II. The mystery of the beast and the whore explained

We come now to the second portion of this chapter, the explanation. “And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.” When speaking of the spiritual fall that the great whore will experience in her two-fold fall, we see it in the context of the idol that she chose instead of Christ; antichrist. It is in the terms of this relationship that we find this spiritual fall. In answer to the admiration that John wondered at in regards to the description of the great whore we find this relational fall occur: “And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.” This is the second time in this chapter that the term mystery has been applied to the great whore. There was mystery in her title of whoredoms when she was declared to be Babylon the great. The mystery reaches all the way back, as we have seen, to her departure from God and the true message of Christ. It is the mystery of iniquity that already is working in this present world and will find its fullness in the great falling away of the churches of God and the revealing of the Man of Sin (II Thess. 2). It is the relationship between that falling away and the revealing of the Man of Sin that is here highlighted. The angel simply says that he will tell us the mystery of the woman “and” the beast which carried her. Again, we know that this is speaking antichrist who is empowered by Satan because he is described as possessing those kingdoms that are under the power of the dragon (Chapters 12 & 13); seven heads and ten horns. You will not be able  to understand the mystery of this woman, the mystery of iniquity, until we see her relationship to antichrist and her love of this present evil world. “Love not the world….” “If any man be a friend of the world, he is the enemy of God…” (I John 2:15, James 4). She was part of a slow decay, a slow departure from the love of Christ that ended with her embracing all that was opposed to God and covered her hands with blood of saints. This coldness toward Christ is related to the persecution of the people of God and the embracing of false Christs. “Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name’s sake. And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold” (Matt. 24:9-12). If you hope to be saved from the great apostasy it will be only in this point: you must reject all and cleave only to Christ. Any other love will eventually turn your mind to another instead of Christ. Let not your love wax cold! That relational truth is the foundation of understanding the mystery of this woman.

First, to understand the mystery of the harlot requires an understanding of the source of that thing which turned her head away from Christ. The beast upon which she rested is described thus: “The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” Apostasy has as much to do with the relationship one chooses to have as it does with the relationship one departs from. The figure that completely and finally turned her head was one of amazing proportions. He is described in the miraculous; moving from the state of existing, ceasing to exist, and then raising back into existence. There is a pregnant pause in our text in which the beast is described as “was, and is not….” That set the stage for the lying wonders of Satan to present this beast as something miraculous. We remember in our study of the beast in the 13th chapter this miraculous event was declared. He had a deadly wound but lived and the world wondered after him and the false prophet (which we saw was closely related to the whore of our text) declared him in the miraculous nature as having a deadly wound but yet living (Rev. 13:3, 12, 14).That fits well with our text here. She rejected the true gospel for a false gospel; she refused to declare the death and burial and resurrection of Christ for sins but instead chose the lying wonder of the counterfeit resurrection of antichrist. Instead of preaching the gospel she embraced the anti-gospel.

Our text however discovers this counterfeit for what it truly is; it declares its origin, its end, and its following. First, the origin of the beast is described thus: “[he] shall ascend out of the bottomless pit.” It is from the bottomless pit that the powers of hell have been unleashed and it is to the bottomless pit that the devil will finally be locked (Rev. 9:11, 20:3). The beast represents the gates of hell itself for that is from where he truly proceeded. To embrace the error of a false gospel and a false Christ is to align one’s self with hell itself. The Jews of old, in the times of their spiritual adultery, declared that they had an agreement with hell and it stood in opposition to the truth of the coming Christ. “Because ye have said, We have made a covenant with death, and with hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come unto us: for we have made lies our refuge, and under falsehood have we hid ourselves: Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it” (Isa. 28:15-18). So it shall be with this latter day whore. Jesus said that that the gates of Hell would not prevail against the true church (Matt. 16:18). But for this false church, the gates of hell have definitely prevailed.

