Summary: Week 38 in a Wednesday evening study


“Desolation of the Harlot”

Date: May 21, 2003

Place: Allendale Baptist

Text: Revelation 17:6-18


We studied through the 6th verse of chapter 17 last week. We said that during the tribulation period there will come on the scene, a mixture of coming together of a one worldwide false religious system.

This has been evident all throughout history, and seem to be the case today of those that are trying to tear down the barriers of religions and denominations. Some asked me last week because of my comments about other denominations, do I believe Baptists are the only true church. Please do not misunderstand me; Someone has said what constitutes the true Church of Jesus Christ is;

1) The way of salvation- faith in the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 says “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

2) The way of baptism- by emersion- the word baptism actually meaning baptismo, to dip or place under; not done for the forgiveness of sins but because of the forgiveness of sins.

Some would like to stop there but I also believe 3) the acceptance of the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture. 1 Timothy 3:16 tells us “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

I will try my best to finish this chapter tonight so let me stop introducing and go on.

In verses1-2 we have an

I. Invitation

 One of the angels asks John to come and see what God will do with the beast’s worldwide religious system.

 Four times in chapter 17, this woman, or the false church, is spoken of as a harlot.

 We are told of her position.

 She is seated upon many waters and also upon the scarlet beast with seven heads and ten horns.

 Her sin is called fornication and her influence reaches even to the high places; “the kings of the earth”.

 Have you noticed the rich ,famous and those glamorous types in Hollywood are the most out spoken of those against the true church. They are inclusive to any religion except that of Christianity?

 Once again, during the period of the tribulation there will come on the scene a worldwide false religious system that will intermarry with the government.

Following the invitation, John is carried away in the Spirit to the wilderness.

In verses 3-6 he saw the “harlot” and wrote down the…

II. Description

 The harlot or false church is dressed in expensive garments, decorated with gold jewelry and fine stones.


Thankfully the angel gave John, and all of us, the explanation of all these symbols.

III. Explanation

Verse 7

“The woman”

Revelation 17:18 makes clear that she is identified with a city that existed in John’s day. “reigns” is present tense.

 This city is prosperous and powerful but also idolatrous and dangerous.

 This city pollutes the nations with its filth and abomination.

 This is pictures by the golden wine cup.

 It also persecutes those who belong to the Lord. (Read verse 6)

Verse 8

“the beast”

 There seems to be a consensus among interpreters that the beast is the Roman Empire.

 In this passage of Scripture it tells us of its historic appearance, its long disappearance, and its future reappearance.

 The Roman Empire was destroyed in its imperia; form in A.D. 476. That political power is not in existence today.

Verse 9

 It is immediately stated that it takes God’s wisdom to understand this explanation.

 Many say the “seven mountains” are proof that Babylon cannot be ancient, literal Babylon, which was situated in a plain and not on mountains.

 It is known that Rome is built on seven mountains or hills.

 Classical writers often referred to Rome as the “City of seven hills.”

Verse 10 & 11

 “And there are seven kings” is taken by some to mean individual rulers.

 Govett gives the following list:

1. Julius Caesar- was assassinated

2. Tiberius- was poisoned or smothered

3. Caligula- was assassinated

4. Claudius- was poisoned

5. Nero- committed suicide

 “The one is” some say would be referring to Domitian who was living in John’s day; he was assassinated.

 “The other has not yet come” refers to the Antichrist.

 Some commentators such as Scofield and Walter Scott, consider these seven as a different forms of government through which Rome passed.

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