Rev 17-18 The World System Judged!


  • Last chapter saw end of the world as islands fled, hail fell (16:20-21)
  • Saw wrath is actually a good thing for the Christian, because it is God’s wrath that saves
  • Now we are backing up to get more detail on this final end
    • Like watching the final minutes of a game from every camera angle

Rev 17

  • A lot of time spent on figuring who the prostitute and beast are, BUT
  • People are being judged in Rev 15-16
  • Now the systems are being judged – Rome: blending of economic, political, religious
  • Listen to these words of judgment: Ruin (17:16, 18:17, 19); Fallen (18:2), Doom (18:10); Consumed by fire (18:8); Judged (18:8, 20); Burning (18:18); Thrown down (18:21); Never Again – 6x (18:21-23)


Who is Babylon the Great?

  • Personification of the world system
    • Great prostitute, i.e. false religion/idolatry (17:1)
    • Rome – welding of idolatry, economics, state power, religion in way that is anti-god (17:18)
      • Economics – gold, pearls, stones (17:4)
  • Used by Satan – carried by beast (17:3)
    • Scarlet beast blasphemous names (17:3)
    • 7heads, 10 horns – all leaders, absolute power (17:3)
    • Great b/c perfect blending of faith, politics, economics
    • She is the False WV carried/expanded on power of Satan (She rides the beast), whole beast image appears to be a collapsing of Satan, govt into 1 new visual picture

Why is Babylon being judged?

  • Death of saints/prophets (18:24) – her system/life feeds on anti-Christian oppression (17:6)
  • Death of anyone killed on earth (18:24) – idolatry is what breeds lack of care/concern for others
    • Every child dies of malnutrition – result of idolatry
    • Every person dies w/o clean water – result of idolatry
    • Every soldier killed in war – result of idolatry
    • Every woman dies in slave trade – result of idolatry
    • Inviting us to idolatrous party, where we become drunk w/idolatry
      • Drunk – non-sensical/non-thinking.  State idiocy in living with something else controlling you, informing you
      • Welcoming and hosting evil spirits (18:2)
      • Birds of prey live in her, feeding on death, weak, opportunity (18:2)
        • Unclean birds – carrion birds, death birds, eat dead things, feed on death (Lev 11:13-19, Dt. 14:11-18)
        • Excessive wealth (18:3)
        • Torture, grief, glory, luxury (18:7)
        • Leading world astray [from God and true worship] (18:23)

Kings of earth Committed adultery: Looked to Rome for security, prosperity, religious instruction, identity

Why is John astonished (17:6-7)

  • b/c never seen so clearly how ungodly it all was
  • b/c how alluring, how powerful, how destructive, how boisterous, how much his desires are informed by her words, ways


  • Be careful of what you are involved with – make sure it isn’t carried on the beast
  • Know a Christian WV and the WV of other philosophies, etc.. so don’t get lulled into a judged/dying system
  • Don’t be surprises how much you must give up to follow Jesus
  • Eph 6 – put on the Armor of God

About Scott Roberts

pastor of Hope in Christ Church, Bellingham, WA
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