The text describes the end of that thing that she has chosen instead of Christ: “[the beast shall] go into perdition.” She is on the losing side. The term perdition simply means destruction. The end of the beast will be destruction. The beast and the false prophet (of which the whore is most closely related) will be the first to enter everlasting destruction (II Thess. 1:9). By following the beast they have ensured that they are on that broad path that leads to destruction (Matt. 7:13). The term perdition is somewhat mysterious. The antichrist will be known as the son of perdition (II Thess. 2:3). It appeared to be implied by Christ that Judas Iscariot bore the title “son of perdition” as well (John 17:12). It is hard to strain one’s mind to perceive of Judas as being the type of the conquering antichrist. Judas was simply greedy and chose silver over the Son of Man. He is more a type of the whore than the beast (though like the antichrist he was a devil – John 6:70). The idea of being the son of perdition is more related to their end and not to their overall character. Both, in their separate acts and decisions showed themselves to be the children of wrath; they had that for their ultimate inheritance (Eph. 2:3). So it is with all who depart from or refuse to receive Christ. Those two figures are just the greatest examples. The term perdition itself takes on a greater meaning than simple destruction. Perdition is final judgment. Perdition is eternal damnation. Perdition is the lake of fire (Rev. 19:20).

Then our text tells us of the following of that which the whore chose: “and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.” The world wondered after the beast. He is a the Pied Piper leading them into the same end. His end will be the lake of fire and so shall all they that follow him and his false gospel (him being declared that he was, and is not, and yet is). The world will behold this lying wonder and follow him right to the precipice of hell where they will fall completely and finally. This is the sad truth of all who will follow the beast; of that which the whore chose. She will no doubt be the one singing his praises and declaring his false gospel and will be a chief agent in the wondering lost masses. This points directly to the end. The book of life is here mentioned and will get a more careful study in the chapter 20. Here the book of life is said to be from the foundation of the world. The book of life, as we shall later see, is the place where the names of all who will be saved are written. Their names are written and they can never be blotted out; they are eternally secure because they are forever in Christ (Phil. 4:3, Rev. 3:5). We saw in our study of the beast that in the last days the earth shall wonder after the beast with the exception of those that are truly saved and written in the book of life (Rev. 13:8). In that text it is declared to be “the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” I believe whole heartedly in the doctrine of election. I believe that the book of life is solely of the Lamb. Salvation is not merited by us but by the one that chose us and took the perdition of our sins upon Himself; the Lamb that took away the sins of the world (John 1:27 – that means He died for me – my sins and the sins of the world are synonymous – I am guilty of all and he died for all – anyone that will simply believe that truth will find that He died for them as well). It is here declared again that this book of life is from the foundation of the world. It finds its origin in God. Before God created, in the eternal counsels of God, my name was written and so were all that were in Christ. Those that were written will not follow an antichrist into perdition. They are elected of God unto eternal awards. We touch here on mysteries that we cannot fully comprehend. I know this truth about election. The Father gave the elect to the Son to save and everyone that shall come to Christ is part of that number (John 6:37). There is no reason why anyone cannot be part of that number and so we preach the gospel freely. If you will come to Christ you will find salvation. Every sinner that comes to Christ is saved and every sinner that is saved will never be cast out. Praise God that our names can never be blotted out. All the world may wonder in error toward hell after the beast at the leading of a false church declaring a false gospel but those written in the book of life will never do so. This is the glory that the whore forsook for the perdition of the beast.

The next thing that we are directed to consider is the understanding that the woman found comfort in the things of the beast. John is told by the angel that “here is the mind which hath wisdom.” Like the number of the beast which we discussed at length in the 13th chapter the understanding of out text belongs to those who have wisdom (13:8). It will take wisdom in a mind of those who are those submitted to God. Any other mind that does not first fear God will not have the wisdom necessary to understand (Prov. 9:10). The term mind here actually takes on the idea of meaning. Here is the meaning of what you have seen. We must therefore pause here and pray for humility that we may have the wisdom to understand the description that follows. Here is wisdom for you.

