General idea: John is guided by another angel to see more of this harlot,
Vs. 1-24, Contexts: This passage is written in the style of a first century Jewish funeral dirge (elegy), as Jeremiah mourned over the destruction of the cities of Israel and the captivity of her people by Babylon and Ezekiel's oracle on the fall of Tyre in chapters 27 and 28. Yet, this was an "ironic dirge," meaning a sarcastic prophecy meant to curse instead of praise, saying "you get what you deserve." John, who is imprisoned on a small island for defying
John is starting to get an answer from the angels as to whom the "harlot" and "bride" are. It seems clearly that they have been referring primarily to apostasy in general, discord in the church, and perhaps to evil
This passage also is about judgment and how people living in the ways of the world lament and panic while those who are faithful rejoice! This is because most people seek only self-gratification and pleasure without accepting cares or responsibilities, and thus are not concerned with God or His Way and Love-even those in the Church. They would rather die hopeless than be filled with love and be saved for eternity!
Word and Phrase Meanings:
· By his splendor/glory. ..perhaps referring that this angel is reflecting the glory of God or represents God with a mighty voice and eminence (Ex. 34:29-35; Psalm 104:2; Dan. 10:6; Ezek. 43:1-5; 1 Tim 6:16).
· Fallen is Babylon the Great! "
· Fallen. A pronouncement and perhaps a taunt and lamentation too, in the style of Jeremiah, stating a fact before it actually happened (Is. 21:9; 34:9-15; Jer. 9:11; 49:33; 50:13; 51:8; Rev.11:8; 14:8).
· Home/dwelling place. A person's residence, meaning (in context) that sin is at home where it is welcomed! Where will one place his or her trust and comfort? Will it be Good or Evil-God or the ways of the world (Jer. 50:39)?
· Maddening wine/wine of sexual immorality. Refers to people who are "deranged," that teach and/or cause people to sin by "seducing" them into sin. The result is the compromising of their faith and the substitution of fornication for faith. This can be obvious, head-on, evil sin such as murder and deliberate false teaching, or subtle, such as greed, manipulation, and/or slander. In any case, it is opposition to God without fear of Him or the consequences (Jer. 51:7; Rev. 2:20; 14:8).
· Committed adultery. This refers to the "harlot," which means "to betray God," as in betraying Him with occult practices and monstrous evil or petty manipulations and causing others to stumble.
· Grew rich from her excessive luxuries/delicacies. Here, it is a form of "insolence" and "wantonness," meaning people are so addicted to extravagance they are having extreme disrespect and immorality toward God and what is good.
· Come out. Means a stern warning of sin and to get away from it now! Those who remain faithful will never be cut off. God is saying in fact, "Come out from it and be pure." because as Christians, we carry the vessel of the LORD (Is. 48:20; 51:11; 52:11; Jer. 50:8; 51:6, 45; Zech 2:7; 1 Cor. ; 2 Cor. ). Some (and for very good reason) see this as a warning to Christians to flee
· Piled up/heaped to heaven. This is a sarcastic remark to those who sin in contrast to the
· Pay her back double. God's judgment and retribution is sufficient and fits the offence (Ex. 21:23-25; Neh. 4:4; Esther 9:25; Psalm 7:15-16; 35:8; 57:6; 75:8; Prov. 26:27; Is. 40:2; 51:22; Jer. 16:18; 17:18; 50:15; Rev. 14:9-10; 17:4).
· Give her as much torture. John is quoting Isaiah 47:8-9, showing how arrogance will never give anyone true security! As the people said the Titanic was unsinkable and God Himself could not sink her, so people said the same of
· A widow. Refers to the cost of war and the loss of good men on battlefields, gaining nothing but pride and its resulting destruction.
· Consumed/burned up by fire. These judgments affect not just the participating parties, but also resound with an effect on the economy of everyone too. This is a warning to the faithful to be economical and wise, anticipate disaster, and so be prepared, as the early Christians exemplified when
· No one buys. A mourning for
· Cargoes/merchandise of gold… articles of every kind … souls of men. Means the lament of the missing commodities of luxury. Refers to the ancient luxury trade between
· Splendor have vanished... weep and mourn/wailing refers to financial loss from people's careless ease of taking life for granted to being corrupted by greed and the mourning that comes with it. Purple is a very expensive dye, extracted from shellfish one drop at a time. Citron/thyine wood is a very rare, dark wood from
· Great city… throw dust on their heads. Another reason to mourn as the merchants will lose their commerce and earnings.
· Large millstone….
· Never be heard refers to silence as a term for complete devastation (Is. -22).
· Voice of bridegroom and bride refers to the joy and celebration of life and community (Jer. 16:9; 25:10; Joel 1:8).
