Chapters 17 to 20 of the book of Revelation depict the mighty triumph of God over evil. Even from the opening pages of John’s book God’s sovereignty is invariably emphasized, and this has considerably been a great comfort for the hurting believers of the first century Christianity. Evil may seem to appear strong but in reality, it can do no more than operate as God allows. It exercises only the power that God allows it to exercise and evil will be completely overthrown. Now the apostle John focuses on the end-time; evil’s complete and ultimate overthrow as God unleashes His judgments against the wicked
The first act in this final melodrama of judgments is about the fall of Babylon. We were told about the fall of Babylon back in chapter 14:8, and it was somewhat described in chapter 16:18-21. And John uses imagery from the fall of some other ancient cities, number 1, Jeremiah chapters 50 and 51 the fall of Babylon is going to be quoted over and over again. But along with Jeremiah, the fall of Babylon is described at chapters I3, 14, and 21 of Isaiah as there is much allusion from that section. The fall of Tyre and from Isaiah 23 and Ezekiel 26 through 28 might be a possible allusion which really forms the major backdrop to Revelation 17. To some extent the fall of Nineveh in Nahum 3:4, and may be surprising but Jerusalem is also called a prostitute in Ezekiel 16, and that’s the major imagery. it’s not by accident that the only Old Testament passages that deal somewhat with satan and his pride and fall are behind the imagery of the fall of Babylon in Isaiah 14 and the fall of the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28. The great whore also has the same problem with pride. Now there have been three enemies through here: There’s satan, there’s been the two beasts, and there’s been this false world system that we’ve called the whore of Babylon. I think the description is Old Testament but it can apply to any earthly city in John’s day. In chapter 17, it’s obviously Rome and there’s no way we can get around the imagery he uses, but i think the description of a fallen rebellious society goes far beyond Rome. And we can go back to Daniel chapter 2 and see a series of world empires that get progressively anti-God. This is similar to what what we have in 1 John 2:15-29 about the world system, about human society organized and functioning apart from God.
(TO BE CONTINUED)