First, the woman had a specific place upon which she rested. “The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.” While the woman has universal influence she rests in a specific place. Here is the place that the Vatican pushes back and tells us that we must interpret the ninth verse in the light of the tenth verse. They reject the idea of the ninth verse describing the actual place of the seat of the Babylon’s power. The have little patience for those who claim a dual-interpretation in verse nine and verse ten. The reason why is obvious. The seven heads are obviously a reference to the seven heads that are possessed by the antichrist and to have been in the possession of the dragon (a center of satanic activity even now and back to the time of John). They prefer to see the text like this, the seven heads are seven mountains which are seven kingdoms. Thus the ninth verse is utterly disregarded as being frivolous. Other ideas are thrown out there such as the mountains represent the seven continents and is one in the same as the many waters that the woman sits upon; showing the universality of the influence of her kingdom. The problem with such views is two-fold. First it ignores the plain sense of the words. The sense of the words “the seven heads are seven mountains” moves us from the figurative sense to the literal sense. Therefore the mountains in verse nine should be taken literally. Secondly, it ignores the natural flow of the text. The seven heads are seven mountains “and” (first word in the tenth verse that shows that further information was being added) there are seven kings or kingdoms. So the natural reading of the text leads us to see the seven heads having a dual interpretation; one describing an actual place where the seat of power was and the other describing the kings or kingdoms. We add to that the fact that Peter in his later years referred to Rome as Babylon (I Pet. 5:13 – it is generally accepted that Peter wrote the letter from Rome and as present sent greeting from Rome but calling Rome Babylon).

The woman rests in a specific place and that place is known for having seven mountains. Now there are several cities on the face of this planet that can be said to be founded on seven mountains (i.e. hills). Most of them have no obvious connections to the Scriptures. A couple of them do and should be considered. Moscow is alleged to sit upon seven hills. Moscow would answer the seat of the power of Gog and Magog of the end times. Athens Greece is alleged to sit upon seven hills and that was the cultural capital of paganism in the day that John wrote this letter. Jerusalem is said to sit on seven hills and as we saw before Jerusalem will be a den of iniquity (Sodom and Egypt), the place where the antichrist declares himself to be God, and possibly the seat of power for the antichrist at least through part of the seventieth week of Daniel (note: the beast is not the woman and the seat of power for one is not necessarily the seat of power of the other). With all that being said, the only city that both in the ancient world and the modern world that is known as the city of seven hills is the city of Rome. It is the latter day Roman Empire that is mixed with clay and iron in the final days according to Daniel. It would have been just as obvious to the readers of John’s original letter as well as contemporary readers that Rome is the place where the whore sits. The Vatican returns their argument at this point and they say that if Rome is meant by this verse it is pagan Rome and not Christian Rome. They are too blind to see that the Roman church is pagan and filled with pagan beliefs and practices. They also fail to see that the since the days of Constantine there has been no difference between the church and the empire. It became known as the Holy Roman Empire. Through the days of Charlemagne on up till the days of Napoleon in 1806 the church carried the mantle of Holy Roman Empire. Just because they since dropped the title does not mean that they have ceased to see themselves as thus. The latter day apostate Christianity will have their seat of power in Rome. Ecumenism will have her sit on many waters. It will encompass Eastern Orthodox, Protestantism, and Evangelicalism. But it will be under the umbrella of the “Holy Roman Empire.” Even today we see the trend of evangelicalism and Protestantism moving toward Rome. For centuries the woman has been comfortable with paganism and it will lead her to embrace antichrist.

We see also that the woman was comfortable with the legacy of power. The seven heads are seven mountains to denote a place and they are seven kings to denote a legacy of power. “And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space.” Some take this to refer to seven kingdoms in total. The first five are the world powers of Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, and Greece (Ex. 20:2, Ezek., 29 & 30, Isa. 37:23, Nah. 3, Jer. 50:23, Dan. 2, 8, 11). Those kingdoms still exists but they “are” fallen or diminished. The sixth power that currently existed in the day of John when he wrote the letter; that is Rome. The seventh would be the revived Roman Empire; the feet of clay of Daniel 2 or the fourth beast of Daniel 7. It is that final kingdom that is yet to come and will only continue for a short space of time. Others see it as added information about Rome itself. The kings were seen as individual kings in Rome. The first five kings of Rome (from John’s view) were Augustus, Tiberius, Caligula (i.e. Gaius) Claudius, and Nero. All had in Johns day fallen and been replaced by a new Emperor. Ignoring the fact that there were a line of less powerful heads of states (Otho, Vitellius, Galba, Vespasian and Titus – I find this view unlikely myself); the sixth king that was in the days of John was Domitian (who murdered his brother Titus to assume the throne and was hailed the revival of Nero). The seventh that must continue for a short time was relegated to a time yet to come. It may be seen as Constantine that “Christianized” the “Holy” Roman Empire. Or it could be the advent of a figure known as “the pope.” Or it may be a figure yet to be that will finally unite a revived Roman Empire under one head. Then there is an eighth king that will arise out of the revived Roman Empire in the next verse that will be antichrist himself. Matthew Poole had an interesting view that the there were seven differing modes of government that ruled over Rome. Five that had fallen (kings, consuls, tribunes, decimvir, and dictators), one that was in the days of John (emperors that were pagan), and one that would come afterward (emperors that are “Christian”). Either way there is a legacy of imperial power that is embraced here by the whore. They rested in power that conquered nations. They rested in the role of post-millennial crusaders that would conquer the world. They embraced a legacy of seeking, possessing, and exercising power. They rested in their continuance in the unbroken power of their empire.

