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Revelation 17 Reading Guide

Dig In:

Chapter Overview:

ARE YOU CONFUSED AFTER READING CHAPTER 17? If you are, don't feel too bad. You're in good company. Even after all of the incredible, fantastic things John has witnessed so far in this apocalypse (revelation), he was "totally astonished" at what the angel has brought him to see now.

  • v1-6 - John is taken "into a wilderness" by and angel to show him the punishment of a woman named Babylon.

    • Though this woman is described as a prostitute, she represents far more than just sexual sins.

    • Babylon tempts all people with all sorts of seductions: the unquenchable desire for more of everything, sports in which one becomes completely absorbed, and every other distraction designed to pull people away from God's truth.

    • She sits on and controls the beast representing authoritarian governments described in earlier chapters.

  • v7-18 - Even after everything he's seen so far, John's mind is blown at what he sees here, so the angel goes on to describe what all of these characters represent for John's (and our) benefit.

    • The beast which Babylon has been manipulating and controlling will ultimately turn on her in its own quest to authoritatively dominate all things.

    • Notice this chapter ends by reminding you that even though the world seems to be completely under the control of Babylon and the Beast, ultimately God rules:

      • v14 notes that the Lamb will triumph over the beast;

      • v17 God "put into their hearts [of the ten horns (kings)] to "accomplish His purpose."

Dig Deeper:

Don't miss the humor that the angel uses to describe the beast four different times in this chapter (v8 (twice), 10, 11):

the beast who once was, now is not, and yet will come again (only to be destroyed)

Notice how this is a parody of how the Lord God Almighty is described multiple times at the beginning of this book:

Him who is, and who was, and who is to come

Whereas the Lord is described as one who transcends time (who always has been and always will be) and whose being is within Himself, the beast has no control over its own being and the day will come where it is and will be no more.


Psalm 136:3 (NIV)

Give thanks to the Lord of lords:

His love endures forever.


  1. EYE FOR DETAIL— Why does the angel say that Jesus will triumph when the beast wages war against Him (v14)?

Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:

  • ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: King of kings and Lord of lords (v14)

  • ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Thank God that He has chosen you to be His own, and ask Him for strength to be His faithful follower (v14)


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