Over the last two weeks in Revelation, we’ve seen how the beast (the Roman Emperor) set itself up as a rival god to the one, true God – and forced the people of the empire to worship it. Chapter 13 was all about presenting the emperor as he really was, rather than how Rome’s PR department would have you see him. Chapters 14-15 then gave motivation for resisting the mark of the beast (worshipping the emperor), contrasting the future that awaits Team Beast with that which awaits Team Jesus. Today, we briefly look at the fate of Rome and her emperor (chapters 17-19), as Revelation moves from its readers’ present into its readers’ near future.
Chapter 17 starts off with a by-now-routine announcement from an explanatory angel:
Revelation 17:1 One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits by many waters.”