We continue to see the comfort that the whore found in the things of the beast is accepting the son of perdition. “And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.” That beast that we have been speaking of since the 13th chapter, the one that was and is not and shall go into perdition; he becomes her eighth king. She hands all of her power over to him. She will give him all her title. He will come out of her. And on the road to perdition and hell she is comfortable with following him there.

Going further we see her role in the promotion of the beast. After she makes the beast her eighth king this follows: “And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.” The ten horns of which the antichrist himself shall be one (Dan. 7:20, 24) shall follow the example of the whore. We spoke of this already (12:3, 13:1). These horns are symbols of rule or power but they have no kingdom as yet. Some say that that simply meant that those kingdoms did not yet exist in days of John. Maybe America was one of those horns. Others have seen these as democracies or various republics around the globe and I am not going to argue to the contrary. The fact that they are said to receive power “as kings” lends credence to this idea. They exercise no absolute sovereign rule yet that one would associate with dictatorships or royal rule. There are three specific points about these entities, these ten horns (out of which the antichrist himself shall arise), are seen in our text; a short term empowerment (they received power for an hour), a blind allegiance (they had one mind), and a loss of their sovereignty (they gave their power and strength to the beast). This has been the story told of many nations who have lost their sovereignty to some dictatorship. There is the promise of empowerment for some short term purpose, then there is the loss of individual will, and then there is the loss of all sovereignty. I feel like I see this playing out in my own nation before my eyes. I see the promise of empowerment, that if we will just unite with this or that evil power we will find our security and safety and prosperity. I then see the brainwashing of the masses where everyone is educated to spout the same political and moral values and those who dissent are criminalized and disenfranchised. The end result is that we as a people are less free.

Let us consider each of these steps. First, we see the short term empowerment. They lacked the authority of kings but through their alignment “with the beast” they are said to “receive power as kings….” The beast is presented to them as one that provides all the necessities for their security and prosperity and they therefore embrace what he is selling and in the short run, “one hour”, the enjoy this empowerment. Let this serve as a lesson to all who give ear to the temptations of Satan. The pleasures of sin are but for a season. The gain of iniquity is short. They promise men liberty but the end of that liberty is corruption. Secondly, consider the blind allegiance that resulted. Once you align yourself with evil it permeates all your outlooks. If your eye is evil the whole body shall be filled with darkness. It is a good thing to have one mind if it is after the right thing (Rom. 14:5, II Cor. 13:11, I Pet. 3:8). But to be of one mind after evil is wickedness. We are fast approaching the days in which all the populace says that good is evil and evil is good. We are entering the politically correct realm where no one (in Orwellian terms) is free to say that 2+2=4. They will all have one mind in the matter of giving all to antichrist. They will freely embrace the smiley faced fascism. The will love the power they have with the beast so much that they will freely give all that they have to him. That brings us, lastly, to the loss of sovereignty. They shall give their power (all sovereign rule) and all their strength (their ability to act, their might) to the beast. They were made completely subservient to his will because they gave up their own will to have one mind after evil. Those who cannot think for themselves are destined to be the slaves of others. And behind all of this is the whore led by the false prophet preaching the gospel of the beast and leading men to take his name and his number and his mark and to worship his image. She was comfortable in that role.

