REVELATION 17:1-18:24

The Description of Religious Babylon, A False Religion.  Overview:   Jesus Christ is coming back to this earth.  But before He can come and establish righteousness in the earth, a few things have to happen.

  • All the godless and evil armies of this earth have to be destroyed, which we have just seen in the former study (Revelation chapter 16).
  • All the false religion in this world must be destroyed.   This is the discussion of the present chapter of  Revelation 17.
  • All the godless politics and governments and social systems of this world have to be destroyed.  This will be our study in Revelation chapter 18).


  1. When these three things are done, then the ungodly and evil of this earth will be removed and the Lord Jesus Christ can come to earth and set up His kingdom of righteousness.
  2. As stated before, the armies of the world were gathered together in one place and destroyed at Armageddon (Revelation 16:16).
  3. God shows us how both false religion and godless governments and politics of this world will also be destroyed.
  4. Note that false religion and godless government have always been upon the earth, and they will be until the end of time.

FACT:  In the end time the Antichrist and the False Prophet will institute a one-world religion and government and cause the worship of the state and its leader, the ANTICHRIST himself.

  1. All the evil that has ever been embodied in false religion will show its ugly head in the end time.
  2. False religion and godless government will be at their height, but they will also be at their lowest and most evil level.
  3. The worship of the state and the Antichrist is the discussion of the present passage. (Revelation 17:1-6).

NOTE:  All false religion and godless governments are embodied in the government and false religion of the end time.

  1. All godless government and false religion will be judged and wiped from off the face of the earth by the judgment of God.
  2. This is the great subject of this passage: the judgment of godless government and false religion, is what the Scripture calls political and religious Babylon.

Now to Revelation 17:1-6…

NOTE:  False religion has done more to doom people than any other single thing.  How?  By its deception.  The world is given…

  • false religion promises which are:





+and hope in some kind of life hereafter.

But if it is false, it is a lie, total deception.  This will be the great tragedy of false Babylon, of false religion of the end time.  It will doom people by the millions, doom them for eternity.  This is the reason this particular study is given in Revelation.  Why? To warn people about false religion and to warn people of religious Babylon, the false religion that is going to sweep the earth in the end time.

Let’s notice some important ideas:

  1. An angel approaches John (Revelation 17:1).
  2. Religious Babylon is a great harlot (v. 1).
  3. Religious Babylon sits upon many waters, that is, peoples (v. 1).
  4. Religious Babylon will be supported by the nations of the world (Revelation 17:2).
  5. Religious Babylon will receive its power from the Beast or Antichrist (v. 3).
  6. Religious Babylon will have a rich appearance but will be totally corrupt (v. 4).
  7. Religious Babylon will have a striking name (v. 5).
  8. Religious Babylon will be prejudiced and have fierce power (v. 6).

Now notice Revelation 17:1 again as we continue to review false religion and Babylon.  As we have seen, an angel approaches John.  Remember, John is having a vision of the last days of human history.

John has been shown the great devastation of the last world war, Armageddon, and of the catastrophic destruction of the great cities of the earth.

John is standing there in utter shock and stone silence just as anyone else would be.  But then all of a sudden one of the seven angels goes over to John.  This is one of the seven angels who had poured the wrath of God upon the earth.

This angel tells John to “come here, and I will show you the future judgment of false religion in the earth.”  John walks over and sees one of the most amazing sights a person would ever witness.  What he sees is the description and judgment of false religion in the world.

Again Revelation 17:1, John now sees religious Babylon (false religion) is a great harlot.  In the Bible harlotry stands for false gods, false worship, false religion, and false devotion.

In other words, it stands for idolatry.  It stands for worshiping something other than God Himself, something other than the ONLY true and living God.  This is the picture of religious Babylon.

It is false religion, the worship of an idol.  A person commits spiritual harlotry or prostitution…

  • when he or she imagines what God is like and follows his own thoughts about God rather than what the Scriptures reveals God to be.
  • when he or she follows an earthly religion and its rituals, ceremonies, and teaching instead of following Jesus Christ as revealed in the Scripture.
  • when he or she molds and makes an image and worships it.

NOTE:  Spiritual harlotry means to follow a false religion and worship, the worship of a false god. This is the picture of religious Babylon.  The religion of the end time will be a false religion, the worship of an idol [for instance, the image created by the Antichrist] and not of God Himself.  Or, worshiping the Antichrist and the False Prophet.

“Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:22-23).

“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the LATTER TIMES some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;” (I Timothy 4:1).

“Having a form of godliness [ceremony, ritual, rules or  worship], but denying the power thereof: from such turn away” (2 Timothy 3:5).

“Little children, keep yourselves from idols” (I John 5:21).

“Take heed to yourselves, that your heart be not deceived, and ye turn aside, and serve other gods, and worship them;” (Deuteronomy 11:16).