· Magic spell may refer to pagan priests and practices, the mixing in of various pagan ideas and vain philosophies. The trust in the supernatural is not better than the trust in the wealth; both/either the love of money or the occult leaves you broken and then condemned (Is. 47:8; Acts 19:9; Rev. 9:21).
· Blood of prophets. God hates those who oppress the innocent or commit perjury (to bring false accusations). Take heed; He will pay back fully to those who engage in evil (Deut. 19:16-19; Jer. 2:3-4; Ezek. 24:7; Matt. 23:35; Rev. 6:10; 17:6; 19:2)!
Thoughts and Applications:
This passage is a clear warning to both those in the world (in sin), and those who claim Christ as Lord yet want to be in the world. The question is "What lures you away from faith and what replaces faith?" We have to be on guard against sin and its allure. The ways of the world are tantalizing and seductive and will cater to Christians, seeking to entice them away from God and/or compromise their faith-and be gleeful about it (Jer. 50:8; 51:6; 2 Cor. 6:14-18; 1 John 2:15-17)!
God hates compromise and lack of faith! He wants us, as committed Christians, to place Him first and be proactive-to be on the offense, not just the defensive with our faith. He is greatly saddened when we seek to be one with or identified with the world and its ways. This behavior results in the compromising of our faith! This means our spiritual formation becomes a pathetic, weakening of our character and the absence of Fruit, making us neutral, or apathetic, or insulting to God and others as Christians. When we mold ourselves or the church after the world, we create selfishness, pride, and thus discounted and disgruntled Christian lives without purpose or meaning. When we allow Christ to mold us and our church through His Word and Spirit, then we can be change agents to the world, effectively used by God, and pointing others to Him.
At the same time, God does not want us so isolated from the world that we cannot influence it; rather, He wants us insulated from its evils so we can influence it for His Glory. We can be a voice that says "seek Him first" in the midst of evils and not be touched by its evils. The key is where our eyes and trust lie; is it with luxury or with Him? So, who is your
The Four Prevailing Views
The Preterist view: This camp is split as to whether the passage refers to
The Futurist view: Most in this camp see this passage as the Lord Himself coming down (some say it is an angel), announcing that the fake teaching of the antichrist is finished, either by actuality or by reputation. Some see it as an actual built or rebuilt city in
The Idealist view: They see this passage as oracles of judgment upon apostasy, from
The Historicist view: They see this passage as a declaration from God that
The Essential Inductive Questions (for more Inductive questions see Inductive Bible Study):
1. What does this passage say?
2. What does this passage mean?
3. What is God telling me?
4. How am I encouraged and strengthened?
5. Is there sin in my life for which confession and repentance is needed?
6. How can I be changed, so I can learn and grow?
7. What is in the way of these precepts affecting me? What is in the way of my listening to God?
8. How does this apply to me? What will I do about it?
9. What can I model and teach?
10. What does God want me to share with someone?
1. For you, what is the most precious merchandise that you seek and want? How would you feel if you were never able to have or buy it again?
2. How does it make you feel when people grow rich from peddling excessive luxuries and manipulating people to purchase them? Why is God greatly saddened when we seek to be one with, or identified with the world and its ways?
3. What lures you away from being proactive with your faith? What things can replace your faith? How is sin "at home where it is welcomed?"
4. How are the ways of the world tantalizing and seductive to you or to Christians in general? Why would someone who claims Christ seek to be enticed away from God and/or compromise his or her faith?
5. How would you contrast trusting in wealth and possessions to trusting Christ and having faith? Do you think the greatest fear of the wealthy is that they might lose their wealth?
6. How and why can arrogance never give anyone true security? Why would someone seek to be arrogant? (Keep in mind that when Christ walked this earth, He was fully God, fully man, and humble!)
7. What are some of today's hideouts for evil? How have you seen these crush in upon themselves, taking out the people who followed it?
8. Can you think of a stern warning that would cause people to turn from their sins? Why does God want to remove the sin?
9. How would you contrast people who trust in luxury and splendor with those whose trust is in Christ? What do you seek to place first in your life? Why would a Christian seek to pursue evil? Consider prodigal teens who, though raised in a Christian home, still choose to rebel.
10. Knowing that Satan and evil offer fleeting, temporary pleasure that only ends in self destruction and helplessness, why do people seek them?
11. Have you ever thought that the gossip, power plays, and manipulations in the local church can be evil? Don't think so? Look up gossip/tongue in a concordance! How does gossip create bad character? How does the gossip of Christians show that they really seek to follow the world, not the Word? What can your church do to solve and prevent gossip?
12. So, who or what is your "
© 2007 R. J. Krejcir Ph.D. Into Thy Word Ministries www.intothyword.org