Next we see that the whore was comfortable in the war against the saints that was waged by the beast she promoted. Ultimately those who love the world will find comfort in fighting against the things of Christ, no matter how religious they believe themselves to be. The society that has one mind after the beast is also the society that will be led to hate and even kill the people of God. “These [the horns] shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.” The woman was so comfortable with the beast that she joined the beast and the seven heads and ten horns in making war with the Lamb. This means two separate things. It means that they made war with all who believed on the Lamb and it means that they made war with the Lamb Himself. The bottom line on both of those points is that the woman who had departed from God and from His Anointed (Christ) is now the one that persecutes and wars against Christ. The apostate and the hypocrite will always be the greatest enemy to Christ and the His gospel. The one that departs from God will be the one that strikes the hardest against Him. We saw that in the life of Christ Himself. Who was it that opposed Christ and eventually led the cries to nail Him to the tree but the religious crowd that should have known Him. He came unto His own and His own received Him not (John 1:11). The attack upon the people of God is not incidental to the woman. We have seen already in this chapter of our study that the blood of the saints and martyrs are upon her. She who rejects the gospel hates those that receive it. Some may cry ignorance on her part. There will come a time, according to the prophecy Christ, when those that kill the saints will believe that they are doing God a service (John 16:2). She definitely had a point in time in which she burned the saints at the stake and believed that she was serving Christ thereby. But, that is not the case in our text. The text says clearly that she was among the lost world that made war with the Lamb. She is aligned with the man of sin at this point. It is he that made war with the saints and for a time will prevail against them (Dan. 7:21, Rev. 11:7, 13:7). She has ultimately aligned herself with Satan himself (Rev. 12:17). She has made war with Christ in trying to wipe away all remnants of those who believe in Him. No one can attack those who believe in Christ without attacking Christ Himself. Paul found that by persecuting the church he was really persecuting Christ (Acts 9:1-4). Christ Himself told the world that “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me” (Matt. 25:40). Christ is always the fourth man in the fire with the suffering saints (Dan. 3). It is in this way alone that they could attack Christ and make their war. There is coming a time that this woman will join Satan in one final solution or Holocaust against the believing remnant of Christ, the Israel of God. Already we see the seeds being sown for this Holocaust. Israel as a nation and believers in Christ in general are belittled in the West and hated; all the while they are already being slaughtered in the East. This day is fast approaching.

This may be where she is comfortable but it is not the winning side. The text tells us that they make war with the Lamb (appearing to be such a weak thing) but in the end the Lamb shall overcome them. “Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men” (I Cor. 1:25). They will believe that they have found an easy victim in Christ but the end of this war will have Christ standing triumphant and we with Him. “For though he was crucified through weakness, yet he liveth by the power of God. For we also are weak in him, but we shall live with him by the power of God toward you” (II Cor. 13:4). The victory belongs to Christ. It is the Lamb that was slain in the fifth chapters that is now the overcoming lion. All of the tribulation experienced by the saints ends in the victory of Christ and therefore we can be of good cheer (John 16:33). We have dealt with the promises to the overcomers in the second and third chapter. Here the definite source of those promises is declared. It is always through the blood of the Lamb that we have the victory (Rev. 12:11). The Lamb is said to be the Lord of lords and the King of kings. He is declared to be above all. This is what He will be declared openly to be when He comes (Rev. 19:16). This is the lot that belongs to the Son of Man and the Son of God (Ps. 2). This by the way shows the deity of Christ. It is Jehovah who is the Lord of lords in the Old Testament (Deut. 10:17). It is the God of the Old Testament that is the King of kings (Dan. 2:47). It is in the New Testament that it is declared that this is Christ. “That thou keep this commandment without spot, unrebukeable, until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ: Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen” (I Tim. 6:14-16). This is the reason for His overcoming. Who does this world fight against when they declare war on the Lamb? They fight against their Creator and their God. And that is what they will come to know. Every knee shall bow.

The victory belongs not only to the Lamb but with those that are with Him: “they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful”. When Christ returns He will return with His saints (Rev. 19:14, Jude: 14). This is a pleasure that belongs to all who are saved, all who are in Christ (I Thess. 4:16, 17, John 14:3). Those that are with Christ (this is us who are His) are given a threefold description. The Pulpit Commentary contained this note: “The three epithets describe the progressive life of those who share Christ’s victory. They are called – as all men are – to serve him; having heard the call, they dedicate their lives to his service, and become his chosen servants; finally, having remained faithful to him, they share in his victory.” However, I would take some issue with that note. The text is not describing what those that are with Him do but it rather describes what they are.

