7 Plagues and 1 Prostitute

I. The Seven Angels are commissioned to act (Revelation 15:5 through 16:1).

A. The temple of the tabernacle of the testimony is opened (15:5).

1. This is likely “The” model from which the Tabernacle of Moses was made (Hebrews 8:5).

2. This “ark of his testament” is in this temple (11:19, reference 1 Kings 8:9).

3. The Temple is filled with “smoke from the glory of God, and from his power, and no man was able to enter into the temple till the seven plagues of the seven angels were fulfilled” (Revelation 15:8).

a. When the presence of God was in the tabernacle, no one could enter (Exodus 40:34-35).
b. When Solomon dedicated the Temple, God’s presence filled the Temple and none could enter (1 Kings 8:10-11).
c. The presence of God has always been identified with “smoke”, “fire” and “glory” (unbearable light).

B. The seven angels are revealed with the seven plagues (15:6-8).

1. One of the 4 Living Creatures distributes the 7 golden bowls.

2. Seven golden bowls “filled with the wrath of God”

a. The wrath of God is reserved for the unsaved and ungodly (John 3:36; Romans 1:18).
b. The wrath of God is judgment for overt and conscious acts of evil (Ephesians 5:3-6; Colossians 3:5-6).
c. Revelation 22:15 – “For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.”

II. The Seven Plagues are delivered by the Seven Angels (16:2 through 16:21).

A. Plague Number One – the “noisome and grievous sore” (16:2)

1. The word choices are worth noting.

a. “Noisome” is kakos – the basic word for “evil” or “bad” (Romans 12:21).
b. “Grievous” is poneros – the word for “pain” resulting from evil (1 John 3:12).
c. May be like the “boils” in the plague of Egypt (Exodus 9:9)

2. The various translations are also worth noting.

a. NIV -- ugly and painful sores
b. NASV -- loathsome and malignant sores
c. RSV -- foul and evil sores
d. DOUAY -- sore and grievous wound

B. Plague Number Two – the bloody death of sea life

1. “The” sea referred to in this passage could merely be the Mediterranean (the sea that borders Israel or the Persian Gulf that is near Babylon). 

a. Most of the 19 times that it is used in Revelation appear to be used of all ocean bodies.
b. Revelation 7:1-3; 8:9; 10:2–8; 12:12; 13:1; 14:7; 16:3; 18:19-21; 20:8, 13

2. The sea turns into “the blood of a dead man” – congealed, black, stench – and all sea life dies.

C. Plague Number Three – the rivers and springs turn into blood.

1. This Plague provides insight into the reason for the judgment.

2. This is given because “they” (those who are in rebellion against the King) have shed the blood of the “saints and prophets.”

3. See also -- 2 Kings 9:7; Lamentations 4:13; Ezekiel 35:5-6; Matthew 23:30; Luke 11:50; Revelation 17:6; Revelation 18:2, 24; Revelation 19:2

D. Plague Number Four – the Sun’s heat is intensified and scorches humanity.

1. This seems to be a general plague – all humanity scorched.

2. The universal rebellion seems to be both the cause and the affirmation.

E. Plague Number Five – the Beast’s Kingdom is darkened.

1. The Plague focuses on the specific Kingdom of the Beast -- (Babylon ?).

2. The darkness is part of the “pain” (sores mentioned).

3. The rebellion is continued unabated.

F. Plague Number Six – the Euphrates dries up.

1. The central trade/commerce river in the region is rendered useless.

2. The “Way of the kings of the East” is prepared.  This is a unique reference with no other clear parallel passage in Scripture.  This could be a reference to the 10 kings who destroy the “Whore” (17:16-17).

3. The identification of the Euphrates may have some significance.

a. The mysterious reference to the Four Angels in Revelation 9:14
b. The border for the nation Israel promised to Abraham (Genesis 15:18)
c. The historical boundary between East and West

4. The reference in Daniel 11:44, foretelling of “tidings” out of the East which “trouble” the “vile person” who is devouring the saints, seems to provide additional information about this period of time.

G. Plague Number Seven – the great earthquake and the fall of Babylon

1. The formal pronouncement is made: “It is done!”

a. “Voices, thunders, lightnings, and earthquake”
b. The unique and final “shaking” of the earth
1) This is NOT just “the big one” – but the last one.
2) Hebrews 12:26-27 – only one more “shaking” to shake everything
3) Haggai 2:6-7 – shake: heavens, earth, sea, land, nations

2. The great city (Babylon) is split into three parts.

a. The description of Babylon’s fall is in chapter 18.
b. The effects seem to impact the whole surface of the earth.
1) The “great earthquake” – never been before (16:18)
2) “Every island fled away…” (16:20)
c. “Great hail” falls that may be the results of “mountains” falling.
1) “…and the mountains were not found” (16:20)
2) Each stone weighs a “talent”.
3) Each “talent” is ~ 75 pounds.
4) If ice, the hail would be bigger than a basketball.

3. The population “blasphemed God because of the plagues of the hail; for the plague thereof was exceeding great” (16:21).

III. The vision of the Whore and the Beast is amplified in Revelation 17:1-18.

A. The “Great Harlot” sits astride the Beast (Revelation 17:1-6, 16-18).

1. The “Great Harlot” is very rich and satiated with her success (Revelation 17:4).

a. The “riches” and “fornication” are from the inhabitants of the earth.
b. The riches are ostentatious.
c. The “cup” is full of filthy abominations.

