What does Revelation 17:16 mean?
ESV: And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire,
NIV: The beast and the ten horns you saw will hate the prostitute. They will bring her to ruin and leave her naked; they will eat her flesh and burn her with fire.
NASB: And the ten horns which you saw, and the beast, these will hate the prostitute and will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh and will burn her up with fire.
CSB: The ten horns you saw, and the beast, will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, devour her flesh, and burn her up with fire.
NLT: The scarlet beast and his ten horns all hate the prostitute. They will strip her naked, eat her flesh, and burn her remains with fire.
KJV: And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
This verse explains what happens to the prostitute of John's vision (Revelation 17:1), a religious side of the ungodly world system referred to as "Babylon."
The horns represent kings. The ten kings and the beast, most likely the head of the Revived Roman Empire, will hate religious Babylon and will destroy her. The corrupt ecumenical system, therefore, will come to a sudden end. Perhaps religious Babylon will receive too much loyalty and too much wealth to the liking of the beast and the ten kings. They want all the loyalty and resources for themselves. We know from chapter 13 that the beast demands worship of himself (Revelation 13:11–12), so he likely views religious Babylon as competition that he must destroy.
The beast and his ten royal cohorts leave the prostitute, religious Babylon, desolate and naked. When they finish her off, they will confiscate all her wealth. The destruction of religious Babylon probably occurs in the middle of the tribulation when the beast comes into power, assumes the role of God, and demands everyone to worship him. This suggests that the unspiritual, ungodly religious character of the world at the beginning of the tribulation will be gutted and destroyed by the coming of the Antichrist and his allies.
Revelation 17:15–18 continues the angel's explanation of John's symbolic vision, seen in verses 1 through 6. This section focuses on religious Babylon—pictured as a sexually immoral woman—and her judgment. Other Scriptures proclaim the judgment that God eventually brings on apostate religion. A few are Psalm 9:17; 73:27; Isaiah 1:25; 3:11; 34:1–10; Jeremiah 23:9–40; Zechariah 11:17; Luke 12:1–5 Jude; and Revelation 18:1–8.
Revelation 17 zeroes in on God's judgment of Babylon as the center of religious corruption in the tribulation. The target of this wrath seems to be an eclectic form of all apostate religions. This might be a concrete, single religion. Or, it might be a near-religious blending or equalizing of all spiritual beliefs. God views religious Babylon as ''the great prostitute'' that has support from heads of state. This system is both extremely rich and murderous, guilty of martyring saints. It has a past and a renewed existence as a religious-political system. Together, the political heads of state and religious Babylon battle Jesus, the Lamb, but He defeats them. The end of religious Babylon comes when the ten kings turn against her and ruin her. They destroy religious Babylon because God puts it in the hearts to do so.
Chapter 16 resumed explaining God's pattern of end times wrath, this time describing the seven bowl judgments. As the last bowl is poured out, John is called to see a vision, which seems to incorporate events occurring throughout the tribulation. This chapter focuses on the fall of religious Babylon. Revelation 14:8 and 16:19 mention Babylon's collapse under the wrath of God in the tribulation. Babylon's ultimate fall may actually occur before the bowl judgments, anytime during the second half of the tribulation. Isaiah 13 and Jeremiah 50 and 51 predict the fall of Babylon. Revelation 18 also speaks of the ruin of Babylon, but from a political and economic perspective.
The word ''revelation'' means ''an unveiling or disclosure.'' This writing unveils future events such as the rapture, three series of judgments that will fall on the earth during the tribulation, the emergence of the Antichrist, the persecution of Israel and her amazing revival, as well as Jesus' second coming with His saints to the earth, the judgment of Satan and his followers, and finally, the eternal state. This content, combined with the original Greek term apokalypsis, is why we now refer to an end-of-the-world scenario as ''an apocalypse.''
Accessed 11/30/2023 6:04:16 AM
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