The calling does not speak of the general gospel call that all men hear where Christ said, “many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). Those who would not obey the gospel call are not the called of our text. The called of our text are those who have been effectually called. These are those who have not only heard the call but have left their fishing nets and followed Him. It is that calling that brings salvation. We know that until the Father draws men they are unable to come to Christ (John 6:44). When earlier theologians spoke of irresistible grace this is what they were trying to describe (though often in a fatalistic way that destroyed the truth of human responsibility). These are those who were called by the Spirit; those who by the work of the Spirit were made willing by Him: it is those who are rightly called His people (Ps. 110:3). Paul spoke about the called; “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified” (Rom. 8:28-30). The term called is synonymous with the all who are saved by Christ, all who have come to God by Him (John 6:37, I Pet. 3:18). “Sweetly Lord we have heard thee calling, come follow me….”

Those that are with Christ at His evident overcoming are not only the called but also they are the chosen. They are among that group of people whom God loved (i.e. foreknew) before the foundation of the world and chose to send His Son to save. They are that group of people whom the Father gave to the Son to affect their salvation (John 6:37). It is synonymous with the term election. There is a humbling truth about salvation that is glorious to those who understand the nature of grace. The chief choice or agent that affects the salvation of every individual that is saved is God. Salvation is of the Lord. “But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth: Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Thess. 2:13, 14). I can never say that I am saved because of a choice that I made (even though I did make a choice). The cause of my salvation is God. He loved, He elected, He sent His Son, He shed His blood, He rose from the grave, He called me by His grace, He convinced me of my sin state, and He drew me by His Spirit. I was simply the beggar that by the conviction of the Holy Spirit saw my need of Him and reached out my hand; He was the Savior who chose to come to where I am to save me. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance (Ps. 33:12). Election is something that forever is true only as it relates to Christ. He is the one that is chosen and we are chosen only in him (I Pet. 2:4, Eph. 1:4). No person is elect outside of Christ; they are only elect when their standing is in Christ. Jesus declared to His disciples, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain…” (John 15:16). To be chosen insinuates that there is a purpose. We are not simply chosen but we are chosen for something or for some purpose. Jesus said that we are chosen and ordained to bring forth lasting fruit for the glory of God (Eph. 2:10). God chose Israel out of all the nations (and us as well) to show His glory and to make His name known. “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light…” (I Pet. 2:9). Thus this company that is with Christ has been called and chosen to the glory of Him that will overcome.

Those that will be with Christ are called and chosen and praise the Lord they will also be faithful. This speaks to the grand doctrine of the security of the believer or as the old time preachers called the perseverance of the saints. Those that Christ has begun to work salvation in will have that work of salvation completed (Phil. 1:6 – see again Rom. 8:28-30 and note that all that are called are also all that are glorified in the end – it is certain). People may go on about a doctrine of backsliding (a word that never appears in the New Testament) but the saved shall be faithful till the end. These are destined to hear their Lord say, “Well done, good and faithful servant….” We realize that if there is any faithfulness in us it is due to the Lord’s work and we are thankful to Him for our faithfulness. “I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful…” (I Tim. 1:12). These are those who by the grace of God have been kept by the power of God through faith (I Pet. 1:5). It is through the work of God that we who have been made just by Christ, even though we are apt to fall through the weakness of our flesh, will continue to rise in faithfulness (Prov. 24:19). These are faithful because they have been conformed to the image of the Son (Rom. 8:29, Rev. 19:11). Everything from the call, to the election, to the end of faithfulness is secure to the believer. We shall never perish. “Now the just shall live by faith: but if any man draw back, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul” (Heb. 10:38, 39) If you are in Christ, if you have found salvation we may rest in this truth: when He comes again we will be with Him (John 14:1-4).

