Isaiah 47 & Revelation 17

Isaiah 47

    Come down and sit in the dust,
        O virgin daughter of Babylon;
    sit on the ground without a throne,
        O daughter of the Chaldeans!
    For you shall no more be called
        tender and delicate.
    Take the millstones and grind flour,
        put off your veil,
    strip off your robe, uncover your legs,
        pass through the rivers.
    Your nakedness shall be uncovered,
        and your disgrace shall be seen.
    I will take vengeance,
        and I will spare no one.
    Our Redeemer—the LORD of hosts is his name—
        is the Holy One of Israel.
    Sit in silence, and go into darkness,
        O daughter of the Chaldeans;
    for you shall no more be called
        the mistress of kingdoms.
    I was angry with my people;
        I profaned my heritage;
    I gave them into your hand;
        you showed them no mercy;
    on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.
    You said, “I shall be mistress forever,”
        so that you did not lay these things to heart
        or remember their end.
    Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures,
        who sit securely,
    who say in your heart,
        “I am, and there is no one besides me;
    I shall not sit as a widow
        or know the loss of children”:
    These two things shall come to you
        in a moment, in one day;
    the loss of children and widowhood
        shall come upon you in full measure,
    in spite of your many sorceries
        and the great power of your enchantments.
    You felt secure in your wickedness,
        you said, “No one sees me”;
    your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray,
    and you said in your heart,
        “I am, and there is no one besides me.”
    But evil shall come upon you,
        which you will not know how to charm away;
    disaster shall fall upon you,
        for which you will not be able to atone;
    and ruin shall come upon you suddenly,
        of which you know nothing.
    Stand fast in your enchantments
        and your many sorceries,
        with which you have labored from your youth;
    perhaps you may be able to succeed;
        perhaps you may inspire terror.
    You are wearied with your many counsels;
        let them stand forth and save you,
    those who divide the heavens,
        who gaze at the stars,
    who at the new moons make known
        what shall come upon you.
    Behold, they are like stubble;
        the fire consumes them;
    they cannot deliver themselves
        from the power of the flame.
    No coal for warming oneself is this,
        no fire to sit before!
    Such to you are those with whom you have labored,
        who have done business with you from your youth;
    they wander about, each in his own direction;
        there is no one to save you.

(Isaiah 47 ESV)

Revelation 17

    Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the judgment of the great prostitute who is seated on many waters, with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.” And he carried me away in the Spirit into a wilderness, and I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was full of blasphemous names, and it had seven heads and ten horns. The woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet, and adorned with gold and jewels and pearls, holding in her hand a golden cup full of abominations and the impurities of her sexual immorality. And on her forehead was written a name of mystery: “Babylon the great, mother of prostitutes and of earth's abominations.” And I saw the woman, drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of the martyrs of Jesus.

    When I saw her, I marveled greatly. But the angel said to me, “Why do you marvel? I will tell you the mystery of the woman, and of the beast with seven heads and ten horns that carries her. The beast that you saw was, and is not, and is about to rise from the bottomless pit and go to destruction. And the dwellers on earth whose names have not been written in the book of life from the foundation of the world will marvel to see the beast, because it was and is not and is to come. This calls for a mind with wisdom: the seven heads are seven mountains on which the woman is seated; they are also seven kings, five of whom have fallen, one is, the other has not yet come, and when he does come he must remain only a little while. As for the beast that was and is not, it is an eighth but it belongs to the seven, and it goes to destruction. And the ten horns that you saw are ten kings who have not yet received royal power, but they are to receive authority as kings for one hour, together with the beast. These are of one mind, and they hand over their power and authority to the beast. They will make war on the Lamb, and the Lamb will conquer them, for he is Lord of lords and King of kings, and those with him are called and chosen and faithful.”

    And the angel said to me, “The waters that you saw, where the prostitute is seated, are peoples and multitudes and nations and languages. And the ten horns that you saw, they and the beast will hate the prostitute. They will make her desolate and naked, and devour her flesh and burn her up with fire, for God has put it into their hearts to carry out his purpose by being of one mind and handing over their royal power to the beast, until the words of God are fulfilled. And the woman that you saw is the great city that has dominion over the kings of the earth.”

(Revelation 17 ESV)

Revelation 17: John describes a series of similarities between the Babylonian harlot and OT Jezebel. He has already suggested that the spirit of Jezebel is active among the seven churches (Rev. 2). We may expect to find adulterous ideology in pagan nations, but we must not fail to see such false teaching operating among the church.

Are we alert and aware when it comes to the potential devastation that false teaching can bring among the church today? Satan still masquerades as an angel of light. Let us not be fooled. May we discern the danger that lurks around the church and point out weak spots where the world is beginning to exercise too much influence within our own congregations.