Revelation 17:16

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

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. Revelation 17:16

The chapter has been speaking of the great harlot, the beast, and the relationship between the two. It seems that there is great harmony and agreement between them. And yet, out of the blue, this verse suddenly reads like part of a tale of intrigue, beginning with, “And the ten horns.”

This is the “ten kings” of verse 17:12. It says they will give their power and authority to the beast in verse 17:13. As the woman is sitting on the beast, it seems as if these ten horns (kings) are in agreement with the woman as well as the beast. But it next says, “these will hate the harlot.”

Remembering that the harlot is a spiritual entity that prostitutes itself in various ways, and one of those ways is through interaction with the governments around it – just as Israel, Judah, and Jerusalem prostituted themselves – one can see that there is an underlying hatred of the religious body by the secular body. And this is so, even if the religious body is a complete apostate.

An example of this type of enmity (one of several) from the Old Testament is found in Jeremiah 4 –

“And when you are plundered,
What will you do?
Though you clothe yourself with crimson,
Though you adorn yourself with ornaments of gold,
Though you enlarge your eyes with paint,
In vain you will make yourself fair;
Your lovers will despise you;
They will seek your life.” Jeremiah 4:40

Ezekiel 23 details another such judgment, a lengthy one, against Jerusalem. Just because they engage in harlotry with this woman, it does not mean they like her at all. In fact, they despise her. Remembering that the harlot is a city that is committing fornication with them in order to meet a specific agenda, we can look to the world and see a particular city that has done this for eons.

She is in bed with governments around the world, she flaunts herself openly. The nations participate in a bed of idolatry with her, and yet they hate her. Only she has deluded herself that her harlotries mean she is loved. In fact, she is only a whore who is despised because of her actions. Because of her conduct, it next says, “make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.”

In the end, this lavishly adorned harlot will be destroyed by the same nations that she engaged with in her whoredom. It is similar to Jerusalem of the past. The seat of the Lord’s religion had so prostituted herself that she was despised, even while she intermingled with her paramours. Such will be the case with this great city as well. Her end will not be pretty.

Life application: An amazing turn of events will take place at some point during the tribulation period. The ten kings of the final world empire will turn on the harlot. The antichrist will come to power and eventually he will become the only source of idol worship left. The false religious system of the harlot will become more and more despised until they decide it is time for her to be destroyed.

This pluralistic system of world religion, which will surely include a supposed “Christian” element, will no longer be tolerated. She has been made wealthy over the centuries and is robed in splendid attire, possessing great wealth. However, she will have failed to stem the tide of destruction upon the world – the very thing which religions are supposed to do.

They are supposed to be the mediators between the people and whatever “god” they serve. But the world will continue to grow more and more unstable despite the kumbaya attitude of complete religious equality. The system will be seen for the failure it is and will finally be marked for destruction.

After taking away her wealth – finery, property, tax-free status, etc. – these kings will completely consume her so that nothing is left of her. The world’s false religions will be utterly removed from protection and banned from practice. They couldn’t save, and now they won’t be saved.

Ironically, by removing the world’s religions, there will only be one religion left – the most dubious of all – secular humanism. The world will throw all of its allegiance and idol worship behind the antichrist. “Our gods couldn’t save us; we will save ourselves.” But this is the path that has been tried and which has failed throughout history. Absolute power corrupts absolutely. Such will be the case once again in this final government before the return of Jesus Christ.

A world without true Christianity is a world doomed to failure and destruction. And true Christianity comes through faith, and through faith alone, in what God has done through the giving of His Son. He has done the work, and we are to accept that it is sufficient to carry us through to the good end that is promised by Him. Let us accept the good news and receive God’s offer of peace – JESUS.

Heavenly Father, here we are facing every possible challenge to the truth of Your full and complete revelation of Yourself to man – the pages of the Bible that tell us of Jesus. Help each one of us to properly evaluate Your word and then to be able to explain it to religiously confused people – turning them to a saving knowledge of Your truth. Amen.