Lastly, we see the comfort that the woman found in the universal appeal that she had gained. “And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.” We will not waste time here speaking about the importance of the influence that this woman had over the world. This verse is simply the explanation of waters that the woman sat upon in the first verse of this chapter. She found her influence stretched over the whole world. She influenced many peoples and many multitudes, and many nations and languages. We have seen the woman sitting in three places in this chapter. She was sitting upon seven mountains as to the actual place of the seat of her power. She sat upon the beast as a matter of her devotion and as the object of her exaltation. She sits upon many waters as to the matter of her influence. She influence not only people but nations. The number four is the number of the earth and four dimensions of the earth are mentioned to sum up her influence. It is interesting that the term multitude is used instead of kindred as it had been elsewhere (5:9, 7:9). I guess in the end times there will be little room for family or familial love. “Now the brother shall betray the brother to death, and the father the son; and children shall rise up against their parents, and shall cause them to be put to death” (Mark 13:12). Thus will be the world under the influence of sin and whoredom. As family values friendly the woman may now appear the end thereof will be hatred. This is the end game for the woman. She wanted the wonder and admiration of the world. She like the Pharisees of old wanted the praises of men. What we read here is all the reward she will ever receive.

We come now to the last point regarding the woman and we come to an understanding of the spiritual fall of the whore. There is an amazing turn of events in the following verses. Let us consider each verse one by one. “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 describes a changed attitude toward the woman, a decisive attack upon the woman, a devouring of the woman, and judgment of the woman in the hands of men. This is the future of “Christianity.” This is the future of the Christ-less, empirical, and pagan hybrid that the Christian system is destined to become in the latter days of the great falling away. This is the future of the church that loves the praises of men more than the praises of God.

First, we see a change of attitude toward the woman. This is in the future tense. The ten horns “shall hate the whore….” To this point the whore has only been described in her loftiness. She has enjoyed her exalted position with the beast and has led the world in worshipping him. Now it says of those that she led to adore the beast have turned, not on the beast, on her. They committed fornication with her but now they hate her. Once they aligned themselves with the beast, as described in the above verses, what further need have they of her and her whorish ways. “Therefore, O Aholibah, thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will raise up thy lovers against thee, from whom thy mind is alienated, and I will bring them against thee on every side” (Ezek. 23:22). At first look, and several commentators agree, it appears that the ten horns hate the whore as a matter of repentance. The idea was summed up by Gill, “these shall hate the whore; her principles and sentiments, her doctrines, which are doctrines of devils, her wicked practices, her idolatries, adulteries, murders, and thefts; they will repent of their fornications with her, and cease from them; their love will be turned to hatred, and the latter will be greater than ever the former was, like Amnon’s to Tamar; and as it usually is with men towards harlots, when they see their follies, and how they have been deceived and abused by them….” There is no doubt that those that go after the strange woman will mourn at last when their flesh and body are consumed (Prov. 5). But, the hatred or despising of our text does not appear to be the result of repentance. The woman once helped salve the conscience of their sins but now that the beast has elevated them to gods with him they no longer need or desire her. The verse that follows appears to intimate that it was put into the heart of these people to fulfill the will of God in regards to the judgment of the whore but also in giving their sovereignty to the beast. It appears in the context that their hatred of the whore corresponds with their full embracement of antichrist. Why is this? If I was to venture a guess it would be a hatred of her hypocrisy. She represented Christ, at least nominally, and even though she has led them to the beast and sang his praises they could not abide her hypocrisy. Also, it appears in the text that they hated her wealth which they will rightly see as the spoils of religious oppression. In the time of their “enlightenment” where they worship man as God they will turn their hatred toward the faithless and Christ-less church. Let this be a lesson to the churches that want to water down their beliefs in the name of getting people into the pews. When you get those people to the place where you are leading them they will hate you. The only way in the long run to earn genuine love is by being an uncompromising declarer of truth. “He that saith unto the wicked, Thou are righteous; him shall the people curse, nations shall abhor him: But to them that rebuke him shall be delight, and a good blessing shall come upon them” (Prov. 24:24, 25).

