Then he (angel) said to me, “The waters which you saw, where the harlot sits, are peoples, multitudes, nations, and tongues” (Revelation 17:15). The angel explains to John the meaning of the water on which the woman (worldwide false religion) is sitting (Revelation 17:1). We could call this a sea of humanity that follows this ungodly worldwide false religious system that will lead billions of people to an eternity in the lake of fire. We need to remember that one-third of the angels followed Satan in his rebellion against God, and sometime in the future Satan and his demons will be cast out of heaven down to this earth (Revelation 12:3-9). Then Revelation 12:12 says, “Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” Every false religion of today, including pseudo Christianity, will probably be included within this worldwide false religious system that is inspired by Satan, the Antichrist, and the false prophet.
“And the ten horns which you saw on the beast, these will hate the harlot, make her desolate and naked, eat her flesh and burn her with fire” (Revelation 17:16). The worldwide false religion will have tremendous seductive power and control of the people of the world. If you don’t think religions have more power over people than politics, then ask yourself why politicians can’t stop people from fighting over religious differences? The Antichrist wants the worship of all the people in the world and the wealth of the false religion system. The ten kings under the Antichrist’s control will strip the religious system of all its power and wealth. The false prophet will cooperate with the Antichrist in this destruction of the false religious system, and force the people to worship the Antichrist (Revelation 13:11-18). The false religious system is destroyed; the Antichrist is the ruler and god that earthly minded people will worship, but his rule is very short lived!
“For God has put it into their hearts to fulfill His purpose, to be of one mind, and to give their kingdom to the beast” (Revelation 17:17a). God created humans, and He has every right to use any human to accomplish His purposes. Throughout the Bible God has used many ungodly people to punish or destroy other ungodly people. God used the ungodly Assyrian and Babylonian governments to punish Israel and Judah for their disobedience. God even used David’s own family to punish him for his ungodly actions (2 Samuel 12:9-12). Satan, his demons, ungodly mankind, and believers are ultimately under God’s absolute control—the entire Bible teaches that. Even Satan, his demons, and ungodly people are serving God’s eternal purposes. God controls the fate of this world; and there will come a time when God says, “That’s all the wickedness I’m going to allow, My purposes are fulfilled” and He will take back total control of this earth. Christians are to live in joyous anticipation of what awaits us in God’s Heaven—our redemption draws near (Luke 21:27-29).
“Until the words of God are fulfilled” (Revelation 17:17b). God’s word is already settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89), but it hasn’t been worked out on the earth—but it will be! Jesus said Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35), and God stands ready to perform His word (Jeremiah 1:12). The words of God in relation to the Beast, the ten horns, and the Harlot, will be fulfilled in the judgments of the seventh trumpet (Revelation 10:7); and when the seven bowls of God’s wrath are completed, “It is done!” (Revelation 16:17).
The divine sovereignty of God and human responsibility is taught throughout the Bible and is impossible to ignore. Those who deny God’s sovereignty over the affairs of mankind are not recognizing the absolute power of God. If God isn’t in ultimate control of His universe then He isn’t God. Mankind’s freedom to choose cannot override God’s ultimate purposes, and it’s impossible for the human mind to reconcile God’s sovereignty and human free will. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,” says the Lord. “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9). “My word be that goes forth from My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it” (Isaiah 55:11).
It was God’s “determined purpose and foreknowledge” to deliver Jesus Christ to the cross (Acts 2:23-24), and those who crucified Him are totally responsible for their actions. Whether we are believers in Jesus Christ or unbelievers, our earthly works will be judged. Paul said every Christian’s works will be judged by Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). Everyone who has rejected Jesus Christ will have their works judged at the Great White Throne Judgment (Revelation 20:11-15).
“And the woman whom you saw is that great city which reigns over the kings of the earth” (Revelations 17:18). Nimrod, a type of the Antichrist, rebelled against God at Babel (later named Babylon) in the land of Shinar (Genesis 10-11). The idol worship, harlotry, and abominations Nimrod started there are still very active today in all the kingdoms on earth. Talking about the basket of wickedness, Zechariah said to the angel, “Where are they carrying the basket” and the angel said, “To build a house for it in the land of Shinar; when it is ready, the basket will be set there on its base” (read Zechariah 5:5-11). Shinar is the area where Babylon was originally built. Babylon was a prominent city in the past and could possibly be an important city in the future. It’s possible that the Antichrist will rule his earthly kingdoms from Babylon before he is destroyed by Jesus Christ (Revelation 19:11-21).
The apostles asked Jesus Christ, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority” (Acts 1:6-7). We don’t know when the events of Revelation are going to happen—that’s God’s business!