2. She is identified as “the Mother of Harlots and of the abominations of the Earth” (17:5).

a. She is identified as “Babylon.”
b. She is the source of all false and abominable activity.
c. She is “drunk” with the blood and the martyrdom of the Saints.
d. She is identified as “the great city which rules the kings” (17:18).

3. She is seated on a red, 7-headed, 10-horned Beast.

a. This is the “great red dragon” of Revelation chapter 12.
b. This is the “beast” of Revelation chapter 13.
c. This is the socio-political world empire controlled by Satan.

4. She “sits” on “7 mountains” which are the “7 heads” (17:9).

a. The “7 heads” are identified as 7 kings and empires (17:10).
b. The empires are age-long: 5 of which are fallen, 1 is, and 1 is yet to come.
c. The “Great Harlot” has been around since the beginning of this Age.
d. The beginning of this Age appears to be with Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-9), perhaps even with “the father of lies” (John 8:44).
e. The influence continues throughout each of the “heads” (Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Media and Persia, Greece, Rome, and the 7th and 8th heads of the Beast).

B. The “Great Harlot” is sitting on “waters” here identified as “peoples and multitudes and nations and tongues” (Revelation 17:15).

1. This is probably a reference to the extent of her influence.

2. Additional insight is in Jeremiah 51:12-15.

a. Specific prophecy against Babylon
b. They dwell “upon many waters, abundant in treasures.”
c. The “end is come and the measure of thy covetousness.”

IV. The “Babylons” of Scripture are relatively easy to identify.

A. There is the Bab-el of Nimrod (Genesis 10).

1. Nimrod is a grandson of Ham, son of Noah.

2. Nimrod is given Biblical credit as founder of several cities.

3. Nimrod’s wife is Semiramis – many later queens used her name.

a. She founds the Babylonian “mysteries.”
b. She is said to have had a son miraculously conceived.
c. She is the historical basis for the “Mother-Child” religions.
1) Ashtoreth and Tammuz of the Phoenicians
2) Isis and Horus of Egypt
3) Aphrodite and Eros in Greece
4) Venus and Cupid in Rome

B. There is the Babylon of Nebuchadnezzar and the captivity of Israel-Judah.

1. It is the main focus of the Old Testament (Matthew 1:17).

2. It is mentioned 250 times in the OT and 10 in the NT.

3. It is mentioned 147 times in the book of Jeremiah.

4. It is mentioned 28 times in 2 Kings and 28 in Daniel.

5. It is mentioned 14 times in Ezekiel and 12 in Isaiah.

C. There is the Babylon of “harlotry” cited in Revelation.

1. This is a picture of the False Religious and False Church systems of the world which are “riding” the Beast throughout the centuries.

a. “Harlotry” when used figuratively always identifies spiritual adultery and idolatry (Jeremiah 3:8-9; 5:7-9; Ezekiel 6:9; 16:32; 23:30; Hosea 4:11; Revelation 2:22).
b. During the Old Covenant days, the terms “Babylon” and the “Great Harlot”, were more specifically connected with the worship of other deities (The Egyptian pantheon, Molech, Baal, etc.), as Israel embraced the false gods of the pagan nations around them.
c. During the New Covenant days, the false system has become more identified with the “Church” of Christ, and has taken on the nature of “Christianity.” 
1) This “Harlot” is the false church and the false teachers who turn the people of God away from the Truth (Matthew 24:11-24; 2 Timothy 3:1-7; 4:1-4; 2 Peter 2:1-3; 1 John 2:18-19; 4:1-3; 2 John 7-11).
2) The “Harlot” will grow more powerful and be more clearly “in bed” with the “kings of the earth.”

2. This would further include “other” religions of the world’s worship – at least as far as “acceptance” and “tolerance” by “Christianity” is concerned.

a. Christianity ~ 2.2 Billion; Islam ~ 1.6 Billion; Judaism ~15 Million; Secular/Nonreligious ~ 950 Million
b. Buddhism ~ 1.9 Billion; Hinduism ~ 900 Million; Chinese Traditional ~ 225 Million; African Traditional (Animists) ~ 158 Million; Sikhism ~ 23 Million
c. World Population ~ 6.6 Billion: Roman Catholicism ~ 17%; Protestant ~ 9.5%

3. This would probably include the 10 heads in some political body.

a. The United Nations or some similar body like a World Court would provide “membership” to a “Christian” or “Religious” organization.
b. The Vatican is a “Country” and is now recognized by formal diplomatic offices from most of the world powers, including the United States.
c. The “other beast” of Revelation 13 may well be the human representative of the “whore” – but not the same as Babylon.

V. The ultimate end of “Babylon” and the “Great Harlot” is tied to the events at the consummation of the Age when the 10 horns have their power “one hour” with the Beast (8th Head – Revelation 17:11-17).  During the rise and power of the 7th Head, “Babylon” and her role in that period would appear to be reflected in the final descriptions of her relationship with the kings of the earth described in Revelation 18.

A. Note: Further description of the fall of Babylon continues in Revelation chapters 17 and 18.  The plagues are the final judgment on earth with a focal point on Babylon – both the city and the territory (Iran and Iraq).  The results are a final assembly of the armies of the Beast at Armageddon (north of Jerusalem).

Series: 
The Revelation of Jesus Christ
Lesson: 
#9
Book: 
Revelation
Verses: 
ch. 16-17

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