God's Great Purpose
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66. God's Great Purpose
Revelation 17.15-18

"Then the angel said to me, 'The waters you saw, where the prostitute sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and languages. The beast with 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.' For God has put it into their hearts to accomplish his purpose by agreeing to hand over to the beast their royal authority until God fulfills his words. The woman you saw is the great city that rules over the earth's kings." (Revelation 17.15-16)✞

Prostitute's Flesh

The BeastRevelation's horned beast rises violently from the sea and receives authority and power against the prostitute to devour her flesh and burn her with fire. This passage gives us a terrible picture of the Revelation horned beast coming up fiercely against the prostitute who was its mistress. The "beast" from the Greek "therion" means "wild animal" and refers to one of two such Revelation beasts. In the Old Testament, eating a prostitute's flesh and blood was the most savage action of a powerful enemy. Psalm 27.2 comments, "When the wicked advance against me to devour me, it is my enemies and my foes who will stumble and fall." Micah 3.2-3 describes Israel's wicked as "you who hate good and love evil;" "who eat my people's flesh, strip off their skin and break their bones in pieces; who chop them up like meat for the pan, like flesh for the pot." This picture portrays terrible vengeance, cannibalism, and barbarism.

Terrible Punishment

Burning FireRevelation 17.16b continues, "they will burn her with fire." In Leviticus 20.14, we also find, "If a man marries both a woman and her mother, it is wicked. Both he and they must be burned in the fire so that no wickedness will be among you." The punishment is for the most heinous sin. It was also addressed in Leviticus 21.9, "If a priest's daughter defiles herself by becoming a prostitute, she disgraces her father; the fire must burn her." The harlot's previous lovers turned against her. Evil has, in its vengefulness, the most destructive power!

Human Anger

Rome BurningThe ten kings ally themselves to the beast. God places his purposes into their hearts that he might accomplish his great goals and implement his words. Evil powers think they are working out their plans, but they fulfill God's great plan for their lives. The Irish Biblical scholar R. H. Charles (1859-1931) writes that even human anger creates praise to God. God never loses control of human affairs. In the last analysis, God works things together for good to those who love him. Romans 8.28 says, "In all things, God works for the good of those who love him." The phrase "for good to those who love God" may equally mean, "with those who love him to bring about what is good."

Ten Kings

Roman GovernmentThe ten earth kings invade and destroy Rome. The rising against the great city foretells her destruction by her subject nations. The great prostitute, meaning ancient Rome, will, in the end, be destroyed when her lovers, representing her vassal states, turn violently against her.

"God's Great Purpose"
by Ron Meacock © 2021

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