“I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images” (Isaiah 42:8).

“Assemble yourselves and come; draw near together, ye that are escaped of the nations: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven image, and pray unto a god that cannot save” (Isaiah 45:20).

(Revelation 17:1) False religion and Deception: religious Babylon (false religion) sits upon MANY WATERS, that is, people and nations.  This meaning is explained in verse fifteen:

“And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15).

The picture is that religious Babylon will fill the earth: many races and multitudes and nations and languages will be caught up in the worship of the false religion of the end times.

FACT:  As we have seen, millions will be caught up in the false religion of the end time.  But think about today: think about how many millions are following a false religion and worshiping idols around the world.  But even closer to home: think how many profess Christ and yet don’t believe the Bible or teach Christ.

Christ pretty much summarized His thinking about all this when He said:

“If ye love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15).

FACT:  If a person loves Jesus, he/she WILL keep the commandments of Jesus.

Perhaps you would agree that there are some biblical commands that many who profess to be Christians seem to violate with ease.  Just to name a few:

  1. The Great Commission passages which Christians folks seem to have no problem ignoring (Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:8).
  2. The commandment of God to love others, even those we don’t like (see the Epistles of I John and Ephesians).
  3. Also maintaining peace, unity and fellowship with other Christians (many portions of Scripture emphasize these principles).
  4. God’s requirement that Christians pray for each other (Ephesians 6:18).

Note two things:

  1. Obedience is not optional for true believers. Jesus stated a simple fact that must be clearly understood: “If you love me you WILL KEEP [teresete] my commandments.”  Jesus is saying that the man who truly loves Him WILL keep His commandments.  For the true believer, there is no option. If he loves Jesus, he keeps His commandments period.

NOTE:  The true believer is not claiming perfection, but he is claiming to love Jesus and to believe with all his heart that Jesus is the Son of God.  Therefore, he diligently seeks Jesus, and he seeks to please Him in all that he does.

“But without FAITH IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO PLEASE HIM: for he that cometh to God MUST BELIEVE THAT HE IS, and that he is a rewarder of them that DILIGENTLY seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). 

  1. What it means to love Jesus must be clearly understood.

a. To love Jesus is not just an emotional thing. It involves the emotions, but it is not BASED only upon emotions.  It is not just feelings, not feeling good today and loving Jesus and feeling bad tomorrow and not loving Jesus.  Loving Jesus is not a fluctuating experience, not an up and down emotion. It is not an emotional love that changes with feelings.

To love Jesus is not a rational or mental commitment. Of course, it involves the mind, but it is not just deciding that Jesus is the Son of God and adopting His teachings and morality as one’s standard in life. It is not just living by His teachings and doing the best a person can. It is not a matter of the mind alone, not a matter of disciplining one’s life to keep the law and its rules and regulations.

c. To love Jesus is a matter of the heart and of the spirit: a matter of man’s most vital part, man’s innermost being, all that man is.  The heart is the SEAT of man’s affection and will (devotion).  The heart attaches and focuses our affection and will and devotion to an object or a person.

It means that a man gives his AFFECTION and WILL (devotion), all that he is and has to Jesus Christ.  It means that he…

freely accepts the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16).

“That IF thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shall be saved.  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.  For WHOSOEVER SHALL CALL UPON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED” (Romans 10:9-13).

Matthew put it another way which should challenge each and every Christian:  “No man can serve two master: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other.  Ye cannot SERVE God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24). 

Matthew has the warning about wealth and materialism 6:19-24.  Let’s look at it this way:  where are our thoughts?  What do we think about?

  • Are our thoughts on earth or on heaven?   
  • Is our mind on earthly things or on God?
  • The concern of Christ in this passage is right thinking about money, possessions, and material things.
  • His concern is that we guard against centering our lives around houses, furnishings, cars, lands, buildings, stocks and all the things that make up security and wealth of this earth (I John 2:15-17).
  • The reason is simply understood, nothing on this earth is secure and lasting.  It is all aging, decaying, and wasting away.   It is not eternal.
  • It is all corruptible and temporal.
  • What Christ wants is for us to center our lives around Him and Heaven, for everything about Himself and heaven is life and security.  It is all permanent and eternal.
  • He wants to stir our thinking and so He gives us a lesson on faith, wealth and materialism.  Notice the outline for the lesson given to us.  This lesson is furnished for those of us in the Age of Grace, but also those who are living in the end of time.


  1. A contrast: about two kinds of riches (Matthew 6: 19-20)
  2. A warning: about two kinds of hearts (v. 21-23).
  3. A choice: about two kinds of masters (v. 24).

Perhaps as you have worked through the lessons of this study you have been challenged with your own assurance of salvation.  If that is the case I would challenge you to go back through John 3:16 and Romans 10:9-13.  Only you can truly determine if you are saved or not.

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