THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ONE WORLD CHURCH
REVELATION: CHAPTER 17
AIM: To show pupils that all false religions will be united into one during the tribulation and that it will be destroyed.
POINT OF CONTACT: Did you know that the recent visit by the Pope to the U.N. and the worldwide TV coverage was important for the bringing about the fulfillment of God's Plan? We will see why as we study this Chapter.
INTRODUCTION: The events of Chapter 17 seem to occur in the early part of the 7-year tribulation period. This chapter deals with the Ecclesiastical Babylon or world religious system which is made up of all the religions of the world. These will be united during the first part of the tribulation. Chapter 18 deals with Political and Economic Babylon.
I. Invitation to see the judgement of the Great Harlot -- Vs. 1 & 2
Vs. 1 - "Whore" should be "harlot." The many waters refers to people and multitudes etc. CF. Vs. 15. This Harlot is the one world church that controls and has great influence upon the people of the world at the first of the tribulation. A bad woman in the Bible is usually a symbol of false religion. Those who claim salvation in a man made religion compose this harlot. She is called a harlot because she's guilty of spiritual adultery. The word harlot is associated with the selling of ones purity. Two things could be said of these. First, they teach salvation by works and two, they charge for spiritual service.
Vs. 2 - The Kings of the earth have been influenced by the harlot and have participated with her in being unfaithful to God. The harlot does not believe in separation of church and state. The harlot as we shall see in the Roman Catholic Church, her offspring (who also favor a church-state relation) and other false religions. The inhabitants of the earth have been made intoxicated with her unfaithfulness. They have been misled, brainwashed and like intoxicated people have been unable to properly conduct themselves.
There is nothing better than a good woman and nothing worse than a bad one. Applied spiritually, there is nothing better than being a part of a scriptural church and nothing worse than being a part of an unscriptural church, 18:4,5.
II. The Woman on the Beast -- Vs. 3-5
Vs. 3 - The "scarlet coloured beast" is the Anti-Christ and the one world government that he controls. CF. Chap. 13:1,6. This one world religious system headed by the "False Prophet" (13:11-15) has a great influence and may control many, many countries. Roman Catholics are bound to be obedient to the dictate of Rome or face excommunication. Therefore, Catholics in government positions must do as Rome says. Catholics are leaders in scores of governments today and she is getting her leaders in more and more responsible positions.
Vs. 4 - This is a wealthy woman. She can afford Purple and Scarlet and Gold and Precious Stones and Pearls. She can have the prettiest churches and the finest furnishings. Like the church in Laodicea. The Bible depicts God's people invariably as being simple, humble and folks who do not usually have much wealth. The cup in her hand is full of things abominable to the Lord. In other words, what she serves the people is detested by God. It outwardly appears beautiful but God sees its results.
Vs. 5 - Mystery Babylon, the Great. Babylon has since Genesis eleven been a symbol of the world's false religions. The word Babylon means "Confusion". In Genesis 10 & 11, Nimrod led in the building of a tower and a city in order to unify a false religion. It was called the tower of Babel. Nimrod was the son of Semiramis who clamed she was a virgin at the time of his birth. Nimrod later married his mother. This religion which promoted the worship of Nimrod and his mother spread throughout the world and is even detected today in Egypt, India, China, Japan, Greece and other places.
Even today the National Council, World Council of Churches, of which independent Baptists are not affiliated, are trying to build a Tower of Babel (a one world church). Three things to note about the Tower of Babel.
It was a man made religion.
It has an earthly city as its center.
It has an earthly representative supposedly from heaven. In other words, one man was over it.
The "Mother of Harlots". The Roman Catholic Church is the mother of most of the great denominations and she can be traced back to Babel. A child is one that comes from the body of its mother. Most of the great denominations came out of the body of Roman Catholicism. A child usually favors its mother. The children of Catholicism have several of her attributes such as sprinkling, centralized denominational leaders, Bishops, baptizing babies, etc.
Baptists never came from Catholicism. Baptists have existed from the time when Christ established the first church which was before Pentecost. Baptists are not Protestants! The children of Catholicism are now in the process of returning to their mother. Baptists should avoid any Federation with other Denominations.
III. The Drunk Woman -- Vs. 6 & 7
This religion is guilty of murder. She has killed the saints. This has been true ever since the Catholic Church came into existence and her persecution even exists today where she can get away with it. (E.g. Spain, Columbia, Mexico.) The word "admiration" means, "wonder" CF. "The Trail of Blood" by Carroll.
IV. The Beast with Seven Heads & Ten Horns -- Vs. 8-14
Vs. 8 - The Beast is the Anti-Christ which lived, died & was resurrected. CF. 13:3
Vs 9 - Rome is built on seven mountains. This identifies the headquarters of the False Prophet & the world church.
Vs. 10 -The seven heads of the Beast also picture seven kings or seven forms of government in the Roman Empire, at the time John was writing, five of these had already come & passed away, one was ruling & the last had not yet come. The last would be the Anti-Christ.
Vs. 11 -He is the eighth king but is of the seven. Commentators differ as to whether the seven kings refer to seven literal kings that ruled over Rome or to seven different forms of government. If it refers to seven kings then it seems that one will be resurrected or reincarnated as the Anti-Christ & therefore be the eighth king. If it refers to seven different forms of government then one of those forms will again be set up for the Anti-Christ to govern.
Vs. 12&13 - These 10 horns are the 10 kingdoms of the revived Roman Empire which we studied about in Daniel 2 & 7. They will be in power for a short time & will be subservient to the Anti-Christ.
Vs. 14 -This speaks of the Battle of Armageddon. We who are saved will come with Jesus, 19:14. Here they are spoken of as called which manifests the Grace of God, as chosen which manifests God's provisions for us & faithful which is characteristic of Saints.
V. The Destruction of the Woman -- Vs. 15 - 18
Vs. 16 -The Governments of the Revived Roman Empire will come to hate the world religious system & will turn against her near the end of the first half of the tribulation. They will destroy & consume her. Then they will join with the False Prophet in directing everyone to worship the Anti-Christ during the last half of the tribulation.
Vs. 17 -This is God's Plan. The Council of Churches & the recent Roman Catholic call to unity is fitting into God's Plan. Though they are in power now, this power structure will eventually fall.
Vs. 18 -The false religious city & the great city of Rome are here referred to as one.
CONCLUSION: Today the world is thinking in terms of one world. One world government & one world church. In our Country, Catholics, & the Council of Churches are becoming more & more powerful. But God is still on the throne & we are still His witnesses to a lost world. We must be about our Father's Business while there is still time. Jesus could come & take us out of the world any moment. Let's be faithful until then.
1. When do the events of Chapter 17 take place?
2. This Chapter deals with what?
3. The Harlot refers to what?
4. Who is the Scarlet Colored Beast?
5. State 3 significant things about the Tower of Babel.
6. Who led the religion of the Tower of Babel?
7. What was his mother's name?
8. What are some of the characteristics of the Protestant Churches?
9. Where did they get these characteristics?
10. What is significant about the topography of Rome?
11. Why will Ecclesiastical Babylon be destroyed?