Today, Friday July 01
The Scarlet Beast
“Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and talked with me, saying to me, "Come, I will show you the judgment of the great harlot who sits on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth were made drunk with the wine of her fornication." So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”
In Revelation the “beast” is mentioned at least eight times in his association with the “woman”. Yesterday we talked about the “woman” in this chapter, whom we believe to be the apostate church that is left on earth after the rapture of the true church. Satan has always had his false religion, connected originally to Babylon, that he uses to deceive people and to accomplish his purposes and plans. It will be no different in the Tribulation and that is what this chapter is describing in detail.
John in his vision in the wilderness saw the woman sitting on a “scarlet beast”. There is no doubt that this is the same Beast we met in chapter 13 who is the Antichrist. “Then I stood on the sand of the sea. And I saw a beast rising up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and on his horns ten crowns, and on his heads a blasphemous name.” (Revelation 13:1). Notice that his description there is the same.
In Rev. 17:8 we are told that he is “the beast that was, and is not, and yet is”. This indicates that he comes up out of the bottomless pit, suggesting that he was raised from the dead. Some Bible teachers believe that he is Judas Iscariot raised from the dead because he is called the “son of perdition” by Jesus in John 17:12. In 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4, and 8, the Apostle Paul also calls him the “son of perdition”. “Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God…. And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.”
At least twice in this chapter the beast and the woman are linked together. The “woman is sitting on the scarlet beast” (v. 3). In verse 7 we read, “…the woman and of the beast that carries her…”. I believe that this signifies that in the first part of the Tribulation, the beast, the Antichrist, will use his influence and position as a peacemaker to promote the apostate church. He will lead the world to be a part of this one-world religious system that makes its headquarters in the city of Rome.
The “harlot” is also described as “sitting on the waters”, and we are told that these waters are symbolic of “peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues.” (Rev 17:15) This means that the apostate church extends her power and influence over all the peoples of the earth. And of course, the Antichrist and the “ten horns” which are ten kings, (17:12), that he gave authority to, will be behind her rise to this position.
But then after the first three and a half years of the Tribulation, the Antichrist overcomes the “two witnesses” in Jerusalem and kills them and he is ready to establish his own religion. His false prophet comes on the scene at this point and makes an image to the “beast” in the temple of the Jew in Jerusalem (Rev. 13). And that is when the Antichrist causes the “ten horns” (the ten kings that he has promoted), “to hate the harlot, (the woman), make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire.” (Rev. 17:16)
We can already see in our day how the “spirit of lawlessness” is on the rise! The time is getting close to when this “son of perdition” is about to be revealed! But that will only happen after the church has been raptured! Let me close today with these wonderful verses from Titus 2:11-14: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.”
Thank God, we have the “blessed hope” in this day of apostacy and lawlessness!