Peter Barnes: Revelation 17-18
(20 May 2018)
SERMON NOTES: THE FALL OF BABYLON (Revelation 17-18)
The harlot who rides the beast is false religion. The two beasts cooperate for a time, but then fall out, and are finally defeated. Babylon is the enemy of God’s people in the Old Testament – Gen.11:4; Jer.51:1-2, 6-8.
- The character of Babylon and the harlot.
(a) She is characterized by her degenerate lifestyle flowing from her idolatry – 17:4; 18:16.
(b) She persecutes the saints – 17:6; 18:24.
(c) She was sure of herself – 18:7.
(d) She is a counterfeit Christ – compare 17:8 and 1:17-18.
– 17:10-11 – read. Counting Augustus Caesar as the first emperor, Nero was the fifth and Vitellius would be the eighth. In my view, that gets us nowhere. If we look at kingdoms rather than kings, we can get: the Neo-Babylonian or perhaps the Egyptian; the Assyrian; Babylonian; Medo-Persian; the Greek; and then the Roman Empire. The seventh empire would have to be the ‘Christian empire’ or the papacy. The eighth would be the antichrist figure – 17:11.
– John is referring first to the Roman empire – 17:9.
- Judgment on Babylon.
Babylon and the harlot are doomed – 17:1-6. Rome will be lamented by kings (18:8-10), merchants (18:11-16), and sea captains (18:17-19).
– Babylon is doomed – 18:21-24. ‘No more’ is the sixfold refrain. It will all come crashing down very quickly – 18:10, 17, 19. The beast will co-operate with the harlot but then destroy her – 17:15-18.
- The triumph of the Lamb for His people.
God is sovereign – 17:17. The beast will seek to cause havoc, but only for an hour, meaning only for a short time – 17:12-14.
– Who wins? The Lamb and those who are called and chosen and faithful (17:14). Be separate (18:4) and rejoice (18:20).