“Together they will go to war against the Lamb, but the Lamb
will defeat them because he is Lord of all lords and
King of all kings. And his called and chosen and
faithful ones will be with him.”
Thoughts… John uses the names “Babylon” and “the prostitute” symbolically to describe the Roman Empire, which in his day, was Christianity’s fiercest enemy. In the first century, and in the two that followed, the godless powers of Rome had humiliated, abused, imprisoned, tortured, and mercilessly executed thousands upon thousands of believing men, women and children.
In our day, we may not understand or identify with the early church’s contempt for Rome, but if believing members of your family, or your church family, were being hauled off to prison, persecuted and sent to a slow, tortuous death like in John’s day, you would probably have a strong desire for God’s judgment to be administered as well.
John couches his description of the coming judgment in these cryptic terms so as not to bring any more trouble upon the churches to which he was writing. Remember, he is writing from the Isle of Patmos, where the Roman government had exiled him simply for declaring his faith in Christ. In writing this letter to the churches of Asia, he had to be extremely discreet in talking about the coming judgment of that very same Rome.
He chose “Babylon” to describe Rome because the believers would have made the connection, knowing well that Babylon had been Israel’s most destructive enemy. The historic Babylon had leveled Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, put a stop to Israel’s worship, and carried off God’s people into captivity. Babylon was a center of godless paganism. Though she had been an instrument of God’s judgment upon Israel, she was godless, seducing mankind into the worship of false gods. Thus she was also “the prostitute.”
These terms aptly described Rome, and all that Rome represented. But John was also writing prophetically of a future time and judgment. In the greater sense, “Babylon” and “the prostitute” represented the godless world system that had persecuted the church and perpetuated evil over the millennia right up through the end of time.
And at the end of time, this world system will rise up and make war against the God of the universe himself. But the Lamb of God, who died for the sins of the world as God’s perfect atonement for sin, thus defeating the devil, death, and hell, will now put the exclamation mark on the victory he secured at Calvary by finally and forever defeating this evil world system at Armageddon.
Jesus may be the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, but he is also the Lion of Judah who will destroy sin and the world system that perpetuated it once and for all in the final judgment.
Unfortunately in our time, especially in our western culture, many believers have become far too cozy with the world. May John’s words reawaken us to the world’s true identity, and it’s ultimate destiny. May we take to heart the Apostle’s words from one of his letters, I John 2:15-17:
“Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does—comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever.”
Prayer… Dear God, open my eyes to see the true wickedness of this world system; that in reality, it is nothing more than the ancient Babylon dressed in the seductive clothing of modern culture. Remind me daily that it is destined for destruction. Transform my desires into an unquenchable thirst for another world, the world that you have reserved for me, and for all who love you and are called to be your children.
One More Thing… “I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside.” — C.S. Lewis