one hour as kings with the beast."

This verse tells us that ten nations will unite their power to rule over the whole world. These ten nations, having thus united, will come to wield their power over the world with the Antichrist for a short while. But the verse also tells us that these kings of the world have not yet received the kingdom ruled by the Antichrist. In the near future, however, these kings of the world will reign with the Beast as the kings of darkness for a while. But their reign will last only briefly, and as such, they will reign over the dominion of darkness only for this short period of time.


Verse 13: "These are of one mind, and they will give their power and authority to the beast."

When the time comes, the kings of this world will transfer all their power and authority to the Antichrist. At this time, God's Church, its saints, and His servants will be greatly persecuted by the Antichrist and be martyred. But the Antichrist himself will be destroyed by the power and authority of Jesus Christ and the sword of the Word of His mouth.


Verse 14: "These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful."

Though Satan will seek to wage war against Jesus Christ, he will be no match for Him. The saints, too, will overcome him in their struggle against him. The Lord will give the saints the strength to fight against and overcome the Antichrist with their faith. As such, the saints will not fear their struggle against the Antichrist, but live the end times in peace and tranquility by believing in their Lord God. They will then overcome their enemies with their faith in the Lord.

This victory of the saints means that they would defend their faith and be martyred. When this time comes, the saints will overcome Satan and the Antichrist by embracing their martyrdom with their faith in Jesus Christ and their hope for the Kingdom of Heaven, participate in their resurrection and rapture, receive the new Kingdom of Christ, and thereafter live forever in glory.


Verse 15: Then he said to me, "The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues."

The worldly religions have deceived and ruled over the people of all nations with its teachings of Satan. This verse tells us that the satanic teachings working in the midst of the worldly religions have penetrated all the nations and tongues of the world, and that their influence has reached such a great extent as to bring destruction to the people's souls.


Verse 16: "And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire."

The verse here tells us that the nations of this world will unite with the Antichrist to kill and destroy its religious people. It tells us, in other words, that the people of this world and the Antichrist will hate and abuse the religious people, and exterminate all the religions of the world from its face. Though the world's religious people had killed the saints before with the support of the Antichrist, they themselves are now to be destroyed by Satan and the secular people. Satan, in the end, had only used the world's religions just to deify himself as God.


Verse 17: "For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled."

This tells us that the people of this world would give their kingdom and power to Satan. As such, they would become the Antichrist's people as they receive his mark voluntarily, take pride in being his servants, and also murder those who refuse to receive his mark. However, their persecution of the saints would be allowed only for the duration of time that the Word of God has permitted. During this allowed period, the Antichrist will pour out all the evilness of his heart and freely stand against God and His saints.


Verse 18: "And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth."

God tells us here that this world will institute a new set of laws to rule and control over its kings, and that the kings of the world will be ruled within the bounds of these new laws. The supreme power of this world will reign over all the kings of the world, as if it were a person itself. The world, in other words, will make the laws that bind all the kings tightly, and become like a god ruling over them.

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The "great city" refers to the political institution through which the Antichrist would reign. Everyone of this world will end up having to serve the ruling entity of the world, which God had given them, as if it were God Himself, and be reigned by it. Because men had become the servants of Satan, they would thus be destroyed.

Psalms 49:20 tells us, "A man who is in honor, yet does not understand, Is like the beasts that perish." As such, the people of this world must know beforehand what Satan's scheme is, believe now in the gospel of the water and the Spirit preached by the saints of this age, and thereby escape from the curse of turning into Satan's servants and instead live clothed in the blessing of the eternal Kingdom of God as His people.

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