There is a change of attitude toward the woman and then there is a decisive attack on the woman: “[they] shall make her desolate and naked….” It will not only be a harbored hatred that they hold but their hatred will turn to action. They will expose the woman for what she is. They will strip her of all her garments and let the world see her for what she is in truth. So is the end of whoredom. “Behold, therefore I will gather all thy lovers, with whom thou hast taken pleasure, and all them that thou hast loved, with all them that thou hast hated; I will even gather them round about against thee, and will discover thy nakedness unto them, that they may see all thy nakedness. And I will judge thee, as women that break wedlock and shed blood are judged; and I will give thee blood in fury and jealousy. And I will also give thee into their hand, and they shall throw down thine eminent place, and shall break down thy high places: they shall strip thee also of thy clothes, and shall take thy fair jewels, and leave thee naked and bare.” (Ezek. 16:37-39). The term desolate brings the idea of the whore being deserted and left in a state of emptiness. So not only will the spiritual fall leave the woman naked and ashamed before the world that she led but it will leave her completely alone and deserted by mankind. She will be left with a great chasm of emptiness. She thought to gain the whole world and will at last lose even her very soul. Such will be the end of this latter day Christianity.

Then there shall be a devouring of the woman; “[They] shall eat her flesh.” A fitting end for those who claimed to give the actual flesh of Christ in the Eucharist to the people and idolatrously told them to bow and worship that bread. This verse is not indicative of cannibalism. It has been pointed out that, in the Greek, the idea is conveyed that they shall eat the “masses of her flesh” and by flesh is meant her “carnal” possessions. They shall devour her wealth and confiscate her possessions. The term eating of flesh is often used in the Scripture for the desire of an enemy to destroy and spoil the goods of another (See, Ps. 27:2, Micah 3:3). She spoiled mankind by selling her indulgences and making merchandise out of salvation. Now the world will hate her for it and devour all that wealth.

Then there will be a full judgement of the woman, not by the hands of God directly, but by the hand of men: “[they] shall burn her with fire.” This may be connected with the eating of the flesh. James connected the two in the final judgment of the rich man: “Your gold and silver is cankered; and the rust of them shall be a witness against you, and shall eat your flesh as it were fire. Ye have heaped treasure together for the last days” (James 5:3). There is no doubt an allusion to the law for those who would play the whore; as verse 18 says below, God’s words will be fulfilled (Lev. 21:9). God’s law will be glorified. Whether this will be the actual burning of Rome or it is leading us to see the spiritual fall alone is not certain. One thing is sure: this latter day Christianity will be that which would not abide in the Christ the vine. And, as such, she finds her judgment by being gathered and burned at the hands of men. “If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned” (John 15:6). This is also the judgment of the salt that has lost its savor. Men shall trod them under foot. If Christianity is not going to serve mankind in declaring the truth of the gospel, but will rather seek to have mankind serve it, it will be hated, devoured, and burned by mankind in the end.

We that are spiritual understand that the mover of all this will be God. “For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.” God’s words (plural – speaking of the whole of Scriptures) and His will are synonymous. When Christ was speaking of these end times He declared this: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matt. 24:35). God’s will shall be done. This does not mean that man is not exercising their will and therefore should not be judged. God will allow man to go on in their sin and will trump their sin for His glory. The wicked heart of man will devise their way but God will direct their steps (Prov. 16:9). “The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will” (Prov. 21:1). Here it tells us that it is God that will put all this in the heart of the nations to fulfill His will and to agree (in some formal contractual way) to give their kingdom to the beast. In the same chapter in which Paul told us about the falling away that typified the whore of our text and the rising of the beast, Paul told us this: “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thess. 2:11, 12). God will allow them to follow the beast and will use them to judge the great whore. Why? Because He has marked an end; a time in which all His words shall be fulfilled. In that end we (who are His) will be glorified with Him.

The angel closes the interpretation of the woman with a definite word as to the identity of the whore: “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.” This is that great city that shall fall (Rev. 14:8, 16:19). For a moment she truly gained the whole world but there will be a time where she will be forever desolate and naked and burned. The angel speaks to John in the present tense. He speaks of that city that was great in the days of John. He speaks of that city which in the days of John was presently reigning over all the kings of the earth. He speaks solely of the city of Rome. This city will be the embodiment of the latter day Christian apostasy. Let us be warned to come out of her now. Reject all ecumenism and seeker friendly fornication which leads us back to Rome.